A ZENIT DAILY DISPATCH
FATIMA IS INVITATION TO REMEMBER MARTYRS OF THIS CENTURY
Interview with Bishop Serafim de Sousa of Leiria-Fatima
FATIMA 30 JUNE 2000 (ZENIT.org).
The Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, together with the Pope and the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is one of the persons who exerted most influence in the decision to publish the Virgin’s revelations. In addition, he is a good friend of Sister Lucia. Consequently, his reading of the third "secret" of Fatima acquires special relevance. Following is an interview Bishop Serafim de Sousa granted the Spanish weekly newspaper "Alfa y Omega," which appeared in its latest issue.You were an eye-witness of the meeting of Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with Sister Lucia, in April of this year, when the official text of the theological commentary was presented to the visionary. Could you describe the emotion you felt?Bishop de Sousa: Indeed, I was present at that meeting, but only as an intermediary. Rather than emotional, it was a simple meeting; indeed Archbishop Bertone himself said he was very happy to see how Sister Lucia answered lucidly, relating, consciously and coherently, everything that was said to her.You are one of the few persons in the world who know Sister Lucia personally. What impresses you most about her?Bishop de Sousa: I would highlight her sincerity, she is an enormously sincere and courageous woman; she does nothing but repeat what she saw and heard, without adding or subtracting anything. In addition, she is convinced that she is still on earth with a concrete mission: although she would like to be with her cousins Jacinta and Francisco, she is convinced that her long life (she is older than 90) is to witness the Fatima message to the world, seeing to it that Our Lady’s requests are obeyed in the way intended.In your opinion, is there a reason why the "secret" was published during the Jubilee 2000?Bishop de Sousa: I think the date itself is of little importance . I suppose the Pope intended to publish the secret after the attempt, although not immediately, as if awaiting confirmation that this part of the secret referred to him. Moreover, it must be kept in mind that this Jubilee is a very convenient occasion, as it is the year of reconciliation, also for the beatification of the little shepherds.What part of the secret would you underline?Bishop de Sousa: There are many aspects, for instance, when "the bishop dressed in white" walks together with other bishops, priests, and laymen, as an important sign of the Church’s universality, made up of unequal members who walk united. Moreover, soldiers must understand one another, more than as concrete persons, as the struggle of secular States against the Church. Another aspect is that Christians are martyred not only with bullets, but also with arrows, which represents persecutions in different cultures, including the Third World. On another count, I think the vision of the two angels is very important, a mysterious vision made in biblical language, which invites us always to remember the thousands of martyrs of this century.Do you think that, with the publication of the secret, in a certain sense the 20th century comes to a close?Bishop de Souza: Rather than closures, I would say that a window of hope has opened in this century, the hope of the personal conversion of each one of us, so that humanity may finally find peace.From here on, what will change in Fatima and Portugal?Bishop de Sousa: I think Fatima doesn’t change: it continues to be that spiritual lung, that place of conversion. Of course, if it is true that both the beatification of Francisco and Jacinta, as well as the official publication of the "secret," confirm the validity of the message of Fatima. ZE00063004
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