Like a Dan Brown novel.
Concerning Fr. Longenecker's essay and Special Copyrighted Reports from Spirit Daily ...
What do they do? Sensationalize messages from heaven.
Yes they do.
So why does it bother me?
Because, since I was little - and that is a long time ago now - the message of Fatima excited the morbid curiosity of pious fear mongers everywhere. Or so it seemed. Mrs. Duffie with her blue sparkled chapel veil, rosary draped over her arm, dress down to her ankles, trooping around warning churchgoers of impending doom... The Fatima message was always misinterpreted, or misrepresented in apocalyptic terms. To be honest, I really think subsequent apparition claims maybe picked up on all of that, and their messages were influenced in that way. It's very difficult to separate what the visionaries imagine and what is genuine. But I digress.
Suffice it to say, some people use private revelations to threaten souls into submission. It doesn't work that way.
That said, the message of Fatima - essential for the people to know - was pretty much revealed from the start - shortly after the October miracle - which was performed, not to scare, not to fascinate, but so people would believe. Faith. The message of Our Lady is a call to faith, the amendment of life, penance and prayer - and to stop sinning, 'because Our Lord is already too much offended':
Commenting on Our Lady's request for penance, Sr. Lucia wrote: "The part of the last apparition which has remained most deeply imprinted on my heart is the prayer of our heavenly Mother begging us not to offend any more Almighty God, Who is already so much offended."
Our Lord explained to her: "The sacrifice required of every person is the fulfillment of his duties in life and the observance of My law. This is the penance that I now seek and require." - Sr. Lucia
Does the pope know something we don't?
God love Fr. Longenecker, but he's getting a little Gruner-ite and Mrs. Duffie-ish with this one. There's an underlying sensationalist, conspiracy-theory prompting his question, "does the pope know something we don't" about Fatima, the coming centenary, and the end of an era-end of the world crap. "You cannot tell by careful watching" is a Gospel passage which often comes to mind when people discuss their theories and interpretations of Fatima and the end times.
The most important part of Our Lady's message, the most important part of the secret for all to know is this:
"Sacrifice yourselves for sinners; and say often when you make some sacrifice, 'My Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.'"
After showing the children a vision of hell, Our Lady said to them: "You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish throughout the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If people do as I shall ask many souls will be saved, and there will be peace.... But if people do not cease offending God... another and more terrible war will begin. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign that God gives that the chastisement of the world for its many transgressions is at hand through war, famine, persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father."
"To prevent this, I shall come to ask the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and Communions of reparation on the first Saturdays. If my requests are heard, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, fomenting wars and persecution of the Church. The good will suffer martyrdom; the Holy Father will suffer much; different nations will be annihilated. But in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, which will be converted, and some time of peace will be granted to humanity.
"NOTE: From the above, we must not think of the Five First Saturdays merely in terms of personal salvation, of receiving "at the hour of death the graces necessary for salvation;" but also in terms of world peace, of avoiding the terrible social consequences mentioned above by Our Lady. - source
So. The Pope knows exactly what we know, he knows what the Church knows and teaches about Fatima.
Sensationalizing the events and message of Fatima changes the focus, it does nothing but excite curiosity - Today's First Reading from Ecclesiastes expresses it well:
All speech is labored;there is nothing one can say.The eye is not satisfied with seeingnor is the ear satisfied with hearing.Dissatisfied with what is revealed because it doesn't conform with our expectations. Therefore we keep adding on to messages and applying our own interpretations, building conspiracy theories and trying to scare people into repentance? The question, 'does the pope know something we don't' is a leading question. Pope Francis and Pope Benedict know what we know. Is there a hidden crisis to be revealed? So Fr. L has to ask? "Is a crisis looming that will bring us to a turning point in some way?"
Look around you people. What signs are you still looking for? What has been going on in Syria? What is ISIS doing? What happened in Charlotte the past few days? What about the floods, the earthquakes, the martyrdoms, the Mexican priests murdered, on and on and on?
I can only conclude most of us know what Fr. Longenecker doesn't - so it it stands to reason he and Michael Brown of Spirit Daily would ask questions and write edge -of-your-chair articles on secrets revealed and 'new' apparitions revealing the obvious.
I only mention Spirit Daily because Brown has posted an 'exclusive', copyrighted, subscription only, Special Report on "The Hour of Peril". So. If it's so important, why not make the hour of peril story more accessible? I found information on the alleged apparitions and messages - Our Lady of the Rosary of El Pozo - the site has everything you want to know about the messages. Read about it if you are curious.
"And Herod kept trying to see him." - Luke 9:9 (Today's Gospel)
The 'real', one and only, Sr. Lucia.
Keep the following in mind regarding Fatima and private revelations:
"What matters is the public message ... Sr. Lucia was charged not only to transmit a secret to the Pope, but also to make known to all the world a public message." - Cardinal Ottaviani, 11 February 1967
Concerning the content of the secret, Sr. Lucia explained, "The part necessary for the people to know was already known since 1917."
So what was essential to be known was already known in 1917.
"This had all been said in 1917, that is, that men must amend their lives, that they must not offend God, that he is already much offended." - Sr. LuciaAnything more, or demanding this or that be revealed, or waiting in anticipation for some Divine intervention to rapture the faithful out of a crumbling world, seems to me to border upon presumption and tempting God.
We must be guided humanly and visibly in all by the law of Christ the man and that of his Church and of his ministers. This is the method of remedying our spiritual ignorances and weakness; here we shall find abundant medicine for them all. Any departure from this road is ... extraordinary boldness ... one must ever adhere to Christ's teaching. - John of the CrossIn Chapter 21 of Book II of the Ascent, St. John goes on to say that God is displeased by the request for revelations and locutions, despite the fact that some believe their curiosity to know these things is good because God has revealed himself in this manner in the past. St. John asserts that God is not pleased, saying not only is he displeased, he is 'frequently angered and deeply offended.' The following may well apply to the inordinate curiosity some have regarding the secret of Fatima, a morbid inquiry which may likewise displease God:
The reason lies in the illicitness of transcending the natural boundaries God has established for the governing of creatures. He has fixed natural and rational limits by which man is to be ruled. A desire to transcend them, hence, is unlawful... consequently, God who is offended ... is displeased. - John of the CrossIt is also important to keep in mind the precautions of St. Hannibale Maria di'Francia:
My dear father, to consider any expression of the private revelations as dogma or propositions near of faith is always imprudent! The mistakes could amount to thousands. Poulain substantiates this fact with examples of saints we venerate on the altars. It is not surprising because the visions or the news undergoes some modifications while passing through human channels… Aptitudes and dispositions may not be the same: a psychological, moral spiritual, physical event can modify them, hindering the spiritual enlightenment from shining perfectly in the soul. Thus the person is unaware of circumstances, details or propositions, and is mistaken involuntarily. In fact, everything is received through and according to the subject.
This is proved by experience, by the mystical theologians, such as St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa, Castrotevere, Poulain, etc. By prudence and reason we cannot accept all the words of revelations as they were propositions near to the faith; still less when they are contrary to the authoritative opinion of renowned writers and to the simple, beneficial devotion of the saints. - Source