An interesting take on that May 12, 2017 visit from Tradition in Action.
DENYING FATIMA’S MESSAGE – I would say that Pope Francis’ visit to Fatima this month can be summarized as an attempt to empty and deny the message of Fatima. The essence of his remarks appeared when he spoke these words at the Chapel of the Apparitions on May 12: “Great injustice is done to God’s grace whenever we say that sins are punished by his judgment, without first saying – as the Gospel clearly does – that they are forgiven by his mercy! Mercy has to be put before judgment and, in any case, God’s judgment will always be rendered in the light of his mercy.
“Obviously, God’s mercy does not deny justice, for Jesus took upon himself the consequences of our sin, together with its due punishment. He did not deny sin, but redeemed it on the cross. Hence, in the faith that unites us to the cross of Christ, we are freed of our sins; we put aside all fear and dread, as unbefitting those who are loved (cf. 1 Jn 4:18).” (1)
These words are meant to “correct” the two parts of the message of Fatima that undoubtedly speak about God’s judgment of individuals and nations and threaten them with chastisements. In that message, although Our Lady showed great mercy to the souls and nations, the emphasis was placed on the punishment God reserves for men if they do not convert. That is, it was precisely the opposite of Francis’ input.
Punishment of individuals
If we put the parts of the Fatima message in perspective, we see that the first part refers to the punishment of a huge number of individuals who go to Hell because they abandoned the Commandments, while the second part refers to the punishment of nations.
Indeed, in the apparition on July 13, 1917, Sister Lucy reported: “Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear.
“The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to Heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.” (2)
It is clear that this part of the message is turned to move Catholics primarily by means of fear, not mercy, inviting them to return to the path of grace. This way that Our Lady chose to send her message is in accordance with a multitude of Catholic teachings, which can be summarized in two maxims: “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom” and “Think about the last things and you will not die eternally.” (3)
So, what Francis did was an attempt to deny Our Lady’s message.
When Pope Bergoglio revolted against the pedagogy of fear, he fell into multiple errors.
- The first is that by assuming that mercy always prevails over justice and that our sins were already forgiven on the Cross, he practically denied that sins are punished eternally.
- As a consequence, he implicitly denied Hell. He seemed to return to the error of John Paul II that Purgatory and Hell are existential situations a person experiences in this life.
- He further denied that each man must struggle against evil – the world, flesh and Devil – in order to merit his own salvation. Grace is only effective with man’s cooperation.
- He also indirectly encouraged people to sin. His motto seems to be: “Trust in mercy and do whatever you want.” Quite similar to that of Luther: “Believe and sin boldly.”
This analysis is in reference to the first part of the message.