Saturday, May 13, 2017

Fátima centenary

Regular readers know I'm mostly simply Catholic, not extreme or exotic; the traditional Mass is historically "mainstream." So I'm not particularly Marian. She's the Mother of God; everything else is commentary. (Our other doctrines about her? True of course, but commentary on the gospel. Good scholastic logic, and an Eastern legend that turned out to tell more of the truth about the Incarnation.) Devotions are good but they're not a substitute for the basics of the gospel and creeds, the traditional Mass, and the office. "Jesus is the reason": he saves; Mary prays.

Good Catholics' longtime enemies at NCR had a point in a 2010 blog post: A tale of two Fátimas. Of course filter out the swipes at conservative Catholics (and, implicitly, simply good, orthodox Catholics), but sometimes our people, meaning well, lose the plot. (Isn't that always the way with sin?)
A gentle devotion focused on Mary’s appearances to three illiterate shepherd children, an icon of God’s special favor for the simple ones of the earth.
Indeed. But doesn't that include the "simple ones" NCR looks down on, who simply want the traditional faith back in the parishes? Anyway, yes, that's the seeming paradox of the Christian message. In Our Lady's words, among her few recorded ones, Luke 1:46—55:
My soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his handmaiden. For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath magnified me : and holy is his Name. And his mercy is on them that fear him : throughout all generations. He hath shewed strength with his arm : he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seat : and hath exalted the humble and meek. He hath filled the hungry with good things : and the rich he hath sent empty away. He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel : as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.
A message that sometimes got lost in the Cold War saber-rattling. That said, pacifism isn't really Christian. We have a duty to defend each other. So, yes, bless our armed forces, as the Byzantine Liturgy I attend monthly (about as anti-NCR as you can get but this is ignored or patronized, maybe because it looks ecumenical) prays in the Litany of Peace. God uses the humble to confound worldly might, but he uses peace through strength too. So, sorry, NCR, I'm not throwing away my traditional missal (in contrast, the Episcopalians love our customs; what's your problem?), turning on gun owners, or fetishizing the Third World. More important, the actual doctrine of the church isn't up for a vote nor does it chase trends. (Trend-chasing empties churches anyway. Witness the mainline and now ourselves.)

Private revelation has a strange place in the church. It's often misunderstood. The bishop approves or not, and is reluctant to do so; we're not out to rip people off, as the Protestants with their televangelists accuse. (The Bishop of Leiria didn't approve Fátima until 1930.) Approval only means is it isn't heretical and isn't a hoax. Even though you can name churches after these and have parish and diocesan pilgrimages to the places, etc., you don't have to believe in it. It's not doctrine; strictly speaking, not part of the Catholic faith.

For all his un-traditional showboating, I give Fr. Gruner credit: he reported problems with church life that needed reporting and that few else dared to, and he reached "simple people" who don't read theological tomes. Using the simple.
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of thy mercy.


  1. I have to admit, I still wonder if the third secret does indeed speak of apostasy in the Church and a bad council and corrupt liturgy. Is that why the current pope is such an abomination? Are we witnessing an "eclipse of the church"? Will there be three "days of darkeness" and chastisement, followed by a restoration of the Church? Maybe it will happen during the centennial anniversary of Fatima? I guess we'll see.

  2. I am not super into the appartitions business either, but I personally tend to give Fatima great credibility. Same with Lourdes and La Salette . . . La Guadalupana too, I think. This is not dogma but pious theological opinion to believe in apparitions. In any case, Fatima, as is the case with the other apparitions I have mentioned, is a Church approved cult of veneration (not worship-latria!), but the truth in Fatima is found in the Gospels. If a future apparition purports to offer us something "new," than I would stay the Hell away from it! An apparition either supports Revelation or it doesn't.

    Fatima and the other apparitions are not about simple, illiterate, seers. Such a POV misses the point. Repentance and metanoia dominate Fatima's message and not whether or not the Third Secret actually has been publicized accurately!

  3. I love the fact that the Catholic Church gives us freeom to emphasize different aspects of the faith in our devotions. So one can be a Marian fanatic, or somebody like you, is devout, but not that fired up by Marian stuff.

    I love Marian devotion and the rosary, but I don't have that much enthusiasm for eucharistic adoration, while other people love to go and adore the Blessed Sacrament every week.


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