Thursday, May 13, 2010

John Allen: A Tale of Two Fatimas

The only time I link to the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) is when John Allen writes. John Allen is pretty solid; NCR in general has one of the greatest collection of dissidents (that is, people who know what the Church teaches, but pretend it teaches something else). Therefore, I feel the need to add this disclaimer to each post in which I link to an Allen post!

Moving right along...

John Allen continues his series on Fatima, from Fatima. I'll start you out here then, I'll let you finish it at the original site. This goes to the heart of something that has bothered me. I simply don't have time to explain my position right now, but in the coming weeks, I will make time. For now, read this:

Fatima, Portugal

In a sense, there have always been two Fatimas in the popular Catholic imagination.

One is 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.Then there’s the other Fatima, a darker and harder-edged subculture focused on speculation about the errors of Russia, nuclear annihilation, and the great apostasies of the Catholic church after the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).

That second Fatima, according to one expert, has often obscured and perverted the first. According to Carlos Evaristo, some feverish devotees become so engrossed by the second Fatima that they almost have to be “deprogrammed.”

“Unfortunately, many people who have a devotion to Fatima start with the regular devotions of the rosary and the First Saturdays, and then they get into some of the more exoteric literature,” Evaristo said.

“Once you get people into that mentality, it’s very hard to get them back.”

Evaristo runs several foundations in Fatima – including one launched by the late American Catholic layman and millionaire John Haffert, founder of the Blue Army – and publishes widely on the subject. Evaristo’s father witnessed one of the reported appearances of Mary in Fatima in 1917.

Evaristo sat down with NCR on May 13, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, during Pope Benedict XVI’s visit.

Evaristo knows something about the hawkish Fatima subculture, having once been a protégé of Canadian Fr. Nicholas Gruner, the famed “Fatima priest” who publishes the Fatima Crusader and who for decades has promoted a hard-line reading of the Fatima revelations – insisting, among other things, that the version of the “Third Secret” of Fatima published by the Vatican in 2000 is incomplete, omitting details about the end of the world and a condemnation of modernizing currents in the church.

In 1992, however, Evaristo broke with Gruner after publishing an interview with Sr. Lúcia Santos, the only one of the three visionaries of Fatima to have survived the influenza epidemic of 1918. In Two Hours with Sr. Lucy, Evaristo quoted Sr. Lúcia to the effect that:

• John Paul’s 1984 consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary satisfied the conditions laid down in the Fatima revelations;
• The “conversion” of Russia referred to in Fatima does not necessarily mean explicit conversion to the Catholic faith;
• The “third secret” of Fatima did not have to be revealed in the 1960s, meaning that the Vatican had not been guilty of a decades-long cover-up.

Each point was anathema to Gruner and like-minded Fatima devotees, who questioned the authenticity of the interview and speculated about Evaristo’s motives for publishing it. (All this unfolded in the wake of a 1992 symposium Gruner sponsored in Fatima as a rival to an official program put on the shrine, both of which attracted 60 bishops from around the world. Evaristo says that because of his split with Gruner, he ended up with thousands of dollars in debt for the event that Gruner refused to pay.)

Continue reading: A Tale of Two Fatimas by John Allen

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!