14 May 2000

Fatima is known for a questionable miracle that is still debated to this day. On May 13, 1917, three children, Lucia Santos, Francisco Marta, and Jacinta Marta, reported a visit by a shining figure believed to be the Virgin Mary. On July 13, the figure showed the children the Secrets of Fatima. Two of these secrets were revealed in 1941; the first secret was a vision of hell, and the second was a message that World War I would end, but more wars would follow if communist Russia was not converted. The third secret was written down in 1944 and withheld from the public until May 13 2000 (the day before these pictures were taken), when an announcement was made in Fatima that the third secret involved a Bishop clothed in white who was struck down in a hail of gunfire. The full text of this secret was later published. The full text of all of these secrets, as reported by Lucia, as well as additional history and interpretation can be found at the Vatican's The Message of Fatima page.

These secrets are believed to be predictions of World War II, the Soviet Union's actions during the cold war, and, in the case of the third secret, the 13 May 1981 assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II. However, it should be noted that interpreting predictions after the events they predict are believed to have come to pass often gives the predictions validity with the assumption that they were valid in the first place - in other words, circular reasoning. The emphasis that the secrets of Fatima appear to place on the preservation of religion cause me to doubt their significance. There is something inherently selfish in a system's call for its own preservation, and this is something history should have taught us to be wary of.


Above are the basilica and esplanade of Fatima. The basilica is over 20 feet high and the esplanade is twice the size of St. Peter's Square in Rome. The crowd visible is much smaller than it was on the previous day, when the Pope made a visit. The trash from the previous day however still lingered.


Above are shown the fire where wax limbs and other body parts are burned as sacrifice and some closer views of the basilica and its surroundings. The main entrance, shown in the rightmost picture above, was closed shortly after the picture was taken because the tourists gathered outside were disturbing the mass inside.

What isn't shown above are the shops that feed off the pilgrims to this religious site. The shops are rather disappointing, featuring mostly cheap trinkets passed off as religious items and all kinds of wax body parts to be burned in the fire shown above. Most disturbing was a toy gun labeled "Jesus Blaster." I'm sure Jesus would be rolling in his grave at the sight of that, if he had a grave of course.

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