“Apparitions at Fatima Cannot be Dismissed”

Fatima Center Corrects Errors About Third Secret

Apparitions At Fatima Cannot Be Dismissed As “Private Revelations”

June 8, 2000 – FORT ERIE, ONTARIO: The head of a major Catholic organization has challenged the views of one of the Vatican’s highest-ranking Cardinals regarding apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to shepherd children over 80 years ago at Fatima, Portugal.

Father Nicholas Gruner, who heads the Fort Erie-based Fatima Center, and whose publications are read by over one million in Canada, the United States and the world, says that recent remarks about Fatima by Cardinal Josef Ratzinger contradict the teaching of world renowned Fatima experts, as well as statements by Pope John Paul II.

At Fatima, on May 13, 2000, referring to Jacinta and Francisco, the seers of Fatima, Pope John Paul II said, “According to the Divine plan, ‘a woman clothed with the sun’ (Rev. 12:1) came down from Heaven to this earth to visit the privileged children of the Father.” Noted Father Gruner, “we at the Fatima Center are perplexed that Cardinal Ratzinger has said that one is free to disbelieve in Fatima immediately after Pope John Paul II has indicated that Fatima is the fulfillment of biblical prophecies and the Divine plan.”

In an interview published on May 19 in an Italian newspaper, “La Repubblica”, Cardinal Ratzinger said Catholics are free not to accept the Fatima apparitions as authentic. “Of course, one cannot believe in apparitions,” he said. “I repeat we are not talking about dogmas of faith.” Cardinal Ratzinger was being interviewed about the Vatican’s recently announced intention to publish the long-withheld “Third Secret” of Fatima in the next few weeks.

Father Gruner cites various scholarly authorities who have contradicted the Cardinal’s view, arguing that the Fatima apparitions and the messages they conveyed must be taken seriously by all Catholics. One of these authorities, Father Joseph de Sainte-Marie, who taught theology in Rome for a decade, said in an article published in 1982: “Once the Pope has judged and recognized that a given prophecy is indeed from God, then he must obey, not as obeying the prophet, but as obeying God.”

Another expert cited is German theologian Bishop Rudolph Graber, who was editor-in-chief of “Fatima Journal” in the late 1950s. In a lecture delivered in 1965, Bishop Graber said: “A careful distinction should be made between personal revelations … and those where the message is declared to be for mankind at large. The former can with equanimity be ignored, but the latter must be taken seriously, and Fatima belongs to this category.”

Father Paul Kramer, another Catholic priest at the Fatima Center explained, “Heaven must be obeyed absolutely when it has been determined with moral certitude that Heaven has spoken. So even if Fatima is not a dogma of Faith, we are still morally obligated to believe the message and obey what God commands through Our Lady’s request. Thus, the Holy Father declared at Fatima on May 13, 1982, before one million people, that the message of Fatima is addressed to the entire human race and that ‘the message of Fatima imposes an obligation on the whole Church’.”

Commenting on these words of John Paul, Father Gruner noted, “the Pope would not have made this statement if belief in the Fatima message could be dismissed at the whim of an individual.”

“Similar views about the obligation of the Catholic to accept the Fatima message have been expressed by other very credible authorities,” added Father Gruner, “including Père Balic, President of the International Marian Academy in Rome, and the late Cardinal Cerejeira, Patriarch of Lisbon, the Portuguese Primate formerly responsible for Fatima.”

Another reason that Fatima cannot be dismissed, states Father Gruner, “is because of the great Miracle of the Sun of October 13, 1917, where the sun danced in the sky for about 12 minutes. This public miracle, which was predicted three months in advance, was witnessed by 70,000 people, including non-believers, as well as the editor of the Portuguese newspaper ‘O Seculo’ who reported the account of it in his October 15, 1917 edition.”

“This miracle endorses the truth of the message of Fatima and gives us the moral certitude that the Fatima Message is truly from God. When 70,000 people are invited 3 months ahead of time to witness a public miracle which indeed took place at the appointed hour,” concludes Father Gruner, “we have the moral certitude that Heaven has indeed spoken. We are not dealing with simply a ‘private revelation’ that one is free to disregard.”