Opposition To Fatima
The message of Fatima is most significant and important for the salvation of souls. However, the message of Fatima and Our Lady’s appearance there, is also very important for the correct ordering of human society in this world. As Our Lady of Fatima pointed out, if mankind would listen to Her message, then the peaceful ordering of individuals, families, cities and countries and in fact the whole world, would be achieved. Such a claim for peace through all levels of society and throughout the whole world could only be achieved if enough individuals at every level of society cooperated in the plan. And this plan could only succeed if it were based on the designs of the Creator of mankind, Who has appointed Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of mankind, as King of kings and Lord of lords (Apoc. 19:16). Jesus is King, not only of individuals but also of societies and the whole world. Therefore, if this plan of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is Queen of Heaven and of earth, is to work, mankind must acknowledge the sovereign Kingship of Christ over all mankind. Thus one can understand that the prince of this world, as Jesus Christ referred to the devil, would not accept easily the destruction of his kingdom here on earth. Nor would the peace plan from Heaven be accepted by those men, associations and secret societies whose power and ill-gotten riches would be lost if the peace plan from Heaven were put into effect. With this background we can better understand the following account of the opposition to the message of Fatima that reared its ugly head even while the apparitions were going on. You can be sure that this opposition to Our Lady and Her message from Heaven has not ceased even in our own time.
The following article is a continuation of the one beginning in issue number seven, of the history of the opposition to the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. The initial opposition came from the Mayor of Ourem and his allies. (Ourem is the county to which the village of Fatima belonged.) The Mayor of Ourem was an atheist and a Freemason. He and his friends hoped to build a Godless Republic, and they regarded Catholicism as an adversary and a threat to their political power. To see an open manifestation of belief in God and in the Mother of God, among the people, embarrassed and infuriated the militant atheists. They were determined to suppress devotion to God and Our Lady, and they hoped to eradicate religion entirely from the lives of the people.
On the night of March 6, 1922, the little Chapel raised up by the piety of the faithful was blown up with dynamite. A curious fact, which the people attributed to the protection of Heaven, is that all the bombs exploded, except the one that was to blow up the remains of the tree of the apparitions! The news of the odious attempt caused a wave of indignation throughout the country, and protests from the Catholics made themselves heard even in Parliament. Without venturing to approve openly of the attempt, the Government threatened, however, to employ severe measures to put a stop to the “reactionary movement of Fatima.”
In answer to these threats, the faithful launched the idea of a pilgrimage of reparation. On October 13, 1922, ten thousand pilgrims went from the Church of Fatima in a procession of reparation to Cova da Iria, a distance of two miles, where they assisted at Mass celebrated in the open air. This local reparation was followed, on May 13, 1923, by a pilgrimage of national reparation, in which over sixty thousand persons from all classes of society, and all provinces in the country, took part. The offerings on this day were so plentiful that the required sum was soon collected to build a chapel more beautiful still than the first. The Prefect of Santarem wished at all cost to prevent this pilgrimage, which he called “a parade of all the reactionary forces in the country”; but the sub-Prefect of Ourem judged it more prudent not to execute the orders received for fear of being submerged.
Gradually the peaceful but resolute strength of this multitude, which confessed its faith so loudly, ended by triumphing over the sectarianism of the Government and its functionaries, who no longer dared insist!
On May 13, 1924, Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima rewarded once more the love of Her pilgrims, by showering down on them from Heaven a magnificent rain of flowers. Thenceforth the pilgrims of Fatima continued to come with all freedom, increasing in numbers and fervor.