Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fatima Conspiracy Theories?

First Saturday Devotions were once well known, but not so today.  I got introduced to them at Assumption Grotto, where the secular Carmelite community I joined met on the First Saturday of each month.  Incidentally, I made my final promise today and am now a Carmelite for life!  While I have a great devotion to spiritual mother and father of the Carmelite order, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, I also have a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  I did the Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary on August 15th, 2005 after doing the 33-day prep by St. Louis de Montfort.

On this First Saturday, I would like to share with you an email I got from Andrew Rabel, Australian correspondent for Inside the Vatican magazine.  Andrew, who visited Assumption Grotto in 2009, is a great Fatima devotee.  With his permission, I share his email, with some additional thoughts of my own, below.

Debunking Fatima Conspiracy Theories
Dear friends,

English Catholic journalist and commentator, Joanna Bogle, has written a very good review of Fr Andrew Apostoli CFR's book, Fatima for Today.

Fr Apostoli, belongs to the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, and is a regular on EWTN, as is Joanna.

The book has the endorsement of Cardinal Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, so I think we can safely say this represents the view of the Holy See, on these matters.

The true message of Fatima has been distorted by groups and individuals who want to link it with various conspiracy theories, whereas as Ven Pius XII said, "Fatima is a reaffirmation of the Gospels" which are the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ, not the bad news! The latter was said to me by my mentor Fr Robert Fox, the Fatima priest. God rest his soul.

Our Lady's message at Fatima is about prayer, penance, reparation and consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which sadly do not get much of a guernsey in church circles, these days. (I am looking forward to 2017 for this, which I believe will be a whole year dedicated to Fatima, its centenary!) Tomorrow is the First Saturday of the month, and integral here is the devotion to the Five First Saturdays. The Alliance of the Two Hearts always have a vigil in our parish church for this occasion.

Joanna has really distilled the essence of what the problem is here, and I am very grateful to her.

in the hearts of Jesus & Mary,

Some years ago, when Antonio Socci's, 'The Fourth Secret of Fatima' was released, I picked up a copy and began to read it.  I set it aside without finishing it.  People will often play a little, "fill in the blank" in the absence of some piece of information and it is filled in with a suggested line of thought (which often come across as fact).  Just because several pieces of information lead in a particular direction, doesn't make it so.

I emailed a mariologist I know overseas, back then, and asked him if he was familiar with Socci's work.  He referred me to a professor in Italy who encouraged me to read Antonio Borelli's, "Some Friendly Reflections for the Clarification of a Debate".   It was exactly what I was looking for - a thorough "fisking" of some key points in Socci's work.  I highly recommend this, in addition to what Andrew Rabel has offered, especially if you have bought Socci's book, or are thinking about it.

A major promoter of the Fatima conspiracy theories, whose website I will not link to, nor permit links to in my combox, had a response to Antonio Borelli's piece, but he didn't bother to share the entire document with his readers, nor direct them to it.  Rather, he quoted select statements, then addressed them.  This leaves the discerning reader at a disadvantage.  Well, I read Borelli's document and his response to it, and I'm sticking with Borelli.  I am sticking with it because he offers alternative possibilities to those "blanks" that were filled in by Socci.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church encourages us to interpret the words of others in the most favorable light (CCC 2478).

I know that if I do what Our Lady asked at Fatima and hold steadfastly to the basics: Prayer, fasting, penance, consecration, and do First Saturdays, it is 100% fault-free and 100% beneficial to the Church while bringing me graces at the same time.  However, if I do all of those things, but then spend hours and hours on things that seem to require me to think the worst of certain prelates, I put my immortal soul at risk.  I cannot claim that 100% is fault-free (especially if I must accept theories that exclude considerations that offer alternate explanations, or if it is dependent on rash judgments (even those of other people).   I am reminded of what Fr. Hardon wrote about imprudence in his

IMPRUDENCE  Sins against prudence that are either by defect or by excess. Sins by defect against prudence are: rashness, which acts before due consideration has been given; thoughtlessness, which neglects to take the necessary circumstances into account; and negligence, which does not give the mind sufficient time for mature deliberation.
Here again is the link to the review of Fr. Apostoli's book (below) at Catholic World Report by Joanna Bogle.

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Joaquin said...

Please forgive one who does not follow such things closely, but what "conspiracies" are you referring to? I realize that you don't want to link to them, but could you explain them in a few words?

Without knowing this in advance, your post is unintelligible.

I haven't put a lot of energy into Fatima, or Lourdes, or any of the apparitions. This is why I am so ignorant of such matters.

Nick said...

A contributing factor to conspiracy theories is the abuse of information. For example, some people like to use Wikipedia to spread misinformation.

Before the article was edited, the Lucia Santos article included lots of misinformation on Fatima and advertisements for the Fatima Crusaders.

So, if you were go to Wikipedia to look up Lucia Santos, you'd find a lot of cooky stuff (though it isn't there now, but it is still in the history section) and you'd conclude Lucia was a nutcase.

This is just an example, it's far from an isolated case. (A more recent case I've come across is the Neocatechumenal Way article)

I wouldn't put it past false prophets to misuse Wikipedia. They know new online users and teenagers use Wikipedia - so they abuse their ignorance and they abuse the encyclopedia.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...


Please read the article by Joanna Bogle. The first paragraph reads:

If you search "Fatima" on the Internet, you will get a whole lot of links to websites and blogs with conspiracy theories, chiefly centred on the rumour that Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict have lied to us, that "the true Third Secret has never been revealed", that it had all sorts of lurid prophesies and so on.

That's what I'm talking about.

ALL: Please read the links before commenting. And, I would encourage reading Antonio Borelli's report that I offered - in full. If a claim is made, you have to be able to work it backwards. Sure, Socci's book appears to have "credible" evidence. Yet, Borelli shows how, given some of the same information (and absence of other, pertinent pieces of the puzzle), there are other possibilities.

andyjourn said...

Thank you very much Diane for putting up the material.

It is important with any church approved private revelation, such as Fatima, to strike the right balance.

No Catholic is obliged to believe in any private revelation only what is contained in the deposit of faith.

But even if we accept a church approved revelation, we must be balanced in our appraisal of this. The same Church that approved of Fatima, is the one that gives to us what is intrinsic to it, and if through an exercise of the Magisterium, it tell us a request like the Collegial Consecration has been done or the Third Secret revealed, it is incumbent on Catholics to accept these things.

Fr Perrone, the pastor at Assumption Grotto during my visit there wanted to ask my opinion about Antonio Socci's book, The Fouth Secret of Fatima, which was being read by a number of the parishioners. He said if he accepted their claims, this was imputing dishonesty on the part of the present and previoius pope. I said I agreed with this, and that was also a very strong liberty taken.

Fr Apostoli has written a good critique of the arguments, as well as the link by Antonio Borelli.

Most importantly when it comes to Fatima we have to get back to basics like the daily rosary, wearing the brown scapular, doing the First Five Saturdays, and making sacrfices for sinners. This is what Our Lady wants.