Saturday, 4 February 2017

Fatima Centenary: 1: Introduction

February 4-5, 2017
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time


As time and space allow during coming months, we shall here review the story and message of the 1917 apparitions of Our Lady to the three children at Fatima. The primary source for this material will be Father Andrew Apostoli’s 2010 book Fatima for Today: the urgent Marian message of hope .
2017 is the centenary year of the Fatima apparitions, declared after careful investigation by the Church in 1930 as ‘worthy of belief.’ This centenary, of relevance to the whole Church, is also particularly relevant to our parish, named in the context of the Fatima call to pray the rosary, and with our church celebrating this May 13 the 55th anniversary of its con-secration.
This and other apparitions do not constitute articles of faith. Catholics are free to come to their own conclusions about Fatima.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states (n. 67): "Throughout the ages, there have been so-called ‘private’ revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church… It is not their role to complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history"
Cardinal Prospero Lambertini, the future Pope Benedict XIV (1740-1758), wrote: "An assent of Catholic faith is not due to revelations approved in this way; it is not even possible. These revelations seek rather an assent of human faith in keeping with the requirements of prudence, which puts them before us as probable and credible to piety."
That said, Pope John Paul II’s comments on May 13 1982 at Fatima, where he had gone to thank Our Lady for the preservation of his life on May 13 1981, are still timely:
"Today John Paul II, successor of Peter, ... presents himself before the Mother of the Son of God in her shrine at Fatima...He presents himself, reading again with trepidation the motherly call to penance, to conversion, the ardent appeal of the Heart of Mary that resounded at Fatima 65 years ago. Yes, ...with trepida-tion in his heart, because he sees how many peoples and societies how many Christians have gone in the opposite direction to the one indicated in the message of Fatima. Sin has thus made itself firmly at home in the world, and denial of God has become widespread in the ideologies, ideas and plans of human beings… But for this very reason the evangelical call to repentance and conversion, uttered in the Mother’s message, remains ever relevant.
It is still more relevant than it was 65 years ago! It is still more urgent!" (Emphasis added.)