We are delighted to work with Father Robert Fox in bringing you this special series on the Fatima shepherd children Jacinta and Francisco Marto who will be beatified on May 13th this year by His Holiness Pope John Paul II. Throughout May we will be bringing you his articles on the two Fatima shepherds leading up to their beatification and after that, more articles on the Church in Russia since it is so pertinent to Fatima and the fact we are now publishing in Russian. Our Lady asked for the conversion of Russia and we are humbled in obediently publishing his words in Russian as well as bringing you his articles that appeared in the April-June issue of the full-color magazine which Fr. Fox edits and publishes, Immaculate Heart Messenger. To order a subscription or to find out about other materials such as the many books and tapes for God's children of all ages or about the upcoming 18th Annual National Marian Congress to be held on the weekend of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary on June 9-11 at the Shrine in Alexandria, South Dakota, call the toll-free number: 800-721-MARY or 800-213-5541. For the second part of his column on Jacinta and Francisco of Fatima-Youngest children ever to be beatified, see THE FAITH OF THE FATIMA SHEPHERDS
Jacinta and Francisco of Fatima-Youngest children ever to be beatified
Pope John Paul II regards the Jubilee Year 2000 as ideal for pilgrimages. It was first determined that for the Jubilee the Pope would travel only to sites significant in Biblical salvation history. It was said that the Holy Father would not undertake the normal international pastoral trips that have characterized his pontificate. He has scheduled four "biblical" pilgrimages outside Rome: Iraq, where he was to visit Ur of the Chaldeans, Abraham's birthplace (moved to Paul VI Hall because of Saddam Hussein's failure to assure security); Egypt, to Sinai, scene of the dialogue between God and Moses; the Holy Land, including Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jerusalem this past March. Also he has scheduled Syria, to visit Damascus and follow in St. Paul's footsteps if it is possible.
Since the Pope's trips outside of Italy for the Great Jubilee 2000 were scheduled to be limited only to places of biblical revelation, it came as a surprise, a November 28, 1999, announcement, making an exception. The Pope announced he would go also to Fatima, where Our Lady appeared to three young shepherds in 1917. Each Pope since 1930 had said, "Fatima is a reaffirmation of the Gospels." Now, Fatima would be the only Jubilee pilgrimage outside of Rome not traced back to ancient Biblical sites.
The extraordinary tie that unites Pope John Paul II to the Virgin of Fatima is seen in a further event which His Holiness has scheduled for the Jubilee Year 2000. For October 7 and 8, Feast of the Holy Rosary, the miraculous Fatima statue will be brought from the Cova da Iria at Fatima to Rome. On the occasion the Pope will recite the Rosary with his brother bishops and solemnly consecrate the Church and the world to Our Lady for the Third Millennium.
The long hours of prayer, heads to the ground, adoring the Most Holy Trinity, to whom they offered the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world and in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which God is offended-was another testimony of their heroic virtues. Their sense of Eucharistic Reparation was profound and each longed to be near their Eucharistic Lord. Their souls were overwhelmed with sorrows at souls falling into hell with no one to pray or make sacrifices for them. Thus the children sacrificed to save as many possible.
Our Lady had said that Francisco must pray many Rosaries before entering heaven. His reply was, "I will say as many Rosaries as Our Lady desires." Thereafter, he was seen almost constantly with the Rosary.
Francisco was given especially to contemplation of God who was so sorrowful for the sins of mankind. Jacinta was especially drawn to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and according to Lucia, was given a special depth of insight into what is meant by devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the salvation of souls.
Bishop Albert Amaral of Leiria-Fatima, in a homily on February 20, 1986, anniversary of her death, once said: "this child is for us a tremendous challenge. Faced with the heroicity of this child, I feel uneasy about my mediocrity, my cowardice and conveniences, my lack of generosity. …Let us ask her to intercede for us with God, with Our Lady, that we may be faithful to our vocation of holiness in Christ, in the Church and in the world…"
Bishop Amaral quoted the doctor who operated on Jacinta in the D. Estefania Hospital in Lisbon shortly before her death. The doctor spoke of the seriously painful operation, as "Jacinta had already passed through great suffering with this illness before coming to the hospital and also during the days before the operation. Then she did not have a general anaesthetic; a local anaesthetic in inflamed tissue causes much greater suffering. The operation was a slow process…I got the impression that this child had great courage…The only words which I heard her saying during the operation were: "Oh! my Jesus! Oh, my God!" The doctor spoke of Jacinta's patience as "absolutely heroic."
The little Shepherds who had Our Lady as a Catechist learned well that without the cross there is no redemption. To suffer to save souls from the fires of hell, to suffer in order to console God who is so offended, was the ideal in the lives of Jacinta and Francisco.
To the heresy of modern times that would say "Jesus Christ, yes, the Church, no," the little Shepherds can teach modern children well. Francisco understood deeply that without the Church there could be no "Hidden Jesus" as the children called the Holy Eucharist. Jacinta's sacrifices and prayers were offered for the Holy Father. She added three Hail Mary's to each Rosary for the Pope.
The modern tendency to put emphasis on activity while forgetting to learn how to pray or take time to pray finds an answer in the little Shepherds of Fatima. They took to heart the message: "Pray the Rosary every day!" Their first petition to the beautiful Lady from heaven was: "We want to ask you to take us to Heaven."
In the Church in the modern world, where many have forgotten penance and reparation, today's children (and adults) can learn from Jacinta and Francisco what reparation and sacrifice are, and how to pray.
May these youngest of children to be raised to the altars inspire the young children of the world to deep faith, love, reparation, union with God and yearning for Heaven.
Tomorrow: The Spirituality of Jacinta part one
Today Dr. Frank Joseph pulls no punches in telling it like it truly is. Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice pro-abort organizations seem to have a cover-up of their own, which fits comfortably into the on-going culture of death society in which we live.
"For what does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul?" Today, Dr. Joseph cites the Declaration of Independence and the wording that "all men are created equal" - the key word is "created" and creation begins at conception. Therefore, the Supreme Court decision flies in the face of what this country stands for and definitely for what God stands for. For his column If Americans only knew the truth, they'd think twice about abortion! , see Pro-Life Prescriptions: LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL!
Isn't it amazing that these people are willing to kill, or to condone the killing of unborn babies with this kind of doubt. In our judicial system, reasonable doubt precludes a conviction/death penalty for all human beings.
All of the above suspicions and doubts could be erased if only people would believe God, when HE says "Thou Shalt Not Kill" -- a human being made in His image.
When God created human life, He didn't, all of a sudden create life inside the womb at the size and development of a 1 month old embryo and it wasn't created inside the womb the size of a 3, 6 or 9 month old fetus. Life wasn't all of a sudden created by God when the baby was born.
Human life was created by God when the sperm fertilizes the ovum (conception). This union causes a double set of chromosomes, (half from the sperm and half from the ovum) which contain the genes/DNA which determine particular characteristics in the human being.
The result of this union, the zygote, is the beginning of a new human life with its own genetic code and destiny. This is a scientific fact and not based on religious views. However Judeo-Christian teachings on abortion acknowledges this scientific fact.
To pick out a certain developmental stage to justify the killing of the unborn babies is a travesty of justice. It is scientifically unsound and defies all logic, since the development of a human being is a continuum -- zygote, embryo, fetus, infant, child, adolescent and adult.
The location of the development is inconsequential, and should not be held against the unborn and used as an excuse to kill them. The fact is, that in both cases, the unborn and born are still developing and cannot survive on their own.
After babies are born, they're still not fully developed. The cranial bones are not closed; the eyesight has not been fully developed. Many newborns have heart murmurs because the heart valves are not fully developed. These types of murmurs eventually disappear. In young infants, speech has not been developed. In young children, the reproductive system has not been developed. These are just a few examples.
What's next -- kill babies after they're born, because they're still not fully developed and cannot care for themselves? You can see what a twisted, convoluted logic this is and where it can lead. Or has it already led us down the path of self-destruction?
Why do women who kill their newborn baby just get a slap on their wrist? Is it any wonder that the killing o 38 million unborn babies, since Roe Vs Wade, has given everyone the perception that life is cheap. And the closer the newborn is to its birth, the less its life is worth, because it's more closely associated to the unborn and we all know that the unborn baby is fair game.
So then, I guess that's it's OK to kill the baby after it's born, using this kind of twisted criteria, that the baby is not fully developed. If this argument doesn't work, then the pro-choicers will fall back on, "the unborn is not a person until he/she takes their first breath." Again, using this criteria -- if the baby is killed after it's born but before it takes its first breath, it would not be murder. Most babies do not breathe as soon as they're born. Many newborns even require artificial stimulation to take their first breath. I can just see the ramifications of this kind of reasoning.
Is the next step going to be -- kill newborns, after they're born, but before they take their first breath, otherwise it will be murder? What's next -- kill a child before they reach puberty because that's when most of their systems will be fully developed?
We cannot play God and pick and choose whose going to live or die in the womb according to certain developmental stages, anymore than we can pick or choose whose going to live or die after the baby is born since the developmental process is a continuous one.
When you have science and the Bible agreeing that human life begins at conception, then you are all the more perplexed that the Supreme court legalized abortion in 1973. That infamous decision, Roe vs. Wade, resulted in the slaughter of 38 million unborn babies.
In our judicial system, NO ONE is condemned to death or even sent to jail, unless he/she is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and it requires an unanimous verdict. Why doesn't this same "right" apply to unborn babies, especially since they were never accused of anything and were included in the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Notice -- it does NOT say that all men are "born equal." It says, "all men are CREATED EQUAL."
When our learned forefathers wrote the Declaration of Independence, they chose their words carefully, so there would be no misinterpretation. But the pro-choicers will not accept it. They have chosen to discredit and mock our country's most revered document, just to satisfy their killing agenda.
Why didn't the Supreme court on this one issue, change the rules -- i.e., to require an unanimous verdict? After all this was a monumental decision. It meant life or death to millions of unborn babies every year. We're not talking about the Supreme court debating whether a woman was sexually harassed in the work place. Yet that's how it was treated. We ARE talking about life and death.
Since there were dissenters among the members of the Supreme Court, it meant there WAS doubt, as to whether unborn babies were human beings/persons. So with this kind of doubt we should not send ONE unborn human being to their death, let alone 38 million. The Supreme Court in 1973 didn't have the present day scientific knowledge of the development and physiology of unborn babies -- nor the care of premature babies. In the decision, it was written that no one knows when human life begins. This is an outrage. There's not a scientist in the world who would deny that human life begins at conception, even back in 1973.
But still that was no excuse and as long as there were dissenters it should NOT have passed. If it were argued before a jury of ordinary citizens, as in our criminal courts, where an unanimous verdict and beyond a reasonable doubt, were needed -- it would have NEVER passed. So before the Supreme court even voted, it had already been decided that unborn babies were not human beings/persons, because people are never sent to their death if there is any reasonable doubt in just ONE juror's mind.
The Supreme court had doubts, otherwise why the dissenters? But they didn't care, and as a result, this country, not only killed 38 million unborn babies, but this decision has instilled in the minds of the public that life is cheap.
So don't be surprised when women kill their newborn babies and throw them in dumpsters or when children kill children, or the fact that child abuse has skyrocketed, since this horrendous decision, because of guilt feelings by the mother, or father, or both, after they chose to have their baby killed.
These emotional and mental problems that result after the taking of a human life are not made known to women, by the abortion mills, before they kill their babies. Nor does the Media publish the truth. You don't have to be a doctor or a psychiatrist to understand this. It's just plain common sense. Emotional problems can be brought on by many things -- some large, some small. Some people can get an emotional problem if you just look at them the wrong way.
Now, consider the taking of a human life -- not just any human life, but your baby's life. In the first few months, or even the first few years, the woman may justify the killing in her mind -- telling herself, that it was the lesser of two evils -- that it made her life easier. But as the years roll by, this horrendous act will eat away at their heart. They'll be reminded every year, on the date, they decided to play God, what their baby would have look like. Would he/she be crawling; walking; talking; in grade school; high school, or college? And as the years go further by, would she be a grandmother by now; what would her grandchildren have looked like?
Since Roe Vs Wade took effect in 1973, the jury is still out as to all of the complications of the killing of one's unborn baby. If a girl was 18 years old in 1973 -- she'd be 45 now. If she was 30 years old at the time, she'd be 57 now.As the woman grows older and get closer to the "pearly gates," do you think their emotional or mental problems get smaller? On the contrary, if they have just one decent fiber left in their entire body and they believe in God, their deed will magnify as time goes by.
So when the proponents of the killing of unborn babies downplay emotional and mental problems, they are just plain LIARS. Newspapers, TV, radio, bombard women every day, with minor health risks, but anything pertaining to abortions -- forget it. For once, I'd like to see them put politics aside and give women all the facts, because we know the abortion mills, will tell them nothing, and that includes the increased riskof breast cancer in women, who have induced abortions. (Details in prior column, check archives.)
After all, since the pro-choicers preach, that women should have a choice to kill their baby, if they so choose, then why not give them all the facts, so they can make an intelligent and proper choice. It's apparent that they'd sooner sacrifice many women, for the sake of the multimillion dollar abortion industry. Just another example of how human life means nothing to them and why our society has earned the title, "The Culture of Death."
However, it is only a matter of time before the truth wins out. In the meantime, thousands of women will die needlessly, every year, thanks to the Clinton/Gore administration's love affair with the planners and killers of unborn and 3/4 born babies. I remember when Clinton was running for president -- he said he wanted fewer abortions done. The very first chance he gets -- he vetoes the ban on the partial-birth abortions -- a brutal needless procedure. Gore if elected president, will do the same. They have no shame, no compassion and no love, except for the love of the Hollywood dollar, made from peddling filth in the movies and on TV. And we must not forget the large sums of money they receive from the planners of death (Planned Parenthood) and the other abortion mills. Quite a benevolent group of benefactors
If all other complications of abortions were withheld and just these two facts ( breast cancer risk and emotional problems) were told to women, prior to having their babies killed, abortions would be at a minimum. No one wants to die ahead of their time, or to spend the rest of their lives in guilt, fear, alcoholic or drug stupor, or even worse -- suicide.
We Catholics must follow the Doctrine of the Catholic Church and fight for the sanctity of human life. The best way, is to vote for pro-life candidates to all political positions. Get involved -- know who they are. If you've come from another planet -- remember Al Gore is not only pro-abortion, but he WILL, as Clinton did, veto the ban on the late term barbaric partial-birth abortion. Who do you think God would want you to vote for and which candidate do you think is satan's choice? We will all have to answer to God, not only for our sins, but the sins we allow by our silence.