marxism-digest V1 #2186

Julio Fernández Baraibar julfb at
Mon May 15 10:49:27 MDT 2000

Very interesting post.
This story about "los pastorcitos de Fatima" belongs to my childhood. I was
educated in a catholic school and my head was filled with this scrap. The
chapel of my school had a colourful picture with the three children and the
resplendent Holy Mother and every wednesday the teacher read for us the tale
of the apparition and the famous apocalyptical secrets revealed by Maria. I
saw, by recomendation of our teachers, a film about "the miracle of Fatima",
a very naive film that charged my imagination with religious ideas.
After 40 years your post have gave me the historical framework of this
BTW, the people of Salta confronted with the heavy men of
Gendarmeria -frontier police- with an icon of Virgen de Fatima, and they
thanked the little Virgin for the peaceful resolution of the riot. The
reactionary legend has become, by the caprices of History, in a symbol
against the oppression. Gray is every theory...

Julio FB

Yes, but the *February* revolution had already rekindled old memories about
the French Revolution - and above all of the dechristianization of France,
something that was to be remembered at a time when the French 3rd. republic
promoted anti-clericalism actively, most throught the setting of a network
of lay public schools. As Portugal, at the same time, had a newly founded -
and deeply anti-clerical - liberal republic, the republican revolution in
Russia sent the reactionnary Portuguese church into a frenzy. But better it
would be better if I quoted a source:
"O Milagre de Fátima e o Triunfo do Liberalismo em Portugal" [The Fatima
miracle and the triumph of liberalism in Portugal], by Charles Reeve
[pen-name of Jorge Valadas], Malasartes, 8, 1992:
"During my teenage years, in the '60, the stories about Fatima were, above
all, a riot. According to what was told us by priests and deacons, a lady
had come down from the clouds to communicate three young shepards some
divine will. Some of the said will would be kept secret; some of it was
disclosed. According to what was made public, it was known that Russia would
return to the Christian fold...the encenation, as it is generally known,
happened during may 1917.
Lost in the depths of a mediaeval Portugal, the 3 illiterate sheperds had
never heard about Russia, and, in such conditions, the deeply geopolitical
character of the message must have left them dumbfolded. But the message was
not adressed at them.
The violent founding of the Portuguese republic, in 1910, had sharpened
class antagonisms, and the faraway echoes of the revolutions in Russia made
strife harsher. For 6 years, the Portuguese bourgeoisie had nightmares. The
Portuguese army participation in the slaughter of WW1, the thousands of
corpses buried in the trench mud of East France hadn't had the desired
effects. "National solidarity" between rich and poor had no visible effect,
and there were plenty of political strikes and protests against shortages.
The idea of the social-revolution, propagated by anarchist currents, went
foward. Before such dangers, the bourgeoisie and landowners thought that a
miracle would be most welcome [...] Neverthless, one week after the
messages, people in Lisbon and Oporto pillaged warehouses. The mobilized
army shot to kill - 40 deads were counted, plus thousands of arrests. The
National Workers' Union declared a general strike. Six months later, a
military dictatorship was set. In this corner of Europe, a half century of
authoritarian government would ensue. Fernando Pessoal, the well-known poet
of genius, was also a poor patriot who dreaded anarchy, and, in one of his
texts, he would justify the shootings , as for him there was no other way
for 'the rescue and renewal of the country' "
trans. , Carlos Rebello

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