Fatima Shock! - Another Anti-Fatima,
Edmund J. Grant
Book review of Fatima Shock!: The Real Truth About Fatima and Future Apparitions by Bob Theil, Arroyo Grande, CA: Nazarene Books, 2012, 303 pp.
Again, we have another attack screed added to the list of publications that are anti-Fatima, anti-Roman Catholic and anti-devotional regarding the Blessed Mother. As can be typical with this genre, Fatima Shock! (FS!) is thoroughly saturated with falsified, distorted and misleading statements. It is also liberally sprinkled with sensationalistic and conspiratorial components that will probably make its greatest appeal to folks who are naturally drawn to this type of blatant anti-Roman Catholic and anti-Vatican material.
The author of this book is Mr. Bob Thiel, (also known as COGWRITER), who is regarded by his friends and associates as a specialist in end-time prophesies. Although he briefly mentions having had a Catholic baptism and some Catholic elementary school training during childhood, on page six in his introduction he abruptly halts mid-page in his religious background narrative, and provides no further information regarding his theological formation nor his sectarian association(s) over the next years.
In today's real world however, Mr. Thiel is identified from internet sources as currently being affiliated with a Sabbatarian, breakaway sect of
Armstrongism called the Living Church of God, currently headed by Roderick C. Meredith, and
Thiel is thought by some to be an official spokesman. The religious philosophy at the core of this movement was developed by now deceased Herbert W Armstrong in the late 1930s, and it has been recognized by many over time to be a cultish brand of unorthodoxy that has many controversial teachings considered well outside the mainstream of traditional Christianity.
Fatima Shock is slightly different from many of the other anti-Fatima publications in that Thiel casts derision and declares open season on many of the most cherished traditions of the Catholic Church. These attacks include: Marian apparitions in general (particularly the visions at Fatima), the role of Mary as the mother of Jesus in Catholic services and prayer life (Catholics DO NOT worship Mary, Mr. Thiel), the Rosary, the Brown scapular, statues and the Catholic understanding of the Bible, to name a few. Reading this blasphemous material is like watching a virtual wrecking-ball swing recklessly through a good part of the Roman Catholic Church's most revered beliefs and devotional practices. A factual product of a serious, meticulous research effort, it is NOT!!
A significant portion of the book's content is actually a recycling and rehashing of earlier, similarly flawed anti-Fatima and anti-Catholic research references and materials, taken from many other writers and works of the same category. Therefore, I question the value of the word Shock! used in the title, since it comes from someone who obviously is so familiar with and so totally immersed in such an accumulation of anti-Catholic literature. I submit, rather, that it is simply an electrifying headline concocted for marketing purposes, or perhaps an attempt to shock the public with its attention-grabbing title and fallacious content. But it is certainly NOT referring to himself.
Offering no solid evidence, Thiel pretends the statue on left is how
"the Lady" appeared at Fatima
While reading this publication - with understandable difficulty - I was barely able to turn a page without finding something so thoroughly biased, distorted or misleading that it would take more data space than Amazon would allow for one to adequately respond. However, the central focus of
FS! that stands out vividly is certainly where the author employs his principal weapon of attack on the Fatima apparition tradition, namely, the brazen impugnment of the moral character of Fatima's historic, heavenly figure herself, the Blessed Virgin.
This is accomplished primarily by the author's obsession with a "short-skirt" description fixation (skirt is mentioned 33 times in
FS!), which is a part of some of the current anti-Fatima literature. This is actually not the first publication to make this same scandalous character assassination of the Heavenly Lady, but each new iteration gets further and further from the truth, as is the case with the book under review.
The origination of all of this calumnious Fatima "short-skirt" material in America is a book titled
Celestial Secrets: The Hidden History of the Fatima Incident (CS), written by two Portuguese authors, Joaquim Fernandes and Fina D'Armada, and translated into English by others in 2006. Bob Thiel uses data from CS extensively in his
Fatima shock! promo video
and throughout the FS! publication itself. He has indicated as much, starting with the end-note references 20, 23, 24 on p. 21, listed on p. 255 (FS!).
The Portuguese authors of CS have taken the primary source Fatima Shrine archival material contained in the official Documentacão Critica de Fatima, Vol. (DCDF- I) (I have a personal copy), and have processed and filtered it, distorting it to produce fallacious evidence to serve their own purposes.
Many of those spurious results from Celestial Secrets are now major items in Fatima Shock.
Another significant indicator of the author's primary intention is the back cover of FS! that has a glossy and profane photograph of a statue identified only as "Description of witnesses." This is Mr. Thiel's version of the physical appearance of the "Lady of Fatima." This totally sacrilegious statue is a stereotype of a thigh-baring floozy in a short cocktail dress, with otherwise no other attribution given for its origin. Lord have mercy!
Not surprisingly, this libelous "short skirt" infatuation consumes close to 40% of the author's "Fatima Shock" book intro video.
Celestial Secrets pretends the "Lady at Fatima' was an extra-terrestial creature wearing a short skirt
In response to this "short-skirt" obsession of Fatima Shock! and the earlier CS authors mentioned above, I wrote a customer book review on Amazon in 2009 titled "The Lady of the Carrasqueira." It was published as a rebuttal to the short skirt assertion of CS. It covers a great deal of my own personal research on this issue.
Granted, Fatima Shock! differs from Celestial Secrets in that Thiel is strongly suggesting a Satanic involvement in the figure's apparitions, whereas the CS authors attempt to convince the reader of a visit from an extraterrestrial(s) in a UFO instead. Nevertheless, the majority of Mr. Thiel's discussion of a short-skirted apparition figure is much the same as in CS, and he basically repeats and amplifies most – but not all – of the same distorted and ultimately fallacious evidence it contains.
Instead of repeating my arguments against this short-skirted issue again in this review, I kindly invite the reader to check out
"The Lady of the Carrasqueira." Hopefully, this in-depth study will shed some much needed light on Thiel's own similar disgraceful characterizations of the "Lady of Fatima" in
In closing, it is well worth noting that I have understood for decades that any level of assent or belief in the 1917 Fatima events (or any other similar apparition) is plainly NOT a requirement to be a faithful member of the Catholic church. Moreover, it is NOT a sin to have differing and varying opinions on this subject, relating to the reality or meaning of these events of long ago. I have also affirmed this well-known fact in other review comments.
Obviously, the main concern for all should be to have "intellectually honest" arguments, theories and positions on all of these matters, and I fully respect those that follow this criterium, although I might have some very different opinions. The lack of this fundamental "honesty" – with the aim of selling more books – is the real problem has been manifesting itself with this genre of publications over recent years.
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