Fátima Interview: WCAT Radio

Bob Olson:
Welcome to I Thought You’d Like to Know This Too, which is the Friday edition of I Thought You’d Like to Know This, and its interviews with very interesting people who have a message for you. We have with us tonight, Kevin Symonds. Welcome Kevin!

Kevin Symonds:
Hi! It’s good to be with you this evening.

Bob Olson:
We talked and interviewed Kevin a while back on two books that he has written Refractions of Light which are revelations, private revelations, and also the book Leo XIII and the Prayer to St. Michael. Joining us tonight too is Al Bilowski who is the host of our program on Wednesday nights which is called Catholic Mysticism. So, let’s get right into it, Kevin. We’re going to talk about Fátima and what happened at Fátima, so let’s go!

Symonds:
Alright. Well, Fátima is a place in Portugal where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children: Lúcia dos Santos and her two cousins, Francisco & Jacinta Marto. These appearances took place primarily between May 13-October 13, 1917, though there were some later apparitions in connection with this set of appearances. During the course of the apparitions from May to October, Our Lady had promised to perform a miracle so that people may believe the children. They were persecuted and even imprisoned for their story. Despite the hardships that they had endured, the children never recanted. In October, Our Lady performed what is known as the “Miracle of the Sun.”

It had been raining that day in October during which the rain had stopped, the clouds had parted, allowing the sun to come through. According to various witnesses, the sun defied all cosmic laws allowing it to come through…and…the sun came out through the clouds and moved out of its place in the sky. Different people described it differently. Some described it as…the “dance of the sun” while some others reported that the sun began falling to the earth. After the miracle had ended, the ground and people’s clothing were completely dry. For the next thirteen years (to the day), the Church examined the facts of the case, including the visionaries, and had concluded in 1930 that the events of 1917 were supernatural in origin. Since then, both local clergy and even Popes have endorsed Fátima as worthy of belief, some even going so far as to say that the Church feels compelled to believe in Fátima owing simply to how prophetic it is.

Olson:
Ok, now, we’ve heard that there was a “secret” given to the visionaries at Fátima. Maybe you can tell us about that?

Symonds:
Sure. During Our Lady’s apparition of July 13, 1917, she communicated some information to the three visionaries. This information was referred to as a “secret” by the visionaries because during its communication, Our Lady had ordered that the information not be shared with anyone other than themselves. Later, however, between the years 1935 and 1944, Lúcia—who by this time was the only surviving visionary and had become a religious sister—began to write down in more detail the events of 1917. Under religious obedience, she wrote down in stages the information given to the three visionaries as a “secret” from July, 1917. Sr. Lúcia described the “secret” as having three “parts,” the first two of which were written down and published by 1942—I’ll say the end of that year. They entailed a vision of hell and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The third part remained unwritten until early January, 1944, when, after a subsequent apparition of Our Lady, and having been commanded to do so, Sr. Lúcia wrote down what she saw in July, 1917 for the third part of the secret. This text was unpublished from 1944-2000, during which time occurred much speculation and theorizing on its contents. Owing to a stipulation given by Sr. Lúcia, the text had been expected to be published (or otherwise revealed) in the year 1960, but this expectation was not met, which furthered the speculations and theorizing. Eventually, the text was published, officially, on June 26, 2000 during a press conference in Rome. The text revealed that the secret was a visualization of Our Lady’s words about what would happen if her requests were not heeded—namely, that there would be wars and persecutions of the Church; good people would be martyred, the Holy Father would have much to suffer, and various nations would be annihilated.

Olson:
Now I understand that you are writing a book about Fátima.

Symonds:
I am.

Olson:
Tell us about that.

Symonds:
Yes, I am writing a book it’s called On The Third Part of the Secret of Fátima….I just finished the final draft on my part and I just submitted it to the publisher, En Route Books and Media, yesterday or Wednesday (one of those two days). Now I am just looking forward to it going through the formal editing with the professional editor and then getting that back and submitting it for the imprimatur. Hopefully it will be ready by mid-2017 in time for the centenary of Fátima.

Olson:
Wow…Why write a book about the third part of the secret of Fátima?

Symonds:
I decided to write this book owing to the earlier-mentioned speculations and theories surrounding the third part of the secret. Over the past 57 years (if we go by the date of the expected release of the text in 1960), different persons and groups have offered their understanding and interpretation of Fátima and the third part of its secret. Various characterizations have arisen on this part of the secret, some of which have grossly misunderstood, unfortunately, the overall secret of Fátima. It is true that room exists for scholarly and charitable discussion on the meaning of Fátima and its secret. Unfortunately, however, not everyone has kept to a gentlemanly standard, shall we say, when holding such discussion. Those who have not held to a gentlemanly standard have oftentimes engaged in polemics and have even gone so far as to accuse the Holy See of a conspiracy to cover-up an alleged second text of the third part of the secret. This allegation has become infamously known as the “Fourth Secret of Fátima.” My book is an attempt at addressing this matter from a critical perspective, one that examines source material and re-casts it in the light of new evidence that only recently became available to the public. The intention of the book is not to answer definitively all of the issues that could be raised or have been raised. I do hope, however, that it will mark the beginning of an end to these controversies so that we can look forward to what I believe is an exciting new period of Fátima’s history, one that is marked by further study of the life and character of Sr. Lúcia. I believe that such a study will provide a critical interpretive key on the message of Our Lady at Fátima.

Olson:
What would you say is the heart of the message of Fátima?

Symonds:
Good question. Very, very debatable question. Many respected ecclesiastical Authorities and scholars, shall we say, have rendered their opinion on this question. Some hold that it is the devotion to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart; others believe it is the message of prayer, penance, and sacrifice. For my part, I have not had to look at this question too deeply for the purposes of my book. I have, however, come across it—especially in materials related to chapter eleven of my book. I render my opinion on this matter in some detail in that chapter….For now, I think it probably best to say that Fátima is intimately rooted in the call of Jesus Christ in the Holy Gospel for mankind to conversion. The path, it must be noted, of this conversion is where the crux of the present question is. I leave the details for readers when my book is published later this year.

Olson:
What do you hope people will learn from reading your book?

Symonds:
I think that in the end, what I hope people will learn from my book is the beauty of Fátima. The seemingly endless controversies involving the third part of the secret have, in my opinion, done a lot of damage to understanding the call of Our Lady in Fátima. Anger, bitterness, distrust and seeking of pretexts have all been engendered in not a few people. These things are not those to which Our Lady called her children. She called upon her children to be witnesses to her Son in an age of godlessness and a rampant, pervasive materialism that offers comforts to humanity to the neglect of its God. Mankind strives after his technology, even to the point of harnessing the power of the sun through nuclear and fusion energy and all that scientific stuff of which I don’t know much about in general. Nevertheless, what I do know is that because of Fátima, God reminds us, through His Holy Mother and the Miracle of the Sun, that He is Lord and God, not us. Our Lady came to Fátima, as Pope Benedict XVI taught in May, 2010, she came as a prophet to tell us of the “sweet joys of God.” I hope that my book will serve to re-focus people on the heart of Our Lady’s call, not to be preoccupied with controversies, and to be attentive to the real needs of our times.

Olson:
So Al, what do you think?

Al Bilowski:
I got to tell you Kevin, I want to congratulate you. This book, I think, is so important now and what you mention about the division and the controversies with the third secret, because I run into this quite a bit. You’re absolutely right: many people think that there is some kind of a hidden agenda here by the Popes (plural) and the Vatican, and the truth of the matter is that it’s not so. The consecration, that was valid and this division which certainly the Lord doesn’t want, I think it’s timely for this book and to end that kind of controversy. I run into people, as I’ve mentioned, and some of the things that you, [these are] just personal insights and not scholarly….Growing up in my lifetime, I’m 60 years old now, if anybody would have told me when I was, say, 15-30, that I would have seen the Our Lady of Fátima statue on a procession in the Red Square in Moscow, I would have laughed in their face. Like it or not, with all the media attention with Vladimir Putin, there’s an argument that could be made right now in the public sector and their educational sector in Russia, that right now they have more religious freedom than [the] United States. They are, for example, in their school systems, are taught evolution [and] creationism and then it is up to the student to decide which course of action they want to choose to believe in. Their patriarchs of the Orthodox religion bless their military equipment. Vladimir Putin right now is using taxpayer dollars to rebuild the churches that were destroyed under the Stalinist regime. There’s a lot of things that are pointing here and I think a book, especially with our nation right now and the division in our own country that we see so prevalent, I think this is very timely for this book to come out, certainly during the 100-year anniversary, to get unity back. So, kudos to that.

Symonds:
Thank you. Yes, that is part of the aim is I wrote this with the centenary of Fátima in mind, for sure. Yes, there’s a lot of happenings right now in Russia and I honestly don’t know what to make of it all, I don’t have enough intel. Recently, I participated in the 24th Mariological Congress which is a Roman Conference but it was hosted in Fátima back in September. I met a priest who lived in Russia and I had an opportunity to talk to him in the old Fátima Basilica that was built in the 1950s. He had mentioned to me that […] everything that you’re hearing in the Western media about Putin, he said it’s all a lie, he said it’s all a lie. He said that Putin is actually a very godly man who is doing what he can to uphold Judeo-Christian values, Christian civilization. Then, later on that day, I spoke to somebody who used to work at the Vatican who turned around and said, “I don’t think that that’s entirely true and here’s why.” So, there’s two different schools of thought. I honestly do not have enough information to be able to make an informed judgment at this time, but I do look at the political situation and I keep my fingers on the pulse…to some degree and I have enough there to scratch my head thinking, “Oh my goodness, what is going on here, this is crazy….”

My book doesn’t treat the question of was the consecration done or not in 1984, but, there is a video—I’m actually going to say this live—there is a video, on record, of Sr. Lúcia basically, from what I can tell, of her admitting that the consecration of 1984 was valid that it took effect and it was accepted in heaven. I have seen this video and somebody asked her how will we know the effect of it. Not in the video but elsewhere in another context, she had said, “Look to the east” almost like Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. When the sun rises, look to the east then you will know my coming and you see Gandalf coming down with the Riders of Rohan going down and killing off the army of Mordor or…Saruman’s army. You got to wonder, you got to wonder, you really do. I don’t know enough so I don’t make any definitive statement but I do see things happening on a political landscape that give me pause and to make me think and/or to give me hope.

Olson:
Well thank you Kevin. Anything else that you want to add about the book? You said it will probably be out sometime later next year?

Symonds:
I’m hoping by May or June of 2017j but that depends upon the review and processes and all that.

Olson:
Ok, well thank you for being with us and telling us about this very exciting book, and thank you Al. Any final thoughts from you, Al?

Bilowski:
One question if Kevin has the time. You know, Kevin, also in my travels, a lot of people are confused and ask about—if you could expound upon—what is the triumph of the Immaculate Heart that was promised in Fátima? 

Symonds:
Ah yes, I treat that to some degree at the end of one of my chapters, not at any great length. There are two different schools of thought on that question (as there often are). One school of thought holds that there is going to be this literal triumph…it basically holds that there is going to be an instantaneous conversion, everybody is going to be Catholic or at least Russia is going to become Catholic—almost as if God is going to wave a magic wand over the world and all the problems are just going to go away. However, others have taken some exception to that, including Cardinal Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI (now, of course, Pope Emeritus). In an interview, he stated that “I don’t really think that that’s going to be the way; I might be a bit too rational to believe that it’s going to happen that dramatically.” He takes more of a simple approach which is the same approach that he took in his Theological Commentary from the year 2000 that accompanied the release of the third part of the secret on June 26 of that year (2000). He said that basically, what it is going to come down to is Our Lady will triumph in the hearts of individual people and from that triumph in the hearts of individual people that’s what will lead to conversion on a larger scale. He’s just trying to point out that conversion happens within all of us, initially, and from there that’s when it spreads. I think that there is merit to that. If I have to say which of the two schools of thought I tend to agree with the most, I think Ratzinger has a good argument there—not necessarily to the exclusion of the other one because if everybody runs the way of God’s commandments, that is through the Immaculate Heart of Mary as she offered at Fátima, the more people you have living that, you’re going to have a better society. You’re going to have that conversion happening automatically. So, I don’t think that they are necessarily exclusive schools, but they may have to fine-tune each other a little bit, perhaps.

Olson:
Very good, Kevin. Thank you very much for being with us again. We’ve been talking about your book On the Third Part of the Secret of Fátima, like you say will be coming out in June or July. Al, thank you for being with us. That’s our program for tonight. I thought you’d like to know this too. It was very revealing, wasn’t it Al?

Bilowski:
Yes, it was. Kevin, thank you so much for the work you are doing. God and the Holy Spirit continue to bless you and your family. Have a great 2017.

Symonds:
Thank you very much, you guys too.

Olson:
In the meantime, we’ll see you next week, same time, same station. In the meantime, God bless each and every one of you in Jesus’ Name.

All:
Amen.

 
Interview recorded on 12-30-2016 from 5-5:15 p.m. (central).
Aired January 27, 2016 at 5 p.m. central.