Sunday, October 12, 2014
By Jean M. Heimann
The Church has never required the faithful to believe in any apparitions, except those described in Scripture. Belief in credible apparitions such as Fatima in 1917, is not necessary for salvation. However, these apparitions are valuable because they lead us to greater devotion, increase our awareness of our beliefs, and promote growth in holiness. Why should we believe in the apparitions at Fatima?
1. The local bishop and the then Cardinal of Lisbon conducted a comprehensive canonical inquiry, which led to a decision on May 13, 1930, that the claims were worthy of human faith, and official devotion to our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima was approved.
2. Pope Pius XII promoted devotion to Our Lady of Fatima and consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He renewed that consecration in Rome the following feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1942, to chose to close the Holy Year at Fatima on October 13, 1951.
3. Pope Paul VI went to Fatima in 1967. When Pope John Paul was at Fatima in 1982, he renewed the dedication to our Lady his predecessors had made.
4. The main ingredients of the Fatima message — prayer, penance, reparation, the Immaculate Heart of Mary — are woven into the approved prayers, as in the prayer said after the decades of the Rosary: "Oh my Jesus save us from our sins, deliver us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls into heaven, especially those who have most need of your mercy."
5. Fatima has encouraged great devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which draws each one of us closer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
6. At Fatima, there were accurate predictions of future world events made by children who claim to have seen the Blessed Mother at Fatima. Fatima is undoubtedly the most prophetic of modern apparitions. Lucia's well-documented memoirs validate the following predictions made at Fatima: The end of World War I, the start of World War II, the rise of atheistic communism in Russia, communist expansionism and persecution of the Church, and the spread of communist-inspired errors such as abortion on demand -- which was first legalized in communist Russia in the first decade after the 1917 revolution.
7. The most convincing prediction of Fatima is the one Our Blessed Mother made twice about performing a miracle in October "so that all may believe." The Miracle of the Sun, witnessed by more than 70,000 people, resulted in prayer, penance, and conversion of the hearts of those who witnessed it, even in atheists and non-believers.