“The greatest persecution of the Church does not come from outside enemies, but arises from sin in the Church” . 

From Fatima, the most famous Marian event  in history, became famous  for its “secrets” from the shepherd visionaries.

From  Fatima where Pope Benedict XVI was carrying out a short but very intense journey, he offered a stearn warning for the Catholic faithful and the world.

In flight to Lisbon, Benedict XVI responded to the question of a journalist who asked whether it is possible to include in the “vision” of the persecuted Church – contained in the third part of the “secret” of Fatima – also “the sufferings of today’s Church with sins” sexual abuse of minors “. 

And he did it this way: “As for the news that we can discover today in this message, it is also that not only from outside evil attacks the Pope and the Church, but the sufferings of the Church come from within, from the sin that exists in the Church.

We see this today in a truly terrifying way: that the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from outside enemies, but arises from sin in the Church. 

And Church therefore has a profound need to re-learn penance, accept purification, learn forgiveness but also the necessity of justice. 

Forgiveness does not replace justice. We must learn precisely this essential: conversion, prayer, penance, theological virtues and that evil also attacks from within, but that also the forces of good are always present and that finally the Lord is stronger than evil and the Our guarantee is for us. The goodness of God is always the last answer in history “.

The Pope arrived in Lisbon and was greeted by the president of Portugal Anibal Cavaco Silva. 

Pope Benedict’s homily celebrated in the large Terreiro do Paco square in Lisbon was attended by 200,000 people. 

 Prophecies always have more than one meaning.  The central image of the third part of the secret is the figure of all the persecutions that the Popes and the Church in history continually suffer. 

Even the betrayal of pedophile priests and the related media persecutions against the Pope are part of the “firearms and arrows” of the secret, which always “soldiers” in the service of anti-Christian ideological projects are ready to launch against the Pope. 

As for the news that we can now discover in this message – confirms Benedict XVI alluding to the issue of pedophilia, which in the trip to Portugal has never explicitly mentioned – there is also the fact that not only from outside attacks the Pope and the Church, but the sufferings of the Church come from within the Church, from the sin that exists in the Church. This too has always been known, but today we see it in a truly terrifying way: that the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from outside enemies, but arises from sin in the Church “ 

 In the clergy itself, one can not fail to mention “a certain weakening of priestly ideals or the fact of dedicating oneself to activities that do not entirely agree with what is proper to a minister of Jesus Christ” . 

Recalling the consoling and positive presence of movements and other ecclesial realities, some of which have the message of Fatima at the center of their action, the presence of a certain fatalism, ” the temptation to limit ourselves to what we still have, or we think we have, of our own and of certainty: it would be a dying to term, as a presence of the Church in the world” . The crisis of faith is accompanied by a moral crisis. 

We all risk succumbing to the “pressure exerted by the dominant culture, which presents with insistence a style of life based on the law of the strongest, on easy and attractive gain” . The initiatives that aim to protect the essential and primary values of life, from its conception, and of the family, founded on the indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman, help to respond to some of the most insidious and dangerous challenges that today arise. to the common good. 

Nor, facing these issues in Fatima, the Pontiff thought to move away from the message of 1917: on the contrary, “all this is well integrated with the message of Our Lady that resounds in this place […]”, where Mary speaks to us of a crisis that it has an essential component in the public offenses to the moral law.The crisis of faith and morality is part of a more general crisis of our society, de-Christianized, fragmented, at the mercy of ever new flows of images that prevent reflection and true communion among people. 

The visionaries of Fatima have taught us that in order to truly receive the messages of the Lord and Our Lady “an inner vigilance of the heart is required which, for most of the time, we do not have because of the strong pressure of external realities and images and concerns. that fill the soul “ . 

In the meeting in Fatima with the bishops of Portugal, responding to Monsignor Jorge Ortiga, archbishop of Braga and president of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference who in his speech had evoked the category of “liquid modernity” of the British sociologist of Polish origin Zygmunt Bauman, Benedict XVI he recalled “those human environments where the silence of faith is broader and deeper: the politicians, the intellectuals, the professionals of communication who profess and promote a monocultural proposal, with disdain for the religious and contemplative dimension of life” . 

But also in this regard – as he often did on the pilgrimage to Fatima, and in harmony with the interpretation he proposed of the message of Our Lady – the Pope stressed that the crisis is not only external, but also internal to the Church : “There is no lack of believers who are ashamed and who give a hand to secularism, a builder of barriers to Christian inspiration” . Neither are adequate pastoral programs and “solutions that respond to the logic of efficiency, visible effect and publicity” , or that hide the Christian proclamation in the name of a generic humanitarianism. On the contrary, in the Church a “firm identity of institutions” is needed. “Keep alive the prophetic dimension, without gags, in the scenario of the current world, because” the word of God is not chained! “(2Tim 2, 9). edited by

by Stefano Santi