The message of Fatima comes in great contrast with the celebrations by leading members of the Church for Luther’s 500th anniversary, which will happen on Oct. 31. Luther’s revolution goes very far and has disastrous consequences for the salvation of souls. He replaced the supernatural act of faith in the truth revealed by God and proposed by the Church – “He who hears you hears Me, He who rejects you rejects Me” – by a private, personal judgment at the natural level. In simple language this means, “I decide by myself on my own authority what is true or not, and not the Church”.
“Private judgment, set up as a principle, not only cuts off access to the supernatural faith which is the way of salvation (“He that believeth not shall be condemned,” Mk 16:16), but also makes unity in the Truth impossible. He thus established in principle for Protestants the impossibility of eternal salvation and of unity in the Truth.” (Bishop Fellay)
By rejecting the authority of the pope, of the Church established by God, Luther also opened the door to social anarchy which is exactly what happened already during his lifetime in Germany. We must constantly teach it: all authority comes from God, and if one misuses that delegated authority which unfortunately often happens, no amount of misused authority will ever suppress its divine origin, just as no amount of lies will ever make lying an act of virtue. The lives of the Saints, especially of those who lived through civil unrests, the Roman, French or Chinese Revolutions for example, are practical applications of this doctrine: we respect those in authority over us even if we cannot obey some of their laws that would cause us to go against the higher laws of God. The virtue of obedience will always exist.
Thirdly, private judgment destroys unity in the truth. Obviously, if I decide by myself what is truth, then I become like a pope, everyone becomes a pope, a guarantor of the truth. Thus follows the multiplicity of Protestants sects. Even Martin Luther saw the inescapable principle of fragmentation and disunity that lies at the heart of ‘sola scriptura’. St Francis de Sales gives a quote of Luther in which he complained bitterly about the doctrinal anarchy that was even then rampant among Protestants: “If the world lasts, it will be necessary, on account of the differing interpretations of Scripture which now exist, that to preserve the unity of faith, we should receive the Councils and decrees and fly to them for refuge.” (in Catholic Controversies, TAN, 1989, p. 155)).
The Immaculate Heart of Mary is clearly the antidote to one’s eternal damnation, to social anarchy and the solution for the triumph of the one true Church.