2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Our Lady's visits to the three shepherd children at Fatima, Portugal. 2017 also marks the 300th anniversary of the foundation of Freemasonry with the establishment of the Grand Lodge in London in 1717. From the perspective of the Catholic Church the two anniversaries couldn't be further apart in their significance for humanity.
The Marian apparitions at Fatima signify the supernatural intervention of God to call a lost humanity to repent from the evil of apostasy and war through the motherly solicitude of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Queen of Heaven. The foundation of the first Lodge, and the subsequent history of Freemasonry, signifies the idolatrous adulation of man, the luciferian rejection of God and an implacable hostility towards Our Lord Jesus Christ and his Church.
The year of the Marian apparitions at Fatima, 1917, was also the 200th anniversary of the foundation of Freemasonry. It was marked by violent Masonic attacks against Our Lady at Fatima and the Pope at Rome.
Father John de Marchi's account of the miraculous events at Fatima, personally verified by Sr. Lucia, recounts the hostility of local freemasons towards Our Lady and the three visionaries at Fatima. Arthur Santos, the mayor of Vila Nova de Ourem, who persecuted and psychologically tortured the three children, was a member of the Masonic Lodge of Leiria, and founded a new lodge in his native Vila Nova de Ourem.
The Masonic Lodge at Santarem, a neighboring town to Fatima, became the rallying point to atheistic opposition to Our Lady of Fatima. In September 1917, men from Santarem joined up with men from Vila Nova de Ourem and marched to the site of the apparitions at the Cova da Iria. They proceeded to attack the make-shift shrine with axes. A local newspaper gave the following account:
With an axe they cut the tree under which the three shepherd children stood during the famous phenomenon of the 13th of this month. They took away the tree, together with a table on which a modest altar had been arranged, and on which a religious image (of Our Lady) had been placed. They also took a wooden arch, two tin lanterns, and two crosses, one made of wood and the other of bamboo-cane wrapped in tissue paper. These prize exhibits, including, as a footnote explains, a bogus version of the tree, were placed on exhibit in a house not far from the Seminary at Santarem, and an entrance fee exacted from those who wished to enter and be entertained at the widely advertised religious farce. One disappointment to the sponsors was the fact that not everyone, even among the Church's active critics, agreed it was amusing. The profits from the exhibit were to be turned over to a local charity, but the beneficiaries said very politely, "Thank you; no."
Later, in the evening, a blasphemous procession was held. The parade was headed by two men thumping on drums (a newspaper account reveals), while just behind it came the famous tree on which the Lady is said to have appeared. Next came the wooden arch, with its lanterns alight, then the altar table and other objects which the faithful had placed upon it at the Cova da Iria. To the sound of blasphemous litanies, the procession passed through the principal streets of the city, returning to the Sa da Band Eira Square, at which point it broke up.
Lucia, one of the child visionaries, later expressed relief that the Masons attacked and destroyed the wrong tree.
1917 Masonic Attacks Against the Pope
One month after the final apparition of Our Lady at Fatima in October 1917, Freemasonry openly declared war on the Catholic Church through a series of protests in Rome. The freemasons littered Rome with posters showing the Archangel Michael defeated on the ground trampled beneath a triumphant Lucifer. In their protests against the Catholic Church, the freemasons also displayed the black flag of the heretic Giordano Bruno, a Dominican friar who promoted materialistic pantheism, a central belief of Freemasonry. Bruno also denied fundamental doctrines of the Faith, including the Most Holy Trinity, the Incarnation and the perpetual virginity of Our Lady. As a student in Rome at the time, St. Maximilian Kolbe witnessed the violently anti-Catholic celebrations of Freemasonry's 200th anniversary. The first of his accounts was published in the November 1935 issue of the Japanese Militia of the Immaculate magazine:
Years later, the freemasons in Rome began to demonstrate openly and belligerently against the Church. They placed the black standard of the "Giordano Brunisti" under the windows of the Vatican. On this standard the archangel, St. Michael, was depicted lying under the feet of the triumphant Lucifer. At the same time, countless pamphlets were distributed to the people in which the Holy Father was attacked shamefully. Right then I conceived the idea of organizing an active society to counteract Freemasonry and other slaves of Lucifer.
Saint Maximilian Kolbe's second account was published in 1939:
In the years leading up to the war, the masonic "clique," disapproved of on several occasions by the Sovereign Pontiffs, governed in Rome, the capital of Christianity, with ever greater impudence. It did not even hesitate to brandish in the streets of the City during the festivities in honor of Giordano Bruno, a black flag showing the Archangel St. Michael beneath the feet of Lucifer; still less did they hesitate to brandish masonic insignia beneath the windows of the Vatican. A reckless hand felt no repugnance in writing: Satan will rule in the Vatican and the Pope will serve him in the uniform of a Swiss Guard, and other things of that kind. This mortal hatred for the Church of Jesus Christ and for His Vicar was not just a prank on the part of deranged individuals, but a systematic action proceeding from the principle of Freemasonry: Destroy all religion, whatever it may be, especially the Catholic religion.
As a consequence of witnessing the freemasons' hostility towards the Church in 1917, St. Maximilian Kolbe decided to found the Militia Immaculatae [The Knights of the Immaculate] to counteract the actions of Lucifer.
Timothy Tindal-Robertson, an expert on Fatima, is certain that the Marian apparitions in 1917 were a manifestation of the conflict between Our Lady and the forces of evil at work in the world. In a recent correspondence he told me:
Our Lady's apparitions were heaven's answer to the furious attack on the Church in Portugal unleashed after the Masons murdered the king in Lisbon in 1906, and then a totally secular anti-Catholic Republican government was installed in 1908, which seriously persecuted the Church. A few years later, a government minister declared in their assembly that in two generations they would have eliminated Catholicism in Portugal.
However, word spread all over Portugal and Our Lady's apparitions at Fatima, and despite the efforts of the government to prevent it, 70,000 people came to the Cova in October 1917. Overjoyed at the stupendous Miracle of the Sun, the people went home and complied with our Lady's request for the Rosary to such an extent that it brought about the resurrection of the Church, while the republican party simply withered away. The same thing happened in Austria in 1955, and again in Portugal when there was a threat of a Communist uprising in 1975.
In the second part of this article we'll examine the reasons why Freemasonry is violently hostile against Our Lady and the Catholic Church, the warnings against Freemasonry from various popes, and current concerns about the infiltration of the Catholic Church by freemasons.