by Stephen Wood
Here are three suggestions for the most accurate statements regarding the contemporary relevance of the apparitions at Fatima in 1917.“As for the Secret, well I happen to be one of those individuals who thinks we didn’t get the whole thing.” — Mother Angelica, 2001“One would deceive himself who thinks that the prophetic mission of Fatima is concluded … Mankind has succeeded in unleashing a cycle of death and terror, but failed in bringing it to an end.” — Pope Benedict XVI, 2010Question from Father Lombardi to Pope Benedict XVI on their 2009 flight to Fatima“Your Holiness, what meaning do the Fatima apparitions have for us today? In June 2000, when you presented the text of the third secret … you were asked if the message could be extended, beyond the attack on John Paul II, to other sufferings on the part of the Popes. Is it possible, to your mind, to include in that vision the sufferings of the Church today for the sins involving the sexual abuse of minors?”Holy Father: “Consequently, I would say that, here too, beyond this great vision of the suffering of the Pope, which we can in the first place refer to Pope John Paul II, an indication is given of realities involving the future of the Church, which are gradually taking shape and becoming evident …The important thing is that the message, the response of Fatima, in substance is not directed to particular devotions, but precisely to the fundamental response, that is, to ongoing conversion, penance, prayer, and the three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity. Thus we see here the true, fundamental response which the Church must give – which we, every one of us, must give in this situation.As for the new things which we can find in this message today, there is also the fact that attacks on the Pope and the Church come not only from without, but the sufferings of the Church come precisely from within the Church, from the sin existing within the Church. This too is something that we have always known, but today we are seeing it in a really terrifying way: that the greatest persecution of the Church comes not from her enemies without, but arises from sin within the Church, and that the Church thus has a deep need to relearn penance, to accept purification, to learn forgiveness on the one hand, but also the need for justice … This is our response, we are realists in expecting that evil always attacks, attacks from within and without, yet that the forces of good are also ever present and that, in the end, the Lord is more powerful than evil and Our Lady is for us the visible, motherly guarantee of God’s goodness, which is always the last word in history.”PersonalAs a personal favor, I ask you to re-read Pope Benedict’s statements above. They are actually worth re-reading twice. Fathers have a duty to know “what time it is” in the big scheme of things in order to provide wise guidance and prudent leadership for their families.Article first appeared in Dad.org Newsletter October 2017, Volume 23, Number 5. Sign up for free monthly newsletter here.