Bishop Sheen on Fatima


The things that you find on the internet!  Bishop Sheen gives a brilliant exposition of the miracle of Fatima.

Bishop Sheen believed that our Lady of Fatima would lead to the conversion of Islam.  Here are his thoughts on that subject:

Moslemism is the only great post-Christian religion of the world. Because it had its origin in the seventh century under Mohammed, it was possible to unite within it some elements of Christianity and of Judaism.

Moslemism takes the doctrine of the unity of God, His Majesty, and His Creative Power, and uses it as a basis for the repudiation of Christ, the Son of God.

Misunderstanding the notion of the Trinity, Mohammed made Christ a prophet only.

The Catholic Church throughout Northern Africa was virtually destroyed by Moslem power and at the present time (circa 1950), the Moslems are beginning to rise again.

If Moslemism is a heresy, as Hilaire Belloc believes it to be, it is the only heresy that has never declined, either in numbers, or in the devotion of its followers.

The missionary effort of the Church toward this group has been, at least on the surface, a failure, for the Moslems are so far almost unconvertible. The reason is that for a follower of Mohammed to become a Christian is much like a Christian becoming a Jew. The Moslems believe that they have the final and definitive revelation of God to the world and that Christ was only a prophet announcing Mohammed, the last of God’s real prophets.

Today (1950), the hatred of the Moslem countries against the West is becoming hatred against Christianity itself. Although the statesmen have not yet taken it into account, there is still grave danger that the temporal power of Islam may return and, with it, the menace that it may shake off a West which has ceased to be Christian, and affirm itself as a great anti-Christian world Power.

It is our firm belief that the fears some entertain concerning the Moslems are not to be realized, but that Moslemism, instead, will eventually be converted to Christianity — and in a way that even some of our missionaries never suspect.

It is our belief that this will happen not through the direct teaching of Christianity, but through a summoning of the Moslems to a veneration of the Mother of God.

This is the line of argument:

The Koran, which is the bible of the Moslems, has many passages concerning the Blessed Virgin. First, the Koran believes in her Immaculate Conception and in her Virgin Birth. The third chapter of the Koran places the history of Mary’s family in a genealogy that goes back through Abraham, Noah, and Adam. When one compares the Koran’s description of the birth of Mary with the apocryphal Gospel of the birth of Mary, one is tempted to believe that Mohammed very much depended upon the latter.

Both books describe the old age and the definite sterility of Anne, the mother of Mary. When, however, Anne conceives, the mother of Mary is made to say in the Koran: “O Lord, I vow and I consecrate to you what is already within me. Accept it from me.”

When Mary is born, her mother, Anne, says: “And I consecrate her with all of her posterity under thy protection, O Lord against Satan!”

The Koran has also verses on the Annunciation, Visitation, and nativity. Angels are pictured as accompanying the Blessed Mother and saying, “O Mary, God has chosen you and purified you, and elected you above all the women of the earth.”

In the nineteenth chapter of the Koran, there are forty-one verses on Jesus and Mary. There is such a strong defense of the virginity of Mary here that the Koran, in the fourth book, attributes the condemnation of the Jews to their monstrous calumny against the Virgin Mary.

Mary, then, is for the Moslems the true ‘Sayyida, or Lady. The only possible serious rival to her in their creed would be Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed himself. However, after the death of Fatima, Mohammed wrote: “Thou shalt be the most blessed of all the women in Paradise, after Mary.”

In a variant of the text, Fatima is made to say, “I surpass all the women, except Mary.”

This brings us to our second point, namely, why the Blessed Mother, in this twentieth century (1950), should have revealed herself in the insignificant little village of Fatima, so that to all future generations she would be known as “Our Lady of Fatima.”

Nothing ever happens out of heaven except with a finesse of all details. I believe that the Blessed Virgin chose to be known as “Our Lady of Fatima” as a pledge and a sign of hope to the Moslem people, and as an assurance that they, who show her so much respect, will one day accept her Divine Son, too.

Evidence to support these views is found in the historical fact that the Moslems occupied Portugal for centuries. At the time when they were finally driven out, the last Moslem chief had a beautiful daughter by the name of Fatima.

A catholic boy fell in love with her, and for him she not only stayed behind when the Moslems left, but even embraced the Catholic faith. The young husband was so much in love with her that he changed the name of the town where he lived to Fatima. Thus, the very place where Our Lady appeared in 1917 bears a historical connection to Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed.

The final evidence of the relationship of Fatima to the Moslems is the enthusiastic reception that the Moslems in Africa and India and elsewhere gave to the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Moslems attended the Catholic services in honor of Our Lady; they allowed religious processions and even prayers before their mosques; and in Mozambique the Moslems, who were unconverted, began to be Christian as soon as the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was erected.

Missionaries in the future will increasingly see that their apostolate among the Moslems will be successful in the measure that they preach Our Lady of Fatima. Because the Moslems have a devotion to Mary, our missionaries should be satisfied merely to expand and to develop that devotion with the full realization that Our Blessed Lady will carry the Moslems the rest of the way to her Divine Son.

As those who lose devotion to her lose belief in the Divinity of Christ, so those who intensify devotion to her gradually acquire that belief.




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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. A fantastic man and gifted theologian.
    I love his wit and delivery. His messages….all of his tapes should be considered National Treasures.
    Thank you.

  2. Note the older “Moslem” appellation versus “Muslim.”

    That was then. This is now.

    The church seems to be overpopulated by some aggressively advancing apparent untruths (“all religions are the same/we believe in the same things). To some, those persons may be seen as traitors and knaves.

  3. Looking at the situation from today’s perspective Bishop Sheen, it seems, was having moment of extravagant optimism. Hopefully, the future will render him correct.

  4. I saw Mark Shea posted an interesting statement about Fatima. He said, for ‘a lot of people’, it has passed its sell by date. He attributes it to people who have obsessed over it or strange theories, comparing it to the Nehushtan in the biblical tradition. I wonder if this is accurate and represents where ‘a lot of’ the Church is regarding Fatima today.

  5. Dave Griffey.

    For what it’s worth, the Fatima message is a lifeline thrown to a world sinking.
    It’s “passed the sell date,” says much more about the author, M.S., than the actual event.

    The relevance of the messages are found simply in the faces of our two newest Saints. The scowl is appropriate. They visited hell. They became so serious and attentive to Our Lady’s warning that they spent each moment up to their very last making sacrifices and praying for the conversion of our world.

    To say, as Shea-ster said, about the people obsessing over it means the messages have completely flown over his inflated head.
    Some poor souls in the lowest pits of Purgatory will have wished they studied and prayed over our lifeline from 1917.
    I hope Mr. Shea reevaluates his assumption.

    As you already know, I’m not with “a-lot of the church,” might be regarding Fatima today. Nor is 100% of our parishioners at Holy Rosary.

  6. Dave Griffey: “He [Mark Shea] said, for ‘a lot of people’, it has passed its sell by date.”
    No, Fatima has not passed its sell by date. For a lot of people it is Christianity and Catholicism that have passed their sell by dates. Fatima has nothing to do with it.

    “He attributes it to people who have obsessed over it or strange theories, comparing it to the Nehushtan in the biblical tradition.”
    There are such people, but they are a very small number. One, a really lovely person, did show up at MrsD’s ladies rosary group yesterday morning, and everyone else disagreed with her. Fatima was not past its sell by date by anyone present. No, we can better attribute it to the general apostasy that is underway.

    “I wonder if this is accurate and represents where ‘a lot of’ the Church is regarding Fatima today.”
    No, it’s not accurate. Mark Shea reversed cause and effect in his desire to criticize the ‘obsessed’ and the ‘strange’. Last night my parish had a commemorative dinner with Portuguese food and dancers. We had to turn people away at the door. Everyone I knew there believes Fatima is not past its sell by date, and none follow strange theories in any way, obsessively or not.

    Mark Shea is straining at gnats.

  7. How despondent I feel reading Bishop Sheen vision of Muslim conversion. Nearly 70 years ago I venerated the original statue of Our Lady of Fatima in Bombay(Mumbai) India and almost died trampled in a stampede. How much zeal there was then for her message.
    Today, boys and girls know virtually nothing about her or her message.
    Meanwhile, Islam is about to conquer the West again, this time resoundingly and completely so, because the Western world have forgotten Christ and His mother. Bishop Sheen had better storm heaven.

  8. Nathaniel Nehushtan.

    Salt that has lost it’s flavor.

    On the positive, we had Deacon Brad Nursery ordained into the priesthood on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, Saturday. His first Mass was yesterday, TLM, and the veil between heaven and earth was so very thin one could almost sense the myriad’s of angelic hosts filling the Church. What a great day. A great gift to our celestial Mother and Queen. Please place Fr. Nursery in your prayers. Another great jewel in Mary’s crown.
    Thank you in advance.

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