The upcoming Saint Benedict Center Conference will be dedicated to the subject, “A Worldview in the Light of Fatima.” This theme was chosen in honor of the centenary of the Fatima apparitions, which will be coming to a close less than a week after our conference adjourns.
Shortly after I crafted and published this theme, it occurred to me during a conversation with one of our speakers, that I had unintentionally borrowed from a talk that was given in October of 1999 by John Vennari (RIP), “A World View Based on Fatima.” While I did not intentionally draw from Mr. Vennari’s work, the resemblance may well have resulted from the profound impression that piece made on me when I read it almost eighteen years ago. I have recently reread the edited transcript and found myself underlining things, and happily agreeing with his excellent points.
I will get back to some of what John Vennari says therein a little further down, in the larger context of answering the question: “What are some of the defining elements of a worldview in the light of Fatima?”
Getting right to that task, then, here are some elements that would define a Fatima worldview.
First, a worldview in light of Fatima would be integrally Catholic. That is to say, such a worldview would embrace not only a total assent to Catholic doctrine and the moral code that goes with it for our personal lives, but would also include the supernatural worldview that all of man’s affairs — concerning the life of the family, the larger society of the State, and even geopolitics — are to be seen in light of divine revelation and man’s obligations towards his Creator. This is the same as saying that all of man’s problems and concerns are subjects of God’s providence, and, inasmuch as they all touch upon God’s Law in some way, they are also “religious” questions. We cannot be pious Catholics in our private and family lives, and be practical materialists and secularists in our businesses, economics, politics, etc.
Such a worldview would also be unapologetically Catholic. And here is where I will borrow (more) from the gifted Mr. Vennari, who capably showed how inimical the Fatima message is to certain current bad trends in the Church, including religious indifferentism and ecumenism. Rather than downplaying the differences between Catholics and non-Catholics, according to Mr. Vennari,
- by emphasizing the Rosary,
- by emphasizing devotion to Her Immaculate Heart,
- by emphasizing the Brown Scapular,
- by emphasizing Purgatory,
- by emphasizing the authority of the Papacy,
- by emphasizing the Sacrament of Confession,
- by emphasizing the Holy Eucharist as the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ,
Our Lady is emphasizing those very points that DIVIDE Catholics from Protestants, and that DIVIDE Catholics from every other religion on the face of the earth.
A worldview in the light of Fatima would be thoroughly imbued with the supernatural, as the words spoken of by the Holy Virgin are about Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, the Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of Penance, sin, prayer, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, etc.
A worldview in the light of Fatima would be concerned with the rights of God, and not merely with the rights of man. While not discounting the genuine rights that men have both by nature and in light of their supernatural end, the correct worldview would consider God first and foremost both in the order of charity and in the order of justice. So many times, for instance, Our Lady speaks of God being offended by sin. She even speaks of the social effects of this when she says that war is a punishment for sin. She also speaks of blessings of peace for men and nations when her requests are heeded.
Such a worldview would see current events in light of Fatima. So many of our current problems are a fulfillment of the Virgin’s prophesy that “If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions against the Church.” The Cultural Marxism that plagues us is one of these many errors of Russia. Even the continued civil strife we see before our eyes right now — when some are even talking about the possibility of a second Civil War in these United States — can be blamed on a failure of Catholics to fulfill Our Lady’s request. For She did promise peace. And that blame falls on Catholics of low station and high, clerics and lay.
My first point, above, that the desired worldview would be integrally Catholic, included the idea that all man’s affairs, including those of the family, ought to be regulated according to God’s Will. But let us be more explicit. Our worldview must see the need to uphold and protect marriage and the family in the face of the hedonistic and unnatural attacks against these divine institutions. Consider the words of Sister Lucy to Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, one of the four signatories of the five dubia sent to the Holy Father regarding Amoris Laetitia:
…the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid, [she added,] because anyone who operates for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be contended and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue.
Now, I do not pretend that my little catalogue of defining elements of a Fatima worldview is comprehensive. But I will close with an element that I consider very important, especially given our Congregation’s charism. A worldview in the light of Fatima would emphasize the necessity of the Church for salvation.
To explain this part of the worldview, I will quote from two sources. The first from Father Fuentes’ book, The Secret of Fatima, p. 106, and is his account of an interview the liberal Jesuit, Father Lombardi, had with Sister Lucy in 1954:
On February 7, 1954, Father Lombardi, after much insistence, but at an inopportune time for Sister Lucia, managed to speak with her in the parlor of the Carmelite convent in Coimbra. He wrote later of the impression she made on him: “Her face was simple, her voice clear and without the slightest trace of the artificiality which can be so easily assumed in certain situations. She was not well; in fact, she was running a temperature. I questioned her:
«Tell me if the Better World Movement (which was already known to her) is the Church’s response to the words of Our Lady to you.»
«Father,» she replied, «there is certainly need of this great renewal. Without it, and considering the present state of humanity, only a limited part of the human race will be saved.»
«Do you really believe that many people go to hell? I myself hope that God will save the greater number, and I even wrote it in a book entitled The Salvation of Those Who Have No Faith.»
«Father, many are condemned.»
«It is certain that the world is an abyss of vice….Still, there is always hope of salvation.»
«No, Father, many, many are lost.»”
The second is the recently disclosed (in 2014) account of Sister Lucy’s vision and Marian locution that gave her the strength she needed to commit to writing the Third Secret (here is my source for the text):
And the Mother of God said to her: “be at peace, and write what I have commanded you, but not, however, that which has been given to you to understand its meaning,” intending to allude to the meaning of the vision which the Virgin herself had revealed.
Immediately afterward, said Sister Lucia, “I felt my spirit inundated by a mystery of light that is God and in Him I saw and heard: the point of a lance like a flame that is detached, touches the axis of the earth, and it trembles: mountains, cities, towns and villages with their inhabitants are buried. The sea, the rivers, the clouds, exceed their boundaries, inundating and dragging with them, in a vortex, houses and people in a number that cannot be counted. It is the purification of the world from the sin in which it is immersed. Hatred, ambition, provoke the destructive war. After I felt my racing heart, in my spirit a soft voice said: ‘In time, one faith, one baptism, one Church, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic. In eternity, Heaven!’ This word ‘Heaven’ filled my heart with peace and happiness in such a way that, almost without being aware of it, I kept repeating to myself for a long time: Heaven, Heaven.”
Please come to the Conference!