Last year, I was interviewed by Goya Productions for the DVD documentary on Fátima entitled Fátima: The Last Mystery. During the course of the pre-interview discussions between the interviewer and myself, I had been asked about a claim attributed to Sr. Lúcia. It is said that she once stated that the 1984 Consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary had averted a nuclear war that would have happened in 1985.
Having read this claim in a number of publications over the years, I confirmed it for the interviewer and spoke accordingly during the filming. My statement must have had an effect because it was put into the final product of the documentary. During my recent trip to Fátima, a friend brought the DVD for the “officially unofficial Fátima premier” of the documentary. Prior to the showing, my friend asked me about my source for the claim of the 1985 nuclear war. I was happy to discuss the matter with him, and now do so with you.
As best as I understand the history of the claim, the first time that it appeared in the public forum was between 1992 and 1997. A Canadian gentleman and (now former) associate of Fr. Nicholas Gruner named Carlos Evaristo had visited Sr. Lúcia. He is fluent in both English and Portuguese. He published an account of his visit with Sr. Lúcia in a booklet entitled Two Hours with Sister Lucia. His account was severely criticized as being inaccurate.
Later, Evaristo published another booklet entitled It All Started with “Two Hours with Sister Lucia” (see also here). This booklet, in part, contained information alleged to be from Sr. Lúcia that was taken from a new interview conducted in October, 1993 in the presence of Cardinal Vidal of Cebu, Philippines. Though this booklet has also been criticized, this time the interview was recorded on video and audio. A portion of it had found its way on YouTube and the third disk of the 2006 DVD documentary Mistérios de Fátima.[i]
For our purposes, we need not get into the various criticisms of this second booklet. Our point of focus is the history behind the claim that the 1984 Consecration avoided a nuclear war in 1985. It is a very serious claim and given the criticisms of the booklet, one had cause to question whether or not the claim was authentic. It would, however, continue to arise in the media over the next several years.
Michael Brown of the web site Spirit Daily was among those who discussed the claim. Around the year 2001, Evaristo was interviewed for this web site and some articles were published on the site about Sr. Lúcia. The first was entitled, Sister Lucia of Fatima comments on visionaries. The second was Historian at Fatima says archives indicate additional apparitions.[ii] In this second article, the avoided nuclear war of 1985 is referenced. Brown referenced the claim again in another article (date unknown) entitled In largely unknown remarks, Sister Lucia said consecration of Russia has been done.[iii] Finally, Brown published another article between 2000 and 2001 entitled Did the third secret of Fatima pertain to a 1985 nuclear war?[iv]
In 2001, Leo Madigan (†2015), noted author and resident of Fátima, published a book entitled A Pilgrim’s Handbook to Fatima. He brings up the claim of the averted 1985 nuclear war, speaking of it as being true and saying that Sr. Lúcia mentioned it in “private correspondence.” Madigan is a respected writer on Fátima, even the official bookstore of the Sanctuary of Fátima sells some of his books.[v] Also in 2001, John Haffert, founder of the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fátima, completed his autobiography To Shake the World. In this book, he references Cardinal Vidal’s 1993 meeting with Sr. Lúcia and speaks favorably of the claim of an averted nuclear war in 1985.[vi]
The discussions on the claim continued from the years 2000 to the present.[vii] In 2005, Sr. Lúcia died, but not before writing one final document on Fátima. Published posthumously (2006), this document was issued under the Portuguese title Como vejo a mensagem (How I See the Message). It is also available in the English language under the title The Message of Fatima.[viii] Whereas much of the claim to an averted nuclear war in 1985 had heretofore appeared bound to Carlos Evaristo, Como vejo a mensagem addresses the matter.
Sr. Lúcia had been asked by the Provincial Superior of the Carmelites, Fr. Jeremias Carlos Vechina, to write a “less doctrinal and more biographical” book on Fátima. The intention was to discuss the message as she saw it in the “course of time and the light of events.”[ix] Sister went about her task, taking the different elements of Fátima and commenting upon them. When she discusses the events of July 13, 1917, Sr. Lúcia comments upon the famous discourse about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Sr. Lúcia provides the quote from Our Lady and intersperses her own comments. Speaking of the phrase about the Holy Father consecrating Russia, Sister wrote the following:
…. This consecration was made, publicly, in Rome, by the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, on 25th March, 1984, before the image of Our Lady of Fatima which is venerated in the Chapel of the Apparitions in the Cova da Iria, Fatima….
Everyone knows very well that that was one of the most critical moments in the history of humanity, when the great powers, hostile to one another, were planning and preparing for a nuclear war, which would destroy the world, if not entirely, to a considerable extent, and what chances of survival would there be for the part that would be left?[x]
Three pages later, Sr. Lúcia again speaks of nuclear war:
Up to this point, I see in the Message as it were a preparation to release the people of God, in the words of Pius XII, from the greatest heresy to appear at any time in the world, and carrying its errors to the ends of the earth. And also from the danger of a nuclear war which would destroy a great part of his creative and redemptive work: the People of God chosen for eternal life.[xi]
In these quotations, Sister herself partially verified the claim that mankind was headed for a nuclear war. She did so within the context of her discussion on the 1984 Consecration, thus giving the appearance that this war was averted by the Consecration.
Sr. Lúcia does not specify the year of 1985 for the nuclear war. She does, however, indicate that world events around that time were leading to this war. Presumably, the war would have happened sometime in the future, most likely nearer to 1984.[xii] Historians will debate the political situation as it stood in the mid-1980s and whether or not it was ripe for a nuclear war. The fact is that it did not happen, apparently owing to the grace afforded the world by Heaven through the 1984 Consecration.
While we cannot know “what could have happened,” Sr. Lúcia, however, was a woman favored with prophetic insight(s). She saw, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, that “content which is greater, which goes deeper, and only in the course of history can we see the full depth, which was…in this vision that was accessible to specific individuals.” Sister does not specify in Como vejo a mensagem that she knew about a nuclear war from prophetic insight (it could be the fruit of her own reflections). Nevertheless, she knew how to read the signs of the times.
For our part, “one might,” Benedict XVI also remarked, “look at [the visionaries] with a touch of envy for what they were able to see.” Seeing is not our role in this history. Our role is to heed Our Lady’s message at Fátima. If indeed a nuclear war was averted, we ought to thank God for His Mercy.
As to the question of whether or not Sr. Lúcia ever stated the year of 1985 was when this nuclear war would have taken place, the matter remains open. Perhaps Mr. Evaristo will someday release to the public the audio/video of the 1993 meeting with Cardinal Vidal and thereby answer once and for all any questions on this score. In the meantime, the evidence is clear: Sister believed that mankind was indeed heading for just such a war.
[i] The YouTube video has since been removed by the channel owner.
[ii] It is interesting to note that in the original publication, the word “Historian” in the title appeared plainly. In the archive version of the article on Spirit Daily, the word is put in singular quotation marks (‘Historian’). Also, it is difficult to date all four articles. The terms “first” and “second” are not to be interpreted strictly.
[iii] The Internet Archive Wayback Machine has a listing for this article under July 8, 2012, but that might have been the first year for the mirror site “www.spiritdaily.net” (as opposed to the main page: “www.spiritdaily.com“). It is also interesting to note that the web site PDT Signs picked up this article but has a different headline for it (In largely unknown remarks, Sister Lucia states her views on the consecration of Russia). The acronym “PDT” stands for “Professional ex-Doubting Thomas,” according to the web site.
[iv] Internal evidence from this article indicates the dates of 2000-2001 for its composition.
[v] This author has seen some of Madigan’s books in the official Livraria do Santuário de Fátima, among them his A Pilgrim’s Handbook to Fatima.
[vi] For the references to Cardinal Vidal, see pages 53-55, 63, 98 and 269 of Haffert’s book To Shake the World.
[vii] For example, in 2010, John Allen Jr. wrote an article entitled A Tale of Two Fatimas after speaking with Evaristo for the National Catholic Reporter. Allen references the averted nuclear war claim and accepts it as authentic. On May 18, 2017, Dr. Maike Hickson of One Peter Five published an interview with Dr. Michael Hesemann wherein he also references the claim. Incidentally, Hesemann has a YouTube channel. One of his videos is an interview in Aljustrel (Portugal) with a niece of Sr. Lúcia, Maria Rosa dos Santos (91 years of age) that was recorded on December 14, 2016 and published on YouTube on January 24, 2017. Hesemann does not speak Portuguese and Carlos Evaristo served as his translator in this interview. The title of the video is The Third Secret of Fatima and the Conversion of Russia.
[ix] Irmã Maria Lúcia de Jesus e do Coração Imaculado, Como vejo a Mensagem. 2ed. (Fátima, Portugal: Secretariado dos Pastorinhos, 2007), 4-5. Hereafter Como vejo a mensagem followed by page number. English translation is published by the same group, except the text quoted above is taken from the 1st English edition dated June, 2006.
[x] Ibid., 54. The Portuguese text is:
…. Esta consagração foi feita pelo Santo Padre João Paulo II, em Roma, publicamente, no dia 25 de Março de 1984, diante da imagem de Nossa Senhora, que se venera na Capelinha das Aparições na Cova da Iria, Fátima….
Bem conhecido é de todos que se estava num dos momentos mais críticos da história da Humanidade, em que as grandes potências, hostis entre si, projectavam [projetavam?], preparando-se para uma guerra nuclear (atómica), que viria a destruir o mundo, se não em todo, na maior parte, e o que ficasse, com que possibilidades de sobrevivência?
[xi] Ibid., 57. The Portuguese text is:
Até aqui, vejo na Mensagem, como que, uma preparação para libertar o povo de Deus da – no dizer de Pio XII – maior heresia que apareceu no mundo, através dos tempos, levando os seu [seus?] erros até aos confins da terra. E do perigo de uma guerra nuclear (atómica), que viria a destruir uma grande parte da Sua obra criadora e Redentora: Povo de Deus escholhido [escolhido?] para a vida eterna.
[xii] Moreover, one cannot but wonder if a vision given to Sr. Lúcia on January 3, 1944 was a prophecy of what was to pass if the Consecration was not made:
I felt my spirit flooded by a mystery of light that is God and in Him saw and heard:
-The tip of a spear as a flame unlatches and touches the axis of the earth. It shudders. Mountains, cities, towns and villages with their inhabitants are buried. The sea, the rivers, and the clouds emerge from their limits, overflowing and bringing with them in a whirlwind houses and people in numbers that are not possible to count. It is the purification of the world by sin as it plunges. Hatred and ambition cause the destructive war (Carmelo de Santa Teresa – Coimbra, A Pathway Under the Gaze of Mary. [Washington, New Jersey: World Apostolate of Fatima, 2015], 244)!