Robert Bergin, author of "This Apocalyptic Age" (1973), believes the Age of Mary is God's answer to our modern crisis:
"This is the Age of Mary and a Marian Church is to emerge from this crisis. In this Marian Church our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will be worshipped and adored on a scale hitherto inconceivable. Mary is the short, easy, secure and perfect path to Jesus, but men have never trod this path before in great numbers" (This Apocalyptic Age: A commentary of prophecies relating to these times . . . AND THEIR PORTENTS, Fatima International, 1973, p. 81).
Bergin's Marian path is based on St. Louis De Montfort's "True Devotion To Mary." Modern followers of Fatima are now encouraging "True Devotion's" short, easy, secure and perfect path to Jesus as the means to, of all things, a Marian Church. Instead of affirming Christ as the Head of the Church and guarding it from any who would try to hand it over to another, many of the guardians themselves seem to embrace the concept of a Marian Church, including none other than Pope John Paul II. A booklet whose Forward is entitled, "A Marian Church: The Goal Of "'The True Devotion,'" states,
"Surely Divine Providence has given to the Church in the past one hundred years Popes who were outstanding in their love for Mary. Our present Holy Father [Pius XII] leaves no stone unturned to make us appreciate Mary more fully. But may there not be a more fundamental reason for the blossoming forth of true Marian devotion which our age is witnessing, a reason which those very Popes assign as the chief explanation? It would seem that the ultimate reason is the fact that a great portion of the Catholic world today is practicing the "True Devotion To Mary" according to the plan laid down by St. Louis De Montfort" (Bernard Le Frois, "Mary Our Model," (Bay Shore, N.Y.: Montfort Publications, n.d.), p. 5).
At URL http://www.missionnet.com/~mission/cathlc/trudev/popes.html, this list is given of past and present "Popes who were outstanding in their love for Mary" and practiced De Montfort's "True Devotion":
"Pope Pius IX declared that St. Louis De Montfort's devotion to Mary was the best and most acceptable form of devotion to Our Lady.
"Pope Leo XIII granted a plenary indulgence to those who make St. Louis De Montfort's act of consecration to the Blessed Virgin. On his deathbed he renewed the act himself and invoked the heavenly aid of St. Louis De Montfort, whom he had beatified in 1888.
"Pope St. Pius X: 'I heartily recommend True Devotion to The Blessed Virgin, so admirably written by Blessed De Montfort, and to all who read it grant the Apostolic Benediction.'
"Pope Benedict XV: 'A book of high authority and unction.'
"Pope Pius XI: 'I have practiced this devotion ever since my youth.'
"Pope Pius XII: 'The greatest force behind all his [St. Louis De Montfort's] apostolic ministry and his great secret for attracting and winning souls for Jesus was his devotion to Mary.' (From Canonization address, July 20, 1947).
"Pope Paul VI: 'We are convinced without any doubt that devotion to Our Lady is essentially joined with devotion to Christ, that it assures a firmness of conviction to faith in Him and in His Church, a vital adherence to Him and to His Church which, without devotion to Mary, would be impoverished and compromised.'
"Pope John Paul II: 'The reading of this book was a decisive turning-point in my life. I say "turning-point," but in fact it was a long inner journey. . . - This "perfect devotion" is indispensable to anyone who means to give himself without reserve to Christ and to the work of redemption.'
"'It is from Montfort that I have taken my motto: "Totus tuus" ("I am all thine"). Someday I'll have to tell you Montfortians how I discovered De Montfort's Treatise on True Devotion to Mary, and how often I had to reread it to understand it.'
"Vatican Council II: 'The maternal duty of Mary toward men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. All her saving influence on men originates not from some inner necessity, but from the divine pleasure. It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on His mediation, depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it.'
"'. . . the practices and exercises of devotion to her recommended by the Church in the course of the centuries [are to] be treasured.' (Lumen Gentium: 60, 67)."
What is "the plan laid down by St. Louis De Montfort?" Eddie Doherty explains this plan as Christians walking the road that goes through Mary to more fully unite themselves to Jesus. He describes this road in his adaption of De Montfort's "Devotion":
"The road [Mary] is a perfect one by which to reach Christ and be united to Him. Mary is the most perfect creature, the purest and holiest. And Christ, Who came to us perfectly, chose that road. The Most High, the One Beyond All Understanding, the Untouchable God, He Who Is, came down, perfectly and divinely, to us mean little worms through the humble Mary. And He came down without losing anything of His divinity. Therefore it is through Mary that we little ones must, perfectly and divinely, and without fear, ascend to Him" (St. Louis De Montfort, "True Devotion To Mary," adapted by Eddie Doherty, Montfort Publications, 1956, P. 69).
Earlier in his book, Doherty describes De Montfort's way of getting on "the road" to Jesus:
"As all our perfection consists in being conformed, united, and consecrated to Jesus, the most perfect devotion is, naturally, that which conforms, unites and consecrates us most perfectly to Him.
"This devotion consists in giving oneself to Jesus through [Mary]. We must give her our body, with all its senses and members; our soul, with all its faculties; our goods or riches and all we shall acquire; and all our inner assets, such as merits, virtues, and the good works we have done or may do. . . . And we must do this for eternity, without expecting or claiming any other reward than the honor of belonging to Jesus through Mary" (p. 53).
The Blue Army Apostolate, crediting their success to the efforts of Eugene Cardinal Tisserant, again ties the practice of True Devotion To Mary with devotion with devotion to Our Lady of Fatima:
"Cardinal Tisserant presided at a meeting of leaders of the Blue Army . . . at Fatima in 1956. At this time the Cardinal was at the peak of his influence in the Church, the greatest Cardinal of this century.
"How many knew that he lived 'the total consecration to the Blessed Virgin!'" ("'There Is Nothing More': Our Lady's Last Words At Fatima," AMI Press, n.d., p. 317 citing RALLY April 1973).
There has always been a tendency by some in the Church to exaggerate and emotionalize the role of Mary, but in modern times, the veneration accorded her has grown out of all bounds for veneration. Jesus commissioned the Church to spread His gospel to the whole world. Instead, many understand their mission to be Mary-oriented to one degree or another. The linking together of Fatima, heralded as the proclamation of faith for today, De Montfort's plan of total consecration to Mary, the concept of a Marian Church in a Marian Age, and the idea of union with God through Mary which leads to the possession of the soul by "Mary," negates Jesus' command to come directly to Him. It is spiritually devastating to the souls of men because "she" steps in front of Him to receive men to herself, and then possess them for "herself." The chain formed by these beliefs is bound to become even stronger with every ecclesiastical affirmation of one of its links, such as Pope John Paul II's consistent proclamations during his papacy. Unfortunately, those caught behind this chain are kept from seeing the true gospel of Jesus and the way to unity with the Father that God has firmly established through the shed blood of His only Son.:
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Organizationally, consecration to Mary's Immaculate Heart is promoted through the Blue Army of the Lady of Fatima, with De Montfort's "True Devotion" being one of the main resources they offer to those seeking union with Jesus through Mary. But, Fatima plays a more important part in the life of Pope John Paul II. At URL http://members.aol.com/bjw1106/marian7a.htm, an article entitled, "Modern Papal Visions...," included a section on John Paul II called, "The Sun Spins in Rome..." This is a large excerpt from that article:
"Another intriguing vision happened only once and only to one individual - in Rome in August of 1981. On May 13, 1981, during an open-air papal audience in St. Peter's Square, the Polish Pope who had dedicated his papacy to Mary, bent down to hug a young girl who was wearing a small likeness of Our Lady of Fatima. At that precise moment, Mehmet Ali Agca, a Turkish assassin, fired two shots at his head at close range. The bullets missed the Pope but hit two pilgrims standing nearby. Agca fired again hitting the Pope in the abdomen. Had he not bent down to hug that little girl wearing the picture of Mary, those two bullets would have ripped through his skull probably killing him instantly.
"As it was, it would take him six months to fully recover from the wounds. As he convalesced at the Policlinico in Rome, John Paul became even more prayerful. He prayed to Our Lady of Fatima since he was convinced that it was her direct intercession that saved his life. He reread the three Secrets that the Lady of Fatima gave the three children in 1917 and which were finally recorded in written form by Sister Lucia in the late '30's and he instructed Bishop Pavol Hnilica, a Slovak bishop who was secretly ordained while a priest in communist Czechoslovakia, to send all the Church's documents on the events at Fatima for his review. The Pope also dispatched Sister Mary Ludovica to Fatima to meet with its retired Bishop John Venancio. The purpose of this meeting was never disclosed.
"It was while he was in this state of mind at the Policlinico that John Paul reportedly witnessed the inexplicable phenomenon of the sun first seen at Fatima sixty five years earlier. Moreover, he reportedly received a vision of the future related to the third Fatima Secret at the same time the phenomenon of the sun took place.
"What were the contents of his vision? Only John Paul knows. However, Bishop Hnilica reported at the time of the Pope's release from the Policlinico, that the Pope told him: "I have come to understand that the only way to save the world from war, to save it from atheism, is the conversion of Russia according to the message of Fatima." It is reasonable to suspect that, since the time of this vision, he has been acting in accord with what he believes are Heaven's wishes.
Fatima - the day the earth stood still. Since this set of apparitions are so much a part of John Paul II's life and direction for the Catholic Church, I will now go back to 1917 when these apparitions occurred in order to make these points:
It is believed that it is Mary of Fatima which will bring about a Marian Church in a Marian Age. If there is any truth in that, and there are researchers of all sorts who believe the world is prime for another miracle from the lady. I recently received these excerpts in an e-mail discussing this aspect of modern Mariology:
Cf. Cutting Edge Ministries "Staged Appearance of the Antichrist":
"Pope John Paul II is 'anxiously awaiting a potent world-wide Marian Vision. [World] chaos is to precede this vision. This vision will validate the global reign of Pope John Paul II, and will establish him as the ultimate spiritual Judge of the Planet...'
"How does the Pope know this world-wide apparition will occur? In 1981, as he was recovering from his attempted assassination, he was suddenly visited by the Virgin Mary, who transported him back to the Fatima Vision of October 13, 1917. Pope John Paul II viewed the vision as though he had been there. However, this time, the message was different. Pope John Paul was told that he was to expect, and await, a super-natural Marian Vision, like Fatima. At this point, we need to briefly acquaint our listeners as to what occurred at Fatima on October 13, 1917. More than 75,000 people had gathered because of reports from 3 children that the Virgin Mary was to appear. She would produce a super-natural event that would validate the message she wanted to give mankind. . . ."
Later in the article, we read,
"New Ager Madeline L'Engle's book, A Cry Like a Bell, suggests that 'the Virgin may be the focal point of worldwide ecumenical unity.' Almost 100 years ago, religious historian Alexander Hislop concluded that 'the Virgin' would be the "image of the beast" worshipped during the great tribulation; the image of 'the Virgin' is the universal icon of pantheism. Consequently, this goddess could be the yoke pulling pantheists (i.e., Hindus, animists, Buddhists, Native Americans) and non-pantheists (Muslims, Catholics) to the altar of the false prophet. Visions of virgins are occurring worldwide and are not the exclusive 'channel' of one religious sect. Recently, just a few miles from Cairo, Egypt, hundreds of thousands of Muslims have traveled to see a "luminous something" hovering in the sky above the Church of the Virgin. The vision, appearing frequently over a three year period, was front page material in the Arab press. The Muslims, joined by the Coptic 'Christian' Church hierarchy, view this as a 'messenger from God.'"
In view of the fact that the Lady of Fatima does not appear to be done working her "miracles," we will now discuss the original Fatima phenomena for the reasons given above.