The sun, in Holy Scripture, is sometimes a symbol for our Lord Jesus Christ, most famously in psalm 18, where its circuit round the earth is a figure of the incarnation, passion, descent into hell, resurrection and ascension.

Fittingly, therefore, can the sun also be a symbol for the vicar of Christ, the pope of Rome. Commenting on the verses in psalm 136 which state that God gave the sun power over the day and the moon and stars power over the night, St Francis de Sales says that the moon, here, is a figure of the old high priest, who ruled the people during the night of the old Testament, and that the sun is a figure of the pope, who governs us during the day-time of God’s grace.

With this in mind, it is interesting to reflect on the miracle of Fatima in October 1917. When Lucia suddenly called out, “Look at the sun!”, the people saw it lose its lustre, take on colours not its own, begin to spin on its axis, zig-zag through the sky, and suddenly, to general terror, plunge toward the earth, apparently to bring the world immediately to an end. Then, all at once it was back in its proper place, serenely continuing its journey through the heavens.

It may be that God was telling us in this way of what was to befall the papacy, an institution intimately bound up with the whole message of Fatima. Having been for so many years something which the faithful could rely on in their daily lives, and take for granted, as men take for granted the passage of the sun in the sky, it would become an object of wonder and alarm. It would seem to lose its proper light, and take on hues not its own, humanist, modernist, Lutheran, pantheist. Its teachings would become erratic and alarming. It would, perhaps, appear to become entirely unmoored from the place assigned it by its Creator, even threaten by its massive weight now uncontrolled to blot out in some final crisis all supernatural life on earth…

Then, in a moment, by the sole power of God incarnate, will come salvation. We shall look up, and the pope will be in his proper place once more, as the sun, like a faithful steward, dispenses warmth and light to all who dwell upon the earth.

From an interview in Spanish with Cardinal Antonio dos Santos Marto, Bishop of Leiria-Fatima

¿Cómo es posible que algunos clérigos (incluyendo algunos altos cardenales) continúen creyendo que el coronavirus es un “castigo de Dios”?

Afortunadamente no hemos escuchado esta expresión aquí entre nosotros, en Portugal, al menos públicamente. Esto no es cristiano. Sólo lo dice quien no tiene en su mente o en su corazón la verdadera imagen de Dios Amor y Misericordia revelada en Cristo, por ignorancia, fanatismo sectario o locura*.

{How is it possible that some clerics (including some high cardinals) continue to believe that the coronavirus is a ‘punishment from God’?

Fortunately we have not heard this expression here among us, in Portugal, at least publicly. This is not Christian. Only they say it who do not have in their minds or hearts the true image of the God of Love and Mercy revealed in Christ, through ignorance, sectarian fanaticism or insanity.}

Last time I was in Fatima I was struck by how the old and the new basilicas confront each other across the esplanade, as representatives of two different religions.  I went into the new one during Sunday Mass and there was a bishop preaching, who I presume was this man.  It is one of those churches where the seating slopes down toward the stage sanctuary.  Lacking the gift of tongues I was blessedly unaware of what the sermon was about.

It is clear that the Catholics of Leiria-Fatima should keep this modernist prelate out of the old basilica where the bodies of Francisco and Jacinta repose, since he has no part in the message of Fatima.  Normally it is the cathedral itself from which the faithful should exclude a clearly heretical bishop, but in this case it would probably receive more publicity if they made it the basilica.

In October 2015, the Remnant Newspaper drew attention to an apparently very rare conjunction of heavenly bodies due to take place during the 100th anniversary of the miracle of the sun.  The author, Patrick Archbold, quoted first the opening verse of Apoc. 12: “And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars: And being with child, she cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered.” He continued:

The author of Revelation clearly indicates that this vision is one of a sign in heaven or in the sky. What do we see in the sky of the near future?

On November 20, 2016, an astronomical event begins that will last nine and a half months, culminating in startling concurrence with the vision of Revelation 12. While I am not an astronomer, all my research indicates that this astronomical event, in all its particulars, is unique in the history of man.

On November 20, 2016, Jupiter (the King planet) enters into the body (womb) of the constellation Virgo (the virgin).   Jupiter, due its retrograde motion, will spend the next 9 ½ months within the womb of Virgo. This length of time corresponds with gestation period of a normal late-term baby.

After 9 ½ months, Jupiter exits out of the womb of Virgo. Upon Jupiter’s exit (birth), on September 23, 2017, we see the constellation Virgo with the sun rise directly behind it (the woman clothed with the sun). At the feet of Virgo, we find the moon. And upon her head we find a crown of twelve stars, formed by the usual nine stars of the constellation Leo with the addition of the planets Mercury, Venus, and Mars.

That is a truly remarkable and, as far as I can determine, unique series of event with a startling degree of concurrence with the vision of Revelation 12.

As a result, there was a certain amount of speculation about whether something significant for the Church or the word would happen on September 23rd 2017. Other people drew attention to the importance of 100 years in connexion with Fatima, and wondered whether something dramatic would happen on, say October 13th, 2017. I have discussed this last point here.

However, to my knowledge, no one has pointed out that something rather important did take place on 23rd September. The ‘Filial Correction’ which accused Pope Francis of upholding and propagating seven heresies was first seen by most people, at least on the eastern side of the Atlantic, on 24th September. However, the Associated Press, who seem to have been the first to publish it, date their article to the 23rd.

(Someone might wonder whether the organisers of the Filial Correction released their document deliberately to coincide with the ‘sign in the heavens’. I have been able to speak  to some of them, and I do not believe that this is the case.)

A lot of people were speculating about the possibility of some dramatic sign  or event occurring on Friday, the 100th anniversary of the miracle of the sun. This speculation is perhaps connected with the fact that, according to Sr Lucia, our Lord spoke of the failure of the pope and bishops to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart in these words:

Make it known to My ministers, given that they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My requests, they will follow him into misfortune.

This gave rise to the speculations about 100 years because, it is said, 100 years after St Margaret Mary received the command from our Lord that King Louis should consecrate France to the Sacred Heart, the Revolution broke out.

However, it was not in 1917 that the request or command to consecrate Russia was received. The consecration was mentioned in the apparition of July 1917, but only as something that would be called for later. The second part of the secret which was given on that occasion included these words: ‘I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays.’

When then did our Lady come to ask for this? According to Sr Lucia, it was on June 13th, 1929. Our Lady appeared to her in the chapel of her convent in Tuy, Spain, saying:

The moment has come when God asks the Holy Father to make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means. So numerous are the souls which the justice of God condemns for sins committed against Me, that I come to ask for reparation.

So, if we are interested in what might happen if the consecration is not made as our Lady asked, the year to speculate about seems to be 100 years after this, i.e.  2029.

According to NASA, an event that only takes place on average every 1000 years is due to occur that year. On April 13th, 2029 an asteroid is due to pass near to the earth in an ‘an eye-popping close encounter’. It is about 320 meters wide, reputedly big enough to devastate a region the size of Texas, if it hit land, or causing widespread tsunamis if it hit the ocean. However, they think it will miss. On June 12th, the day before the 100th anniversary, there will be an eclipse of the sun.

I was musing yesterday on the fact that a time, times and half a time, more or less, had passed since the election of the present pope, and wondering whether this might be the basis for a blog-post, when I received an e-mail not dissimilar in theme, but more precise and more heartening:

Lightning again struck St. Peter’s Basilica today, October 7th, in a massive storm around 9:20 a.m., on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary:
The first time in recent history that lightning struck there, as you’ll remember, was February 11, 2013, which was another Feast of Our Lady, and the very day Pope Benedict announced his imminent abdication.
Today is the 1335th day following the first lightning strike. That is a prophetic biblical number. It symbolizes relief or victory after a period of patience and perseverance: “Blessed is the man who has patience and perseveres unto one thousand, three hundred and thirty-five days” (Daniel 12: 12). Could this strike from the heavens at the Vatican Basilica on this Feast-Day be a symbolic indication that the great weapon of the Holy Rosary will be Our Lady’s ‘sword’ to combat and vanquish the subtle doctrinal evil and confusion that has increasingly afflicted the Church from the very top down, following Benedict’s fateful decision to relinquish his God-given office?
As at Lepanto, 445 years ago today, this number 1335 could also symbolize another victory eventually to be won by Our Lady of the Rosary over the new Islamic threat to Europe – the tattered remains of Christendom! – presented by the unassimilable Muslim masses now invading that continent as “refugees”. For the great year of Our Lady of the Rosary, 1917, when she appeared under that title at Fatima (a name with strong Muslim resonance), was the 1335th year on the Muslim calendar, which begins with 622 A.D., the year of the Hegira, the ‘Flight of the Prophet’ to Medina. (The traditional Muslim lunar calendar has only 354 days.) So the coins of the Ottoman Empire of 1917 bear the date “1335”. That was also the year in which the Muslims lost control of the Holy City of Jerusalem for the first time since the Crusades. The conquering Christian British forces under General Edmund Allenby marched into the Old City through the ancient Jaffa Gate on December 11, 1917.


All those who are interested in the message of Fatima know our Lady’s words: ‘In the end, my immaculate Heart will triumph’. But what exactly will she triumph over? Immediately before these words, she explained what would happen if Russia were not consecrated as she would request: ‘The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated’. It seems quite likely that what Mary is describing here is the rise and brief reign of antichrist.

People often imagine that the overthrow of antichrist will be the work of Christ alone at His second coming. In fact, Scripture apparently indicates that the two events will not be simultaneous:-

From the time when the continual sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination unto desolation shall be set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waits and comes unto a thousand three hundred and thirty-five days (Dan. 12:11-12).

The angel does not explain this riddle, and so we cannot say what will take place on the one thousand three hundred and thirty fifth day. St Jerome thought it would be the second coming. Cornelius a Lapide thought it would be a great triumph of the Church, though still within this present world, the scattered remnant having collected themselves together during the previous forty five days. But whatever it will be, it will apparently take place forty five days after the continual sacrifice will have been restored and the abomination cast down; which seems to mean after the destruction of the antichrist.

So the overthrow of antichrist will not be exactly simultaneous with the Second Coming. Still, they will be close, relatively speaking. Bellarmine says that the time between the two events will be so small as to be reputed as nothing – compared, I take him to mean, to the entire history of the world. St Paul, after all, says that our Lord will destroy him ‘with the epiphany of His coming’ (2 Thess. 2:8).  This suggests that the first event is almost the beginning of the second, as first light is the epiphany of sunrise.

But given that the destruction of antichrist will take place at some point before, however soon before, the end of the world, there is place to suppose that it will in a special way be the work of our Lady. There are several reasons to think this.

First, our Lord wishes to associate the blessed Virgin Mary with His own victory to the highest degree. She has already shared in this victory in her own person, by her bodily assumption into glory. It would seem very appropriate that she should share in it in this other way, intervening in history to bring the last persecution to an end.

Secondly, Christ is the head of the city of God, as the devil is the head of the opposite city. The man of sin is not the devil, but the one in whom that fallen spirit is most completely active. It seems therefore appropriate that his adversary should be our Lady, the one in whom Christ’s Holy Spirit is most active.

Again, St Paul says that our Lord will destroy the man of sin ‘with the breath of his mouth’ (2 Thess 2:8). The Book of Wisdom describes wisdom as being, among other things, ‘a breath of the power of God’ (Wis. 7:25). This is significant because the Church’s liturgy applies the Old Testament encomia of wisdom to Mary. The word for breath, admittedly, is not the same in each case: πνεῦμα in St Paul and ἀτμίς in Wisdom; the former may also be translated as ‘spirit’ and the latter as ‘vapour’. Still, it is interesting, all the same.

A lesser known part of the Fatima message is Mary’s promise of a seventh apparition. Sr Lucia described her first conversation with the Queen of heaven in this way:-

Our Lady said to us: ‘Do not be afraid. I will do you no harm.’

‘Where is Your Grace from?’ I asked Her.

‘I am of Heaven.’

‘What does Your Grace want of me?’

‘I have come to ask you to come here for six months in succession, on the 13th day, at this same hour. Later on, I will tell you who I am and what I want. Afterwards, I will return here yet a seventh time.’

That seventh apparition has not yet occurred.  The promise of it must be intended to console and strengthen the faithful during some exceptionally dark time.

Whether or not one affirms that the statements made by the Roman Catechism and the Holy Office about the centrality of the earth in the universe are binding, one must surely be struck by the relation between St Robert Bellarmine, the Fatima apparitions, and the date of May 13th. It was Bellarmine who was charged with telling Galileo of ‘the declaration made by the Holy Father and published by the Sacred Congregation of the Index, whose content is that the doctrine attributed to Copernicus is contrary to Holy Scripture and therefore cannot be defended or held’ (Bellarmine’s own words). Of all the church’s doctors, it was Bellarmine to whom it fell to make this declaration.

Bellarmine was beatified on May 13th, 1923, and this date was assigned as his feast day, where it still remains on the calendar of the ordo antiquior. Why this date was chosen I have been unable to discover: it is not the day of his death. However, 6 years earlier, on May 13th 1917 there had taken place the first of the apparitions of our Lady at Fatima, and this date was later to be assigned for this feast day. These apparitions were validated by the miracle of the sun, which was seen by a vast crowd to fall from its orbit towards the earth. If God had wanted to give a ocular proof of the Bellarmine declaration, it is hard to see what more striking one He could have offered.