Saints Francisco and Jacinta: intercessors for our time

ChildrensofFatima (croped)
Today is the feast day of Saints Francisco and Jacinta Marto, children of Fatima. I suggest that we ask their intercession with particular fervour at this time, and in view of the “Protection of Minors in the Church” Meeting which begins tomorrow, and the grave scandals which distress the faithful daily.

Our two young saints chose complementary paths in response to the revelations which they received from Our Lady. St Francisco was moved by the appeal that we should not offend Almighty God any more as He is already so much offended. His great desire was to offer consolation to Our Lord by his prayers and voluntary penance. At the request of Our Lady, he said many rosaries, and he spent hours praying before the Blessed Sacrament.

Saint Jacinta was particularly motivated by the vision of hell which was given to the children on 13 June 1917. It left her with an eagerness to offer prayer and penance for the salvation of sinners in accordance with the exhortation of Our Lady:
"pray much and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to make sacrifices for them."
It is of relevance in the life of the Church at this moment, that one of the virtues which was emphasised especially by Our Blessed Lady at Fatima was the virtue of holy purity. The teaching of St Thomas Aquinas (ST 2a 2ae q.154 art.3) that lust or fornication is not the gravest of sins, is sometimes used as a excuse to play down the danger of such sins. Our Lady does not contradict the theological reasoning of the Angelic Doctor concerning the relative gravity of carnal and spiritual sins, but bluntly, and I think helpfully, puts before us the more practical question of consequences, by pointing out:
"More souls go to hell for sins of the flesh than for any other reason."
(I am sure that Our Lady would also agree with St Thomas in his 12th article of the same question where he argues that unnatural vice is the greatest among the species of lust.)

She also has several messages for priests, one of them the terse admonition: "Priests must be very, very pure."

The modern pundit, considering the account of the apparitions of Fatima, might be disturbed that Our Lady showed the children a vision of hell. Was that not too shocking for them? Could she not have tempered the message? It is worth pondering that in her warnings of the evils that would come upon the Church and the world, she did not explicitly refer to unnatural vice perpetrated by clergy, or indeed the concealing and enabling of such vice by higher ecclesiastics. Perhaps she considered that a vision of hell would be sufficient.

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