Hi. I’m a Protestant interested in learning more about the Catholic church. i’ve been reading a lot in the Church fathers, and realise that the Catholic Church does deserve a hearing. One thing really baffles me though:
The church places great value on the apparation of the BV Mary at Fatima. What I don’t understand is this. If Mary did appear, and if she did give a message, why would she tell us to consecrate ourselves to her ‘Immaculate Heart’. Surely Mary would rather direct us to Our Lord? does this not suggest that the apparition at Fatima is a hoax, or worse, a diabolical deception. I realise that last sentence may be very offensive to Catholics, so let me finish by stating that I intend NO offence, and have an open, enquiring mind on the subject.

Glory to Christ!

There are a lot of sites explaining how devotion to Jesus through Mary does not put her in competition with her son, but merely gives us the hope of one day achieving what she did; perfect discipleship to our Saviour. Consecrating yourself to her Immaculate Heart does not mean you are now giving her worship instead of Jesus, but asking for her to pray for you and dispense the graces of God to help you become a more perfect disciple of Christ. Many people believe that when you put focus on Mary or other saints, you draw attention away from God, and in fact we must be careful to be sure we are thinking of the saints as departed friends united now with God and not gods themselves. However when done properly, developing devotions to the saints actually brings you closer to God and helps you understand Him better because you see HOW He has worked through their lives in so many ways. You see how He has turned Augustine from a debauched party-boy into one of the great thinkers of the Church and how He kept a little girl like St. Maria Goretti so close to Him that she forgave the man who stabbed her 11 times as she lay dying from the attack. It lets us know that He can do the same for us and our loved ones and makes it so much easier to feel close to Him because we know how much He desires to perfect us.
Jesus’ mother loved Him so much and chose God in every instance of her life because He kept her so close to Him. Christ gave His mother to the world when He was dying on the cross. She loves us and wants us to love her son as she did. When we consecrate ourselves to her, she helps us with her prayers and God’s graces. I would strongly recommend reading the Marian apologetics section of the Catholic Answers web site and then look for other Catholic resources to understand Marian devotion in general. These will help you with the intellectual reasons. The spiritual reason is that we are to love our Lord so much that we love those close to Him as well.
Regarding Fatima being a deception of the devil, i will say this. Whenever apparitions occur, the Church does a thorough investigation to be sure there is no scientific explanation for what has occurred and see if it could be a demonic deception. Since the devil is so awful and desires to poison people’s faith, it is a valid concern that the people could be led astray. Therefore we must examine the fruits of what happened to see if this was the devil’s hand. What happened at Fatima was that 30,000 people saw the miracle of the sun and nonbelievers were converted to the Catholic faith. We also saw the collapse of (atheistic) Communism in the Soviet Union with John Paul II’s consecration of the world to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. To say that these are the work of the devil would be to be as those who accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of demons. Please continue your exploration of the Catholic faith. For a book i’d recommend “Catholic and Christian” by Alan Schreck. It’s the first one i read as i started my journey to the faith.

Hi tenax,

thanks for letting the Catholic Church speak for herself… you definitely will learn a lot about how the early Christians worshiped. The apparition at Fatima, which probably happened, is not a binding belief amongst Catholics. I personally choose to believe it, only due to the events surrounding it (such as pope John Paul II being shot on the anniversary of Fatima). You can read the official message of Fatima at the Vatican’s own website here:


Once you understand Catholic theology you will understand that Mary is not at all in competition with her son, and if you are properly devoted to her she can only draw you closer to Him. She was the woman that said ‘yes’ to the Lord and the one the Lord chose to bear His son, the word Incarnate. By her ‘yes’, you were able to have faith in Christ and be a Christian. Mary was the first Christian and our Mother, so we honor her for that. Proper Marian devotion should always lead one closer to Christ, as that’s all she would want. Let me recommend a few sites for you though…


Also, since you said you’re interested in more about Fatima, you might want to check out this short book… tfp.org/Online%20Store/DAHL_store.htm

“Our Lady at Fatima: Prophecies of Tragedy or Hope?” it’s an awesome in-depth account of what happened there and what was witnessed by thousands…

The definition (or one of them) of consecration that I believe fits this idea is “to dedicate solemnly to a service or goal.” The goal, I believe is complete undivided love to Christ. As his mother and the first to so perfectly give herself to God’s will, Mary is the perfection of that goal. By “consecrating” our hearts to Mary, it doesn’t mean that we make Mary our goal (over Christ), but that we are “dedicating” our hearts to that perfect love for Christ that she signifies. and we are making a solemn vow to do this along with her (hense the consecration part). Her message at Fatima is to ask us to join with her, another human being (though one who has reached the beautific vision), in giving to Christ the type of love that she was able to give (through the grace of God, of course). At least, this is the way I think of it when I consecrated myself to Mary as a Knight of the Immaculata.

I know that this has been said, but I wanted to emphasize that private revelation, like apparitions, are not binding. You do not have to believe in them. Always look for the fruit. Also, there is generally some confusion with even true apparitions because Satan tries to corrupt the message.

I love Fatima. Two books that I like are a Children’s book of fatima written by Mary Fabyan Wideatt called the Children of Fatima. And, one by Sister Lucia herself which I’m trying to remember–something like “In Her Own Words.”

One small devotion I like to do is spiritually place my little cold heart in Mary’s vibrant heart and ask her to offer it to Jesus. I am sure that Mary’s Immaculate Heart makes up for my so not immaculate one. That is all Mary does with her heart–to put us within it and give it to Jesus. What a good mother!

The first thing Jesus did on this earth was place himself into the care of Mary. The message of Fatima does nothing to contradict the message of Our Lord, and it just may help us understand the beautiful relationship that exists between this mother and Son.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.