Friday, April 25, 2008

The Vatican Sec of State Talks Fatima

The Anchoress has an excellent post up called The Last Secret of Fatima. Fatima is where many Catholics believe the Blessed Virgin appeared to three Children in Portugal early last century. Strangly I find a lot of Protestants think so too. It is of course private revelation that is not binding on Catholics. However there are apparitions and then there are apparitions. Needless to say Fatima is given a lot of credence by the Church. That is one reason you see so many Churches in Dioceses across the Country named Our Lady of Fatima. The Anchoress in her post is reviewing the book The Last Secret of Fatima.

So what is the big deal. Another book about Fatima. Big whoop you might say. However this is one is a tad different. First it's author is the "number 2" guy at the Vatican. That is the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. It also gives a lot of inside info it appears on things surrounding the revealing of the third secret and thus info on John Paul the II and the then Cardinal Ratzinger.

The third secret , in which Pope's never have revealed of course was subject to much speculation. After John Paul the II got shot he asked to take a look at it. He then later published it some years later in 2000.

It was of course predictable after decades of speculation over it that many would be disappointed. If I recall correctly at the time when it was released many were. The view of "Is that it!!!" seemed to be a common one from some of the more extreme quarters. Thus opening up conspiracy theories that the Vatican was holding something back. The third secret can be be viewed here. What I am interested in is the consideration of the publication of the secret and the complexties of Cold War politics. Everytime there was talk of Fatima by the Vatican and the Consecration of Russia with all those overtones it made the Soviets go bonkers. The secret was fianlly published of course after the Soviet Union had beome a thing of the past.

The book thought appears to go more into that. We see glimpses of Pope John Paul the II and perhaps the very non mystic Cardianl Ratzinger. People forget but one of Ratzinger's jobs was to inform people after investigations that no they were not seeing Mary or no the Church could not give it's stamp of approval to their "visions". I recall reading that Ratzinger was always sensitive to those meetings and the "visionary" in a almost fatherly way.

Anyway it appears to be very interesting. Let me excerpt this part that is of particular interest. Many people of course have wondered why the Virgin Mary appeared at a village named Fatima. this region of course was at one time under Muslim hands and thus the name of the village. Fatima was of course Mohammed's favorite daughter and regarded by the prophet as the highest woman in Heaven after our Lady.

The Islamic connection was often not highlighted for those many decades. It was out there. For instance the renowned Fulton Sheen often commented on it. However the focus on the faithful was on the messages and promise regarding the Conversion of Russia. This is pretty understandable since there was a Cold War and many of the faithful were concerned about World War III.

The Anchoress highlights this part:
Q: …Fatima plays a role for Shiite that is similar to the role of Mary in Catholicism. For instance, Shiite theology assigns Fatima a part in the end-times. The Shiites believe that the Fatima shrine belongs by right to the Muslims and that the Catholics have stolen it form its rightful owners. They argue that if a Lady dressed in shining white appeared there, then it’s because she had a message for Muslims and not for Christians…[the question continues and goes into behavior De Carli has witnessed by Muslins at the Fatima Shrine]

Bertone: Let’s stick with the prophecy and not stray into other areas…when I met with Lucia the second time she showed absolutely no interest in drawing connections between Fatima and the attack on the Twin Towers…

Well that is indeed very interesting. I had no idea that some Shiite Muslims had this view or that maybe there was trouble at the Shrine. The Secretary of State was of course to get away from that question as quick as possible. Though one wonders why he talks about 9/11 when that appears not to been part of the question.

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