Who Was Fátima?
Our Lady of Fátima is the title given by Catholics to famous apparitions (supernatural appearances) of Mary in 1917 to three shepherd children in Fátima, Portugal. The three children were Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto. On October 13, 1930, a bishop declared these appearances were 'worthy of belief' and in 1946, Pope Pius XII granted a 'canonical coronation' to a venerated image of Mary enshrined at a chapel in Fátima.
Many unexpected appearances of Mary, angels, and saints giving messages from God have been reported by Catholics. Are these experiences genuine, supernatural, and trustworthy? Or are they nothing more than the work of impostors? If some apparitions are of a mystical nature, does this guarantee that truthful messages came from them?
The Bible warns us, 'Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world' (1 John 4:1). Scripture also says there are 'false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light' (2 Corinthians 11:13, 14).
How might we determine the validity of apparitions such as Our Lady of Fátima? Only one source can verify whether these appearances are from God or Satan: the Holy Scriptures. The Bible says, 'To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them' (Isaiah 8:20). We cannot rely only on our eyes to know truth; we must compare the messages of these supposed messengers to see how they align with Scripture.
One message repeatedly stated by Lúcia, one of the children who saw the apparition, in later interviews is her reference to 'Holy Mary, Mother of God' and 'the Blessed Virgin Mary.' These titles intend to show more than respect to the earthly mother of Jesus. Catholics believe that Mary was conceived in her mother's womb without the stain of original sin. In speaking of her 'Immaculate Heart,' the church teaches that Mary was sinless.
However, the Bible never describes Mary as sinless; rather, it says, 'All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God' (Romans 3:23) and, 'Just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned' (Romans 5:12). Moreover, Mary also needed a Savior. She said, 'My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior' (Luke 1:47, emphasis added). There is only One person in all Scripture who was without sin: 'He [Jesus] was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin' (1 John 3:5).
Praying to God
Another message given by Fátima was to say that the Rosary is one of the 'last two remedies to the world.' Saying the Rosary, it was stated, would solve any problem we face and would lead to the salvation of many lost souls.
Notice how the Rosary begins, 'Hail, Mary,' which is repeated 50 times. This comes from Scripture, when the angel Gabriel greeted Mary and said, 'Rejoice ['Hail' in the KJV], highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!' (Luke 1:28).
Actually, the Catholic Church has changed this verse into a prayer directed to Mary as an intercessor and is a combination of the angel's words to Mary, Elizabeth's greeting to Mary, and other later additions. This prayer, called the 'Ave Maria,' states:
'Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee;
Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen.'
This prayer gives a title to Mary that is not found in the Bible and also elevates her to a position of intercessor—a role not found in the Scriptures for her. Never does the Bible direct us to pray to any human being, but only to God. Jesus said, 'When you pray, say: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name'' (Luke 11:2) and, 'When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father' (Matthew 6:6).
Honoring Our Lady of Fátima includes bowing down before images connected with the apparition. But the Bible also never encourages us to bow before saints or angels. In fact, when the apostle John bowed before an angel who spoke to him, the Bible says, 'I [John] fell at his feet [the angel] to worship him. But he said to me, 'See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!'' (Revelation 19:10).
When Cornelius met the apostle Peter, he bowed down before the teacher. Notice what Peter says: 'As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, 'Stand up; I myself am also a man'' (Acts 10:25, 26). The Greek word used here, prokuneo, is used by the Catholic Church for 'veneration.' It's the same word found in Revelation 19.
The Bible does not support the teaching of praying to Mary or any other human being. Not only is it contrary to Scripture, but it is also impossible for a human to hear all such prayers; God alone is all-knowing and all-present. (See Psalm 139 and Hebrews 4:14–16.) Elevating her to such a position is idolatry because it places her on an equal basis with God.
Speaking to the Dead
Another problem with praying to Mary is assuming that Mary is somehow alive and able to hear these prayers. But nowhere in the Bible does it indicate that Mary is alive or was taken to heaven. The Scriptures teach that when a person dies, they are 'asleep' (a term Jesus uses for death in John 11:1–12) in the grave until the Second Coming.
For more information on what happens at death, visit www.truthaboutdeath.com.
If, as the Bible teaches, Mary is in the grave awaiting the resurrection, just as all people are who die, then who is speaking through these apparitions of Mary, angels, and saints? As already noted, the Bible describes Satan masquerading as an 'angel of light.' This dark being is a liar and a deceiver and cannot be unmasked unless we carefully study the Bible for ourselves to determine whether the messages come from God or the devil.
Don't be deceived. Study the Scriptures. 'You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free' (John 8:32).
Have you ever wondered about ghosts and stories of people who claimed to encounter the paranormal? What about mediums, spiritualism, evil spirits, and those who say they can talk with the dead? Check out our website at www.ghosttruth.com.