2017, Fatima and the End of the World
Today Catholics celebrate the anniversary of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in the Portuguese village of Fatima in 1917.
These extraordinary events can be seen as ushering in the catastrophic twentieth century. By 1917 the first World War was grinding on with horrors never before imagined by the human race. The lady of Fatima predicted another war if mankind did not repent. This war would be presaged by a heavenly sign. This took place with an amazing display in the night sky across Europe on January 25, 1938–just before Europe was plunged into another war.
The rest of the century would witness untold misery and bloodshed in genocide, atomic warfare, terrorism, famine, natural disaster and the rise of technologies that would poison nature, destroy the family and set humanity on a course of self destruction.
The miraculous nature of the events at Fatima have been affirmed by the church and most of the popes of the last century have had a strong personal and seemingly apocalyptic association with the prophecies given to the three children. The co-incidence of the dates of May 13 (when the apparitions began) and October 13 (when the apparitions ended with the miracle of the sun) are interesting. Pope Piux XII was consecrated bishop on May 13, 1917 – the day of the first apparition and became known as the Fatima Pope. He consecrated the world to Our Lady of Fatima and made repeated references to the prophecies.
Paul VI met the visionary Sister Lucia and prayed with her on May 13, 1967–on the fiftieth anniversary of the visions. John Paul II was almost killed by an assassin’s bullet on May 13, 1981, and six years later on the seventieth anniversary of the visions went to Fatima to give thanks to the Virgin for saving his life. Benedict XVI affirmed his belief in the supernatural origin of the visions, visited Sr Lucia, went to Fatima and said “the prophecies of Fatima are by no means completed.” Pope Francis had his papacy dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima on May 13, 2013 and consecrated the world in a public ceremony on October 13, 2013. He has the image of Fatima in Rome today to be venerated and plans to visit Fatima in 2017 for the centenary of the events.
Seeing that it is one hundred years since the events makes one wonder how significant this anniversary in two years’ time is for world history.
2017, Fatima and the End of the World
Seeing how the events of 1917 opened up an unprecedented century of evil in the world one is reminded of the vision of Pope Leo XIII in which Satan would be given one hundred years to attempt to destroy the church.
In 1884, after saying Mass on the morning of, according to at least one source, October 13th, as he was leaving the Altar, the 74 year old and frail Pope Leo XIII fell to the ground as if dead. One version has it that those around him thought for a few moments that he may have passed away. According to this version, a few minutes later, his breathing returned to normal and he revived.Another version has it that as he was leaving the altar after a weekday low Mass, he paused as if in a trance for about 10 minutes, turning ashen white. And yet another states that Pope Leo went into this trance while kneeling in attendance of a mass of thanksgiving after his own Mass that morning. See Appendix II for sources of written documentation on this subject.The Pope (born Joachim Vincent Pecci in 1810), according to the most common and popular version, related that he had experienced a sort of vision, in which he heard two voices, one of which he took to be that of Christ, gentle and kind, and the other that of Satan, guttural and harsh.Satan said, “I could destroy Your Church if I had the time, and more power over those who give themselves over to my service.” And then Pope Leo heard Christ to answer, “You have the power, you have the time: 100 years.”
If the visions of Fatima were the beginning of a hell-inspired century it means we are approaching the end of this time.
Curiously, the prophet Venerable Bartholomew Holzhauser predicted seven ages of the church. The fifth began in 1517 with the Protestant Revolution. This period of tribulation comes to it’s five hundredth anniversary also in the year 2017. This fifth age would culminate in terrible persecution of the church. After that he predicted an era of peace and consolation. Our Lady at Fatima also predicted a period of peace after the difficulties to come.
Will 2017 therefore see some sort of climactic event which surges humanity and the whole world into a new era?
What should a Catholic’s response be to prophetic uttering, supernatural signs, apparitions and warnings from heaven?
On the one hand we take the with a pinch of salt. The world is full of apocalyptic worries. It always has been. The world is full of false prophets, deluded visionaries, fraudsters, maniacs and fanatics.
On the other hand, we watch and wait and pray and do penance. If the popes are convinced of the supernatural aspect of the Fatima prophecies then who am I to pooh pooh them? The fact that such venerable popes as Pius XII, John Paul II and Benedict XVI take all this seriously is enough for me.
When we look at the state of the world today–the pace of moral decay, the threat of war and terrorism, the rapid disintegration and persecution of the church we seem helpless to turn back the tide.
It is as if we are facing the sea and watching the surging wave of a tsunami rolling in.
And there is nothing we can do about it except to pick up our rosaries and pray for the strength to stand firm.