An essential part of the message of Fatima is the warning of the corruption of the priesthood. Sister Lucia spoke of this to Father Agustin Fuentes:
“Father, the devil is in the mood for engaging in a decisive battle against the Blessed Virgin. And the devil knows what it is that most offends God and which in a short space of time will gain for him the greatest number of souls. Thus, the devil does everything to overcome souls consecrated to God, because in this way, the devil will succeed in leaving souls of the faithful abandoned by their leaders, thereby the more easily will he seize them.
That which afflicts the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Heart of Jesus is the fall of religious and priestly souls. The devil knows that religious and priests who fall away from their beautiful vocation drag innumerable souls to Hell … The devil wishes to take possession of consecrated souls. He tries to corrupt them in order to lull to sleep the souls of laypeople and thereby lead them to final impenitence.” (Sister Lucia of Fatima to Father Agustin Fuentes, December, 1957)
In a recent article, we quoted Pope Benedict’s address to the Curia in 2010 where he in turn, quoted from St. Hildegard von Bingen. However, although I have been unable to obtain that letter of hers wherein she related her vision of the Church, I have recently come across another version of the same vision in Volume 2 of “The Life and Revelations of Anne Catherine Emmerich“ by Rev. Carl Schmoger, C.SS.R. (TAN). This more detailed rendering of St. Hildegard’s vision provides significant insight, so we include it here. From pages 98-101:
“Confined to my bed by sickness, I had in the year of the Lord, 1170, a beautiful vision of a Lady more lovely and attractive than human mind can paint. Her form reached from earth to sky, her countenance shone with splendor, her eyes were fixed on heaven. She wore a shining robe of white silk and a mantle embroidered with precious stones, emeralds, sapphires, pearls and flowers of gold; on her feet were shoes of onyx. But her face was soiled with ashes, her robe was torn on the right side, her mantle was stained, her shoes were covered with mud. In a clear, plaintive voice she cried: “Hear O ye heavens! My face is disfigured! – Be afflicted, O earth, for my vesture is rent! – And thou, O abyss, tremble, for my shoes are soiled! The foxes have holes and the birds have nests, but I, I have none to assist or console me, I have no support on which to lean! – I was hidden in the bosom of the Father until the Son of Man, conceived and born of a Virgin, shed His blood in which he espoused me and endowed me with His grace, that in the pure regeneration of spirit and water, I might bring forth those anew whom the serpent’s venom had infected.
But my nurses, the priests who should have preserved my countenance resplendent as the aurora, my robe brilliant as the lightning flash, my mantle glittering as precious stones, my shoes white as snow, have sprinkled my face with ashes, have torn my robe, soiled my mantle, and stained my shoes. They who should have adorned me have allowed me to perish. They sully my countenance when they handle and eat my Bridegroom’s Flesh and Blood in spite of the impurity of their life, their fornications, their adulteries, and their rapacity in selling and buying, a thing unlawful to them. Yes, they cover His Flesh and Blood with opprobrium. It is like casting a new born babe to swine.