by Christopher A. Ferrara
March 24, 2017
The Vatican has announced that the Fatima seers Jacinta and Francisco, already beatified by John Paul II, will be canonized by Pope Bergoglio, following the recent approval of a second miracle attributed to their intercession. The ceremony will probably take place in May, during the Pope’s pilgrimage to Fatima.
Good news indeed. And long overdue. But there is something else that is long overdue respecting the Fatima event: the canonization of Sister Lucia. She is clearly the primary visionary who was accorded a long life on this earth for the purpose of recording and making known what the Blessed Virgin had revealed to the three seers, Jacinta and Francisco having died within three years of the apparitions. Indeed, the Virgin prophesied to Lucia that her two cousins would soon leave this earth but that she would have to remain “some time longer.” As Our Lady explained to Lucia: “Jesus wishes to make use of you to make me known and loved.”
It was Lucia whom Our Lady instructed to learn to read and write in order to fulfill her earthly mission, instruction she obeyed by leaving her childhood home in 1921 to attend a convent boarding school.
It was Lucia whose four Memoirs and voluminous correspondence preserved the Fatima event in all its details and with all its implications — above all, the Great Secret revealed on July 13, 1917, including its third part, commonly known as the Third Secret of Fatima.
It was Lucia who, having become a cloistered nun in Spain, was informed by Our Lady in 1929, at Tuy, that “the moment has come” for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
It was Lucia who, throughout a lifetime of testimony, contradicted the absurd claim that Russia could be consecrated without specific reference to Russia (for the worldly-wise members of the Vatican apparatus had deemed it inopportune to follow Our Lady’s explicit instructions, lest the Russians be offended by such unecumenical effrontery).
It was Lucia who, in her Fourth Memoir, recorded the opening lines of the Third Secret pointing to a Marian prophecy of a great crisis of faith and discipline in the Church: “In Portugal the dogma of the faith will always be preserved etc.” — words of the Virgin that the Vatican has avoided like the plague and whose blatant omission from the “official” Fatima narrative it refuses to explain.
And it was Lucia who, as recently as the late 1990s, warned Cardinal Caffarra of precisely the debacle we are now witnessing in the aftermath of the sham “Synod on the Family” and the publication of the disastrous Amoris Laetitia: “The final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about Marriage and the Family.”
All of this we owe to Sister Lucia dos Santos and she alone. And yet, while her cause for beatification was accelerated during the reign of Benedict XVI (who waived the normal five-year waiting period), she has yet to be beatified while her two cousins will soon be raised to the altars.
Why? Why, in particular, has Pope Bergoglio not exercised his supreme apostolic authority to accelerate the process of Lucia’s canonization, the process for beatification having finally been completed at the diocesan level this February? He has shown no hesitancy in disregarding the usual process in other cases. Most famously, he waived the normal requirement of two miracles in canonizing John XXIII based on one rather insubstantial claim of a miraculous cure (of a gastrointestinal hemorrhage back in 1966 with nothing since then).
And, as the Washington Post wryly observes: “In three cases, Francis elevated saints without a single confirmed miracle under their virtuous belts.” The method employed is called “equipollent” canonization, which Vatican Radio explained as follows, after Francis had employed it to canonize two Canadians in the absence of verified miracles: “[W]hen there is strong devotion among the faithful toward holy men and women who have not been canonized, the Pope can choose to authorize their veneration as saints without going through that whole process.”
The net impression is one of foot-dragging concerning the undeniable sanctity and heroic virtue of the Fatima seer to whom Heaven assigned the mission of making the Message of Fatima known and preserving its content for posterity. Perhaps this state of affairs has something to do with Sister Lucia being the bearer of bad news for a Vatican apparatus that has presided over the collapse of faith and discipline from which the Church has suffered since Vatican II. It is the very crisis doubtless foretold in that part of the Third Secret the Vatican has deemed inadmissible because it constitutes an indictment of much of the current leadership of the Church — from the top down.
Jacinta and Francisco, on the other hand, can be canonized without reference to the explosive contents of the Message that Sister Lucia faithfully recorded and unflaggingly defended against a Fatima revisionism that would reduce the entire Fatima event to a prescription for personal prayer and penance, stripping the Message of its inconvenient admonitory prophecies, including the one concerning a defecting hierarchy.
Let the reader decide the reason for this seemingly inexplicable disparity of treatment of one of the three Fatima seers. To me, however, the conclusion seems obvious: Sister Lucia is an unwelcome messenger whose unwelcome message would be certified by her canonization.