THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT FATIMA VOLUME II
THE SECRET AND THE CHURCH
2.9. “Russia Will Spread her Errors,
Causing Wars and Persecutions...” (1931 - 1937)
LET us consider the words of Saint Margaret Mary, revealing to us the secrets of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords, in His sovereign conduct in our history. She writes:
«... His power can do everything which pleases Him, although He does not always do it, not wishing to do violence to the heart of man, so that leaving man in his liberty, He might have more means to reward or chastise him.» 1
THE GREAT SECRET, ALTHOUGH NOT DISCLOSED, BEGINS TO BE FULFILLED...
In the years 1929-1931, everything depended on the Pope. If Russia had been consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, neither the Second World War nor the explosive expansion of communism would have taken place. But since it did not happen, the chastisements began to take place, and misfortunes befell Christendom.
FIRST OF ALL IN CATHOLIC SPAIN. The misfortunes fell with unprecedented rapidity and violence. Already they foretold the coming contagion, the Red leprosy which was to ravage the world, nation by nation. When God’s designs are seen in the light of the Secret of Fatima, the war in Spain was undoubtedly the terrible lesson, the final warning addressed to the pastors of the Church. It was an urgent incentive for them to finally fulfil Heaven’s designs before it was too late, before even heavier chastisements befell the world.
It is a remarkable fact: at the very moment when the Pope refused to fulfil Heaven’s requests – during the opening months of 1931 – the prophecy of the great Secret began to be fulfilled to the letter in Spain: « Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions against the Church.» For in this revolution, which first of all was Masonic before becoming openly Bolshevik, the best historians have proven that Russia’s role was decisive from beginning to end. The process was exactly the same as in 1917. The essential phases of the Russian Revolution repeated themselves, only over a longer period of time: it went from an anti-monarchical revolution to a liberal and Masonic parliamentary democracy, which soon became, as its logical fulfilment – or its natural, rotten fruit – a Bolshevik tyranny. ... THEN OVER THE WORLD. The year 1931 was also a turning point in the period between the two world wars. Aristide Briand, the “pilgrim of peace’’, had scarcely disappeared when his blind pacifism began to produce the most deadly seeds of war. Germany rearmed itself and already outlined a Germano-Soviet accord, faced with a powerless, democratic France. From that point, the most farsighted thinkers witnessed the escalation of danger and an almost inexorable march towards a second world conflict. International politics were already sinking from the post-war into another pre-war period...
The Vatican, unfortunately, was unable to foresee this terrible future – which the Fatima seer could have revealed to it, if only she had been requested to reveal the great Secret. It continued to follow the same policy. Unfortunately, this too contributed to the misfortunes of the Church and Christendom...
I. RISING DANGERS (1931-1935)
1931: IN SPAIN, ROME OPTS FOR A RALLYING TO THE REPUBLIC
«The clergy had not remained insensible to the liberal ideas of the nineteenth century. The Christian Democrats were gaining ground and Pius XI, in full Wilsonian illusion, encouraged them. He did not like Alfonso XIII, and it could be said that the Republic had been made by the Vatican. In any case he did not oppose it, and the village curates told people to vote for it. Thus the clergy imagined that it could woo its worst enemies, and on the pretext of not remaining insensible to “progress”, it abandoned reality for a fallacious policy of ralliement.» 2
Rome certainly did nothing to uphold the Catholic monarchy of Alfonso XIII. Henri Daniel-Rops avows it openly:
«After the collapse of General Berenguer’s dictatorship (April 14, 1931) and the departure of King Alfonso XIII into exile, a new page of Spanish history seemed to open, with no suggestion of the tragedy that was to follow. The revolution had been effected quite peacefully, and the outlook was so optimistic that the new republic was nicknamed Niña bonita – “pretty girl”.
«... Catholics meanwhile gave the new regime a hearty welcome; some of them even appearing to forget rather quickly the historical role of the Spanish monarchy in defence of the faith. There were, too, some distinguished Catholics, e.g. Alcala Zamora, among the new rulers. Te Deum was sung in many places to celebrate the victory of the Republic; bishops and Catholic Action groups saluted the regime, which moreover began by showing marked respect for the Church. The nuncio, Msgr. Tedeschini, had cordial conversations with representatives of the government.» 3
In their collective Letter of July 1, 1931, the Spanish bishops wrote: «... Following the rules laid down by the Holy See, the bishops resolutely align themselves with the established powers. They strive to collaborate with them for the common good.» 4
In fact Alcala Zamora, by exercising the office of President of the Republic, was a puppet for an entirely Masonic government. A surface Catholic, he solemnly promised on April 15 to respect the liberty of the Church. Less than one month later he had betrayed this promise. For six years he continued to preside over a fiercely anticlerical and fundamentally Masonic Republic, always playing the game of the left-wing parties until the Bolsheviks sent him away, no longer needing his good offices...
MAY 1931: SPAIN IN FLAMES
«By the beginning of May, churches began to burn under the indifferent eye of the police. The work was methodically accomplished. The altars were ravaged and smashed to bits. Holy water fonts were smashed, the wooden statues were burned, the choir-lofts denuded. The convents were devastated, the libraries were pillaged and violated.
«Destruction was methodically ordered in all cities. On May 11, twelve convents and schools, including the University of Arts and Trades, were burned at Madrid. An equal number burned at Alicante. At Malaga, before the eyes of government troops and the police, who did nothing, the convent of Jesuits, the convent of Augustinians and the episcopal palace were burned in broad daylight. At Cadix, the convent of San Domingo, the Jesuits and Saint Francis along with the Carmel were burned. At Burgos the convents were pillaged. At Grenada, at Cordova, and at Seville churches were burned. At Malaga, cadavers of nuns were disinterred and profaned. The guilty parties were not even bothered.» 5
Cardinal Segura, the Primate of Spain, who dared to warn his faithful against the Republic, was arrested on June 14 and led away to the border.
Such events were clear and extremely alarming portents for the future, especially since anarchical and communist movements, which had been almost non-existent under the monarchy, had seen their power grow tenfold within a few months.
Rome, however, wanted to maintain its policy of entente with the Republic no matter what the cost, and imposed it on the bishops. «In spite of the repeated offences done to persons, things, and the rights of the Church, the bishops persisted in their firm resolution not to disturb the regime of concord previously established.» They exhorted their sheep to submission, patience, and to peace. «And the Catholic people followed us», they observed. 6
A MASONIC REPUBLIC, PERSECUTOR OF THE CHURCH. From there things quickly went from bad to worse. On June 28, a constituent assembly was elected. On October 13, Azana, the prime minister, dared to declare to the Cortes [the Spanish legislature]: « Today Spain has ceased to be Catholic.» And in fact the constitution promulgated on December 9, 1931, was not content with the separation of Church and State. It was aggressively anticlerical and persecuted the Church. The Society of Jesus was dissolved and its goods confiscated. The other religious orders were paralyzed in their apostolate.
The decrees implementing these laws were not long in coming. On January 23, 1932, came the decree against the Jesuits; on February 2, the suppression of the crucifix in the schools; on March 2, the institution of divorce; and the institution of civil marriage three months later. In short order followed the laws confiscating the goods of the Church and against religious congregations.
THE SITUATION IN SPAIN AS SEEN FROM TUY. Sister Lucy, who lived in Galicia for six years, perceived the gravity of the situation right away: «The question of religion must be decided in these very days», she wrote in October, 1931. «We do not know if it will be. We are in God’s hands.» At certain moments the torment seemed to die down: «For the moment (she writes) we are calm. Nobody comes to harass us.» However, for Easter 1932, the Jesuits had to leave their residence at Tuy. The suppression of all religious congregations was imminent, Lucy even saw the heaviest trials up ahead. «We will see, this is what the Good Lord wills for us. The only thing I fear is that Our Good Lord will not find me worthy to suffer for His love.» 7
FINALLY, POPE PIUS XI INTERVENES
Almost two years after the promulgation of the republican constitution – laicising and anti-religious in nature – the Pope finally decided to intervene publicly. On June 3, he published the encyclical Dilectissima nobis, where he protests against «the unjust situation of the Catholic Church in Spain.» While insisting on a sincere, loyal and lasting rallying to the Republic on the Church’s part, the Pope deplored the laws of persecution. 8 This condemnation, late and watered down as it was, nevertheless had great repercussions. The Catholics regained control, as is eloquently witnessed by the elections to the legislature on November 19, 1933. The right scored a crushing victory. A sigh of relief was breathed at Madrid, while at Rome the hope of a good and sound Spanish republic was reborn. Gil Robles, founder of Popular Catholic Action, even thought it wise to leave power in the hands of the socialists!
Taking advantage of this delay which left it full freedom to manoeuvre, the communist party of Largo Caballero, the “Spanish Lenin”, grew at an alarming rate. At Moscow, an exposition was devoted to the future Spanish revolution. Yvon Delbos writes: «It appears that the Soviets counted on the first successes of their contagion coming among our friends across the Pyrenees. In this visit one almost finds the smell of blood.» 9 The Spanish Republic, fortified by the support or at least the political apathy of Catholics, led the country inexorably towards the communist revolution.
FROM POST-WAR TO PRE-WAR
At the same time, before the eyes of a blind, apathetic Europe, Germany witnessed the staggering rise of Hitlerism which resulted in his seizing power. On January 30, 1933, Hitler was elected chancellor. The famous Reichstag fire came on February 27. On March 24, Hitler had full power put into his hands. Nothing was lacking to this victory: the Pope saw fit to continue his pro-German policy, and on July 20, he signed a concordat with Hitler. On August 30, there was held the First Congress of Nuremburg – this idolatrous liturgy which the Party rendered to Germany and its pagan gods; and on September 14, the Nazis were declared the sole party. On November 12, Hitler conducted a plebiscite and came away triumphantly with 93.4% of the votes. The following year he was proclaimed chancellor and president of the Reich, by a vote of 38 million to 4 million.
It was Hitler’s victory, arid Stalin’s as well. The latter, after conducting a horrible genocide upon his own people during the years 1929-1933, saw his government recognised by Roosevelt on November 16, 1933. Stalin’s government was admitted to the League of Nations on September 18, 1934. He had not mitigated his furious persecutions in the slightest. On May 15, 1932, he had launched a «five year plan against religion», which envisaged closure of all religious buildings and «the banishment of the very idea of God» by May 1, 1937. 10
Already, with the appearance of these two monsters, and the rise of these two friends-enemies on the political scene, one could foresee a new world war taking shape. It was the war predicted by Our Lady of Fatima on July 13, 1917: « 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.»
Did the Pope see it coming? Undoubtedly he did. For in 1932, in one of his most beautiful encyclicals, Caritate Christi, he wrote at length of the menacing peril of militant atheism: «Woe to humanity», he declared, «if God is so outraged by His creatures that in His justice He gives free rein to this wave of devastation, using it as a rod to chastise the world!» And faced with this «revolt of man against God», the cause of so many evils, he insistently invited the faithful to offer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus prayers and penances in reparation for so many crimes which outrage It. 11 He did not, however, see fit to do more, and correspond to the express requests of the Queen of Heaven.
ROME AND FATIMA: AN ICE-COLD SILENCE
Indeed since the years 1930-1931, when he had been informed of the request for the consecration of Russia, Pope Pius XI remained dead silent on Fatima. On November 10, 1933, in an apostolic letter to the Portuguese bishops recommending Catholic Action to them, the Pope declared:
«In your country, where the Christian spirit is so flourishing... and which more recently the Virgin Mother of God has deigned to favour with extraordinary benefits, it will not be difficult to find good citizens who will enrol spontaneously, and with a generous heart, in this militia of Jesus Christ.» 12
While speaking to the Portuguese bishops, the Pope had been content to repeat, in 1933, an expression that Benedict XV used six months after the apparition, in April of 1918. It must unfortunately be said that the Pope could hardly do less in favour of Fatima. This veiled allusion was followed by what must be called an ice-cold silence on Fatima. Clearly, the Pope had not appreciated that the seer dared to indicate to him, even in the name of Heaven, a policy to follow and an action to be performed for the good of the Church and the peace of the world, which seemed to him contrary to his designs. The direction of the Church was his business – he knew, better than anybody else, the road to follow! We wish we were wrong, but this really seems to have been the Pope’s reaction to the requests of Our Lady passed on by Sister Lucy.
In his detailed chronology of the events of Fatima, Father Rolim points out that on May 13, 1932, the apostolic nuncio presided over the blessing of the monument of the Sacred Heart. But from that point until the death of Pius XI, we find no more mention of any intervention either of the Pope or the nuncio in favour of Fatima. 13 The exhaustive chronology established by Father Netter indicates nothing further. 14
THE SAD END OF OSTPOLITIK (1933)
Meanwhile, the Russian policy conducted by Pius XI and Father d’Herbigny since 1922 ended tragically. After a final papal audience on September 29, 1933, the Pope’s advisor for Russian affairs left Rome, never to return. On October 23, he was invited by Father Ledochowsky, Superior General of the Jesuits, to submit his resignation from the Commission “Pro Russia”, and a few days later, his resignation from all his functions at the Vatican. The Pope had to resign himself to banishing from Rome the man who had been one of his most intimate collaborators for ten years.
In 1931, Cardinal Pacelli, who had been Secretary of State since February 1930, desired to suppress the commission “Pro Russia”. But Bishop d’Herbigny remained all-powerful with the Pope.
Things remained in that condition until 1933. That year a certain Father Deubner suddenly disappeared without any trace, after having visited Berlin in the company of Clara Zetkin, the celebrated Jewish communist and international agent of Moscow. Deubner had worked for several years as a translator for the commission “Pro Russia”, and had been a protégé of Bishop d’Herbigny. Bishop d’Herbigny had even made Deubner his secretary, and their names appeared as co-authors on the title of his last book, which d’Herbigny had just published. Only then was it learned that Father Deubner had been Clara Zetkin’s nephew!
Suddenly, a good number of things were explained, reports Joseph Vandrisse. «Bishop d’Herbigny regularly received letters from Bishop Neveu, apostolic administrator of Moscow, who corresponded with him by diplomatic bag. His secretary read the correspondence. At the Secretariat of State, directed by Cardinal Pacelli, there was astonishment over the leaks. The news from Russia was clearly bad: cases of arrest and torture multiplied.» 15
The biographical data on Deubner, reported later by Bishop d’Herbigny to justify his having confided in this curious figure, is imprecise and full of gaps. It is a long way from removing all suspicion. Quite the contrary, Alexander Deubner went from the University of Louvain to an apostolic school of the Assumptionist Fathers. He was dismissed in 1926 for his unstable character. He got himself ordained a priest in Constantinople by an Eastern Catholic bishop and was incardinated by the Metropolitan of Lvov. After arriving at Paris in 1927, he apostatised to join the Orthodox, and began consorting immediately with personalities of Action Française. But scarcely eight months later, he abjured his “double error” to make his solemn return to the flock, sure of being absolved enthusiastically by the passionate enemies of Action Française: Archbishop Ricard at Nice, and before long Bishop d’Herbigny at Rome. Bishop d’Herbigny welcomed him as a student at the Oriental Institute, before making him his collaborator and private secretary. It is hard to imagine a better channel to come so quickly into close contact with the principal official responsible for relations between the Vatican and the USSR...
Bishop d’Herbigny tried to justify himself and refused to admit that Deubner had been a spy. But as J. Vandrisse writes, «from this point on his rebuttals lack frankness». Everything leads us to believe that in effect, since 1928, Father Deubner had been in the service of Moscow. In any case, this was the conclusion drawn by Cardinal Pacelli and the Pope himself, and it was the official reason for Bishop d’Herbigny’s dismissal. 16
What is astonishing is that Pope Pius XI had placed so much confidence in Bishop d’Herbigny for so long, when the majority of his initiatives demonstrated both a dismaying lack of good sense, and presumptuous imprudence. Hadn’t the Superior General of the Jesuits warned the Holy Father already in 1926, before the first mission to Russia? «Father d’Herbigny is emotional, hypersensitive, lacking in discretion, and in addition he is extremely impractical. This will end in grave disillusionment.» These words are sadly prophetic. 17
On March 30, 1934, L’Osservatore Romano announced both the resignation of Bishop d’Herbigny and the suppression of the Commission “Pro Russia” such as it had been constituted in 1930. 18 Relieved of his official functions, Bishop d’Herbigny gradually saw himself be deprived of all ministry. Before long he was reduced to retirement and absolute silence. 19 Yet his name continued to be connected to over ten years of Ostpolitik, which was as deadly as it was illusory. The time had come to put an end to it!
THE PERPETUAL PROFESSION OF SISTER LUCY
Meanwhile, at Tuy, the Fatima seer humbly went on with her life as a lay sister. Since her entire duty had been fulfilled by making known Heaven’s desires, she remained in peace, devoting herself with joy to the little tasks confided to her.
Later on she recalled, «Parents and friends were well aware of where I was, and every day my “incognito” status became more and more relative.» However, since she was still under an oath, she continued to conceal her identity. There are a good many amusing anecdotes about how clever she could be in getting out of awkward situations:
«One day a young Portuguese priest requested to celebrate Mass in the chapel of the Dorotheans. At that moment Lucy was working in the sacristy. After completing the Holy Sacrifice, the priest thanked the Sister sacristan who arranged the vestments in the drawers and said to her: “Sister, may I see your celebrated companion Mary of Sorrows?” “Celebrated?” Lucy answered with a surprised smile. “Yes!” the priest answered. “How is she?” “A Sister like the others... like me... we are all alike.” And the good ecclesiastic left Tuy without suspecting that he had spoken to Lucy herself.
«Another time, accompanied by a Portuguese Sister, she left on foot to go to Valença, on the other bank of the Minho, to go shopping. They were both smiling radiantly; they were going to Portugal, their country!
«After passing the international bridge, without even being noticed by the police guards and customs, they went on towards the old Portuguese citadel with their black robe, their cape and frilled head-dress which, under their veil made of black gauze, enclosed their fresh and smiling faces.
«Suddenly three women recognised the uniform and stopped before them: “Dorothean Sisters?” “Yes.” “Portuguese... from Tuy?” “Yes, ladies.” “That’s just where we are going. We want to see Lucy, the Fatima seer. She is in Spain, isn’t she?” “Oh, no”, Lucy answered. “At the moment she is in Portugal.” “What do you mean? What a shame!” “Yes, yes, ladies, she is in Portugal.” “And if she were at Tuy, could we see her? They say it is difficult!” “Certainly you could.” “And how?” “How? By looking at her, same as you are looking at me now...”
«They exchanged good wishes and left, and the two young Sisters went on their way, right up to the old drawbridge which brought them to Valença...» 20
On October 3, 1934, the feast of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, Sister Lucy pronounced her perpetual vows. For the ceremony her mother, two of her sisters and some of her cousins had come from Portugal. Since Maria Rosa had insisted on offering her daughter a nuptial present, Lucy had answered finally that she would like some flowers... and some bees. The Santos brought a carefully packed hive from Aljustrel...
This time Bishop da Silva was able to preside at the feast, and his mere presence was enough to remove the seer’s incognito for good. Of course she took advantage of the occasion to converse with him freely, and remind him once more of her dear devotion of reparation. A few days later she confided to Father Gonçalves:
«His Excellency the Bishop of Leiria promised me that next year he will promote the reparatory devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I believe that God is also counting on your cooperation. As for the consecration of Russia, it seems unbelievable, but I forgot to mention it to the bishop. Patience! I am sorry to see it stay like this, because I don’t think that Our Good Lord likes it, but I can’t do more than to pray and sacrifice myself for His love.» 21
A few days after her perpetual profession, Sister Lucy had to depart from Tuy to return to the college of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows at Pontevedra, where she had already done her postulancy. 22 She had been scheduled to leave Tuy on October 6, but she was prevented by strikes, and she was unable to reach her new post for another three days. In fact, all of Spain was shaken by grave revolutionary troubles...
THE RED OCTOBER OF 1934: THE REVOLUTION IN ASTURIAS
«The miners of the Asturias were considered the principal group among the shock troops of the proletarian revolution. They had been powerfully armed, thanks to shipments of material and munitions by the Comintern. The most important delivery came from the Soviet steamship Turquesa.» 23
The day after Gil Robles’ entry into the government, Largo Caballero gave the order for the insurrection. At Madrid, in the principal cities and even in the Basque provinces, the uprising was quickly crushed. On the other hand, in Asturias and particularly at Oviedo, the revolution triumphed. Twenty thousand men from among the regular troops had to be sent before the revolution could be defeated, at the cost of heavy losses. There were several thousand victims, and many buildings were destroyed. The revolutionaries gave themselves over to pillaging and massacres: «At Campo de San Francisco priests were doused with gasoline and burned alive; at Sama de Langres one of them was hung on a meat-hook, naked, and with this sign on his stomach: “Pork meat for sale.”» Atrocities of this kind multiplied, the churches were burned, the library of Oviedo was dynamited and two hundred thousand books were destroyed, etc. It was Bolshevik barbarism in all its horror...
The demo-Christian and Masonic government shot the miners and spared the communist leaders 24... who took advantage of this impunity to constitute a formidable front with the anarchists and socialists.
1935: AGAIN THE MOMENT CAME TO CONSECRATE RUSSIA
TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
Perhaps after new requests from Sister Lucy, or perhaps after seeing the imminent danger of a Bolshevik revolution really succeeding, Father Gonçalves occupied himself once more with the consecration of Russia. But since 1929-1930, five years had passed. Did the promises of Russia’s conversion still hold good? Was it necessary to convince Bishop da Silva himself to intervene with the Holy See? Given Rome’s silence when the matter was first brought up, would it not be better to ask only for the consecration of the world by the Holy Father alone? This request had already been made by various Marian Congresses and movements. It undoubtedly would be easier to obtain than the consecration of Russia by the Pope and all the bishops of the world...
On January 21, 1935, Sister Lucy answered these and various other questions of Father Gonçalves in an important letter. 25
A NEW ATTEMPT MUST BE MADE. «... Regarding the matter of Russia, I think it would please Our Lord very much if you worked to make the Holy Father comply with His wishes.»
FOR THREE YEARS OUR LORD HAS NOT ASKED FOR ANYTHING... «About three years ago 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. Up to date Our Lord has asked nothing more of me, except for prayers and sacrifices.»
NEVERTHELESS, THE PROMISE CONTINUES. «When I am speaking intimately with Him, it seems to me that He is ready to show His mercy toward Russia, as He promised five years ago, and whom He wishes so much to save.
«But you can see that to speak intimately with God is very different from speaking personally 26, and that the doubt of error is always greater.»
NOTHING SHOULD BE CHANGED IN HEAVEN’S REQUESTS. «Now I will answer your questions.
«First – If I think that you should insist with the bishop? I think that it would please Our Lord very much.
«Second – If you should modify anything? I think that it should be exactly as Our Lord asked it...» 27
Sister Lucy was right for two reasons. First of all because when God asks for something, the whole merit of filial obedience lies in accomplishing exactly and lovingly everything He has requested. Sister Lucy was right for another reason: there was little chance that the Holy Father would be more willing to perform an act which indeed would be easier, but nothing more than a pious suggestion, and no longer a pressing demand of Our Lady Herself, accompanied by magnificent promises.
Moreover, here is the proof, as related by Father Geenen:
«In 1933, Bishop Hiral began the construction of the Cathedral of Port Said, at the entrance of the Suez Canal, the maritime crossroads of the world. It was dedicated to Mary under the title, “Queen of the World”. While passing through Rome in 1935, Bishop Hiral had asked Pius XI if the construction of the new Cathedral, the first of its name, was not the favourable occasion to make the consecration of the world and proclaim the Universal Queenship of Mary. “Be patient”, the Pope told him, “we are waiting for the hour of Providence.”» 28
Sister Lucy, however, was untiring in her continued insistence. Nor did she get discouraged. On May 26, 1935, she wrote to Father Gonçalves:
«... On the 10th, I wrote to His Excellency the bishop, reminding him of the promise that he had made about propagating the reparatory devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary this year. I hope this is the moment designated by Our Good Lord for the unfolding of what I think is the Divine Will. I hope that you will be one of the main workers in this field of the Lord...
«If you wish to consult with Father Aparicio in order to give any added impulse to the reparatory devotion of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, you have all the liberty to do so. I am your most humble servant.» 29
On July 29, 1935, she wrote to Father Aparicio:
«I hope Your Reverence will not recoil at the mention of Russia and the reparatory devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for Our Lord has especially entrusted this enterprise to Your Reverence.» 30
SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER, 1935: LUCY RECOUNTS FATIMA
THE INTERROGATION BY ANTERO DE FIGUEIREDO. From September 16-20, 1935, Sister Lucy had to submit to one of the most difficult interrogations she was ever subjected to in her whole life, as the chief witness to the apparitions. The writer Antero de Figueiredo arrived at Pontevedra with a letter from the Mother Provincial, ordering Lucy in the name of holy obedience to answer all the questions put to her. In her Memoirs she describes the frightful interior torment which she felt then, being on her own resources without an advisor or guide, and torn between the duty of obedience and the divine inspiration not to reveal all her intimate secrets to a man of the world «who seemed to understand nothing about the spiritual life or the elementary practice of the Christian life.» 31
THE WRITING OF THE FIRST MEMOIR. Also at this time, after an exchange of letters with Bishop da Silva regarding the transfer of Jacinta’ s mortal remains to the cemetery of Fatima, Lucy wrote her First Memoir. She described her childhood memories of her cousin and especially her devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary with such charm and fervour, demonstrating real literary talent, that she soon had to take up her pen again to complete her first notebook and recall other memories. 32
II. THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR: A FINAL, TERRIBLE WARNING
THE « POPULAR FRONT»: BOLSHEVISM IN POWER (FEBRUARY - JULY 1936)
The revolt of Asturias in 1934 had only been practice, the dress-rehearsal for the great Spanish Revolution, which had long been decided on and prepared by Stalin’s agents.
In July - August, 1935, the Seventh Congress of the Communist International took place at Moscow. «The glorious flag of the Soviets was able to fly over Asturias for fifteen days...», it was triumphantly proclaimed. The plans were drawn up, and the electoral tactics to be followed were fixed. On January 15, 1936, it was put into effect by the formation of the “Popular Front”, which combined all the forces of the left in one united bloc. 33
AT THE FEBRUARY 16 ELECTIONS, total votes for the Right gained a majority of five hundred thousand over those of the Left. But some clever gerrymandering and voiding of the votes of some provinces gave the Popular Front a striking triumph: an absolute majority in the chamber, with one hundred and eighteen more deputies than the Right!
Once the farce of the elections was over with, the Revolution could be unleashed. The demo-Christian facade of President Zamora had outlived its usefulness. He was replaced by the Red, Azana. The most influential men in the military were removed and General Franco, the chief of staff, was sent to the Canary Islands.
“VIVA RUSSIA!” In the month of March, a bloody wave of Red terror began to sweep over the country: demonstrations, strikes, shootings, burnings, massacres. It was the anarchy of the revolution in all its horror. Above all, an unbelievably violent anticlericalism was unleashed.
«Not only were legal steps taken immediately to expel the religious congregations, close the Catholic schools and forbid public worship, but monstr, 1936, immediately after the triumph ous cruelty too was given free rein. One hundred and sixty churches and convents were destroyed by fire; priests and religious were hunted through the streets like wild beasts; at Madrid five nuns were lynched. Largo Caballero announced “the near approach of total victory for the Red flag”. Demonstrators, parading in red shirts and with red flags flying, alternated their howls of “Viva Russia!, 1936, immediately after the triumph » 34
This significant cry did indeed correspond to the reality. In a long, official report presented to the “Committee for Non-intervention” in 1936, President Salazar established, with an impressive mass of sure and precise information, the decisive role of Russia in the Spanish Revolution: «It can be said without any exaggeration that this war is the fruit of Soviet influence in Spain», he declared. 35
For their part, the Catholic Spanish bishops also recalled the facts in their collective letter of July 1, 1937:
«On February 27, 1936, immediately after the triumph of the Popular Front, the Comintern decreed the revolution in Spain and financed it with exorbitant sums. The following May 1, hundreds of young people demanded publicly at Madrid “bombs, pistols, powder and dynamite for the coming revolution”. On the 16th of the same month, representatives of the USSR met with some Spanish delegates of the Third International at the House of the People in Valencia, and here is the ninth article of their agreement: “To get one of the sectors in Madrid to eliminate political and military figures destined to play an important role in the counter-revolution.” Meanwhile, from Madrid to the most distant cities, the revolutionary militias received military training and were armed to the teeth, so much so that when the war broke out, they numbered 150,000 assault soldiers and 100,000 in the second line.» 36
Indeed after March, 1936, Russian ships were constantly unloading arms in Spanish ports, while dozens of technicians of the revolutionary war, the principal ones being Bela Kun and Losovski, arrived at Barcelona with instructions to execute a program, point by point, which would work effectively. 37
On April 15, the monarchist leader Calvo Sotelo pronounced in the Cortes a long discourse – interrupted by shouts and threats from the Left – in which he presented an implacable indictment of the Popular Front’s innumerable crimes: «Since February 16, a current of fire and blood has blown over Spain.» Then he drew up a frightful account of events. 38
“WE NEED GIGANTIC FLAMES AND WAVES OF BLOOD.” But what can the most eloquent, the most powerful discourses do, before the destructive, barbarous and bloody fury of the Bolsheviks? Between February 16 and May 13 four hundred people were already killed, and more than a thousand were gravely wounded. And that was only a beginning...
At Saragossa, Largo Caballero cried: «We will not leave a stone standing in this Spain which we must destroy before rebuilding it and making it ours.» Margarita Nelken was bold enough to declare this Satanic plan to the Cortes:
«We want a revolution, but the Russian revolution cannot serve as a model for us, because we ourselves need to create gigantic flames which can be seen all over the planet, and waves of blood which redden the seas.» 39
Meanwhile, Hitler was preparing Germany for war. On March 7, 1936, he brought his troops into the demilitarised Rhineland, while in France the May elections assured the victory of the Popular Front. The French Popular Front then hastened to send arms, planes and men to the Spanish Reds, and were supported by the Christian Democrat intelligentsia of men like Mauriac, Maritain, Mounier, and before long Bernanos.
THE LETTER OF MAY 18, 1936: THE POPE AND RUSSIA,
AN IMPORTANT REVELATION
Father Gonçalves was undoubtedly alarmed by the turn of events in Spain. He could see that the prophecy of August, 1931, about «Russia which will spread her errors», was now being fulfilled to the letter. He asked Sister Lucy what should be done. She answered on May 18, in an important letter. We give the integral text here:
IS IT STILL NECESSARY TO INSIST? «... About the other questions, if it will be convenient to insist in order to obtain the consecration of Russia? I answer in almost the same way as I answered the other times. I am sorry that it has not been done yet, but the same God Who asked for it, is the One Who permitted it.
«I am going to say what I feel about it, although it is too delicate a subject to talk about in a letter, due to the danger of it getting lost and being read, but I entrust it to the same God, because I am afraid I have not treated the matter with enough clarity.»
THE PROMISE REMAINS. «If it is convenient to insist? I don’t know. It seems to me that if the Holy Father did it right now, God would accept it, and would fulfil His promise; and without any doubt, through this act, the Holy Father would gladden Our Lord and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.» 40
THE CONSECRATION OF RUSSIA: TRIUMPH OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY. «Intimately I have spoken to Our Lord about the subject, and not too long ago I asked Him why He would not convert Russia without the Holy Father making that consecration? “ Because I want My whole Church to acknowledge that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that it may extend its cult later on, and put the devotion to this Immaculate Heart beside the devotion to My Sacred Heart.”»
“PRAY VERY MUCH FOR THE HOLY FATHER!” «“ But my God, the Holy Father probably won’t believe me, unless You Yourself move him with a special inspiration.” “ The Holy Father! Pray very much for the Holy Father. He will do it, but it will be late!”»
AN UNCONDITIONAL PROMISE. «“ Nevertheless the Immaculate Heart of Mary will save Russia. It has been entrusted to Her.”»
FEAR OF ILLUSION... AND YET, CERTITUDE. «Now Father, who will assure me that all this is not a mere illusion? Because of this fear, I have not talked about it to anybody, not even my confessor. I am afraid of deceiving myself and others, which I want to avoid at all cost.» 41
«You will judge this, and do with it what Our Lord inspires you to do. Believe me, if it were not for the fear of displeasing Our Good Lord because of my lack of clarity and sincerity, I would never have decided to speak so clearly. When I speak intimately with God, I feel His presence to be so real that there is no doubt in my mind, but when I have to communicate it, all I have is fear of illusion. 42
«About your visit, I would be very pleased with it because of the spiritual good that it would do me. Maybe Our Lord will arrange it.»
THE REVOLUTION RAISES FEARS FOR THE FUTURE. «Here we are waiting for the day when they will close the house. In that case I suppose they will cancel the decision that I not go to Portugal, at least until they get me a passport to Switzerland or to some other place. The idea of returning to Portugal mitigates the sacrifice of leaving this house...»
ANSWER TO A QUESTION. «P.S. – About Mexico, Spain and France, you know that they are not included in the promise. We would have to count on the generosity of the Divine mercy...»
A NEW PROMISE FROM BISHOP DA SILVA. «The last time I spoke to the bishop, he promised me that he would take care of this matter (the consecration of Russia), but I don’t know if he did.
«I leave everything in the hands of God and in the care of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and I try to work in my field of action, which is sacrifice and prayer.
«Although these are as poor as I, I hope that the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary will accept them, for the conversion of sinners...» 43
NOW IT IS A QUESTION OF FULFILLING OUR LORD’S DESIRES. Two weeks later, Sister Lucy, who had received an answer from Father Gonçalves, took up her pen once more. She wrote on June 5, 1936:
«I saw by your letter that you are ready to take care of that matter; this gave me great joy, because it seems to me that Our Lord’s wishes are going to be put into effect.»
Once again she tells her director about the fears which at times torment her:
«To me it seems to be an arrogant pretension to believe or to think that God speaks intimately and familiarly with my soul after so many infidelities.» 44
But she concludes:
«If, in order to take care of this situation with a greater degree of understanding, you need to use my letters or what I say in them, you have my full consent. You already know that you can discuss anything that you want with my approval, when you talk to the Bishop of Leiria. With other people I feel a certain reluctance, but don’t pay any attention to it. If you need to do so, proceed with liberty. As for me, I will overcome these feelings, with God’s grace and for His love...» 45
“FOR THE FUTURE, IT WILL BE AS GOD WILLS!” Meanwhile, the sky grew darker and darker over poor Spain, and the worst was to be expected. Sister Lucy tries to reassure her mother in a letter of June 24, 1936:
«Given the situation in the country we may have to leave; but in this case I will write to you. As long as I have not told you this, do not believe what people will tell you. Up until now, nobody has interfered in our affairs; and for the future it will be as God wills. Do not worry: He watches over us. What more can we desire?» 46
THE CIVIL WAR (JULY 13, 1936)
“THE GOOD WILL BE MARTYRED...” On July 11, Calvo Sotelo pronounced once more at the Cortes a devastating indictment of the government. La Pasionaria, the communist deputy from Asturias, rose to her feet and shouted: «This man has spoken for the last time!»
The prophecy had been easy to make. Dolores Ibaburri had only been informed of what was already planned. The death of the monarchist leader had already been decided on and the government was aware of it. José Calvo Sotelo had been born at Tuy in Galicia. A lawyer, university professor, and deputy to the Cortes, in 1921, at the age of twenty-eight, he was appointed the civil governor of Valencia. In December of 1925, he became an assistant of Primo de Rivera, and he remained at this post successfully for five years. In France, during the years 1930-1934, he had read Bainville and Maurras. After his return to Spain, he was the most farsighted member of the opposition at the Cortes, the most resolute opponent of the communist revolution. He was the enemy to beat. He knew it. His execution was not long in coming.
A remarkable coincidence is that it took place on the same day that, in Her great Secret, Our Lady of Fatima had prophesied this terrible Bolshevik incendiary, against which Calvo Sotelo had dared to stand up with heroic courage: «Russia will spread her errors, causing wars and persecutions. The good will be martyred...»
On July 13, at three o’clock in the morning, Calvo Sotelo was arrested at his home by a team of assault troops. They shot him and brought his body, in the small hours of the morning, to the guardian of the eastern cemetery. Since the government had refused to allow his body to be brought back to its domicile, his body lay in state in the morgue from the afternoon of the thirteenth to the morning of the fourteenth, while an emotional and indignant crowd paid their respects to the first martyr of the Catholic counter-revolution, who left a widow and four children behind, of whom the oldest was only seventeen. As a Franciscan tertiary, he was clothed in the habit of the order. His hands were crossed upon a crucifix draped with a ribbon with the monarchist colours. Mr. Goicoechea, the leader of the Renovacion Espanola, pronounced the briefest and the most poignant of discourses:
«I do not promise to pray for you, I ask you to pray for us. Before God, who is listening to us, I promise you to imitate your example and avenge your death. Our mission is to save Spain, and we will save it.» 47
The promise was kept. The revolution had suppressed Calvo Sotelo because Freemasonry, with its international influence at the Cortes he was the prestigious leader, the unquestioned head of the national and Catholic counter-revolution. His martyrdom was the signal for the military uprising: on July 18, another leader of the same calibre, Francisco Franco, resolutely took the reins. 48
THE STAKES OF THE STRUGGLE: A FORMIDABLE BATTLE AGAINST
BOLSHEVISM AND ITS ACCOMPLICES
Catholic Spain arose in extremis against Moscow’s domination. As Salazar explained at that very moment: «The civil war in Spain is an international war declared by Russia. On the peninsula, communism has initiated a formidable battle on whose outcome, to a great extent, depends the fate of Europe.» 49
«At the outbreak of hostilities, Largo Caballero had concluded a secret treaty of alliance with the Jewish ambassador of the Soviets, Rosenberg.» 50 It is this same Rosenberg, who with his dozens of Soviet agents, directed the republican policy at Madrid. In the Red Army, even before the international brigades entered, Russian influence was preponderant. The USSR furnished arms, officers, and instructors.
But the active complicity of the liberal and Masonic democracies also greatly assisted the Spanish revolutionaries. Already in 1936, with great foresight General Franco denounced this collusion of international Masonry with Bolshevism, who were both in league against Catholic Spain:
«Freemasonry, with its international influence network, which runs from rue Cadet (at Paris) to Geneva and Prague, was the principal cause of Spain’s ruin.
«In the fall of Primo de Rivera’s dictatorship, in the future of the Republic, in the revolution of Asturias, the coup d’état at Barcelona, the destitution of the radical-pacifist government, the electoral victory of February 16, the assassination of Calvo Sotelo – on orders emanating from Geneva and brought by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the freemason Barcia – in the civil war and still today in the propositions of non-intervention, the influence of freemasonry is felt heavily.
«This is because Masonry, especially that of Russia, France, Czechoslovakia, Belgium and Mexico, is in solidarity with the Red communist elements, as is shown by a sympathy message sent to Spanish Masonry by the Grand Orient of France, meeting at Paris last September 21.» 51
It must be said that Spanish Masonry had officially declared itself «completely and absolutely on the side of the Popular Front and the “legitimate government” against “fascism”». 52
The Crusade against such formidable opposing forces was to last thirty months. It was a hard, heroic struggle. Franco conducted it as prudently as he did energetically. Thanks to the rapid and firm support of Rome and the Spanish bishops, it ended in victory.
ROME LEARNS ITS LESSONS FROM THE SPANISH REVOLUTION
From the beginning of 1936, the Pope and his Secretary of State, Cardinal Pacelli, had perceived the gravity of the situation. The destructive fury of the Reds against everything relating to God, to Christ and the Church sufficiently demonstrated what Satanic hatred had spawned this revolution.
From this moment on, the aging Pope, fully conscious of the peril which was now at the doors, was issuing continual warnings against Bolshevism. Thus on May 12, 1936, speaking to journalists, he said:
«The primary peril, the greatest one and the most widespread is certainly communism under all its forms and in all its degrees, for it threatens everything, takes possession of everything, and infiltrates everywhere, overtly or secretly.»
After having denounced «the unbelievable connivance or at the very least the silence and tolerance which are an inestimable advantage for the cause of evil, and which have the most disastrous consequences for the cause of good», the Pope continued: «You will tell people, most beloved Sons, that you have seen the common Father of all the faithful, the Vicar of Christ, profoundly preoccupied and afflicted by this immense peril threatening the world and which is producing very grave devastation in several regions, and most especially in the European world.
«You will tell people, most beloved Sons, that the common Father does not cease to point out the peril which many, too many, seem to ignore, or whose gravity and immensity they do not want to recognise.»
The time has passed for attempted compromises and vain hopes for an understanding with Moscow. Rome had turned over a new leaf. The Pope concluded his allocation with these grave words:
«Remain with us, Lord; a sombre twilight which seems to herald an even darker night is spreading over the whole world; remain with us, and Your light will shine over us and guide us even in the darkness.» 53
THE POPE BLESSES FRANCO’S CRUSADE. Even more important was the audience owarning, perhaps the gravest and f September 14, 1936. At Castelgandolfo, the Pope received a group of Spanish refugees presented by Cardinal Pacelli. During a long allocution the Pope insisted on the necessity of learning the lessons of the Spanish Civil War:
«But the facts which your presence, most dear Children, recalls to mind and demonstrates, are not only an alarming series of destruction and carnage, they are also a school teaching grave lessons for Europe and for the whole world.
«For a world which is now entirely overrun, inundated and shaken by subversive propaganda, and especially in Europe, which is so profoundly troubled and shaken at the present hour, the sad events in Spain announce and foretell once more what extreme disasters threaten the foundations of all order, all culture and all civilisations.»
Most significantly, at the end of his discourse, the Pope dared to bless General Franco’s Crusade publicly:
«... Our blessing goes out in a special manner to all those who have assumed the difficult and perilous task of defending and restoring the rights and honour of God and religion...» 54
These brief words, pronounced barely two months after the beginning of the nationalist uprising, were decisively important. It would not even be excessive to say that they saved Spain. For the defence of religion was the principal motive of the uprising – we must be careful not to forget it, even if the majority of historians hardly mention the fact. After it was launched, it was again this unanimous Catholic Faith which formed a unity out of various political movements of such diverse inspiration, that participated in this new Reconquista. This is the reason the Pope’s words were so important. If, as in the case of Mexico in 1929, the Pope had attempted to find a compromise with the Reds and condemned the Crusade, it would have been the end of Catholic Spain. Russia would have quickly transformed it into a Soviet colony, and a formidable springboard for the conquest of Europe, beginning with Portugal.
In other words, political history shows what the message of Fatima demonstrates on the supernatural level: the decisive role of the Holy Father in the defence of Christendom and world peace.
THE SPANISH BISHOPS PREACH THE CRUSADE. Once the Pope had spoken, the Spanish bishops were able to distribute pastoral letters which, by providing a theological and moral justification, brought an invaluable assistance to the nationalist movement.
On September 30, 1936, Bishop Pla y Denial of Salamanca published a pastoral letter on «The Two Cities». But it was especially Cardinal Goma, the Archbishop of Toledo, who became the spokesman of the Church in Spain. In November of 1936, he furnished the most reasoned and complete justification for the Crusade. 55 In December of 1936, the Cardinal was already unofficially representing the Vatican In the provisional government of Franco.
In his radio message of Christmas 1936, the Pope made a point of bringing up the war in Spain once more. The message was given from his bed, to which the Pope was confined by sickness.
«... A new warning, perhaps the gravest and the most menacing there has ever been for the whole world, and principally for Europe and for Christian civilisation, a terrifying revelation and presage, in its certitude and evidence, of what is being prepared for Europe and for the whole world, if immediate and effective recourse is not had to a defence and a remedy.» 56
It must be stated that in six months the persecution had been so violent that ten Spanish bishops, hundreds of religious and seminarians, and already over five thousand priests had shed their blood for the Faith, while thousands of churches had been burned down or destroyed.
AT PONTEVEDRA: « WE HAVE PASSED THROUGH WATER AND FIRE»
Although Catholic Galicia was one of the regions having the least to suffer from the civil war, the first days of the confrontation in July of 1936 were not without peril. Father Alonso reports:
«Lucy, with her community, spent hours of real fright, which is reflected in the house diaries and the correspondence of the time. At Pontevedra, the revolutionary militia first took hold of the city, and then they menacingly presented themselves before the artillery barracks. On July 20, great masses of campesinos concentrated in the city», coming from neighbouring cities.
«At Tuy, on July 18, the revolutionaries captured the street and the episcopal palace was assailed.
«And thus things remained between uncertainty and terror, until on July 26 the (nationalist) forces of Pontevedra and Orense liberated the city. Finally, Pontevedra was delivered from fear.» 57
Sister Lucy disclosed, undoubtedly to her confessor, what her intimate sentiments had been during this anguishing trial:
«In spite of the proximity of so many tempests and dangers, the Good Lord watched over my Sisters, so that we can say that we passed through water and through fire, and that we came out safe and well. Thanks to God, up to the present, we still have had nothing more to suffer than a little fear.
«In truth, I was not worried for a moment, partly because of the trust I had in the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and the joy I felt at going to be united with them in Heaven. But it really seems to me that They did not want me there now. They want me to offer sacrifices to Them and wait for the conversion of this nation. And I was not frightened, partly also, perhaps, because of ignorance of the extent of the peril we were in.
«Now we are in the midst of waiting for what will happen. We entrust ourselves to Our Lord, to the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who will soon grant us days of peace and tranquillity. If this is not the case, I am ready. And nothing would be more pleasing to me than to give my life for God, so as to repay Him in some way for giving His life for me; I recognise, however, that I am unworthy of so great a favour.» 58
But martyrdom was not to be our seer’s vocation. Her mission was not over yet. While continuing to insist, to pray and to sacrifice herself, she was soon to obtain from her bishop a decisive initiative with the Holy See.
III. BISHOP DA SILVA ASKS THE HOLY FATHER
FOR THE CONSECRATION OF RUSSIA (1937)
THE LETTER OF MARCH 1937
Indeed the insistence of Sister Lucy, seconded by Father Gonçalves, 59 and perhaps also the fearsome gravity of events in Spain, finally got the Bishop of Leiria to make up his mind. Overcoming his fears, he moved from promises to action.
In March of 1937, he himself wrote to the Holy Father to pass on to him the request for the consecration of Russia. We have a copy of this decisively important document written by Father Gonçalves. This undoubtedly manifests the leading role he played in this final initiative with Pius XI. Here is the integral text of the letter, to which we add some subtitles:
«Most Holy Father,
«Humbly prostrate at the feet of Your Holiness, I believe it my duty to explain the following to Your Holiness.
«There exists in this diocese the sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, which is the greatest centre of piety in Portugal, devotion to which has spread in many nations.»
THE MESSAGE OF FATIMA AND COMMUNISM. «According to the recommendations made by the Most Holy Virgin in 1917, especially concerning devotion to the holy Rosary, the struggle against impurity and penance, we see that Our Lady was preparing the struggle against communism, from which Portugal has so far been preserved, in spite of its nearness to Spain.»
“THE ANTI-COMMUNIST VOW OF 1936.” «Last year, we, the Portuguese bishops, promised after the retreat we had made in the sanctuary to organise a great national pilgrimage, if at the end of the year 1937, the terrible calamity of communism had still not invaded our country. Thanks to the Most Holy Virgin, we are still at peace.»
HEAVEN’S REQUESTS. «Of the three children to whom Our Lady appeared, two are dead and the surviving one is a religious in the Institute of Saint Dorothy in Spain.
«This religious asks me to communicate to Your Holiness that according to a revelation from Heaven, the Good Lord promises to end the persecution in Russia, if Your Holiness deigns to make, and order all the bishops of the Catholic world equally to make, a public and solemn act of reparation and consecration of Russia to the Most Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and also deigns to approve and recommend the practice of the reparatory devotion.
«It consists in this: During five months in a row to receive Holy Communion on the first Saturday, recite the Rosary, and keep Our Lady company for fifteen minutes meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary.
«This devotion has for its purpose:
1) To make reparation for the blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception, virginity and maternity of the Most Holy Virgin, and also outrages against the images of Our Lady.
2) To pray for children in whose hearts scorn and even hatred against our Heavenly Mother is being sown.
«This, Most Holy Father, is the communication which I received to pass on to Your Holiness. In our pilgrimages to the Sanctuary, we always pray for Your Holiness. Finally, I humbly ask Your Holiness for his apostolic blessing for this diocese, its humble Pastor, and the pilgrims of Our Lady of Fatima’s sanctuary.» 60
We might point out that although the letter is very brief, all of Our Lady’s requests are expressed with perfect exactitude, using word-for-word expressions of Sister Lucy.
Father Alonso reports that «the document was received at Rome at the end of March, 1937. On April 8, the Holy See acknowledged receiving it.» 61
THE MOST OPPORTUNE MOMENT: « DIVINI REDEMPTORIS» (MARCH 19, 1937)
Through a happy combination of circumstances, Bishop da Silva’s request reached the Holy Father at the most opportune moment. Two weeks earlier he had been about to publish Divini Redemptoris, his magisterial encyclical against communism.
This time all the misdeeds, all the abominable crimes of atheistic and godless communism, which he called « barbarous», « intrinsically perverse» and « diabolical», were methodically exposed and condemned with authority. The tragic persecutions in Russia, Mexico and Spain were recalled and indignantly denounced. Russia was mentioned several times, and it was « communism directed by Moscow» which was meant. The hatred, barbarity and unbelievable Bolshevik savagery, far from being able to be presented and excused as accidental excesses, the Pope explained, «are the natural fruits of a system which is lacking all interior restraint».
Finally, the insidious manoeuvre of «the hand outstretched to Christians», was unmasked and vigorously reproved. Recovering the farsightedness and the firm tone of a Saint Pius X condemning Modernism or the Christian Democracy of the Sillon, Pope Pius XI wrote:
«On this point (the ruses and deceit used by communists) We have already insisted in Our Allocution of May 12th of last year, but We believe it to be a duty of special urgency, Venerable Brethren, to call your attention to it once again.
«In the beginning communism showed itself for what it was, thus alienating the people. It has therefore changed its tactics, and strives to entice the multitudes by trickery of various forms, hiding its real designs behind ideas that in themselves are good and attractive. Thus, aware of the universal desire for peace, the leaders of communism pretend to be the most zealous promoters and propagandists in the movement for world amity. Yet at the same time they stir up a class-warfare which causes rivers of blood to flow, and, realising that their system offers no internal guarantee of peace, they have recourse to unlimited armaments. Under various names which do not suggest communism, they establish organisations and periodicals with the sole purpose of carrying their ideas into quarters otherwise inaccessible. They try perfidiously to worm their way even into professedly Catholic and religious organisations.
«Again, without receding an inch from their subversive principles, they invite Catholics to collaborate with them in the realm of so-called humanitarianism and charity; and at times even make proposals that are in perfect harmony with the Christian spirit and the doctrine of the Church.
«Elsewhere they carry their hypocrisy so far as to encourage the belief that communism, in countries where faith and culture are more strongly entrenched, will assume another and much milder form. It will not interfere with the practice of religion. It will respect liberty of conscience. There are some even who refer to certain changes recently introduced into Soviet legislation as a proof that communism is about to abandon its program of war against God.
«See to it, Venerable Brethren, that the Faithful do not allow themselves to be deceived! Communism is intrinsically perverse, and no one who would save Christian civilisation may collaborate with it in any undertaking whatsoever. Those who permit themselves to be deceived into lending their aid towards the triumph of communism in their own country, will be the first to fall victims of their error. And the greater the antiquity and grandeur of the Christian civilisation in the regions where communism successfully penetrates, so much more devastating will be the hatred displayed by the Godless.
«But “unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it.” And so, as a final and most efficacious remedy, We recommend, Venerable Brethren, that in your dioceses you use the most practical means to foster and intensify the spirit of prayer joined with Christian penance. When the apostles asked the Saviour why they had been unable to drive the evil spirit from a demoniac, Our Lord answered: “This kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting.” So, too, the evil which today torments humanity can be conquered only by a worldwide holy crusade of prayer and penance. We ask especially the contemplative orders, men and women, to redouble their prayers and sacrifices to obtain from Heaven efficacious aid for the Church in the present struggle. Let them implore also the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Virgin who, having crushed the head of the serpent of old, remains the sure protectress and invincible “Help of Christians”.» 62
The Sovereign Pontiff’s solemn judgment on Bolshevism now corresponded to the one implied by the great Secret and the requests of Our Lady of Fatima. Communism is « a Satanic scourge» – the expression again comes from Pius XI – and to oppose it, it must be resisted head on, without seeking the slightest compromise. Compromise between Marxism and the Church is as impossible as compromise between Christ and Belial (2 Cor. 6:15). Christians must insistently implore from Heaven the extraordinary aid of the Immaculate Mediatrix, who alone is capable of delivering the world from this deadly, terribly contagious pest.
Granted, there is room for regret in that this magisterial judgment on the major peril of his entire pontificate came so late. The Pope was already over eighty and had reigned for fifteen years. He had already published twenty-six encyclicals. As yet none of them had expressly and solemnly dealt with communism, its doctrine, its accomplices and its frightful expansion. The encyclical also came only after frightful slaughters which perhaps could have been avoided, or, as in Spain’s case, at least contribute to the deliverance of the martyred peoples from the yoke of their persecutors.
However, better late than never. This condemnation continues to be a turning point in the history of the Church. Like Quas Primas, the encyclical on the Kingship of Christ, it was destined to become buried since 1960 in the same “dark well” of silence and oblivion into which our Pastors had resolved to cast the whole doctrinal legacy of Saint Pius X, along with the Secret of Fatima.
THE COLLECTIVE LETTER OF THE SPANISH EPISCOPATE
TO THE BISHOPS OF THE WHOLE WORLD
On July 1, 1937, three months after Divini Redemptoris, the Spanish bishops published a long document addressed to all their colleagues of the entire world. In the spirit of the pastoral letter by Cardinal Goma – who almost certainly was the principal composer of this remarkable text – the bishops explained with perfect clarity the events which, since 1931, had resulted in civil war. They explained why they supported officially, and without any reservations, the “national movement”, and why Spain’s only hope lay in its triumph.
The demonstration is strong and unassailable. Using the facts, it reduces to dust the gross sophisms, the shameless lies of our “Red Christians”, who were carried away by their passion for democracy. Under the fallacious pretext that “the White terror” reigned in nationalist Spain, they dared to betray their brethren, preferring the Red persecutors to the millions of persecuted Catholics. The bishops re-established the truth:
«Each war has its excesses; the national movement will have some of its own; nobody can serenely defend himself against the attacks of a furious enemy.» And at all events, the bishops insisted, «we affirm that there is an enormous, unbridgeable gap between the two parties, in what concerns the principles of justice and the way it is administered.»
No, in all honesty, the two sides cannot even be compared.
“THE GOOD WILL BE MARTYRED.” Using this document, which although little known is of capital importance for understanding the war in Spain, let us cite finally the terrible statistics after just one year of Bolshevik terror:
«Although the figures are still pending, we can estimate that almost twenty thousand churches were destroyed or completely looted.
«The number of priests assassinated (about 40% in the devastated dioceses, and 80% in some of them) is as high as six thousand for the secular clergy alone. They were hunted down with dogs, they were followed across mountains, they were relentlessly tracked down in all possible hiding places. They were killed without a trial, usually right on the spot, with no other reason than their social function as priests.
«This revolution was supremely cruel. The massacring took on the forms of a horrible barbarism. As far as the number is concerned, it is calculated at over three hundred thousand – lay people who perished through assassination, solely for their political ideas and particularly their religious ones. At Madrid alone, during the first three months, more than twenty-two thousand of these were executed. 63 Practically no village exists in which the most well-known figures of the Right have not been eliminated.»
The bishops then show to what extent this revolution was «inhuman», «barbarous», iconoclastic, «essentially anti-Spanish», and above all, they continue, «anti-Christian»:
«... We do not believe that in the whole history of Christianity, and in so few weeks’ time, there has been such an explosion of hatred against Jesus Christ and His holy religion...
«The martyrs are numbered in the thousands; the witness they gave is a source of hope for our poor homeland; but in the Roman Martyrology we perhaps would not find one form of martyrdom not employed by the communists, not excepting crucifixion...
«... The hatred against Jesus Christ and Our Lady has reached the point of paroxysm. One can imagine the hatred of Hell becoming incarnate in our unfortunate communists by the hundreds of mutilated crucifixes, by the images of Our Lady profaned in bestial fashion, by the posters of Bilbao which blasphemed sacrilegiously against the Mother of God, by the infamous literature of the entrenched Reds, where the divine mysteries are ridiculed by the repeated profanation of the Eucharist.
«... The forms of profanation have been so incredible that they cannot be conceived of without presupposing a diabolical suggestion.» 64
The bishops concluded by evoking the glorious and innumerable phalanx of their martyrs:
«Remember our assassinated bishops, remember so many priests, religious and eminent lay persons who perished solely because they constituted the chosen militia of Christ, and pray to the Lord to make fruitful the blood of these generous souls. It cannot be said of any of them that they failed at the hour of their martyrdom; by the thousands they gave the highest example of heroism. Herein lies the forever unfading glory of our Spain.» 65
The martyrology was established with precision at the end of the war; 13 bishops, 4,317 secular priests, 2,489 religious and 283 nuns and 249 seminarians were massacred out of hatred for their faith. 66 This letter of the Spanish episcopate had considerable repercussions. 67
On August 28, 1937, the Vatican recognised the nationalist government de jure, and sent a nuncio to Burgos. With wisdom and prudence, striving to spare his compatriots’ blood as much as possible, Franco continued the struggle until the Crusade was victorious.
On April 1, 1939, the Red army was conquered and the war against Bolshevism was over. Once more all over Spain bells rang out, calling the faithful to prayer. Claude Martin writes:
«An immense wave of fervour brought soldiers, former prisoners and their families to the foot of the altar. Without any transition, the great Spanish cities returned from Stalin and Bakunin to Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint Ignatius of Loyola.» 68
On May 19, at the Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid, the Caudillo stood to review his victorious troops. His biographer notes:
«Others, after similar success, posed as demigods. Franco was too Catholic to fall into the temptation of pride... The following day, after a Te Deum at the church of Saint Barbara, he laid down his sword before the altar, to thank God for having granted him the victory.
«“Lord accept with kindness the efforts of this people which was always Thine, who with me and in Your Name heroically vanquished the enemy of truth in this century.
«“Lord God, in Your hands reside all right and all power; grant me Thine assistance to lead this people to the full liberty of empire, for Thy glory and that of Thy Church.
«“Grant, Lord, that men may know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.”» 69
Spain was saved. But Russia? Europe? The world?
IV. THE ANXIOUS WAIT (APRIL 1937 - JANUARY 1938)
On April 8, 1937, the Vatican acknowledged receiving Bishop da Silva’s request. We can guess with what impatience, mingled with anxiety, Sister Lucy must have awaited Rome’s response. Would the Pope make the saving decision this time? Would he finally consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary before it was too late?
THE RETURN TO TUY. In the meantime, on April 28, Sister Lucy was summoned to Tuy to see the provincial superior, Mother Monfalim, who was dying. This saintly religious, who had contributed so much to the development of her congregation – consecrated by herself, since 1927, to the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of Mary – wanted to have Sister Lucy at her side to assist her in her agony. She died on May 28, 1937, on the feast of Mary, Mediatrix of all Graces.
Sister Lucy, who had believed she was leaving Pontevedra only for a few days, in fact remained at Tuy for several years. 70
THE SECOND MEMOIR. On November 7, 1937, Sister Lucy writes: «I take up my pen to do the will of God.» At the request of Bishop da Silva, she had in effect returned to work to write a Second Memoir where she had to outline her own biography. By November 21, she had already completed this task. 71
THE SECOND REFUSAL OF POPE PIUS XI
Weeks and months passed. Nothing, however, was forthcoming out of Rome. There was no response to Bishop da Silva. There was not even, as with Leo XIII in 1898 or Pius XII in 1952, the designation of a theologian with the task of investigating more thoroughly the nature and credibility of the divine revelations passed on to them. Nothing came of it. The terrible lessons «of the Red triangle of terror and blood», as Pius XI himself said to designate Russia, Mexico and Spain, had led him to resolutely change his attitude towards Bolshevism; but they were not enough to make him decide to pay attention to the requests of Our Lady of Fatima.
On September 29, 1937, he had published the encyclical Ingravescentibus Malis, on the holy Rosary. «Although so many and such great evils threaten us, and although we have to fear even greater ones for the future, we must not lose courage», wrote the Pope. He then invited the faithful to have recourse to Our Lady’s mediation through the recitation of the Rosary. Then he developed the traditional themes on the subject. He evoked the grave errors and peril of communism, and strongly recommended the Christian people to address urgent prayers «to obtain from the powerful Mother of God the defeat of the destroyers of Christian and human civilisation... and that the waves of the tempest pull back, subside, and calm down...»
Unfortunately, the Pope went no further. He brought up the apparitions of Our Lady at Lourdes and Her recommendation to pray the Rosary. But he said nothing about Fatima, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, or the consecration of Russia. He was, so to speak, content with a simple routine exhortation. Clearly, he stood by his refusal of 1931.
This encyclical was the only one that Pius XI expressly devoted to devotion to the Most Holy Virgin. It was also the last encyclical of his long pontificate. 72 On the note of this sad and terrible refusal, the year 1938 was to open.
SISTER LUCY RELATES THE EVENTS OF FATIMA THE FIRST TWO MEMOIRS (1935 - 1937)
SEPTEMBER 12, 1935: THE TRANSFER OF JACINTA’S MORTAL REMAINS TO FATIMA
We have already described in what circumstances Jacinta’s body was buried at Vila Nova de Ourem, in the Baron of Alvaiazere’s family vault. 1 In 1935, in spite of the baron’s pleas, 2 Bishop da Silva decided to transfer the seer’s mortal remains to the cemetery of Fatima, in a tomb specially prepared for her and her brother Francisco. The ceremony took place on September 12. 3
Before her body was taken away, her leaden coffin was opened and all those present – the Baron of Alvaiazere and his son, Father Venancio (the future Bishop of Fatima), Father Louis Fischer, Jacinta’s family, some ladies, civil servants and some undertakers – could observe to their astonishment that Jacinta’s face was perfectly intact. A photograph was taken. A few days later, Bishop da Silva made the delicate gesture of sending Sister Lucy a copy of the moving photograph.
« MY MOST INTIMATE CHILDHOOD FRIEND»
On November 17, Sister Lucy took up her pen to send her bishop a warm thanks:
«I thank you and am most grateful to you for the photographs you sent. I cannot tell you how I treasure them. I particularly like the one of Jacinta so much that even over the photograph I would like to tear away the linens covering her, so as to see her entirely. It was as though I were impatient to uncover her face, without even realising that it was an image.
«I was half in ecstasy, so great was my joy at seeing my childhood friend once more. I hope that the Lord will grant her the halo of the saints, for the glory of His Most Holy Mother. She was a child only in age. Already she knew how to practice virtue and show her love for God and the Most Holy Virgin through the practice of sacrifice.
«To her company I partly owe the preservation of my innocence. She had admirably understood the spirit of prayer and sacrifice as Our Lady requested it of us.» Sister Lucy goes on to cite several examples which we have already seen in the accounts of her Memoirs. «For these and innumerable other motives, I have great esteem for her sanctity.» 4
THE FIRST MEMOIR: A BIOGRAPHY OF JACINTA (DECEMBER 1935)
After reading this letter, where Sister Lucy showed in her enthusiasm and holy affection for her cousin that she had many childhood memories to recall, Bishop da Silva straightaway had the happy idea of ordering the seer to write a biography of Jacinta. Sister Lucy began the task in the second week of December 1935:
«Most Reverend Excellency,
«Having implored the protection of the most holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary, our tender Mother, and sought light and grace at the foot of the Tabernacle, so as to write nothing that would not be solely and exclusively for the glory of Jesus and of the most Blessed Virgin, I now take up this work, in spite of the repugnance I feel, since I can say almost nothing about Jacinta without speaking either directly or indirectly about my miserable self. I obey, nevertheless, the will of Your Excellency, which, for me, is the expression of the will of our good God. I begin this task, then, asking the most holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary to deign to bless it, and to make use of this act of obedience to obtain the conversion of poor sinners, for whom Jacinta so generously sacrificed herself.
«... Having no free time at my disposal, I must make the most of the hours when we work in silence, to recall and jot down, with the aid of paper and pencil which I keep hidden under my sewing, all that the most holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary want me to remember.»
Two weeks later, in spite of such unfavourable conditions, Sister Lucy had already almost completed her work: she had written thirty-nine pages of thirty lines each, on notebook paper. The portrait of Jacinta is retraced with such psychological finesse and precision of recollection – of her conversations and attitudes – that the little seer seems to come to life before our eyes, discreetly revealing to us the double secret with which her heart burned: her love for the Immaculate Heart of Mary and her resolve to save sinners.
On Christmas day Lucy finished her account:
«And now, I have finished telling Your Excellency what I remember about Jacinta’s life. I ask our Good God to deign to accept this act of obedience, that it may kindle in souls a fire of love for the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.» 5
MAY 1936: AN UNPUBLISHED DOCUMENT
On May 13, 1936, perhaps at the request of Father Gonçalves, Sister Lucy began writing a new work which was extremely important in the gradual revelation of the secret themes of the Fatima message. Undoubtedly for the first time, she described in detail the apparitions of the Angel, and then the apparitions of Our Lady in 1917, quoting the words of Our Lady which until then had remained secret. She revealed the apparition of August 26, 1923, at Asilo de Vilar, and finally gave a complete account of the vision of June 13, 1929, as well as the divine communication of August 1931. She also made a list of the most important dates in her life.
However, it seems that this document, which was so new and important, was not used by Fatima historians before the writing of Sister Lucy’s last three Memoirs, which give the substance of it. 6
THE SECOND MEMOIR: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY (NOVEMBER 1937)
Father da Fonseca had had the privilege of seeing Sister Lucy’s first notebook. After reading this Memoir, he wrote to Bishop da Silva in April 1937:
«The letter of Sister Dores (Lucy) on Jacinta leads me to believe that there are still more interesting details concerning the history of the Apparitions (words or communications of Our Lady, acts of virtue by the children in obedience to Our Lady’s indications...) which are still unpublished. Would it not be possible, or would there be any obstacle to asking Sister Lucy to write in detail everything she remembers, in all religious and evangelical simplicity, in honour of Our Lady?»
A few months later Bishop da Silva, after having obtained the permission of the Mother Provincial, Mother Maria do Carmo Corte Real, ordered Sister Lucy to complete the first account of her recollections, this time describing her own life and the 1917 apparitions.
On November 7, 1937, she began the writing of her text with these admirable words:
«Here I am, pen in hand, ready to do the will of my God. Since I have no other aim but this, I begin with the maxim which my holy Foundress has handed down to me, and which, after her example, I shall repeat many times in the course of this account: “O Will of God, You are my paradise!” Allow me, Your Excellency, to sound the depths contained in this maxim. Whenever repugnance or love for my secret makes me want to keep some things hidden, then this maxim will be my norm and my guide.
«I had a mind to ask what use there could possibly be in my writing an account like this, since even my handwriting is scarcely presentable, but I am asking nothing. I know that the perfection of obedience asks for no reasons. Your Excellency’s words are enough for me, since they assure me that this is for the glory of our Blessed Mother in Heaven. In the certainty that it is so, I implore the blessing and protection of Her Immaculate Heart and, humbly prostrate at Her feet, I use Her own most holy words and speak to my God: “I, the least of your handmaids, O my God, now come in full submission to Your most holy Will, to lift the veil from my secret, and reveal the story of Fatima just as it is. No longer will I savour the joy of sharing with You alone the secrets of Your love; but henceforth, others too, will sing with me the greatness of Your mercy.”» 7
This writing, which was begun on November 7, was completed on the 21st. Once again Sister Lucy had taken only two weeks to write this long Memoir, having only a little spare time from her domestic chores in which to do it. Father Alonso writes: «It is a question of a twenty-three page work, written on both sides. The handwriting is closely packed and continuous, without erasures. This shows once again the lucidity of mind, serenity of soul and equilibrium of Sister Lucy’s faculties.» 8
Again, let us quote the epilogue of this text:
«I think, Your Excellency, that I have just picked the most beautiful flower and the most delicious fruit from my little garden, and I now place it in the merciful hands of the good Lord, whom you represent, praying that He will make it yield a plentiful harvest of souls for eternal life. And since Our Dear Lord takes pleasure in the humble obedience of the least of His creatures, I end with the words of Her whom He, in His infinite mercy, has given me as Mother, Protectress and Model, the very same words with which I began: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord! May He continue to make use of her as He thinks best!”» 9
(1) Letter 107, to Mother de Saumaise, August 28, 1689. Vie et oeuvres de Sainte Marguerite-Marie Alacoque, Vol. II, p. 458; Gigord, 1920.
(2) Robert Brasillach and Maurice Bardèche, Histoire de la guerre d’Espagne, p. 19; Plon 1939.
(3) D. Rops, A Fight for God, p. 330. Cf. Paul Lesourd, Pie XI, p. 45, Flammarion, 1939; Charles Ledré, Un siècle sous la tiare, de Pie IX à Pie XII, les successeurs de Pierre face au monde moderne, p. 148, Amiot-Dumont, 1955.
(4) Aguirre Prado, L’Église et la guerre civile espagnole, p. 31. Service informatif espagnol, 1964.
(5) Léon de Poncins, Histoire secrète de la révolution espagnole, p. 35-36; Beauchesne, 1938.
(6) Collective letter of July 1, 1937; ibid., p. 188.
(7) These few excerpts of letters are quoted by Alonso, Fatima, Espana, Russia, p. 95-96.
(8) Actes de S.S. Pie XI, Vol. X, p. 16-37.
(9) Quoted by Brasillach, op. cit., p. 25.
(10) Heller and Nekrich, p. 631.
(11) May 3, 1932, Actes, Vol. VIII, p. 33-61.
(12) Ex officiosis litteris, Actes, Vol. X, p. 172-183.
(13) Francisco, p. 431-432.
(14) Fatima Chronik, p. 37-39. Cf. the letter of June 24, 1936, naming Cardinal Cerejeira pontifical legate for the sixth centenary of Saint Elizabeth of Portugal, where the Pope makes no allusion to the political and religious situation in Portugal, or to Fatima. Actes, Vol. XIV, p. 67-70.
(15) P. 5 and 297. Éd. Ferenczi, Paris, 1922.
(16) Cf. the testimony of Canon Papin, Le dernier étage du Vatican, p. 45.
(17) J. Vandrisse, Le Figaro, ibid.
(18) Cf. the Motu proprio of December 21, 1934, Actes, Vol. XII, p. 244.
(19) Paul Lesourd’s work, which we have quoted so often, is a goldmine of useful information. But it is an apologia which, to the extent it tends to completely vindicate Bishop d’Herbigny, remains unconvincing. To whitewash his hero, the author more or less finds himself forced to charge with grave injustice all his superiors, all the successive investigators of the Society of Jesus, Cardinal Sincero, the members of the Curia and Cardinal Pacelli himself. This is a bit much... The severe judgment of J. Vandrisse, which reflects the judgment of the Jesuit authorities, in the final analysis seems more objective. He writes: «Bishop d’Herbigny had multiplied his imprudent acts and errors of judgment, and committed abuses of power... The trial (of sanctions) was terrible for the religious. It aggravated his penchant for mythomania which disturbed his entourage since 1934... The autobiographical journal of 1956 gives rather disturbing proofs of an accentuated imbalance...» He died at Aix-en-Provence in 1957.
(20) Barthas, TPE, p. 235-236.
(21) Letter of October 28, 1934. Documentos, p. 411. Fortunately, a new opportunity soon presented itself when Lucy could insist with her bishop in favour of the consecration of Russia.
(22) She remained at Pontevedra from October 9, 1934 until May 27, 1937.
(23) Brasillach, op. cit., p. 41.
(24) Léon de Poncins, op. cit., p. 57-61.
(25) We add to this text some subtitles which underscore the principal ideas.
(26) Sister Lucy undoubtedly insists here on the difference between supernatural inspiration, the divine word felt from within, and the word which is heard with the senses in an external apparition.
(27) Doc., p. 413.
(28) Maria, Études sur la Vierge Marie, p. 868.
(29) Documentos, p. 413.
(30) FCM, p. 33.
(31) Fourth Memoir, p. 179-182.
(32) Cf. the appendix at the end of the chapter.
(33) Léon de Poncins, Histoire secrète de la révolution espagnole, p. 74 sq.
(34) D. Rops, A Fight for God, p. 322.
(35) Quoted by Léon de Poncins, op. cit., p. 174.
(36) Ibid., p. 193-194.
(37) Ibid., p. 175-176, 202.
(38) Ibid., p. 135-167. This admirable discourse recorded by Léon de Poncins very much deserves to be read.
(39) Quoted by Brasillach, Histoire de la guerre d’Espagne, p. 49.
(40) It is remarkable that at this moment, at the beginning of May 1936, Lucy wrote the most complete account of the vision of Tuy (cf. supra, p. 462-464).
(41) Let us repeat once more that these moments of doubt, frequent among the souls of mystics favoured with great graces, are easily comprehensible: how could our seer, who was so profoundly humble and distrustful of herself, not be afraid of being mistaken, when for seven years neither her bishop, in whom she had full confidence, nor the Pope had deigned to pay attention to the message she passed on to them? And these terrible and so laconic words, which say more than many discourses – «The Holy Father! Pray a great deal for the Holy Father!» – how could she not hesitate to make them known? And yet, she continues, she was afraid of committing a sin by hiding these divine revelations... This is why she resolved to speak.
(42) Such interior dispositions, which a fabricator would never have had the idea of expressing, far from being bewildering, are for the informed theologian a sure mark of authenticity. In addition there are the extraordinary miracles of 1917, which give a universal guarantee of the authenticity of her testimony. Moreover, neither Father Gonçalves nor Bishop da Silva were fooled by them, being able to recognise in these painful fears of illusion the marks of a sincere humility or a supernatural trial, making more meritorious for her the communication of secrets revealed by Heaven.
(43) Doc., p. 413-415. Letter of May 18, 1936.
(44) Saint Bernadette experienced similar feelings: she often said with anguish, « I have received so many graces, and I am afraid of not having corresponded to them.» And her night was at times so dark, that she even came to doubt the apparitions: « I do not like speaking about them... If I were mistaken...», she said one day to Msgr. Bourret. Laurentin, Bernadette vous parle, Vol. II, p. 389 and 408, Lethielleux, 1972.
(45) Doc., p. 417. Convinced of the supernatural origin of the request for the consecration of Russia, Father Gonçalves consulted Father Moran, a holy Jesuit, who «judged that it was very fitting to insist with Rome». Father Gonçalves then wrote in this sense to Bishop da Silva on September 29, 1936, then again on January 24, 1937 (cf. infra, Chapter XII, Appendix VI).
(46) Uma Vida, p. 368.
(47) Brasillach, op. cit, p. 14.
(48) To be sure, by July 13 the uprising had already been decided on. But the assassination of Calvo Sotelo was the signal for it to be unleashed: Arnaud Imatz writes, «This news not only accelerated the preparations and led to the day and hour being fixed definitively, but it also moved certain sectors of the population who were still hesitant about participating in the military project. In this regard, all testimonies agree.» Jose Antonio et la Phalange espagnole, p. 205. Éd. Albatros, 1981.
(49) Report to the committee of non-intervention, Léon de Poncins, op. cit., p. 178.
(50) Ibid., p. 104.
(51) Interview of General Franco in Diario de Noticias, December 31, 1936. Quoted by Léon de Poncins, op. cit, p. 118.
(52) Ibid., p. 119.
(53) Discourse at the inaugural ceremony of the international exposition of the Catholic press at Vatican City, Actes, Vol. XIV, p. 29-41.
(54) Actes, Vol. XIV, p. 116-135. For anyone who reads attentively the pontifical acts of this period, many indications show that Cardinal Pacelli’s influence was undoubtedly decisive in the clear change of the orientation of Vatican policy, manifested by the much firmer condemnations of communism, and the immediate and constant support given to the nationalist dictatorship of General Franco.
(55) This pastoral letter of November 23, 1936, is a masterly text, where the Cardinal Primate of Spain is unafraid to go back to the true causes of the revolutionary torment, both distant and immediate: «Forgetfulness of our traditions and our history», the infatuation with the ideals of 1789, Freemasonry and its impious legislation, «the fraud of parliainentarianism and the lies of suffrage», «the proselytism of Moscow, aided by the current of gold flowing unceasingly into Spain, producing the treason of the leaders and the perversion of the masses», etc. Each of these points, he explained, «would be a chapter of the “book of our decadence”». Quoted by Aguirre Prado, L’Église et la guerre d’Espagne, p. 19-20, and Jean Ousset, Le Marxisme-Léninisme, p. 394. The Cardinal published two other important documents on January 10 and 30, 1937 (Aguirre Prado, p. 21-25).
(56) December 24, 1936, Actes, Vol. XIV, p. 190.
(57) FER, p. 36.
(58) Quoted by Alonso without indicating the recipient, FER, p. 36-37.
(59) Cf. infra, Chapter XII, Appendix VI.
(60) Doc., p. 522.
(61) MSC, p. 50.
(62) Nos. 57 to 59. Actes de S.S. Pie XI, Vol. XV, p. 81-84.
(63) On the atrocities committed at Madrid, read Brasillach, Histoire de la guerre d’Espagne, “La terreur à Madrid”, p. 168-179. «In one month (July-August 1936), (writes English historian Hugh Thomas), close to one hundred thousand people (for all of Spain) were killed arbitrarily and without a trial.»
(64) «Everybody is familiar with the photographs of the scenes of July 20, 1936, at Barcelona: the Christ shot at, the Child Jesus disguised as a militiaman, and above all the cadavers of the disinterred Carmelites, exposed in their coffins at the gate of their convent.» (Brasillach, op. cit., p. 190).
(65) The letter of the Spanish bishops is quoted in extenso by Léon de Poncins, op. cit., p. 184-220, and Aguirre Prado, p. 27-51.
(66) Aguirre Prado, p. 27. Estimates for victims of the Bolshevik terror throughout the whole war are about five hundred thousand.
(67) It was signed by forty-one bishops and five vicars capitular. Let us point out, however, that Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop of Tarragona, «leader of the episcopate» at the time of the rallying of the Republic imposed by Rome, as well as the Bishop of Victoria, refused to sign this text which, by approving without reservations «the national movement», was in effect contrary to the religious policy followed from 1931 to 1935. Cf. Nouvelle histoire de l’Église, Vol. V, p. 614, Seuil 1975.
(68) Franco, soldat et chef d’État, p. 270, éd. Quatre fils Aymon, Paris 1959.
(69) Claude Martin, Franco, p. 271-272.
(70) Alonso, FER, p. 37. S. Martins dos Reis indicates May 27 as the date of Lucy’s arrival at Tuy (A vidente de Fatima dialoga, p. 52).
(71) Cf. the appendix at the end of this chapter.
(72) Actes de S.S. Pie XI, Vol. XVI, p. 86-98.
(1) Cf. supra, p. 155-156.
(2) «It is with tears in our eyes that we see this relic, which merited for us so many graces from Heaven, for myself and my dear ones, leave our vault...! If it were permitted me, I would dare to beg Your Excellency to deign to put off the transfer until completion of the basilica, so as to be able to bring them directly into this temple.» Letter to Bishop da Silva (quoted by Barthas, TPE, p. 205).
(3) Cf. De Marchi, p. 292.
(4) Quoted by Alonso, Fatima, Espana, Russia, p. 33-34.
(5) First Memoir, p. 46. In May 1938, in the first edition of his wonderful little work Jacinta, Canon José Galamba de Oliveira already published the essential passages of this Memoir.
(6) Documentos, p. 456-467.
(7) II, p. 50.
(8) Sister Lucy’s Memoirs, p. 48.
(9) II, p. 100.