Fatima at 100: Our Lady’s harrowing message of freedom


Catholic Herald, 12 May 2017

The famous vision of hell underscores the heights of the freedom for which we have been created

At Fatima, Our Lady scared the hell out of the children to whom she appeared. Or more precisely, she frightened the children out of hell and took them instead to heaven. Pope Francis will confirm that on Saturday when he canonises Francisco and Jacinta in Fatima on the centenary of the first apparition on May 13, 1917.

Until the “third secret” of Fatima was revealed during the Great Jubilee of 2000, there was great speculation about what it might mean in terms of predicting the future. When it was released, the Holy See confirmed that the third secret related to events in the past, namely the martyrs of the 20th century and the assassination attempt on St John Paul II in 1981.

It should be remembered, though, that the “secret of Fatima” was really a vision granted to the children and recorded in three parts. The first part of the vision, recorded in the “first secret”, was a revelation of hell, filled with souls in great torment. It made a profound impression on the three of them, such that they greatly intensified their prayers and penances. They were so determined that they were able to resist even the threats of torture and death made by the local authorities.

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