Pope Francis leads the blessing of the candles ceremony from the Chapel of the Apparitions at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal May 12, 2017. Photo courtesy REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Pope, at Fatima shrine, urges end to wars tearing world apart

FATIMA, Portugal (Reuters)  Pope Francis, visiting one of Catholicism's most famous sanctuaries, on Friday (May 12)  prayed for an end to wars he said were lacerating the world and urged the faithful to "tear down all walls" to spread justice and peace.

At the start of a trip that will see him on Portuguese soil for less than 24 hours, Francis arrived at the Shrine of Fatima, where the Catholic Church teaches that the Madonna appeared to three Portuguese children 100 years ago in what was then an impoverished farming village.

The main purpose of the trip to the central Portuguese town, which receives around 7 million people a year, is a huge open-air Mass on Saturday to declare two of the children saints.

The two, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, died shortly after the apparitions at the ages of 9 and 10. The third visionary, Lucia Dos Santos, became a nun and died in 2005 at the age of 97.

Watched by hundreds of thousands of people, Francis read a long prayer before a small statue of the Madonna, leaving a gold rose at her feet.

"I implore for the world concord among all peoples" he said, decrying blood "shed in the wars tearing our world apart."

Since his election in 2013, Francis has made hundreds of appeals for peace, including calling for international mediation to reduce tensions between the United States and North Korea.

A banner in the crowd read: "Please pray for peace in Korea."

In his prayer, which the huge crowd listened to in near silence, Francis also hammered home another major theme of his papacy - justice for the poor, refugees and outcasts.

"We will follow all paths and everywhere make our pilgrim way; we will tear down all walls and cross every frontier as we go out to every periphery to make known God's justice and peace," he said.

The story of Fatima's shepherd children has captivated Catholics since their first reported vision on May 13, 1917.

The church believes the Madonna gave the children three messages, the so-called secrets of Fatima.

The first two were revealed soon and concerned a vision of hell, seen by believers as a prediction of the outbreak of World War Two, a warning that Russia would "spread her errors" in the world, and a need for general conversion to God and prayer.

The "third secret" intrigued the world for more than three-quarters of a century, inspiring books and cults convinced that it predicted the end of the world.

In 2000, the Vatican said it was a prediction of the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul on May 13, the same day of the first reported apparition in 1917.

John Paul believed the Madonna had diverted one of the bullets that hit him from his vital organs. He donated it to the sanctuary, where it is now embedded in the crown of the statue that Francis prayed before on Friday night.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella and and Sergio Goncalves)


  1. Thus prayed the Holy Father at the Fatima Shrine in Portugal: “We will follow all paths and everywhere make our pilgrim way; we will tear down all walls and cross every frontier as we go out to every periphery to make known God’s justice and peace.”

  2. The Pope’s continuing prayers for peace, while laudable, are apt to be disappointed. It seems evident to me from both the history of humanity and the pages of the bible, that the world will end in a phantasmagorical conflagration rather than a community songfest exemplified by a resounding chorus of Kumbaya.

  3. Though I am not of the Papist faith myself, my Irish heritage gives me a respect and admiration for The Pope.

    I thank him for his prayer for peace and I am sure that wars will stop now that the demoncRAT warmonger Killery has been vanquished by the New King, Donald. Despite the wishes of the liberals, there will be no new cold war but instead cowoperation between Russia and America. Peace will bloom.

    However I do wish The Pope would reconsider the stuff about justice for the poor, refugees ect. God will give them what He sees fit and it is not our job to do anything else.

  4. I spend a fair amount of time on the Christian Post, and I think Mr. Graham makes a sound case. I’m not sure what you mean by “mods.” Do you mean moderates, which would be a generous term, or moderators? I don’t think the moderators on RNS would object to a link to the Christian Post.

Leave a Comment