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The Unsinkable Message of Fatima

by Christopher A. Ferrara
May 2, 2013

The Catholic writer Mark Fellows has said it best: like a cork one attempts to submerge in the ocean, the Message of Fatima keeps bobbing to the surface again. And so it has done with Pope Francis.

In one of my columns from Rome during the conclave that elevated Cardinal Bergoglio to the Throne of Peter, I wrote: “In these early stages of the new pontificate, we cannot overlook the Marian dimension of the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires. And it is the Marian dimension of the Roman Pontiff that will be decisive for what must be done to bring the current ecclesial crisis to an end while averting the ultimate calamity depicted in the vision of the ‘Bishop dressed in White.’”

The Marian dimension of the new Pope has manifested itself most dramatically in favor of Fatima. As noted by the website of the Society of Saint Pius X, the Fatima Shrine has announced that “Pope Francis will be consecrating his pontificate to Our Lady of Fatima on May 13th at the Fatima shrine in conjunction with the Portuguese bishops.”

And so yet another Pope makes a pilgrimage to Fatima to pay tribute to a so-called “private apparition” which, according to certain ecclesial drones who follow the Secretary of State’s party line on Fatima, no one need obey. But this Pope is not merely making a pilgrimage to the site of the apparitions, as John Paul II and Benedict XVI did. Much more than this, he is consecrating his entire pontificate specifically to Our Lady of Fatima — not to the Blessed Virgin under any other title but this one, of all the titles His Holiness could have chosen.

Here is something to bear in mind when encountering those who belittle the work of Father Gruner in promoting so tirelessly the enduring importance — indeed the utmost urgency — of the Fatima apparitions in this time of unparalleled crisis for both the Church and the world. It is not Father Gruner, but the Roman Pontiffs in succession, who have refused to let Fatima die.

The decision of Pope Francis to dedicate his entire pontificate to the Virgin in Her role as bearer of a so-called private revelation that was, in truth, destined for the whole Church and all humanity, should finally silence all the smug sophisticates who are finding themselves once again confounded by the unsinkable Message of Fatima.

The Pope’s dramatic gesture reflects a divine imperative that remains unfulfilled nearly a century after it was handed down to the Church at Cova da Iria. Pope Francis has demonstrated that the Fatima event thus remains as current as the day it took place. For God stands above time, and His will does not diminish with the mere passage of years. In the end, Her Immaculate Heart will Triumph. Let us pray that this triumph occurs during the reign of Pope Francis, who has given us reason to hope that this is the Pope’s very intention.

Correction, May 6, 2013: It has come to my attention that the Pope has not in fact indicated that he will personally attend the consecration of his pontificate to Our Lady of Fatima by the bishops of Portugal. Nevertheless, Catholics should be heartened by the Pope’s extraordinary recognition of the enduring importance of the Fatima message.