Why We Believe in Fatima
The three seers of Fatima, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, aged 9 and 7, and their cousin Lucy dos Santos, 10, were closely watched and questioned because of the appearances of Our Lady to them. Priests, villagers, their parents questioned them over and over again, and their accounts of the apparitions did not change.
In fact, on the day of the apparition of August 13, the mayor, an atheist, kidnaped the three children and put them in jail. He threatened to boil them in oil if they would not reveal the secret Our Lady gave them, but they would not tell him. The prefect took Jacinta away. A few moments later he came back, told them Jacinta was dead, and asked the other two if they would change what they had said. They would not. Francisco was taken away. Later still the mayor returned, after claiming that Francisco had been “killed”, and asked Lucy again if she would deny what she saw. Again she refused. Even under threat of this terrible death, the three children did not give in to the demands of the mayor. Later, in fear of the crowd, he let the children go free.
We are compelled then to believe in Fatima because the children were reliable witnesses. They withstood threats of death. They showed that what they saw had taken a firm grip on them and they led very holy lives; so holy that little Jacinta’s body was found to be incorrupt in the tomb after fifteen years buried in quicklime.
Furthermore, some of the 70,000 witnesses who saw the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima are still alive today, and bear witness to the miracle of Fatima. It was seen by devout persons and skeptics. The skeptics came away converted and helped to publish the news. The Church investigators looked into all questions, even that of mass hysteria, but that too was ruled out after one of the most thorough investigations into matters of this kind in the history of the Church. People a few miles away from the main mass of people saw it too, and they could not have been influenced by mass hysteria. This Miracle was given to show the world that the Message of Fatima was to be taken seriously and that it was from God.
We have testimony of the Popes as authorities and worthy of belief, who firmly testify in favor of Fatima; let them speak for themselves.
“The time for doubting Fatima is past. It is now time for action”, said Pius XII. “Fatima is the center of all Christian hopes,” said Pope John XXIII. Pope Paul VI sent the Golden Rose to Fatima on May 13, 1965, and on the inscription, he entrusted the whole Church to Her care. He also blessed in a special ceremony statues of Our Lady of Fatima for many countries including our Canadian National Pilgrim.
The evidence that God has spoken to us through Our Lady at Fatima is overwhelming. If we still cannot acknowledge Fatima, we have either not understood the evidence, or else we are lacking in natural faith and should pray God for it.
Father William A. Hinnebusch, O.P. explains,
“There are other things besides the solemn teaching authority of the Church that bind a person to accept something. A creature endowed with reason is obliged by his own intelligence to bow to evidence when it is present. To resist evidence is to be obstinately anti-intellectual. Furthermore, when reliable witnesses testify to an event or fact which seems incontrovertible, a reasonable man must give assent. To say he may refuse assent without blame is a questionable proposition.“
“When a person of such outstanding authority as the late Pope Pius XII says: ‘The time for doubting Fatima is past; it is now time for action,’ then reasonable men must stop and question whether good evidence offered by reliable witnesses is not behind the conviction. For a Catholic deliberately to close his mind to such a statement hardly can be without blame.”