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.