THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT FATIMA VOLUME II
THE SECRET AND THE CHURCH
2.10 “The War Predicted Is Imminent.
It Will Be Horrible, Horrible!”
(January 1938 – September 1939)
ON the morning of Wednesday, January 26, 1938, articles of this nature could be read in the newspapers:
«An aurora borealis of exceptional size furrowed the sky of Western Europe last night; it caused an uproar in a number of departments, which at first believed it to be a gigantic fire.
«In the entire region of the Alps, the population was very much intrigued by this strange spectacle. The sky was ablaze like an immense moving furnace, provoking a very strong blood-red glow. The edge of the furnace was white, as if the sun was about to come up. It was undoubtedly an aurora borealis, but an exceptionally vast one, according to Professor Pers, of the Faculty of Sciences at Grenoble.» 1
I. «WHEN YOU SEE A NIGHT ILLUMINED BY AN UNKNOWN LIGHT...» (JANUARY 25-26, 1938)
In this astonishing spectacle which she was able to watch at Tuy with her companions, Sister Lucy recognised the event predicted twenty years earlier by Our Lady of Fatima, in Her great Secret of July 13, 1917. This spectacular and most unusual atmospheric phenomenon was the sign of the divine chastisement which was now imminent. Our Lady had predicted:
«The war is going to end. But if men do not cease offending God... another worse one will begin in the reign of Pius XI... Russia will spread its errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions against the Church...
«When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that it is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions against the Church and the Holy Father...» 2
A Portuguese author, G. Freire, assures us that immediately after January 25, Sister Lucy explained to her bishop, to Canon Galamba, her Provincial Superior and her confessors the supernatural and prophetic significance of the atmospheric phenomenon which all had been able to see, and which the press had spoken about at length. 3 Speaking to her bishop, Sister Lucy wrote in her Third Memoir on August 31, 1941:
«Your Excellency is not unaware that, a few years ago, God manifested that sign, which astronomers chose to call an aurora borealis. I don’t know for certain, but I think if they investigated the matter, they would discover that, in the form in which it appeared, it could not possibly have been an aurora borealis. Be that as it may, God made use of this to make me understand that His justice was about to strike the guilty nations...» 4
Of course this declaration of Sister Lucy caused a good deal of ink to flow. Following Father Dhanis, all the adversaries of Fatima seized upon these words to underline the seer’s error in any way they could. Was she not presenting as a miracle what in reality, they tell us, was just an ordinary aurora borealis?
« A NIGHT ILLUMINED BY AN UNKNOWN LIGHT»
Our critics should at least point out, in all honesty, the prudent expressions used by Sister Lucy. She does not endeavour to impose her opinion categorically, but merely contents herself with expressing a personal view. This reserve must be stressed: « I don’t know», she says, « but it seems to me that...» And further on: « Be that as it may» on the nature of this phenomenon, etc. Unfortunately, this text is not sufficiently explicit to allow us to guess the motives for Sister Lucy’s statement. We may hope that the interrogations by Father Alonso may finally shed all the desired light on this point, for when Father Jongen 5 had asked the seer why, in her opinion, she had written that the phenomenon of January 25, 1938, was not an aurora borealis, she simply answered: «Because I don’t think it was.» It did not occur to the interrogator to insist. What a terrible shame! For if she dared to speak in this way, the ever circumspect Sister Lucy undoubtedly had solid personal reasons. But what were they? Will we perhaps learn one day?
Meanwhile, we stick to the exact words of the great Secret. What do they tell us? «When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that it is the great sign given you by God...» Let it be clearly understood that there is no question of a miracle here. On that very same July 13, 1917, Our Lady had announced: «In October, I will work a miracle so that all may see and believe.» But She did not say: “I will work a great miracle to warn mankind of the imminence of the chastisement.” It would be an error, then, to put the unusual phenomenon of January 25, 1938, in the same class as the great miracle of the dance of the sun on October 13, 1917. In an appendix to this chapter, we will show how on closer examination the expression of the great Secret, even from the scientific point of view, appears as the most precise and exact one to designate this baffling and mysterious natural phenomenon. For the astronomers do not always know where this mysterious, nocturnal light that provokes what we generally call an “aurora borealis” comes from... but let us repeat that this does not mean that it is miraculous.
« THE GREAT SIGN GIVEN YOU BY GOD...»
No, it is a question of something entirely different. It is not a miracle which proves the authenticity of the apparitions and the message, but only an extraordinary natural phenomenon which, having been promised in advance, can serve as the sign and the final warning announcing that the chastisement is imminent: «Know that it is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world...»
In this sense, the extraordinarily vast aurora borealis was not a banal natural phenomenon, like an eclipse or the passage of a meteor. Of themselves such phenomena have no objective significance. The Creator, who by His Providence governs both the elements of the world and the course of human history, had given it a meaning. The very nature of the great aurora borealis lent itself so objectively to this meaning that, even being completely ignorant of the prophecy, both the simple and the learned who had enough intelligence to read the great book of nature could see the supernatural significance of the great atmospheric phenomenon.
Having supplied these comments by way of clarification, we must now let the witnesses speak. They themselves will reveal to us how eloquent the event was. Indeed, nothing more eloquent and expressive could be imagined to give men a preview of the chastisement which threatened them: a horrible war, the deadliest one in all of history, which would cause torrents of blood to flow; a world war which would set the world ablaze like a great conflagration, giving light everywhere by its red, destructive flames. Finally, it was a war Satanically willed and prepared by the forces of Antichrist Judeo-Masonry and its accomplice, Stalinist Bolshevism. Its only consequence was to hurl upon the world a red wave of blood and fire originating with atheistic, godless and destructive communism. For in the final analysis it is this interminable war – interminable because it is constantly being kindled again on every continent – through which Russia is little by little managing to enslave the world. This is the meaning of the terrible universal conflagration which the disturbing red glow of January 25, 1938, announced and prefigured, and of which it gave a foretaste.
What a pity that through the negligence of the Pastors of the Church, the spiritual meaning of this unusual conflagration which illumined this winter night was not revealed to the faithful while there was still time to do something about it! Not having been willing to fulfil Heaven’s requests, the pastors were not any more disturbed by this great prophetic Secret, mercifully offered to humanity as an effective instrument to stir up repentance and lead people to conversion. At least let us hear the statements of the witnesses. Even today, do they not remind us of past catastrophes and the tragic events threatening us?
RECOLLECTIONS OF THE WITNESSES
We have before our eyes a voluminous dossier which a friend enjoying competence in the matter was kind enough to prepare for us. Let us first survey the fifty pages of a detailed account which appeared in the “Bulletin of the Astronomical Society of France and Monthly Review of Astronomy, Meteorology and Globular Physics”, in the year 1938. 6
«An aurora borealis of exceptional beauty was visible in France and in almost all the countries of Europe, from the evening of Tuesday, January 25, 1938, to the morning of Wednesday, the 26th. In Switzerland, in England as well as in the regions of the West, Southwest and Southeast, right down to Provence, and even further south, in Italy and Portugal, in Sicily and Gibraltar, and even in North Africa, the phenomenon showed an exceptional intensity for these latitudes...
«The atmosphere had been cloudy and there had even been a slight drizzle around dusk. The sun had been invisible all day. But now, more than two hours after sunset, the clouds are dispelled. The northeast, northern and northwest horizons light up as though dawn were going to break all over again. For practical purposes it is dawn... but a nocturnal dawn, with a strange light; it is the aurora borealis.
«A pale, beautiful, greenish-blue light envelops the sky from northeast to northwest. Gradually, up above the sky turns fiery red and an irregular red arch appears. A sort of cloud tinged with purple condenses in the northeast and moves over towards the northwest, as if propelled by a mysterious breath. It folds over, undulates, dilates, vanishes and then reappears, while immense rays, whose colour passes from blood-red to orange-red to yellow, rise up to the zenith of the sky, enveloping the stars. The spectacle is enchanting and varied, animated with luminous palpitations, with extinctions and recrudescences.»
«... In the streets there is panic. “Paris is on fire!” In several villages of the province firemen are mobilised...» «An immense blood-red glow was extending over the sky...» (p. 43, 49-50).
The review then gives a great number of statements from its correspondents, both from France and from foreign countries. Here are some significant excerpts:
At the observatory of pic du Midi: «This remarkable aurora was the first ever observed from the station of pic du Midi. It constitutes a rare phenomenon for this latitude... The first impression was of a gigantic conflagration...» (p. 54-57).
At La Chapelle-Saint-Laud, in Maine-et-Loire, the teacher kept this description given by one of his students, aged ten: «Yesterday evening there was a great red cloud; it was like a sheet of blood, then the cloud grew larger, forming great red threads, which kept going up, and below that, white threads, like chalk lines.» (p. 61).
In Oise, Mr. Henri Blain «at first believed that it was the grim reflection of a vast inferno... Many of the villagers, struck by the anomaly and intensity of the phenomenon, observed somewhat nervously from the window sills of their houses... These red glows were visible, then disappeared, and later on reappeared after a more or less lengthy period of time... These luminous manifestations sometimes went up very high in the sky, and in colour and luminosity they were absolutely comparable to the very vivid reflections of a violent, nearby inferno... The intensity of this extraordinary celestial spectacle, its splendid brightness, its enormous extent, its extreme rarity at this intensity especially in our regions, and even more so in this season of the year, seemed worthy to us of being pointed out to the Society immediately...» (p. 61).
In Picardie: «At a quarter past five, noticed in the north-northwesterly direction a red glow which first attributed as being the result of a far-off inferno... Ten minutes later, the great purple spot was extending above our heads right up to Orion; other smaller and paler ones formed and disappeared in their turn. A few moments later, the blazing sky was being reflected in our faces; my wife, who was admiring the phenomenon at my side, appeared to me in a red reflection which seemed to me unreal. At a quarter to eight, the red glow reached its maximum intensity, almost the whole sky seemed to be on fire. A second drapery was quickly lit up, its luminosity was such that could tell the time on my watch. The spectacle was extraordinary. A brave peasant who had come near me to ask for news believed very seriously that it was announcing the end of the world!... The cocks, undoubtedly fooled by this unusual aurora, began crowing as though it were sunrise!» (p. 63).
At the minor seminary of Caen, the students contemplated from their dorm «a great red sheet, through which a few stars could be seen.» (p. 65).
A witness from Vaucluse employs the same expression: «I was surprised to notice a great red sheet in the sky. For a moment it resembled a fire to me somewhere in the surrounding area, whose glowing light was reflected in the clouds... I observed that during the whole duration of the phenomenon the dogs in the village and surrounding area began barking and howling. They did not stop until about half past ten.» (p. 65).
«In North Africa this aurora borealis was so intense that an admiral whose ships were cruising near the coast ordered a destroyer to turn towards the left, towards the northwest, for he too believed that a fire was in the distance.» (p. 68).
Another witness reports: «This aurora was visible in almost all of Tunisia. It is a very rare phenomenon in our region since a similar one has not been recorded since 1891... In general it looked like a vast red or rose coloured glow, more or less streaked with white... The natives, who were very frightened, saw in it a warning of the divine wrath; the Europeans believed it was a huge, distant fire.» The descriptions coming from various points in Tunisia always come back to the same expressions, which reveals that the phenomenon had an astonishing uniformity: «the sky turning red», «a large reddish band which at first resembled a fire...», the «blazing sky», «a general blaze in the sky, the colour of a red brick», etc. The phenomenon was visible in all of North Africa. (p. 114)
In England: a witness spoke of «moving pleats of a red velour coloured curtain. The curtain was drawn and filled the whole space...» (p. 119) In Switzerland: «a spring-like day had preceded the unprecedented, unforgettable phenomenon.»
The astronomical review gave some reports originating from Czechoslovakia and Romania: «Very frequent but brief conflagrations inflamed the sky right up to its zenith. It seemed that the fiery arch in the sky had come very low.» (p. 120).
In Italy: «A phenomenon extremely rare in our country.» It was visible at Pontevedra in Spain, In Portugal: «Yesterday, for the first time in my life I observed a magnificent aurora borealis, a phenomenon very rare over here, which nobody can remember having seen for fifty years. At Lisbon and in all Portugal this phenomenon occasioned as much attention as surprise. Almost all the spectators believed that the sky was being lighted up by an enormous fire; and I myself believed the same thing at first. The apparition lasted almost two hours, from ten o’clock until midnight... Its colour was a more or less intense red.» 7 (p. 123).
In the United States, «this aurora was spectacular... Early in the evening my attention was drawn to the east by an enormous conflagration. Over a wide area the sky was alight with a red glow and I believed at first that a great fire was devouring Hampton Beach...» (p. 124). The aurora was also observed in Canada.
The astronomer, Carl Stromer, reports that one of his correspondents in Norway, at the station of Njuke Mountain (Tuddal), signalled to him that he had heard noises «while the aurora was at its height and the sky seemed to be an ocean of flames... The observer and his assistant heard a curious sound coming from above them... which lasted about ten minutes, rose to a maximum and then vanished, following the fluctuations of the aurora’s intensity. This sound, which resembled the crackle of burning grass, was perceived in the same region, in the Tuddal valley, by Mr. Oysteim Reisjaa. Everything was perfectly calm on the mountain, and nothing could explain the production of this noise, neither the wind, which was not blowing, nor the telegraph lines, nor motors. Above the observatories, from all sides, there was not a murmur in the forest.» (p. 309)
All these striking testimonies, however, come from either amateur or professional astronomers. They perhaps do not give us an exact image of the extreme astonishment mixed with disquiet which this extraordinary spectacle caused in the simple folk. Thus in conclusion, we give the article which appeared in the January 26 issue of Le Petit Dauphinois, which gives us a better idea of the enormous impact the phenomenon had on the various populations:
«Grenoble, January 25. – An atmospheric phenomenon of exceptional intensity was noticed this evening between seven-thirty and ten-thirty on the entire range of the Alps. This phenomenon manifested itself by an immense luminous trail which seemed to come from the sun, to unfold, fan-shaped, right up to its zenith. The breadth of the spectacle observed was such that the blazing sky resembled the brilliance of dawn. The people were astonished at first, then admired this celestial manifestation, which is rarely seen in these latitudes; then, as the phenomenon prolonged itself, they grew disturbed. Some curious scenes – especially in our countryside – were witnessed as the horizon remained purple. A thousand controversies swirled around this strange vision, which was believed to be a vast fire in the mountains, or gigantic military manoeuvres with searchlights; it was even believed – and this was the almost unanimous and not the least interesting observation – that the sun was going to rise...
«Now according to the first news we obtained from qualified professors, teachers of meteorology, it was a splendid aurora borealis, the most beautiful one to manifest itself in western Europe for centuries...
«From the city itself the phenomenon was not very well perceived. But as soon as one left the suburbs, even without thinking of looking out over Grenoble, in the north a gigantic blaze could be perceived.
«At Le Petit Dauphinois all the telephone lines were jammed by our correspondents – even the most distant ones – who informed us of the celestial manifestation. At eight o’clock, this animation which was continually increasing changed on certain points into a real terror.»
A MESSAGE FROM A CREATIVE PROVIDENCE
We do not know who were wiser: the simple people who were so alarmed by such a spectacle, or the savants, for whom the verbal label of “aurora borealis” was enough to reassure them. Granted, the astronomer was right to insist on the natural character of the phenomenon, which of itself has no miraculous element. It was an aurora borealis, such as there have already been in the past 8, and as there will undoubtedly be in the future. But if the phenomena are considered merely from the viewpoint of scientific investigation, we come to forget that the Creator is the sovereign master of nature, that He freely directs it, that He dominates it and that He can use it as a language susceptible of speaking to man. And wise men are not insensible to this message. After a similar spectacle, although far less important, witnessed on January 30, 1927, one of these perceptive men wrote:
«Yesterday morning around seven, as we were passing through Pont Royal,... we saw the most wonderful and the most terrifying of spectacles in the sky. The sun rose in a sea of blood. Long waves in the air, going from bright red to deep purple went up over Sainte-Chapelle of Notre Dame, and the softness of these long greenish waves, so clearly visible between these fiery clouds, only added to the tragic mystery of this beautiful sky at sunrise... So many reddish flames over such a beautiful sky could not fail to remind us of other effusions of the same colour. Without putting any great faith in such signs in the sky... We couldn’t help but wonder if the great river of blood was not an omen of some other blood of human origin, which Mr. Briand’s folly is about to spill.» 9
Yes, for the perceptive man, and a fortiori for whoever is able to read the signs of the times in the light of faith – especially in the event that the event had been predicted and its significance explained – this nocturnal sky tragically set ablaze, which resembled an ocean of blood and flames, was the most expressive and alarming evocation of the great chastisement to come 10... Although so many simple and farsighted souls were able to recognise the hand of creative Providence in this unusual phenomenon and grasp the divine lesson in this warning, it is infinitely regrettable that Sister Lucy was the only one who knew with certainty its exact meaning.
THE SECRET NOT REVEALED
In effect, Sister Lucy’s confessors had not yet authorised her to reveal the Secret. «“It is a shame that the Secret was not published before the war”, Father Jongen said to her in 1946. “In this way the prediction would have had more force. Why didn’t you make it known earlier?” “Because nobody asked me to.”» 11 It was not God’s will that Sister Lucy reveal the Secret on her own authority, without the consent of her superiors, with the intention of acting completely independently, like a prophet. She explained this to her bishop on August 31, 1941:
«It may be, Your Excellency, that some people think that I should have made known all this some time ago, because they consider that it would have been twice as valuable years beforehand. This would have been the case, if God had willed to present me to the world as a prophetess. But I believe that God had no such intention, when He made known these things to me. If that had been the case, I think that, in 1917, when He ordered me to keep silence, and this order was confirmed by those who represented Him, He would, on the contrary, have ordered me to speak.» 12
Indeed, after the delay of silence imposed by Our Lady, the disclosure of Her Secret as well as the fulfilment of Her requests depended solely on the cooperation of the seer’s hierarchical superiors: her confessors and her bishop. This is because God wanted it that way. If they had been the only ones involved, they surely would not have waited so long. But they undoubtedly feared sponsoring the publication of a revelation which they had reason to believe might not be welcome at the Vatican. Besides, their fears were not unfounded since Pope Pius XI had not deigned to respond to the requests addressed to him.
Still, because of this delay for which Sister Lucy was not responsible, she has been accused of prophesying post eventum, of having invented the text of the Secret after seeing the events unfolding before her eyes! We have already given the answer to this objection in the long critical demonstration at the end of Volume I. Canon Formigao had already formulated this answer on September 8, 1938, in a letter to Bishop da Silva regarding the apparitions at Pontevedra in 1925:
«Really, the admirable work of Fatima constitutes in its entirety a harmonious, unique and indivisible whole: Either we admit that Divine Providence established it, and firmly and sweetly disposes it, with all the elements composing it; or on the contrary it is logical to exclude one thing after another, even to the point of denying, against all the evidence, the reality of the apparitions and wonderful events (of 1917).» 13
We must admire the farsightedness of the theologian and mystic who, in one sentence, brought in advance a decisive response to the entire critical edifice erected by Father Dhanis.
For Sister Lucy is perfectly credible. Besides, in the events of Fatima there are enough unquestionable proofs and striking miracles which forbid any reasonable doubt about her testimony! In the end, the objection rests on a grave misunderstanding of God’s designs at Fatima: His primary purpose was not to warn the people directly, and democratically, for them to convert. This would have been the case had Sister Lucy published the prophecies of the Secret on her own initiative. God’s design is entirely different: He wants to save the world through devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but He also wills that the Pastors of His Church be the ones who establish its cult solemnly, using their divine authority. In this lies the admirable Wisdom of God, who closely subordinates His extraordinary interventions in history to the free decisions of the hierarchical authorities instituted by Him to direct His Church, making all the supernatural fruitfulness of these interventions dependent on these hierarchical authorities.
Such is undoubtedly the deeper reason why Sister Lucy did not divulge earlier the prophecies she had been entrusted with since 1917. However, without yet revealing the text of the great Secret such as she wrote it down for Pope Pius XII in 1940, after receiving the express order of her confessor Sister Lucy did everything she could to warn those concerned about the imminence of the chastisement. It was late, very late. But if it was too late to completely ward off the bloody catastrophe, perhaps it was not too late to at least delay it, or mitigate its terrible rigour.
II. THE FINAL APPROACHES IN THE FACE OF THE MENACING PERIL
1938: « GOD MADE ME FEEL THAT
THE TERRIBLE MOMENT WAS DRAWING NEAR...»
In her Third Memoir on August 31, 1941, Sister Lucy reminded her bishop of the months of anxious waiting she experienced after the great sign announcing the chastisement:
«Be that as it may (concerning the exact nature of this atmospheric phenomenon), God made use of this to make me understand that His justice was about to strike the guilty nations. For this reason, I began to plead insistently for the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays, and the consecration of Russia. My intention was to obtain mercy and pardon, not only for the whole world, but for Europe in particular.
«When God, in His infinite mercy, made me feel that the terrible moment was drawing near, Your Excellency may recall how, whenever occasion offered, I took the opportunity of pointing it out.» 14
Unfortunately the majority of these documents have not yet been published, possibly because they reveal too clearly the regrettable inertia of the Church authorities... Indeed, as a most loving Father, with untiring mercy God had multiplied His warnings and requests to try to spare His children up to the very last moment. He looked for the slightest sign of their repentance, and their docile obedience to His sovereign will for our century: that the Pope and the bishops undertake to make the Immaculate Heart of Mary better known and loved. In this supernatural context we must examine the message of Balasar which, so to speak, for a short time was grafted onto the more extensive mystery of Fatima.
THE MISSION OF ALEXANDRINA MARIA DA COSTA
«God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart.» This divine oracle, pronounced in 1917 by Our Lady of Fatima, simultaneously explains both the mission of Sister Lucy and the mission of another Portuguese seer: Alexandrina Maria da Costa. The requests and promises of Fatima were destined to dominate our whole century. But while He waited for the fuller realisation of this great design of mercy through the conversion of Russia, God chose another messenger to entrust her with obtaining another less spectacular and meritorious act. Still, this act would contribute to the development of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and facilitate the fulfilment of the most important requests, the only decisive ones, those of Fatima.
Alexandrina was born on March 30, 1904, at Balasar, a small village to the north of Porto. She lived a saintly life there until her death on October 13, 1955, favoured with charisms and extraordinary mystical graces. «The diocesan Process for her beatification opened at Braga on January 14, 1967, and was successfully concluded on April 14, 1973.» 15
On August 1, 1935, Our Lord asked Alexandrina to write to the Holy Father to ask him to consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary: «Once, I asked for the consecration of the human race to My Divine Heart. Now, I ask for (the consecration) to the Immaculate Heart of My Most Holy Mother.» 16 Father Pinho, her Jesuit confessor, waited prudently. Since Our Lord reiterated His request, he passed it on to the Holy Father, writing to Cardinal Pacelli on September 11, 1936. The Cardinal had the Holy Office perform an inquiry, to interrogate the paralyzed seer of Balasar and have her examined. In 1937, the Secretariat of State requested additional information from the Archbishop of Braga, who in turn referred to the seer’s confessor, Father Pinho. 17
JUNE 1938: THE PORTUGUESE BISHOPS ADDRESS
A COLLECTIVE LETTER TO THE HOLY FATHER
In June of 1938, Father Pinho happened to be preaching the Spiritual Exercises to the Portuguese bishops, who were meeting at Fatima for their annual retreat. Over a year had gone by since Bishop da Silva had passed on the request for the consecration of Russia to the Holy Father. Rome still had not made any response. Faced with this obstinate silence, the bishops sent a collective request, this time for the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Here is the text, which like Bishop da Silva’s letter of the year before, tried to draw the Holy Father’s attention to the striking miracle of peace worked by the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Portugal. It was up to the Pope to extend this miracle to all of Christendom, by having recourse to the same supremely effective means before it was too late:
«Most Holy Father,
«The Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon and all the Archbishops and bishops of Portugal have met in the sanctuary of Fatima at the feet of the Most Holy Virgin to renew the consecration which they made some time ago to Her Immaculate Heart. 18 They thank Her for having saved Portugal, especially during these last two years, from the danger of communism, and exult with joy over such a great and miraculous blessing granted by the divine Mother.
«Humbly prostrate at the feet of Your Holiness, they urgently request that, when Your Holiness judges it opportune, the whole world also be consecrated to this most pure Heart, so that it be delivered once and for all from so many perils threatening it from all directions, and that the peace of Christ reign in the kingdom of Christ, through the Mother of God’s mediation.» (The names of all the prelates follow.) 19
Pope Pius XI did not respond to this solemn request. Once again months went by, and nothing was done.
FEBRUARY 6, 1939: « THE WAR PREDICTED BY OUR LADY IS IMMINENT»
Although all of Sister Lucy’s letters to Bishop da Silva have unfortunately still not been published, we still have a weighty testimony concerning the repeated and insistent interventions of the seer, who was constantly predicting the war. That testimony comes from Cardinal Cerejeira. In 1967, he declared at Rome:
«I can add that the imminence of this war and its violence and extent was communicated to the Bishop of Leiria seven months before its beginning. Indeed, I had in my hand the letter of February 6, 1939, where the seer called “the war predicted by Our Lady” imminent (her handwriting says eminent), and promised Our Lady’s protection to Portugal “thanks to the consecration to Her Immaculate Heart made by the Portuguese episcopate”.
«I don’t know what became of this letter. But I possess only a summary of it drawn up by the hand of the Bishop of Leiria, dated the following October 24, which says the following: “The principal chastisement will be for the nations that wanted to destroy the kingdom of God in souls. Portugal is also guilty and will suffer something, but the Immaculate Heart of Mary will protect it; the good Lord desires that Portugal make reparation and pray for itself and for other nations. Spain was the first to be punished, it has received its chastisement which is not yet over, and the hour approaches for others. God is resolved to purify in their blood all the nations which want to destroy His kingdom in souls; and yet He promises to be appeased and grant pardon, if people pray and do penance.» 20
A few days after this letter was written, on February 10, 1939, Pope Pius XI died.
MARCH (OR MAY) 1939: « THE MOMENT APPROACHES WHEN THE RIGOURS
OF MY JUSTICE WILL PUNISH THE CRIMES OF VARIOUS NATIONS»
In her writings, Sister Lucy speaks of another divine communication:
«In another communication, about March 1939 21, Our Lord said to me once more: “Ask, ask again insistently for the promulgation of the Communion of Reparation in honour of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on the First Saturdays. The time is coming when the rigour of My justice will punish the crimes of diverse nations. Some of them will be annihilated. At last the severity of My justice will fall severely on those who want to destroy My reign in souls.”» 22
MARCH 19, 1939: « WAR OR PEACE IN THE WORLD DEPEND ON IT»
In November of 1938, Father Aparicio had left Portugal to begin a long missionary career in Brazil. On March 19, 1939, Sister Lucy wrote to him, keeping him abreast of her efforts to propagate the devotion of reparation on the five first Saturdays, as far as she was able. At her request, the Mother Provincial of the Dorotheans went to the Bishop of Porto to ask permission for publishing the text of “the great promise”, and she obtained it. Sister Lucy concludes her letter:
«On the practice of this devotion together with the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, world peace or world war depends. This is the reason I desired its propagation so greatly and especially because it is the will of Our Good Lord and our beloved Heavenly Mother.» 23
JUNE 20, 1939: « A CHASTISEMENT SUCH AS NEVER BEFORE, HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE...»
Three months later, in a new letter to Father Aparicio, she speaks to him once more of the coming peril, and in even more striking terms:
«Our Lady promised to delay the scourge of war if this devotion was propagated and practised. We see Her avert the chastisement to the extent that efforts are made to propagate it. But I am afraid that we cannot do more than we are doing and that God in His anger will lift the arms of His mercy and let the world be ravaged by this chastisement. It will be a chastisement such as never before, horrible, horrible.» 24
On August 10, 1939, Father Aparicio noted the strong impression which Sister Lucy’s prophecies had made upon him:
«The way in which she affirms and prognosticates events impressed me. She does not doubt, and she speaks categorically, like some one who has seen future events. I even think that Our Lady has revealed them to her.» 25
The same thing that Sister Lucy explained so insistently to her old confessor we can be sure that she explained to her bishop and current director. 26
JULY 1939: A RUDE AWAKENING FOR BISHOP DA SILVA
After suffering from dislocation of the retina, Bishop da Silva had to spend several weeks in the hospital, to undergo a delicate operation in which he risked becoming permanently blind. On July 31, Sister Lucy writes to Father Aparicio:
«Father Carlos, who had been one of Your Reverence’s novices, was with His Excellency, and he gave me news almost every day... In one of his letters he said to me: “Tonight His Grace the bishop was delirious, He had a very bad night and do you know whom he spoke about? About you. But don’t worry, he didn’t give away any secret to me.”»
Bishop da Silva surely interpreted this painful trial of bad health as a warning from Heaven. Sister Lucy reports:
«His Grace the bishop dictated two letters which Father Carlos sent me, and which His Grace signed. His handwriting was like that of a child learning how to write. But as soon as he could he wrote to me personally. The first time he wrote very badly; the handwriting and lines were very crooked; the second time he wrote normally. His Grace tells me that he will do everything in his power to extend the cult of our beloved Mother in Heaven more and more. He gives me news of what is happening and tells me what he plans to do to please Our Good Lord and for the glory of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.» 27
Sister Lucy immediately took advantage «of this good opportunity» which «was offered» her, to send her bishop the text of “the great promise” one more time. Finally, on September 13, 1939, she was heard. But it was late, very late... For during the summer of 1939 the march towards war was suddenly precipitated. On August 22, news of the Germano-Soviet pact exploded like a bomb. On September 1, Hitler invaded Poland, and two days later, England led France into declaring war on Germany.
Heaven’s warnings had not been heeded. Europe had blindly cast itself into this war, which was to be humanity’s chastisement: « The war is going to end, but if men do not cease offending God... If My requests are not heeded, Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions... Another worse one will begin in the reign of Pius XI», and Sister Lucy added that this war was to be «the most horrible there ever was». Indeed, never had humanity experienced such a terrible slaughter, numbering over forty million victims.
TWO OBJECTIONS AGAINST THE SECRET
This war, which Sister Lucy had prophesied as imminent after January of 1938, had been predicted by Our Lady of Fatima in 1917. However, she had predicted it in terms which provoked the scorn or indignation of many critics, when after a long delay the Secret was finally published. These anomalies of a text which was disclosed after the events, events which at first glance seem to prove it wrong, seem to us on the contrary as a new proof of authenticity. For never would anybody writing in 1940 have had the idea of attributing to the Most Holy Virgin the idea that the war would begin under Pius XI, and that a non-converted Russia would be the principal country responsible...
Father Dhanis did not fail to protest against «the hardly objective manner in which the provocation of the war is described in the Secret...» 28 In 1950, an English Jesuit, Father Martindale, who had cleverly condensed in a thirty page pamphlet all the objections of his Belgian predecessor – objections as perfidious as they were outdated – repeats the same critique: «It cannot be said that Russia was the only country responsible for “Hitler’s war”.» 29 The Secret does not say that. However, without excluding the other nations responsible, it is true that it still places Bolshevik Russia, and not Nazi Germany, on the first rank of nations responsible for the war...
III. «THE WAR OF HITLER» OR THE WAR OF MOSCOW?
In refutation of our critics, who wrongly and too hastily considered as historically evident what in reality was a very partial and superficial view of the history of World War II, gradual access to secret archives has allowed us to establish one fact more and more clearly. Bolshevik Russia was not only the great beneficiary of this atrocious war, but it was also the most effective active accomplice of the Nazis, and even instigated the war. This historical truth gives the Fatima Secret an unexpected profundity: we will establish conclusively that because Stalin’s Russia was not converted, because it was allowed to pursue its political double-dealing with diabolical Machiavellianism, the Second World War broke out only twenty years after the original slaughter of 1914-918.
WAR, THE ULTIMATE OBJECTIVE
It would not be false to apply the well-known adage to Stalin: Is fecit cui prodest [done by the one who profits from it]. This indeed is one of the first points that can be solidly established: Stalin had foreseen for many years this European war between Germany and the Anglo-French bloc, he had desired it and he had taken all possible measures to provoke it. He had the highest interest in doing so. Already on January 22, 1934, Kaganovich, Stalin’s brother-in-law, had avowed in Izvestia: «The conflict between Germany and France reinforces our situation in Europe... We must widen the differences between the European states.» 30
THE GERMANO-SOVIET ACCORD
The Germano-Soviet accord was the masterpiece of this clever policy, whose ultimate, declared and considered end was the European war, which in every respect would profit the USSR and the international Left. Far from being a last minute arrangement, it had been on the contrary Stalin’s major objective, as Sovietologists have gradually discovered.
Originally the Kremlin had worked for Germany’s recovery, and even for Hitler’s stunning rise to power. A. Rossi, one of the experts of Soviet history writes:
«In 1917, the Bolshevik leaders were convinced that the fate of the new regime in Russia depended on what kind of relations it succeeded in establishing with Germany.» After 1920, «to a politically isolated Germany they offered a common chance of “rebuilding”, and the first pact was signed in April 1922, at Rapallo... The idea was to exploit the resentments and sufferings of a defeated Germany and make her an ally in the struggle against the Western powers... It was also a question of jumping out of the straitjackets of the Versailles treaty... When the rise of the National Socialist movement became obvious and menacing after 1930, Stalin was not troubled at all; on the contrary, he rubbed his hands... And he squarely played the “Nazi card”... The idea was to aggravate Hitler’s pressure and pit it against Western Europe. If the operation succeeded, sooner or later there would be a war, from which only Russia would be preserved. These perspectives and calculations were in no way changed when Hitler later came into power.» 31
To provoke the war, the USSR had to come to an understanding with Germany. «Stalin’s international policy during these first ten years» – wrote a high Soviet official in 1939 – «was nothing more than a series of manoeuvres designed to put him in a favourable position to deal with Hitler.» 32 In 1982, Heller and Nekrich give numerous and solid proofs of this interpretation of Stalin’s policy. 33 Among others, there is the following:
When Germany, in 1935, broke the military provisions of the Treaty of Versailles and restored compulsory military service, «Stalin showed his understanding and even approved this new step towards war. At the end of March 1935, he said to Anthony Eden during the course of their conversations in the Kremlin: “Sooner or later the German people had to liberate themselves from the chains of Versailles... I repeat, a great people like the German people had to cast away the chains of Versailles.» 34
« THE CRUSADE OF THE DEMOCRACIES»
But while Moscow secretly informed Berlin of its desire to arrive at an understanding, and even proposed on December 21, 1935, «a bilateral non-aggression pact», Stalin pushed England and France into war against Hitler. After having entered the League of Nations on September 18, 1934, on May 2, 1935, Stalin signed a treaty of mutual assistance with France. From that moment until August, 1939, the communists became the most fervent apostles of the “crusade of the democracies” against Nazism, and the fiercest supporters of an immediate and all-out war against Germany. 35 It was necessary, no matter what the cost, to defend Poland and die for Danzig!
THE CYNICAL DOUBLE-DEALING WHICH LED TO WAR
Although publicly anti-Nazi, Stalin had continually been making secret advances to Germany and looking for an alliance with her. The stages of this rapprochement were outlined in 1933 and became very clear after October 1938; excellent accounts are found in Heller and Nekrich, or Rossi. “The secret archives of the Wilhelmstrasse” also testify to this process. 36
Stalin’s cynical double-crossing is well known. On August 23, 1939, while the English and French military delegations were still at Moscow, the Germano-Soviet non-aggression pact had been signed. Hitler had accepted all of Stalin’s demands. Stalin was to receive his share of the dismemberment of Poland, along with the Baltic states in the north and Bessarabia in the south. With reason do Heller and Nekrich write:
«The conclusion of the accords with Hitler’s Germany crowned Stalin’s efforts to forge a Soviet-German alliance... “It is difficult to overestimate the international importance of the Soviet-German pact”, Molotov declared on August 31, 1939. “It is a turning point in the history of Europe and not just of Europe.”»
Nekrich then comments, again with reason:
«It was true. A turning point really had taken place in the history of Europe and the world: the Soviet Union had opened the door to a war by signing a pact with Germany... One week later, on September 1, Germany attacked Poland. It was the beginning of the Second World War.» 37
To summarise: Stalin desired a war, the longest war possible, where his adversaries would be mutually exhausted. Then late in the game, he would intervene on the side of the victors, and walk away with all the fruits of the victory. 38 He was able to manoeuvre perfectly to achieve these ends: 1) By contributing to Germany’s recovery. 2) By supporting since 1933, and especially since 1935, the warmongering designs of Judeo-Masonry, which had decided on provoking a war against Hitler. 3) By continuing at the same time to let the Fuhrer know that he desired to reach an understanding with him, and would not in any way oppose his expansionist projects. 4) Finally, by concluding his famous pact with Ribbentrob in August, 1939, he encouraged Hitler to attack Poland, certain that this offensive would definitely provoke a declaration of war by France and England.
Since his rise to power, Stalin had made this horrible war the major objective of his foreign policy. He was bold enough to say it publicly on May 22, 1939: «The renewal of broad international action will not be possible unless we succeed in exploiting the antagonisms between the capitalist states, to precipitate them into an armed conflict. The principal work of our communist parties must be to facilitate such a conflict.» 39
Here is the key to the apparently inconsistent and contradictory manoeuvrings of Bolshevik policy between the two world wars. In the end, nobody could have desired this war more than Stalin – not even Hitler, and certainly not Mussolini, who had been drawn into it by the democracies’ odious attitudes towards him. Nobody could have desired this war for so long, nobody could have planned it so cold-bloodedly, and caused it to break out at the right time, and according to the interests of world communism. Nobody could have profited from it more than the USSR, since at the end of this war its empire became the vastest empire in the entire globe.
IV. «IN THE REIGN OF PIUS XI», OR PIUS XII?
There is a second apparent error in the Secret of Fatima that Martindale brings up, following the critique by Dhanis and Journet: «The war did not begin under Pius XI but under Pius XII.» 40 How is this surprising anomaly to be explained? For Pius XI died on February 10, 1939, while war was not declared until seven months later, on September 3. In her letter to Pope Pius XII written on October 24, 1940, the letter which reveals the great Secret to him, Sister Lucy had written, « no reinado de Pio XI» (in the reign of Pius XI). 41 But in the final copy sent to the Pope the following December 2, she had to correct it, no doubt at the request of Bishop da Silva: the phrase was simplified down to « another future war». 42 Yet, Sister Lucy was sure she had not been mistaken. In her Second and Third Memoirs, in 1941, she repeats the authentic expression: «in the reign of Pius XI». In 1946, Father Jongen questioned her on this point:
«“Did the Most Holy Virgin really pronounce the name of Pius XI?’’ “Yes. We did not know if it was a Pope or a king. But the Most Holy Virgin spoke of Pius XI.” “But didn’t the war begin under Pius XII?” “The annexation of Austria was the occasion for it. When the Munich accord was signed, the sisters were jubilant, because the peace seemed to be saved. I knew better than they did, unfortunately.” “But this Jesuit Father (Dhanis) remarks that the occasion for a war is not the same thing as its happening.” This observation made no impression on the Sister.» 43
THE WAR BEFORE THE WAR
Sister Lucy is right, and her answer has none of that verbal subtlety people sometimes use to get out of a sticky objection. This is a fact often stressed by historians: the Second World War had already begun even before it was declared on paper. Léon Noël, the French ambassador to Warsaw from 1935 to 1939, was able to write a book significantly titled: The War of ’39 Began Four Years Earlier. 44
Six months before war was declared, Gabriel Louis-Jaray published The German Offensive in Europe, where he explained just that: the war had, for all practical purposes, already begun. 45 «Introduction: Germany at war. History will probably settle on the date March 7, 1936 as Germany’s entry into the war... Hitler has broken the pact freely decided on at Locarno, and suddenly advanced his armies to the Rhineland territory, which had been demilitarised by common accord; it is his first act of war directly aimed at France.» 46
In reality it was nothing more than a first step. The German army was not ready. «Thus it was decided that the German contingents beyond the Rhine would withdraw if the French army itself entered the Rhineland.» 47 Had France reacted, Hitler would have backed down.
On the other hand, when the columns of the Wehrmacht entered Austria on March 12, 1938, Hitler’s decision had already been made. If it were necessary, he would launch an all-out war. «In his discourse to the Reichstag on January 30, 1939, the Fuhrer declared that he had decided on the invasion of Austria in January of 1938, and the invasion of Bohemia on May 28, 1938.» 48 Thus it can be said in all truth that the Second World War began under Pius XI. The nocturnal aurora of January 25, 1938, did indeed correspond to a decisive stage in the unfolding of the war.
At the same time in Poland, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Apostle of the Immaculata, also began prophesying that war was inevitable and imminent:
«In March 1938, he said – these are his exact words, as one of his brothers was in the habit of stenographing his words – “Know, my little children, that an atrocious conflict is being prepared. We do not yet know what stages it will go through. In our country, Poland, we can expect the worst.”» 49
THE WAR PIUS XI COULD HAVE PREVENTED
The expression of the great Secret, «in the reign of Pius XI», undoubtedly has another meaning than a purely chronological indication of the beginning of the war. Of itself this would have no importance. Did not Our Lady of Fatima wish to use this expression above all to designate the Pontiff who for his part was to carry a heavy responsibility for the war? We remember, indeed, that after predicting this war Our Lady continued: « To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the first Saturdays of the month.» Now as we have seen, Pope Pius XI was informed of these requests, and the promise of Russia’s conversion connected with them, in 1930 and again in 1937. Finally the collective petition of the Portuguese bishops in June 1938, although slightly different in inspiration, had drawn his attention once more to Fatima and the urgent necessity of a solemn consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary to obtain the graces of peace for the world. The responsibility of the Pope, who did not deign to show interest in these requests, and in the end decided to ignore them, even in the hour of imminent peril, is certain. The Secret of Fatima seems to underline this responsibility in a formula which is reminiscent of the sub Pontio Pilato in our Creed: «If My requests are not heeded, another worse one will begin in the reign of Pius XI.»
In the light of Fatima, it must be said that Pope Pius XI’s long pontificate appears in a very sorry light. He had neglected the extraordinary help which Heaven was offering him to effectively contribute to the salvation of souls and world peace. Thus in a different order, a purely supernatural order in which the Fatima message belongs, the historian must make the same sad observation.
MORE THAN TEN YEARS OF A « MOST UNFORTUNATE POLICY»
The great political designs which Pius XI saw fit to impose – in a very clear break with Saint Pius X, and with an authority that did not allow the least discussion, both for the interior policy of Catholic nations as well as international policy – proved disastrous in the final analysis. In March 1937, he clearly changed the political orientation of his pontificate, and the eighty-year-old Pope finally published Divini Redemptoris against communism and Mit Brennender Sorge against Nazism. Meanwhile, under the fortunate influence of Mother Agnes, Prioress of the Carmel of Lisieux and elder sister of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, and thanks to Cardinal Pacelli’s influence, he accepted in principle a lifting of the sanctions against Action Française and blessed Franco’s Crusade. But by then it was very late.
In June of 1937,writing to Sister Madeleine of the Carmel of Lisieux, Charles Maurras, who at the time publicly supported the Pope’s courageous Crusade against Bolshevism and Nazism, remarked to his correspondent:
«It is enough to have read and followed events closely. It is enough to see: the present crusade against communism had been requested in 1922 by Cardinal Mercier of Malines, while the first act of the pontificate, in April 1922, had been to make advances to Bolshevik Russia which were abominably repaid! And Germany! Germany, which had been fed, coddled, encouraged, strengthened in every way, and which responds –just like the Germans! – to so many imprudent benefits...
«Have I told you how the great Spanish errors were determined, like a lightning bolt, by a generous blunder of poor King Alfonso XIII, for whom Cardinal Merry del Val had requested protection so that he would not be treated like Cardinal Billot? In 1931 the clergy had been mobilised against the monarchy and overturned it, and when a religious and national somersault had somewhat restored the Spanish situation, the fear of all firm and powerful civil authority once again turned the spiritual forces in favour of the revolution, in February of last year.
«A sad history, and it was the same with you! The famous confidential memorandum aiding and supporting the Reds in 1924; while at Rome Cardinal Billot heard these words: “Your Frenchmen have voted very badly.” “Most Holy Father, it is your nuncio’s fault.” “My nuncio applies my policy, my policy, my policy...” And he banged on the table. 50 A most unfortunate policy.
«Then again, in 1926, their loyal servants in Action Française were pushed aside, as had been their loyal servants in the Society of Jesus in the eighteenth century; and the revolution went on with gusto even in those circles which were least prepared for it.»
Granted, beginning in 1936 and 1937, the Pope had pronounced warnings and taken sanctions against the “Red Christians” of Terre nouvelle, Sept, Esprit, or even La Croix. But these “Reds”, who were openly betraying the Church and Christendom, were the same Christian-Democrats and Sillonists he had encouraged, upheld, and at times even assisted for fifteen years...
From the beginning of his pontificate, in contrast to the prudent policy of Saint Pius X, he had resolutely taken the side of the liberal democracies, even the Masonic and laicising ones, against all movements or governments of national salvation which were monarchical or dictatorial, no matter how favourable they were to the Church. So, against the near unanimous opinions of the bishops concerned, in four countries which had been part of Christendom for centuries, by his mandatory directives he had abandoned the political power to the worst enemies of the Church when he could have preserved them, and thus worked felicitously to maintain peace in the world. While movements of Catholic nationalism – the only effective ramparts against the twofold peril of Bolshevism and Nazism – were disapproved and condemned, the Pope extended his hand to the Bolsheviks, worked for Germany’s recovery, and led a campaign against fascism, contributing to Italy’s isolation. Italy, in spite of itself, was soon pushed into an unnatural alliance with Nazi Germany... 51 When, faced with the frightening spectacle of the Spanish Civil War, and under the influence of his Secretary of State, a sickly and aging Pius XI began to correct course, war had unfortunately become inevitable.
At the time there was still one final recourse: to fulfil in extremis Our Lady’s requests; to consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart and solemnly approve the devotion of reparation in Her honour on the five first Saturdays of the month. With infinite mercy, God would have averted the chastisements and fulfilled His promises of peace, without any doubt. 52 But the Pope had other projects. He continued his exhausting struggle to the very end, but according to his own views.
The sentence in the great Secret, which links the mention of the Second World War with the name of Pope Pius XI and not his successor, Pius XII, is true for two reasons. It is true on the supernatural level, in the failure to fulfil the great designs of peace revealed at Fatima. It is also true on the political plane.
THE «NIGHT ILLUMINED BY AN UNKNOWN LIGHT» (JANUARY 25-26, 1938)
We have quoted a sufficient number of testimonies to show what a profound impression the nocturnal aurora of January 25-26, 1938, made on the people. To complete our dossier and to show that whatever its nature was – even if it was only a natural phenomenon, as it most probably was – this atmospheric event could not be compared with a banal and ordinary happening, we must cite some testimony here which serves as historical documentation. It comes from men who were specialists at the time, and proves that they themselves were astonished by the unusual aspects of this aurora borealis. Le Nouvelliste de Lyons reproduces this testimony:
«During the night we were able to join the director of the observatory of Saint-Genis-Laval, Mr. Dufay, who along with his colleagues was able to follow the phenomenon and study it in all its vastness. 1 He gave us the following precisions regarding the result of his observations. He said: “The spectacle which we have just witnessed is very curious. It is an aurora borealis at high altitude, a very rare phenomenon for our latitudes, distinguished this time by rays of oxygen and nitrogen emissions of a peculiar spectral composition.
«The aurora borealis is always related to a spot which passes at certain times to the central meridian of the sun. These phenomena visible in the sky normally take place forty-eight hours after the passage of the spot. Now the studies which we have made on the sun these past few days allow us to state that no shadow has passed over the sun. This observation makes the phenomenon even more curious since the causes of the aurora borealis no longer subsist.”» 2
In a report on “the magnetic disturbance of January 25, 1938”, Gaston Gibault wrote: «This magnetic disturbance was accompanied by an aurora of exceptional intensity and duration for our regions.» 3
For his part, Camille Flammarion wrote in the “Bulletin of the Astronomical Society of France”: «... When the splendid polar aurora took place, this great spot (which had been observable on the polar disk from January 12-24) had already been removed from seeing range of the earth through the sun’s rotation, and no important spot was then visible on the surface of the sun. Likewise, up to the present no spectroscopic phenomenon has come to bring its testimony to confirm the solar origin of this aurora, which by its magnificence, its visibility at the low altitudes of our terrestrial hemisphere, and its spectral character, must be considered abnormal.» 4
These remarks were made at a time when the means of observation science had at its disposal in this area were very imperfect. Besides, they are not altogether consistent. 5 They cannot prudently be taken literally, and we would be wrong to conclude that the event was miraculous based on this reasoning. Since then, immense progress has been made in the observation and explanation of phenomena, which has allowed science to clear up certain points that up to the present had remained mysterious. Thus the absence of the sunspot at the moment of the aurora could be explained by a better knowledge of the delay necessary between the solar eruption and its effects in the terrestrial atmosphere. Besides, the most recent experiences seem to show that «although in a number of circumstances the observation of auroras effectively follows the solar eruption, this is not always the case...» 6
To what extent was the nocturnal aurora of January 25-26 “normal” or “abnormal”? The few facts which we have furnished as documentation leave the question open. It is the job of science to resolve the question by comparing all the most certain data of observation and the most precise facts of the time with the most recent discoveries in this domain. For the determination of the “normal” or “abnormal” character of a natural phenomenon of course presupposes that “the norm” and the scientific laws which express it are already sufficiently elucidated. Meanwhile, two conclusions seem to us beyond question:
1) The unusual and mysterious character of this aurora in 1938 gave it all the elements necessary for it to be, in the designs of Providence, a spectacular and eloquent sign of the war which was imminent: «The great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world...»
2) The expression employed by the great Secret to designate this nocturnal aurora proves to be remarkably exact: «A night illumined by an unknown light.» It could not be said better. For even today, in spite of the possibility of creating artificial auroras, the term “aurora borealis” seems more like a convenient label than a precise scientific denomination designating a well-defined atmospheric phenomenon, whose origin and mechanism can be completely explained. Here is what some specialists say:
«The morphology of auroras is now well known, although we still do not know where the differences come from. With the improvements in devices used for observations, the number of distinct types is constantly on the increase. They are distinguished not only by their form, but also by their colour, altitude, duration, geographical distribution, etc. The appearance of these different forms does not seem to be connected to any known character of the terrestrial atmosphere.» 7
«In spite of the great amount of work done, at the present time, no model explaining the results as a whole has been extracted. In addition, there are still many observations which have not received a correct interpretation or even simply been confirmed.» 8
«... It is so true that the mechanism of auroras remains unknown. This mechanism indeed appears extremely complex, scientists having acquired the conviction that auroras are caused by a real restructuring of the magnetos here, following the stirrings of which it is the object.» But what is «the origin of these stirrings in the upper atmosphere which engender auroras? There is the whole problem.» Various hypotheses are proposed. «Of course, in the quarter of a century which has elapsed, the situation has changed (in the sense of an immense improvement of the possibilities of observation using spatial engines), without however reaching the synthesis which had been expected.» 9
Let us conclude. The expression of the great Secret to designate the nocturnal aurora of January 25-26, 1938 – «When you see a night illumined by an unknown light» – had a remarkable, astonishing, scientific exactness.
APPENDIX II 1 FATHER APARICIO’S EFFORTS TO PROPAGATE
THE REPARATORY DEVOTION (1938 - 1939)
It is necessary to do justice to the two eminent Portuguese Jesuits who were Sister Lucy’s spiritual directors from 1927 to 1941. If Our Lady’s requests were not obeyed, this delay cannot be imputed to their lack of faith or their negligence.
We have seen how Father Gonçalves insisted so strongly that finally, in 1937, he got Bishop da Silva to directly request Pope Pius XI for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and approval of the reparatory devotion. The last work of Father Martins, Fatima e o Coraçao de Maria, reveals to us that Father Aparicio was no less zealous in procuring approval for the devotion of the five first Saturdays of the month, and propagating the devotion. 2 It is moving to witness his untiring efforts, brushing up against the Bishop of Leiria’s disconcerting inertia... while war is already imminent...
During the summer of 1938, a disciple of Father Aparicio, Brother Pereira Gomes, wrote a tract on the reparatory devotion. On August 3, Bishop da Silva consented to give the imprimatur. But for lack of money and means, this good brother could not have it printed. In a letter of October 20, 1938, Father Aparicio then asked Bishop da Silva to entrust this matter to a priest of his diocese, or even better, to publish it in Voz da Fatima, which in one shot would have been a much better promotion for the first Saturdays.
However, on November 5, 1938, writing once more to the Bishop of Leiria, Father Aparicio observes that nothing was done: « Since Your Excellency has said nothing to me regarding the printing of the tracts on the devotion of the five first Saturdays, I will see if I can find some other solution.» Alas, Father Aparicio obtained no response before leaving Portugal for his mission to Brazil, November 9, 1938.
On May 8, 1939, Bishop da Silva would finally approve and himself have some tracts printed, «but they spoke only in general terms on reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, without referring to the declarations and apparitions of Sister Lucy.» 3
In the meantime, at Braga, the Apostleship of Prayer published a tract entitled « The first Saturday of the month in honour of the Immaculate Heart of Mary». Unfortunately, however, once again there was no mention of the words of Our Lady and the Child Jesus during the Pontevedra apparitions, and the request for monthly confession was omitted!
For her part, Sister Lucy did everything she could, but she encountered the same obstacles, the same inertia. In the beginning of November 1938, Father Aparicio had given her the tract written by Brother Pereira Gomes. Sister Lucy sent it on to the Mother Provincial of the Dorotheans, who requested the imprimatur from the Bishop of Porto. Although this permission was granted, the affair dragged on. In her letters of May 21, 1939 to a friend, and June 20 to Father Aparicio, Sister Lucy indicated that nothing as yet had been done. «Because of her numerous duties», she explained to Father Aparicio on July 31, «the Mother Provincial could not occupy herself with it.»
Meanwhile Father Aparicio had found a vast field for the apostolate in Brazil. Still striving to overcome Bishop da Silva’s reticence, he wrote him in the first few months of 1939:
« As soon as I arrived here (in the mission of Baturite, in the State of Ceara) on January 31, 1939, in every possible way I tried to promote devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, Mother and Patroness of Portugal, and devotion of the first Saturdays, which was well received by all and in all areas. There is a parish where on first Saturdays the number of communicants has risen to six hundred, in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
« A city in the interior of the State of Ceara has been almost completely transformed; through the mediation of Our Lady, very abundant graces have descended on this parish... The parish priest, very consoled, told me that what many missions had not done, Our Lady accomplished during these few blessed days. Many souls who had completely abandoned the sacraments approached and were reconciled with God during these days. A man who had not gone to confession for forty years made his confession, to the astonishment and admiration of all...
« I gave conferences at Bahia, Recife, Fortaleza, Baturite, Aracati, Quixada, Varzea Alegre, Cajazeiras, and in all the chapels dependent on the parish of Baturite, where our Fathers will say Mass every month. There are twelve of them...»
Father Martins reports that «In May of 1939, Father Aparicio obtained that at Fortaleza, the capital of the State of Ceara, the religious of Saint Dorothy published a tract on the First Saturdays.» On August 10, 1939, he wrote to Father da Fonseca: « The edition of the tract published by the Dorothean Sisters is already sold out. I am preparing an edition of my own; I already have the approval of the Reverend Vice-Provincial. It will have a circulation of five thousand copies.» 4
(1) Le Nouvelliste de Lyon, January 26, 1938. Even the great journals of religious or political news, such as La Croix or L’Action française, wrote long accounts of the event.
(2) We quote here all the prophecies of the chastisement which in the text of the Secret are not interrupted by the expression of requests and promises. Cf. supra, p. 112 and p. 293-294, the remarks on the structure of the Secret.
(3) O Segredo de Fatima, p. 24.
(4) Third Memoir, p. 115.
(5) De Marchi, p. 344.
(6) L’aurore boréale du 25-26 janvier 1938; p. 43-68; p. 113-125; p. 306-310.
(7) The correspondent of the Times telegraphed Lisbon: «The simple people have interpreted the phenomenon as a supernatural sign, and they felt lively alarm because of it.» In Austria, «they believe it means war.» The aurora was visible also in Poland. Cf. Canon Barthas, Fatima, merveille inouie, p. 338.
(8) Let us point out, all the same, that it is perhaps necessary to go back to the year 1726 to find, in the annals of history, a phenomenon of comparable intensity, duration, and size. Cf. Pierre Fontenailles, Une aurore boréale en Orléanais (October 19, 1726). (Rép. du Centre, April 20, 1951.)
(9) La Politique de Charles Maurras, 1926-1927, Vol. I, p. 203-204. Bibliothèque des oeuvres politiques, 1928.
(10) Here there is a resemblance with the evening of October 24, 1870: while the Prussians were approaching Nevers, from seven to nine o’clock in the evening, Mother Eléonore Cassagnes relates that «a strange phenomenon took place in the sky. The whole horizon was in a blaze. One might have called it a sea of blood». According to witnesses, Saint Bernadette was heard to murmur, no doubt thinking of sinners, of the chastisements they had drawn down upon France, of which this aurora seemed to her the sign: « And still, they will not be converted.» (Cf. Laurentin, Bernadette vous parle, Vol. II, p. 130-131, Lethielleux, 1972; Msgr. Trochu, Sainte Bernadette, p. 427. Vitte, 1958.) A few months later came defeat, and soon “the Commune” with its bloody killings.
(11) De Marchi, p. 344.
(12) III, p. 115.
(13) Alonso, O Dr. Formigao, p. 295-296.
(14) III, p. 114.
(15) Father Joseph de Sainte Marie, OCD. Réflexions sur un acte de consécration: Fatima, 13 mai 1982, Marianum 1982, p. 111.
(16) Quoted by Roger Rebut, Les messages de la Vierge Marie, p. 210, Téqui, 1968.
(17) Cf. Don Umberto Maria Pasquale, “ Resterò nel museo del mondo a ricordare la misericordia di Dio”, L’Osservatore Romano, May 12, 1982. Don Pasquale (a Salesian), who was the director of Alexandrina from 1944 until her death, was moreover in contact with Sister Lucy by letter since 1939, and he preserved in his archives 157 letters from her, as yet unpublished.
(18) Cf. supra, p. 388 sq.
(19) Doc., p. 523.
(20) Allocution of February 11, 1967, Doc. cath., 1967, col. 553. We quoted earlier on (p. 428, note 40) the references to the Cardinal’s previous testimony. On this letter of February 6, 1939, cf. equally Barthas (VDN, p. 177) which quotes a parallel version: «In an inner communication, Our Lord made known to me that the moment of grace, of which He had spoken to me in May 1938, was going to end. The war, with all the horrors that accompany it, will begin soon... The war will end when the justice of God shall be appeased.» (cf. Father Netter, Fatima Chronik, p. 39.)
(21) Or perhaps in May, because Father Gonçalves, who retranscribed this text, wrote “May” in the title. Cf. FCM, p. 39.
(22) Documentos, p. 465.
(23) Doc., p. 483. We shall describe, in an appendix to this chapter, how Father Aparicio used all his zeal to assist Sister Lucy in making the reparatory devotion known and approved (infra, p. 708-711).
(24) Sister Lucy herself underlined these last two words; Doc., p. 484-485. We know that Father Aparicio was so impressed by this letter that he read it to all the members of the community (FCM, p. 39).
(25) This text is quoted by Father da Fonseca, “Fatima e a critica”, p. 530, Broteria, May 1951.
(26) Unfortunately, Sister Lucy’s letters to Father Gonçalves were not published for the period of June 1936 to January 1940. Cf. Doc., p. 417-419.
(27) Documentos, p. 485-489.
(28) Cf. Vol. I, p. 407-408.
(29) Father Martindale, What Happened at Fatima, p. 15, London Catholic Truth Society.
(30) Michel de Mauny, “Les communistes et l’excitation à la guerre”, p. 136 in Les causes cachées de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale, Lectures Françaises, May 1975.
(31) A. Rossi, Les communistes français pendant la drôle de guerre, p. 112. For proof that this luminous interpretation of Stalin’s policy does not rest on the author’s prejudices but on documents gradually brought to light, it suffices to compare this 1951 work (Paris, Iles d’or) with the one written by the same author in 1942, Physiologie du parti communiste français, p. 351 (written during the war, it was published without change by Self, in 1948).
(32) General G.W. Krivitzky, agent of Stalin, quoted by Rossi, p. 12.
(33) L’Utopie au pouvoir, p. 258-259; 270-285.
(34) Ibid., p. 270.
(35) Cf. Rossi, Les communistes français pendant la drôle de guerre, p. 79.
(36) Vol. I, Chap, V, “Germany and the Soviet Union, November 1937 - July 1938”, p, 448-473; and Vol. IV, Chap. VI, “Germany and the Soviet Union, October 3, 1938 - March 13, 1939”, p. 546-580, Plon, 1950 and 1953.
(37) Ibid., p. 284.
(38) This plan of consummate cynicism, and for which the millions of lives sacrificed did not count, was explained by Stalin practically in 1925 (Heller and Nekrich, p. 258).
(39) Quoted by Ploncard d’Assac, Salazar, p. 165-166. D. Martin Morin, 1983.
(40) What happened at Fatima, p. 15.
(41) Doc., p. 431.
(42) Ibid., p. 437.
(43) De Marchi, p. 346.
(44) France-Empire, 1979. A curious detail: on the cover, the title is printed on the background of a painting evoking... a sky in an aurora borealis.
(45) Sorlot, March 1939.
(46) Op. cit., p. 12.
(47) P. Gaxotte, Histoire de l’Allemagne, Vol. II, p. 496, Flammarion, 1963.
(48) Cf. Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung of January 31, 1939, quoted by Gabriel Louis-Jaray, op. cit., p. 12.
(49) Maria Winowska, Le secret de Maximilien Kolbe, p. 149-150, Saint-Paul, 1971.
(50) In his biography of Pope Pius XI, Paul Lesourd writes: «Once his decision was made, he hardly admitted contradiction and objections; he even got violently carried away if anyone insisted in a sense contrary to his own. There was a time during his pontificate when his collaborators trembled before him, he was so authoritarian and personal. Being kept abreast of very few things, many of his intimates learned of news only when it was official.» (Pie XI, p. 57-58, Flammarion, 1939). Canon Papin for his part relates: «For nine years Cardinal Pacelli was to be Pius XI’s most intimate collaborator. Thus there was a daily meeting. Often, the Cardinal listened to the Pope’s violent reactions, with the latter’s fist banging on the table. Very gently, he would try to calm him down, but after certain sessions, as we know through Mother Pasqualina, he went back down exhausted...» (Le dernier étage du Vatican, p. 43).
(51) On the policy of Pope Pius XI, which we bring up here only in its broad outlines, cf. Jacques Marteaux, L’Église de France devant la Révolution marxiste, Vol. I, La Table Ronde, 1958; Georges Champeaux, La croisade des démocraties, Vol. II, Chap. VII, Inter-France, 1943.
(52) Before he died, Pius XI wanted to launch a solemn condemnation of Mussolini’s Fascism, in the presence of all the Italian bishops, convoked at Rome for February 11. «Make me live until February 12», he said to his doctor. But God called him to Himself on the 10th, and Pius XII wisely refrained from publishing the too violent and useless indictment (Papin, p. 37 sq.).
(1) Jean Dufay, professor at the faculty of sciences at Lyon, was at that period one of the specialists in spectrographic observation of auroras.
(2) Le Nouvelliste de Lyon, January 26, 1938. The same astronomer published in La Croix of January 27, 1938, a similar declaration: «What characterises this real magnetic aurora is the red colour of its luminous emissions, which come from different spectral compositions of oxygen and nitrogen rays. Usually, magnetic auroras are connected with a solar phenomenon, and in particular to an eruption of the solar chromosphere. An aurora such as this is usually in connection with the passage of a spot on the central meridian of the sun. Now this time no spectral spot was found on the sun for several days. Another cause will have to be looked into.»
(3) Accounts of the sessions of the Academy of Sciences, Vol. 206, p. 357, session of January 31, 1938. Let us however indicate that the specialists point out some auroras which were visible at equally low altitudes, or even lower: at Honolulu in 1859, at Bombay in 1872, at Singapore in 1909, at Samoa in 1921. And, after January 25, 1938, in Greece in 1950, and on three occasions in Mexico in 1957 and 1958.
(4) Year 1938, p. 51; cf. from the same author, the article published in L’Illustration of February 5, 1938: “L’aurore boréale des 25-26 janvier”, p. 144-145.
(5) Professor Dufay does not allude to the still visible spot on the solar disc of January 24. It would be astonishing if his observatory had not observed it, when that of Juvisy had photographed it very easily (Bulletin de la Societé astronomique, p. 49-50). Is it necessary to incriminate the imprecision of the accounts in Nouvelliste and La Croix? It is quite possible.
(6) Albert Ducrocq, “Aurores à la carte”, Air et Cosmos, May 14, 1983, p. 45-46.
(7) André Boischot, Le Soleil et la Terre, p. 75, PUF.
(8) Encyclopaedia universalis, 1969, p. 806-808.
(9) Albert Ducrocq, op. cit., p. 45.
(1) Added during the second edition (October 1986).
(2) FCM, p. 35-41.
(3) Letter of Father Aparicio to Father da Fonseca, August 10, 1939.
(4) Father Martins makes it clear that the imprimatur bears the date of July 16, 1939, and was confirmed on August 12 by the Archbishop of Fortaleza. It concerned a tract of eight pages which included, along with explanations of the reparatory devotion, an act of honourable amendment to the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be recited on the first Saturday of each month (FCM, p. 37, note 1).