By Grzegorz Gorny and Janusz Rosikon, Ignatius, £27
Fatima Mysteries: Mary’s Message to the Modern Age is a large and heavy book. Not only in the physical sense, but also in terms of the subject it covers – that is, the pain and suffering caused by communism during the 20th century.
The most striking parts are those chapters which deal with the playing out of the catastrophic consequences of the “errors of Russia”, which Our Lady warned the seers about at Fatima in July 1917. Perhaps fittingly, the book begins with the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1981, and how this led the pontiff to read the third part of the secret of Fatima, and thus realise the importance of carrying out the collegial consecration which Our Lady had asked for back in 1929, when she reappeared to Sister Lucia.
The book then chronicles the appearances of the Angel of Portugal, and the Blessed Virgin, to the three shepherd children, Lucia and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto. The latter two have now been canonised, an act carried out by Pope Francis on May 13 in Fatima, and Lucia is also on the path to sainthood.
The greater part of the rest of the book is devoted to describing just how the errors of Russia were indeed spread around the world, and, in particular, the impact this had on those countries most affected by communism, including Poland and Ukraine. Interspersed with this material are episodes from Polish history, and accounts of later apparitions to Sister Lucia, in which Our Lady spoke more explicitly of the Five First Saturdays Devotion and the consecration of Russia.
The final part deals with Fatima’s relevance for our age and the third part of the secret, which, when it was revealed in the year 2000, outlined the sufferings undergone by believers during the 20th century. Those people inclined to say that the full text of the third part of the secret has not been disclosed – despite the then Cardinal Ratzinger categorically asserting that in 2000 it was then being “published … in its entirety” – would do well to read this book.
Pastor Iuventus is a Catholic priest in London