Corruption In Fatima


What I am going to write about is corruption in Fatima and Portugal, corruption in the governments and with public officials.  This is not about the apparitions of Fatima, which are the greatest events of the 20th Century or about the Shrine of Fatima, which is run with great care by holy priests.   But it is a reflection on the Church of Portugal, who know about the corruption in the government, even the government of Fatima and do nothing.  "We are concerned with the soul and not the government", priests will say.  But that is not the truth.  The Church in Portugal has a great deal of power, and when they need a zone change or a street closed for a procession, the government bends over backwards for them, because the government wants to keep the Church sleeping as to their power.  Unless the Church wakes up soon, not just in Portugal but all over the world, it will take a revolution to get rid of the corruption in politics and the injustice.  Wherever there is injustice, those who have the power to right the wrong, have an obligation to do so and the Church has that power in Fatima and in Portugal.  


One of the great patron Saints of Portugal is Saint Ambrose of Milan in the 4th Century.  A famous Portuguese singer had his father cured of  blindness by St. Ambrose, and has been singing about this since he was 10 years old.   See Unity's article on him in  Ambrose Cures Father of Catholic Singer       


Saint Ambrose and Government


Ambrose would not ever have considered that the Church should stand by as injustice took place in governments.  One example out of many of St. Ambrose's involvements in the political world, is when in Thessalonica. Botheric, the governor, had had a popular charioteer imprisoned for seducing a slave in his family and refused to release him when the public wanted to see him in the races. The enraged mob stoned several officers and Botheric himself was killed. Theodosius (the Emperor) ordered reprisals.  The solders, in seeking out those responsible killed many innocent people. 


Ambrose wrote the emperor a letter, exhorting him to penance, and declaring his offering at the altar would not be received, nor would the Divine Mysteries be celebrated in his presence until atonement had been made.   The Emperor of the world was refused communion until he made restitution, penance, and even passed a law preventing this from happening again.  Now think about this, and compare it to the following story in Portugal. 


Portugal's Saint Ambrose Attacked


Father Nuno Serras Pereira, a Franciscan priest (and a type of St. Ambrose) caused a stir throughout the media in Portugal for his refusal to give Communion to public officials who claim to be Catholic but support abortion and other attacks on human life.  He argued that his decision was based on the Magisterium of the Church and on Canon Law, which teach that priests, in fidelity to the norms of the Church, are not allowed to give Holy Communion "to those Catholics who stubbornly and manifestly persist in defending, contributing to, or promoting the death of innocent human beings."

But both the Portuguese Media and the Media's selected "Catholic priests"  attacked the priest's stand as "exaggerated, dark,  opportunistic, and too difficult to hear."  The Media sought out the opinions of well-known liberal priests such as Father Anselmo Borges, who dismissed Father Pereira's comments saying, "Taking the pill in order to exercise responsible motherhood is not the same as euthanasia."  "If contraception is a grave sin, then at this point 80% of women are in grave sin. It won't be long before everything will be forbidden!" he complained.

Father Borges said he was not concerned that Father Pereira's comments conformed to the teachings of Pope John Paul II.  "The Pope criticizes, but the Pope does not decide everything - he has the right and the duty to provide guidance, but the Catholic Church must learn that there is such a thing as moral autonomy."

The bishops of Portugal have remained mum about the controversy, with the exception of Cardinal Jose Policarpo of Lisbon, who said Father Pereira's comments were not very prudent and that expressing them through the media was not the most pastorally appropriate way to do so - which again is a cop-out and cover-up.

The Franciscan Provincial, Father Isidro Lamelas, in comments to the Ecclesia news agency, distanced himself from the comments of Father Pereira and said they were purely his own personal opinion.  Strangely, he said that while he supports the pro-life cause, in his struggle he prefers "charity to law, mercy to morality, communion to excommunication."

Father Pereira sent a second letter to the editor in which he wrote that he was thankful for the comments by Cardinal Policarpo, but that "if the cardinal desires to make a pronouncement, in communion with the Holy Father, regarding some doctrinal or moral issue, making use of the authority he has been granted, it belongs to me to listen to and meditate upon his words, and
to try to put them into practice.  I might add, however, just for informational purposes, that if he makes simple prudential judgments or expresses opinions, any Catholic is free to agree or not."

"What's at stake here is the objective responsibility of legislators and other politicians, researchers from laboratories and pharmacies, doctors, opinion makers, journalists, pastors of the Church, and any other person who professes to be Catholic, to not continue to publicly reject the teaching of the Church on such an essential issue as that of the respect for the commandment of the Law of God, Thou shalt not kill the innocent and the just," Father Pereira wrote.

"The law is at the service of charity, morality at the service of mercy, and excommunication is a teaching at the service of communion-in this sense it's not 'either/or' but rather 'both/and'," he concluded.


Where Is the Portuguese Church?


We see how one good priest is trying to do the right thing and is being attacked by the Media and the Bishops.  Last month, I wrote a Newsletter called Portugal is in Trouble and predicted just what happened.  On February 20th with only 35% of the people voting (and the Church standing by doing nothing) a pro-abortion, pro-homosexual Socialist Prime Minister was elected. Most people I talk with say that he is homosexual.  The Socialists bankrupted the country three years ago, and the people elected a conservative to bring it back, but he was thrown out of office without an election and Socialism brought back in.  Why?  Because there will soon be a referendum to vote for the European Constitution and the people with power want to assure its passing in Portugal. 


What they are not telling the people in these countries is that under the choke hold of the constitution, member-states' sovereignty will be overridden by the EU. The European Union will be made a super-state by its constitution, removing powers from member states and concentrating many of them in Brussels.  Among other headaches, the EU constitution will create a legal personality, an un-elected president, a foreign minister and diplomatic service, a judicial system, recognized external borders, a military capacity and a police force. Under such a regime, trans-Atlantic relations will be dealt a fatal blow.

Under the EU constitution, member countries will be forbidden from operating an independent foreign policy position.
They must "explicitly and unreservedly support the Union's foreign and security policy." Trade will also suffer. Protectionist regulations are inevitable under "a united Europe."    Spain faced its constitutional referendum on Feb. 20. As Spain has about
$60 billion in EU subsidies over recent years, it was no surprise it voted "yes" to the new constitution. Meanwhile Portugal, the Netherlands and France are to vote in the spring.

Europe is besieged by the EU's "Yes" campaign, supported by millions of dollars of propaganda advertising. "Yes" propaganda, among other things, is telling Europeans the constitution will create a "United States of Europe," but this is by no means anything like the American constitution. The EU constitution could be one of the most significant blows to an important history of mutual support and alliances. It will be the beginning of one of the greatest rifts in the Western World.


And although Rome is speaking out against it almost daily, few words come from the altar's of Europe.  The average Catholic in the pew has no idea what Rome is saying and unless the local Churches speak out this Mason, EU Constitution will pass.


If any priest tries to tell you, "Separation of Church and State", let them read some of Unity's past articles.

Free Speech for Churches ,  Portugal is in Trouble   , Why Did Peter Go To Rome?  , Separation of Church and State - The Truth , The Myth of Separation of Church and State



Conning the Pilgrims in Fatima


I have lived in Fatima for 4 years now and I am setting up to leave here for good.  I visited Brazil and it has promise but there are some details to take care of in Fatima first.  I came to Fatima because the message of Fatima converted me to the faith and here I lived next door to Lucia's house and down the road from the apparition sites of the angels and of the August appearance of Our Lady.  I know the relatives of Lucia and Jacinta and Francisco.  These are wonderful people.  But you have to live here a long time to see that everything is about money, and the people who work in the shops, the hotels, the coffee shops, sell the rosaries and statues, etc., with few exceptions, do not even go to Church.  There are more Convents here than all of some countries but they are empty, some with 40 or 50 rooms and only two or three nuns.  There are many religious orders of priests here with large houses, but none with more than two priests that I know of.  There are no seminaries.  There are at least 40 Churches in the surrounding area but only about 8 that have full time priests.  The rest have priests only on Sunday or Saturday night.  And there has not been one person from this area that has become a priest in over 10 years.


But that does not effect the pilgrims who come here, because they go to the Shrine where there are Masses all day long, processions at night, rosary hours, perpetual adoration, the tombs of Jacinta and Francisco, the apparition site, and two of the world famous statues of Our Lady.  They will come and go and be edified by Our Lady and the experience.  But what they will not see and will never know is that the tour guides get 10% kick backs for taking you to "special places" where you can buy things cheaper, and in fact 10% higher.  What you will not see is that pilgrims (or any non-Portuguese) will pay double for almost anything.  What you will not see is that  almost all the rosaries and statues are made in Communist China and not in Portugal.  What you will not see is that many restaurants do not have health inspections, or "Brown Envelope ones" meaning money under the table to the inspector, and could not pass a real inspection. You will not see the rats coming up the sewer systems or food stored in normal closets or under staircases.   You will sleep in Hotels not knowing that they have never been inspected (more brown paper bags).  Pilgrims will be conned out of donations to charities that do not exist, gypsies that refuse to work or people sitting on the sidewalks with rented babies.  Of course some of these things are found everywhere in the world, but here the Church has the power to do something about it.


The Portuguese Legal System


Forget about going to court if you are conned, cheated or swindled, because the system is designed for corruption.  There is no "small claims court" where you can walk in without a lawyer and get a judgment in ten minutes.  Everything, no matter how small, must go through the entire system which takes never less than three years and maybe 15 years.  Everything takes a lawyer, or someone who calls themselves a lawyer.  Any person can represent you in court and claim to be a lawyer, because there is no law requiring a law degree.  Something called the "Secrecy of Justice" prevents you or even the news media from knowing what is going on.  If someone sues you for something, not you or your lawyer has a right to know what it is until you face a DA in court.  Any complaint, no matter how stupid and backed with no evidence, is accepted in the court.  This is why it takes 3 to 15 years to hear cases.  In most civilized countries evidence must be presented in order to file a complaint but not in Portugal.  There is no law against lying, forging documents, or forging signatures in Portugal.  You do not take an oath to tell the truth, because they expect you to lie and it is not illegal to lie.  Your lawyer does not have to give you any copies of any documents, and your lawyer may not even get them from the court.  You can go to court for years and have no proof that you have ever been there or even represented in court.  If you are suing someone, they can stall the case almost forever, just by slipping a few hundred Euros to the right clerk to keep your case on the bottom of the stack of cases, which are already backlogged for years.  Any foreigner they just expect to give up and leave, but if they do not, they try to drive them out with frivolous law suits, slanders, and even violence. 


You can give absolute proof of crimes to the police, or the courts and nothing will ever be done because you are a foreigner.

Foreign nationals residing in Portugal are more likely to receive prison sentences than national citizens when confronted with the Portuguese judicial system.  17% of the people in Portuguese prisons are foreigners and foreigners are only 5.5% of the population.  Unlike other countries, there is no check on government officials, judges, clerks, or even the police.


In America Terri Schindler (married name Schiavo) is fighting for her life against an immoral husband and a corrupt judge, but at least the entire Catholic Church is coming to her aid, Bishops, priests and people, even offering a million dollars to save her life.  As this develops (only a few more days to save her) I will write about it.


The Portuguese City Hall


In Portugal you used to be able to own property without being a resident and many apartments in Fatima are owned by Americans, English, Irish, German, etc.  In most cases they used realtors and lawyers to buy them. However, do they even know if they own them, since there is nothing here like an "Escrow Office" that does a title search, and issues a deed of ownership.  You rely on your realtor or lawyer here, and then often do not tell you that you must go down to city hall in Ourem in person, with all your papers and your ID's, pay the clerk and get title.  Since the lawyer or the realtor have copies of these papers, some signed by you and others just signed by the former owner, they can wait it out and someday register the property in their own name, and they own it.  One lawyer I know about owns 9 apartments in Fatima and has never bought one of them, and a realtor I know owns 16 apartments, and never bought any.


One man told me about his 30 room hotel which he was having problems getting approval for, so he slipped a little money in a clerks hand and got approval in one day.  He then paid the Building Inspector 1000 Euros and never saw him again until he signed the finish building off.


I listen to stories of people being zoned out of the value of their land, and others who slipped a few Euros in the right hands to have worthless property zoned for construction.  Others who bought property only to find out later that they could not build on it.  One house in Fatima was for sale way under what it should have cost, so a little investigation showed that it was declared

Eminent Domain by city hall, to put a road right through it, but the owner was not telling any buyer that.  City planning does not exist because they will change things from day to day without informing anyone.  So if you want to look at a master plan of the future for investment, there are no guarantees that anything will be as they show you. 


One friend rented a place to open a restaurant and in fact had it open for many months only to find out that rats were coming up the ground floor sewer system.  When He called the Health Department, the Inspector shut his place down but the four other restaurants on the same system remain open. 


The Fatima Government


The government of Fatima is not in Fatima, but in Ourem, a much smaller city with almost no industry.  Ourem, like all the other small cities around make their money on the tourists in Fatima.  Fatima generates the money for all these towns, but only a small amount of the tax money comes back to Fatima.  Ourem has parks, swimming pools, theaters, hospitals, including an emergency ward, many things for children, the phone, electric and water departments.  Fatima has none of these things.  If you live in Fatima, you can pay 20% more for food, or go shopping in Ourem.  If you want to pay bills for electric, water or gas, you must drive to Ourem.  The people of Fatima had enough of this injustice and voted to create their own city by an overwhelming margin of vote.   But the President of Portugal, who has king like power, overruled the vote of the people, and threw it out. 


Fatima in Trouble


Just as Portugal is facing great Problems (see  Portugal is in Trouble ), Fatima as a city is going to go through 5 years of very bad times.  Mostly because of the 30% drop in the dollar  making it 30% more expensive for dollar countries to visit Fatima or to live here, but also because of poor projections of the future.  Fatima has grown faster than any city in Portugal for over 10 years, and the value of property has risen 10 to 15% a year during that time.  At the same time, banks pay almost nothing for savings.  So as the local people saw huge profits in land and buildings they continued to re-invest in more and more buildings, to the point that now (once completed) there will be at least a 35% vacancy of buildings in Fatima.  I predict that these empty condos, empty apartments, empty hotels, and unsold houses will cause a great deal of bankruptcies and foreclosures within the next two years.  For the next year or two they will stubbornly hang on to inflated prices, but in time everything in Fatima will come down in price, or you will be able to buy repossessed  homes and apartments all over the city.  I have had four different investors wanting to invest in Fatima and would have done so at my word.  This is why I investigated the value, the future, the zoning, the law, and the corruption of this area.  In the end, I told them not to buy here at all. 


The Shrine Has the Power


I know the bishop and the rector of Fatima, and I know them to be good people.  This Newsletter is a plea for them to use the power they have to clean up this area.  Like Saint Ambrose, they could walk in city hall, and clean up injustice, because they have the power.  They could demand justice in individual cases, and they could demand systems that would stop the corruption within the government.  If they used their power over the people, no one would get elected without their support.


Lucia of Fatima stepped forward a few years back to use her power to stop a law that would have allowed abortion.   She simply went on Television and told the people to vote "No!"  If Lucia is willing to do it, why are the bishops and priests afraid to do so.


Although I know it is not true, most local people here blame the Church, and think the Church is in league with the corruption of the government, because they know the Church has the power and does nothing.  They only conclude that it does nothing because it also is being paid off. 


Richard Salbato