Did the B.V.M. Defeat XXth Century Global Communism?
On today's centennial of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fátima, reading this article, one can come away with that interpretation, although not the author's intention — Our Lady of Political Anxiety. Suggesting the "wave of Marian apparitions in the United States in the 1940s and ‘50s reveals as much about Cold War anxieties as it does about religious devotion," the author writes:
- Like Fátima, the sightings gave rise to Marian cults that gained international renown—and they have much to teach about how American Catholics experienced the Cold War. “Marian cults provided the Church with an opportunity to link the need for supernatural help for individual anxieties with its larger collective and political goals,” write Kselman and Avella. They suggest that these events foreshadow Catholic involvement in the anti-Communist hysteria that would follow. In order to truly understand the Cold War from the American perspective, they write, it’s important to take Catholics’ religious practices into consideration. The way we worship reveals a lot about the things we fear the most.
I'm reminded of an episode from The Spanish Civil War by Hugh Thomas, Baron Thomas of Swynnerton, whom Wikipedia tells me passed away a week ago today (rest in peace), in which the Franquista promoted a local stature of the B.V.M. to the rank of general after a decisive battle, news that caused the German chancellor at the time to refused to ever to set foot in the country again.