THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT FATIMA VOLUME II
THE SECRET AND THE CHURCH
2.7. “They Did not Want to Heed My Request!” (1925 - 1931)
THE facts, alas, are well known. «In the reign of Pius XI», to repeat the expression of the great Secret, Russia was not consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Officially it was not even considered. The devotion of reparation on the five first Saturdays of the month was not approved or even unofficially encouraged by Rome. In other words, nothing was done to fulfil the pressing, urgent requests that Heaven had made of the Sovereign Pontiff.
However, not everything has been said. It remains to find out whether or not the messages of Tuy and Pontevedra were faithfully transmitted to the Holy Father. Was he informed quickly enough about the requests of Our Lady of Fatima, and at the opportune moment when it was possible for him to fulfil them? The majority of Fatima historians, it must be said, avoid asking the question... so as to avoid answering it. Yet, the answer is clear. It is furnished for us by later revelations which Sister Lucy was privileged to receive. Let us recall that the apparition of Tuy took place on June 13, 1929. Now Pope Pius XI knew of the request for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary probably after the month of June 1930 – without us being able to absolutely exclude an earlier date – and in any case, he most certainly knew about it before August 31, 1931. Moreover, it is possible that as early as the summer of 1929 he was aware of the apparitions of Pontevedra and Heaven’s request concerning the devotion of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. How do we know?
Our historical inquiry is just as groping and incomplete as the Pope’s response is certain. We know what his response was through the words of Our Lord to Sister Lucy. Indeed we are far from having access to all the necessary documents. These documents are kept hidden so carefully that we are reminded of the “dark, dark well” which Cardinal Ottaviani would later evoke on the subject of the Secret of Fatima.
In 1971, during the Marian Congress of Fatima, Father Alonso declared: «However, the events of Fatima in the course of the following years (meaning after 1929) will enter a historical phase on which we cannot insist...» 1 Similarly, the great critical study he published in 1972-1973 in Ephemerides Mariologicae,2 undoubtedly as an outline of his definitive work, stops precisely at these decisive years 1929-1931. This is very regrettable. For this reason we must first of all call insistently for the publication of all the documents, and particularly the long interrogation of Sister Lucy by Father Alonso, which enabled him to clear up his difficulties. This interrogation, which was conducted after long years of critical work and research, is undoubtedly decisive on many points. Why is it not published? 3 For Fatima has nothing to fear from the truth.
However, as we wait for all the documents to come to light, we can work at clearing the air somewhat by piecing together numerous scraps of information which are already known. Although this history is certainly very deficient, we can still draw some useful conclusions from it.
I. HOW THE HOLY FATHER WAS INFORMED:
THE TRANSMISSION OF THE MESSAGE (1925-1930)
We are compelled to make an initial observation. In the apparitions of Pontevedra in 1925 and 1926, Our Lady no longer requested that the Holy Father or even the Bishop of Leiria be spoken to. She asked only that Lucy make known Her requests and Her great promise.
However, it goes without saying that Lucy, who had entered religious life and was bound by obedience, could do nothing by herself. Our Lady did not ask me «to spread the devotion of reparation», she explained to Father Jongen, «but to make it known». She did so with untiring, ardent love and patience. As for disclosing Heaven’s requests, in this Lucy was dependent above all on the cooperation of her confessors.
A PRUDENT RESERVE
We have related how Lucy, who was then a young postulant, informed her superior, Mother Magalhaes, immediately after the apparition of December 10, 1925. We have also described how Mother Magalhaes spoke about it to the confessor of the house, Don Lino Garcia, who preferred to maintain the most prudent reserve. On December 29, Mother Magalhaes informed Bishop da Silva.
She then requested that Lucy write to her former confessor, Msgr. Pereira Lopes. In his response, which was long in coming, he said that «the vision must be repeated, there must be some facts permitting belief in it, and that the Mother Superior alone could not spread the devotion in question.»
To this Our Lord responded on February 15, 1926: «It is enough that your confessor gives you authorisation and that your superior announce this for it to be believed by the people, even without knowing to whom it was revealed.» 4
In fact, this is exactly how it worked out. In the end Msgr. Pereira Lopes preferred to back off and leave to others the direction of his former student, while Mother Magalhaes, with the consent of Don Lino Garcia, began propagating the devotion of reparation. She taught it first to the students of the house and then, very quickly, it spread to the circle of families who were friendly to the community. «There, in the chapel of Pontevedra, the five first Saturdays of the month were practiced for the first time. In the same place, a little later on, Don Lino Garcia was to celebrate the anniversary of the apparition of December 10 every year.» 5
Father Francisco Rodrigues, a Jesuit in residence at Pontevedra, was also informed and consulted at the beginning of 1926. 6 He too was favourable to the devotion.
After ten months of postulancy, however, Maria das Dores left Pontevedra on July 16, 1926, 7 for the novitiate of Tuy.
FATHER APARICIO: A WISE AND FIRM ADHERENCE
«When I arrived at Tuy (Sister Lucy declared to Father Jongen), I described Our Lady’s request to the confessor at that time, the Reverend Father José da Silva Aparicio, superior of the Jesuit Fathers’ residence in the city.» 8 Father Aparicio was a man of both age and experience, and very serious-minded. 9 First of all, he took some time to think about it.
On October 2, 1926, Lucy received the habit of the Dorothean Sisters. She did not forget her mission. On July 24, 1927, still burning with the desire to implement the requests of Our Lady, she explained them fervently and insistently in a letter to her mother: «... I would like you to offer generously to the Blessed Virgin this act of reparation for the offences She receives from Her ungrateful children.» Without indicating the source, she then explains with great emotion in what the practice of the five first Saturdays consists. 10 On November 1, she makes the same request of her godmother. 11 On Christmas Day, 1927, she concludes a letter to her mother: «I pray that I can continue to make known and to practice the reparatory devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary...» 12
It is important to note that Father Aparicio was quickly and utterly convinced of the supernatural origin of Sister Lucy’s recent revelations. When he was appointed Master of Novices at Oya on September 24, 1927, he in turn made great efforts to propagate the devotion of reparation. He wrote as much to Sister Lucy, in a letter which today has been lost. However, we still possess the seer’s response dated December 4, 1927, in which she expresses to him her great joy over this fact:
«Your Reverence can have no idea of the consolation I felt on learning that over there (at the novitiate of the Jesuit Fathers) they had embraced the devotion of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
«I also learned through the Reverend Mother Superior of Lisbon that the entire community, little girls and even families had begun practising it. With great pleasure I learned that at Fatima many people had already copied an image which I had sent to my mother, concerning which I had written.» 13
After receiving such an enthusiastic letter, Father Aparicio decided to do even more. He came to Tuy to obtain more precise information from the seer. He then asked her to write down, once again, a detailed account of the apparitions of Pontevedra, and also indicate if they were connected with the messages of 1917.
THE COMMUNICATION OF DECEMBER 17, 1927. This last request threw our seer into a profound perplexity, from which a new divine communication delivered her. In this text, Lucy speaks about herself in the third person:
«On December 17, 1927, she approached the tabernacle and asked Jesus how to satisfy the request made of her, if the origin of the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was included in the Secret which the Most Holy Virgin had entrusted to her.
«Jesus, in a distinct voice, made her hear these words: “My daughter, write everything that is asked of you; also write everything the Most Holy Virgin revealed to you in the apparition when She spoke to you of this devotion; as for the rest of the Secret, keep silence.”» 14
Taking advantage of this permission which had been granted her to partially reveal the Secret, Lucy then related the manifestation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on June 13, 1917, as well as the two apparitions of Pontevedra. 15
FATHER APARICIO PROPAGATES THE DEVOTION OF REPARATION. We must now quote a decisive testimony, which reveals to us the sentiments of Father Aparicio and the total confidence he had in the seer of Fatima and Pontevedra. It is a letter of Father Antonio Leite, S.J., dated August 11, 1967, and addressed to Father Alonso. We quote from the essential part:
«In September of 1927, Father José Aparicio, S.J., left the office of Superior of the Society of Jesus at Tuy, and secretary of our provincial. 16 He was sent to Oya (near La Guardia) where the novitiate of the Portuguese province was then exiled. On September 24, he became Master of Novices.
«Although he lived at Oya, he frequently went to Tuy, which is not very far. Indeed for some time longer he continued in the office of consultor of the Province. The Provincial normally resided in this Galician city. I entered the novitiate shortly after, on October 31 of the same year, 1927. The following day my older brother José, already a priest residing at Rome, made his first vows.
«In the conferences he gave us, and in particular conversations, in public and during recreations, etc, Father Aparicio frequently spoke to us of Fatima, of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and of Lucy. The last few years he had been her confessor and he was still more or less her spiritual director. When he went to Tuy, which he did quite frequently, I believe that he usually heard her confession, as well as the confessions of the other nuns who asked him.
«I recall that some time after my entry into the novitiate, on a date I cannot exactly remember, but perhaps around the end of 1927 or the beginning of the next year, he spoke to us about the devotion of the five first Saturdays and told us where it originated. However, he recommended that we say nothing concerning its origin until His Excellency the Bishop of Leiria, who had already been informed about it, made it public or allowed it to be published.
«On the evenings before the first Saturdays, Father Aparicio was in the habit of giving us points of meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary for the next day, so that in this way we could fulfil more easily the conditions required for the first Saturdays.
«In order that we might possess the exact words of Our Lady, Father Aparicio distributed to us a little mimeographed sheet with the exact text of Lucy. I did not save this paper but my brother, Father José Leite, kept it and I hold it today in my hands. I am sending a photocopy of it to Your Reverence. Father Aparicio was the spiritual director of the students who had already made their vows, my brother was among them; he spoke to them also about the devotion of the first Saturdays and distributed the same paper to them...
«For the reason indicated above, because His Grace the Bishop of Leiria had not yet revealed the origin of the devotion of the first Saturdays, on the little sheet that he gave us Father Aparicio wrote only: “It is based on a revelation made to a servant of God.” But he expressly told us novices and Jesuit students that the person in question was Lucy. I remember very well how we novices sometimes used to say (perhaps we were boasting!) that we were the first people in the world to practice the devotion of the first Saturdays, which was then completely unknown... 17
«All this continued until September, 1929, for at that moment Father Aparicio was sent to our minor seminary at St. Martin de Trevejo (Caceres), and I never again lived in the same house with him...
«I forgot to mention that Father Aparicio was also in the habit of referring to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, relating it to Fatima at a time when, I believe, people spoke only of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima. And in fact, on the paper I mentioned and which I am sending to Your Reverence, we find the words: “Devotion of the five Saturdays in honour of the Immaculate Heart.”» 18
There is the evidence, enough to blow the fragile critical construction of Father Dhanis to bits! This letter also shows us that Lucy’s testimony was clear and convincing. It was perfectly credible for this circumspect Jesuit who knew the soul of the seer. It also appears that Father Aparicio at that time was doing everything possible to correspond faithfully to Our Lady’s request.
CANON FORMIGAO: AN ENTHUSIASTIC ADHERENCE
On September 9, 1928, Sister Lucy had written to Canon Formigao to invite him to the ceremony of her first vows. 19 Fortunately, the apostle of Fatima was able to reply to her pressing invitation. He arrived at Tuy on October 2, to participate in the ceremony for the following day. We have a letter of his dated October 8, 1928, where he describes the event. Again, this is an extremely valuable testimony, jotted down quickly and with great spontaneity:
«I have just returned from Spain. I was present at the profession of Lucy, which took place on the 3rd, the feast day of little Saint Therese. Because the car which was to take him to the train broke down, His Grace Don José (da Silva) did not preside at the feast, which was charming. 20
«The little girl is always the same, just as you knew her. She is endowed with an admirable simplicity and humility. What profound piety, so remarkable and so joyous at the same time! What an extraordinary spirit of obedience! What love for sacrifice and mortification!
«The evening before, when she had already finished her retreat, I was the only person granted permission to speak with her and be alone with her. These were hours of ineffable spiritual joy! I will never, ever forget them.
«I had already been aware for a few months, due to a letter from the novice mistress, that she had been the object of a new revelation. Here is the subject of the revelation: Our Lord is profoundly displeased with the offences made against His Most Holy Mother, and He can no longer tolerate them. Because of these sins, because of these outrages and blasphemies, which cause so much suffering to the most loving Heart of the Son, many souls have fallen into Hell and many others are in danger of being lost. Our Lord promises to save them to the degree this devotion is practiced, with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of our Most Holy Mother. This is the devotion of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary during five months... 21
«Father Mateo came to intensify the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, now Lucy comes to intensify the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which is its necessary complement. Thus by these two devotions of reparation, the offences against the Son and the Mother are atoned for, as is absolutely just.
«Yesterday afternoon, I ran to Porto by car (sic) to make known this devotion, which was welcomed with the greatest enthusiasm...» 22
Saints understand each other so well! The servant of God heard the seer describe the apparitions of Pontevedra to him and it was enough. No sooner did he hear it than he adhered to it with all his heart, and burned with the desire to make known this devotion of reparation requested by Heaven, and have it practiced everywhere. Just as in 1917, Doctor Formigao was to become one of the first apostles of the apparitions of Pontevedra.
TOWARDS AN EPISCOPAL APPROVAL?
In fact, right after Sister Lucy’s profession Canon Formigao approached Bishop da Silva. At the time the bishop was at the Formigueira, the country home situated near Braga. Full of enthusiasm, Canon Formigao pleaded for the devotion of reparation. He brought the bishop a short letter written by Lucy for his intention:
«The good Lord, in His infinite mercy, complains that He is no longer able to bear the offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of the Most Holy Virgin (only on May 30, 1930 did Lucy receive a more complete revelation on the five blasphemies that outrage the Immaculate Heart of Mary). He says that because of this sin a great number of souls fall into Hell, and He promises to save them in the measure that the following devotion is practiced, with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of our Most Holy Mother. I come therefore, most excellent and reverend Lord, with the approval of my confessor and my most reverend Mother Superior, and to satisfy the desires of Our Lord, to humbly ask your most Reverend Excellency to grant it his approval.» Lucy then goes on to explain the great promise. 23
Here we have a new and important element: Our Lord informed His messenger that He now desired the Church, in the person of the Bishop of Leiria, to officially approve the devotion of reparation. Was this not, indeed, the only way of widely propagating it among the Christian people?
What was Bishop da Silva’s response? We have said that he had been kept abreast of the apparitions of Pontevedra for quite some time. The testimony of Canon Formigao confirms that he had no doubt about their supernatural origin, and that he had no serious objection keeping him from approving the devotion of the first Saturdays. Indeed, Canon Formigao continues his account:
«His Grace Don José (da Silva), whom I went to see at Braga to talk about this matter, has authorised me to spread this devotion of reparation already, privately. In a little while he will promulgate a public and official document, recommending it and granting it indulgences.» 24
As we will see, the promise was not kept, but the promise nevertheless showed an agreement in principle! A few days later Father Aparicio, who had also attended Lucy’s profession, spoke to the bishop in turn. In a letter dated October 11, 1928, he gave him the most detailed account of the Pontevedra apparitions, which had been written by Sister Lucy in December of 1927. 25 Yet, in spite of all these insistent requests, Bishop da Silva let months and years go by... without doing anything. Before approving it, he explained, the devotion of reparation first had to be spread among the faithful... He also thought that the pilgrimages to Fatima from May 13 to October 13 were the essential request of Our Lady. 26 But were not all these answers excuses rather than solid reasons? For his promises about finally giving his official approval, repeated so often during this month of October 1928, were surely not false. But he undoubtedly feared taking upon himself such a responsibility, without Rome’s confirmation. What would the Pope say about such an initiative? And he constantly delayed the hour of his decision...
AFTER THE REQUEST FOR THE CONSECRATION OF RUSSIA. The great trinitarian apparition and the request concerning Russia took place on June 13, 1929. Sister Lucy immediately informed her confessor, Father Bernardo Gonçalves, but probably no one else. No doubt she wished that Bishop da Silva first be informed before she mentioned it to any others. Thus Father Aparicio was not informed right away.
THE VISIT OF THE APOSTOLIC NUNCIO: JULY 1, 1929
In June of 1928, Archbishop Giovanni Beda Cardinale had been appointed apostolic nuncio to Portugal, to succeed Archbishop Nicotra. From June 26-30, 1929, a Eucharistic Congress took place in Spain, at Viana do Castelo. The nuncio, who was present at this congress, took advantage of the occasion to visit Lucy. The visit was so discreet that the diary of the Tuy community does not even mention it. Only through a passing reference by Sister Lucy do we learn of this important encounter. For the seer, with courage, dared to speak to the representative of the Holy Father concerning the reparatory devotion of the five first Saturdays of the month.
Sister Lucy gathered that her initiative would hardly be appreciated by her bishop. She wrote to him the next day, and at the end of the letter informed him of her daring endeavour:
«Yesterday we were visited by His Grace the Nuncio. I asked of His Excellency the favour of approving the devotion with which Your Excellency is already familiar. And, since His Excellency (the nuncio) asked me who was to be approached, I answered: Your Excellency (Bishop da Silva) or the Mother Superior. I humbly kiss Your Excellency’s hand.» 27
Father Alonso comments that «as he received this letter, Don José must have been struck with astonishment at Lucy’s courage... and we can say that it cannot have pleased him very much. It is certain that the nuncio consulted Don José... and everything remained in the reserve that Don José had imposed from the beginning of this delicate affair.» 28
The following months must have been a cruel torment for Heaven’s messenger. On August 16, 1929, right after visiting Sister Lucy at Tuy, Father Aparicio wrote once more to Bishop da Silva: «She still anxiously desires that the devotion of the five first Saturdays in honour of Our Lady be spread.» In the same letter, he also wrote:
«I am told that Sister Mary Lucy desires to speak with your Most Reverend Excellency; and I believe that if you were able to slip away and come to Tuy she would be very happy.» 29
What regret the seer must have experienced, surely desiring to pass on the urgent request concerning Russia, when she learned that Bishop da Silva had come to Spain for the Eucharistic Congress of Viano do Castelo, but had left the nuncio to come to Tuy by himself!
Lucy wrote a second letter to her bishop. He made no response and contented himself with writing to Father Aparicio on September 29: «The First Saturday devotion is good, but its hour has not come yet, which doesn’t mean it should not be propagated in religious houses and colleges.» 30 Father Aparicio passed on the disappointing response to Sister Lucy. She wrote back to Father Aparicio on December 15, 1929:
«As for the reply of his Most Reverend Excellency, His Grace the Bishop, it was a very painful blow for me. But may the most holy will of the Good Lord be done. In His infinite mercy, He has found a way of encouraging me, letting me know that, through His grace, love for the Immaculate Heart of our Most Holy Mother and the desire to make reparation to it are being kindled in souls imperceptibly.»
Sister Lucy concludes on a note of astonishment: She still had not received the letter from Bishop da Silva. 31
MAY, 1930: HEAVEN CLARIFIES ITS REQUESTS
A new frontier was crossed in the beginning of 1930. Our Lord informed His messenger that the two requests for the consecration of Russia and the devotion of reparation were to be addressed, together, to the Holy Father himself.
Father Gonçalves had been informed, and he may have realised that the hour was in fact more favourable than ever. Had not the Holy Father just organised, at Rome, a solemn ceremony of reparation for the persecution in Russia? He ordered Sister Lucy to «put all that in writing».
Towards the end of May, Sister Lucy obeyed this order by a very important letter. We now have many excerpts from it, but it needs to be quoted at length, in its historical context:
«This is what seems to have passed between God and my soul, concerning the reparatory devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the persecution in Russia.
THE REQUEST FOR APPROVAL OF THE REPARATORY DEVOTION. «It seems that Our Good Lord deep in my heart, urges me to ask the Holy Father’s approval for the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary that God Himself and the Blessed Virgin asked for in 1925.
«By means of this little devotion, They wish to grant forgiveness to those souls who have had the misfortune of offending the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
«And the Most Blessed Virgin promises the souls of those who seek to make reparation to Her in this way that She will assist them at the hour of their death with all the graces necessary for their salvation.
«This devotion consists of the following: receiving Holy Communion on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, saying the Rosary and keeping Our Lady company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, and going to confession with the same purpose. The confession can be made another day.»
THE REQUEST FOR THE CONSECRATION OF RUSSIA. «If I am not mistaken, the good Lord promises to put an end to the persecution in Russia, if the Holy Father himself deigns to make a solemn and public act of reparation and consecration of Russia to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, as well as ordering all the bishops of the Catholic world to do the same, and if the Holy Father promises that, upon the end of this persecution, he will approve and recommend the practice of the reparatory devotion already described.»
THE SEER’S STATE OF SOUL. «I declare being very much afraid of making a mistake, and the cause of this fear is the fact that I did not see Our Lord personally, but only felt His Divine Presence.
«About the repugnance that I have of telling this to Reverend Mother Superior, I do not know exactly where it comes from; it may be partly fear that the Reverend Mother will disapprove of all this, or say that it is an illusion, or a suggestion of the devil and things of that sort.
«I respectfully kiss the hand of Your Reverence.» 32
It must be made clear, with Father Alonso, that the doubts and fears about being mistaken which Lucy mentions do not refer to the revelations of Pontevedra, or the trinitarian vision at Tuy. They concern only the final point which she states here for the first time, following a supernatural light which was not accompanied by a perceptible apparition of Our Lord. At issue was whether it was fitting or not that the Holy Father promise to approve the devotion of reparation when the conversion of Russia is obtained.
Besides, the expression of such doubts or uncertainty should not surprise us. They are found several times in the letters of Sister Lucy, and similar expressions are found in the letters of Saint Margaret Mary. These reservations are absolutely normal coming from the pen of a true Catholic mystic. It is their absence which would be troubling. Indeed, in this case it is not an external, sensible manifestation that the seer can witness to with the absolute certainty that she has seen or heard something. «I merely felt His Divine Presence», Lucy writes. She can be sure of «having felt» It. But how can she affirm, on her own, that it was in fact God Who manifested Himself to her? The Church is the judge of that. And the humble doubt of the seer, who defers to the judgment of her director, testifies in her favour. In Sister Lucy’s case, it is remarkable that her confessors – and she happened to have many of them, who were all men of great knowledge and experience – never doubted the authenticity of her revelations, any more than Bishop da Silva or her superiors in religion.
A DETAILED QUESTIONNAIRE. Father Gonçalves received Sister Lucy’s letter on May 29, 1930. As soon as he read it, he typed a precise questionnaire which was given to Sister Lucy the same day. No doubt he desired a perfectly clear document to transmit to superior authorities.
«Please answer, as far as possible, on a sheet of letter paper, the following questions:
1. When, how and where, in other words, the date (if you know it), the occasion and the manner in which the Saturday devotion was revealed to you.
2. The conditions required, meaning what is asked for in the accomplishment of this devotion.
3. The advantages: what graces are promised to those who will practise it at least once?
4. Why five Saturdays and not nine, or seven, in honour of Our Lady’s Sorrows?
5. If the conditions cannot all be fulfilled on Saturday, can they be fulfilled on Sunday? People in the country, for example, very often cannot do so (on Saturday), because they live far away...
6. In relation to the salvation of poor Russia, what do you desire or want?» 33
THE REVELATION OF MAY 29, 1930. On the same evening, May 29, which was also Ascension Thursday, Lucy made her holy hour of adoration and reparation as usual. At that time she implored and received all the enlightenment necessary to answer the questions she had been asked.
In the next few days she wrote a long letter, which Father Gonçalves received on June 12, 1930: 34
«After asking for the assistance of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, I will answer as well as I can the questions that you asked me, concerning the five Saturday devotion.
THE PONTEVEDRA APPARITIONS
1. When? On December 10, 1925.
How? Our Lord appeared to me as well as the Blessed Virgin, showing me Her Immaculate Heart surrounded by thorns, and asking for reparation.
Where? At Pontevedra (Travessia de Isabel II). The first apparition (took place) in my room, the second by the gate of the garden where I was working.
2. Required conditions?
For five months every first Saturday, receive Holy Communion, say the Rosary, keep Our Lady company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary, and go to confession with the same goal in mind. Confession can be made on another day, as long as one is in the state of grace when one receives Holy Communion.
3. Benefits or promises.
“To the souls who in this manner try to make reparation to Me (says Our Lady), I promise to assist them at the hour of their death with all the graces necessary for their salvation.”
THE REVELATION OF MAY 29, 1930
4. Why should it be five Saturdays and not nine or seven in honour of the Sorrows of Our Lady?
While staying in the chapel with Our Lord part of the night, between the 29th and the 30th of this month of May 1930, and speaking to Our Good Lord about questions 4 and 5, I felt myself being more possessed by the Divine Presence, and if I am not mistaken, the following was revealed to me:
“My daughter, the motive is simple: there are five ways in which people offend and blaspheme against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
1. The blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception.
2. The blasphemies against Her Virginity.
3. The blasphemies against Her Divine Maternity, refusing at the same time to accept Her as the Mother of all mankind.
4. The blasphemies of those who try publicly to implant in children’s hearts indifference, contempt and even hate against this Immaculate Mother.
5. The offences of those who insult Her directly in Her sacred images.
“Here, my daughter, is the reason why the Immaculate Heart of Mary made Me ask for this little act of reparation and, in consideration of it, move My mercy to forgive those souls who had the misfortune of offending Her. As for you, try incessantly with all your prayers and sacrifices to move Me to mercy toward those poor souls.”
THE PRACTICE OF THE REPARATORY DEVOTION ON SUNDAYS
5. “And if one could not accomplish all those obligations on a Saturday, would Sunday not do?”
“The practice of this devotion will be equally accepted on the Sunday following the first Saturday, when, for just reasons, My priests will allow it.”
THE CONSECRATION OF RUSSIA
n6. «Regarding Russia, if I am not mistaken, Our Good Lord promises to put an end to the persecution in Russia, if the Holy Father himself deigns to make, and orders the Bishops of the Catholic world to equally make, a solemn and public act of reparation and consecration of Russia to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and if His Holiness promises at the end of this persecution to approve and recommend the practice of the reparatory devotion indicated above.» 35
FATHER GONÇALVES PASSES ON THE REQUESTS
TO BISHOP DA SILVA AND THE HOLY FATHER
On the following day, June 13, 1930, Father Gonçalves sent the Bishop of Leiria a copy of this letter, which was so firm and precise. On July 1, Bishop da Silva answered him, «telling him laconically that he already knew of this matter and that he was going to think about it». 36 On August 28, he came to Tuy for the first time. We read in the convent diary for August 29, 1930: «After coffee, His Grace remained some time with Sister Dores who is from Fatima and is a protégée of His Grace.» 37
We also know that at precisely this time the bishop was in close contact with Rome concerning the upcoming publication of official approval of the Fatima apparitions. Did he take advantage of the occasion to pass on Heaven’s requests to Rome? Or did he do it orally only, or by some intermediary? We do not know.
Yet, in August 1931, Our Lord in speaking to Sister Lucy gave her to understand in all clarity that the Holy Father had been informed of His requests. But how?
After the disappointing reply of Bishop da Silva, Father Gonçalves probably tried to pass on Heaven’s requests to Pope Pius XI through other channels. This would hardly be difficult for a Jesuit. Besides, Father Gonçalves was the Superior of a community. He had many avenues open for reaching the Pope. In her letter to Pope Pius XII, Lucy writes: «Some time after (June 13, 1929), I gave an account of it to my confessor who employed certain means to bring it to the knowledge of H.H. Pius XI.» 38
Similarly, answering one of Father Jongen’s questions in 1946, Sister Lucy clearly indicates that Father Gonçalves took the initiative of approaching the Pope:
«... I gave an account of Our Lady’s request concerning the consecration of Russia to the Reverend Father Francisco Rodrigues, who often used to stay here when he was in Portugal, and to the Reverend Father José Bernardo Gonçalves, who had come to replace the Reverend Father Aparicio. He is currently Superior of the mission of Zambezia, at the mission of Lifidge (Mozambique). This Father ordered me to put it in writing, promised me that he would work for the fulfilment of Our Lady’s desires, informed His Grace the Bishop of Leiria about everything, and obtained that the request arrived at the knowledge of H.H. Pius XI.» 39
As subsequent events will show, Pope Pius XI was surely informed about Heaven’s requests between July of 1930 and August of 1931. In other words, he was informed at the very moment when God’s hour for the fulfilment of His great design had struck.
II. IT WAS TRULY GOD’S HOUR
« The moment has come when God asks the Holy Father...», Our Lady declared on June 13, 1929. At the beginning of her account, Sister Lucy repeats the same expression: «At this time Our Lord informed me that the moment had come for me to let Holy Church know His desire for the consecration of Russia and His promise to convert it.»
God never asks for the impossible. Indeed, for anyone who studies the history of Pope Pius XI’s pontificate, it becomes clear that these years 1929-1931 were in fact the most favourable for the fulfilment of Heaven’s designs. It must also be said without fear: at that time the requests of Our Lady of Fatima could easily have been fulfilled to the letter, for multiple and convergent reasons.
1. THE HOUR OF FATIMA
In fact, when the Holy Father was informed of the requests of Our Lady, the subject was no longer foreign to him. For over a year he had made known his unofficial approval of the apparitions. 40 He knew about the incomparable miracles of grace worked at the Cova da Iria. He could not help but notice the wonderful religious, political and social renewal that followed the event of Fatima.
Might he have still had on his desk the thick dossier of the diocesan canonical inquiry that Bishop da Silva had just sent him? In that dossier he was able to read the accounts of the extraordinary dance of the sun. The dossier also contained accounts of the miraculous healings and innumerable conversions which continued to take place at the Cova da Iria. And had he not given his confirmation to the official recognition of the apparitions by the Bishop of Leiria? He knew that an eminent Jesuit of the biblical institute, Father da Fonseca, was, so to speak, the Roman specialist on the question of Fatima. The latter had given a conference at Rome on Fatima and many of the curial Cardinals had been present.
In short, 1929-1931 were the years when Pope Pius XI, with full knowledge, had already made up his mind in favour of the Fatima apparitions. He knew at least that the subject was serious and important.
2. THE HOUR OF THE SACRED HEART
Now what had Our Lady of Fatima requested? A consecration of Russia to the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Was not this consecration in line with a tradition which was very much alive? Had not Pope Leo XIII opened the way, providentially, by solemnly consecrating the whole world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus? This act of June 11, 1899, which Leo XIII had called the most important of his pontificate, was still present in everybody’s memory. Saint Pius X had ordered that it be renewed each year. And Pope Pius XI himself in Quas Primas had ordered in 1925 that in the future this consecration was to be renewed on the Feast of Christ the King.
Were there theological difficulties in the Pope and the Catholic Bishops consecrating schismatic and Bolshevik Russia, without any participation of its natural political and ecclesial authorities? No. The doctrinal justification for the act requested at Tuy in 1929, is already luminously explained in Annum Sacrum, Leo XIII’s encyclical of May 25, 1899.
Yes, the Pope explained then, the whole world and all nations, even heretical, schismatic or pagan ones, can be consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: «Indeed the empire of Jesus Christ does not extend to Catholic nations only. Again, it is not only over men who have been purified in the water of baptism and who belong by right to the Church, although erroneous opinions separate them from it and schism cuts them off from its charity. But the power of Christ extends also over all those who live outside the Christian faith; it is thus an unquestionable truth that the whole human race is under the power of Jesus Christ.» 41
After having invited each one of the faithful to consecrate themselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Leo XIII added:
«But will we not have a thought for these innumerable multitudes who have not yet seen the brightness of Christian truth? We hold the place of Him Who came to save what was lost, He Who offered His Blood for the salvation of the human race. We too must take assiduous care to draw the unfortunate ones sitting in the shadow of death to Him Who is the true life: everywhere we shall send them messengers of Christ to instruct them. And now, full of compassion for their lot, We consecrate them in a most special way and as far as in Us lies, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.» 42
Everything had been said. This beautiful doctrine need only have been applied to the particular case of Russia.
Moreover, a precedent had been set. Pope Leo XIII had done the consecration of the world to obey the requests of the Sacred Heart given to a holy nun, Mother Mary of the Divine Heart. 43
3. THE HOUR OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
Heaven willed that the Immaculate Heart of Mary be closely associated with the Heart of Jesus. The consecration of Russia was to be done «to the Most Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary».
Once again we must point to a wonderful, providential preparation that rendered this act possible and even easy. For almost a century, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary had developed intensely among the Christian people. 44 Beginning in 1864, unceasing, repeated requests had been addressed to the Holy See to obtain the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Only a few examples need be cited. This request was made at the national Marian Congress of Lyon-Fourvière, in September 1900. «In the same year, 1900, Father Deschamps founded at Toulouse The Marian Crusade, whose purpose was to promote the consecration of individuals, families, parishes, dioceses, and the whole human race to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.»
During the pontificate of Saint Pius X, who was known to be favourable to the project, petitions multiplied, representing thousands of adherents. There were the petitions of Father Deschamps along with the archconfraternity of Our Lady of Victories in 1906; that of Father Gebhard in 1907; those of Father Dore, Superior General of the Eudists, in 1908 and 1912; and finally those of Father Lintelo, a Belgian Jesuit, in 1914.
Already in July 1911, in the Brief approving the Marian Congress of Salzburg, Saint Pius X had expressed his desire «to see the Catholics of the whole world consecrated to Mary, their common Mother and Queen of the World.» «As for the project of the consecration of the world», Saint Pius X answered Father Gebhard, «I see no great difficulty there. Naturally, such things must be done according to established rules and it will be the business of the Congregation of Rites to study it; but, I repeat, I see no difficulty there... Nothing is more pleasing to me than such a petition... I am always happy to do something for Our Lady.»
In 1914, the organisers of the Eucharistic Congress at Lourdes asked the Holy Father to make the pontifical legate perform the consecration of the world to Mary in his name, right there at Lourdes. The Holy Father answered « that the Holy Father reserved this exceptional act for an exclusively Marian occasion». 45
Saint Pius X had done much, if not the essential part, by giving his accord in principle. But undoubtedly he hoped for a providential sign that such a decisive act would correspond to a desire of Heaven, and be accomplished at the hour chosen by God. Now this hour had not yet come... The holy Pope knew it, and while he rejoiced to see consecrations to the Immaculate Heart of Mary increase from day to day, he decided to wait.
Our Lady of the Rosary, appearing in 1917, proved him right. She announced that She would come later on to ask, not for the consecration of the world, but only the consecration of Bolshevik Russia, so that the miracle of conversion and peace would be more striking.
Under Benedict XV the movement had continued. In 1921, Cardinal Mercier had obtained the restoration of the feast of Mary, Mediatrix of all graces. In 1927, the oriental Marian Congress which was held at Paris, then the national congress at Chartres, and the national congress at Lourdes in 1930, all made the same request of the Sovereign Pontiff: the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
For his part, in the retreats which he was preaching all over the world, Father Mateo declared:
«Many are the souls who desire to see the beautiful day dawn when the Roman Pontiff will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, completing in this way, I would say, the gesture of Leo XIII, renewed so magnificently by His Holiness Pius XI at the closing of the Holy Year, for the first Feast of the Divine Kingship. There is no need to say how much we share in this delicate thought, and how ardently we desire to hasten the hour of grace that this official consecration will be... Let there be no doubt that at the hour willed by Heaven, the Vicar of Jesus Christ will fulfil His own desires and those of the Universal Church, solemnly entrusting to Mary’s Heart the victory and reign of the Heart of Jesus.» 46
It cannot be denied that if, at that time, the Pope had made known the request of Our Lady of Fatima and decided to fulfil it, this solemn act would have stirred up fervent enthusiasm and an immense movement of Marian devotion among the whole Christian people.
4. THE HOUR OF RUSSIA
We will soon see that since the first month of his pontificate in 1922, right up to the years 1930-1931, Russia had always been among the Holy Father’s greatest preoccupations. He had tried everything, attempted everything, to attenuate the misery of the Russian people and put an end to the bloody persecution. In vain. In 1922 he had indulgenced the ejaculatory prayer: «Saviour of the world, save Russia!» 47 Alas, two years later, the Bolshevik Revolution began ravaging Mexico, yet another country of Christendom! In 1928, all contact had been broken off with the Soviet regime, and Stalin, more cynical than ever, resumed the persecution and the massacres with diabolical malice.
On August 19, 1929, the Pope had published a prayer enriched with indulgences, confiding the Russian people to the protection of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus. 48 Beginning in November 1929, conferences were organised in Rome, and later on in Paris, London, Prague, Geneva and other cities to inform the Christian people about the persecutions Russia was undergoing.
THE CEREMONY OF REPARATION ON MARCH 19, 1930. Pope Pius XI realised that something more had to be done. In a public letter dated February 2, 1930, addressed to Cardinal Pompili, Vicar of Rome, the Pope wrote:
«We feel profound emotion at the thought of the horrible crimes and sacrileges against God and against souls which every day are repeated and aggravated among the innumerable peoples of Russia, who are all dear to Our heart, if only by the greatness of their sufferings. To these peoples belong many children and devoted and generous ministers of this holy Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church; they have been devoted and generous even unto heroism and martyrdom.»
After mentioning all his interventions in favour of the Russian people, the Pope continued:
«The renewal and official publicity given to so many acts of blasphemy and impiety requires a more universal and solemn reparation. This past year during the Christmas holy days, not only were hundreds of churches closed, great numbers of icons burned, all workers and schoolchildren compelled to work, and Sundays suppressed, but they even compelled factory workers, both men and women, to sign a declaration of formal apostasy and hatred against God, or else be deprived of their bread rationing cards, clothing and lodging, without which every inhabitant of this poor country is reduced to dying of hunger, misery and cold. Among other things, in all the cities and many villages, infamous carnival spectacles were organised, as foreign diplomats saw with their very eyes at Moscow itself, at the centre of the capital, during the Christmas holy days last year: they witnessed a procession of tanks manned by numerous ruffians clad with sacred vestments, taking the cross in derision and spitting upon it while other armoured cars transported huge Christmas trees, from which marionettes representing Catholic and Orthodox bishops were hung by the neck. In the centre of the city, other young hoodlums committed all sorts of sacrileges against the cross.
«We wish therefore, to the best of Our ability, to make an act of reparation for all these sacrilegious acts, and also to invite the faithful of the whole world to make reparation, and so we have resolved, Eminence, on the feast of Saint Joseph, March 19, 1930, to come to Our basilica of Saint Peter and to celebrate there, over the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles, a Mass of expiation, propitiation and reparation for so many criminal offences against the Divine Heart of Jesus, for the salvation of so many souls put to such a hard and painful trial, and also for the relief of Our dear Russian people, so that this long tribulation may finally cease, and peoples and individuals may return as quickly as possible to the one and only flock of Our only Saviour and Liberator, Our Lord Jesus Christ. After having asked His Sacred Heart to grant pardon and take pity on the victims and the murderers themselves, We will implore the holy and Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Her chaste Spouse, Saint Josconfessor orders me to inform eph, Patron of the Universal Church, the particular protectors of Russia: the holy angels, Saint John the Baptist, Saint John Chrysostom, Saints Cyril and Methodius as well as many other saints and particularly Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, to whom We have especially entrusted the future of these souls.» 49
Finally, the Sovereign Pontiff invited «the clergy and people of Rome», «all his brothers in the Catholic episcopate and the whole Christian world», to join «in this solemn supplication», «on this day or another day fixed for this end.» He granted his blessing «to all those who would participate in this crusade of prayers.»
On June 30, 1930, in a consistorial Allocution, the Pope recalled the ceremony of March 19. He declared:
«Our appeal was heard by the whole world, not only by Catholics, but also by a great number of dissidents: in a quasi-fraternal union, they too offered their prayers in their churches, and they too wanted to manifest all their gratitude to us, in public and in private.»
The Pope then decided that the prayers after Mass would be said in the future for the conversion of Russia. 50
5. THE PROVIDENTIAL HOUR
In this context, when Russia was in the forefront of current events, the requests of Our Lady of Fatima formulated at Tuy the previous year came to the knowledge of the Holy Father. They were so conformable to the purest Catholic spirit that spontaneously, faced with the current events, the Pope had already fulfilled a first part of Heaven’s stipulations: the public act of reparation to the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary. 51
It would have been easy to complete this initial act to obey with exactitude the requests of Heaven, to which such wonderful promises were attached. Providence even seemed to offer the most favourable occasion to perform this extraordinary act, and thus obtain the salvation of poor Russia...
In fact in a letter of December 25, 1930, addressed to Cardinal Pompili, the Pope announced that the fifteen hundredth anniversary of the Council of Ephesus would take place in 1931. To consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary could anyone have chosen a more appropriate date than this solemnity in honour of the Mother of God, this Theotokos so dear to the Russian Church, and all Eastern Christians? Some act of the Sovereign Pontiff was expected to mark this anniversary... «The Catholic world (Father Geenen writes) had hoped that this anniversary of the proclamation of the Divine Maternity would be the exclusively Marian event mentioned by Saint Pius X in his response to the organisers of the Lourdes Congress in 1914. However, the encyclical on the subject, Lux veritatis, remained silent on the subject and did not mention a word about it. Rome kept silence.» 52
III. THE FIRST REFUSAL OF POPE PIUS XI
The Pope, indeed, had decided to do nothing: neither the consecration of the world, still so warmly desired by the faithful, nor the consecration of Russia, urgently requested by Heaven.
The year 1931 went by sadly, completely occupied by other concerns and other projects. On February 12, for the first time in history the Pope directly addressed the whole world in a radio message; but he spoke neither of Russia nor the Immaculate Heart of Mary. On May 10, he wrote a letter to the German bishops to commemorate the seventh centennial of the death of Saint Elizabeth, “glory of the German people”; but for the thirteenth of May, when all the Portuguese bishops were meeting at Fatima for the solemn consecration of their country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Vatican remained silent. On May 15, the encyclical Quadragesimo anno briefly took up the question of communism; but neither Russia nor Spain, where the Bolsheviks had already burned over fifty churches since the creation of the Republic, were cited by name. The situation in Spain still did not disturb the Sovereign Pontiff. On June 29, he published a vehement encyclical, Non abbiamo bisogno... against Mussolini. The anniversary of the Council of Ephesus had gone by without anything extraordinary to mark it. The encyclical Lux veritatis, commemorating the event and in which the Pope announced the creation of the feast of the Divine Maternity of Mary, appeared only at the end of the year, on December 25, 1931. 53
THE TERRIBLE REVELATION OF SUMMER, 1931: « THEY DID NOT WANT TO HEED MY REQUEST»
In August 1931, Sister Lucy was not in good health. She was sent by her superiors to Rianjo, a small maritime city near Pontevedra, where she was to take some rest in a friendly house. 54 It was undoubtedly there, in the chapel of Our Lady where Lucy used to retire to pray, that Heaven manifested itself again. 55
First of all let us quote from her letter of August 29, 1931, where the seer passes on to her bishop this message, which is of capital importance in the economy of the message of Fatima:
«My confessor orders me to inform Your Excellency of what took place a little while ago between the Good Lord and myself: as I was asking God for the conversion of Russia, Spain and Portugal, it seemed to me that His Divine Majesty said to me: “You console Me a great deal by asking Me for the conversion of those poor nations. Ask it also of My Mother frequently, saying: Sweet Heart of Mary, be the salvation of Russia, Spain, Portugal, Europe and the whole world. At other times say: By your pure and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, obtain for me the conversion of Russia, Spain, Portugal, Europe and the entire world.”
«“ Make it known to My ministers that, given they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My request, they will follow him into misfortune. It will never be too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary.”» 56
Three years later, Sister Lucy explicitly mentioned the memorable letter written at Rianjo. Writing to Father Gonçalves on January 21, 1935, she said:
«... Regarding the matter of Russia, I think that it would please Our Lord very much if you worked to make the Holy Father comply with His wishes. About three years ago (therefore around 1931) Our Lord was very displeased because His request had not been attended to and I made this fact known to the bishop in a letter.» 57
In 1936, when she wrote down the detailed account of the apparition of Tuy for Father Gonçalves, she made sure that in the same text she recalled the decisive revelation of August, 1931:
«Later on, by means of an interior communication, Our Lord complainingly said to me: “ They did not want to heed My request. Like the King of France they will repent and do so, but it will be late. Russia will already have spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer.”» 58
Sister Lucy often returned to the mention of this terrible judgment by Our Lord, which was combined with a very firm but anguishing prophecy. She recalled it again in 1943, on the subject of the Spanish bishops. She mentioned it again when she spoke with Father Jongen in 1946. 59 Finally, she cited these words of Our Lord once again, applying them to our present time. 60
« MAKE IT KNOWN TO MY MINISTERS...»
Who is referred to in this terrible prophecy? Lucy’s confessors? Bishop da Silva? Or the Holy Father? Fatima historians are careful not to broach the question and Father Alonso himself leaves us in doubt. We must, however, read and reread all the texts of Sister Lucy on this point. They are perfectly clear and leave no room for doubt.
1. After the years 1930-1931, Sister Lucy never complains of any defect in the passing on of the message of Tuy. Besides, we have seen that Father Gonçalves carried out his mission as intermediary perfectly well.
2. Sister Lucy never writes that we must strive to see that Heaven’s requests finally reach the Holy Father. No, instead she writes: «We must work so that the Holy Father realises the designs» of Our Lord (January 21, 1935). We must «insist» (May 18, 1936). These expressions presuppose that he has already been informed.
3. Our Lord’s words in August 1931 are themselves sufficiently explicit. They unquestionably indicate that the fulfilment of the message is in question, not its transmission, which has already been done: «They did not want to heed My request...! Like the King of France they will repent and do it, but it will be late.» «Like the King of France»: in 1689, King Louis XIV had only to execute the desires of the Sacred Heart, not pass them on to someone else. The Reverend Father de la Chaise had already been explicitly designated for that purpose. Moreover, in Our Lord’s words at Rianjo, it is the same people (designated sometimes by the indeterminate “they” or by the expression “My ministers”) who «did not want» to heed His request, who «will repent», and who will finally «do it». Thus, it can concern only the Pope and the bishops, to whom it falls to fulfil the consecration requested.
But what is the precise meaning of this plural form? «Make it known to My ministers»? We can imagine that the Pope no doubt consulted or informed this or that prelate in his entourage about his decision, who encouraged him in his refusal. Does the formula also refer to Bishop da Silva, who had also refused to obey Heaven’s requests by delaying the passing on of the message? Perhaps, but it is not certain.
More probably the plural is explained by the fact that, besides the person of the reigning Pontiff, the prophecy also concerns his successors. In the same way, the requests of the Sacred Heart were addressed, in the person of Louis XIV, to all his successors on the throne of France.
IV. «THEY FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF THE KING OF FRANCE»
This is an explicit reference to the requests of the Sacred Heart given to Saint Margaret Mary in 1689. It explains the meaning and the implications of Our Lord’s laconic words on the subject of Pope Pius XI and his successors. Once again, the message of Paray-le-Monial sheds tremendous light on the message of Fatima. In return, this episode in the Fatima message allows us to resolve a thorny historical question: the transmission of the message of the Sacred Heart to King Louis XIV. 61
« THE GREAT DESIGNS OF THE SACRED HEART» OVER FRANCE AND ITS KING
On June 17, 1689, the Feast of the Sacred Heart, which was already celebrated at the Visitation Monastery of Paray-le-Monial, Saint Margaret Mary spoke to Mother de Saumaise to have the message passed on to King Louis XIV.
After explaining what the Sacred Heart expected of the Visitation order, the saint continued:
«... But He does not want to stop there: He has even greater designs, which can only be executed by His Omnipotence, which can do everything It desires.
«He thus desires, it seems to me, to enter with pomp and magnificence into the houses of princes and kings, to be honoured there as much as He was outraged, despised and humiliated in His Passion; and He desires to receive as much pleasure at seeing the great ones of the earth bowing down and humiliated before Him as He felt bitterness at seeing Himself annihilated at their feet.
«And here are the words which I heard on this subject: “Make it known to the eldest son of My Sacred Heart – speaking of our King – that just as his temporal birth was obtained by devotion to the merits of My holy Infancy, in the same way he will obtain his birth into grace and eternal glory by the consecration which he himself will make to My Adorable Heart, which wishes to triumph over his own, and through his efforts, triumph over the great ones of the earth as well. It wishes to reign in his palace, to be painted on his standards and engraved on his arms to make them victorious over his enemies, bringing these haughty and proud people to their knees before him, to make him triumphant over all the enemies of Holy Church.”» 62
In another letter written on August 28 of the same year, the messenger of the Sacred Heart specified more clearly Heaven’s requests, and the incomparable promises attached to them:
«The eternal Father, wishing to repair for the bitterness and anguish which the Adorable Heart of His divine Son felt in the house of the princes of the earth during the humiliations and outrages of the Passion, wishes to establish His empire in the court of our great monarch, whom He wishes to use for the execution of this design that He wants to accomplish in this way: to have an edifice built containing the picture of this divine Heart, to receive there the consecration and homage of the king and the entire court. Moreover, this divine Heart wishes to become the protector and defender of his sacred person against all his enemies visible and invisible, to defend him against them, and assure his salvation by this means. Therefore, He has chosen him (the king) as His faithful friend to obtain the authorisation of the Mass in His honour by the Holy Apostolic See, and all the other privileges which must accompany this devotion to this Sacred Heart, through which He wishes to dispense the treasures of His graces of sanctification and salvation, pouring out His blessings in abundance over all his enterprises. He will cause them to succeed for His glory, and give new success to his arms to make them triumph over his enemies. Happy will he be then if he learns to love this devotion, which will gain for him an eternal kingdom of honour and glory in this Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who will undertake to elevate him and make him great in Heaven before God His Father, as much as this great monarch will undertake to take away before men the insults and humiliations which this divine Heart suffered before them; this will be done by giving to Him and procuring for Him the honours, love and glory which He awaits from the king.
«But since God has chosen the Reverend Father de la Chaise for the execution of this design, through the power He has given him over the heart of our great king, it therefore falls to him to make this plan succeed...» 63
The Sacred Heart added that the Jesuit Order had been specially chosen to spread the devotion to Him, and pass on His great designs to the king. If it fulfilled this mission, the Order would receive graces and blessings in return; implying that in the contrary case, it would be chastised.
THE REFUSAL AND THE EXEMPLARY CHASTISEMENT
THE SOCIETY OF JÉSUS DISSOLVED. The prophecy was fulfilled to the letter, and in striking fashion. It is almost certain that Father de la Chaise refused to pass on the message of the Sacred Heart to the king. Or in any case, he did not encourage the king to follow it. A terrible chastisement followed: the ruin of the most flourishing and powerful order at that time followed in less than a century. Suppressed in Portugal in 1759, in France in 1764, in Spain three years later, the Society of Jesus was finally dissolved by the Pope himself in 1773. Saint Alphonsus de Liguori wrote on the subject: «What can we do? Simply adore the judgments of God in silence, and remain calm...» 64
THE KING DETHRONED. As for King Louis XIV, who found out about the desires of the Sacred Heart through means other than the Jesuits, the year 1689 marked the turning point of his reign. In spite of all his ingenuity, and the incessant labours of his virtuous old age, in spite of his heroic patience in the face of the worst reversals, he did not succeed in decisively crushing «the haughty and proud heads» of his enemies. These “enemies” were the enemies of France, as well as the most perfidious adversaries of the Roman Church: Calvinist Holland remained unvanquished; the England of William the Orange, which later came under the Masonic Hanoverian dynasty, jealous of the glory and preponderance of France; and finally Protestant Prussia, this aggressor nation which continued to rise after 1701, for the misfortune of Europe.
The great king died piously in 1701, but isolated and already powerless to prevent the coming catastrophes. His kingdom, deprived of the increase of extraordinary graces and miraculous help of the Sacred Heart, was gravely menaced from without, and undermined from within by the frivolousness, deadly errors, cowardice and betrayals which soon brought about its ruin.
During the entire eighteenth century, our stupid, miserable “philosophers” and encyclopaedists, seduced and subsidised by the Protestant and Masonic Counter-Church, prepared the great upheaval of the French Revolution through their Satanic hatred against God, against Christ and against His Church, and their furious hatred against France and its king.
On June 17, 1789, exactly one century after this Feast of the Sacred Heart when Saint Margaret Mary, «following the movement given to her at the same instant», had written down the great designs of Heaven for the king, the Third Estate rose up and proclaimed itself a National Assembly. At that moment, it overthrew the fully legitimate monarchy of divine right. On January 21, 1793, France, ungrateful and rebellious to its God, dared to decapitate its Most Christian King.
Granted, the royal house of France had begun to fulfil the desires of the Sacred Heart through the Queen, Marie Leczinska, through her son the Great Dauphin, and especially through Madame Elizabeth and also through Louis XVI, although he was already a prisoner and deprived of his sovereignty. We will return to this point later.
In the meantime, however, it is the consideration of the divine chastisement which must hold our attention. Like the revelation of Paray-le-Monial in 1689, the revelation of August, 1931, to Sister Lucy is a key to the interpretation of our history. It is a terrible prophecy: by their lack of docility to Heaven’s voice, the Sovereign Pontiffs today, like the Kings of France two centuries ago, will draw down «misfortune» upon themselves, and also upon the Church and on Christendom, which is assailed on every side by the unchained forces of the “adversary”.
Before going into the terrible consequences of the non-consecration of Russia, we must first of all answer a question: why was this consecration, which is so easy in itself, not done?
A SECOND ACCOUNT OF THE VISION OF TUY
In September of 1984, Father Martins introduced a previously unpublished account of the vision of Tuy in Fatima e o Coraçao de Maria. He writes: « I found this copy taped to the machine and unsigned, among Lucy’s letters addressed to Father Gonçalves, letters which Father Alonso had brought back to Madrid and which, thanks to God, were returned to Portugal.» On this copy Father Alonso had noted: « It is a manuscript Sister Lucy had in her journal.» Here is this text, probably written by Sister Lucy herself, in its entirety:
« Copy of the manuscript.
« The request for the consecration of Russia.
«11-6-29. 2 – I was in the chapel, alone with Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament, illumined only by the pale light of the (vigil) lamps, to make a holy hour from eleven o’clock to midnight, as was my custom.
« Without knowing how, I felt myself being enveloped in an intense light, and I saw upon the altar (I was very near it, kneeling in the middle, very near the communion rail) a Cross; on the upper part the face of a man and his body to the waist; before his breast a dove of more intense light; on the Cross Our Lord appearing as the crucified; under the right side of the Cross, Our Lady showing Her Immaculate Heart as at Fatima, and under the left side letters as it were of crystal-clear water flowing to the ground and forming the words: “Grace and Mercy”.
« I understood that it was the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity that was shown to me and I received enlightenment on this mystery which I am not permitted to describe.
« Our Lady said: “ The moment has come in which God asks of the Holy Father to make, and to order that in union with him and at the same time, all the bishops of the world make, the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart”, promising to convert it because of this day of prayer and worldwide reparation.
« I gave an account of this revelation to the confessor, who was then the Reverend Father José Bernardo Gonçalves, a Jesuit. His Reverence asked me to write it down, which I did, giving the paper to His Reverence on June 13, 1930. Ave Maria!» 3
It would, of course, be very important for the critical history of Fatima, to be able to clarify when and on what occasion this account of the Tuy vision was written. Several indications drawn from internal criticism suggest, it seems to us, the hypothesis that it was written before the more detailed text written by Sister Lucy for Father Gonçalves in May 1936. 4 Yet these particularities of the text may perhaps have another explanation, and do not absolutely exclude the hypothesis that it was written after 1936. We remain, in short, in a regrettable uncertainty, which only a further investigation with the seer herself can dispel. Thus it falls to those responsible for the critical edition of the documents on Fatima and the writings of Sister Lucy to settle this historical point in a decisive manner.
(1) MSC, p. 48.
(2) “El Corazon Immaculado de Maria, alma del mensaje de Fatima.”
(3) René Laurentin, “Le Secret de Fatima”, Historia, May 1982, p. 48.
(4) Cf. supra, p. 246-254.
(5) Alonso, Eph. Mar., 1973, p. 37.
(6) Cf. Declaration to Father Jongen, De Marchi, p. 346.
(7) FCM, p. 17.
(8) De Marchi, p. 346.
(9) Born in 1879, in 1912 he was ordained priest in the Society of Jesus. In 1938, he was sent to the missions in Brazil. He died on May 21, 1966 (FCM, p. 17).
(10) We have already quoted the whole continuation of this letter, cf. supra, p. 261-262.
(11) Cf. infra, chap. XII, appendix III.
(12) Uma Vida, p. 361-362. Father Martins dos Reis mistakenly dates this letter Christmas, 1926 (cf. FCM, p. 23).
(13) Alonso, Eph. Mar., 1973, p. 27.
(14) Doc., p. 401.
(15) Ibid. Regarding the gradual revelation of the Secret, in the final analysis we rally to Father Alonso’s hypothesis which seems the most probable one. In his most recent studies, he interprets Lucy’s declarations to Father Jongen in a restrictive sense (cf. De Marchi, p. 343-344). The Fatima expert thinks that in 1927 Lucy wrote only the themes of the Secret related to the reparatory devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, without yet speaking of Russia or the Second World War.
As for the later declarations of Father Aparicio, affirming that he was informed of the request for the consecration of Russia, and even the world, from the years 1926-1927, Father Alonso thinks it is impossible to take them literally. Cf. on this subject the study of A.M. Martins: “O Padre Aparicio e a consegraçao da Russia et do mundo ao Immaculado Coraçao de Maria”, Broteria, 1967, p. 746-755. And Father Alonso’s response in Eph. Mar., 1973, p. 66-71.
This does not change the fact that on December 17, 1927, Lucy in fact received Heaven’s authorisation to reveal the first two parts of the Secret. If she did not do so at this moment, it was only as she said to Father Jongen, «because nobody asked me to». De Marchi, p. 344. Cf. Alonso, MSC, p. 40, and the Fourth Memoir, where we see Father Aparicio encourage the seer not to reveal the Secret to Dr. Fischer in 1928 (p. 158-159).
(16) According to Father Martins, Father Aparicio resided at Tuy only until July 24, 1927 (FCM, p. 17).
(17) «At the beginning of 1928 (Father Aparicio recalls) I sent the copy of the document to the Bishop of Leiria; he answered me that at this moment the bishops were busy promoting throughout Portugal the Communion of Reparation on the 13th of each month; they would deal with this devotion later.» (Letter of June 17, 1936, FCM, p. 34.)
(18) Eph. Mar., 1973, p. 28-29.
(19) Cartas, p. 117.
(20) Cf. Fatima 1917-1968, p. 210, note 8.
(21) Here follows the text of the great promise such as we have already quoted it (supra, p. 247). Let us note only a clarification regarding confession, which must be accomplished «with the same purpose of making reparation for offences against the Most Holy Virgin».
(22) Alonso, O Dr. Formigao, p. 117-119, 293-295. Letter to Madre Cecilia.
(23) O Dr. Formigao, p. 118-119.
(24) O Dr. Formigao, p. 294.
(25) Eph. Mar., 1973, p. 51-52. In a letter of October 20, 1928, Lucy is still insistent with Bishop da Silva (ibid., p. 53).
(26) Ibid., p. 73 and FER, p. 28.
(27) Eph. Mar., 1973, p. 71-72; cf. FER, p. 29.
(28) Ibid., p. 72.
(29) Ibid., p. 72.
(30) PCM, p. 31.
(31) Eph. Mar., 1973, p. 73.
(32) Doc., p. 405. Translation in MSC, p. 43-44.
(33) Doc., p. 407; MSC, p. 45-46.
(34) Doc., p. 409; MSC, p. 46-47. We quote from the original text. The subtitles are our own.
(35) Doc., p. 409; MSC, p. 46-47.
(36) FAE. p. 96. In an appendix we shall quote the text of these two important letters (cf. infra, Chap. XII, Appendix V).
(37) Eph. Mar., 1973, p. 41.
(38) Cf. infra, p. 739-740.
(39) De Marchi, p. 346. These two texts clearly assume an intervention by Father Gonçalves, before that of Bishop da Silva in 1937. Without which, Sister Lucy would say that her bishop was passing on Our Lady’s requests to the Pope. Now she gives the highest prominence to the role of Father Gonçalves, even in the second version of her letter to Pope Pius XII, reviewed and corrected by Bishop da Silva himself (December 2, 1940, Doc., p. 437. Cf. in the same sense, her response to William Thomas Walsh, infra Chap. XII, Appendix V).
In her response to Father Jongen, Sister Lucy added: «I also made known Our Lady’s requests to my superiors, to the Reverend Mother Provincial, Mother Eugenia de Sousa Montfalim, who died in 1937, and to the Reverend Mother Mistress, Mother Maria de Penha Lemes, presently at Vila Nova de Gaia (Porto), where she exercises the office of secretary of the Reverend Mother Provincial. Mother Maria do Carmo Corte Real.» (De Marchi, p. 346.)
(40) Cf. supra, p. 386-387.
(41) Annum Sacrum, Acts of Leo XIII, Vol. VI, p. 27, Bonne Presse. Let us add that Pope Pius XI, in Quas Primas, cited this whole passage which affirms the universal royalty of Christ.
(42) Ibid., p. 31.
(43) Maria Droste zu Vischering, of German origin, had become in 1894 Superior of the Monastery of the Good Shepherd, at Porto. She passed on to the Pope the message of the Sacred Heart in two letters, dated June 10, 1898, and January 6, 1899. She was beatified by Pope Paul VI on November 1, 1975. (cf. Louis Chasles, Soeur Marie du Divin Coeur, Beauchesne, 1905.)
(44) On this point, which we cannot develop here, cf. for example Father J. Arragain (Eudist), “La Dévotion au Coeur de Marie”, in Maria Études sur la Sainte Vierge, Vol. V.
(45) Father G. Geenen, “Les antécédents doctrinaux et historiques de la consécration du monde au Coeur Immaculé de Marie”, Maria, Études sur la Sainte Vierge, p. 863-867.
(46) Jésus, Roi d’Amour, p. 379, Secrétariat intern. de l’Intronisation, Paris, 1930.
(47) 300 days, Fr. Beringer, Les indulgences, leur nature et leur usage, supplement, p. 36, Lethielleux, 1932.
(48) Ibid., p. 36.
(49) Written in his own hand, February 2, 1930, Actes de S.S. Pie XI, Vol. VI, p. 148-151 (Bonne Presse, 1934).
(50) Ibid., p. 223-224. On the origin of these prayers see L’Ami du Clergé, October 16, 1930, p. 657.
(51) Unless the Tuy revelation was communicated to him earlier than we think. And in this case the Mass of expiation on March 19, 1930, would have been an initial, incomplete response to the message of Fatima. But with the information currently available to us, there is no evidence to support this hypothesis.
(52) G. Geenen, op. cit., p. 867.
(53) Actes de S.S. Pie XI, Vol. VII.
(54) Declaration to Father Jongen.
(55) Alonso, FER, p. 95.
(56) Alonso, Fatima Ante la Esfinge, p. 97.
(57) Doc., p. 413.
(58) Doc., p. 465. Cf. supra, p. 464-465.
(59) «In 1931, from Rianjo, where by order of my Superiors I had gone to rest for a month, I wrote a letter to His Excellency the Bishop of Leiria, insisting on this same request, and there I mentioned the words of Our Lord: “ Like the King of France, they do not heed My requests; the Holy Father will consecrate Russia, but it will be late.”» (De Marchi, p. 347.)
(60) In a conversation with a member of her family, on August 11, 1982. Cf. Fr. Caillon, La Consécration de la Russie aux très Saints Coeurs de Jésus et de Marie, p. 45, Téqui, 1983.
(61) Certain historians, arguing from the absence of any contemporary document attesting that the king was in fact informed, thought quite simply that he never found out about it. The words of Our Lord to Sister Lucy settle the debate definitively. The king finally found out about the requests but «he did not want to heed them» and «he delayed their execution».
(62) Letter 100. Vie et oeuvres de sainte Marguerite-Marie Alacoque, Vol. II, p. 437-438, Gigord, 1920.
(63) Letter 107, to Mother de Saumaise, ibid., p. 456-457.
(64) Father T. Rey-Mermet, Le Saint du siècle des Lumières, p. 573. Nouvelle Cité, 1982.
(1) Added for the second edition (October, 1986).
(2) Sister Lucy, whose memory otherwise is excellent, herself admits that she never paid attention to dates. The apparition took place on the 13th and not the 11th of June.
(3) FCM. p. 78-79.
(4) Cited below, p. 462-465.