Fatima

I hate Fatima. 

I was only half joking when I said I might have a religious experience and go all pious at Fatima. The place is designed to evoke that, most people are up for that, and I am suggestible. I had the opposite reaction. 

We had lunch in a caff, then approached from the South. There is a great deal of Catholic tat. 

Here is the new church, consecrated in 2007. 

I loathe it with a passion. It enraged me and I  needed to express that, forcefully. It is a windowless bunker. It is bearable inside, with all the light controlled:

It feels fascist to me. It is designed to make the individual worshipper feel insignificant. Jesus called me his sister, and every one of the hairs on my head is numbered, but here I am just one of the huge crowd. They have to cater for thousands of pilgrims but there must be better ways of doing it. 

We walked out the North side, and saw the other church, from 1957. Those things look like insect legs, or pincers. 

Christ is a gaunt insect, too. 

The other church is intimidating too, though a little less so. All those steps are unnecessary. Penitents go towards it on their knees: there are signs requesting we do not photograph them. 

Mass proceeds outside as we walk in. The stained glass is pretty. But all the art is the Stations of the Cross- an appearance of the Virgin should be a festival: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. 

I cross myself from the holy water stoup. The shock of cold water enlivens my senses to the present moment, and accepting the priest’s gift makes me more connected to the place.

Here is the tomb of a Little Shepherd, where people pray, or take photographs. I did both. Some leave gifts.  

Here is the totalitarian I blame for its totalitarian feel, especially shocking as it goes on about the fall of Communism.

The children photographed by him love him. 

The collonade is reminiscent of St. Peter’s plaza. 

7 thoughts on “Fatima

    • No Windows!

      The church of St Mark, Chadderton, built in the 50s, I think, is lovely, with stained glass covering the East wall. They got the glass from deconsecrated churches, and arrayed it in an abstract pattern.

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      • Most modern architectural forms are pretty ugly and just don’t translate well into public buildings.
        I think the modern versions are also cheaper to build, just poured concrete or cinder-block.
        Try comparing the Italian Renaissance exterior of St Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal (1920s) to the Nazi interior (1960s).

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    • There are, and I read today that the third, released in 2000, has been hidden by the then pope- but a comment says that was a conspiracy theory. One prophecy was the consecration of Russia, which some say refers to the fall of Communism, though the Russian Orthodox church is back in its old role, sucking up to Government.

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      • That’s right, the consecration of Russia, they had some really bizarre thoughts on that. I almost did a post. It’s interesting not coming from a Catholic tradition and learning about all these things – parading of statues and miracles.

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