Pope Speeds up Opening of Beatification Process of Sister Lucia

Source: FSSPX News


Pope Benedict XVI has decided to speed up the opening of the cause of beatification and canonization of Sr. Lucia dos Santos (1907-2005), one of the three witnesses of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin in Fatima (Portugal) in 1917.

In a communiqué released on February 13, 2008, late in the afternoon, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints announced that the pope had chosen to dispense with the mandatory five-year delay usually required after the death of a servant of God before the opening of his (her) cause. The Portuguese seer had died on February 13, 2005, at the age of 97.

Three years, day for day ,after the death of Sister Lucia, Cardinal José Saraiva Martins celebrated Mass in Coimbra (Portugal) where she lived from 1948 until 2005. At the end of the Mass, the Portuguese cardinal announced that Benedict XVI had decided “to dispense with the two years missing before the opening of the cause of Sister Lucia dos Santos.”

The pope alone has the power to remove the five-year delay before the opening of a cause. This delay was imposed by John Paul II in the Apostolic Constitution Divinus Perfectionis Magister published in 1983. To date, two other cases benefited from such a dispensation: Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997) in December 1998 (14 months after her death), and John Paul II in May 2005 (only a month after his death).

Bishop Antonio Augusto dos Santos Marto, of Leira-Fatima, expressed his “joy” on the airwaves of Radio Vatican: “I speak in my own name but also on behalf of the shrine and of the pilgrims,” said the Portuguese bishop. “The news and novelty of the announcement coming from the Vatican concerning the dispensation of the canonical delay to begin the process of beatification of Sister Lucia has been received by us all with joy and gratitude to the Holy Father. It means the acknowledgment of the significance of the sanctity of a witness of the apparitions and message of Fatima, who first lived this holiness to which the very message of Fatima is calling us. For us, it has truly been a joy: we are pleased precisely because the importance of the Fatima message is thus brought into relief.”

As for the spiritual personality of Sister Lucia, the bishop of Coimbra specified: “Sister Lucia was a witness and a living memory of the Fatima message for almost a century: she died 97 years of age. Her main virtue was that she tried to live the message in its simplicity. She was especially a lover of God’s beauty, as we can read in her Memoirs and in the example of her life. She lived with simplicity and at the same time with the joy of someone in love with God. In this respect, she was contagious, because people could feel this, and that is why they came in droves to see her, to hear her whenever it was possible. You could see that when her funeral was celebrated in Coimbra, a multitude of faithful accompanied her. Her holiness, very simple and popular because accessible to all, and the meditations she left us in her books, reveal the transparency of her soul and heart, which tried to communicate with the faithful.”

Concerning the Fatima message, the Portuguese bishop added: “At first sight, what is most striking in the message is that it is not limited only to the personal lives of the seers, but has a universal scope. It refers to the most dramatic and tragic events of the history of the 20th century, to the sufferings of mankind and also of the Church and of the martyrs of the 20th century, as well as to the cause of peace. The heart of the message is conversion in its most theological and also its most global sense. It is a call to bring the adoration of God in His trinitarian mystery of love into the center of the life of the Church and of the world. Next, it is an appeal to the conversion of hearts to this God of love, and to reparation, according to the language of that time (sic). And its meaning is deeply up to date, because it calls the faithful not to be resigned to the triviality and fatality of evil in the world, and hence they are to feel called to make reparation, i.e. to renew their lives and the world, to begin with the renewal of hearts. To me, it is a message of consolation, of mercy, and also of great hope for the Church and the world.

Editor: It is worth noting that in the mouth of the bishop of Fatima, reparation is synonymous with renewal of heart, of life, and of the world, which is a fruit of the reparation made for the offenses done to God by sin. We can obtain the effect only if we clearly understand the cause: reparation for our sins and for the sins committed in the world. If we listen to the bishop, the message of Fatima would no longer be an invitation to prayer and penance (according to the language of the time!), but an incitation to prayer and to the renewal of heart, of life and of the world. Was is then really worth it to show the three little shepherds the reality of hell to which sin leads?