The apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima indeed provoked strong opposition from many sides: from the local government, as illustrated by the August 1917 kidnapping of the three children by the village Administrator; from the Freemasons, as exhibited by the destruction of the Capelinha that took place in March 1922; and even from the press, which was controlled by the Masons and which scorned the apparitions until witnessing the October 1917 Miracle of the Sun. Thus, from every quarter that fostered disdain and hatred toward God and His Church, strong opposition to the events at Fatima was exhibited.
Nevertheless, in spite of silence and discouragement on the part of the Catholic clergy, and the patent scorn and opposition from the secular realms, the Portuguese people maintained their belief in and support of the Fatima apparitions. As a testament to the power of the laity, the number of witnesses present at the Cova da Iria grew from a mere 50 in June of 1917, to the crowd of 70,000 that witnessed the October miracle. Even after the cycle of apparitions ended, while awaiting official ecclesiastical approval, the faithful continued to visit, in pilgrimage, the sacred place where the Mother of God had appeared.