Inside information on Fatima's Pluralistic Controversy

By Richard P. Salbato

Last October 10th, 11th and 12th, a religious conference was held at the Paul VI Pastoral Center adjacent to the Fatima Shrine in Portugal.  It was reported that this conference was a UN and Vatican initiative for interfaith dialogue but in fact it was the Shrine's initiative to enter into dialogue on greater use of shines for peace in the world through interfaith cooperation and perhaps the use of shrines for this cooperation.   

The Shrine's rector Monsignor Luciano Guerra, called the conference as a response to a meeting last year of shrine rectors throughout the world looking for ways to use the vast influence of shrines for promotion of peace and the cooperation of different religions for justice in the world.  Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue which has responsibility for such matters, was invited and monitored the conference.  In keeping with Vatican guideline, representatives of these different religions did not pray together but simply talked about the use of shrines in their different religions and faiths.  The possible use of shrines for ecumenical dialogue was hardly mentioned. 

There would have been no over-reaction to the conference if not for two things:  The Pius X Society picked the conference with flyers and the unfortunate invitation of the notorious interfaith theologian, Father Jacques Dupuis.  I cannot justify the invitation of Dupuis, however I am trying to find out why he was invited and will report on this more in future Newsletters.  Right now because of the untimely death of Vice-rector, Father Villanova, having interviews is difficult.  Father Villanova, of whom I was to talk with, was killed in a car accident in Spain while he was visiting his family.  Monsignor Guerra (whose daily Masses I have attended for almost three years) is totally Catholic with a love of the Mass and totally dedicated to the messages of Fatima and the memoirs of Lucia, from whose books he quotes often.  For over 20 years he has kept Fatima pure of outside controversies and conflicts that have effected the Church throughout the world.  Although the Pius X Society was deigned a permit to build a church in Fatima, they obtained a permit to build a hotel under another name and then converted it into a chapel.  Other than this there are no non-catholic organizations in Fatima.  And yes, I consider the Pius X Society as non-catholic since they are not in communion with the Holy Father.  Because of their connection to Father Gruner and their continuous attacks on the 1984 Consecration, their is great animosity between them and the Shrine.

The Portugal News

"The Portugal News" published in English  the first and only article against this Conference in all of Portugal  entitled "Fatima to Become an Interfaith Shrine".  Mostly from this article came the controversy.   They have published the false claims of the false organization called "Vatican Investigators Inc.", and organization that does not exist.  Since the Portugal News is located in the Algarve, a six hour drive from Fatima, has a distribution of  only a few thousand, and reports mostly on the happenings of the retired people from England in the Algarve, why are they reporting on anything in Fatima or anything Catholic, since their readers are mostly Protestants from England.   Although the source of these reports comes from those people who have a long history of conflicts with the Fatima Shrine (Father Gruner, The Pius X Society, The Portugal News), I cannot find a way to condone the invitation of Father Jacques Dupuis as a speaker.

Father Jacques Dupuis

Father Jacques Dupuis is not new to me.  Because I have been in the ecumenical movement for many years and in fact this is why I call my company "Unity Publishing", I have had to learn what "Ecumenical" means to a Catholic.  To the Holy Father and to all true Catholics it means "dialogue to the truth of faith".  It does not mean "pluralism" which is a heresy.   The Holy Father stressed this  many times but most forcibly in "That they may be One" and in the "Spender of Truth".  To a Catholic "dialogue to truth" will lead all religions to join the Catholic Faith because we, and we alone, possess the truth and we are confident that we can prove this in pure and scientific dialogue.  To do this successfully we must hold fast to the teachings of the faith and not compromise truth.

Father Jacques Dupuis stands for everything that I stand against in the ecumenical movement.  He is a notorious pluralist and therefore a notorious heretic.  He has not been declared a heretic yet, but he has been censured by the Vatican and his writings have been censured.  However, the very statements that the Vatican required of him to include in his writings are the very statements that he repudiated at this conference.  I will assume now that he will be called to task by the Vatican and have to recant or be excommunicated.

At the Congress, Father Dupuis said that the purpose of dialogue is NOT to convert the non-Catholic but rather to help "the Christian to become a better Christian, and the Hindu a better Hindu  -  Christians and ‘the others’ are co-members of the Reign of God in history - the Holy Spirit is present and operative in the sacred books of Hinduism or of Buddhism - He is present and operative in the sacred rites of Hinduism".   In reference to the doctrine of "outside the Church there is no salvation proclaimed again at the Council of Florence, Father Jacques Dupuis said,  "There is no need to invoke here that horrible text from the Council of Florence in 1442". 

Father Dupuis stated that:  "Christians and ‘the others’ are co-members of the Reign of God in history  - the Holy Spirit is present and operative in the sacred books of Hinduism or of Buddhism. That He is present and operative in the sacred rites of Hinduism".

All these statements are heresy, the heresy of pluralism.  They are everything that the ecumenical movement stands against.  They are in fact Masonic and Antichrist doctrines.  They are the goals of the Masons, and what is said to be the religion of the Antichrist when he comes.  A Religion of no truths but where everyone will decide him or herself what they want to believe or how they want to worship, what is moral and what is not, each person being his own tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Although I know that Fatima will never be corrupted by "pluralism", Masons, or the Antichrist, someone will have to answer as to why they allowed Father Dupuis to speak at this conference.

The Cardinal of Lisbon should also explain what he meant by  "Sister Lucy is no longer a point of reference today since we have such a good one in the Second Vatican Council".


Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, told The Universe, a Catholic paper in England, that Fatima would definitely remain Catholic.  "There is no question of the Fatima sanctuary becoming an inter-faith pilgrimage center.  This is a place of prayer centered on Our Lady, and everyone is welcome."

I have been here in Fatima for three years and I have seen Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists, Orthodox and Protestants come here to see what we Catholics love and reverence but this does not mean that it is anything other than totally Catholic. 

The vast resources of Fatima may be used "where different religions can mingle" and dialogue but I find no problem with this providing that we dialogue to truth and I "Trust" that Our Lady of Fatima will use this to convert many to the faith.

As Archbishop Fitzgerald said "there were no practical conclusions" arising from the meeting.  "It's not going to change the nature of the sanctuary."


Regarding the new stadium-like basilica about to be erected, this will not effect the shrine in any way.  It will be mostly underground and none of the existing Shrine or Basilica will change in any way.  It will be built on the south side of the Shrine in what is now open ground between the Pope Paul VI Center and the south wall of the Shrine.

Those of us who live here in Fatima see this as both needed and at the same time too modern.  It is needed in that the Basilica is way to small for even the crowds on Sunday from November through April, the slowest time of the year.  Sunday is the only day of the week that I do not go to the Shine for Mass, simply because I cannot get inside even to receive Holy Communion.  There is no way to expand the old Basilica enough to accommodate the 20% annual growth of Fatima.  Therefore the Rector opted to build a second one without touching the Shine built in 1921 or the Basilica built in 1951.  And to not disrupt the existing shine, most of the new Basilica will be built underground.  When completed it will hardly be noticed by the pilgrims but will be mostly used by those of us who live here, for conferences and for Mass in bad weather.

The fact that the interior is modern (meaning that function takes precedence over beauty) offends me, but that is personal to each and every person.  I leave that to God and Our Lady if they approve or not. It they do not, it will not be blessed in the way the Shrine has been blessed over so many years.

However, those who fight against this are making too big a deal out of nothing.


Another conference almost identical to the one held here in Fatima in October was just held in Buenos Aires.  Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, revealed in Argentina that the Holy See is preparing a new document on the spiritual dimension of inter-religious dialogue.

Dialogue with believers of other religions "is not a hobby or an extra activity but a duty within the mission of the Church," Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald  said.  "The problem that arises is how to reconcile dialogue as part of the mission of the Church with Jesus' mandate to go out and preach."


The archbishop said this to the representatives of the Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Anglicans, Methodists, evangelical Baptists, Waldensians, and others, at the headquarters of the Argentine Catholic bishops' conference.  "The Church must dialogue and proclaim, two tasks that are different but not opposed," the British archbishop said. "We must discover what the Spirit wants from that dialogue."


This is  very different than what is said about the Fatima Conference.   The archbishop revealed that the finishing touches are being given to the new document on the spiritual dimension of dialogue. He said the text will address the reasons for engaging in and maintaining dialogue.



Knowing that Rome will not let Fatima become an interfaith shrine does not take away from the fact that speakers at this conference were allowed to quote heretics like Father Edward Schillebeeckx or have speakers speak out against the Catholic faith or to say that  "Sister Lucy is no longer a point of reference".  I will be asking these questions in Fatima to whosoever will talk with me until I get some answers.  In the mean time this is not the last Newsletter on this subject you can be assured.

Sorry for taking so long to write about this but as you can see answers are not easy to get here.

Richard P. Salbato