Our Lady of Fatima

 

Our Lady of Fatima:

“The Weeping Madonna”

Religious attitudes, traditions, and convictions are among the deepest possible for the human spirit.  If a Hindu is raised in India, surrounded by countless deities, represented by both images and paintings, he will probably have deep sentiments about Brahman, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.  These, along with 33 other deities and several hundred million other gods, fill the heart and make it difficult for such a person to see the truth that there is only one true and living God—the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In this case, the devotion to religious tradition results in deeply-rooted beliefs and practices that cannot be understood by outsiders.  The outsider may be totally aware that there are not multiple deities—especially the ones named in Hinduism—but how can we communicate this to the devout and committed follower of Hinduism?  We may be aware that God abhors idols and places His just wrath on anyone who would violate His holiness with representations of false gods, but the task of changing the Hindu heart is daunting.

This same situation prevails in the world of Catholicism.  Many devout Catholics tenaciously hold to their beliefs, regardless of what God has revealed in His Word, the Bible.  Probably one area in which this is clearly seen is that of idolatry.  This pertains to the Catholic (and Orthodox) devotion to Mary and the Catholic “Saints.”    Walk into a traditional Catholic Church, as I have, and observe the many images of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the apostles, and certain Catholic saints.  We may be aware that this grossly violates God’s command to not make graven images, bow down to them, and worship them.  You will remember the first and second commands of the Ten Commandments:

You shall have no other gods before Me.

You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.  You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments (Exodus 20:3-6).

God forbids any other god than Him, and He further forbids worshiping any image.  Both of these commands are violated when Mary is exalted to the level of Godhood and images are made of her (along with many other images).  In light of this, it is quite plain that Catholics are idolaters, but this fact is difficult to communicate to the devout of the Catholic faith.   It is hard to show the devoted Catholic that devotion to (and worship of) Mary is actually a form of Mariolatry, a subcategory of idolatry.  Yet our protestations will generally fall on deaf ears until the Spirit of God through the Word of God convicts the heart of these ones who bow down before and reverence such images.

Iconoclasm literally means, “destruction of images.”  The practice of destroying Catholic images began in the eighth century.  “The iconoclastic controversy began in  AD 725 when Emperor Leo III decided to have icons destroyed because he thought icon worship was idolatrous and a hindrance to the conversion of Jews and Muslims” (Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms).  Yet Roman Catholics continue to make and adore their images and the Orthodox Church continues to adorn their churches with paintings of Jesus, Mary, and the so-called saints (although they do object to statues). 

Just this morning I noticed a prominent advertisement in the local newspaper with the statement: “International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of our Lady of Fatima, ‘Weeping Madonna’ visits Fort Worth diocese.”  This is the explanation that follows:

This is the world-famous International Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima.  It was sculpted in 1947 by Jose Thedim, according to the description of St. Lucia, one of the children who saw Mary.  It was blessed to be the pilgrim, the traveler.  Sent out to bring the message of Fatima to the world, it has been traveling continuously ever since.  It has cross-crossed the world many times, visiting more than 100 countries, including Russia and Red China, and brought the great message of hope, “the peace plan from heaven” to millions of people.  Many miracles and signal graces are reported wherever it travels.

In 1951 Pope Pius XII remarked: “In 1946 we crowned Our Lady of Fatima as Queen of the World and the next year, through Her Pilgrim Statue, She set forth as though to claim Her dominion, and the favors she performs along the way are such that we can hardly believe what we are seeing with our eyes.”  This statue has been seen shedding tears many times, some cases very well documented.

The Peace Plan from Heaven is a call for prayer and penance offered in reparation for sin.  Our Lady said at Fatima, “war is punishment for sin.”  She asks for Communions or reparations on the First Saturday of the month and that each day:

1.      We offer up each act as a sacrifice for sin.

2.      That we pray the Rosary.

3.      That we be consecrated to Her Immaculate Heart and wear the brown scapular as a sign of this consecration.

In this area of Texas, the image of the “Weeping Madonna” will be placed in twelve different churches on twelve different days so that faithful Catholics may come and worship her.  For those who faithfully read God’s Word, this event is very distasteful and grievous.  We go further and call this an abomination.  We recall Luke’s account of Paul’s visit to Athens: “Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols” (Acts 17:16).  Likewise, as we observe the idolatry that fills many Catholic Churches, our spirit also is “provoked” within us, with a holy fear of God and an abhorrence of all idolatry. 

The account of the “Weeping Madonna” or Mary of Fatima contains a number of false and misleading statements.  Notice a few of them:

1.      Lucia was one of the three children who was purported to have seen the Virgin Mary in Portugal early in the twentieth century.  Since the depiction that Lucia gave is not the Mary of the Bible, either she was deceived and mistaken, she was lying, or she may have seen a demonic representation of Mary (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:14).

 

2.      Lucia was not a “Saint” for she does not meet the description of a saint as found in Scripture (cf. Romans 1:8; etc.).  No human religious institution can make a non-saint into a true saint of God.  (In Scripture, “saint” merely means a separated one—one who has been separated by God from the world to Him and His service.  This applies to every faithful child of God, not a special category of religious persons.)

 

3.      The “peace plan from heaven” is not a message from an imaginary Mary, but a message from Jesus Christ, the “Prince of peace” (Isaiah 9:6), who came and “preached peace” (Ephesians 2:17) through His sacrifice on the cross.  We cannot have true peace between people until people are at peace with God and this comes only through Christ Jesus, repenting and believing in Him, and walking according to His ways.

 

4.      It is reported that “many miracles and signal graces” have been reported as coming through the medium of this idolatrous image.  While some of these may come from the imagination of the devoted worshipers, if there was anything supernatural, we must see the origin from some source other than God.  Remember that Paul warns of the time when there would be “all power and signs and false wonder” (2 Thessalonians 2:9).  Jesus also foretold, “False Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).

 

5.      The newspaper notice stated that Pope Pius made comment on the image.  We must remember that “Pope” means “Father,” and Jesus plainly stated, “Do not call anyone on earth your father” (Matthew 23:9).  A man who is clothed in humility (1 Peter 5:5-6) would never claim such a title for himself.

 

6.      This Catholic leader stated, “We crowned Our Lady of Fatima as Queen of the World.”  Who gave him or anyone the right to “crown” one as “Queen of the World”?  We do know that Satan is the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11) and He is also the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), and in this sense he might be the King of this world.  On the other hand, the Lord Almighty is “the Lord of heaven and earth” (Acts 17:24), who owns the world and all that is in it (1 Corinthians 10:26).  There has been no “Queen of this world” and there never will be.  We must also observe that if there is a Queen of this world and God is the “King” of this world, what does this make Mary?  Would not the implications be nothing less than blasphemous?

 

7.      It is interesting to note that Catholicism not only calls Mary the “Queen of the earth,” but also the “Queen of Heaven”!  In the Old Testament “the Queen of heaven” is a reference to Ishtar, the goddess of fertility   (Jeremiah 44:17, 18, 19, 25).  It is definitely blasphemous to give such a title to the humble and lowly Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus.  She would never claim such a title and we do her a great disservice to use such a blasphemous title.

 

8.      So so-called Pope said that this image was sent forth around the world “to claim Her dominion.”  Mary has no “dominion” since she has no authority.  She is no doubt with Jesus right now and may not even know what is happening on earth!  She remains a human being and cannot hear one single prayer—much less the prayers of hundreds of millions of Catholics and Orthodox!  The Lord Jesus Christ is the one whose dominion is the heave and the earth!

 

9.      The newspaper statement says that this lifeless image “has been seen shedding tears many times.”  While much or all of this may be accounted for on the grounds of deception and vivid imagination (similar to the active imagination found in hyper-Pentecostal meetings and Word of Faith gatherings), if there were any tears on this image, we can be absolutely sure that they didn’t come form Mary who is in heaven!  Yet we cannot know for sure all of the activities of Satan, our arch-enemy, and perhaps he is involved in this display.  His purpose would be to solidify the commitment of many to a false system and a false worship.

 

      The “Peace Plan” has been instituted as “a call for prayer and penance offered in reparation for sin.”  It is good to know that no more reparation for sin can be made than the blood of Christ that was offered once and for all 2,000 years ago!  Jesus was offered once and only once and this made complete atonement for sin (cf. Hebrews 7:27; 9:12, 25-28).  We can add nothing to the perfect and complete sacrifice of the Son of God on the cross.

 

      Each act on the first Saturday of the month is considered “a sacrifice for sin.” No more sacrifice needs to be made or can be made.  We rest on the one and only sacrifice of Jesus but we can add nothing to this.  It is arrogant and false to think we can offer any sacrifice, however noble, that would take away sin.

 

      According to Lucia and the other children, Mary said that we are to pray the Rosary.  This series of a prayers is a series of dozens of “Hail Marys” and “Our Fathers.”  The Rosary is clearly a human tradition, one that violates both the express command and the spirit of Jesus when He said, “Do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do” (Matthew 6:7).  While a devotion to the Rosary has an appearance of holiness and religion, it is not true devotion to either Mary or God since it violates the tenor and tone of the Holy Scriptures.

 

      Furthermore, it is sinful to pray even a single prayer to Mary.  This humble and worthy woman, the mother of the earthly Jesus, is with Jesus and the people of God and cannot hear a single prayer of the Rosary and surely cannot answer such a prayer.  Prayer is offered to God, through Christ, in the Holy Spirit—and it is a form of worship.  We are to serve and worship God alone (Matthew 4:10).  It is blasphemous to pray to a human being, including Mary.

 

      The message continues that Mary wishes that we be “consecrated to Her Immaculate Heart.”  Catholic theology wrongly states that Mary was “immaculate” and sinless from her conception.  Scripture plainly says that everyone has sinned—including Mary (Romans 3:10, 23).  Only Jesus was sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15).  Mary would never tell Lucia or anyone else a lie—that she was immaculate or sinless while on earth.

 

1    It might be good to mention one other matter regarding the Mary that Lucia and the other Portuguese children claim to have seen.  The “Mary” of Fatima was a virgin.  This is why many Catholics refer to Mary today as “the Virgin Mary.”  However, the true Mary of the Bible was not a virgin!  The Biblical Mary had children other than Jesus (cf. Matthew 1:25; Luke 2:7).  She had four other sons and at least two or more daughters (cf. Matthew 12:46; 13:55-56; Mark 6:3).  “Our Lady of Fatima” is not the Mary of the Bible!

We have little doubt that there will be thousands of deluded and deceived faithful who eagerly visit the dozen churches where this image will be displayed.  Some will be deceived by clergymen who should know better.  Others will be knowingly ignorant and refuse to accept the truth of God as found in Scripture.  We have little doubt that some will read this present article (that is based on God’s Holy Word) and will reject it since it conflicts with what Catholic priests, bishops, and popes have said.

If there is any sincere soul reading these words today, we call on you to read the Word of God and believe it.  Be willing to lay aside your religious traditions regarding Mary and obey Jesus Christ.  In the words of Mary herself to the servants at the wedding feast, “Whatever He says to you, do it” (John 2:5).  Dear friend, whatever Jesus says to you, whatever God has revealed to you from His own infallible Word, be willing to do it—even if it means renouncing your cherished past beliefs about Mary.

Richard Hollerman

 

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