On Wednesday, March 25, at 6:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m. in Italy), Cardinal Antonio dos Santos Marto, Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, together with Cardinal Manuel Clemente, Patriarch of Lisbon, presided over the recitation of the Holy Rosary at the Shrine of Fatima, after which they consecrated Portugal and Spain to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Spanish bishops joined in the consecration according to a specific communication from Cardinal Juan José Omella, Archbishop of Barcelona and President of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference.
The reason was to implore divine help in the current pandemic situation, which is hitting the Iberian Peninsula particularly hard.
The act was inspired by a precise request of Our Lord Jesus Christ, made in 1943 through Sister Lucia, the Fatima seer: “I have one request of Our Lord for the bishops of Spain and another for those of Portugal. Hear the voice of the good Lord! Our Lord desires that the bishops meet in retreat and promote reform in the people, clergy, and religious orders. If the Spanish bishops do not listen to this request, Russia will again be the whip with which God will chastise them.”
The request was entirely in line with the logic of the Fatima apparitions, which took place in 1917. At that time, Our Lady had harshly reproached the situation of sin into which humanity was sinking. She, Mother of Mercy, had come to offer men a way of salvation: the recitation of the Holy Rosary, communion of reparation, penance, and conversion of heart. She had come to ask for the consecration of Russia, then the hotbed of the worst evil of the time, Communism, to her Immaculate Heart. The Mother of God admonished Saint Jacinta of Fatima: “If men do not convert, there will come a chastisement like never before.” Today, the word “punishment” seems to frighten many people, yet it is the word used by the Mother of God in what Benedict XVI called, in 2007, “the most prophetic of modern apparitions.”
Our Lady was referring to the series of misfortunes that later ravaged the last century and continue to this day: two World Wars, the scourge of Communism, and then cultural and moral post-communism. The third secret of Fatima also seems to hint at another punishment yet to come.
Today, we are scourged by an “enemy” that shares with Communism the fact that it originated in a country dominated by this ideology. The terms of the question are quite similar.
The situation of sin denounced in 1917 has remained unchanged to this day. In fact, it has become much worse. The conversion requested by Our Lady did not take place.
Much has been discussed whether the Covid-19 pandemic should be considered divine punishment. If it were, could it be part of the Fatima warnings?
Some people deny that this pandemic could have the character of divine punishment since it is the result of accidental human circumstances. Some even attribute it to a “conspiracy.” It lacks, therefore, the supernatural aspect. Such criticism ignores the way Divine Providence proceeds.
Even the facts that Our Lady of Fatima defined as “punishments” – the two World Wars and Communism – had perfectly natural causes — political, ideological, cultural, and so on. Nor were they lacking conspiratorial elements. What, then, made them a divine “punishment”?
Difficult situations, both individual (illnesses, accidents, reversals of fortune) and social (wars, natural disasters, economic crises) shake our consciences, making us understand and indeed touch the fragility of our human nature, and of our society and world. Everything can vanish in an instant. Providence mercifully permits these trials inviting us to shake off pride and self-sufficiency and instead entrust ourselves to God’s mercy. And in these circumstances, it is easier to turn to God through Our Lady. These are opportunities to strike our chests asking forgiveness for our sins and imploring divine grace to heal us. In other words, they are occasions for purification and conversion. How many people converted and became saints after sustaining a hard blow! From the conversion of Saint Ignatius of Loyola during his convalescence from a war wound to that of Saint Alphonsus de Liguori after the shocking loss of a critical court case.
That is why, in the aftermath of every great misfortune, there has always been a movement of spiritual conversion. It was so after the First World War when Pope Pius XI affirmed that the world was ready for the social kingdom of Christ and launched the Encyclical Quas Primas. It was so after the Second World War when winds of conversion blew in several countries, such as in France with the Grand Retour movement, and in Spain with the Santas Misiones.
Unfortunately, this was not the case after the fall of the Berlin Wall. On the contrary. After 1989, the world was devoured by a wave of unbridled consumerism and a desire to enjoy life in a sinful way that infected even countries that had suffered under harsh Communist regimes. Even the graces of the Jubilee of 2000, when the last part of the message of Fatima was revealed, were soon forgotten. Moral decadence accelerated dramatically as abortion, homosexuality, gender ideology, and other evils spread.
There was no shortage of opportunities for people to repent. We can mention the attack of September 11, 2001, with the consequent wars, or the economic crisis of 2008, which shook the world economy to its foundations. But the desire to live in sin was stronger, and the world continued on undaunted, sinking deeper and deeper into the mud of vices.
Will the present pandemic be a new sign of Providence to offer us the opportunity to reflect on our situation, asking God for the grace of conversion? We quote in this regard the words of His Excellency Ramón Castro, Bishop of Cuernavaca, Mexico. After harshly denouncing the sins of the modern world, especially gender ideology, the prelate warned:
“God is crying out to us through this coronavirus pandemic. God is telling us: listen, children, stop, and think where you are going! God is lovingly striking us to wake us up. You are my children, and I love you. I am merciful. See, however, how you are marching to the abyss. This coronavirus pandemic is like God telling us: how fragile you are, the modern world! Your power, your money, your bravado can do nothing against me! Did you want to pose as God? Well, see how you fall in an instant.”
In our opinion, the Covid-19 pandemic can and should be seen in the light of Our Lady of Fatima’s apparitions. A message of tragedy but also of great hope. A tragedy because men insist on not converting. But above all, hope because in 1917, Our Lady promised that finally, her Immaculate Heart would triumph. As Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira wrote:
“At the end of these reflections, it is well for our minds to consider the ultimate perspectives of the Fatima message. Beyond the sadness and highly probable punishments towards which we advance, we have before us the sacral lights of the dawn of the Reign of Mary: Finally, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. It is a grand prospect of universal victory for the royal and maternal Heart of the Most Blessed Virgin. It is a peaceful, attractive, and above all, majestic and exciting promise.”
Translated by the staff of Pan-Amazon Synod Watch.