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Abracadabra in the Banjo Basilica

by Christopher A. Ferrara
September 20, 2012

Monsignor Luciano Guerra is no longer rector of the Fatima Shrine at the Cova da Iria in Portugal, Pope Benedict having accepted his resignation upon his reaching age 75 in 2005. It seems that even the Vatican had had enough of Guerra.

No doubt Guerra's departure — the Pope could have declined to accept the resignation — was motivated in large part by the infamous incident in May of 2004, when Guerra invited a Hindu "priest" and his "congregation" to desecrate the Capelhina (Little Chapel) — erected on the very site of the Fatima apparitions — by conducting a Hindu ritual at its altar.

Guerra was given his walking papers even though, as John Vennari reported, he hinted loudly that he was available to serve as rector until 2007, the anticipated year for completion of the monstrosity he had commissioned as the new Fatima basilica — a preposterous banjo-shaped structure, half buried in the ground.

Well, Guerra is gone, but the insanity at Fatima continues. The Banjo Basilica that is Guerra's legacy has hosted some very strange doings of late, much in the manner of Novus Ordo churches and basilicas throughout the world in this time of unprecedented confusion in the Catholic Church.

Look at these pictures from the Fatima Shrine website:

Yes, that's right. You are looking at a magic show next to the Banjo Basilica's altar. The magicians are performing the famous Sword Box illusion, thrusting swords into a box from which the "victim" emerges unscathed. It's one of the corniest illusions in the stage magician's repertoire.

Why is the new rector of the Fatima Shrine allowing cornball magic shows in the sanctuary of the Banjo Basilica, you ask? Answer: Because the Banjo Basilica is not perceived as a sacred space. The Banjo Basilica is, in fact, a joke — a mockery of what a sacred space should be. It is, moreover, a mockery of the very God whose image is depicted on the Crucifix seen in the pictures — quite bizarrely depicted, as one realizes if one examines the corpus on the Crucifix in person, as I have.

Hindus in the Capelhina. Magic shows in the sanctuary of the Banjo Basilica. What has become of the shrine devoted to Our Lady's apparitions nearly a century ago, when the Mother of God warned of a coming crisis in the Church and the world? The Fatima shrine has gone the way of so much of the human element of the Church after the Second Vatican Council. It has become the ecclesiastical equivalent of a loony bin. To look at these photographs is to understand what Sister Lucia of Fatima meant by her repeated and insistent references to diabolical disorientation in the Church, especially on the part of those who have grave responsibility for the Church's governance.