Monday, October 13, 2014

What really happened during the Fatima Miracle of the Sun?

October 13th, 1917 - Miracle of the Sun, Fatima

Although an hundred thousand individuals, from many diverse faiths and from no faith, spread out even over several miles, saw the “miracle of the sun,” at Fatima in Portugal on 13 October 1917, yet not a single shred of astronomical data indicates that the sun really did “dance” on that day.

What is the believer to make of this fact? How ought we to respond to the doubts of many who claim that, since the sun does not seem to have moved at all from his normal place in the heavens (at least, no scientific observatory noted any such motion), the event must have been nothing more than mass-hysteria?

In 2011, we wrote an article [here] discussing the nature of the Miracle of Fatima. At that time, we indicated that the “miracle of the sun” was indeed a real miracle, but had nothing to do with the sun at all.

The evidence: Something happened

It must be clear to all that something wondrous did indeed happen that day at the Cova da Iria. Estimates of those present range from 30,000 to over 100,000 individuals – but what is most striking is not merely the sheer mass of witnesses, but the fact that many of those present were non-believers, communists, and others for whom we have no reason to suppose a religious conviction or desire which would induce either the fabrication of testimony or an hallucination.

Additionally, even among the many Catholic believers present, a good number of these doubted the message of the children and had no expectation of witnessing a miracle on that day. These too, then, cannot be reasonable supposed to have fabricated the event in their imaginations.

Although the testimony of exactly how the sun moved varies to some degree, we must propose that those present saw something phenomenal as can be garnered from the statements of witnesses who describe how the sun “danced” in the sky and then came crashing toward the earth at a rapid speed! Then, suddenly, the sun returned to his place in the sky, and the crowd was astonished to find that their cloths and the earth which had been soaking wet due to a hard rain, were now completely dry.

So terrifying was this event that, it is said, many person fell to the earth or hid under rocks and trees. Many thought that the time of the universal judgment had arrived, and so they quite literally cried out their sins at the top of their voice, begging the Lord’s pardon. It would take quite a lot for any of us to confess our sins publicly in this manner! Certainly, something great was occurring to move people to such an intense fear of the Lord.

Furthermore, the witnesses of the event are not limited simply to those present in the field outside of Fatima. We note that there were some as far as eleven miles away who claim to have seen the sun move in this miraculous fashion.

All of this seems to preclude any theory either of mass-hysteria or mass-deception. Those present saw something marvelous on that day: It appeared that the sun danced in the sky and then fell towards the earth (drying the people, their clothes, and the ground), before returning to the heavens.

The evidence: The sun didn’t move

On the other hand, it is a simple fact that the sun did not move. We know this on two accounts: First, none of the observatories throughout the world noticed any such movement in the sun. Second, although many people from even several miles away witnessed something marvelous on 13 October 1917, the vast majority of the human population witnessed no such miracle. Additionally, while it is quite awesome that the wet land was dried by the “miracle of the sun,” the rest of the water on earth was in no greater measure dried by this event.

Hence, for all these reasons, we must conclude that the sun in no way moved during the “miracle of the sun” in Fatima. If it had, the whole world would have seen the event, it would have been registered in many astronomical observatories, and a great bit of dampness throughout the earth’s surface would have evaporated.

A possible explanations

We already have noted that various explanations are impossible – mass-hysteria, hallucinations, intentional deception. Together with these, we add any real change in the sun himself.

One possible explanation comes from a Catholic priest and scientist, Fr Stanley Jaki. Fr Jaki indicates that it is likely that, as the sun did not move, the event was the result of a sudden temperature inversion combined with countless additional natural phenomena which made it appear to all present (and even within several miles of the field) that the sun was falling from the sky.

Fr Jaki insists that this even would nevertheless be a natural “miracle” insofar as the collusion of so many diverse natural elements at the very time which had been predicted by the Mother of God through the children is so great as to be supernatural in origin.

For a positive article about Fr Jaki’s research, see Stacy Transacos’ writing [here].

The best answer: A miracle of biblical proportions

For our part, we do not hold peace with Fr Jaki. Indeed, his explanation reduces the miracle to an essential natural event. Furthermore, the number of natural factors which would have had to come together to make his event even a remote possibility is so great as to be entirely improbable. While it is true that Fr Jaki would respond: “That is what makes it a miracle!” We reply: “Then it is more probable to propose a real miracle.”

Therefore, it seems most likely that a new object was formed in the sky, perhaps several hundred feet in the air above the field. It was filled with an intense light and also seems to have produced an intense heat. This newly created atmospheric ball was moved (it seems) by angels and is most closely comparable to the Pillar of Fire or (perhaps) to the Star of Bethlehem.

We propose that the angels, directed by our Lady, made this massive “ball” of dust or gas which then shone so bright by the infusion of light as to hide the sun from view. This angelic ball or mass would resemble something like an extremely dense cloud, which was then filled with light of many different colors. This object would then appear to all present in the field, as well as to those within several miles of the event, as being the sun himself, crashing to earth!

The postulation of such an object as this “mini-sun” would explain why the rest of the world saw no change in the sun. Furthermore, we would see clearly why those present would have been so awestruck and terrified – for something really was crashing toward earth, something majestic and great, an angelic “mini-sun”!

By this postulation, we have not only a miracle, but a miracle of biblical proportions which harkens back to the Exodus from the land of slavery and to the Light for revelation to the gentiles given in the Christ Child.

Our Lady of Fatima, Pray for us!


Michael said...

Thanks for the post, I found it quite enlightening!

God bless

Clinton R. said...

In light of what is going on at the Synod and the fact Our Lady's request has still not been carried out vis a vis the Consecration of Russia, we should pray even with more ardor to Our Blessed Mother.

Anonymous said...

According to Prof Americo Lopez-Ortiz PhD, president of the World Apostolate of Fatima the consecration of Russia has been fully made and that those who think otherwise are confused, misled, or not well informed. Follow the link below.
EWTN Live - 2012-10-10 - Prof. Americo Pablo Lopez Ortiz

Anonymous said...

Fascinating! I never thought of this miracle in the way you have placed it, Father. Thank you.

xcontra said...

I would go with Dr. Jaki. Don't forget how a rainbow forms: many small droplets of water disperse sunlight into its colors and reflect back again toward the observer. Earth intercepts all kinds of bits and pieces of rock and ice every day as it moves along its orbit. This miracle occurred at noon or so, I thin, so a big blob of water ice and carbon dioxide ice coming from the direction of the sun, would have certainly formed lensing and other dispersion of sunlight. It would be interesting to model on a computer. Not sure how to produce the spinning effect, but the rapid return of the sun's disc to its normal position on the sky is the giveaway, in my opinion.

In any case, an excellent miracle, and it definitely caught the attention of everybody, even those hard-hearted communists! =)

Anonymous said...

Would several hundred feet have been sufficient?

Anonymous said...

It could just as easily been what is now called a UFO, although a large one. A few witnesses said that it looked like a silvery disk spinning. That sounds a lot like a UFO.

After all, this also would explain the UFO phenomenon as being either angelic (as in the case of Fatima) or demonic (in many other cases) rather than being alien beings, of which there is no evidence for and which would cause theological difficulties for Christians.

Anonymous said...

I am unclear why there needs to be a physical and natural account that explains the miraculous vision at all, even if the physical account is explained as miraculous. The truth is that the sun danced. And God can make it dance and not dance simultaneously. Thousands saw it, and have testified to the truth.
Science has little concern for truth, it is only seeking for facts and data - even though science has eyes it cannot see.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

Anonymous 7:19,
God cannot make the sun both dance and not dance "simultaneously" -- because even God cannot break the principle of non-contradiction. That would be to deny himself.
Your comment is an excellent example of how many believers expose our Faith to ridicule.

Marko Ivančičević said...

Excellent article :)

David Zacchetti said...

The Miracle of the Sun is a sign of a future event. It will be similar to Joshua Chapter 10.

Clinton R. said...

Have we had the peace Our Lady promised? The answer is no. If Her request had been carried out, would we have the worldwide chaos we are currently experiencing?

Anonymous said...

Sentient extraterrestrial life would in no way cause theological difficulties for Christians. What difference is life 3,000 miles across an ocean of water (Natives in the New World) vs 3,000 light years across an ocean of space? Merely numbers.

Anonymous said...

The miracle of the sun undoubtedly happened as you have well demonstrated. However, I think that the explanation will just have to be "God did it" without trying a scientific explanation. In particular the drying of clothes and the ground in a couple of minutes would have required an extraordinary amount of heat which would have been harmful to the witnesses. Moreover, since people in nearby towns also saw it (but did not see the sun in its ordinary place at the same time), it cannot be explained by simply stating that there was something there besides the real sun while the real sun went on shining as usual. Let's just say it was a miracle which like all real miracles defies a scientific explanation.

Anonymous said...

I too, believe there was a miracle at Fatima: 1) the reported extraordinary number of witnesses (a forensic fact); 2) the precision of dates predicted & occurred; 3) the selectivity of the lensing effect, as explained by Fr Jaki (e.g. full-circle rainbows have been reported by few) - these reasons are enough for me.

Anonymous said...

the full-circle rainbow i am stating is not connected to the miracle of Fatima.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

A mini-sun moved about and illumined by the angels is not a scientific way of explaining away the miracle. It certainly would defy all scientific explanation.
Your comment would be like saying - "let's just admit Mary was with child and not try to explain everything by possiting the angel Gabriel."

Also, it was a cloudy day. So the sun was not visible in nearby areas. That is why some from several miles away only saw this angelic sun crashing to earth.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

No further anonymous comments will be published. Use a pseudonym as requested.

JD Spaan said...


I have not read of any follow-up data as to cancers etc. of the witnesses at Fatima. I am wondering if data as to radiation elevations or radiation poisoning may have occurred. Have you?

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