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When the atomic bomb destroyed Hiroshima in 1945, eight men living near the blinding centre of the nuclear flash miraculously survived the searing hurricane of blast and gamma rays, while everyone within a mile radius perished and others residing further afield continue to die from the lethal effects of radiation. For over 30 years, some 200 scientists have examined these eight men, trying in vain to determine what could have preserved them from incineration. One of the survivors, Fr. H. Shiffner, S.J., gave the dramatic answer on TV in America: "In that house, we were living the message of Fatima."
The miracle amid the ashes of Hiroshima was but one in a chain of grace released on the world through Fatima ever since the firmament-shaking miracle of the sun in 1917. To cite another of the author's many examples: while no nation on earth seems able to stem the global advance of Communism (which our Lady had foretold with unerring accuracy in 1917, together with the reason for it), nevertheless, in those countries where sufficient people resolutely complied with the Fatima message, the red tide, even at the last moment, was mysteriously halted and routed. Such was the case with Austria (1955), Brazil (1966), Chile and Portugal (1975). And behind the Iron Curtain, the Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima was the direct cause of the first churches to be built in Poland since the end of the Second World War.
This new book graphically demonstrates that Our Lady of Fatima's message is not just for pious Christians: it is addressed with compelling earnestness to every man, woman and child in the world. To all, she holds out the power, through the practice of her message, to bring down similar miracles of God's grace into their homes, their towns, their countries, and thus disperse once for all the threatened nightmare of world Communism and nuclear war – the spectre of the entire caravan of mankind sliding into the abyss.
Fatima: the Great Sign is, however, more than a reiteration of the appealing message given by God through His Mother to our sin-laden twentieth century. In addition to presenting a thoroughly up-to-date account of the Fatima apparitions of 1916-1929 and the subsequent development of the cult based on Our Lady's message, the book penetrates deeply into the theology of Fatima, especially that concerning devotion and reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (which Fatima inculcates), and draws upon a wealth of supporting material from the most eminent authorities in the Church which has hitherto remained largely unknown.
The various objections that have been raised against Fatima are successively dealt with, particularly the dangerous error that it is a mere private revelation and as such, can be safely discarded. After spelling out repeated papal and high ecclesiastical pronouncements on the crucial relevance of Fatima to the entire world and citing the testimony of numerous eye-witnesses of the solar miracle, (many of whom were convinced that it was the end of the world), one is left with the conviction that to disregard Fatima is to do violence to one's reason.
More significantly, for the first time in one volume, we are presented with a harmonious synthesis of the declarations of popes, cardinals, bishops and theologians repeatedly stressing, not only the paramount importance of Fatima to the tumultuous problems and perils besetting mankind today and the preservation of world peace, but to the regeneration of modern society, to the resolution of the present crisis in faith and morals, to the promised conversion of Russia, to "the historical and theological happenings of Eden and Calvary" and "the heavenly Jerusalem described by St. John," in the words of Cardinal Baggion, Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, and much else besides.
As the Bishop of Fatima expressed it in 1975: "Fatima as a whole is a compendium of the Catholic Faith." And in a message to all the world's priests, Cardinal Larraona, Pope John XXIII's legate to Fatima in 1963, exhorted them to "live and cause to be lived the message of Our Lady," which is "a living realisation of the gospel…"
In these critical times, no one can afford to ignore the Fatima message. After reading this book, certainly no informed Catholic should have any reason for doing so.
Imprimatur: Alberto Cosme de Amaral, Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, August 13, 1979.