is the only great post-Christian religion of the world.
Because it had its origin in the seventh century under Mohammed, it was
possible to unite within it some elements of Christianity and of Judaism.
Moslemism takes the doctrine of the
unity of God, His Majesty and His Creative Power, and uses it as a basis for
the repudiation of Christ, the Son of God. Misunderstanding
the notion of the Trinity, Mohammed made Christ a prophet only.
The Catholic Church throughout Northern Africa
was virtually destroyed by Moslem power and at the present time (circa
1950), the Moslems are beginning to rise again. If Moslemism
is a heresy, as Hilaire Belloc
believes it to be, it is the only heresy that has never declined, either in
numbers, or in the devotion of its followers.
The missionary effort of the Church toward this group has been, at least on
the surface, a failure, for the Moslems are so far almost
unconvertible. The reason is that for a follower of Mohammed to become a
Christian is much like a Christian becoming a Jew. The Moslems believe
that they have the final and definitive revelation of God to the world and
that Christ was only a prophet announcing Mohammed, the last of God's real
Today (1950), the hatred of the Moslem countries
against the West is becoming hatred against Christianity itself.
Although the statesmen have not yet taken it into account, there is still
grave danger that the temporal power of Islam may return and, with it, the
menace that it may shake off a West which has ceased to be Christian, and
affirm itself as a great anti-Christian world Power.
It is our firm belief that the fears some entertain concerning the Moslems
are not to be realized, but that Moslemism,
instead, will eventually be converted to Christianity, and in a way that even
some of our missionaries never suspect.
It is our belief that this will happen not through the direct teaching of
Christianity, but through a summoning of the Moslems to a veneration of
the Mother of God.
This is the line of argument:
The Koran, which is the bible of the Moslems, has many passages
concerning the Blessed Virgin. First, the Koran believes in her
Immaculate Conception and in her Virgin Birth. The third chapter of
the Koran places the history of Mary's family in a genealogy that goes back
through Abraham, Noah, and Adam. When one compares the Koran's
description of the birth of Mary with the apocryphal Gospel of the birth of
Mary, one is tempted to believe that Mohammed very much depended upon the
Both books describe the old age and the definite sterility of Anne, the
mother of Mary. When, however, Anne conceives, the mother of Mary is
made to say in the Koran: "O Lord, I vow and I consecrate to you
what is already within me. Accept it from me." When Mary is born, her mother, Anne, says:
"And I consecrate her with all of her posterity under thy protection, O
Lord, against Satan!"
The Koran has also verses on the Annunciation, Visitation, and
Nativity. Angels are pictured as accompanying the Blessed Mother
and saying, "O Mary, God has chosen you and purified you, and elected
you above all the women of the earth."
In the nineteenth chapter of the Koran, there are forty-one verses on Jesus
and Mary. There is such a strong defense of the virginity of Mary here
that the Koran, in the fourth book, attributes the condemnation of the Jews
to their monstrous calumny against the Virgin Mary.
Mary, then, is for the Moslems the true Sayyida,
or Lady. The only possible serious rival to her in their
creed would be Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed himself. However,
after the death of Fatima, Mohammed wrote: "Thou shalt be the most blessed of all the women in Paradise, after Mary." In
a variant of the text, Fatima is made to
say, "I surpass all the women, except Mary."
This brings us to our second point, namely, why the Blessed Mother,
in this twentieth century (1950), should have revealed herself in the
insignificant little village of Fatima, so that to all future generations she
would be known as "Our Lady of Fatima."
Nothing ever happens out of Heaven except with a finesse of all
I believe that the Blessed Virgin chose to be known as "Our Lady
of Fatima" as a pledge and a sign of hope to the Moslem people, and as
an assurance that they, who show her so much respect, will one day accept her
Divine Son, too.
Evidence to support these views is found in the historical fact that
the Moslems occupied Portugal
for centuries. At the time when they were finally driven out, the last
Moslem chief had a beautiful daughter by the name of Fatima. A Catholic boy fell in love with her, and for
him she not only stayed behind when the Moslems left, but even embraced the
Catholic faith. The young husband was so much in love with her that he
changed the name of the town where he lived to Fatima. Thus,
the very place where Our Lady appeared in 1917 bears a historical connection
to Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed.
The final evidence of the relationship of Fatima to the Moslems is the enthusiastic
reception that the Moslems in Africa and India and elsewhere gave to the
Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Moslems attended the Catholic
services in honor of Our Lady; they allowed religious processions and even
prayers before their mosques; and in Mozambique the Moslems, who were
unconverted, began to be Christian as soon as the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was erected.
Missionaries in the future will increasingly see that their apostolate among
the Moslems will be successful in the measure that they preach Our Lady of
Fatima. Because the Moslems have a devotion to Mary, our missionaries
should be satisfied merely to expand and to develop that devotion with the
full realization that Our Blessed Lady will carry the Moslems the rest of the
way to her Divine Son.
As those who lose devotion
to Mary lose belief in the Divinity of Christ, so those who intensify
devotion to her gradually acquire that belief.