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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Getting A Clear Vision

Before I begin, let me stipulate a few things.
  • The Church has approved Fatima as worthy of belief, therefore I have no qualms with people who accept what the Fatima visionaries have to say. 
  •  I accept the miracle of the Sun and other approved miracles.
  • Taken with the right understanding, the Fatima message is important (see below).
All that having been said, Fatima is private revelation.
Nothing more.
Nothing less.

Two Kinds of Revelation
Revelation can be divided up in a lot of different ways.

For instance, in coming to know about God, we can talk of natural revelation: "The heavens are telling the glory of God". We can discuss prophetic revelation, the books of Jeremiah or Ezekiel, for example. We recognize the best, and the only complete, revelation is God's own personal self-revelation: Jesus Christ, in which He reveals the Trinity through the Incarnation, His life and His Paschal Mystery.

What we know of Christ comes to us through Sacred Tradition, which has two forms: written and oral. The written form of Sacred Tradition is Scripture. The oral form of Sacred Tradition is the liturgy and the teachings of the apostles as handed down through the bishops and the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. It can also include the lived example of the lives of the saints, approved by the Church for our imitation.

But there is another way to divide up revelation: public or private.

Public revelation is the Apostolic Teaching and Scripture which is the deposit of faith.
Apostolic Teaching and Scripture is the sum total of public revelation.

Public revelation = Apostolic Teaching + Sacred Scripture = the Deposit.

Public revelation ended with the death of the last apostle.
After the Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation, he died.
There is no more public revelation.

So, where do things like Fatima, Lourdes, Knock, Akita, and dozens of similarly approved visions fall? These are private revelation.

I am not bound to accept private revelation.
I can be a perfectly good Catholic and get into heaven yet never believe or accept that Mary appeared at Fatima, Lourdes, Akita, etc.
I do not need private revelation to be saved.
I do not need to accept Fatima to be a good Catholic.
67 Throughout the ages, there have been so-called "private" revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church. 
Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such "revelations".

Whether it be the vision of Fatima or the vision of Saint Faustina, it is private revelation. Even if the Church approves a vision as valid, the Church does not compel any Catholic to accept private revelation.

The vision may inform Tradition, it may exemplify Tradition, it may signify Tradition, it may perfectly express Tradition, but it ain't Tradition. Visions are not part of the deposit of faith.

A vision - even a vision accompanied by a miracle that is witnessed by 70,000 people - is private revelation. Nothing more.

I can, like St. Thomas the Apostle, distrust those 70,000 witnesses and, like St. Thomas, still be a saint.

A vision, even Fatima, even Divine Mercy, is not part of the deposit of faith.
At best, a vision is catechesis.
At worst, a vision is condemned.
But that vision is never part of the deposit of faith handed down by the Christ to the apostles to us. Never.


Visions are fun. Visions are interesting. Visions are buttered popcorn. The deposit is steak. Visions are not informative the way the deposit of faith is informative.

Having a visionary talk about his or her vision - even when it conforms with public revelation - is less part of public revelation than having any non-visionary teach the doctrines of the Church in CCD.

Catechesis means "to echo."

If I correctly teach the Trinity or the Eucharist to a bunch of second graders, my teaching is closer to being part of the deposit of faith than is the narration of any visionary who tells me s/he has personally received the Eucharist from an angel. What I say as I teach CCD echoes the deposit of faith. What the visionary says about angelic Eucharistic reception does not.

Public revelation has ALREADY been revealed.
The deposit of faith was completed before the last apostle died.
It is done. Finished. No more to add.

All we can do is explain it, repeat it.

Still, our teaching of public revelation, our teaching of the deposit of faith, is not itself part of the deposit. Our teaching is the echoing of the deposit. 

Insofar as I faithfully echo what the Church says, I am a catechist. Insofar as I fail to correctly repeat and teach what the Church teaches, then I am not a catechist, I am instead someone who presents my own private opinion as if it were the teaching of the Church. That is, I am one who - whether intending to or not - mis-represents the Truth.

Insofar as someone receives a truly divinely inspired vision, like Fatima, Akita, Lourdes, Knock, etc., it is catechesis to the one who receives it. If that visionary decides to tell others about the vision, and does so accurately, then insofar as the repetition accurately represents the deposit of faith, it is catechetical to the ones who hear it.

But, even so, it is never more than private revelation.

Now, Antonio Socci apparently wrote a book in which he said about Fatima, "It is really impossible - after all of this - to continue to speak of a 'private revelation'."

Insofar as Socci is referring to the vision of Fatima, Socci is simply wrong. 
It is the Church who says Socci is wrong.
Socci is wrong.

As I said before, insofar as the message content echoes Tradition, then we must believe the message content. But I don't need to accept the Fatima event in order to accept the message content, since Fatima does not, cannot, say anything other than what the Church has always taught.

If Fatima said something new, different, or in addition, it would not be echoing the deposit.
If it were something more than private revelation, then it would be public revelation.
If it "cannot be spoken of as private revelation," then the only thing left to call it is public revelation.
But it is not public revelation.
The three children were not apostles.
Fatima is only private revelation.
Socci is wrong.

Why Visions Make Bad Catechesis
One of the marks of bad formation is putting visions on par with doctrines. A badly formed Catholic puts private revelation on par with public revelation. He or she thinks private revelation is part of public revelation. The Church says private revelation is not part of public revelation.

Similarly, one of the marks of bad catechesis is extensive reliance on private revelation, visions and miracles. A catechist who is not good at teaching the Faith will rely extensively on private revelation to pass on the Faith because he or she doesn't understand the doctrines well enough to rely on the deposit of Faith as should be done.

Before you howl with outrage, listen.

A true catechist relies on the deposit of faith and nothing else because that is all the Church gives a catechist. Insofar as a catechist teaches something other than the deposit, the person is not acting as a catechist. He may still be a teacher. He is not a catechist. The person is not echoing the Church's teaching.

I absolutely believe in miracles.
But I believe because I already trust God and the Catholic Church.
I believe because I studied the deposit.
I do not believe because I studied the private revelation.
Insofar as private revelation led me to believe, it is because the private revelation echoed the deposit. 

In order for the Church to approve a miracle or a vision, She has to spend years investigating the event with panels of experts at her side to advise her on the intricacies of the event.

If the Church needs years and years and dozens of investigative experts to rationally reach the conclusion that a single miracle or vision is real and worthy of belief, then why would we expect anyone else to require less time and less resources than the Church to reach the same conclusion?  Personally, I would expect it to take a lot more time for other people to rationally reach the same conclusions, assuming they had access to the same evidence, which they don't.

The deposit of faith is accessible in a way that private revelation is not. When I teach Catholic faith on the basis of events which are not part of the deposit of faith,  I'm essentially expecting my audience to surrender their rational faculties and simply trust me on the details, which even I probably don't know.

So why would they trust me? Especially when we remember that I am a fallen man who will get details wrong even with the best of intentions.

Sister Lucia says Amelia (a childhood friend) will be in Purgatory until the end of time. The Church doesn't say this. Sister Lucia says it. Is Sister Lucia right? Even Sister Lucia doesn't know for sure. She may have mis-heard. She may have misunderstood what she did properly hear. The Church doesn't say Amelia is in Purgatory until the end of time.

Someone says whistling makes the Mother of God sad. The Church doesn't say this. Someone says dancing makes the Mother of God sad. The Church doesn't say this.
Someone (many someones) says the sun danced at Fatima. The Church doesn't say this.

The Church says that my salvation is not affected by what I think about the sun dancing at Fatima. My salvation is also not affected by what I think about evolution, gravity or the unified field theory.

I must believe in the miracle of the Resurrection.
It doesn't matter what I believe about the miracle of the sun at Fatima.

The Church expects me to study the deposit.
The Church does not expect me to study visions.

The Church guarantees the deposit of faith as necessary for salvation. As part of that deposit of faith, She guarantees that I do not need private revelation. So why would I rely on what is guaranteed to be unnecessary in order to pass on what is necessary?

If I want to pass on the Faith, I'm better off sticking to the propositions of the Faith, reasoning things out through extensive use of the documents. The individuals who have trouble with my explanations can check the documents themselves, check with other catechists, etc. But how could anyone check for what is the correct understanding of a vision?

Catholics need to understand:

Public revelation is the norm which norms all other norms.
It is the touchstone against which everything else is tested.

Fatima, no matter how holy the participants or how pure the vision, is not a touchstone.
It is a consequence, an application, a catechesis.

Fatima, like every true vision, is God inculturating the Gospel to a specific time and circumstance. The Fatima vision, like other visions, may have resonance today, but insofar as it does, that is only because our time and circumstance happen to correspond in relevant ways to 1917 or to 1973 or to 1879, etc.

And for every way in which it does correspond, there are doubtless other ways in which it does not. And for every way in which the circumstances of the Fatima vision do not match our own, Fatima is not helpful. Indeed, it may be seriously problematic.

Why lay out obstacles to understanding?
And make no mistake - just as private revelation eases some minds, private revelation can most definitely present obstacles to understanding to other minds. Even under the best circumstances, private revelation is not a shotgun anyone should fire into a crowd.

You can fire the deposit of faith at any crowd without fear for the deposit carries with it its own grace, the self-revelation of God. Private revelation carries no such grace.

As long as one does not distrust what Sacred Tradition teaches, it is not a sin to put small weight on any particular non-Scriptural vision. Indeed, the Church permits us to entirely discount any non-Scriptural vision.

Can Fatima be a useful teaching tool?
For those who accept the idea that the vision occurred, for use in small settings, sure.
But it is not a necessary teaching tool. 

America doesn't need Fatima.
Portugal needed Fatima.
That's why Portugal got Fatima.
If you want to insist that America needs a specific vision, then America apparently needed Champion, Wisconsin.

But America did not need Champion, Wisconsin because the Church says Catholics do not need private revelation at all. Catholics need public revelation, the deposit of faith.

America does not need Fatima.
America needs the Gospel.

Insofar as Fatima is useful to promoting the Gospel, then sparing use may be warranted in certain circumstances.
But it should not become the centerpiece.
Fatima is not the Gospel.


Doug Pearson said...

I agree. I do have question about the miracle of the sun though... I read a book "Meet the Witnesses" that had dozens of folks tell their version of the story. Most of them don't say that it was the sun that was coming down, but rather a bright or flaming disc. Of course the sun could be described like that but that description would not have to be the sun. And if it was the sun, would this miracle not have been witnessed by hundreds of millions rather than just 70,000?

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Oh, no doubt.

And it's even worse than that.

Of the dozens of meteorological services and astronomical facilities that were in a position to have seen the "dance", not one of them reported anything unusual.

Fr. Stanley Jaki opined that the phenomenon was real, but was due to a very localized weather phenomenon. He held that the miracle was not in the event, but in the timing of the event.

I tend to agree with him.

But in the hagiography of Fatima, to which you and I were most roundly treated, all of these rational concerns and observations are completely ignored.

Proper catechesis teaches in such a way that ALL of your initial questions are answered and the answer leaves you with a desire to know more.

What you and I experienced was not catechesis. It didn't answer existing questions, rather, it created more unanswered questions without actually touching on any particular doctrine.

It was like drinking a can of Red Bull - you might feel energized for awhile, but after the sugar and caffeine rush is gone, there's nothing left.

It's sort of the Catholic version of Joel Osteen's "feel good" Gospel.

daddylamb said...

Disclaimer: The post was (by necessidty?) too long for me to invest in reading it carefully.

Should the events of Fatima 1917 be studied and/or taught?

My answer:
With the end goal being the salvation of the greatest numbers of souls, absolutely yes Fatima needs our attention.

I believe it was the Blessed Mother who appeared.
We know that her will in in complete and perfect accord with the Will of God.
If she makes a request of us as Universal Church and as individuals
we are obliged to obey.

The only way I can see of putting the ideas aside is if there is doubt it truly was the Mother of God. Agreeing that it was the BVM, but casting doubt on Lucia's abilities, is actually doubting the BVM efficacy.

Promote Fatima.
Russia needs Fatima.
America needs Fatima.

We all know where Obama and Romney want to take us, and we know how unlikely it is their path be detoured through human means.

Steve Kellmeyer said...


Daddylamb, you are the PERFECT example of why America does NOT need Fatima.

Doctrine is too hard for you and too long for you to study.

Like a child at the table, the steak is too thick for you. Even when I give you a steak knife, you can't cut it.

So, you go for the buttered popcorn.

If you can't be bothered to read a post that is much shorter than any book on Fatima, I can't be bothered to take anything you say seriously.

daddylamb said...

Salvation is the end of every human soul created.

Both for those blessed with the intellect and zeal for studying doctrine, theologians.

And for those who simply listen and obey, Juan Diego comes to mind as someone not likely to be well versed in doctrine.

Of course, for salvation, one needs absolutely zero knowldege of Catholic doctrine, one need only die in the state of grace.

Promote Fatima.

Steve Kellmeyer said...


You are wrong.

The ones who receive visions are responsible for those visions.

You did not receive a vision.
Therefore, you are responsible for knowing doctrine.

You are literate. That means you are not hopelessly stupid. You have the time. You have the resources.

You lack the will to find out that you are wrong.

Thus, you do not study doctrine.
Steak is good for you.
You don't eat steak.
You eat buttered popcorn.

Buttered popcorn is fine in moderation, but the Church requires you to learn doctrine if you have the resources and the time.

You have both.
You just refuse to live out the graces of your Confirmation.

Instead, you fall back on the pathetic "I'm too little to learn this."

In fact, you are too lazy to be bothered.

daddylamb said...

Perhaps I don't properly understand your position.

I'd like to indulge in a question that I may obtain clarity.

Should the rosary be promoted?

Of course, the question is asked becuase is was received as private revelation to St. Dominic.

Of course my position is,absolutely YES. The rosary will lead to the salvation of souls, let's get everybody to pray it daily.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

The rosary is a prayer, not a vision.

The prayer MAY have been received by a vision of St. Dominic, but that's actually not very likely. Even the original Catholic Encyclopedia casts doubt on that.

If you want to invoke a devotion that is clearly connected to a vision, use the Miraculous Medal or the Divine Mercy chaplet and image.

Notice that in NONE of these cases is the vision proposing a new doctrine. Even Lourdes' pronouncement "I Am the Immaculate Conception" was only made AFTER the Pope had clearly defined what the phrase meant.

If you have the intelligence to follow politics - which you clearly do, as you know Romney and Obama are running - then you have the intelligence to learn doctrine.

You're just too lazy.
I've heard that the BVM doesn't like lazy people. I *KNOW* the Church teaches it to be a sin.

So, read the whole essay above first, tell me exactly which sentence or sentences are contrary to the Faith and why.

Otherwise, go away.
I have no time for lazy people.

Andrew said...

Good post Steve. People lose sight of the fact that visions get approved (in part) precisely because they don't teach anything contrary to the deposit of faith. I recommend The Youngest Prophet by Fr. Christopher Rengers as a very good book on Fatima. One of his points is that "The message of Fatima" is in reality...pray, do penance, sacrifice for others. Nothing revolutionary there, if you don't think the Gospel is revolutionary. People get so hung up on looking for "the secret" either with regards to Fatima or other visions and lose sight of the fact that the message of salvation as been REVEALED.

Fatima in particular and private revelations are extremely fertile ground for scam artists and dissidents who are looking to make a quick buck, push their own theology, or both.

Which is very sad.

Pax Christi

mwhitcraft said...

Visions often help us to better understand public revelation. That is why the Church has always promoted those which conform to Her doctrine. Understanding the Sacred Heart helps us all see more clearly God's infinite love for mankind and the extent to which sin offends God. That is why this vision has been promoted by all levels of the Church hierarchy for over two centuries.

To write off all visions as unimportant "buttered popcorn" is clearly ludicrous, since, by manifesting more clearly the doctrine we must believe, they too can nourish our faith.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

First, the Church does not promote visions, she permits and approves visions. Individual priests, bishops or lay faithful may promote visions, but the Church doesn't. She doesn't put out documents saying "Go to Lourdes!" or "Wear the Miraculous Medal!"

The Church taught the Sacred Heart of Jesus long before any visionary reported it. Once a visionary reported it and the Church approved the vision, many individuals found it useful. It helped them enjoy the practice of the Faith in much the same way that some people find buttered popcorn helps them enjoy a movie. Now popcorn is nourishing, it has many health benefits, but the point of going to a movie is not the eating of the popcorn. Buttered popcorn -a good in itself - is not necessary to the movie.

The point of being Catholic is to know and live the doctrines.
Visions are not necessary to the Faith.
They are pleasant, but they are not the point.

As an adult Catholic with a working brain, I am required by the Church to learn doctrine.
I am not required by the Church to learn visions.
Not even Fatima.

And, as I pointed out, why does everyone fixate on Fatima over Champion, Wisconsin?
Because Fatima had more bling than Champion, it had secrets (oh my!), it was scarier.
You could write thicker books about it, raise questions about what the secrets really were, generate more controversy.

Strictly in terms of notoriety, Fatima is the orthodox Catholic version of The Da Vinci Code.
If people spent half the time learning and living the CCC that they spend on promoting Fatima, we would actually have a decent Catholic Church in the United States, instead of the train wreck we currently witness.

Ellen Wironken said...

Pope Benedict XVI spoke on the need for the Fatima message today: "For us, Fatima is a sign of the presence of faith, of the fact that it is precisely from the little ones that faith gains new strength, one which is not limited to the little ones but has a message for the entire world and touches history here and now, and sheds light on this history . . . Even now there is tribulation, in every conceivable form, and power threatens to trample down faith. Even now, then, there is a need for the answer about which the Mother of God spoke to the children at Fatima."

Here we can clearly see that the Holy Father is saying that there is a need for the Fatima message.

When you say that the Fatima message isn't needed, you contradict the Holy Father. Frankly, I trust the Pope. You I don't know.

Ellen Wironken said...

When an individual says, "America needs Fatima," they are not necessarily suggesting that private revelation is on the same level with Public Revelation or (God forbid), that private revelation may "correct" Public Revelation. Rather, to say that the Fatima message is needed today is simply to say that the Gospel message [which is emphasized so beautifully at Fatima] is a message which is needed today.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Oh, for heaven's sake, Ellen, would you get your facts straight?

You say, "Pope Benedict XVI spoke on the need for the Fatima message today."

You are wrong.

That quote is actually from the blurb on the back of a new Fatima book from Ignatius Press. It isn't something the Pope said today, May 15, 2012, or even this year.

It's from an interview made with the Pope in 2010 when he was flying to visit Portugal. He was speaking as a private theologian, not as the Pope.

If you read the whole interview, you see the context of the questions posed was the Church in Portugal.

The specific question, to which this sentence forms part of the answer is, "Your Holiness, what meaning do the Fatima apparitions have for us today? In June 2000, when you presented the text of the third secret in the Vatican Press Office, a number of us and our former colleagues were present. You were asked if the message could be extended, beyond the attack on John Paul II, to other sufferings on the part of the Popes. Is it possible, to your mind, to include in that vision the sufferings of the Church today for the sins involving the sexual abuse of minors?"

So, the Pope's reference to "the little ones" at Fatima is meant to refer back to the sexual abuse question.

I know Ignatius Press has taken the quote you are using and pasted it, out of context, on the back of a new book they are promoting on Fatima. I know ETWN has a new series on Fatima.

That doesn't mean either Ignatius Press or EWTN is acting in good faith by tearing this quote out of context in order to promote their network or books.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Here is the whole interview - all three questions.

Andrew said...

Spot on with the "orthodox da vinci code" comment Steve.

Take the consecration of Russia for example.

Has a consecration been done according to the directions relayed to the Fatima Vissionaries by Our Lady?

Maybe, maybe not. But the Pope or any other Pope since Fatima is perfectly within his rights as a Catholic to say "Instructions? Consecration? What? I don't believe that really happened."

Yet, so many Catholics believe that the Pope MUST consecrate Russia, according to how THEY interpret the visions.

In demanding obedience to a private revelation, they contradict the public revelation of the Church, which includes it's teaching on the completion of public revelation.

Do I believe Our Lady appeared at Fatima? Yes I do. I think learning about the vision and thinking on it can direct someone to the Gospel message in a very powerful way.

But, Steve is exactly right. Obsessing about the vision at the expense of learing the doctrine of the Church is a serious error that unfortunately many Catholics fall into.


daddylamb said...

Theological Minimism

The idea that it is ok for catholics to reject authoritative papal teaching on any point, it is ok to reject teaching that is not defined as infallible.

Minimsim opens the door for Vatican II liberal Catholicsm.

The popes have taught in their encyclicals to the world that the rosary came from the Blessed Virgin Mary to St Dominic to the world. (in particular Pope Leo XIII)

Pope Pius XII has written about our Lady of Fatima in his encyclicals to the world. Additionally, he who promoted the Queenship of Mary in his encyclical, crowned the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima as 'Queen of the World'.

I have never before heard anyone make the claim:

"America doesn't need Fatima.
Portugal needed Fatima.
That's why Portugal got Fatima."

I will stand by the popes on why we pray the rosary, it would be presumption on my part to think they wrote arbitrarily or had deficient research teams when addressing the universal church.

I will stand by the many popes who have gone to visit Fatima, crowning her as Queen of the world, not Queen of Potugal.

My claim remains that praying to our Lady under the title of Our Lady of Fatima is efficacious for the salvation of souls.

I additionally claim is that God, as man's creator, knows what we need and when we need, and we got Fatima and miracles, that we may persevere in our struggles against the world, the devil, and the flesh.

If public revelation, defined as ending with the death of St John, were all that mankind needs, nothing supernatural would have occurred since then. Man is weak, study alone will make easy pickings for the enemies of the soul.

Ellen Wironken said...

The Holy Father spoke these words: "For us, Fatima is a sign of the presence of faith, of the fact that it is precisely from the little ones that faith gains new strength, one which is not limited to the little ones but has a message for the entire world and touches history here and now, and sheds light on this history . . . Even now there is tribulation, in every conceivable form, and power threatens to trample down faith. Even now, then, there is a need for the answer about which the Mother of God spoke to the children at Fatima."

He spoke of a real need for the Fatima message. But in your pride, you cannot acknowledge that you were wrong.

You write, "He was speaking as a private theologian, not as the Pope." He is still the Vicar of Christ and a world-class theologian. Which is far more than you are or ever will be.

You can use your smoke-and-mirrors tactics all you want. But the Vicar of Christ said that the Fatima message is needed today. And all your rants will not change that fact.

Michael Cole said...

On May 13, 1991, Pope John Paul II said that, "The Message of Fatima is more relevant and more urgent" than when Our Lady first appeared. There is, then, a real need for the Fatima message.

If it were not necessary, Pope John Paul II would not have described it as "more relevant and more urgent."

Steve Kellmeyer said...


Here is the link to Pope Leo XIII Encyclical on the Rosary and St. Dominic.

Nowhere in it does he say Dominic received the Rosary in a vision from Mary.

The Rosary is a fine prayer, my family prays it every nice, St. Dominic certainly spread its use throughout Europe.

But nowhere in that encyclical does Leo XIII say Dominic received it in a vision from Mary.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Ok, Ellen.
What is the "Fatima message"?

You all keep ranting on about it, and you don't think I'm trustworthy, so I'm not going to inject myself into this.

This is all you - I want you to tell me what you think the Fatima message is.

What is the Fatima message?

daddylamb said...

Supremi Apostolatus Officio
Superiore Anno
Vi È Ben Noto
Octobri Mense
Magnae Dei Matris
Laetitiae Sanctae
Iucunda Semper Expectatione
Fidentem Piumque Animum
Augustissimae Virginis Mariae
Diuturni Temporis

Mr. Kellmeyer, the good Pope Leo XIII wrote much about the rosary, usually in september. How close to the words, "The BVM gave St Dominic the rosary in a vision" do you need?

If a reasonable person interpreted the words of the Holy Father as the rosary being given to St Dominic by the BVM, would that be sufficient?

Ellen Wironken said...

"Fatima, in its message and its blessing, is conversion to God. Here in this place we can feel and bear witness to the redemption of humankind through the intercession and help of Our Lady whose foot crushed, and will always crush, the head of the serpent of old" (Pope John Paul II, Greetings during the Marian Vigil at the Shrine of Fatima, May 12, 1991).

"The evangelical call to repentance and conversion contained in Our Lady of Fatima’s message remains ever relevant. It is even more relevant now than it was 65 years ago. It is now more urgent" (Pope John Paul II, Homily at the Mass in the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, 1982).

Pope John Paul II describes the Fatima message as "ever relevant" and "more urgent" than ever before.

The word "urgent" is defined as, "Compelling or requiring immediate action or attention; imperative; pressing."

Fatima isn't needed? Not according to Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II!

Ellen Wironken said...

From the Blue Army (World Apostolate of Fatima):

Washington, NJ – Laity, experts and relatives of the three Portuguese shepherd children to whom the Blessed Mother appeared in 1917 gathered for the most important Fatima conference in history this past spring. The World Apostolate of Fatima (WAF) organized this exclusive conference in Fatima, Portugal for the intentions of: world peace, the salvation of souls, and the strengthening of the Church.
Fifteen world-renowned Fatima experts delivered speeches and led discussions with less than 200 lay people during the week-long conference at the WAF - owned Domus Pacis Hotel.
Attendees gained spiritual, historical and familial insights about the Marian apparition of Fatima in accordance with the conference objective: “To further prepare us to help others learn, live and spread Our Lady of Fatima’s message of hope, peace and salvation. To understand the problems we face in the world today and how to solve them in the context of Our Lady of Fatima’s message.”
“The real message of the conference was a renewal of the call to heed Our Lady’s message of Fatima,” said Fr. Andrew Apostali, C.F.R., conference host and author of Fatima for Today. “Pope Benedict XVI has said that the message of Fatima is by no means over. We are threatened with war. We are threatened with secularism’s sense to suffocate all Christian values and all sense of the presence of God.
“Our Lady has given us a plan of what we should do,” Apostali continued. “The First Five Saturdays Devotion is the most neglected, but the most essential part of Our Lady’s message.”

[First Five Saturday devotees go to Confession, receive Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and meditate for 15 minutes on the mysteries of the Rosary on the first Saturday of five consecutive months.]

daddylamb said...


I think Mr. Kellmeyer is asking the questin about the conversion of Russia and the annihilation of nations and the secrets and smoke of satan and of apotasy inside the church, up to the highest levels.

If there were no prophecy but only 'repent and convert' associated with Fatima, I don't think Mr. Kellmeyer would have written as he did.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Daddylamb, you give me the text and the reference for where you THINK Leo XIII spoke of Dominic receiving the Rosary in a vision - all the references you think this happened.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

So, Ellen, you say the message of Fatima is "conversion to God".

Fr. Apostoli apparently doesn't agree, since according to you, he says “The First Five Saturdays Devotion is the most neglected, but the most essential part of Our Lady’s message"

Obviously, someone doing the 5 Saturdays is already converted.

Daddylamb says it is the conversion of Russia, the annihilation of nations and the apostasy within the Church.

So, we have three people weighing in - Ellen, Fr. Apostoli, and Daddylamb.

And none of you can agree on what the message of Fatima is.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Ok, here's another couple of questions.

What is the Third Secret or do you not know because it has not been revealed?

Has Russia been consecrated to Mary's Immaculate Heart in accord with the Daddylamb's version of the Fatima message?

daddylamb said...


3 . . .founder of the Dominican Order . . . trusting wholly to that devotion which he was the first to institute under the name of the Holy Rosary. . . Guided, in fact, by divine inspiration and grace . . .

Who: St Domonic
What: The Holy Rosary
Why: Divine Inspiration

the above is modified for brevity, not a direct quote, but a spliced quote

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Thank you, Daddylamb!

I think the relevant quote you want to claim is "Guided, in fact, by divine inspiration and grace "

Nothing about a vision there.
Inspiration is all it mentions.

Try again.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Oh, and Daddylamb, did you notice that you fed back to me the VERY SAME DOCUMENT I referenced to you when I pointed out that Pope Leo did NOT say St. Dominic received the Rosary in a vision?

Of COURSE you didn't notice that!

You were too lazy to click the link I gave you!

daddylamb said...

The original claim in this commentary thread was that the Rosary is not public revelation, but private revelation.

It is incorrect to state my position as 'received through a vision'.

As it is incorrect to say my position on the message of Fatima is:
"Daddylamb says it is the conversion of Russia, the annihilation of nations and the apostasy within the Church."

The idea proposed is very simple.
Private revelations save souls.

Unduly dismissing them is detrimental to the church militant and the church suffering.

I know that you don't unduly dismiss the rosary, becuase you noted it is prayed nightly in your home. You are to be commended an imitated in your devotion to the BVM by leading your family in this most powerful of devotions.

America needs Fatima!

Steve Kellmeyer said...


Anyone reading through this thread knows what you claimed. All the evidence is there.

Similarly, everyone reading through this thread can see that none of the Fatima supporters can even agree on what the central message of Fatima is.

I don't see how anyone can "promote Fatima" given the basic disagreements even its supporters have displayed here.

As for private revelation saving souls, the Church specifically denies that when She says that private revelation is not part of the deposit of faith.

The deposit of faith, which includes the sacraments and sanctifying grace the sacraments dispense, is what saves souls.

Private revelation is not necessary. Not even Fatima.

daddylamb said...

Mr. Kellmeyer, I think you can put your considerable intellect to work more efficaciously.

Assumption: Your main purpose in writing publicly is to further the goal of Holy Mother Church, namely, the salvation of souls. Promoting Fatima will not detract from the goal.

Claim: Private revelation saves souls.

Example offered: The rosary, not part of the deposit of faith, not in practice when St John the Apostle died, yet the greatest weapon we have at our disposal outside the sacraments, one that everyone and anyone can and should use to glorify God and combat evil.

Just as parents work to save the souls of their children, so does private revelation, not through dispensing sanctifying grace directly, but in guiding souls towards obtain and keeping it, while avoiding sin.

The message of Fatima is simple: Be obedient to your Holy Mother, her will is one and the same with her Son’s and the Father’s. If the world heeds the message of Fatima, there will be peace.

It is because of the ardent love and devotion I have for my Queen, my Mother, that I do protest your words. You cannot talk about Fatima without the Blessed Virgin Mary, and you cannot attack Fatima without showing an imperfect love for the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Hence I must insist: America needs Fatima!

Steve Kellmeyer said...


You continue to betray your ignorance.

The rosary is taken entirely from Scripture. The Hail Mary and Our Father are nothing but bits of Scripture arranged together. Scripture is part of the deposit of faith. The Rosary, being Scripture, is part of the deposit.

Your have offered yet a fourth version of "the message of Fatima". After talking with all you Fatima promoters, I honestly don't know what the message is anymore. You've convinced me that the confusion is even greater than I supposed.

The Church absolutely disagrees with everything you say. Love for God and love for the ones God honors is necessary for salvation.

Fatima is private revelation. Fatima is not necessary for salvation.

You are quite wrong.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

If you really loved Mary, you would learn about her Son.

Your refusal to study the deposit of faith or learn the doctrines of the Church indicate you don't really give a fig about Mary.

You just love the IDEA of being in love with Mary. You don't actually do it, because you don't love her Son enough to learn about Him.

She points to her Son, and you keep saying "Oh, I'm too stupid to learn that stuff. Just give me another book on Fatima, Mary."

If you love her so much, why don't you listen to her?

daddylamb said...

It's really too much.
You build up straw men and then push them over.
It's ok.
I've said my piece and am thankful for the forum you provide.
It's time to go pray the rosary, and meditate upon the Passion of my Lord, as today is Tuesday.

MDL said...

I'm not sure why this long diatribe against Fatima. Those of us who try to pray the rosary daily are aware that Fatima is private revelation. It's not meant to replace the Bible, or the duties of our Faith, such as attending Mass on Sundays and Holydays, it only confirms the revelations of scripture. The rosary itself is a meditation on scripture. The prayers and mysteries are either directly from the Bible or based on it. We should think of Mary's message as a gift.

Bruce said...

For what it's worth, my wife converted to Catholicism from Born Again Evangelical and she gets creeped out when the Catholic Bible study ladies and others go on and on about Fatima, First Fridays, wearing a scapular, and other devotions. Her view is that, for many devout protestant Christians, the fixation on private revelation overshadows the reasonableness of the Catholic faith for manywho would otherwise be open to it. So there's that.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Bruce, your wife is not alone.

I ran parish RCIA in several dioceses for years. None of the candidates were ever comfortable with private revelation.

It was always a relief to them when I pointed out that they could ignore all of it quite safely.

Lee Gilbert said...

Prof. Michael Barber (who has a blog at The Sacred Page and heads up the Theology Department at John Paul the Great Catholic University in San Diego) laments the fact that so many people in the Church know everything about Fatima or Medjugorje, but have never read the Book of Ezra.

Of course, it would be far better if most Catholics read the Scriptures, the Catholic Catechism, the Fathers of the Church, the lives and the writings of the saints, but they don't.

In the face of this illiteracy Our Blessed Mother comes at Fatima with a very succinct, simple version of the gospels, saying that sin brings punishment, therefore repentance and prayer are necessary. You are right of course that no one has to believe this, but doesn't it seem better to you that so many people do?

One of her titles is Queen of Prophets, and prophecy is a charism which Scripture (Public revelation) encourages: "I would that you could all speak in tongues, but still more that you could prophesy"; "Despise not prophecies"; "Would that all the Lord's people were prophets, that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!"

But in New Testament times, after the canon is settled, what are we to make of prophecies? "Test everything and hold fast to that which is good" is the approach that Divine Revelation recommends in 1 Thess 5: 21.

When we test Medjugorje, it seems eminently discardable, but Our Lady's prophecies at Fatima seem worth holding fast, even if we don't HAVE to believe them.

Popcorn? Rather it seems like the essence of the gospel (repentance, obedience, Heaven and Hell, prayer, devotion to the Blessed Mother, etc.) served up in a fashion that the Catholics of our time find very palatable, nourishing and sustaining.

You are quite right that no one has to believe any of it, but the fact that so many have seems to have borne much good fruit. To take just one example, there are many more people at Saturday morning Mass on First Saturday than any other Saturday of the month.

Perhaps much more emphasis should be put on the fact that no one has to believe this for their eternal salvation, but in the face of its nutritive qualities this attitude reminds me of ee cumming's observation, "America is a free country because nobody HAS to eat." That we don't have to believe this doesn't at all mean that it is better not to. Wouldn't that fall under the rubric of despising prophecies?

However, as far as its use in RCIA, evangelization, etc., you are quite right. It is not the place to start.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Well, here's yet another person's opinion of what the Fatima message is.

I wonder which version is right?