Showing posts with label Spiritual Event. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spiritual Event. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Miracle of Fatima: Photographic Proof Part II

Photographic Fiasco: Finding the Source

In the piece, The Miracle of Fatima: Photographic Proof from the Vatican and LIFE magazine?,
we saw how a photo was erroneously presented as evidence. What was not discussed was how an error of that magnitude came to be. Luckily others knew where to look for answers.

Gilles Fernandez, is a scholarlly French skeptic s that corresponds with me, and he was very helpful in tracking down further details on the origin of the Fatima photo fiasco.  Gilles contacted Marc Hallet, who has an excellent history of the Fatima Miracle itself at his French language site.
The second of three bad photographs published in the book by Viscount Montelo

Gilles told me (summarized, retranslated):
Marc provided  a copy  of the "picture" from the first book it was in, by Vicomte de Montelo, (circa 1930) who described the picture as "Le phénomène solaire, 2°aspect" (the solar phenomenon, second aspect).
The book was
As Grandes Maravilhas de Fatima by Canon Manuel Nunes Formigão under the pseudonym “Vicomte de Montelo” Uniao grafica, 1927 (Note: Some references use the spelling "Montello," preserved here.)

Les Grandes Merveilles de Fatima Éditions du Pélican (1931)

Manuel Nunes Formigão aka 
Vicomte de Montelo

It must have been forgotten, because when about twenty years later finding copies of the photograph launched international news:

Marc Hallet provided an excerpt from MICHEL DE LA Ste TRINITE: "Toute la vérité sur Fatima" (The Whole Truth about Fatima),  St-Parres-Lès-Vaudes, Ren.cath., 1986, T.III, p.252-253.

Link to PDF of French text

Gilles was kind enough to translate the relevant passage:

The Whole Truth about Fatima (Fatima photograph history extract)

What happened? In December 1957, in the Portuguese Jesuit review “Broteria “, Professor Agostinho Veloso s.j., explains the origin of this lamentable error:
“The Chief of the Protocol of Portugal Foreign Ministry, Doctor João Mendonça found in the house of his parents four negatives that his brother Alfredo, already dead, had photographed. He thought that they were from Fatima and, the respective positives were published in one book of Dr. Formigao, under the pseudonym of “Vicomte de Montello".
“When Cardinal Tedeschini came to Portugal, again with the same good faith, Dr. Mendonça gave him enlargements of these pictures, as photographed at noon/midday, 13 October 1917. After, the “Osservatore Romano” published them, also in good faith”.
“However, the author of this notice [Veloso] had had the occasion to make some research and he verified that the pictures were not photographed at Fatima, nor at 13 October 1917, but in Torres Novas, 5P.M., 13 June 1925. Coming from Fatima, and he saw an astronomical phenomenon that he believed to be a repetition of the Fatima Miracle […], Alfredo Mendonça photographed it. Later, he died. And his family, discovering later the negatives, were mistaken concerning the date and place, and it is how the error was spread.”
This benevolent explanation, accepting without discussion the justification provided by those first responsible of this lamentable affair is maybe not the most plausible. Because the of the incredible carelessness of Dr. João Mendonça, granting by writing the authenticity of the pictures, without any serious evidence and without research nor verification, is for us very suspect. And the behavior how the anticlerical medias and Franc-Maçons – and “Le Monde “ newspaper the first one – was advised of the deception only several months after the publication of the pictures by “Osservatore Romana” is not less suspicious. If Dr. Mendoça was able to discover that the photographs he offered to the Cardinal Tedeschini, as authentic photographs of 13 October 1917 Miracle, were in reality photographed at 5 PM, 13 June 1925, in Torres Novas – what precision! - how can he have ignored it before? And how is it that opponents of the church were the first to know?
When we know how the Bourgeoisie of Portugal remained in great part liberal, skeptic, anticlerical and secretly affiliated to the Freemasons, another hypothesis, less benevolent, but likely has come to our mind: A trap, a deliberate deception whose victim was Cardinal Tedseschini, and following him, Osservatore Romano”.
from Toute la vérité sur Fatima by Michel de la Ste Trinité 
The first photo.

In Marc Hallet's book, Les Apparitions de la Vierge, he attempts to clarify things. Below is a mechanically transited passage.

In 1931, in the key work he devoted to the apparitions of Fatima under the pseudonym Viscount Montello, Canon Formigao published without too many comments three poor quality photographs purportedly showing the three phases of the solar miracle. These illustrations went long unnoticed until they resurfaced, November 18, 1951, in the Osservatore Romano where they were presented as photographs "absolutely authentic."  Meanwhile, in 1944, in the book he devoted to Fatima, Jesuit H. Jongen had already written, but without providing any evidence, that the solar miracle had actually been photographed. November 21, 1951, following the article from the Osservatore Romano, the Parisian newspaper Le Monde claimed that the photographs were false and the press organ of the Vatican soon issued a denial of them. On March 14, the Osservatore Romano belies the words in the French daily, and reaffirmed that the published material came from a trusted source. Careful, however, he added that even if they were found to be false, this does not belie the miracle of 1917 occurred " in front of tens of thousands of witnesses."
On 15 March, returning to this case, Le Monde wrote that Osservatore Romano admitted the possibility that these documents were false. It was not until December 1957 to find the key to the riddle. It was published in the journal of the Portuguese Jesuit. The Chief of Protocol of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal found four negatives taken by his late brother Alberto. As they were published in the book of Canon Formigao, he thought they had been taken at Fatima.  When the Portuguese Cardinal Tedeschini came, he offered enlargements of these photographs in good faith. And so they found themselves in the Osservatore Romano with the estimate  of a "reliable source." In fact, the pictures were taken on June 13 1925 17h at Torres Novas, while Alberto observed meteorological phenomenon that seemed to replicate the miracle of Fatima. Such, at least, now is the official theory (though little known) which obviously does not satisfy everyone. Another hypothesis is that there was a conspiracy to undermine the credibility of the Vatican. And here would not have been a coincidence, of course, if the enemies of the Church (it is here Le Monde) were aware of the fraud even before the Vatican.
The third photo.

I'll leave the conspiracy hypothesis alone, and focus on the historical information. The basic idea of seeing something like the photographs, and attaching significance to based on cherished notions has plenty of precedents and antecedents. When there is a will to believe, miracles will be found.

Marc Hallet's book (The Apparitions of the Virgin) at Scribd:

Les Apparitions de la Vierge et la Critique Historique by Marc Hallet 

Thanks again to Gilles Fernandez and Marc Hallet for their contributions!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Miracle of Fatima: Photographic Proof from the Vatican and LIFE magazine?

Fake Fatima Miracle of the Sun photo

Polluting History

LIFE magazine used to be a vital part of the average American household, delivering a mixture of news and entertainment, always accompanied by large, striking photographs. In 1951, they carried some sensational news about the 1917 "Miracle of the Sun" at Fatima in Portugal. The Vatican had released photographs as proof of it, evidence of "rigorously authentic origin."

The Picture and Story:

VATICAN PAPER PUBLISHES PHOTO IN PROOF OF FATIMA MIRACLE At the anniversary of the miracle of Fatima this year ( Life, Nov. 5), Cardinal Tedeschini told crowds of Catholics at the Portuguese shrine that last year Pope Pius XII had a vision similar to that seen by three children of Fatima 34 years ago. The children saw visions of the Virgin Mary, and at the final vision the sun danced in the sky. Thousands of spectators at Fatima that they too had seen the strange antics of the sun. The Pope declined to comment on the Cardinal's announcement, but two weeks ago the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, published new information in picture form This picture, showing the sun near the horizon, was dated 12:30 pm, Oct. 13, 1917, the day of the final vision. There was no eclipse recorded on that date; the sun's blackness, said L’Osservatore, was caused "by its very rapid rotation.." Such a midday position cannot be explained scientifically; no astronomical observations in other parts of the world verify that it happened. The picture, said L’Osservatore, was of "rigorously authentic origin" and had been taken by a witness with a camera who "succeeded in fixing the exceptional scene.”

A reader speaks out; the Retraction:

LIFE - May 12, 1952 - Page 20

LIFE May 12, 1952 (letters to the editor)

PICTURE OF THE WEEK Sirs: Recently you gave the distinction Picture Picture of the Week (Life, Dec. 3) to a picture of the Fatima "miracle" published in L Osservatore Romano as of "rigorously authentic origin." Now that the picture has been designated a fraud by the official newspaper of the shrine of Fatima, I trust that you will publish a retraction, out of journalistic honesty and in fairness to the many doubters who objected to the picture.
J. McKechnie Plainfield N.J.
  • In reprinting the picture published first by L'Osservatore Romano, LIFE merely quoted the claims of the Vatican newspaper. Subsequently the official newspaper of the shrine of Fatima stated that the picture was taken in 1922 (not 1917), at sunset (not noon) and several miles from Fatima. -ED.

LIFE's "retraction" was given much smaller space than their original story. Checking old newspapers provided better details.

Youngstown Vindicator, 3/10/1952

The Milwaukee Sentinel story of the photo fiasco had a fascinating quote from the journal, "The Voice of Fatima":

The Shrine of Fatima’s official newspaper... “The Voice of Fatima,” said:

“In the interests of accuracy we would like to state that the photographs...were not in fact taken on that date but several years later (May 13, 1921, near Torres Novas) during an atmospheric effect at sunset. They were thought to resemble the October prodigy and were published in Portugal at the time but later withdrawn in order to avoid confusion. There is no photographic record of the sun on the original date and indeed, if the effect is supernatural, it would be unlikely to be recorded by the camera.”

The Milwaukee Sentinel - Mar 10, 1952

If I understand correctly, then the fuss was over nothing. 
God, Mary and Miracles are "unlikely" to be photographed.

The photo printed in LIFE magazine still circulates on the Internet as genuine...