For online conspiracy theorists Fatima really is about the sensational.
Even Monsignor Pope expected some sort of great sign. Steve Skojec sums up the disappointment so many experienced after October 13, 2017:
Many Fatima devotees were, I think it’s fair to say, disappointed when the centenaries of each of the original apparitions in 1917 came and went with no discernible event taking place to mark the occasion. For my part, I have always believed that God prefers to be less predictable than this, though there is certainly precedent for divinely-ordered things happening on important dates and anniversaries. - 1P5
Just like the disappointment after the Third Secret was revealed - 'is that it?' It was not enough for those who claimed to know more than the Church. It's still never enough.
Catholic World Report published a decent interview with Kevin Symonds on the 'hermeneutic of conspiracy' which surrounds the Third Secret. The interview is getting a lot of press since Symonds discusses a formerly unknown letter from S. Lucia to Pope Paul VI concerning the trials the Church was entering. Most people who pray knew this at the time, therefore it appears Sr. Lucia was writing to assure the Holy Father of her support and prayers, rather than making some sort revelation of what was happening. Paul VI surely was well aware, as can be known in and through several allocutions made by him. Most notably, 'through some fissure, the smoke of Satan has entered the Church.'
Conspiracy theorists and false interpreters of all things mystical have incorporated these saying into their 'hermeneutic of conspiracy' to not only discredit Vatican II and the liturgical reforms, but to 'stir up' contention regarding the papacy and teaching authority of the Magisterium. Today, not a few are even turning on Cardinal Mueller and Cardinal Burke - because they support the Pope.
I would recommend reading Symond's interview, as well as his book, the cover of which may or may not have been inspired by one small detail of my painting on the Third Secret. (I wonder if anyone will see that?) Anyway, it's a very good read, very well written, and covers all the crazy interpretations right down to the sources promulgating the propaganda.
I have my own theory concerning the false and/or embellished secrets of Fatima - so popular among Fatimists. It is actually related to Our Lady's prophecy that 'Russia will spread her errors.' Today we have proof of how that is accomplished - those who admire Putin for it should be ashamed of themselves - but apparently they are blinded by their traditionalist ideologies. Likewise, false apparitions and messages from Necedah, Bayside, and San Damiano in the 1970's have seeped into the mythology of the trad cult, and are widely accepted as fact. Today, everything spread by these sources - 'Michael fighting' types who contaminated the Fatima message - is now propagated as the missing elements to the authentic Fatima message. Hence all the screwed up interpretations and expectations we've witnessed this past year. These false threads, once authoritatively refuted, have been woven together to discredit the Magisterium even further. Somehow I think God must be gravely offended by those false prophets who do this.
In closing I will share this from the CWR interview with Symonds, discussing authentic sources as opposed to the sometimes politically motivated sources from France and North America.
Kevin J. Symonds: I have the distinct impression that the bulk of the scholarship on Fatima is performed in Europe. Not all of it is available in English, which is most unfortunate for the Anglophone world, as we are bereft of some excellent scholarship. That said, there is the critical documentation published by the Sanctuary of Fatima, which is available in Portuguese up to 1930 and extends to 15 or so volumes. There is hope of adding to this collection the post-1930 documents. Additionally, Dr. Cristina Sobral has presented the official critical edition of Sr. Lucia’s Memoirs. The Sanctuary of Fatima is also taking some steps to make solid scholarship available in English.
My own contribution on Fatima came out of a desire to engage an influential body of literature that has largely emanated from France and North America. In the latter, there is the work of Father Nicholas Gruner and his Fatima Center, while in France there is the work of the Abbé Georges de Nantes and his Contre-Reforme Catholique. These two groups do not always agree with each other, but there was some collaboration between them in the 1980s into the 1990s. Later, in 2006, the Italian journalist Antonio Socci joined the discussions. There has not been much (if any) critical work addressing the body of literature published by Gruner and the Abbé, though there has been some response to Antonio Socci. My book is an attempt at providing a critical assessment of some contentious points that are generally common to all three. - CWR
As I always point out regarding this subject: In Chapter 21 of Book II of the Ascent, St. John writes 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.' Explaining:
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.
St. John goes on to cite several examples of God's displeasure from scripture. Now of course St. John is speaking of the illicitness of seeking knowledge of God through revelations and locutions, and in the cases he cites, these requests run contrary to God's will and are therefore sinful. As St. John explains why it was lawful to request signs and wonders in the Old Covenant, and why it is not expedient to do so in the New.
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 Cross
There is nothing wrong with authentic scholarship and study to clarify the Fatima Message - just be careful of your sources.
It was revealed recently that
Pope Benedict used to get miraculous
hang-up calls from Bayside.
What? I'm kidding.