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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