In July 1972, a rare and unusual phenomenon put the spotlight on the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima when it visited some churches in New Orleans.
On the evening of July 17, Father Joseph Breault, custodian of the statue at that time, phoned Father Elmo Romagosa, the executive editor of the archdiocesan newspaper Clarion Herald, as per the latter’s request should the statue begin to weep.
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With camera gear in hand, and fellow editor Hal Ledet in tow, both rushed to the place to investigate. When they arrived, the then skeptical Father Romagosa saw moisture still pooling around the eyes. Both men took pictures. Based on Fr. Breault’s previous account, it would be the 13th time the mysterious weeping would occur under his watch.
It was the first of two shedding of tears that the priest-editor would witness; the second, much more copious and longer, would occur on the following morning when he would catch the statue with a large drop at the tip of the nose. This crucial and poignant moment he aptly captured on his camera for the entire world to see.
When the photo was published, it caused a sensation.
Those tears were to be subjected later to lab tests and would be found to be "more than just water and probably the same as human tears."[i]
In Fr. Romagosa's article that was published in the Clarion Herald and printed in other periodicals[ii], one could sense a tone of puzzlement and wonder at the mystery. In the piece he wrote, "We asked God to help us understand the meaning of what we had witnessed." Fr. Breault though had a ready reply, "Father, the Virgin has a message for the world, but few want to listen."
When Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, founder of the Brazilian TFP, caught wind of the news and saw Father Romagosa's picture published in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo on July 21, 1972, he commented,
"These mysterious tears show Our Lady of Fatima crying over the modern world, as Our Lord once cried over Jerusalem. Tears of most tender affection, tears of deep pain for the punishment that will come.
"It will come to the men of the twentieth century, if they do not reject immorality and corruption. It will come if they do not fight especially against the self-destruction of the Church, the cursed smoke of Satan that according to Paul VI has penetrated even into the sacred places."[iii]
What was it like back in the '70's?
At the dawn of the 1970's decade, the world was reeling from the permissiveness ushered in by the 60's cultural and sexual revolutions that found fertile ground among the hippie generation. Mini-skirts, bell bottom pants and platform shoes were the raging fashion craze. The rock and roll culture fed a lifestyle of sex and drugs. Pornography gradually began to lose its stigma with increased commercialization of sexuality in the mass media. And alongside this mentality came a favorable view of divorce.
The 70's loomed in the wake of the May 1968 Sorbonne (University of Paris) student rebellion. Various socialist and Marxist authors hailed it as a major leap in the revolutionary psychological warfare to influence everyday life, customs, mentalities and ways of living that would have lasting effects in the political and socio-economic realm.[iv] If one is to convey the rebellious and anarchic spirit of this landmark uprising, it would be best encapsulated in the infamous slogan, "It is forbidden to forbid."[v]
Another consequential factor in the 70's in America was the easy availability of the contraceptive pill. By the 1970s it was acceptable for colleges to allow co-educational housing where male and female students mingled freely.
The prevailing moral and social atmosphere prepared the ground for a culture of vice and moral laxity to take root which fomented in turn devastating consequences. In the US, the ominous trend resulted in higher divorce rates, increased pre-marital sex, the legalization of abortion, increased acceptance of the homosexual sin, rise in drug use and crime rates among many others.[vi] [vii]
Foreboding of terrible things to come
One cannot forget that July 1972 was on the cusp of the watershed Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade[viii] which legalized abortion on demand in the entire US in January, 1973. By the year's end a total of 13 states had some form of legal abortion. Four states allowed abortion on demand. However, 31 states allowed abortion only to save the mother's life.[ix]
Moreover, the first Southern Decadence, an annual week-long, hedonistic event held in New Orleans, Louisiana and its environs by the homosexual and lesbian community during Labor Day Weekend, "began quite inauspiciously in August of 1972, by a group of friends living in a ramshackle cottage house at Barracks Street in the Treme section of New Orleans, just outside of the French Quarter."[x]
Our Lady's message
The message of Our Lady of Fatima was given to the world through the three little shepherds in 1917. In one of the apparitions, Sister Lucia recalls, "In front of Our Lady's right hand there was a heart encircled by thorns that seemed to pierce it. We understood that it was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, insulted by the sins of humanity and which desires reparation."[xi] In other words, Our Lady was gravely offended by the iniquity and corruption of men.
Because of Our Lady's maternal and solicitous concern for mankind she wanted it made known that if men did not amend, a dreadful chastisement would come that would annihilate many nations. Russia would spread its errors throughout the world. The Holy Father would have much to suffer.
To avert the punishment she asked for men's conversion, the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart, and the communion of reparation on the first Saturday of each month.
Blessed Jacinta's visions and the sins of our days
Sister Lucia recorded in one of her memoirs some words of affliction of Jacinta during her dying days. The little girl's prophetic insight revealed the following, "You know, Our Lord is very sad because Our Lady told us He should not be offended anymore since he was already much offended, but nobody paid attention. People continue to commit the same sins."[xii]
Her other visions[xiii] originally published in Father John M. De Marchi's book, Era uma Senhora mais brilhante que o sol remain very relevant in our days:
• "Wars are but punishments for the sins of the world."
• "Our Lady can no longer hold back the arm of her beloved Son from the world. It is necessary to do penance. If people change their ways, Our Lord will still spare the world; but if they do not, the chastisement will come."
• "My godmother,[xiv] pray much for priests! Pray much for religious! Priests should only occupy themselves with the affairs of the Church. Priests should be pure, very pure. The disobedience of priests and religious to their superiors and to the Holy Father greatly offends Our Lord."
• "My godmother, pray much for those who govern! Woe to those who persecute the religion of Our Lord! If the government left the Church in peace and gave freedom to the holy Faith, it would be blessed by God"
• "The sins that lead more souls to hell are the sins of the flesh."
• "Fashions that will greatly offend Our Lord will appear. People who serve God should not follow fashions. The Church has no fashions. Our Lord is always the same."
• "Many marriages are not good; they do not please Our Lord, and they are not of God."
• "Doctors do not have light to cure the sick properly because they do not have love of God."
Our Lady's prophetic tears
If Our Lady shed tears of compassion and of deep pain in 1972, would it be because she knew the world would turn for the worst? Compared to 1917, the world was far more in bad shape, morally speaking, back in 1972. Is the situation better today?
Lo and behold:
• Ongoing worldwide civil unrests, political conflicts and wars remain unabated resulting in thousands of lives lost each year[xv] [xvi]
• The sex abuse scandals among Catholic clergy leave an ignominious stain on the holy priestly vocation.[xvii] [xviii]
• Every year, Catholic institutions of higher learning bestow honors and speaking platforms to individuals who hold views contrary to Catholic teaching. [xix] [xx] [xxi]
• Unnatural medical techniques like in-vitro fertilization, successfully done first in 1978, go a step further with embryonic stem cell and cloning research.[xxii]
• Pornography constitutes a $97 billion industry, of which $13 billion comes from the United States. The sheer number of pornographic Web sites is huge.[xxiii]
• The family and traditional marriage are constantly being assailed by the advances of the homosexual agenda and rights movement.[xxiv] [xxv]
• The current US administration is at the forefront in promoting the homosexual agenda[xxvi] [xxvii]
• The death toll of abortion in the US alone since Roe vs. Wade is now a staggering 49 million![xxviii]
• The divorce rate continues to remain high especially in the US with devastating consequences on children.[xxix] [xxx]
• Drug abuse is still a major health problem[xxxi]
• Increased crime rate seen especially among the youth[xxxii]
• Rise of exorcisms indicate increased demonic possessions and involvement with the occult.[xxxiii]
The above reveals to a certain degree the degeneration and corruption prevalent in society nowadays. It is not the intention of this article to provide an exhaustive and detailed discussion of current world ills but to drive home the point that the moral crisis is much worse today from the Fatima perspective.
The Fatima message remains relevant
Our Lady's tears shed in 1972 seem to ask, "Where is the conversion and amendment of life that I requested?" Those precious tears may well pose the same query today, for the ascent of the culture of vice and sin continues unabated.
Our Lady came to earth in 1917 to awaken the ardor of souls for the understanding of the immensity of our day's moral debacle.
As God's own messenger, she asks for pious zeal and prayers, she desires reparation, she wants amendment of life. The Mother of Mercy seeks for the salvation of mankind at a point when countless souls are being lost. For this higher reason, she weeps with the most solicitous of tears.
Let us heed the profound maternal warnings of this most tender of all mothers.
In like manner, Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira's words back in 1972 also redound with much more convincing power and urgency today,
"But, some will say, these thoughts are not those for a pleasant Sunday afternoon. I answer: Is it not better to read this article now under the tender manifestation of our Mother's prophetic sadness than to live through the days of tragic bitterness that will come if we do not amend?
"If they come, I am convinced a special mercy will be shown to those who, in their personal lives, have taken the miraculous warning of Mary seriously.
"I offer my readers this article so they may benefit from that mercy."[xxxiv]
[i] George Plagenz, "Could Virgin Mary's statue really be crying tears?" The Cedartown Standard, April 1, 1997, p.4, http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=365&dat=19970401&id=c6YEAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Jz8DAAAAIBAJ&pg=2002,2875090 [back to text]
[ii] Fr. Elmo Romagosa, "Priest-editor sees Virgin 'weeping,' Catholic Universe Publication, July 29, 1972. [back to text]
[iii] Corrêa de Oliveira, Plinio, "Tears, a Miraculous Warning", http://www.tfp.org/tfp-home/about-our-lady/tears-a-miraculous-warning.html [back to text]
[iv] Corrêa de Oliveira, Plinio, Revolution and Counter-Revolution, (Spring Grove, PA: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property-TFP, Third English Edition, 2008,) p. 142 [back to text]
[v] Sorbonne 1968: A Devastating Cultural Revolution Meets Unexpected Resistance 40 Years Later:Part 2.
http://www.tfp.org/tfp-home/fighting-for-our-culture/sorbonne-1968-a-devastating-cultural-revolution-meets-unexpected-resistance-40-years-later-part-2.html [back to text]
[vi] "Trends in American Society in the 1970's,"
http://www.colorado.edu/AmStudies/lewis/2010/anxiety.htm#Trends [back to text]
[vii] Homosexual Demography: Implications for the spread of AIDS http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/index.html [back to text]
[viii] The U.S. Supreme Court, in Roe v. Wade, declared all the individual state bans on abortion during the first trimester to be unconstitutional, allowed states to regulate but not proscribe abortion during the second trimester, and allowed states to proscribe abortion during the third trimester unless abortion is in the best interest of the woman's physical or mental health. The Court legalized abortion in all trimesters when a woman's doctor believes the abortion is necessary for her physical or mental health. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_abortion [back to text]
[ix] National Right To Life website: Abortion History, http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/timeline1.html [back to text]
[x] History of Southern Decadence, http://www.southerndecadence.net/history.htm [back to text]
[xi] Borrelli, Antonio A and Spann, John R., Our Lady of Fatma: Prophecies of Tragedy or Hope? (York, PA: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property-TFP, 1996,) p. 42. [back to text]
[xii] Ibid, p.62. [back to text]
[xiii] Ibid, pp. 64-66. [back to text]
[xiv]Mother Maria da Purificação Godinho, who attended to Jacinta at the orphanage where she stayed during her last days. Mother Godinho also wrote down-though not always verbatim- Jacinta's last words. Ibid, p.64. [back to text]
[xv] "List of ongoing political conflicts," Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ongoing_political_conflicts [back to text]
[xvi] "The World at War," http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/index.html [back to text]
[xvii] Solimeo, Luiz S., "Reflections on the Sexual Abuse Scandals in Europe," http://www.tfp.org/current-campaigns/the-church-shall-prevail/reflections-on-the-sexual-abuse-scandals-in-europe.html [back to text]
[xviii] Navarro-Valls, Rafael, 'The Origins of the Crisis," MercatorNet. http://www.mercatornet.com/justb16/view/6906/[back to text]
[xix] Reilly, Patrick, "Considering Catholic Honors and Platforms," The Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education, http://www.catholichighered.org/ResearchPublications/StudiesinCatholicHigherEducation/ConsideringCatholicHonorsandPlatforms/tabid/662/Default.aspx [back to text]
[xx] Neumyr, George, "Ex Corde Ecclesiae and the Notre Dame affair," The Catholic World Report, http://www.catholicworldreport.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=113:ex-corde-ecclesiae-and-the-notre-dame-affair&catid=36:cwr2009&Itemid=68 [back to text]
[xxi] Hendershott, Anne, "Another Catholic University Fails a Litmus Test," The Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2010. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704324304575306812634791910.html [back to text]
[xxii] Boonstra, Heather, "Human Embryo and Fetal Research: Medical Support and Political Controversy," http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/tgr/04/1/gr040103.html [back to text]
[xxiii] "What To Do With Pornography (Part I)", Zenit news article, http://www.zenit.org/article-29697?l=english [back to text]
[xxiv]Book review by Susan Alexander, "The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Real Threat to Religious Freedom Today" by Alan Sears and Craig Osten, http://www.intellectualconservative.com/article3520.html [back to text]
[xxv] Messner, Thomas, "Same-sex marriage and the Threat to Religious Liberty," http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2008/10/Same-Sex-Marriage-and-the-Threat-to-Religious-Liberty [back to text]
[xxvi] Presidential Proclamation, The White House"Lesbian. Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month, 2009," http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Presidential-Proclamation-LGBT-Pride-Month/ [back to text]
[xxvii] Labott, Elise, "Obama, Clinton vow to defend gay rights adding 'it's not who we are as Americans,'" June 23, 2010. http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/06/22/gays.lesbians/index.html?hpt=Sbin [back to text]
[xxviii] National Right To Life website, abortion in the US, Trends and Statistics http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/facts/abortionstats.html [back to text]
[xxix] Divorce statistics, http://www.divorceroom.com/divorce-statistics.html [back to text]
[xxx] Fagan, Patrick, "The Impact of Marriage and Divorce on Children." http://www.heritage.org/Research/Testimony/The-Impact-of-Marriage-and-Divorce-on-Children [back to text]
[xxxi] National Institute of Drug Abuse, "Magnitude of Drug Abuse." http://archives.drugabuse.gov/about/welcome/aboutdrugabuse/magnitude/ [back to text]
[xxxii] Stimson, Cully, "The U.S. Has A Juvenile Problem," http://blog.heritage.org/?p=18175 [back to text]
[xxxiii] Burnell, Paul, "Exorcisms On the Rise." National Catholic Register. (June 4-10, 2000). http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0418.html [back to text]
[xxxiv] Corrêa de Oliveira, Plinio, "Tears, a Miraculous Warning", http://www.tfp.org/tfp-home/about-our-lady/tears-a-miraculous-warning.html [back to text]