2018 ix + 242p IL $18.00 #55990
Preserving Christian Publications is happy to announce the publication of the second enlarged edition of Pope Leo XIII and the Prayer to St. Michael by Kevin J. Symonds.
However, this edition appears at a time when the author has come under criticism. Matt Gaspers, managing editor of Catholic Family News, has written that Kevin Symonds is promoting what Mr. Gaspers calls “Fatima Lite,” a term that he borrows from Christopher Ferrara, who had debated Kevin Symonds on the Third Secret of Fatima at the annual Angelus Press Conference in October of 2017, in an exchange of arguments which we reported on on our web site.
Two distinct realities overlap and risk being confused in discussions about Fatima. The first is a question of historical fact concerning Fatima, and the second is the interpretation of the message of Fatima itself. One such question of fact is whether or not the Holy See has published the entire Third Secret. The question of interpretation concerns the theological commentary that the Vatican published with the Secret itself. Matt Gaspers has closely connected the two, but the historical investigations made by Kevin Symonds into private revelations must be clearly distinguished from the controversies regarding their theological interpretation. Mr. Symonds’ contact, for example, with the Blue Army/WAF (World Apostolate of Fatima) in matters relating to the Third Secret centered around an inaccurately translated statement of Our Lady to Sister Lucia. Christopher Ferrara interpreted the mistranslation as deliberate. Mr. Symonds had discovered the error just as the book was going to press, and knew the circumstances and why it was not deliberate. He later defended the WAF against Mr. Ferrara’s interpretation, citing the historical facts, causing Mr. Ferrara to issue a retraction. But Mr. Gaspers treats this as a defense of the Blue Army’s theological interpretation of Fatima, when in reality it was simply about specific events.
We at PCP were witnesses to these events. For we wrote to the Carmelites of Coimbra at the request of the author in January of 2015, asking for their permission to use chapter XIII of the biography of Sister Lucia as an appendix to Kevin Symonds’ book – the chapter of the biography which treats the circumstances in which Sister Lucia wrote the Secret. The Carmelites replied very promptly (see excerpts below), indicating that they could not grant permission since the rights to the English edition had been granted to the World Apostolate of Fatima. WAF then showed their translation of that chapter to Kevin Symonds, who immediately discovered a problem with the translation of some words of Our Lady, and informed them of the problem, but found no evidence that there had been a deliberate attempt to alter the meaning, either on the part of the Carmelites or on the part of the WAF.
In Pope Leo XIII and the Prayer to St. Michael, Kevin Symonds demonstrates his competency to separate facts from interpretations. He first provides a historical examination of the facts relating to the vision of Pope Leo XIII before discussing the interpretation of those facts. His analysis is more comprehensive than anything previously published on Pope Leo’s vision, and his documentation is so thorough that no one has questioned it. What did Pope Leo XIII actually see? What are the sources of information providing an account of his vision, and to what extent are they reliable? In his unique and unparalleled research, the author offers answers to these questions, so that readers can draw their own conclusions about the fact that Pope Leo XIII’s vision did take place, which is confirmed by reliable ecclesiastical authorities. From the testimony of these sources we can piece together certain known facts about the content of the vision, while at the same time distinguishing what is known with certainty from what remains hypothetical because of a lack of sufficient documentation.
The seriousness of this well documented study is confirmed by the following:
1) The Foreword of Bishop Athanasius Schneider, in which His Excellency recommends it to the reader in these words:
“Mr. Symonds’ book is indeed very relevant for our times. May this book become widespread and raise to many Catholics – especially the clergy – a new awareness of the necessity to use the spiritual means which God and His Church have given us in order to fight against the infiltration and attacks of the evil spirits.”
1) Words of praise from John Vennari, founding editor of Catholic Family News, who stated directly to the author:
“I read it. Well done. Good to be in contact with you…. I found your book to be terrific. Clearly a lot of detective work went into it.”
Among the new texts added to this second edition is Pope Leo XIII’s Apostolic Letter Pervenuti All’Anno, of March 19, 1902, the year before the pope’s death in July of 1903. In this document Leo XIII outlined the grave concerns facing the Church as he was approaching the end of his pontificate, all of which take on a more profound significance when seen in relation to his vision of the devil’s assault on the Church, which Leo XIII had seen nearly twenty years before. Furthermore, Pope Leo XIII and the Prayer to St. Michael shows the Holy See’s understanding during that pope’s pontificate of Our Lady’s role in defeating the devil, which the author explains in relation to the threats facing the Church into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, all of which must now be understood in the light of the apparitions of Fatima.
The email that was sent to us on January 29, 2015 by the Carmelites of Coimbra illustrates the care that they were taking not only with their original Portuguese edition, but also with the English translation. To document this for our readers we transcribe the last lines of the email in English translation, followed by their original Portuguese. Their solicitude for the publication of the biography rules out all suspicions that they would have allowed anyone to deliberately alter the text, and above all the words of Our Lady.
In March the book of the biography of Sister Lucy will be published in English in the United States of America http://www.lucia.pt/news/the-biography-of-sister-lucia-in-english:158 and before that happens we cannot allow other editions or full quotations. If your book is published after March, the citations in English should refer to the translation, especially with regard to the publisher and pagination.
If you use the quotations from Chapter XIII, we would appreciate it if you would send us the final text with the underlined quotations.
Desiring a successful work and abundant spiritual fruits for all your readers, with the warmest greetings
Carmelite Sisters, Carmel de St. Teresa, Coimbra
Em Março o livro da biografia da Irmã Lúcia será publicado em inglês nos Estados Unidos da América http://www.lucia.pt/news/the-biography-of-sister-lucia-in-english:158 e antes que isso aconteça não podemos permitir outras publicações ou citações integrais.
Se o vosso livro for editado depois de Março as citações em inglês deverão referir-se à tradução, especialmente no que se refere à editora e paginação.
Caso usem as citações do Capítulo XIII, agradecíamos que antes nos enviassem o texto final com as citações sublinhas. Desejando um bom trabalho e abundantes frutos espirituais para todos os vossos leitores, com os melhores cumprimentos
Irmãs Carmelitas, Carmelo de S. Teresa, Coimbra