Do Not Extinguish The (Holy) Spirit
Father Gruner, can you tell us your reasons for insisting that the Pope and the bishops and in fact all of us have the grave duty to obey Our Lady of Fatima in all that She commands us?
“At the risk of repeating myself, I refer you to my speech on this subject that I gave to all the bishops, priests and lay delegates at our Fatima 2000 Congress held recently in Rome.”
Opening Address at Fatima 2000 Congress, Rome 1996
It is very important to understand that there is a serious obligation to believe and to obey the full Fatima Message. This obligation is not only on each one of us, but on the Church. This is an obligation which is not, simply, because of pious devotion. Certainly our love for Our Lady should make us feel obliged, and the fact that She is our Mother should make us feel obliged. But I would like to dwell not only upon devotional reasons but upon reasons which bind us strictly in justice and prudence. We find these reasons both in the natural law as well as in the light of Divine Revelation.
False Devotees’ Objections
There are objections raised even by people who say that they promote the Message of Fatima. They say:
“You don’t have to believe in Fatima. You don’t have to obey Fatima. Of course, we devotees of Our Lady do that but we are not obliged to.”
I would like that objection and that statement to be corrected. There is a strict obligation not only on those who believe Our Lady has a very special role, but everyone, especially the Church.
As I mentioned earlier, the Pope has said in his speech in Fatima in 1982, on May 13, that the Message of Fatima imposes an obligation on the Church. Although that should be good enough reason for us, it is not simply based on the statement of His Holiness.
Sacred Scripture Imposes an Obligation to Obey Fatima
The basis for saying that the Message of Fatima imposes an obligation is founded in Sacred Scripture itself. We find that in 1 Thess: 5:19-20, St. Paul says: “Do not extinguish the Spirit. Do not despise prophecy”. In other words, to despise prophecy is the same as extinguishing the Spirit.
We cannot take the word of everyone, as well intentioned as they may be, every time they say “God has spoken to me”. It may be true. But St. Paul goes on to say “test all things”. So the onus is on us first of all to have an open mind that God could be speaking through the voice of prophecy.
But then we have the obligation, particularly the hierarchy has the obligation, to test whether that message indeed comes from God.
This is why I promote the Message of Fatima, because the Church has tested Fatima and found it to be worthy of belief, unlike other apparitions that have come more recently. There are very few that I am aware of that are approved by the hierarchy of the Church since Fatima.
The Message of Fatima has been approved not only by the Church, which is certainly the pillar and ground of truth, but also by the great miracles, particularly the Miracle of the Sun, witnessed by 70,000 people.
St. Paul says “Hold fast to that which is good.” And so we have an obligation to hold fast to Fatima. It has been found to be good. It is not only in Thessalonians that St. Paul speaks about this but you also find it when St. Paul talks about the Church.
Some people who ask if we have to believe and obey Our Lady of Fatima also ask: “Are you saying that Sister Lucy is more important than the Pope?” This is how some of our opponents would speak.
Father Joseph de Ste. Marie, a professor of the Teresianum here in Rome, gave a very interesting answer to that question. He points out that in Ephesians 2:20, the Church is established upon the foundation of the apostles and he points out that it is also founded on the prophets.
Listen, and Obey the Prophets
The prophets, Father Joseph points out, are the prophets of the New Testament. If you read the whole of the Acts of the Apostles, you find that together with the charism of the Apostles, is the charism of the prophets of the New Testament. The Church is founded upon not only the charism of the Apostles, certainly, it is also of Divine origin; that is the Apostles and their successors, the bishops, were established as essential to the Church by Jesus Christ Himself. This is especially true of the Papacy. We are not, in this talk, even addressing the question, we are talking about the obligation to listen and to obey the authentic voice of prophecy.
Three Kinds of Revelation
It is the role of the hierarchy to test, to find out, to determine whether a message comes from God. In fact, the Fifth Lateran Council, which took place around 1515, defined a solemn definition of the Catholic Church which says that the final interpretation of prophecy is left to the Pope of Rome. There are three kinds of authentic revelation recognized by the Church. They are: the public deposit of Divine Revelation contained in Sacred Scripture and Holy Tradition; private revelations; and public prophetic revelations. To not believe in the public deposit of Divine Revelation is a sin against the theological virtue of Faith.
Then there is what we call private revelation. That is, if I were to have a vision of Our Lady, which I’ve never had, which certainly I am not worthy of, but if I were to have had one and She told me to pray 15 decades of the Rosary, for myself, that would be a private revelation to me.
Certainly, no one except myself, should be expected to believe this private revelation. But as Bishop Graber of Regensburg, Germany, has pointed out a number of years ago, there is a third kind of revelation and that is what he called “public prophetic revelation”. And that is distinct from private revelation and distinct from the deposit of faith.
That is what St. Paul is talking about in Thessalonians and Ephesians. As St. Thomas Aquinas points out in the second of the second part of the Summa Theologica, question 174 Art. 6 (note especially ad3) “God sends prophets to every generation, not to give a new doctrine but to remind the faithful what they must do to save their souls.”
Intellectual, Professional Fads
Certainly God has used, and continues to use, many ways to reach us. But sometimes He has to overcome some obstacles to reach us. One of the things that is not only in theology, or only in the Church, but is a common experience of human nature is fads, intellectual fads.
My grandfather was a doctor, a researcher in cancer, and it was his view that the medical profession would go in fads. I would say the same thing for lawyers, no doubt and the same things for accountants. But I am pointing out that there is something human about the fact that certain theories or certain remedies in human activity are sometimes considered to be the only true methods, but later on when our popular understanding deepens, then new remedies are applied.
Let us illustrate this by taking some examples from the practice of medicine.
For a while, surgery was the answer to every problem. “Cut it off, cut it out” was the common solution offered to many problems. And then after a while it was pills, take this pill or that pill.
All of these practices have an element of truth in them. Not to knock medicine but sometimes they overemphasized one truth at the expense of another truth. And this can happen also in law. Sometimes we talk about the rights of the criminals and after a while the criminals have more rights than the victims do. And we see, certainly in American society, there is a swing now to point out that the victims have rights also and they should be safeguarded.
But I bring these examples up, not to speak about these other professions, but to speak about the fact that in the Church some times there are certain things which are emphasized in pastoral practice that are true, but are over-emphasized to the point of leaving out some other truths.
Prophets Meet Opposition
That is why God sends prophets to every generation; to remind the faithful of those things which are, shall we say, not that popular at the moment. And that is why prophets, historically, run into opposition. Because they are saying things often that are going against the present-day trends. If they weren’t, so to speak, against the current, God would not need to send the prophet in the first place.
That is why it is important for us to remember the admonition of St. Paul: “Do not despise prophecy. Do not extinguish the Spirit.” Because, whether it is we here or any other group in the Church, we can be made to feel overconfident of our cause by looking around us and saying “10 million Frenchmen can’t be wrong”. Trendy people can be seduced into thinking they are right because everyone else is doing it, believing it too.
As Cardinal Ratzinger points out, the truth is not arrived at by subjecting a question to a democratic vote, rather, the truth is the truth and it is for the mind to come to acknowledge the truth. That is why God sends prophets.
In turn, if we could put the argument the other way around, if God could send a prophet and work a great miracle, and we could say to ourselves in all good conscience, “Well that’s okay, but it’s only a private revelation. We don’t need to pay attention. We have the Gospel. We have the Scriptures and Tradition and that’s all we need.” We are saying, therefore, that God cannot send us a message. We are not bound to listen to anything He says to us other than what we all agree among ourselves to hear.
Obviously that would be extinguishing the Spirit and despising prophecy. And there is a very serious admonition against that.
Even the Good Ignore Our Lady
Sister Lucy, speaking on December 26, 1957, one of the last times she has been able to speak publicly, said “Our Lady is very sad. Our Lady is very sad because neither the good nor the bad pay any attention to Her message.”
Now it is understandable what She says about the bad. They have not seen the punishments of God fall on them. They just go about their merry way because they don’t see any urgency or importance in Our Lady’s words and they, of course don’t pay any attention. I say “of course” because if they were good, you would expect them to pay attention. But if they are bad, well, that’s what they are and therefore it is somewhat logical from their chosen approach to life to ignore Our Lady.
But what I find surprising in Sister Lucy’s statement explaining why Our Lady is sad, is that the good ignore Our Lady’s message. Nevertheless, she says that the good are doing this.
It is precisely, I believe, because the good have been sold a bill of goods. They have been told a lie. They have been told that they don’t have to pay attention. They have been told they need not listen, they need not believe, they need not obey. And that is a most serious mistake.
“Only She Can Help You”
It is a mistake that could cost us our salvation. It will certainly cost us our freedom and cost us many things that we all hold dear. Our Lady has given us an offer that we cannot refuse. That is, “either you do what I say or you will die”.
Now Our Lady is not going to kill us, but She is saying, because of the sins of mankind, up to the present time we are in a crisis of unprecedented proportions and as a result “only She can help you” out of it. Only She, not someone else. In a way, to perhaps even be shocking about this, not even God, because God has reserved this grace to Our Lady’s intercession.
As St. Augustine points out: because God loves us, so much, because He is so good, God wants to give us certain great favors, great graces. But God knows we do not deserve these graces. Still He wants to give them to us. But He will not give them except through the merits and intercession of the saints. That is because He knows two things: one, He knows we do not deserve them; secondly, He also knows that we will become proud if He gave them directly to us. That we will somehow think that “well, I did that. I deserve that grace.”
Why Peace, Prosperity Entrusted to Our Lady Only
These graces are so extraordinary and so marvelous that God doesn’t want these graces to become an occasion of pride for us. He also wants us to acknowledge that it is through the merits and intercession of the saints. He wants us to, after all, be grateful to His friends who have been able, by their prayers and merits, to obtain these things for us.
That is why we are told at Fatima that the peace of the world has been entrusted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. That is why Our Lady can say, in all literal truth, “Only I can help you.”
That is because we do not deserve this grace that has been promised to us, the grace of world peace, the grace of the conversion of Russia, and through the conversion of Russia, the conversion of the whole world, to the Catholic faith. But God wants to give it to us and He wants to give it to us in our time. God also wants it to be understood and known that it is only through the merits and intercession of Our Lady we will have obtained these graces.
Almost Deceivingly Simple
So when we finally do get the Consecration of Russia and world peace we must remember that it did not come through me. It is not through any of you, or all of us together. It is not even through the merits of the Holy Father, but it is the merits of Our Lady.
At the same time God also wants the whole world to see the importance of the unique position of the Holy Father and of the Catholic Bishops and in fact of the Catholic Church. And that’s why He has insisted that it not only be the Holy Father but the Catholic bishops together with the Holy Father, so that the world sees the direct relationship between Russia being converted and the Pope and the bishops having made this act of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The people will do several things. They will say thanks be to God and Our Lady that we have received this grace of world peace. Thanks be to God the Son for becoming man and founding and sustaining His one true Church, the Catholic Church.
They will also say, thanks be to God for clearly indicating the power, the prestige, the importance of the Catholic Hierarchy and especially the primacy that the Pope has over the bishops of the Church. Because this Consecration will take place by the direct order of the Pope who commands the bishops, the people will then see that the Pope is not an equal among the bishops but that he is their superior. This action of the Consecration will clearly, publicly and definitively manifest to the whole world in a most miraculous way the will of God that the Papacy is founded by God and the Pope not only has the primacy of honor but also primacy of jurisdiction over all other bishops.
In the last analysis, God has given to the Church and the world this unchangeable plan of His to obtain world peace only by means of the Pope and Catholic bishops’ consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Almighty God has so decreed to demonstrate to the Church and the world not only the necessity and importance of devotion to Our Lady, but also to demonstrate through this consecration of Russia and the consequent world peace, that He has founded only one Church, the Catholic Church and that He has established therein the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, and He has given the primacy of authority in the Church to the Pope.
The request was so simple it was almost deceivingly simple. Unless you stop and think about it for a while, it can almost pass you by, so that you might be tempted to think: “what else is there? There must be something more important”.
And that is why Our Lady of Fatima, when She came at Tuy and gave this most important command to consecrate Russia She came in the presence of the Most Holy Trinity. When She appeared to the children at Fatima, She spoke on Her own. But when She spoke in the presence of the Most Holy Trinity, She spoke in God’s name. Everything Our Lady says is what God wants Her to say. But when She gave Her request for the consecration of Russia, She said: “The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father to make, together with all the bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save Russia by this means.”
Homes, Freedoms, Lives at Stake
And so, you can see that we have everything to gain by fulfilling Our Lady’s requests and everything to lose by not fulfilling Her requests. It would also be prudent to fulfill Her requests, whether it is just because you love your country, or you love your family, or you love your freedom, or you love just to be alive, for any one of these reasons, or all of them together, just on the natural level it is obvious that it is the smart thing to do.
Not even addressing for the moment the great good of saving millions of souls, which is certainly even much more important than all these goods that I’ve just mentioned, but even on the natural level, I would say even an atheist can see he would have something to gain by promoting the Consecration of Russia.
Even Atheists Understand
I remember explaining this to an atheist one time, in 1984. He didn’t believe in God, but he could understand nevertheless the prudence of carrying out this act of consecration. He said it was the first time he had seen any hope for the world. Even atheists understand it is most prudent to have the Consecration of Russia properly done just to take care of their lives, their persons, their homes that they paid 20 years’ mortgage on or to safeguard whatever it is that they hold dear; if nothing else just being alive, and enjoying their freedom. All these things are at risk without Our Lady of Fatima’s Message being heard and obeyed.
And so, even from an atheist’s point of view it is perfectly prudent to put forward this act of consecration. If nothing else, what is going to be lost by doing it? Absolutely nothing. The worst that would take place, it would take half an hour of prayer of the Pope and bishops together to do the act of consecration. And with a bit more ceremony it might take an hour and a half. And that’s all. The actual prayer would take less than five minutes to pronounce. And so from a prudential point of view there is everything to gain by doing it and everything to lose by not doing it.
Sacred Scripture Teaches us About Miracles
But apart from this human prudence, I would like to dwell upon some other reasons that we find in Sacred Scripture. Our Lord was asked by the Pharisees to work a miracle. They said, “work for us a sign in the Heavens and we will believe You. We will follow You.” Our Lord said: “I will not do that. The only sign you will have is the sign of Jonas. That is the Son of man, after being three days in the bowels of the earth, will be raised up to life again.”
But these Pharisees said they would believe had He worked a sign in the Heavens. Now the very sign that was refused to the Pharisees was the sign that Our Lady obtained from Her Son to prove to the world that this message indeed comes from God.
“As Low as Hell”
There is an obligation when we have a sign from God. This obligation is also spoken about by Our Lord. He says, in Scripture, “and thou Capharnaum and thou Bethsaida, do you think that you’ll be raised as high as Heaven?” Our Lord answers His own question of these two cities, Bethsaida and Capharnaum, “No, you’ll be cast as low as Hell.” Very strong words.
Here are two cities that He says will be cast as low as Hell. Why does He say that? He explains Himself. He says: “Because if the signs worked in you had been worked in Sodom and Gomorrah, those cities might have done penance and stood to this day.”
Sodom and Gomorrah, as you know, had fire rained down on them from Heaven because of the sins of homosexuality. And yet Our Lord says those cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, that Abraham could not find five just men. Those cities might have done penance had they seen the miracles, had they seen the signs that Our Lord worked in Capharnaum and Bethsaida.
And so to refuse to acknowledge such signs as Our Lord worked in Capharnaum and Bethsaida by not listening and obeying, is grounds for being cast as low as Hell. These are Our Lord’s own words.
What Will God Say to Us?
What will Our Lord say then about the 20th Century? God has worked a miracle greater than He worked in Capharnaum and Bethsaida. He worked the miracle that the Pharisees asked for that would convert them. He worked that miracle at Fatima. It is the first time, in the history of mankind, that a miracle had been predicted three months ahead of time.
It was on July 13, 1917, that Lucy asked for a sign because the pilgrims had been asking her to ask for a sign. She predicted on that day that God would work a miracle on October 13th, to prove, to demonstrate, to show that this message indeed comes from God.
There is a price to pay for ignoring, for not listening to, for not obeying the message, once God has given such a sign.
And so it is, I would say “foolish”, “dangerous”, if I cannot use the word “heretical”, to say that we do not have to believe in Our Lady of Fatima. Not because Fatima itself is part of the deposit of faith, but because the deposit of faith tells us we have strict obligations to believe and obey prophetic messages such as the Message of Fatima.
An Important Theological Digression
Now there is an argument, or a line of reasoning, I would like to give you. But I am not relying on this argument to establish the point of my speech. Our obligation to listen, to believe, to obey Our Lady of Fatima does not rest on this line of reasoning. I have demonstrated above, other proofs for claiming our obligation, the Church’s obligation to obey the full Fatima Message.
But it is nevertheless useful for us to reflect on this following line of thought. Pope Paul VI, who blessed our Pilgrim Virgin statue (here present) at Fatima in 1967, wrote the day before he went to Fatima, a very short encyclical, entitled Signum Magnum, which means “The Great Sign”. Pope Paul VI starts off this encyclical quoting chapter 12 of the Apocalypse which reads: “I saw a great sign appear in the Heavens, a Woman clothed with the sun.”
Pope Paul VI, in the first paragraph of that encyclical does not claim, but he suggests very strongly that the Woman clothed with the sun is not only Our Lady, which Scripture scholars can demonstrate to you time and again, but it is Our Lady of Fatima that is predicted in chapter 12 of the Apocalypse. The Woman clothed with the sun is none other than Our Lady of Fatima.
If that is the case, and Paul VI would certainly like us to believe it, then the Message of Fatima would, in fact, be a part of divine revelation.
Now the Pharisees of the Old Testament claimed that they had Abraham for their father, they had Moses for their teacher, and who was this young man from Nazareth? They knew the law and He was just an “ignorant person” who wasn’t even learned. And yet, in their very claim to be upholding Divine Revelation, and to be for God, they denied God Himself, and they in effect denied all the prophecies about Christ in the Old Testament. Our Lord said to them if you truly had God for your Father, then you would recognize Me because I am the image of My Father.
In the same way, we have people in our time who have told us over the last 30 years “You don’t need Fatima. You have the Bible.” And in their very claim of saying they have the Bible, they are clearly implying Fatima is not important.
I even had a professor here in Rome, at the Marianum, who said: “You don’t have to believe in Fatima.”
I stopped him and I said : “How do you know? How can you affirm categorically that Our Lady of Fatima is not the Woman clothed with the sun who was prophesied in Sacred Scripture? He couldn’t answer me. I said: “Well then, if She is, then She is in Sacred Scripture, She is part of Divine Revelation, in its prophecy, and you cannot say that we don’t have to listen to Our Lady of Fatima”. He had no answer.
There ultimately is no answer to that argument, even though I cannot demonstrate, without an infallible pronouncement from the Magisterium, that Our Lady of Fatima is the Woman clothed with the sun. Pope Paul VI did not go that far, but he did clearly suggest that She was.
On the other side, no one can tell you that She is not the Woman predicted in chapter 12 of the Apocalypse. And if Fatima is truly a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy then She is part of Revelation.
St. Thomas points out, what I have to believe is everything that God reveals. The act of faith extends to all that God has revealed in the deposit of Revelation. And so, St. Thomas uses this very example, if you know that Scripture tells you that David had 70 sons, not 69, not 71, but that David had 70 sons, then you must believe that with Divine Faith.
Now lay people are not expected to know theology and all the books of Revelation as well as the priests, or bishops, or theologians. But if you know these facts, then you must believe them. Your belief in this historical fact is not the same kind of belief you have in history books in general. You would believe this historical fact with an act of the theological virtue of faith. Not because the book is an historical book, but because it is God’s word, because God Himself has revealed it. Certainly the books are historical. But we must believe it with certitude not just say maybe I believe it. Once we know that God has revealed this we must believe it on the authority of God.
If we must believe with theological faith the fact that King David had 70 sons because God has revealed it to us, then we must also believe all the other facts we know are contained in Sacred Scripture with the same kind of faith. The fact of David’s 70 sons is not ontologically as important as many other facts in Sacred Scripture yet we must believe it with theological faith.
Thus, it is even more important we believe facts relayed in Sacred Scripture of much more importance to us. Therefore if we also know that God has revealed that in the future He would send His Mother clothed with the sun, and that the fulfillment of that prophecy is Our Lady of Fatima; then we must believe that it is part of the Divine Deposit of Faith, that it is in Divine Revelation.
Now I’m not hereby saying you have to believe it today, because we don’t have a pronouncement of the Magisterium on that. But we can also say to our opponents that you cannot affirm the contrary. Thus that professor who wanted to put me down could not answer, because I know there is no answer to that. And I do know that Pope Paul VI has suggested very strongly that, in fact, Our Lady of Fatima is none other than the Woman clothed with the sun in chapter 12 of the Apocalypse.
To Sum Up
To come back to our main point, whether or not the Fatima revelations are contained in prophecies written in Sacred Scripture; the fact of the matter is we MUST believe and obey Our Lady of Fatima. Our obligation still exists because we are told in Thessalonians “do not despise prophecy, do not extinguish the Spirit”.
We are told that the Church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets of the New Testament. Sister Lucy, in her humility, does not talk of herself as a prophet. But strictly speaking, by the definition of the term she is a prophet. She has received the message from God to communicate to the Church at large and God has attested to this with a public miracle; a public miracle of the magnitude the world and the Church has not seen since the Resurrection.
We have Our Lord’s own words which tell us that the people of Capharnaum and Bethsaida would be cast as low as hell for refusing to believe and be obedient to His message once He demonstrated it with great public miracles. And we have the First Vatican Council definition which tells us that the Catholic Faith is a light to the nations which can be known by two things independent of all scholarship.
I’m not knocking scholarship and scholarship certainly helps us, but independent of scholarship, even the most uneducated person, as well as the most educated, can know that the Catholic Church is the true Church and the Catholic Faith is the true Faith by two things. This is defined by the First Vatican Council. We can know these truths by public miracles and by public prophecies that have been realized. You will find them both there in the Message of Fatima. Therefore, if true miracles and true prophecies impose an obligation to believe the Catholic Faith, they also impose an obligation to believe the prophets that God has sent.
Our Age is in Grave Danger
So the obligation is serious and very important, we must remember Sister Lucy in her talk on December 26, 1957 with Father Fuentes pointed out, that to resist the known truth is a sin against the Holy Spirit.
She also said at the same time that, speaking in a human manner, Our Lord with a “certain trepidation,” seeing He had exhausted all other means of obtaining the attention and obedience of the Church and mankind, uses this one final means, which is His Mother. He finally tries one more time to get our attention and to get our obedience. But he is “afraid” to ask His Mother to come because if we refuse to pay attention to Her, if we refuse to give Her the due respect and honor that She deserves, then He must punish us more severely than if He had never sent Her in the first place.
The fact is that He sent His Mother six times to Fatima, together with the requests at Tuy and Pontevedra, for the Five First Saturdays and for the consecration of Russia. And if we refused these interventions of Our Lady, God, being Our Lord, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, God the Son, being the good Son that He is, of His Mother, will vindicate the honor of His Mother. That our refusal of His words and His miracles, along with refusing to give the due honor to Our Lady, will make us more culpable than if we had never received the Message of Fatima.
It is meant to be a grace. It is meant to be a means of mercy for us. But if we refuse and if we believe those who say we have no obligation to believe and obey, then we turn the very means of grace for us, the very means of mercy for us, into a greater reason for our punishment.
Self-Evident Reasons Showing We Must Obey Fatima
Apart from the above reasons taken from Sacred Scripture, which demonstrates the Church’s obligation to obey Our Lady of Fatima I want now to draw upon reasons which should be self-evident, based on the light of natural reason.
It would be very imprudent, if your next door neighbor came to you and said your house is on fire, call the fire department and rescue your children and you said, “well I don’t have a pronouncement, a definition from the Pope that my house is on fire. Someone told me that you are not to be trusted. I am not going to listen to you. I am not going to go outside and look and see if maybe you are right. I am not going to look. After all, I’ve had it said to me in a newspaper somewhere that you can’t be trusted.”
I think that anyone here who has a child, a house, or anything they consider valuable, if you were told there was a thief, or a fire, or something putting them in danger; you would at least take the precaution of verifying what was being said. At least that much. We are all children of Adam and Eve and we have an obligation to at least believe our fellow man, unless there are valid grounds for believing that he is not telling the truth.
Why We Must Believe 70,000 Witnesses
There are people who tell lies. But God has put in our heart, into human nature that even when people lie they betray somehow that they are not telling the truth. They change their voice, get nervous, they do all sorts of things. People cannot lie, except very practiced liars, without betraying the fact that they are lying in some way. Even when people are liars, the urge to tell the truth is such that even these people cannot lie all the time. It is impossible, morally impossible.
That is why out of the voice of many witnesses, you come to the knowledge of the truth. That is why, when we have 70,000 witnesses telling us that a miracle took place, when an atheist who is ridiculing the children and ridiculing all of the pilgrims who went to Fatima, was obliged to print on the front page of his paper, the next day, that he saw this miracle, we would be, to say the least, foolish to ignore what he says.
It would be a sin against prudence to say that all of these people, 70,000 of them, lied to us. There were people who were very simple and there were people who were very learned. There were people who were very Catholic and there were people who were very anti-Catholic. They all testified to the same thing. Even those who would be publicly embarrassed by having to reverse themselves, nevertheless testified to the truth, that this miracle took place. That is why the people of Capharnaum and Bethsaida, were guilty for not believing even though all of them didn’t see the signs that Our Lord worked. But there were enough witnesses that the whole city knew that it took place.
We know if we go to a doctor or someone else, you believe this person when he tells you something if you have no reason to contradict or to question his testimony. And even though Fatima’s and Our Lord’s sign is contradicted, we have enough evidence to know that this is the truth. To resist the known truth is a sin against the Holy Spirit. If we continue and persist in this resistance to the knowledge of the truth then there is no forgiveness of that sin. And the final persistence, of course, is the persistence to our death.
A Serious Obligation
It is a very serious obligation. It does bind in conscience and the Pope was not making the statement lightly when he said the Message of Fatima imposes an obligation on the Church. It is founded in Scripture, it is founded in reason, it is founded in the miracles and the prophecies that we know have taken place and we know have been verified as having come from God.
If we can just ignore God when He sends us such a message, then we are despising prophecy, we are extinguishing the Holy Spirit, we are resisting the Holy Spirit. We are sinning against Him. And if we continue with this, (and when I say we, I presume that none of us here would have that attitude, but it is important to set it down in the record) that there is a price to pay, and that is hellfire.
Sinning against the Holy Spirit ends up by sending the person who commits it to Hell. It is a very serious obligation. It is not a light obligation. It is not just on me. It is not just on you. This obligation is imposed on the whole Church. The obligation to obey Fatima is fulfilled differently, depending on our position in the Church. But all of us must obey Our Lady of Fatima as Her message applies to our concrete circumstances.
The Position Outlined In This Talk
I have written about this obligation to believe and obey in my book which is translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French and English. I have spent about 75 pages of my book on it. I have sent that book to every bishop in the world and to every priest in Brazil. I am willing to send it to any theologian who promises to read it. Let any of them try to find a substantial error in it. It has been published now for over 8 years and there has not been one significant argument against what I have said about our obligation to believe and obey Our Lady of Fatima.
The only argument I have ever heard is that you don’t have to believe private revelations. But Bishop Graber has pointed out that Fatima is not a private revelation. It is a public prophetic revelation. And all the arguments you hear about not having to believe Fatima are based on the false claim that Fatima is simply a private revelation.
Fatima is not a private revelation. 70,000 people do not constitute something that is private. 70,000 witnesses to a miracle announced three months ahead of time is a public miracle for the Church. It is a public prophetic message and it imposes an obligation on the Church and all of us are bound to do what we can to advance Our Lady’s cause and to obey Her, first of all ourselves, and then to do what we can to get others to know, appreciate, love and obey Our Lady of Fatima and Her Message.
Our Lord says to “Make it known to My ministers”. It is not Our Lady speaking now, it is Our Lord Himself saying “Make it known”. That also is an obligation we have coming through the Message of Fatima.