Tag Archives: Pope Francis

144 – The Secrets of Fatima: 100 Years of a Marian Mystery

On May 13th, 1917 three children from a small village in Portugal claimed to have an apparition of the Virgin Mary appear before them. They claimed that the Blessed Virgin revealed three secrets to them that they could reveal to no one, and in fact the Third Secret could not even be released until 1960 and not to anyone but the Pope himself. They weren’t believed in the beginning and the children were even temporarily jailed (and it’s claimed the local law enforcement even threatened to boil them in oil unless they told the truth!) But in the end, thousands of people witnessed a solar miracle in Fatima, Portugal and the children’s visions would have a big impact on the Catholic Church in the Twentieth Century.

Our Lady of Fatima Children
The children behind Our Lady of Fatima

“Marian Apparitions” or visions of the Virgin Mary were pretty popular the end of the Nineteenth Century. The Church investigated many of them and determined a few “worthy of belief” (including one near Green Bay, Wisconsin, so we have our own Our Lady of Perpetual Packers Victory!) “Worthy of belief” means that they think that there’s  something to the vision, but as a Catholic you’re not required to believe it (like you are required to believe that Mary was a virgin and that Jesus is the Son of God and not just a wise carpenter who was endlessly quotable.)

Our Lady of Fatima appearing to the children
Our Lady of Fatima appearing to the children

The First Secret of Fatima was a vision of Hell that Mary showed the three childern. The Second Secret of Fatima had to do with the end of World War I and the prediction that another great war would come shortly after if Russia didn’t start turning back to religion from atheism. Those secrets came out in the 1940s when Sister Lucia (the only surviving child who originally was contacted by Our Lady of Fatima, she eventually became a nun) was forced by her bishop to share the secrets in case she got ill.

The Third Secret of Fatima was kept under lock and key until 1960 when the Pop was allowed to read it. It was said that the Pope cried when he read the secret and that was enough to freak everyone out. Was it the end of the world that he saw? This was a generation of schoolchildren who were growing up with nuclear war safety drills and people building underground bunkers in their backyards. Did the Pope see the end of the world by man’s own hand?

These secrets became of such fascination to Catholics, that in 1981 a former Trappist monk decided to hijack an Aer Lingus plane and demand that the Pope release the Third Secret of Fatima.

Totally sweet painting of the Third Secret of Fatima
Totally sweet painting of the Third Secret of Fatima


When the Third Secret of Fatima was finally revealed, it turned out to be kind of boring. It was a vision of the Pope being murdered by gunman and when the Vatican revealed it in the year 2000 (with a treatise written by the future Pope Benedict himself, Cardinal Ratzinger) it was really just about the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in 1981, so “Hey, no big deal everybody, on this thing we’ve been hiding for damn near a century.”

That really hasn’t been good enough for some people, who think that the secret actually revealed that there would be a Pope who leads the church into ruin, a so-called “Anti-Pope” and there are people who believe that “Cool Pope” Francis is one. Even though he was in Fatima on the 100th anniversary to canonize the original children and declare their Catholic Sainthood, his detractors say that his liberal and easygoing attitude is going to lead the Church straight to the Fires of Hell.

fatima ghost anti pope
The dude from the band Ghost is the only true Anti-Pope!

Well, whether that’s true or not, there’s a different interesting theory that the people of Fatima actually saw a UFO on that strange day they saw “The Miracle of the Sun”. No less than UFO expert  has posited that theory himself.

But a more sobering and sinister theory is that the Catholic Church was using these Marian Apparitions to influence world events, that Sister Lucia writing in 1941 that the Soviet Union must be consecrated back the Immaculate Heart of Mary and away from Atheism or the entire world would crumble was justification for the Nazi Invasion of Germany. The Church’s reputation during the Holocaust and the Second World War is often brought up as one of its less proud moments (the Vatican was completely surrounded by Fascist Italy, so there could be a good reason that they remained neutral, but still it’s an unfortunate history of silence.)

100 years later, Our Lady of Fatima still intrigues and mystifies people. But whether or not their claims were true, those three Portuguese shepherd children did something amazing, they changed the world with their story and affected millions of lives. The Sunspot song this week is in that same spirit, it’s called “Change The World”.

Did you read the news today,
did you listen to what it said?
It said our world was going to Hell,
and soon we’ll all be dead.
Don’t tell me about your apathy,
Don’t tell me you don’t wanna believe,
Don’t tell me that it’s not your problem,
Can’t you see… you’re not alone?

I want to change the world.
But I can’t do it by myself,
I need somebody else.

Wandering in the dark,
we’ve been living with blindfolds on.
Just thinking about ourselves for too damn long.
Don’t tell me that you don’t care,
Don’t tell me that the world’s not fair,
Don’t tell me there’s nothing you can do to help at all.
That’s no excuse.

I want to change the world.
But I can’t do it by myself.
I need somebody else.

Pope Francis VS Santa Muerte – The Mexican Saint of Death

So, the Pope’s in Mexico this week and everybody thinks of Pope Francis as a pretty liberal Pontiff. Frank is from Argentina and there is a particular strand of Catholic philosophy that emerged from Latin America called Liberation Theology. It’s all about seeing religion from the eyes of people in poverty and championing the rights and dignity of the oppressed and the impoverished. Now, in practice that leads to these priests supporting the redistribution of wealth (popular with American liberals, unpopular with American conservatives, politics, primaries, blah blah blah…)

Now, Jesus did say that it was “easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. (Matthew 19:24)” So there is some precedent and J.C. was a big fan of helping out your fellow (wo)man. But, what does this have to do with the paranormal?

You guys remember Tuco’s cousins from Breaking Bad? Those bald twins that came up from Mexico?When they were first introduced you see them at a desert temple where all these peasants are crawling on their stomachs to make an offering before what looks like a skeleton in a Virgin Mary costume. That is Santa Muerte, literally translated to English as Holy Death.

Santa Muerte is a mishmash of Roman Catholicism and traditional tribal Mexican beliefs (kind of like Haitian Voodoo mixed Catholicism and traditional African religions) – the god of Death figured prominently in the Aztec religion and the Day of the Dead is a massively popular celebration in Mexico (Wilder Valderrama even starred in an action movie based on it, kinda like The Crow.)

santa muerte the dead one
Fez is back and it’s killin’ time!

People pray to an idol of Santa Muerte for money, health, or good fortune. And it’s supposedly very popular among Mexico’s murderous and terrifying drug cartels. These people still consider themselves Catholics, they just pray to Santa Muerte for a little extra supernatural help. Of course, the Vatican doesn’t consider it Catholic at all and in 2013, a Church official made that known.

So, the Pope’s visit to Mexico is important because while traditional church attendance is fading in the country, Santa Muerte is growing in popularity. People pray to her, punish themselves (often by crawling on their stomachs to the temple, like in the Breaking Bad example) in order to gain her favor, and even blow pot smoke in her face to get blessed.

Traditional Catholic Saints aren’t actually supposed to be able to perform any favors for you, you just pray to them to intervene on your behalf to God for healing or help. And people in my family have often gone to Church to light a votive candle for someone that they care about who is hurt, so I don’t really know how weird it is, especially in context with the rest of Catholicism.

Yahoo! has a pretty great story on the subject with some good interviews of locals who are excited about the Pope’s visit on one hand, but also devoted to la Niña Blanca (The White Girl, as Santa Muerte is sometimes known as). The traditions of the practice and it’s history in Latin American culture are definitely worth a podcast investigation sometime, but in the meantime the Pope is facing a dilemma.

Pope Francis has taken the mantle of being a champion of the world’s underprivileged, so how does he tell people that are poor, desperate, and looking for any help they can, that what they’re doing is blasphemy? That you can ask his God for favors, but not someone else’s? While the skeletal imagery is certainly disturbing, I also grew up looking at a statue of Jesus crucified and bleeding every Sunday, so at least la Niña Blanca is dressed up a little.

So it’s a fascinating and kinda scary folk religion (as anything often associated with Mexican drug cartels is), but at least know you know a little more of what those twins in Breaking Bad were up to!

42 – Secrets of the Vatican: Pope Francis and UFO Disclosure

Once again, Mike and Wendy are joined by Milwaukee Ghosts’ Allison Jornlin for a discussion on some upcoming web articles that Pope Francis is going to finally disclose that alien life has visited Earth and we’re going to make real first contact. Why Pope Francis and what does Catholicism have to do with extraterrestrial life? Well, the Catholic Church has been setting up the possible existence of aliens for years now, and that’s what we discuss about the podcast.

Mike mentions that he finished his marathon in Minneapolis on Sunday and they discuss their appearance on BBC Radio 5 discussing the #charliecharliechallenge.

Whatcha gonna do when Hulkamania runs wild on YOU?! #nikeplus #minneapolis #marathon

A photo posted by sunspotmike (@sunspotmike) on

But first, we preview the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference where Allison will be a featured speaker on Milwaukee Forteana and we’ll all be hanging out recording the next podcast and talking to attendees to get their weirdest stories.

Okay, so Pope Francis, popular among people outside of just Catholics because he’s brought new life into an old Church with his Liberation Theology politics (Catholics are usually economically liberal and socially conservative, like the political opposite of Libertarians) more tolerant attitude on social issues versus the hardline of Pope John Paul II and the unpopular-in-the-United-States Benedict.

So, with Pope Francis setting the world on fire with his decrees and allegiance with the poor, is he the one who’s going to reveal the existence of aliens to us? There’s been several articles this week that he might do so on June 5th(!) or perhaps a little later in the month.

It’s not like Catholics don’t have a fascination with outer space, in fact, there’s a Vatican Observatory located in an extinct volcano in Italy (as well as a branch in Tuscon, Arizona of all places!) and the Vatican lead a special conference on extraterrestrial life in 2009. Pope Francis himself in 2014 declared that he would baptize Martians if they came to Earth and wanted to become Catholic.

The Vatican Observatory and the scientist priests that work there have also been featured in films like The Omen (the birth of the Anti-Christ is foretold in star alignment just like the Star of Bethlehem) and Arnold Schwarzennegger’s blockbuster movie, End of Days (Mike proceeds to do a horrible Ah-nuld accent through much of the podcast once they start talking about this film.) Allison thinks that they might be using the observatory to look for Biblical prophecy and signs of Armageddon (not the crapola Bruce Willis movie, please) or Revelation.

Ged to da housekeepah

Then this breaks down to a talk about Asteroid Day which is coming on June 30th and all involved declare their love for Brian May, the guitarist of Queen and astrophysicist, who is an advocate of the new holiday.

Jaws was never my scene And I don’t like Star Wars

Finally, the discussion goes into whether or not Jesus and Satan were aliens, which is the premise of the John Carpenter classic, Prince of Darkness (which you can watch on Google Play or iTunes right now for not even $3, so if you haven’t seen it, stop what you’re doing and go watch it right now.)

Anyway, the conversation ends with a discussion on how it’s a touch hypocritical that the Church looks down on Astrology and Divination, yet looks to the sky for Biblical prophecy and signs from the stars, so what do they know that we don’t? We hope to find out this month when the Pope finally declares that aliens live among us and we for one welcome our new extraterrestrial overlords.

Song of the Week: “Messiah Complex” by Sunspot

When Constantine saw the cross,
burning in the sky,
Another bleeding heart thinks they can fix our broken lives.
While you’re waiting for your vision,
In your existential dread.
These bargain basement martyrs
Still just wind up dead.

It’s the messiah complex,
that happens before childhood’s end.
But just because you’re not alone,
doesn’t mean you have a friend.

So save yourself,
in a world full of victims,
Spending their whole life,
waiting for the knife.
Save yourself,
we got to save ourselves,
Or we’ll never survive.
No one gets out alive.

They tell us we have sinned,
they tell us we are cursed,
and if you want to get to Heaven,
you’ve got to walk through Hellfire first.
So you’d like be a saint
Well, here’s my advice,
all that crushing guilt is just empty sacrifice.

It’s the messiah complex,
that happens before childhood’s end.
But just because you’re not alone,
doesn’t mean you have a friend.

So save yourself,
in a world full of victims,
Spending their whole life,
waiting for the knife.
Save yourself,
we got to save ourselves,
Or we’ll never survive.
No one gets out alive.