Father Jacinto Farias, president of the Scientific Commission of the Fatima Congress, made a statement shortly after the death last week of the last witness of the Fatima appartions that Sister Lucia's texts constitute a fundamental testimony for the Church.
"Sister Lucia's experience is one of continuity and she was faithful: I think what the future holds in store is an even more profound development," he said to the Portuguese news agency Ecclesia.
"We should not find any novelties," he continued. The "richness of the Fatima message is its extreme simplicity and, at the same time, great fruits at the pastoral and theological level."
Sister Lucia's writings are categorized as "Fatima 1" and "Fatima 2," and reflect her testimony written at different stages in her life. Father Farias explained that an "internalization of the events" is noted, "because a 10-year old girl and a woman of 40 have a different perception of things," although there is a continuity "in an interior re-reading."
The evolution does not depend on the political, national, or international events of the moment, as has been proposed. This, in fact, would imply "extreme intellectual preparation on the part of Sister Lucia to be able to follow these events and make a critical reading of them, something which does not seem likely to me," he continued.
"On the specific question of the Fatima message and Marxism's militant atheism and dialectical materialism, there are documents which state that Sister Lucia thought that Russia was a woman or a person who was being asked to convert. It was a message that was beyond the awareness of the visionary herself," he explained.
The fact that the message has now been interpreted and translated by the Church into a pastoral strategy is "perfectly legitimate," said Father Farias. "Cardinal Gonçalves Cerejeira himself said that it was not the Church that imposed Fatima, but Fatima that imposed itself on the Church," the priest added quoting the former patriarch of Lisbon.
Moreover, it was only at the beginning of the 1930s that the Church recognized the Fatima miracle "in virtue of the massive popular adherence not only in Portugal, but worldwide."
In regard to the analysis of the Fatima message, "it is now in the hermeneutic plane," as the "historical analysis is closed."
"It is necessary to make a theological analysis, to take advantage of the potential latent in the content of the secret," he continued.
"In the beginning, Francisco did not hear or see; Jacinta saw and heard, but did not speak. Lucia was the voice, the leader, so her spirituality will always be the core of these experiences," clarified Father Farias, referring to the other two little shepherds present during the Virgin's apparitions.
There will be no "great novelties" from the theological point of view now that the last witness has died, but Fatima will probably have a greater development "in terms of its spiritual and pastoral irradiation," he added.