Rome Should Take Over Fatima


By Richard Salbato


After three years in Fatima and supporting everything the Rector and the Bishop have done, even at times when I had to look hard to find reasons to support them, I must now recommend a change.  Yesterday was the last straw for me.  For weeks I had heard that Father Gobbi and the Marian Movement of Priests were touring Portugal from Porto and Lisbon and would finally come to Fatima for a Mass on October 25, 2004.  Posters were placed around Fatima announcing his coming and flyers were passed out by a dubious order of nuns in Fatima,  the "Irmas Servas de Maria Reparadors".  Just because he was saying that he would be allowed to come did not mean that it was true, so at 5:00 PM I attended the Mass. 


Sure enough "Father" Gobbi and over 20 other priests and the dubious order of nuns had a very long Mass on the altar of Apparitions, the Cova da Iria.  Not one of the priests were from Fatima, so I assume they traveled with him.  To their credit, the Rector and the Bishop were not there and no press was there.  Not many people showed up, about 300, which is less than most Masses in Fatima.  But during the Mass the nuns passed out flyers of the Marian Movement of Priests with MMP pledges and consecrations.  These were printed and distributed by the ISDMP order of nuns, none of which is over 25 years old and most less than 20 years of age.


Bearing in mind that the Major press just published a report that Rome was very angry with the Shrine for continuous slanders regarding the building of the new Church, the Ecumenical Conference, and the high profiled visits of the Dalai Lama and the Hindus, the Bishop and the Rector should now be more careful who they allow to not only come to the Shrine but with much advance publicity throughout Fatima and Portugal. 


Shrine of Fatima is Insulting Our Lady


The entire Marian Movement of Priests is based on the false belief that Gobbi is receiving messages from Our Lady through inner locutions, and all his followers believe him to be a mystic just like Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco.  There is no other reason for Gobbi to have any following.  I have attended many of his Masses throughout the years and he is a poor speaker, and nothing to look at, so his following is based on the false belief that he is a messenger of Our Lady. 


This is a man who was investigated by Cardinal Ratzinger and found to be false.  The Cardinal ordered that it be posted in the front of his books that this is not the words of Our Lady but only of Gobbi's imagination.  This is a man who said that he believed in Medjugorje and so did our Lady.  This is a man who said that the "real person of the Antichrist would appear in 1999 and that the second coming of Christ would happen in the year 2000".  These were prophesies from his inner locutions, in other words from Mary.  This is a man who was asked to leave his order in Rome and now lives in an apartment somewhere in Rome.  This is a man who's MMP centers throughout the world are run by priests who have disobeyed their own bishops to run these centers.  No center I know of throughout the world has local bishop's approval. 


I have read all of the so called messages of his lady and all I can say is even if this is just his imagination, most of it is insulting and stupid.  If I wanted to make up what I think Our Lady would say to the world, I could do a lot better than he does.


I have serious doubt that Gobbi has a celebrate to say Mass because of the strained relationship with his order that I know he has.  If I am wrong on this I will post the proof of his celebrate at the end of this document by anyone who can send me a copy.  If he has a celebrate, he can say Mass at Fatima like any other priest, but to post up flyers all over Fatima and pass them out advertising his movement is nothing but an insult to Our Lady of Fatima and maybe even a desecration of the Shrine.  The Shrine is placing Gobbi on the same level as the children of Fatima, and this is blasphemy against Her Immaculate Heart.


Redemptionis Sacramentum


It has not been lost in my observation that the Rector and Bishop have paid no attention to the Holy Father's new instruction "on certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist, of March 25, 2004 put out by the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome - Redemptionis Sacramentum - RS.  This Month starts the Year of the Eucharist for the expressed purpose of bringing back more devotion and reverence to Our Lord in the Eucharist.  We have a Shrine here in Fatima where there are hundreds of priests every week and even thousands some months, and every month from a few to many bishops and cardinals.  A Shrine should be the place to set the example of obedience to Rome and reverence to Our Lord in the Eucharist.  But this is not the case.  


No instructions have been given to the priests in Fatima, and no instructions to the people of Fatima regarding Redemptionis Sacramentum.  The quickest example is 158 of the instruction:


[158.]  Indeed, the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may administer Communion only when the Priest and Deacon are lacking, when the Priest is prevented by weakness or advanced age or some other genuine reason, or when the number of faithful coming to Communion is so great that the very celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged. 259 This, however, is to be understood in such a way that a brief prolongation, considering the circumstances and culture of the place, is not at all a sufficient reason.


I go to daily Mass at the Shrine and in most cases there are many priests concelebrating Mass.  Many times I have seen three priests passing out communion and another priest singing while a forth, a nun without a covering even on her head, passes out communion.  I have clocked the amount of time it took for this nun to pass out communion and it was never over 3 to 4 minutes.  This means that if the Shrine obeyed Rome it would take 3 to 4 minutes longer to say the Mass and to obey Rome.


There must be many Catholics who have read RS because the lines in front of the nuns are getting shorter and shorter, and when she runs out of people to give out communion she moves over next to one of the priests to take every other person from him.  And when the people to not want to go to her, the Shrine Police will instruct people to come over to her and this intimidates most people to do so, but not me.  Today the line to the priest was twice as long as the line to the nun in the same isle and no one moved over to her.


It takes longer than this to do the sign of peace which is also contrary to the instruction of RS, which should not be more than the people on the two sides of you.   Instead people run all over the Church from pew to pew.  Of course the daily Mass I attend has a priest who loves to sing so much that he takes 10 minutes to sing the Holy, Holy, Holy.


Very often on weekends receiving communion is an occasion of sin.  Inside of the Basilica communion is passed out so carelessly that Our Lord must surely be insulted.  There is no order - people push their way through crowds in a very disrespectful way and this last Sunday I saw two old women screaming at each other for pushing and then both of them went up and received communion.  Why does this happen?  Because there is no order at all.  There is no free lane - free for people to approach communion.  One nun will come to the back of the Church, even outside of the Church, and start passing out communion with people all around her with no path to or away from her.  Another nun or priest will come inside the crowds to the middle of the Church and do the same.  Those going to the altar will go to four different priests and nuns and go up and back the same lane and hitting each other as they go.  If there was a fire, there is no way to get in or out of the Church.  This is total disrespect for Our Lord and for the people in the Church.


RS says [6.]  For abuses "contribute to the obscuring of the Catholic faith and doctrine concerning this wonderful sacrament."


It is no wonder that more people living in Fatima do not go to Church than those who do go.


RS says [16.]  "It pertains to the Apostolic See to regulate the Sacred Liturgy of the universal Church, to publish the liturgical books and to grant the recognitio for their translation into vernacular languages, as well as to ensure that the liturgical regulations, especially those governing the celebration of the most exalted celebration of the Sacrifice of the Mass, are everywhere faithfully observed". 36  


If that is true, where are you Rome?

RS says [90.] "The faithful should receive Communion kneeling or standing, as the Conference of Bishops will have determined", with its acts having received the recognitio of the Apostolic See. "However, if they receive Communion standing, it is recommended that they give due reverence before the reception of the Sacrament, as set forth in the same norms".  And [91] Therefore, it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ's faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing.


However, no instruction has been given to the people of Fatima or the pilgrims for an act of reverence before reception,  and no where in Fatima can one receive communion kneeling.  One can receive genuflecting if done quickly but not really kneeling.  It is clear from RS that kneeling is the preferred way to receive Holy Communion in the eyes of Rome.


A priest asked me what to do to improve his parish and my answer was simple.  "Do not treat God commonly."  But that same priest sees in Fatima, people coming to Mass as much at 20 minutes after is starts, even nuns - often nuns.  Mass can start with half the church full but end with standing room only.  Does anyone instruct the people that they should at least be in time for the Crucifixion of Our Lord on that altar.


Although it is not true that the Shrine was desecrated by the Hindus, there are people here who believe it to be so and no longer will attend Mass at the Cova da Iria.  It is the perception of desecration that is the problem here.  And now with Gobbi that perception is getting worse.  But there are other things that people tell me who come here and these are no small maters when taken as a whole.


People tell me and I agree with them that the painting over the high altar of Our Lady is insulting.  The painting of Our Lady and Jacinta in the Parish church is insulting to Our Lady and to pilgrims.  The modern art sculptures in the two round-a-bouts are embarrassing.  The altar of the new Church is not a real altar, at least not in the renderings.  It is commonplace and not good enough for God.   It treats God commonly.


There is no active seminary in Fatima and to my knowledge no new priest from this area in many years.  Many of the convents are half full and some almost empty.  Tour guides take kick-backs for bringing tourists to their shop where prices are higher than in the small shops. 


Father Gino (another false mystic) has orders of priests and nuns  here in Fatima, and the priests work in the Shrine and at least one of the nuns works in the Shrine.  Father Gino, although ordered to have no contact with these people, sneaks into Fatima and out twice a year.  See


There is no priest anywhere in Fatima that says the Tridentine Mass except the excommunicated order of Saint Pius X Society, which some good Catholics here think is OK and are not told different.  Although I think it is wrong of them, I know many Catholics all over the world that will not attend any Mass except the Tridentine, and that means that they have never come to Fatima and never will.  The Holy Father has asked all Dioceses to offer the Tridentine but this order is disregarded in Fatima.  See


We have a good order of nuns here that just started up with the idea to spread the messages of Fatima and great people.  But the bishop will not allow them to wear habits.  Explain to me why?  I will not say the name of this good order, because it could cause them problems.  But they are officially approved as a Catholic order of nuns but cannot have habits and must wear street clothes.


And now that we have Gobbi here, what next - a Medjugorje conference?


There are many good things here in Fatima and I have written about them in many articles over the past three years - linked below. If this was just a parish I would be very proud of my parish and my pastor but this is Fatima.  This should be the shinning light of the Church, the example to all other Churches, the place where priests and bishops can come and see how a parish should be run. 


Business in Fatima this year is off by 40%.  Part of the reason for this is the 9/11 bombing and part of the reason is the weak dollar.  But part of the reason is the scandals in the past two years.  Even if these scandals are blown out of proportion to the truth and even if the bishop and rector are innocent of the perception of scandal, something must be done to bring back a true Catholic reflection of Fatima.  




I do know that Rome cannot officially take over Fatima, but Rome could put someone in charge here that will do what Rome wants them to do.  They could bring a team of people here to help get things set up.  This is the year of the Eucharist and no where has heaven given a greater example of reverence and abuses of the Eucharist than in the apparitions of Fatima.  Rome complains that the Eucharist and the Mass is abused all over the world. Rome has written countless documents and letters from the Holy Father and Department heads in the Vatican outlining these abuses.  Rome sends out letters telling priests and bishops to be more holy and show this to the people.  Rome says that every Diocese should offer the Tridentine Mass.  Rome says that schools should teach the full doctrine of the faith.  Rome says all the right things, but few Dioceses are doing these things, and maybe they just do not know how to do them or think they will not work.


Five to Seven Million pilgrims come to Fatima every year and this could easily be Ten Million, and many of the pilgrims are priests, nuns, bishops, and Cardinals.  If Rome wants its directives obeyed, it should start with the main tourist places of the world and make sure that they are run the way Rome wants them run.


What if Ten Million Catholics came to Fatima to find them all kneeling at an altar rail?  Of course not at the large outside Masses here in Fatima, that would be impossible, but at the main shine of the Cove da Iria kneeling should be done at every Mass, six to ten times a day.  In the old Basilica it should be done and in the new Church is should be done.  Why?  Because it is the preferred way and is so stated by Rome and by the Angel of Fatima.


What if each and every day at least one Mass was a Tridentine Mass in at least one of the five altars at the Shrine - soon to be six?

In 1988 the Holy Father issued "Ecclesia Dei" and designated it motu proprio. In this letter the Holy Father expresses his firm wish that anyone who is attached to the Latin liturgical tradition of the Roman Missal of 1962 should be allowed to have this Tridentine Mass available for them.


What if all the Masses, Novus Ordo and Tridentine, had the priest with his back to the people and towards God as is the preference of Cardinal Ratzinger and as is the way that the Holy Father does in his private chapel, as was intended in the New Mass and as is implied in the Saramentary.


The Holy Father talks a great deal about Liturgical Music, let the world come to Fatima to hear what he means by it.


Fatima does a good job of Eucharistic Processions but this could even be expanded to the streets as it is done in Nazare even today and as was done at the Parish Church when Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco were children.


Fatima needs Opus Dei. Fatima needs a seminary.  Fatima needs to set the example to the rest of the Catholic Church. 


Dear Holy Father,

If you want a successful Eucharistic Year, which would bring respect and dignity back to Our Lord in the Eucharist and set the example that will make people believe again in the True Presence, then use Fatima to teach the rest of the world.  Ten Million people could go back to their home parishes and know by example how to not treat God commonly.


Richard P Salbato


Lest you think that I am being too critical of the running of Fatima, the following are Newsletters I have written or published supporting the Rector and Bishop of Fatima.



Will Rome Take Over Fatima? By Richard Salbato


The Hindus in Fatima and the Misrepresentations of John Vennari  by Tim Robertson


The Truth about Hindus at Fatima Sanctuary


Fatima's New Church of the Holy Trinity  a long hard reflection


A Sermon Every Priest Should Make


The Fatima Rector