Our Lady of Fatima and Satan’s Last Roll of the Dice



Damien F. Mackey



 At Fatima in May of 2010 Pope Benedict XVI said,

“We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic message is complete.”


It has been a very healthy sign for the Church and the world in general that Church leaders, stung by the often badly-managed paedophilia crisis, have now begun to admit of an underlying sinfulness. In the spirit of great men and women of the Old Testament, like Jeremiah (3:5; 14:20), and Daniel (9:5), and Queen Esther (14:6), they are saying: “We have sinned … we acknowledge, O Lord, our wickedness, the iniquities of our fathers … we beg forgiveness”. The earlier tendency to close ranks and to try to ignore the deep-seated problems has ever so slowly given way to a spirit of repentance and expressions of sorrow for the victims. Many of the latter have, not surprisingly, received this belated turnaround with scepticism. And the distrust sown has even provided the secular authorities with an excuse to intervene in Church affairs, as in the case of the raids by Belgian state police on Church property.

How did this disastrous state of affairs ever come into being?

Simply because, as in the case of the Jews of Jeremiah’s time, the genuine prophetic warnings were ignored; our own going back at least as far as Fatima in 1917, when Our Lady of the Rosary had warned (echoing her Son’s, ‘Unless you repent you will all likewise perish’, Luke 13:3), that “If” humankind refused to respond to the signs of the times, then unimaginable devastations would follow, devastations both physical and spiritual. The horrors of two World Wars and the concentration camps were not even to be the end of it. A tidal wave of “error” was next to be unleashed upon the world from Communist Russia. Fatima seer, Sister Lucia, spoke of that in 1946.

Chronologically, the World Wars and the spread of error have corresponded closely with Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich’s prediction that the Devil would be let loose about 50-60 years before 2000 AD, with some lesser demonic unleashings to occur even earlier than that, in approximately her own time (i.e., 1774 – 1824).

This period included the terrible French Revolution.

Some sixty years after Catherine’s ‘own time’, Pope Leo XIII experienced a most terrifying demonic visitation that seemed to play out, on a cosmic scale, God’s formerly permitting of Satan to buffet an individual, the righteous Job. Or, even more notably, reminiscent of the “hour [of] the power of darkness” when Jesus Christ was handed over to his enemies (Luke 22:53). I refer to:

The Vision of Pope Leo XIII (October 13, 1884)

Exactly 33 years to the day prior to the great Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, that is, on October 13, 1884, Pope Leo XIII experienced a remarkable vision. When the aged Pontiff had finished celebrating Mass in his private Vatican Chapel, attended by a few Cardinals and members of the Vatican staff, he suddenly stopped at the foot of the altar. He stood there for about 10 minutes, as if in a trance, his face ashen white. Then, going immediately from the Chapel to his office, he composed the prayer to St. Michael, with instructions that it be said after all Low Masses everywhere. When asked what had happened, he explained that, as he was about to leave the foot of the altar, he suddenly heard voices – two voices, one kind and gentle, the other guttural and harsh. They seemed to come from near the tabernacle. As he listened, he heard the following conversation [http://www.stjosephschurch.net/leoxiii.htm]:

The guttural voice, the voice of Satan in his pride, boasted to Our Lord:

“I can destroy your Church.”

The gentle voice of Our Lord:

“You can? Then go ahead and do so.”

Satan: “To do so, I need more time and more power.”

Our Lord:

“How much time? How much power?”

Satan: “75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service.”

Our Lord:

“You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will.”

Absolutely incredible! Almighty God, who assuredly does not tempt us to sin, here allowing Satan the freedom to exercise real power against his Church, just as He had permitted in the case of the trials of Job, and, later, of Jesus Christ. To bring forth a greater good. In the first case, the perfecting of Job. In the second, the salvation of the entire human race. And, now, in our day, the purification of the Church – the Bride following her Crucified Spouse by imitating his Passion, Death and Resurrection.

Surely nothing better explains this chaotic age in which we have found ourselves than the combined testimonies of Blessed Catherine, Pope Leo, and Lucia in this regard.

All Hell breaking loose!

And we are not to blame God for this. We have only ourselves to blame, and our forefathers. And now our Church leaders are starting to say it. But all Catholics need to say it, in the words of Daniel (9:5): “We have sinned, and have dealt perversely, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even turning aside from thy precepts and from thine ordinances”. Catholics first, to lead the way, so that other Christians, but also Jews, and Moslems, and Hindus, and indeed the whole world, will follow suit. ‘For it is not sacrifice alone that pleases God, but a humbled contrite heart’.

But now we shall also have to pay the cost, and most surely we are already paying it. Did not Pope Francis comment recently (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29190890):

“Humanity needs to weep, and this is the time to weep,” he said.

“Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction” …. [?]

And Fatima may give a hint of other horrors yet to come; Fatima supplemented perhaps by some of those frightening post-1920’s Marian apparitions. Here of course we speak only of those apparitions that have been solidly approved by the Church. So, perhaps it was wishful thinking that the contents of the Third Fatima Secret were initially interpreted as being all completely done and dusted by the end of the C20th. As if the C21st century has suddenly set humankind in the right direction.

Thankfully Pope Benedict XVI en route to Fatima for the celebrations of the 13th of May, 2010, offered a more realistic interpretation of the Third Secret. Colleen Hammond gives this account of it (http://www.colleenhammond.com/blog/2010/05/pope-fatima%E2%80%99s-prophetic-message-is-not-complete/):

Pope: “Fatima’s prophetic message is NOT complete”

Don’t remember seeing this in the news, eh?

Pope Resurrects Third Secret of Fatima

On board a jet bound for Fatima on May 11, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI answered a question regarding the Third Secret that put him at odds with the ‘official’ Vatican interpretation of the Secret propounded in 2000. The year 2000 Commentary claims that … the prophecy of the Third Secret is completely fulfilled by the 1981 assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II.

For a multitude of reasons … this interpretation was denounced as insufficient by tens of thousands of Catholics the world over. During Pope Benedict’s latest trip to Fatima, however, the Pope did not speak of the Fatima prophecies as already fulfilled, but linked the Third Secret with the present pedophilia scandals in the Church, and indicated the prophecy of the Secret includes future events. ….

[End of quote]

And the Pope associated his Fatima message with the old Babylonian Captivity, the era of Jeremiah, Daniel and Esther mentioned above. (From the Vatican’s website):


Esplanade of the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima Thursday, 13 May 2010

Dear Pilgrims,

“Their descendants shall be renowned among the nations […], they are a people whom the Lord has blessed” (Is 61:9). So the first reading of this Eucharist began, and its words are wonderfully fulfilled in this assembly devoutly gathered at the feet of Our Lady of Fatima. Dearly beloved brothers and sisters, I too have come as a pilgrim to Fatima, to this “home” from which Mary chose to speak to us in modern times. I have come to Fatima to rejoice in Mary’s presence and maternal protection. I have come to Fatima, because today the pilgrim Church, willed by her Son as the instrument of evangelization and the sacrament of salvation, converges upon this place. I have come to Fatima to pray, in union with Mary and so many pilgrims, for our human family, afflicted as it is by various ills and sufferings. Finally, I have come to Fatima with the same sentiments as those of Blessed Francisco and Jacinta, and the Servant of God Lúcia, in order to entrust to Our Lady the intimate confession that “I love” Jesus, that the Church and priests “love” him and desire to keep their gaze fixed upon him as this Year for Priests comes to its end, and in order to entrust to Mary’s maternal protection priests, consecrated men and women, missionaries and all those who by their good works make the House of God a place of welcome and charitable outreach.

These are the “people whom the Lord has blessed”. The people whom the Lord has blessed are you, the beloved Diocese of Leiria-Fatima, with your pastor, Bishop Antonio Marto. …. In God I embrace all [Portugal’s] sons and daughters, particularly the afflicted or outcast, with the desire of bringing them that great hope which burns in my own heart, and which here, in Fatima, can be palpably felt. May our great hope sink roots in the lives of each of you, dear pilgrims, and of all those who join us through the communications media.

Yes! The Lord, our great hope, is with us. In his merciful love, he offers a future to his people: a future of communion with himself. After experiencing the mercy and consolation of God who did not forsake them along their wearisome return from the Babylonian Exile, the people of God cried out: “I greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being exults in my God” (Is 61:10)”.

The resplendent daughter of this people is the Virgin Mary of Nazareth who, clothed with grace and sweetly marvelling at God’s presence in her womb, made this joy and hope her own in the canticle of the Magnificat: “My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour”. She did not view herself as a fortunate individual in the midst of a barren people, but prophesied for them the sweet joys of a wondrous maternity of God, for “his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation” (Lk 1:47, 50).

[End of quote]

The Pope then later went on to make the all-important statement relevant to the Third Fatima Secret:

We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete. Here there takes on new life the plan of God which asks humanity from the beginning: “Where is your brother Abel […] Your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground!” (Gen 4:9). Mankind has succeeded in unleashing a cycle of death and terror, but failed in bringing it to an end…

In sacred Scripture we often find that God seeks righteous men and women in order to save the city of man and he does the same here, in Fatima, when Our Lady asks: “Do you want to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the sufferings which he will send you, in an act of reparation for the sins by which he is offended and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?” (Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, I, 162).

[End of quote]

The Holy Father’s Fatima Homily is filled with a realistic hope, based on the promised Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary “in the end”. And we, too, can share in that same hope based on that same promise. We must ever resist a tendency found amongst some Christians to focus upon all the ills of the world, seeing a conspiracy around every corner; or, like St. Peter, taking one’s eyes off Christ to focus on the terrifying, storm-tossed waves. Nevertheless, we must also be realistic. We well know of the great ancient enmity, that there is most definitely a diabolical conspiracy in process even in our own very era. And so we have our work cut out.

Theologian Frits Albers (RIP), who had studied for the priesthood at Nijmegen (Holland), used to tell of the Teilhardian modernism in supposed Catholic places like Louvain University back as early as the 1940’s.

By the 1970’s, things had of course become far worse still. On June 29, 1972, His Holiness Pope Paul VI stunned the world with the alleged (some have disputed this) words: “From some fissure the smoke of satan entered into the temple of God. …”.

The testimony of veteran exorcist, Fr. Gabriele Amorth, may serve to bring us right up to date about the present horrific state of affairs even in the Vatican: the consequences of that satanic infiltration included power struggles at the Vatican as well as “cardinals who do not believe in Jesus, and bishops who are linked to the Demon”. It is always difficult to confirm or verify, from a distance, the full accuracy of such reports. But sometimes insiders will let the cat out of the bag, as did Communist, Bella Dodd, whom Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen converted in 1952.

And as has Lt. General Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking intelligence officer ever to have defected from the former Soviet bloc, who has told of his involvement in a plot to discredit Pope Pius XII (See:http://article.nationalreview.com/303351/moscows-assault-on-the-vatican/ion-mihai-pacepa

On occasion readers can send us some very startling reports, certain of which tend, quite unrealistically, to attribute all presumed conspiracies to the Jews.

There was something of a light-hearted moment in the 2005 documentary Protocols of Zion, which documents the rise of anti-Semitism in the US after the 9/11 attacks. Here was commentator Marc Levin walking up and down the streets asking random people about Jews and anti-Semitism. He then comes upon a group of feisty young street protestors, black Americans, one of whom argues with him about how, as he thinks, all the Jews have taken over New York. Levin asks him what he means, and the guy responds,

“Even the mayor of New York [at the time, Giuliani] is Jewish!”

Levin tells the young pontificator that he’s wrong.

“Oh really?” he says, “Jew-liani? Jew-liani? That doesn’t sound Jewish to you?”

Everyone laughed.

Far less humorous, and much closer to home (Australia), is this item:

Australian Adept Unveiled World Satanic Control


by Henry Makow Ph.D.

January 3, 2010

In an explosive deathbed confession, a former head of the satanist “Alpha Lodge” in Sydney, Australia, revealed the pervasive worldwide power of organized Satanism, which is synonymous with the Illuminati.

“Things are not as they seem – and they have not been for a long, long time,” he wrote, describing a wholesale betrayal of society by its ostensible leaders.

“Petor Narsagonan” aka “Frater 616” died March 25, 2004. Recently, his executor, an “Aloysius Fozdyke” (their satanic names) sent the 15 pp. document by email to Arthur Cristian, webmaster of “loveforlife.com.au”.

“I have felt it necessary to edit very little of this work,” “Fozdyke” wrote to Cristian, “although legal considerations have ensured that some names and details were excised. It was his intention to have this published in the popular media.”

What follows is a synopsis of this shocking document focusing on Satanic power and influence. Satanic influence is “now so pervasive as not to be readily noticed,” Frater says. Satanists are laced throughout Australian society, and the pattern is replicated everywhere. They include politicians, doctors, high ranking police officers, lawyers, decorated military men, media personalities, fashion models and social workers. The most talented have lifestyles maintained by crime under a veneer of respectable professionalism and knowledge. Marginal types (prostitutes, drug dealers) are important to Satanism but are merely tools.

Frater explains he got involved in a satanic group in university in 1971. “I fell through a crack in reality… I escaped the mundane through one of western society’s fault lines”. “A mentor” in the Satanic network set him up in the travel business and for years Frater live a life of unimaginable wealth, occultism and debauchery. He studied the black arts: divination, dark meditation, sacrifice, sexual vampirism, voodoo dolls and sex magic. Each day ended with a “Black Mass orgy of unforgettable and unspeakable delight.” ….

[End of quote]


Excerpt from a Poem by recently deceased Sydney poet, Patrick Moylan

The woman of agony from the flaming furies

Came winging up from the underworld depths

To start quarrels and wars

Upon the Earth for unfortunate man.

Her only pursuit to revel in strifeWith her mind a whirling vortex

Of a thousand odd tricks

To deceive and cajole the naivety of man

And exploit opportunity

To cause any argument

Of one with another

Anything she hopes

That will lead to blood-shed

Destruction and famine

Suffering and death

Madness among men

Being her greatest objective.

Locked into her hairNestle two coiled snakes

Poised rearing to strike

At her given command

By the slightest pretext

From her horrific snarled mouth

Like that of a mad savage dog

With out-turned bared lips

From the underworld depths

Hell-bent she rises in fury

To drag men down to the deep buried pit

Wonder you must in the events of man

How far she has advanced

In her planned Goal of Death ….

Now she glides across slowly…To stir the strife cauldron

As she wings on her way

Wonder just where

She is perched right this minute

Perhaps scanning the horizon

For more likely prey

Innocently unsuspecting her invisible presence

Never resting but planning unceasing

To satisfy her desire for bloodshed and death

Our blessed Lady years ago requested During a time of violence and war

At a place called Fatima

For your Rosary of Prayer

To block the Hellspirit

And stop her marauding and sowing of strife

To regain world peace

In the Great World War

Yet since that distant time

Some well thinking religious people

Outright refrain

To speak about Fatima

And our Lady’s requests

As part of their chores

Of church canon laws

But please God let’s hope

Just the same

They’ll not be blown up ….


We find a sharp contrast between the Marian-inspired hope of popes Benedict XVI and Francis, and the prevailing despair of our times. It is like a drama story that is filled with many dark twists and turns, but with the author knowing that ultimately it will finish on a happy note. The basis of Benedict XVI’s and Francis’s hope has the same foundation as it had for the three Fatima seers: Jesus Christ.

Pope Benedict again:

Moreover, that Light deep within the shepherd children, which comes from the future of God, is the same Light which was manifested in the fullness of time and came for us all: the Son of God made man. He has the power to inflame the coldest and saddest of hearts, as we see in the case of the disciples on the way to Emmaus (cf. Lk 24:32). Henceforth our hope has a real foundation, it is based on an event which belongs to history and at the same time transcends history: Jesus of Nazareth. The enthusiasm roused by his wisdom and his saving power among the people of that time was such that a woman in the midst of the crowd – as we heard in the Gospel – cried out: “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that nursed you!”. And Jesus said: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!” (Lk 11:27-28). But who finds time to hear God’s word and to let themselves be attracted by his love? Who keeps watch, in the night of doubt and uncertainty, with a heart vigilant in prayer? Who awaits the dawn of the new day, fanning the flame of faith? Faith in God opens before us the horizon of a sure hope, one which does not disappoint; it indicates a solid foundation on which to base one’s life without fear; it demands a faith-filled surrender into the hands of the Love which sustains the world.

[End of quote]

We must allow hope to evaporate the paralysing fear of our times.

In fact, though it might not seem so, the turning point might already have been reached. According to the conversation overheard by Leo XIII, Satan was granted “75 to 100 years”. That was in 1884. And to what date do 100 years bring us from there? To 1984, and that was a most significant date in relation to the Fatima prophecies (and possibly the year intended in St. Don Bosco’s Dream). For it was in 1984 that there occurred the long-awaited and long-neglected collegial consecration of Russia – but now also including the entire world (since ‘Russia’s errors’ had by now gone out worldwide) – to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. On the 25th of March 1984, in the square of St. Peter’s Basilica, the great Marian Pope, John Paul II, achieved the consecration in union with a moral majority of the world’s bishops.

And this, after several unsuccessful attempts by the modern popes.

Sr. Lucia, at that stage the sole remaining Fatima seer, ultimately accepted that this was the act of consecration that Our Lady of the Rosary had requested at Fatima. It was a consecration that Heaven had asked for, and expected, back in the 1920’s. But Satan had managed to thwart and delay it, owing to the lack of will on the part of most Catholics. Perhaps it took the near violent death and then miraculous ‘resurrection’ of this great Marian pontiff, John Paul II, to achieve what had for so long remained unfulfilled.

In my Fatima book, The Five First Saturdays (1994), a decade later – updated at:

The Five First Saturdays of Our Lady of Fatima


I took up in some detail the attractive theme introduced by Blue Army writers, that the Fatima series echoed the drama of the Book of Esther, both having a beginning and a concluding on the 13th day of a month. In the case of Fatima, the initial series of apparitions occurred between May 13 and October 13 of 1917, culminating in the great solar miracle, ‘so that all would believe’. I likened the wicked edict of Haman, the enemy of the Jews in the Book of Esther – who had planned to destroy the entire Jewish race, the church of that time – to Satan’s pitch for souls, especially in the modern era.

The terrifying Fatima apparition of Hell was Satan’s calling card. Mordecai’s countermanding edict echoed of course the Divine work of salvation, and Our Lady of Fatima’s key role (like Queen Esther’s) in it, with a special culmination in 1984. Error had gone out universally (Haman’s edict), but now (in 1984) God had applied the brakes to it (cf. Mordecai’s edict). Haman was exposed and executed, but his minions were still active and the final victory would therefore be delayed.

In contemporary terms, the cap had been placed securely over Satan’s destructive oil leak, shutting down its flow, but the sludge and pollution still remain everywhere.

Is it too much to say that, along parallel lines with the Book of Esther, the 1984 consecration was God’s countermanding Edict against the former unleashing of error? And that, with it, the Devil’s 100 years of being let off the leash were brought to an end. A final crushing of his already crushed head? And that it remains to mop up the mess, along with Satan’s still very active minions? Error to be reined in by Truth?

People of good will on earth must co-operate to cap the far-reaching error spill; Truth, the antidote to error, needing to be held up everywhere, in everything, at every level. As said, we have our work cut out. And it may be that, as in the drama of Esther, it will all come down to a last throw of the dice and to a last minute rescue, with much “bloodshed … suffering and death” (as in Patrick Moylan’s poem above) at the end. For, as Mordecai had dreamed (Esther 10:10-11): “For this purpose [God] made two lots, one for the people of God and one for all the nations, and these two lots came to the hour and moment and day of decision before God and among all the nations”.

Our ‘ray of hope’ at the end of all this ‘gloominess’ is the sure fulfilment of that other great Fatima promise: an era of peace and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. Pope Benedict XVI had well in mind this happy future for humankind when he said at Fatima, may “the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfillment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart, to the glory of the Blessed Trinity.” In the meantime, as he went on to tell us:

… we must cultivate an interior watchfulness of the heart which, for most of the time, we do not possess on account of the powerful pressure exerted by outside realities and the images and concerns which fill our soul (cf. Theological Commentary on The Message of Fatima, 2000). Yes! God can come to us, and show himself to the eyes of our heart. An example and encouragement is to be found in the shepherd children, who offered their whole lives to God and shared them fully with others for love of God. Our Lady helped them to open their hearts to universal love. …. Only with this fraternal and generous love will we succeed in building the civilization of love and peace.

[End of quote]

We greatly look forward with Pope Benedict XVI to Fatima in the year of 2017:

In seven years [now only two years] you will return here to celebrate the centenary of the first visit made by the Lady “come from heaven”, the Teacher who introduced the little seers to a deep knowledge of the Love of the Blessed Trinity and led them to savour God himself as the most beautiful reality of human existence. This experience of grace made them fall in love with God in Jesus, so much so that Jacinta could cry out: “How much I delight in telling Jesus that I love him! When I tell him this often, I feel as if I have a fire in my breast, yet it does not burn me”. And Francisco could say: “What I liked most of all was seeing Our Lord in that light which Our Mother put into our hearts. I love God so much!” (Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, I, 42 and 126).

Pope Francis: During Lent, return with tears to God’s loving embrace

Pope Francis gives ashes during Ash Wednesday Mass at the Basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Lent is a journey of purification and penance, a movement that should bring one tearfully back to the loving arms of the merciful Father, Pope Francis said at an Ash Wednesday Mass that began with a procession on Rome’s Aventine Hill.After walking from the Benedictine monastery of St. Anselm to the Dominican-run Basilica of Santa Sabina on Wednesday, Pope Francis celebrated Mass. He received ashes on the top of his head from Cardinal Jozef Tomko, titular cardinal of the basilica, and distributed ashes to the Benedictines, the Dominicans, his closest aides and a family of five.When a priest places ashes on one’s head or forehead, he recites: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return” or “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”Both, Pope Francis said, are “a reminder of the truth of human existence: We are limited creatures, sinners always in need of repentance and conversion. How important it is to listen and accept these reminders.”In his homily before the ashes were distributed, the pope encouraged Catholics to ask God for “the gift of tears in order to make our prayer and our journey of conversion more authentic and without hypocrisy.”

rectangular-logo.jpgGlobal Sisters Report just launched a new blog by Jo Piazza, When Nuns Rule. Read it here.

The day’s first reading, Joel 2:12-18, described the Old Testament priests weeping as they prayed that God would spare their people. “It would do us good to ask, do I cry? Does the pope cry? Do the cardinals? The bishops? Consecrated people? Priests? Do tears come when we pray?”

In the day’s Gospel reading (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18), Jesus warns his disciples three times against showing off the good works they do “like the hypocrites do.”

“When we do something good, almost instinctively the desire is born in us to be esteemed and admired for this good action, to get some satisfaction from it,” the pope said. But Jesus “calls us to do these things without any ostentation and to trust only in God’s reward.”

“Do you know something, brothers and sisters, hypocrites do not know how to cry,” the pope said. “They have forgotten how to cry. They don’t ask for the gift of tears.”

The Lenten call to conversion, he said, means returning “to the arms of God, the tender and merciful father, to cry in that embrace, to trust him and entrust oneself to him.”

During the 40 days of Lent, he said, Christians should make a greater effort to draw closer to Christ, which is why the church recommends the tools of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

But, he said, “conversion is not just a human work. Reconciliation between us and God is possible thanks to the mercy of the Father who, out of love for us, did not hesitate to sacrifice his only-begotten son.”

In the reading from Joel, the prophet calls people to “interior conversion,” the pope said, a conversion that requires a return to God “with your whole heart.”

“Please,” the pope said. “Let’s stop. Let’s pause a while and allow ourselves to be reconciled with God.”

Lent, he said, is time “to begin the journey of a conversion that is not superficial and transitory, but a spiritual itinerary” that goes straight to a person’s heart, the focal point “of our sentiments, the center in which our choices and attitudes mature.”

What is more, he said, the reading makes clear that the call is addressed to the whole community, which is to “proclaim a fast, call an assembly; gather the people, notify the congregation; assemble the elders, gather the children.”

Pope Francis prayed that Mary would accompany Christians in their “spiritual battle against sin” and would accompany them in their Lenten journey so they could exult with her at Easter.


Taken from: http://ncronline.org/blogs/francis-chronicles/pope-francis-during-lent-return-tears-gods-loving-embrace

“I desire mercy and not sacrifice”. Pope Francis.

Image result for lent mercy

It would have been fascinating to be a fly on the wall on Sunday in any number of Rome’s restaurants or private dining rooms where clerics gathered for their midday pranzo.
Without a doubt, first course for most of them was the extraordinary homily Pope Francis gave just a couple of hours earlier at Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica with his newly fortified College of Cardinals.
Depending on the wall, the conversion would have been either stomach-churning or quite inviting.
Those clerics who are troubled by or pretend not to understand what Francis is “up to” — no matter what color their dress or which rung of the ecclesiastical ladder they stand on — were certainly not raising their glasses to toast what he had to say.
But those priests, bishops and cardinals who have been inspired by this pope from “the end of the earth” or who are at least willing to be challenged by him — no matter how small or great their numbers — were no doubt feasting on his words.

rectangular-logo.jpgGlobal Sisters Report just launched a new blog by Jo Piazza, When Nuns Rule. Read it here.
The Jesuit pope on Sunday showed once again that elevation to the episcopacy, even to the venerable See of Peter, has not emasculated the prophetic nature so constitutive of his priestly ministry and identity as a professed religious.
He reminded the men that some Catholics still and unashamedly call “princes of the church” that Jesus was more interested in embracing lepers and every kind of outcast than observing the ritual purity and prudent deliberations of the doctors of the law.
“I desire mercy and not sacrifice,” he said in one of the numerous lines in which he evoked the Lord of the Scriptures. “What matters for Jesus is, above all, reaching out to save those far off, healing the wounds of the sick and restoring everyone to God’s family!” the pope said. “And this is scandalous to some people!”
Francis knows firsthand that a number of men who wear miters on their heads are among those most scandalized by the way “Jesus revolutionizes and upsets that fearful, narrow and prejudiced mentality” characteristic of certain religious leaders. He has seen it by the near fanatical and hostile way some of them and their theological experts have tried to annihilate proposals — which the pope has encouraged — that seek to reconcile all variety of Catholic “outcasts” with their church, most especially those currently excluded from its sacramental life.
“I urge you to serve the church in such a way that Christians — edified by our witness — will not be tempted to turn to Jesus without turning to the outcast, to become a closed caste with nothing authentically ecclesial about,” he said.
Francis was explicitly addressing the 20 new cardinals (15 of them electors) that he created over the weekend. He told them to serve and see Jesus in all those on the margins, “even in those who have lost their faith, or have turned away from the faith, or say they are atheists.”
He urged them to imitate his namesake, St, Francis of Assisi, by embracing the leper and accepting all the different types of outcasts. “Truly, dear brothers, the gospel of the marginalized is where our credibility is at stake, is discovered and is revealed!” he said.
Sunday’s homily was arguably one of the most important messages Pope Francis has issued during his nearly two years in the Petrine office. And it must be seen an essential addition to a small collection of interviews, documents and speeches during this period in which he has clearly placed the program of his pontificate before the People of God and, indeed, all people of good will.
He began with the surprising and blockbuster interview in August 2013 with La Civiltà Cattolica, which was translated and published shortly thereafter by numerous other Jesuit publications. Then the following November, he issued his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (“Joy of the Gospel”), an astonishingly fresh blueprint for church reform and renewal inspired by the far-sighted, yet unrealized, vision of the Second Vatican Council.
In this select compendium, one must also include Francis’ opening address at October’s extraordinary session of the Synod of Bishops for the way it liberated church leaders from a decadeslong moratorium on debating or questioning topics that had long been labeled “streng verboten” by authorities in Rome.
And finally, one cannot forget the 78-year-old pope’s message to the top officials of the Roman Curia just before Christmas, when he warned the cardinals and bishops of 15 spiritual ailments to which they were especially susceptible. In every one of these talks and texts, Francis provoked — and continues to provoke — clear and diverse reactions.
But those who say they disagree with the prophetic words of the first religious order pope in nearly 170 years (the last was the Benedictine monk Gregory XVI) are more honest than those who say they do not understand him. By now, Francis has made it clear what he believes — that the Holy Spirit is pushing the church to be more inclusive, compassionate and outward-looking; that the Lord Jesus is calling it to be less inward-focused, legalistic and obsessed with the nonessential externals; and that “finding the right words” for our beliefs, our teachings, our disciplines — is one of the great tasks the church’s pastors and its people must discover in order to bring this into being.
The next gathering of the synod in October will offer a glimpse of how many of the bishops are ready to ratify the pope’s vision. But in the meantime, expect him to offer at least a few more talks and papers like his homily on Sunday to spell out that vision even more clearly.
[Robert Mickens is editor-in-chief of Global Pulse. Since 1986, he has lived in Rome, where he studied theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University before working 11 years at Vatican Radio and then another decade as correspondent for The Tablet of London.]
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Pope Francis: Don’t Spy On Me, Argentina


Argentina’s powerful spooks used to wiretap supposed enemies of presidents Néstor and Cristina Kirchner. Among their targets: the man who is now the pontiff.

BUENOS AIRES—Before his mysterious death last month, Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman tried to shed light on one of the shadiest episodes in his nation’s history: the 1994 bombing of the Jewish Community Center known as AMIA that killed 85 people.
Now, Nisman’s death (a suicide? a murder?) seems to be shedding light on something no less shady: Argentina’s underground government, a sinister unaccountable parallel state in which spooks operate with impunity.
And as if this scandalous affair were not shocking enough, a surprising name has now surfaced in connection with it: none other than Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires.
“Bergoglio told me many times that his phones were tapped,” Gustavo Vera, a city council member and a close personal friend of the Pope, told The DailyBeast. “Even when I went to visit him, he used to turn the radio on to scramble our voices. He’d tell me, ‘There are microphones everywhere. Watch what you say because the line is tapped,’” Vera recalls.
Another Argentine source close to the pope and to the Vatican plays down the gravity of the claim, but does not rule out the possibility that Bergoglio, as Cardinal, “was intercepted by the Intelligence Service, though he never mentioned it.”
Argentina remains a profoundly Catholic country, in which senior church officials are well-known public figures and church ritual is inexorably intertwined with the exercise of power. Article 2 of the Argentine Constitution enshrines the connection, stating outright, “The Federal Government supports the Roman Catholic Church.” Although the Vatican nominates its bishops, it is within the purview of the president of Argentina to accept or reject all appointments to the national Catholic hierarchy.
Naturally, Bergoglio’s elevation to the papacy was cause for national celebration and, perhaps in some quarters, consternation.
Vera claims that from 2005 onwards, if not before, Bergoglio was under electronic surveillance. Presumably that ended in 2013 when he was elected to the papacy, but it covers a period of time that coincides with a sharp deterioration in relations between the government—first under President Néstor Kirchner and then his widow, the current President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner—and the Argentine Catholic Church.
In early 2005, Argentine Health Minister Ginés González García proposed decriminalizing abortion. The military chaplain, Monsignor Antonio Baseotto, responded by alluding to a verse from the Gospel: “And whosoever shall cause one of these little ones that believe on me to stumble, it were better for him if a great millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” In reaction, then-President Nestor Kirchner dismissed the chaplain.

“There are microphones everywhere. Watch what you say because the line is tapped.”

A successor to the monsignor has never been appointed, leaving Argentina’s armed services without any religious figurehead, and this when the Catholic Church is the only faith permitted to provide spiritual guidance to members of the military. No other religious official can even gain access to the barracks, despite the presence of soldiers and officers professing other religions.
The situation got worse when later that same year, 2005, President Néstor Kirchner realized to his consternation that Bergoglio had been a close runner-up in the conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI.
Following on that revelation, Kirchner’s followers began a public campaign directed against Bergoglio. In particular journalist Horacio Verbitsky accused the cardinal of being an accomplice to the crimes committed under Argentina’s bloody dictatorship from 1976 to 1983, and even of having turned over to the military two fellow Jesuits. (Ironically and importantly, as one of those abducted Jesuits later acknowledged, they were the only two people who survived out of 6,000 abducted and “disappeared” by the same unit of the Argentine navy.)
In 2005, breaking with their predecessors, President Néstor Kirchner and his wife Cristina Kirchner stopped attending the annual Te Deum mass held every May 25, Argentina’s national day, in the Cathedral of Buenos Aires.
It is difficult to overstate to what extent Argentina is—and possibly always has been—a police state. Journalists, academics and many others routinely assume their phones are tapped. It wouldn’t surprise a single Argentine to hear that Francis, when he was Cardinal Bergoglio, was placed under electronic surveillance. But the new question brought to the fore by Nisman’s death is who gave the spies their orders.

At the time of his death, Nisman was hours away from appearing before the Argentine congress, where he was scheduled to testify about the charges he planned to present against Kirchner, her foreign minister, Héctor Timerman, and several other high officials.

Nisman’s investigation relied to a great extent on intelligence material gathered by international agencies, including the CIA and the Mossad, that reached him via the desk of Antonio “Jaime” Stiuso, the legendary director of counterintelligence, whom Kirchner fired last December. She accused him, among other things, of being too closely allied with Nisman, who she suspected was building a case against her.
With very good reason: after Nisman died his specific accusations were made pubic, accusing Cristina Kirchner, who succeeded to the presidency in 2007, of participating in a massive cover-up of Iran’s hand in two acts of terror that rocked Buenos Aires in the early 1990, and left over 110 citizens dead, the AMIA bombing, and two years before that, an attack on the Israeli embassy.
On Friday, almost a month after Nisman’s death, Cristina Kirchner was formally charged. Administration officials responded by accusing the judicial authorities of being part of a “judiciary coup d’etat.”
It is now open season on Stiuso, who has long been feared as a shadowy J. Edgar-Hoover-like character.  The pope’s friend Gustavo Vera claims Stiuso tapped all communications into and out of the offices and residence of then Cardinal Bergoglio on behalf of the Kirchners, who considered the cardinal hostile to their policies.
Stiuso, the intelligence agent, and Nisman, the prosecutor, knew one another as of early 1999, when they collaborated on another investigation. During the ten years Nisman spearheaded the AMIA case, his work was “nourished,” as he liked to say, by intelligence reports and wiretaps, some of which eventually served to incriminate President Cristina Kirchner.
For her part, the Argentine chief executive publicly declared her mistrust of Stiuso as darly as mid-2013, and began, for her own intelligence-gathering using Army Intelligence instead of the Intelligence Secretariat headed by Stiuso. Since then, she has shut down the Secretariat altogether.
Kirchner’s allies have been blunt about their motives. They are out to prove that the late Prosecutor Nisman was somehow suckered by the spooks generally and Stiuso specifically into making accusations against the president and the foreign minister. “We want to know what part of the mafia that still exists in Argentina led Nisman to his determination,” declared Julián Domínguez, a close Kirchner ally and the speaker of the House of Deputies, one day after Nisman’s death. “We are sure that there are some sectors of intelligence, the last redoubt of non-transparency, that exerts pressure on officers of the court.”
The Vatican has remained silent about the whole affair and about Vera’s revelations concerning the pope’s history being wiretapped. Presumably, Francis is praying for Argentina.


Pope Francis: The devil is the root of jealousy, war


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday evening visited the parish of San Michele Arcangelo in the eastern Roman district of Pietralata. The parish is on the peripheries of Rome, and home to 8,000 families.
On his way to the parish, the Holy Father made a surprise visit to a shantytown called  “Campo Arcobaleno”, where he visited with residents for about 10 minutes.

Listen to our report: 

After arriving at the Parish Hall, Pope Francis met with a group of homeless people who are cared for by the Sant’Egidio Community.
“The fact that people do not know your name, and call you ‘homeless’ and you carry this: It is your cross, and your patience,” said Pope Francis. “But there is something in the heart of all of you – of this, please be assured – there is the Holy Spirit.”
He then held a meeting with parents whose children had been baptized in the previous year, and asked them to teach them the Faith well, and lamented there are “Christian children who cannot make the sign of the cross.”
In his meeting with older children, many of whom were part of the Scouting movement, Pope Francis pointed out that wars are not only those – and he asked them to make a list – which kill children in Iraq, Ukraine, and Africa. Wars are come about much earlier in people who do not possess God.
“Who is the father of war?” Pope Francis asked.  “The devil!” the children answered.
Pope Francis said the devil is the “father of hate”, “the father of lies” who seeks disunity.
“But God wants unity,” Pope Francis said. “If in your heart you feel jealousy, this is the beginning of war.  Jealousies are not of God.”
And this is the theme Pope Francis continued during his homily at Mass.
“It is sad when in a family, brothers do not speak because of something stupid,” Pope Francis said.
“Because the devil takes stupidity and makes a world,” he continued. “Then these enmities continue and multiply for years.  It destroys the family: Parents suffer because their children do not speak to each other, or with the wife of a son…And so this jealousy and envy, it is sowed by the devil.  And the only one who can drive out demons is Jesus.  The only one who can heal these things is Jesus. So to each of your: Have yourself healed by Jesus.”
As he often does during parish visits, he urged the congregation to listen to Jesus in the Gospel, to read a passage and ask themselves, what does it say to me?
“Have this daily contact with the Gospel,” Pope Francis said.  “Pray with the Gospel.”


Taken from: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/02/09/pope_francis_the_devil_is_the_root_of_jeal