In all languages
Fatima is one of the main Portuguese references in global Media, an increasing phenomenon since 1917.
In May 1917, in a little place near the central region of Portugal, three poor children that tended to their flocks swore they had seen Virgin Mary.
Ignored or ridiculed by the national press and without the support of Catholic institutions, unavailable to compromise with what could as well be a miracle or a fraud, the shepherds’ reports did not find support in anything more than a few local press outlets.
However, the alleged repetition of the apparitions on the 13th of each month brought to Cova da Iria, month after month, an increasingly higher number of prying eyes – part of them moved by the will to believe, other part moved by the will to disbelieve.
And, sooner or later, the civil and religious authorities would have to begin paying attention to what was happening.
The moment would come in October: a crowd of at least 50 thousand people watches what some witnesses call the “miracle of the sun” and others a “collective hallucination.”
The phenomenon became impossible to ignore and gained front page honours, even in the anticlerical press.
Over the years, Fatima would impose itself to the world’s press and even to the Church.
It became an international religious tourism destination, a mandatory stop for Popes, an axis of the Catholic message of the 21st century.
It survived the difficult coexistence with the First Republic (Primeira República) and inhabited side by side with the New State (Estado Novo), either ignored, either instrumentalised by the dictatorial regime.
And, when the Revolution of April 1974 broke out, it was already too great to fall or tremble.
In all the languages of the world, from its own outlets to the more hostile Media, Fatima has been a constant presence in the global Press for over a century. Attracting increasingly higher Media coverage, Fatima’s call seems irresistible to believers and detractors alike.