Mere coincidence?

My friend, the amazing Fr. George Welzbacher, of St. Paul, observed over lunch that Eugenio Pacelli was on this day in 1917 consecrated bishop.

Also on this day Our Lady of Fatima appeared for the first time.

92 years ago today.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Fr. Charles says:

    And on the 75th anniversary of these great events, Fabian Bruskewitz was ordained bishop.

  2. A Sheen classic on this topic…

    Ora pro nobis!

  3. Prior to Our Lady’s appearance in 1917, the three children had been prepared during 1916 by an angel who identified himself as “The Guardian Angel of Portugal” so they would be prepared spiritually. The point of Fatima was to show three children, the oldest of which was ten, AND THE WORLD, that Hell exists and many souls go there “who have no one to pray for them”. It was because of this Divine intervention that the Church flourished up until 1960 when the Third Secret should have been released by the Vatican. It wasn’t because it foretold what the Church would experience during the next 50 years.

  4. Fabrizio says:

    It was because of this Divine intervention that the Church flourished up until 1960 when the Third Secret should have been released

    Hmmm…so those who brought about the catastrophe that has been plaguing us for over 40 years, and were educated, ordained and made Bishops during the previous flourishing 40 years all became modernists sometime around 1961? and in less than 10 years they were able to demolish our Catholic life? Doesn’t sound like the result of a “flourishing” Church to me.

    There is no doubt that things were better in many regards prior to the current storm, but many things were already rotting despite all heroic efforts of great Popes and saints. It is waaay more complicated than that IMHO, even though I’d take the problems of 1950 in exchange for NCR and Georgetown and certain bishops any day of the week.

  5. Mark says:

    “There are no coincidences” in the grand plan of Providence, but I doubt God meant this one to have much mystical significance or importance. So, the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima (which, as a poster above pointed out, was not the first apparition to the children anyway, just the first one of Mary) happened on the same day that a man who would someday become Pope was being consecrated bishop. A Pope some would argue had some connection to Fatima (he was, after all, the Pope), but certainly not as much as JPII. I dont think it’s terribly significant.

  6. Hey, you stole my thunder! I’m doing a series of talks on the life of Pope Pius XII to my lay Dominican chapter, and I was going to start off my next one by pointing this out. I don’t think it’s a coincidence at all.

    Re disclosure of the Third Secret and 1960: if memory serves, Sr. Lucia said that it was not Our Lady who asked her to seal up the secret until 1960. She said she wrote that the secret should not be disclosed before 1960 because she had an intuition that it would not be understood before 1960.

  7. And on the fifty-first anniversary of that date, yours truly was born, a fact which my saintly mother never lets me forget.

  8. Pseudomodo says:

    What’s even cooler is that some years ago I happened to be shopping in a second hand store and came upon (and purchased) a Pius XII commemorative medallion “Archbishop Pacelli, seated on a sedella, at left, being presented with a croizier by his episcopal consecrator, Pope Benedict XV, at right, in Mass vestments and pallium. May 13, 1917.”

    It’s 60mm diameter and just perfect. When I get home today I’m going to take it out and display it next to my Fatima Statue. Great work Father Z!

    Check it out! (fourth from the top)

  9. A Farmer out standing in his field says:

    “the Church flourished up until 1960 when the Third Secret should have been released”

    Sorry but it was way, way, way, more complicated than that. The rot set in a long time before the 1960s. Just ask St Pius X. You only need to look at Lord Bugnini’s chairmanship of the Congregation for Rites, Pius XII’s “restoration” of Holy Week or the progressive spread of Chardin’s heresies to see how deeply entrenched modernism was in the highest echelons of the Curia before the Second Vatican Council ever began.

  10. Nancy McClintock says:

    I was born on the mere 27th anniversary of Our Lady’s first appearance.
    When I did the math I nearly fell over in surprise at how recent it was.
    Happy birthday.

  11. William H. Phelan says:

    Fabrizio and A Farmer: Thank you for your good points. You focus on 1960. The apparitions were in 1917 at the height of the First World War. “Russia will become a great power and spread its errors through the world.” Russia would fall to the Bolsheviks in October of that year. “If people do not convert, there will be a war worse than this one”. World War II. What sensible Catholic scholars have related to me was, in their opinion, the Third Secret concerned a mass apostasy in the Church.

  12. Catholicman says:


    I see you are in the Twin Cities (convention center last night, lunch with Fr. Welzbacher today). Any chance of a blognic at some point here in good old Minnesota?

  13. Steven says:

    Today is also the day of Saint Servatius. He is a very important saint in Belgium, the Netherlands and France.


    His basilica in Maastricht – The Netherlands

  14. Nancy McClintock says:

    Today is also the anniversary of the dedication of the Basilica of Santa
    Maria ad Martyre (the Pantheon) in Rome, AD 610, by Pope Boniface IV,
    and the commemoration of Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, a devotion
    promoted by St. Pierre Julian Eymard. A triple Marian day!
    Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia.

    Rosaries are called for, especially before the Blessed Sacrament.

  15. Henry Edwards says:

    Fabrizio: I’d take the problems of 1950 in exchange for NCR and Georgetown and certain bishops any day of the week.

    Who wouldn’t? Whereas today’s problems are evident to everyone, the problems in the 1950’s were not evident at parish level. To the individual practicing Catholic, the Church was flourishing in every way he could reasonably perceive. I believe the view from the ground up was, indeed, that of a golden age in the Church.

    The statement that the “rot” had already set in might be taken to imply that it already affected the devotional and spiritual lives of ordinary parish Catholics, or that the Church was somehow rotten at its core or foundation. But I do not believe this was so.

    For instance, only by thumbing through religious journals in a university library did I discover sometime in the late 1950s what no other layman of my acquaintance then was aware of — that there was already underway in those pre-Vatican II days a “liturgical reform” movement that discussed innovations like versus populum celebration and, needless to say, now has long since borne fruit whose rottenness is evident to all. But in the parishes I attended in those years the liturgy looked healthy and participative, and so formed the lives of its participants as to not to seem in conspicuous need of reform. And similarly with other areas such as catechesis, private spirituality and devotions, etc.

    Every single-sentence explanation of the 1960s is simplistic, but mine would be that a perfect storm of both internal and external forces enabled the rot of modernism (a term that carries both historical baggage and serviceable meaning) to be forced down from the top — largely through extra-hierarchical channels — so that now the results are evident at every level from the parish and individual Catholic upward.

    Paradoxically, it was the cultural of obedience, previously a source of stability in the Church, that now destabilized it, with pastors and their parishioners obeying not only their bishops but — even more so when many bishops did not themselves understand what was happening — any circuit-riding liturgical or catechetical consultant who rode through town distributing copies of the latest printed report of this or that committee or study group, however little true authority it might have.

    In this way — whether or not the alleged “third secret” was a prediction of it — mass apostasy spread to all levels of the Church at this time, having previously been confined to rarefied circles that were not visible to the average pew Catholic.

  16. Gregory DiPippo says:

    Today is also the day on which Blessed Pope Pius IX was born in 1792, the Pope who defined Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception.

    The dedication of the Pantheon was in 609, and today is the 1400th anniversary of that event. There was a Solemn Mass today in the traditional rite at 2 pm at the main altar of the Pantheon, and the celebrant pointed out in his homily that the Mass was being celebrated in the same Rite used by Pope Boniface IV when he originally consecrated the building as a church.

  17. Sandy says:

    Yep, no coincidence with the date, he was such a Marian pope. I treasure my Rosary blessed by him, when my father was in an audience of military men.

  18. taximom says:

    On this day, in 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot in St. Peter’s Square by Mehemmed Ali Agca. I lived in Rome at the time, and I’ll never forget going home and seeing those images on TV.

  19. TerryN says:

    Father, I don’t think it is a coincidence either. I’m sure you know Pius XII was very aware of Fatima as Pope, he also experienced the miracle of the sun in the Vatican gardens. And of course, the Papacy figured prominently in the messages of Fatima.

  20. Dr. Eric says:

    I would be very interested to learn about the other events that happened on 13 October 1917 (Miracle of the Sun) and other occurrences on 13 October throughout the ages.

  21. Gregory: One day… many blessings.

  22. Justin says:

    JPII, We love you.

    On this day, John Paul II of blessed memory was shot, very close to the spot where his predecessor, St Peter was martyred.

    Totus tuus ego sum, et omnia mea tua sunt.

  23. Boko says:

    And the Pens beat the Russian-led (Ovie and Varlamov) Caps tonight. Which doesn’t explain Malkin or Gonchar, but… Is the reign of our Lady’s Immaculate Heart nigh? (Probably not, say the RED Wings.) Pray your Rosaries, folks.

  24. Glen says:

    My mother is spending this week at Fatima. Today is her birthday.

  25. Fabrizio: One point about the 1950s-in EVERY Catholic journal and newspaper in those days, contraception was condemned. In the early 60s, America magazine, if it wrote three articles on marriage, two would condemn contraception and the third would question the teaching. NO ONE WILL EVER TELL ME THIS IS THE SAME RELIGION.

    Dr. Eric: A source on the subject of

  26. irishgirl says:

    I knew about the ‘coincidence’ of Pacelli’s consecration as Bishop a long time ago-it was in the second book I read about Fatima: “Our Lady of Fatima” by William Thomas Walsh.

    And of course, I can’t forget the day John Paul II was shot. I was on a group pilgrimage to the Blue Army Shrine in Washington ,NJ. We first heard about it when stopping for lunch in East Stroudsburg, PA. As the news was relayed to our group, a wave of shock and horror filled us. I never said as many Rosaries in one day as I did that May 13!

    May 13th is also the day that JP II beatified the two younger visionaries, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, in 2000 at Fatima. Sister Lucia was present, as she was for all four papal visits. It was John Paul’s-and Lucia’s-last visits to the shrine.

  27. RBrown says:

    What sensible Catholic scholars have related to me was, in their opinion, the Third Secret concerned a mass apostasy in the Church.
    Comment by William H. Phelan

    If that’s it, then it hasn’t been much of a secret. Further, it seems to me that the mass apostasy interpretation is contained in the text (“a great city half in ruins”) released by the Vatican.

    And I wonder about the significance of the fact that the apparitions happened at Fatima, a town named after Muhammed’s daugher.

  28. Re the Bishop Sheen episode: Bishop Sheen says that Eugenio Pacelli was consecrated bishop on October 13, 1917. ???

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