Aug 31, 2006

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

The fell clutch of circumstance prevented my posting for the last two days, so excuse me for that.

Some of the comments about my most recent post here have turned into debates about (a) what, if anything, is "mainstream" Catholicism? and (b) the authenticity of certain of Our Lady's visits to her flock, including those to the children of Fatima.

One commenter used the term "the legend of Fatima," so it occurred to me to go to the Website of the World Apostolate of Fatima (click on this post's title). There, among many interesting things, I found the above oft-reproduced photo of Pope John Paul II, who, like his immediate predecessors in the Chair of Peter, thought Fatima no legend.

(I do not want to get into any debates here about the consecration or the secrets. I just want to reaffirm my belief in Our Lady of Fatima, in the little shepherds and in the message of Fatima.)

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for each of us and for all the Church, especially here in our Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which is beset by many an ill and needs your intercession.

17 Comments:

Anonymous Father G said...

I'm the culprit who used the expression "legend of Fatima" and I did so with utmost respect for those who believe it. I used "legend" in the sense that Thomas of Celano called his two biographies of St. Francis of Assisi "legends"...no implication that the legend of Fatima is unworthy of belief was intended. The Church, after all, says that the Fatima legend is worthy of belief and I fully accept the decision of the Church on the matter. Having said that, I also revere the Church's wise practice of not demanding belief in private revelations and apparitions. I personaly cannot believe the Fatima legend.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Reverend and Dear Father,

There is a lot of proof for Fatima -- the accounts in O Seculo and other newspapers about the miracle of the sun, for example.

Why find Our Lady's visits to Lourdes and the Hill of Tepeyac credible but not Her visits to Fatima?

Is it the message of Fatima that is the problem for some people?

11:12 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Reverend and Dear Father G,

Thank you for explaining the sense in which you were using the word "legend," but did you give any indication you were using it that way?

In a discussion of believing or not believing something, use of the word "legend" about that something, without explanation, would not tend to make your usage or meaning clear, would it?

Maybe next time you could provide a little context right on the spot to make that clear for people. This is just a suggestion.

11:25 PM  
Blogger Tito said...

Our Lady of Fatima.

I pray for more conversions of Muslims to our beautiful faith through the intercession of our Mother.

1:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it is true that we are not required to beieve even in Church approved apparitions such as at Fatima or Lourdes or Guadalupe but one is certainly missing a WHOLE lot by not believing. Probably smoe of the 70,000-100,000 that saw the sun spin and fall on Oct. 13, 1917 did not believe either. Many people do not believe in the physical resurrection of Our Lord either.

Faith is a gift after all.

To those who do not know Our Blessed Mother, their Mother in heaven, I send my prayers and pity.

Especially it is obvius when a priest does not know his Mother in heaven; it colors everything! And it shows.

Ave Maria!

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Father G said...

Dear Quintero,
When I use a word properly, I expect that others also know the various meanings of a word. It is frustrating when people people try to make words univocal when they have many definitions or shades of meaning. For example, "worship".

Fundamentalists have limited their understanding of "worship" to "latria" and consider other forms of "worship" to be idolatrous because they do not understand "dulia" and "hyperdulia". Hence, we tend to get defensive when anti-Catholic zealots accuse us of idolatry because we worship the Blessed Mother and the saints and we "buy into" their limited understanding of the word "worship." The fact is that we do offer Our Lady and the saints the worship of hyperdulia and dulia, respectively, but this is not idolatry because we offer the worship of latria to the Blessed Trinity alone.

My point is this: I will not limit my use of words when I know I am using them correctly merely because it is possible that someone else might have limited understanding of what words mean.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Father G said...

Der Tito,
I recall that Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen believed strongly that Our Lady of Fatima would be the catalyst for converting Muslims since the apparitions are said to have occurred in a town named for Mohammed's daughter. The Koran says that no woman in heaven is higher than Fatima except for Mary, the Mother of Jesus. All this is contained in his book, "The World's First Love"--an excellent read for all those who love Our Lady!

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fr.g: The difference is, that Catholics have a duty to explain to protestants that the definition of "worship" used by those who protest our devotion to Mary. To do otherwise (or to use the word "worship" haphazardly or without explanation) leads to UNNECESSARY stumling blocks.

And the same is probably true of the word "legend." To most people, it has become synonimous with "made-up story." That's not the technical definition but it has become the accepted definition by "mainstream" (to use your term) American English speakers.

--Jehu

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shoot, typos.

That should read: "...Catholics have a duty to explain to protestants that the definition of "worship" used by those who protest our devotion to Mary DOES NOT APPLY TO THE HONOR WE GIVE TO MARY."

--Jehu

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Father G said...

Dear Jehu,
I agree with you wholeheartedly that we sometimes need to explain what our theoogical words mean since the same words may have taken on new and different meanings in the common parlance.

Take, for example, "substance". Because in modern-day English, people associate "substance" with physical matter, many people mistakenly think that Catholics believe that bread and wine physically become the Body and Blood of Christ--that Jesus is physically present in the Blessed Sacrament.

But we hold and teach "transubstantiation"--that is, that the substance of bread and wine have become the substance of Christ's Body and Blood while the physical attributes of bread and wine--the "accidents"--remain the same. Hence, we hold that the Body and Blood of Christ are substantially present under the accidents of bread and wine, not physically present.

Another example is "disordered". People think the Church says that homosexuality is a sickness when we say that it is objectively "disordered" when what we are saying is that the acts, and the inclination itself, are not ordered towards one of the proper ends of human sexuality which is procreation, actual or potential. By this understanding of "disordered", homosexuality is rightly ranked with other "disordered" sexual acts such as masturbation or conjugal acts that are rendered "disordered" by the use of artificial contraception.

So, yes, we may sometimes need to clarify the words we use but let's not further impoverish our language by fearing to use these and other words properly.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Reverend and Dear Father G,

I understand. But when a word has several meanings, any of which could apply in the sentence a writer is using, the writer can communicate his meaning more effectively by giving readers a clue about which meaning is meant.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Reverend and Dear Father G,

It is not necessarily that others have limited knowledge of what the word you used means, but that they could not tell which of the word's several plausible meanings you meant it in your sentence.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Jehu,

You are right that we have a duty to help Protestants (and Jehovah's Witnesses) by explaining that we venerate and honor the Blessed Mother, not worship Her.

We can clear up many common misconceptions that way, and learn a lot as we research what we are going to tell them.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Reverend and Dear Father G and Dear Tito,

Those are good suggestions about Bishop Sheen and Our Lady of Fatima. Thank you!

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take, for example, "substance". Because in modern-day English, people associate "substance" with physical matter, many people mistakenly think that Catholics believe that bread and wine physically become the Body and Blood of Christ--that Jesus is physically present in the Blessed Sacrament.

But we hold and teach "transubstantiation"--that is, that the substance of bread and wine have become the substance of Christ's Body and Blood while the physical attributes of bread and wine--the "accidents"--remain the same. Hence, we hold that the Body and Blood of Christ are substantially present under the accidents of bread and wine, not physically present.

YES, I believe in the Real and physical presence of Jesus in the holy Eucharist and if I thought it was only some 'spiritual' presence, I would not come to adore Jesus Hostia every single day. Then it would be idolotry.

Yes, Jesus IS physically present in the Blessed Sacrament. Our Lord is present in two places in the physical sense--at the right hand of the Father and in the Holy Eucharist.

Ave Maria!

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Father G said...

Dear Jehu,
Nowhere does the Catholic Church teach that Jesus is physically present in the Eucharist. The Magisterium is always very careful to say that Jesus is really present in the Eucharist--Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity--substantially and sacramentally.

Substantial presence is not just spiritual presnce. Subtance is what makes a being to be what it is. Substance is not physical. When we say that the Father and the Son are one in substance (homoousious in Greek and consubstantialem in Latin), we do not mean that substance is physical since God is not a physical being.

Substance can be extended while physical bodies cannot. For example, there is only one human substance, but that human substance is extended to every individual human being. That's why, when I break the large Host at the fracture rite at Mass, I do not have several "Bodies of Christ" but only one. Each part is the one whole Body and Blood of Christ. His substance is extended to every Host and every part of every Host...the same is true when there are several chalices holding the Blood of Christ.

What of the bread and wine? One of the reasons transubstantiation is a miracle is that accidents can only exist in their proper substance. But in the Eucharist we have the accidents of bread of wine--size, shape, color, taste, weight, etc.--but there is no substance of bread and wine there. Their substance has been annihilated and has been supplanted by the substance of Jesus Christ's Body and Blood.

To understand the church's teaching on transubstantiation, one must understand Aristotle's "Categories" and how they are applied to the teaching. Of course, we can never fully understand what is in the final analysis a miracle...we can only properly understand how the Church expresses the belief that the Blessed Sacrament is the Body and Blood of Christ, substantially and sacramentally present under the appearances of bread and wine.

Substantial presence is a much more profound mode of presence than physical presence could ever be. It is because we believe that the God-man Jesus is really and truly present in the Eucharist, and that the Eucharist is the God-man Jesus subatantially and sacramentally present that we worship the Blessed Sacrament with Latria...and there is no idolatry!

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fr. G: Firstly, not all "anonymouses" are me. I always sign my posts or if I forget I always say so. That one wasn't from me.

Second, I do not believe you are correct on this one.

While it is true that theologians usually haven't been in the habit of saying that Christ is "physically" present in the Eucharist, this is probably, according to my sources, because they are translating "physically" from the Greek equivalent or root, meaning "naturally." And no, Our Lord is not present in a "natural" manner or by "natural" means. Pope Paul VI writes in the Encyclical Mysterium Fidei: "Christ is present whole and entire, bodily present, in his physical reality".

Doesn't get much clearer than that.

--Jehu

1:56 AM  

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