The title alone is nonsense. Mary doesn't appear as an apparition in visions and if she did she wouldn't be the "Virgin" Mary as she clearly is shown in in the Bible to have had children after the birth of Jesus. Jorge Bergoglio, aka "Pope Francis", doesn't have the power or authority to declare anyone a saint. The Bible again is clear on this, all Christians are referred to as saints. You become a saint when you are born again, not when a neo-Marxist religious leader declares you are based on a phony vision.
The story itself is enough to make me actually nauseous. Not in a hyperbolic sense but in a literal sense because of the spiritual deadness that accompanies this story that so many people seem to think is just wonderful.
FATIMA, Portugal – Pope Francis added two Portuguese shepherd children to the roster of Catholic saints Saturday, honoring young siblings whose reported visions of the Virgin Mary 100 years ago turned the Portuguese farm town of Fatima into one of the world's most important Catholic shrines.
Francis proclaimed Francisco and Jacinta Marto saints at the start of Mass marking the centenary of their visions. A half-million people watched in the vast square in front of the shrine's basilica, the Vatican said, citing Portuguese authorities. Many had spent days at Fatima in quiet prayer, reciting rosaries before a statue of the Madonna. They clapped as soon as Francis read the proclamation aloud.
How many people bowed before a statue, a graven image, rubbing beads and repeating rote prayers to a human being? The Mary of Scripture would be horrified to see people showing such slavish devotion to her instead of her Son. For the Scripturally literate Christian the very idea of this is heart-breaking and tragic but unfortunately far from unexpected. Humans have long turn to idols in place of the true living God.
"It is amazing, it is like an answer to prayer because I felt that always they would be canonized," said Agnes Walsh from Killarney, Ireland. She said she prayed to Francisco Marto for 20 years, hoping her four daughters would meet "nice boys like Francisco." ''The four of them have met boys that are just beautiful I couldn't ask for better, so he has answered all my prayers," she said.
Praying to a dead shepherd boy, who may or may not have even been a Christian in the first place, a boy who died almost a century ago and thinking that he somehow has the power to grant prayer petitions? This boy, Francisco Marto, was 9 when he allegedly had "visions" and died when he was 11. Then I came across this and even I was stunned by the paganism on display (emphasis mine)
Before the Mass, Francis prayed at the tombs of each of the Fatima visionaries. The Marto siblings died two years after the visions during Europe's Spanish flu pandemic. Lucia is on track for possible beatification, but her process couldn't start until after her 2005 death.
At the end of the Mass, Francis was to offer a special greeting to the many faithful who flock to Fatima in hopes of healing. Many toss wax body parts — hands, hearts, livers and limbs — into a giant fire pit at the shrine as an offering.
Bringing a wax body part, presumably from a limb or organ you want healed, and throwing it into a fire while praying to Mary?! It is little wonder that so many Haitians are comfortable blending Voodoo and Catholicism because that is not really much different from sticking needles into a voodoo doll to hurt your enemies. Practices like this are right in line with things like transubstantiation, the practice of relics where people venerate body parts, items and even vials of preserved human blood and other pagan practices that go under the guise of "Christianity"
The parents of the boy who was allegedly miraculously healed, thus giving the seal of approval on the elevation of a"saint", said something similarly awful.
"We thank God for Lucas' cure and we know in all faith from our heart that this miracle was obtained with the help of the little shepherd children Francisco and Jacinta," Baptista told reporters earlier as the family broke their silence to reveal details of the case.
So we thank God for our son's healing but the miracle required the "help" of two deceased shephard children. I guess God can't do it alone and I guess Jesus is not a sufficient mediator, you need sub-mediators. That just does violence to everything we read in the New Testament.
I don't know what, if anything, these kids saw or didn't see other than being certain that they didn't see "the Virgin Mary". Satan was able to show visions even to the Christ (Luke 4:5) so simply claiming to have seen a vision doesn't carry much weight with me and especially having been formerly deceived by the successors to a charlatan who claimed to see visions which also contradicted or added to Scripture.
Lucia Santos recorded a vision of "hell" in the first vision which was revealed only in 1941 which seems odd to me, as was the second "vision", one which "predicted" that the first World War would end but if men were still offending God a worse one would "break out during the Pontificate of Pope Pius XI". It turns out that this very specific "revelation" was right! World War One did end and a new World War broke out when "Pope Pius XI" was in charge from 1922-1939. I am certainly not suspicious at all that these details were revealed in 1941, years after the first World War ended and the second began. In fact if I were a more suspicious sort I might think it was oddly convenient that she disclosed these specific details only after the details were known. If I were able to prophesy about events that have already come to pass, my prophetic batting average would be 1.000. The third vision is a rambling "vision" of a "Pope" where he is described as:
"...the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God."
First, people don't "make their way to God" because of the blood of Roman clergy being sprinkled on them by angels, the only way people are reconciled to God is by the blood of Jesus Christ. His blood is sufficient. Second, the Vatican in the summer of 2000 announced it would "reveal" the "third vision" which is when the details were revealed to the world. In the announcement letter posted on the official Vatican website, "Cardinal" Angelo Sodano strongly implies that the vision is about the attempted assassination of Karol Józef Wojtyła, aka Pope John Paul II, which coincidentally already had happened. Wojtyla apparently agreed:
After the assassination attempt of 13 May 1981, it appeared evident to His Holiness that it was "a motherly hand which guided the bullet’s path", enabling the "dying Pope" to halt "at the threshold of death" (Pope John Paul II. Meditation with the Italian Bishops from the Policlinico Gemelli, Insegnamenti, vol XVII/1, 1994, p. 1061). On the occasion of a visit to Rome by the then Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, the Pope decided to give him the bullet which had remained in the jeep after the assassination attempt, so that it might be kept in the Shrine. At the behest of the Bishop, the bullet was later set in the crown of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
Placing a bullet in the crown of a statue. That is just more, plain old simple primitive paganism. There are obvious issues with assigning this as a prophesy about an attempted assassination. First the "vision" speaks of "a group of soldiers". The would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Ağca, was alone and not a soldier. He didn't kill Wojtyla, he just wounded him whereas the "prophecy" claimed "he was killed". No other "Bishops, Priests, men and women religious..." etc. were killed although a few by-standers were hit by bullets. The would-be assassin used a pistol, not arrows. Vatican City where he was shot is not a "mountain", it sits at the highest point at 250' above sea-level. But other than that the "prophecy" was spot on! One would think that a prophecy that was revealed 19 years after an event would do a better job of predicting the event but this one seems more likely to be a fanciful "vision" that was forcibly interpreted by a "Cardinal" as applying to a historical event to give it credence. Apparently the "Pope Emeritus" Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict VXI, remarked at the time that "No great mystery is revealed; nor is the future unveiled". Ratzinger is probably my favorite recent "Pope" even though he is a heretic.
Modern Roman Catholicism as it is practiced in America is by and large a mostly innocuous, if damnably false, religion but the Catholicism of years past is a swamp of pagan mysticism dressed up in pseudo-Christian lingo. When all you know is St. John's Catholic Church down on the corner with parishioners that are neighbors, friends and family, holding carnivals and hosting weddings, it can seem like Rome is a little confusing and weird but otherwise is generally harmless. It is not.
My point here is not to "bash Catholics", many of which are family and friends, and my intent is not to score cheap laughs over the silly practices of Roman Catholics. I don't find them funny at all just as I don't find them innocent. They are deeply troubling, and I believe they need to be publicized, exposed and refuted because they are a barrier to people, many of whom are honestly seeking Christ but are instead being lured further and further away by false teachers and heresy that claims to be authentic Christianity based on having been around for a long time. Both Roman Catholicism and, from what I have seen, the "Orthodox" religion rely on mysticism, ignorance, co-opted paganism and claims that it is all OK because they make grandiose declarations of authority and have a reliance on their continued existence with tenuous and easily disprovable claims to an unbroken line of ecclesiastical succession. When people are rubbing beads and praying to statues or throwing wax body parts into a fire in the hopes of being healed, that is many things but it is not Christianity as described and practiced in the Scriptures. Those are just the most extreme examples seen in stories like the one I quoted above but the daily practices and rhythms of Roman religious life are just as troubling and dangerous. Claims of possessing the power and authority to transform a wafer into the body of our Lord and to present Him for sacrifice repeatedly on an altar is even worse than tossing wax body parts into a fire.
Despite the temptation to look the other way in the hopes of gaining allies in the struggle against secularism, the church must do the opposite and be more diligent than ever. We cannot pretend to share a faith with people who pray to statues and claim visions of apparitions and who claim to sacrifice Chris anew. Either the work of Christ on the cross was sufficient or it is not. Either Christ alone is the mediator between man and God or He is not. Either the Bible is correct about all Christians being saints or the Bible is wrong and Rome is right. These are not questions with gray areas or space for nuance. These are days when the church is being tried and tested and already too many have turned back from the way of the Cross. Keep your eyes open and on the Christ. Far too many wolves and false teachers are around for us to relax our diligence and chief among those wolves for 1700 years has been the man sitting on the seat of "Saint" Peter.