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Fatima, Mary and the Moslems

May 16, 2015 by  
Filed under Dr. Peter Howard, Mary, Rosary

Fatima, Mary and the Moslems

In our last reflection, we looked at the supernatural significance of the year 1917 as a year of two competing revolutions: one against God and the other restoring all things in God through His Mother – as the unprecedented Marian age since 1830 has undoubtedly confirmed. We looked briefly at how atheistic Communism is at the heart of the world’s evils as it completely eradicates God from society and reduces every person to a utilitarian value determined by the state. And throughout this series, we are meditating on the significance of Mary’s presence in the modern world within the proper context of the “signs of the times,” the importance of which was pointed out by Christ Himself.

If anyone doubts that we are living at a critical point in history, where the stakes for the soul of the human family have never been higher, I call to your attention the prophetic voice of St. John Paul II, shortly before he became pope, who could not have made this truth any more plain:

We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel, between Christ and Antichrist. The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is therefore, in God’s Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously… (Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, Eucharistic Congress, Philadelphia, U.S.A. 1976).

At the heart of this “historical confrontation” is Mary because this enmity goes all the way back to the beginning: “I will put enmities between you and the woman, and your seed and her seed: she shall crush your head, and you shall lie in wait for her heel” (Gen 3:15) [Douay-Rheims translation of Latin Vulgate]. We fast-forward to the Book of the Apocalypse, where the veil surrounding this enmity is fully removed and the subtle serpent is now revealed as the great dragon whose attack is zeroed in on “the woman” and her offspring.

And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars . . . . And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold a great red dragon . . . and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered; that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with an iron rod: and her son was taken up to God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared by God, that there they should feed her a thousand two hundred sixty days. And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon . . . And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduces the whole world; and he was cast unto the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. [Rev 12:1, 3, 4, 5-7, 9, Douay-Rheims]

BlessedVirginMaryMurillo_Immaculate-Conception-portrait-sm REQUIRES HOT LINK

In other words, at the heart of our historic confrontation is “the woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet” against the “great red dragon.” So, when Mary is sent to the world scene, especially with frequency, two things should immediately come to mind: She is warning us of an intensifying battle against the dragon, and a great opportunity for grace comes with that because she is the inseparable Spouse of the Holy Spirit and the Advent of Christ. This is what makes the promised triumph of Our Lady and subsequent “era of peace” promised by Our Blessed Mother at Fatima so exciting. Only for Catholics is a new dark age a powerful opportunity to bring the Light of Christ into the world.

This is why Mary being compared to the moon is so important as the sign of our hope, as Venerable Fulton Sheen put it:

God, Who made the sun, also made the moon. The moon does not take away from the brilliance of the sun. The moon would be only a burnt-out cinder floating in the immensity of space were it not for the sun. All its light is reflected from the sun. The Blessed Mother reflects her Divine Son; without Him, she is nothing. With Him, she is the Mother of Men. On dark nights we are grateful for the moon; when we see it shining, we know there must be a sun. So in this dark night of the world when men turn their backs on Him Who is the Light of the World, we look to Mary to guide their feet while we await the sunrise (The World’s First Love, chapter 5, last paragraph).

And as we wade through our present “valley of tears” awaiting the sunrise, we face another threat to world peace and the Christian faith to which the message of Fatima alluded – Islam. Communism was the explicit political and philosophical threat, but the explicit religious threat is hinted at by the name of the very location where Mary was sent to appear: Fatima. The city of Fatima has an interesting history, as Fulton Sheen explains:

[T]he Muslims occupied Portugal for centuries. At the time when they were finally driven out, the last Muslim chief had a beautiful daughter by the name of Fatima. A Catholic boy fell in love with her, and for him she not only stayed behind when the Muslims left but even embraced the Faith. The young husband was so much in love with her that he changed the name of the town where he lived to Fatima. Thus, the very place where Our Lady appeared in 1917 bears a historical connection to Fatima the daughter of Mohammed (The World’s First Love, chapter 17, paragraph 14).

While Communism is a threat to Christianity from within – by stealing the human soul – Islam is a threat from without because historically, it has spread its religion through fear and force. By VirginMaryAndJesusOldPersianMiniatureMary appearing at a place with explicit Moslem connections, even to its founder, she reveals a spiritual Trojan Horse through which it can be converted. The first crack in the armor of Islam is that Moslems share faith in the Immaculate Conception and the Virgin Birth. As Fulton Sheen points out: “In the nineteenth chapter of the Koran there are forty-one verses on Jesus and Mary. There is such a strong defense of the virginity of Mary here that the Koran, in the fourth book, attributes the condemnation of the Jews to their monstrous calumny against the Virgin Mary” (The World’s First Love, chapter 17, paragraph 10).

There is another crack in the armor of Islam that is due to Mary. In Islam’s writings, while Jesus is esteemed no more than a mere NativityOfJesusInIslamprophet from God, Mary is esteemed even greater than Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed. So, the strategic selection by God to send His mother to a city named after the most esteemed woman in Islam, after Mary, is no mere coincidence. I again point to Fulton Sheen who made this same connection as he wondered:

…why the Blessed Mother, in this twentieth century, should have revealed herself in the insignificant little village of Fatima, so that to all future generations she would be known as Our Lady of Fatima. Since nothing ever happens out of Heaven except with a finesse of all details, I believe that the Blessed Virgin chose to be known as ‘Our Lady of Fatima’ as a pledge and a sign of hope to the Muslim people and as an assurance that they, who show her so much respect, will one day accept her Divine Son, too. (The World's First Love, chapter 17, paragraph 12).

So, how do we utilize this Marian Trojan Horse into Islam? Fulton Sheen offers a solution which may surprise many:

Missionaries in the future will, more and more, see that their apostolate among the Muslims will be successful in the measure that they preach Our Lady of Fatima. Mary is the advent of Christ, bringing Christ to the people before Christ Himself is born. In any apologetic endeavor, it is always best to start with that which people already accept. Because the Muslims have a devotion to Mary, our missionaries should be satisfied merely to expand and to develop that devotion, with the full realization that Our Blessed Lady will carry the Muslims the rest of the way to her Divine Son. She is forever a “traitor” in the sense that she will not accept any devotion for herself, but will always bring anyone who is devoted to her to her Divine Son. As those who lose devotion to her lose belief in the Divinity of Christ, so those who intensify devotion to her gradually acquire that belief.

…It now remains to use another approach, namely, that of taking the forty-first chapter of the Koran, and showing them that it was taken out of the Gospel of Luke, that Mary could not be, even in their own eyes, the most blessed of all the women of Heaven if she had not also borne One Who was the Savior of the world. If Judith and Esther of the Old Testament were prefigures of Mary, then it may very well be that Fatima herself was a postfigure of Mary! The Muslims should be prepared to acknowledge that, if Fatima must give way in honor to the Blessed Mother, it is because she is different from all the other mothers of the world and that without Christ she would be nothing (The World’s First Love, chapter 17, paragraph 15).

RosaryGreenBackgroundThere seems little chance that this kind of “dialogue” is possible with such radically violent factions of Islam like ISIS, etc. But, Our Lady at Fatima revealed there is another weapon for the likes of ISIS, against which no evil can stand. And that is the Holy Rosary. This weapon has a particularly interesting history with the Church's conflict with Islam and against all the evils confronting the Church. This will be the subject of next week's reflection. Stay tuned.


Art: Immaculate Conception Portrait, Esteban Murillo, Restored Traditions, used with permission. Virgin Mary and Jesus (Old Persian Miniature), author and date unknown; Nativity of Jesus (Isa), Hossein Behzad, date unknown; both PD-US copyright expired.  Rosary on green background, Liz Estler, 6 May 2015, PD-Worldwide, self.

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About Peter Howard

Dr. Peter Howard presently lives in Illinois with his wife, Chantal, and five children. Dr. Howard is a professor of Theology at the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation ( In 2015, Peter and Chantal founded dedicated to the mission of “awakening Catholic families to their critical call to live their faith with courage, passion and purpose.” He is also a Catholic videographer (, author and national Catholic speaker who has spoken at the 2015 American Chesterton Society Conference, 2012 Midwest Catholic Family Conference in Wichita, Kansas; the United States Air Force Academy; parish retreats and on Catholic radio programs such as Radio Maria. Peter earned his Doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.T.D.) from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas [Angelicum] in Rome, Italy. Dr. Howard's theological expertise lies predominantly in Mariology and the teachings of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. He is the author of the 2014 book: The Woman: The Mystery of Mary as Mediatrix in the Teaching of Fulton J. Sheen. Like his spiritual mentor, +Fulton Sheen, Dr. Howard is passionate about evangelizing families by communicating the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith as the answer to the challenges and errors of the world. If you would like to invite Dr. Howard to speak at your parish or event, contact him at

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  • Patricia

    Fulton Sheen’ s book, The World’s First Love and his TV series, Life is Worth Living, which airs on EWTN on Sat. at 5:00 P.M. EST offers clarifying insights into the role of governments which seek to eliminate God from the souls and memories of the people and Mary’s unique role as the hope for the salvation of the human race. It is chillingly obvious that there are parallels between the Russian tactics of yesterday with today’s world events.

    We Catholics need to turn back to God with much fervor. If every Catholic would pray the Rosary daily for World Prace, if every Catholic family would pray the rosary each evening together, if churches would pray the Rosary before or after Mass, we would be conducting spiritual warfare against evil through the means given to us from Heaven! Why are we not doing it?

    It is part of the apostasy of the times before the Second Coming of Christ.
    “However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
    (Luke 18:8!

    Yes, Lord, we are your people who have faith and we will use the means given to us from Heaven – Mass- Eucharist- Adoration- Sacraments- Rosary-Beatitudes) to do your will and work!

    • Spot on, Patricia! I love +Fulton Sheen! If you are interested in diving very deep into the heart of his Marian teaching, check out my book “The Woman” at linked in my bio above. Just when I thought I knew a lot about Our Blessed Mother from previous theology studies, +Sheen came along . . . and well, anyone who has bumped into +Sheen knows your life doesn’t stay the same after.

  • Patricia

    The power of prayer has been understood by all the saints, and especially, perhaps, by those who have illumined the world with the light of Christ’s teaching.
    -St. Therese of Lisieux

  • ThirstforTruth

    Does anyone recall hearing, within recent time, an appearance of Our Lady somewhere in Egypt, walking high upon a building as sighted by many Muslim
    people? I cannot recall the details, the exact time, etc., so if any here know about this apparition, can you please refresh my memory? Thanks and God bless.

    • Sandra

      I believe it was at a Coptic Church. You should be able to search it on Google, I remember reading about it at the time.

    • donna

      in zeitoun which covers the ground the HOly family was on during the flight into egypt. This the apparition of Mary seen by the most people in human history in April ’68 interpreted as a response to the legalisation of abortion in west. Gamel Nasser was a participant. Lovely story that an old man actively dying in a hospital room looked out his window and saw her ascending up to top of Cathedral and was healed. Dressed himself and went out and arranged for his discharge. Mentioned in unveiling the apocalypse by Emmett O”regan’s latest post. Also

    • Cathy

      Yes I believe it was in the 1960’s I learned about it from The Marian Apparitions
      Of the 20th century narrated by Ricardo Montebalm,but you can always check out
      Mark Miravelli site thefifthdogma.He has many programs re Marian apparitions

    • mama-ess

      I have a photo of this in a book – have been frantically looking for it. Both Muslims and Christians knelt down in homage. I believe it was on a Church. She appeared on a pillar of cloud. If I find the book I will post. Every Blessing!

    • Yes, it was at Zeitung and 1000s of eyewitnesses report seeing Our Lady.

      Here is a link that provides the background of the apparitions.

  • Thank you for your comments, William. You summarized the heart of the message of Fatima well. Peace truly is linked to conversion and Our Lady has made it extremely clear, as have the popes of the last 150 years that a prayer of singular power that brings about the conversion of hearts is the Rosary. Mary emphasized this in her first message to the children on 13 Mary: “Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war.” The disposition with which we pray the Rosary is one of penance and reparative acts for the sins of the world.

    Thank you again for your comments.

    • William Sockey

      Dr. Howard, I much enjoyed your insights into the Message of Fatima. But the suggestion that praying the Rosary with a disposition of penance and reparative acts fulfills the request of Our Lady and the Angel of Peace for prayer and reparation as the condition for peace on earth doesn’t seem to me to fit what Our Lady and the Angel of Peace actually said at Fatima. The Angel did not mention the Rosary when he said that prayer for the conversion of sinners (and he gave us a prayer) and offering all our suffering as reparation for sin is the way to bring peace to our nation. When Our Lady asked us to offer our suffering “for the love of Jesus, for the conversion of sinners and as reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary” this seems to me to be in addition to praying the daily Rosary. It seems to me that accepting and bearing with submission the suffering we encounter each day and offering it as reparation for the conversion of sinners, as the Angel and Our Lady requested, is not satisfied by praying the Rosary, regardless of our disposition and regardless of the immense power of the Rosary. I think the Message of Fatima requires more than just the daily Rosary as a condition for world peace, and I think this is being overlooked.

      • We don’t disagree, William. I have not spoken in the exclusive. It is both/and, not either/or. We must realize the message of Fatima both in its completeness, while understanding the significance Our Lady and the Church have give to each part.

        • William Sockey

          Dr. Howard, I wasn’t thinking of disagreement but emphasis. The prayer of the Church for Our Lady of Fatima on May 13th emphasizes “perservering in penance and prayer for the salvation of the world…” It’s too easy for the devout who already pray the Rosary daily to feel they are fulfilling Our Lady’s requests for peace on earth, while they go on complaining about their daily crosses that we are called to unite to the Cross as penance for the sins of our country (e.g., abortion) and the world. Our suffering with Jesus is a great mystery, but a fact of the faith. And Our Lady emphasized this practice as essential for the conversion of sinners and peace for our country and the world. We need to make reparation for our neighbors’ sins, not just our own if we are to help bring about their conversion. Prayer without penance is not enough, according to the Message of Fatima.

    • jdumon

      Peter, the conversion of the muslims of course and that of our othodox brothers through Russia’s Consecration.

  • Dhaniele

    Many thanks for bringing out the Muslim connection with Mary and especially Our Lady of Fatima. As you pointed out, Fatima is named after a Muslim girl who bore the name of Mohammed’s daughter, and the Portuguese girl later became a Christian.
    All of this is certainly not a coincidence. The previous focus of Russia has
    lead to this aspect being ignored by most. St. John Bosco in a prophetic dream
    saw a time when the Church would battle for her very existence. The Church was seen as a massive ship surrounded by other warring vessels. The Church was saved by being tied to two massive pillars. One was surmounted by the
    Eucharist. The other had a statue of Mary – written on the pedestal was the
    word and the date for Lepanto, the naval battle that saved Europe from a Muslim invasion and lead to the feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. Prayer (and penance) is no doubt key to achieving this victory, and at Fatima our Lady did promise that a time of peace would be given to the world. I suspect that there is going to be a profound historical analogy between Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of Guadalupe. Just at the moment when all of northern Europe was lost to the Church and the Church was faced with a tremendous historical defeat, Our Lady of Guadalupe opened the doors to the mass conversion of the hitherto reluctant inhabitants of Mexico, paving the way to a Catholic continent. If Our Lady of Fatima promised us a time of peace, something similar must be in our future, and Mary will have a central role as the mother of humanity who was entrusted to St. John on our behalf.

    • Excellent comments, Dhaniele. I, too, frequently draw people’s attention to the prophetic dream of St. John Bosco of the two pillars to contextualize the times in which we are living.

      I especially found your connection between Fatima and Guadalupe very insightful and I agree. Our Lady is always the Advent of Christ, the Prince of Peace!

      • marybernadette

        Dr. Peter, I believe I read somewhere that Our Lady praised the Muslim women for their ‘modesty in dress.’ It’s interesting to note, that ‘Our Lady of Fatima’s veil’ in particular, is like or similar to the veil that Muslim women wear too. Of course, I don’t believe that western women need dress the same, however, it is very sad that there is widespread ‘immodesty’ today.

        • Interesting comment, Mary. I don’t know about the reference you made about Mary praising the modesty in dress of Moslem women. But, wherever there is true modesty, you can be sure that pleases Mary — and this is something the West, in general, is greatly lacking. Modesty will begin in our families and then they will be lights for our society, which is looking for them.

  • suzeeqbl

    I had neighbors who were Muslim and they were no problem. One time they came to my apt and were so delighted to see my statue of Mary. They had a deep belief in her and were happy to know I was devoted to her. This was in the early 2000’s when I wasn’t concerned or afraid.
    This was an excellent article.

  • suzeeqbl

    I do pray for ISIS every day. I am praying for the Boston Bomber to find the truth before he is executed. We need to keep praying the Rosary our weapon of choice.

    • Cathy

      I am reminded that the day that the Boston Bomber was taken into custody
      I was praying The Divine Mercy Chaplet for people that I knew that were in an active state of dying,this kid just kept jumping in on the beads.I said to myself
      what is going on here,but the Lord knew and needed those prayers and he was captured.Yes we need to pray the rosary for the conversion of sinners,but I have also been reminded that with the 1st saturday devotion th Blessed Mother told
      Sister Lucia the prescription is 5.We can sincerely enter into this devotion in 5
      Month increments for what you have stated.I see that the website for the Nigerian
      Bishop has been posted above you,And he says the sword turned into a rosary.
      We are Mary s soldiers and there is much work ahead for the salvation of Souls.
      thanks for your post!!!

  • Squorrox

    I don’t know if you were planning on bringing this into your next article:

    It definitely fits in with what you are saying.

    • Thank you, Squorrox. It absolutely fits in with what I am sharing. Start with your families, then your parishes, then your diocese, then your nation. Hey, if all can happen close together, even better! Claim everything for Our Lady as St. John Paul II did throughout his pontificate.

  • Alicia Summers
  • William Sockey

    I had a three year discussion with a devout Muslim from Sri Lanka recently and he was very unsettled by the story of Fatima. He accused Catholics of worshiping idols of Our Lady, but when I pointed to the Muslim “worship” of the International Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima in various places he gave the Catholic response: they weren’t worshiping Miriam, but venerating her in her image!!! He tried to dismiss Fatima as superstition, denying that the news reporters and 70,000 people witnessed the Miracle of the Sun. He was apparently reading some Muslim apologetics against Christian arguments. Overcoming obstacles in the will of Muslims takes grace, which can be merited by prayer and penance offered for their conversion. We need to convert more Catholics and other Christians to be faithful to our Faith so we can bring down God’s grace and mercy. The Divine Mercy revelations also address this problem and provide solutions for converting individuals.

    • Interesting points, William. The “Miracle of the Sun” is publicly documented by communist newspapers who witnessed it, such as O Saeculo. I believe provides some of these accounts that are quite fascinating. So, the fact ‘that’ it happened is undeniable — helping draw others to the significance of Mary’s visitation and message at Fatima is something we ask her to help us with and use us. Focusing on being her instruments will surprise us what she will do with and through us.

      Keep up the good work.

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  • jdumon

    This article much contradicts the modernists in the Vatican who forcefully are striving to convince us that “Fatima belongs to the past”. Benedict XVI on the contrary gave us hints several times that Fatima was far from being completed.

  • Peatbogjeff

    This is an outstanding essay that taught me a lot. I had no idea about this story, and yet have been devoted to Fatima for years.

    A mystic in Brazil has been told we should do the first five Saturdays, starting this weekend, and ending in October as if it is our last chance. Few Catholics even know about this, and I am doing it again with my sons who will be doing it for the first time.

  • cephas2

    Dear Dr Howard, what a wonderful article. Our dear Lady of Fatima has a peace plan for the world – the First Saturday Devotions. If you are free, we are beginning them in the wonderful downtown Denver parish of Holy Ghost next Saturday, June 6th. Mass at 8 o’clock will be followed by the Rosary and 15 minutes silent adoration on one or more of the mysteries.

    • Thank you, cephas2. Another good spiritual activity going on at Holy Ghost in Denver with the OVMs!

  • lucas westwood

    Dr. Howard, we are all of us guilty of making blanket statements. You mention the enemy of Truth that is Communism, but do not mention it’s source and those that propagate it. If we are to win the spiritual combats of our time the Church Militant bust be awakened as to who in truth is the enemy; for instance, what group capitalized Communism, for certainly it took a lot of money to engage the Bolshevik Revolution. Just who were the money men and what is their goal? Are they evil? Do they worship the Beast? WE KNOW WHO OUR MASTERS ARE, BY THOSE WE CANNOT CRITICIZE. We must be willing today to carry our Crosses for Christ, even if it means calumny, imprisonment, or even…death. Blessings.

    • Thank you for your comments, Lucas. I am not sure “blanket statement” would be entirely accurate, but I will say that it is a loaded statement that would indeed pertain to the excellent points you raised. Communism is the social and political manifestation of philosophies that are inherently anti-human, anti-Christian and even anti-God.

      And yes, if we are to be true students of history, we have to look even further to the true causes and instruments by which these “revolutions” managed to deceive sweep a vulnerable public. Ultimately, Satan (or Lucifer, according to the freemasons) is the motor force behind all the revolutions that seek to destroy the Church, human freedom and the family. That’s why I highly recommend people study the real history behind the French Revolution and you will find the philosophical roots of all the evils that make up all that is intentionally creating an anti-God 1984 society. We will never understand the significance of our times unless we seek to understand these realities, as you rightly point out. The popes of the 19th and 20th century understood this (just look at Pope Leo XIII and Humanum Genus as one example). So, thank you for pointing those points out that are important to understand what is behind the battle the Church faces today. God bless you.

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