Let me first state that I would find it surreal if a Catholic did not believe in the Blessed Mother, the Immaculate One, the Co-Redemptrix.
Consequently, I would be surprised if a Catholic would doubt a prophetic message that has always been recognized by the Church, such as the message of Fatima.
All of the popes since 1917 believed it, and three popes have gone to Fatima as pilgrims (Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI). What’s more, the prophecies have come true. And yet, it seems to me that the 1917 message of Fatima has not just been ignored or forgotten — more often than not it has been completely denied. But it needs to be recalled today more than ever if we believe that in this moment of world crisis there is a need both for comfort and conversion.
In Sacred Scripture there is a clear warning: If a people does not want to hear prophecy, if it does not repent or convert, it will not obtain mercy from God. There are many episodes in the Old Testament that teach this, such as the example of Nineveh. The entire population (the king included) was as evil as Sodom; it believed the prophet Jonah; it repented, did penance and was saved. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ himself spoke of the repentance and pardon of Nineveh as an example to the Pharisees who did not believe in Him.
In the 20th century, we had much more than a prophet like Jonah to warn us.
At Fatima in 1917, the Blessed Mother herself warned that if humanity did not change its ways and convert, the crisis that had already begun would worsen. In the second part of the secret revealed by the visionary Lucia, Mary announced chastisements that would affect temporal society, but which could be avoided if people converted, if atheism was opposed and the world was consecrated to Her Immaculate Heart. Practically speaking, Mary warned that the moral crisis would provoke a material crisis.
This warning was not listened to and what Mary asked for was not done (as even Benedict XVI has noted). Indeed, the message of Church leaders has even been reversed in recent years, suggesting that material misery (and no longer sin) is what causes moral misery. Even in the 1950s, the Catholic intellectual Paul Claudel said that he was troubled that despite Fatima, the priests no longer spoke of Hell. The “fear of the Lord,” which Scripture tells us is the beginning of wisdom, had been lost even then; today it seems that such fear is derided or even considered to be “blasphemy.”