Matt C. Abbott
Our Lady of Akita: '...bishops against other bishops...'
By Matt C. Abbott
September 1, 2009

In my Aug. 7 column, I reprinted a chapter from Catholic scholar/attorney Peter B. Kelly's "factional" novel Cleansing Fire. The following is another chapter (endnotes are not included in this reprint) from said book; it features the true-life, Church-approved Marian apparition of Our Lady of Akita, interwoven with Mr. Kelly's storyline.

The apparitions, which occurred in the early 1970s, are chillingly prophetic. In one message, the Blessed Virgin Mary said: "The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres ... churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord...."

(Those interested in purchasing a copy of Mr. Kelly's novel may e-mail me, and I will forward your inquiry to Mr. Kelly.)

Chapter 31
'Our Lady of Akita'
(From Peter B. Kelly's
Cleansing Fire)

Tokyo looked as massive and as hopelessly grid-locked beyond the tip of the airliner's banking wing as it did from the taxi cab window in the snarl of inter-terminal airport traffic a mere hour ago. Although he hated to fly, Father dos Anjos actually welcomed the feeling of being pressed back into his seat while the climbing 727 forced its way up toward the high altitude clouds. He studied the sunlight dancing on Tokyo Bay as the Air Italia jet oriented itself into a southwesterly vector sufficient to bring it well south of the airspace of the People's Republic of China. The G-forces assured him he was moving fast toward home. He was confident that each of the roaring American-made General Electric engines could be counted on to devour the distance between Japan and Italy while he slept securely on the long flight. At least in his dreams he could go by his own name.

Father dos Anjos still was not comfortable with the alias printed on his covertly issued Vatican Diplomatic Passport. He understood the reasons for the secrecy. It was not to bear false witness. Rather, with all due consideration of his mental reservations, his committee-given name was to permit the priest to do extra covert work for the Church free of questions from other unsympathetic Vatican or governmental officials. His Eminence insisted that he use the "back-stage pass" on all of these increasingly frequent trips for the committee. The ever-obedient priest did not complain. Nor did he object to the excessive currency he carried although he always felt uncomfortable handling the cash required to avoid as much as possible the use of any traceable or questionable credit cards. Cash left no records. The Cardinal wanted him to be as ghost-like as possible on his international trips. Never memorable. Never provable. At least given the less dangerous nature of this investigation in an ecclesiastical backwater like Akita, Japan, he could leave all the disguises at home. He smiled when he remembered the Cardinal sarcastically suggesting that we all look alike to the Japanese anyway.

The 350-mile flight due south into Tokyo from the Prefecture capital of Akita had already given him time to review his notes on the extraordinary case of this little nun Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa. She was of particular interest to the committee for her mysterious connection with Fatima. His Eminence first was intrigued about this woman when he heard from some trusted contacts in Japan that back in 1969, Sister Agnes claims she was visited by an angel as she prayed her Rosary in her bed in a clinic in Myoto. Agnes had been in and out of clinics since the age of 19 when she was struck by a paralysis of the central nervous system following a botched appendectomy. It was at that clinic that she first learned of Christ and of His Holy Catholic Church. In time she would embrace the Faith and make Christ and His Church the center point of her life.

Sister Agnes was not well-read. She could speak, read and write no other language than her own native tongue. When she claimed that a mysterious being came to visit her as she prayed at the Myoto clinic during her stay six years ago, she did not even recognize at first that it was an angel. She figured that out later. Still, it would have been all very easy to explain her "vision" away. There would have been a number of very acceptable medical or psychological explanations for her hallucination. However, there was one particular fact which kept the angelic vision from being disregarded, by the few who knew of it, as just another expression of sincere, if over-charged, religious sentiment. It was precisely that one clue that hooked the Cardinal's mind when he first heard of it. That fact caused him to immediately write down a few details in his breast-pocket day book. The fact was that the angel taught the young woman a prayer in Japanese.

The Cardinal knew that particular prayer very well long before Sister Agnes first heard it from a messenger from heaven. It was a prayer that was first encountered by human ears just over fifty-two years before. This angelic message in the prayer intrigued him. That is understandable. The critical point is that the first hearing of the prayer over fifty-two years ago was not in the language of Japan, but in the language of Portugal.

After the angel had impressed upon Sister Agnes the "Fatima Prayer" in the process of praying the Rosary with her, the little nun thought the few lines were just composed for and given to her alone. She had never read or heard the prayer before. It is even suspected that it was never before translated into or written down in the Japanese language until Sister Agnes shared the prayer with her religious community. It was a Salesian priest who informed her that a messenger from heaven had indeed taught these words before to another young devoted soul:

"Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven especially those who are most in need of thy Mercy!"

After the Cardinal researched the more recent events in the life of Sister Agnes he decided to bring his file before the committee. What put Father dos Anjos on the plane to Akita — the largest city near the convent — was the text of the three messages Sister Agnes said she received later while praying before a statue of the Blessed Virgin in the convent chapel. That statue, it seems, was a kind of a speaker system for the Queen of Heaven. No one was laughing when Father Antonio was initially briefed. If ever something was not a laughing matter, this was it.

That statue! After he learned more and met with the Handmaids of the Eucharist at Yuzawadai, Soegawa, Akita in the Diocese of Niigata, Father dos Anjos was totally intrigued by that beautifully carved wooden statue of the Virgin Mary. Since he had been in the service of the Church he had seen enough to know that in this desperate age, miracles can happen anywhere, anytime. He also knew that God can use anything to reach mankind. If he can make a donkey appear to talk in the Old Testament Book of Numbers 22:28, then why couldn't he do the same with a statue? If man can figure out how to make the captain's voice come through the cabin speaker just above his head, then why can't God figure out how to make Our Lady speak to a stone-deaf little nun through a statue while it also bled from its wounded, carved wooden hand? The plane leveled off as the captain advised they reached their cruising altitude of thirty thousand feet.

The committee was unanimous in its decision to send Father dos Anjos to Japan. His mission was to gauge the credibility of the nun and, in particular, to secure the best translations possible of the three messages spoken by the Blessed Lady to the deaf nun through the statue. Although in time the Church — probably through the local Ordinary, Bishop John Ito — would settle the question on the authenticity of the whole Sister Agnes affair, the committee did not want to wait for that official pronouncement.

Their suspicion, clued in by the "decade prayer" connection, was that the messages of the Lady were yet another end run around the 1960 burying of the Third Secret of Fatima by Pope John XXIII. Without breaking his oath of silence on the Third Secret he read over in the presence of Pope John, their "field investigator" could certainly gauge the authenticity of any Fatima-like warning. He was to advise the committee, in a kind of hinted code language, if the Akita messages were, "in my opinion, very authentic." Although it was never said, it was understood that such an "imprimatur" would mean that the Committee need not worry about the buried Fatima Third Secret. It meant that what they had from Akita was all they needed. It meant that the Lady had tried again at the Convent at Yuzawadai. Exit Sister Lucia, enter Sister Agnes. Too bad "good Pope John" — the Message you buried was received anyway. Perhaps it is for our time after all!

With their hands on these "second attempt messages" from heaven via Akita to warn the planet, the Committee could then work out for these "fair game" messages the proper kind of leak to get them public before they were seized and buried by un-friendlies in Rome. It was not lost on anyone that if the Bishop of Fatima-Lieria had been just a little bolder, the Third Secret could have been properly released to the world without any interference from the anti-Fatima, Modernist forces in the Vatican. The committee would not allow that mistake again.

If the committee could certify through Father dos Anjos that the Akita messages were "in my opinion very authentic" then, based on his particularly informed judgment, the Akita messages could be set up for release. That could all be done before the players in Rome could again silence the Lady's messages. The Committee would see to it that, if authentic, Akita would not go the way of Fatima. Far too many souls needed to hear the truth heaven was trying to send. The salvation of all mankind was at stake. The Committee knew its possible role as a sentry in Christian history. They recognized that it may well be only up to the Committee to relay the message from heaven they confirmed. That message, they believe, is that the Catholic Church was taken over and is now being misled by some inside her who seek to confuse and dilute her Traditional teaching, thereby placing most of the souls on earth at extreme risk. That situation had indeed become clearer since 1960.

Father reached for his briefcase that was tucked under his seat. He snapped it open and pulled out the top manila file. He began rereading his own memo to the committee. Sister Agnes served God in the Institute of the Handmaids of the Eucharist at their convent in Yuzawadai. When she entered there on May 12, 1973, she became just the seventh religious to reside there. At the time she entered the community she was completely deaf. That was only two years ago. God works fast, he thought. In only two years Our Lord arranged for this totally deaf young sister to enter a start-up convent she would share with just a half dozen members of the community. Next would come, within one month, the first event of the "extraordinary events of Akita."

It occurred on June 12, 1973 when Sister Agnes was left to watch over the convent as the other sisters went to a meeting of catechists. She intended to spend some time in prayer alone in the convent chapel. Her superior had even given her permission to alone open the door to the tabernacle for a time of adoration before the consecrated host. As she approached to open the door, she was shocked to encounter a brilliant, otherworldly light that appeared to be coming from within the tabernacle itself. She fell prostrate on the floor, having lost the nerve to approach the tabernacle further. She had the same experience on the next day as well.

On June 14 she again saw the light flash from the tabernacle. This time there was a kind of red flame that completely enveloped it. Although she was then in the company of the other sisters who had returned to the convent, she alone saw the lights and the flames. It was a preliminary preparatory experience for Sister Agnes for there was much more for her to see and hear in the few years ahead.

Then, on June 28, 1973 — on the Eve of the Feast of the Sacred Heart — Sister Agnes again witnessed a blinding light from the Blessed Sacrament. Of particular significance to Father dos Anjos was that in addition to the rays of light, this time Sister Agnes also saw a multitude of non-human beings surround the altar in adoration before the Host. Typically, she did not even recognize what those beings were. Sister Agnes' spiritual education was so limited that she did not even have an understanding of what kind of creatures might have surrounded a tabernacle in apparent postures of homage. As one who had seen a chapel filled with the other extreme, it was profoundly comforting for this priest to hear of the angels kneeling in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. That was all as it should be. There was no falsehood there. Although every faithful priest believes, as he stands by himself before the tabernacle, that he is not alone in his reverence, it is still very good to hear that someone has been permitted to see his companions in praise.

The June 28, 1973 vision was immediately followed by Sister Agnes unexpectedly suffering a cross shaped wound that suddenly formed in her left hand. It appeared to be a kind of stigmatic wound afflicting only one hand. In the days that followed, the pain it caused became increasingly intense. On the eve of the First Friday of July, July 5, 1973, Sister Agnes was particularly troubled by the tormenting pain it caused. She could not sleep. She could not even close her eyes. Then, at about 3:00 AM, she changed the bandage and gave up in her attempts at rest. She began praying instead. Then Sister Agnes heard a voice. She could not judge its origin. Sister Agnes has reported that the voice told her:

"Do not fear. Pray with fervor not only because of your sins, but in reparation for those of all men. The world today wounds the most Sacred Heart of Our Lord by its ingratitude and injuries. The wounds of Mary are much deeper and more sorrowful than yours. Let us go pray together in the chapel."

Sister Agnes turned and saw a feminine figure that smiled sweetly and motioned with a slight nod toward the chapel. Then the figure said: "I am the one who is with you and watches over you." Father Antonio did not need to be convinced. From his right jacket pocket he pulled the pouch that held his Rosary. For just a moment he poured the beaded chain and crucifix into his hand and studied it. At that point, where the fifteen decades of beads began and ended, the chain was linked at two points to the rounded top half of a chapel door key with one melted side. Upon that memento a Roman jeweler had inscribed two linked hearts on one side, and on the other, the words: "Gratias tibi Domine et Providentiae." "Thanks be to you Lord and to Providence." The latter name being the one he gave to his own Guardian angel. He returned the Rosary to his pouch and pocket and then continued reading.

Sister Agnes followed her guardian angel into the chapel. She said she felt like a little child being led by the hand. Yet once she set foot inside the chapel she immediately found herself alone. To the right of the altar was placed the wooden statue of the Blessed Virgin. Suddenly the statue was bathed in a brilliant light. Instinctively, Sister Agnes prostrated herself on the floor of the chapel. At that same moment her totally deaf ears were awakened to the sound of a voice of indescribable beauty:

"My daughter, my novice, you have obeyed me well in abandoning all to follow me. Is the infirmity of your ears painful? Your deafness will be healed, be sure. Be patient. It is the last trial. Does the wound of your hand cause you to suffer? Pray in reparation for the sins of men. Each person in this community is my irreplaceable daughter. Do you say well the prayer of the Handmaids of the Eucharist? Then, let us pray it together."

After leading the little nun in prayer, the heavenly voice, continued:

"Pray very much for the Pope, Bishops and Priests. Since your Baptism you have always prayed faithfully for them. Continue to pray very much. Tell your superior all that passed today and obey him in everything that he will tell you. He has asked that you pray with fervor."

Father wrote "Nota Bene" in the margins beside the reference to the Lady's voice of "indescribable beauty." That was the kind of clue necessary to confirm the authenticity of Sister Agnes' testimony. Father Antonio knew from his own research that every single seer of a Church-approved Marian apparition, who claims to have heard the voice of the Blessed Mother, said literally the exact same thing. The beauty of her voice is positively incapable of human expression or description. Given the extremely limited translations of classic Marian apparition texts in Japanese, and Sister Agnes' relative isolation, limited library, and her inability to speak or read any other language, it is altogether unlikely that this little nun would have picked up that common description of the Lady's voice from some other report and then lied in order to make it her own. This story was already highly credible in the priest's mind. And that, he thought to himself, is even before the one-two punch of the second message of August 3, 1973 and the third message of October 13, 1973 from heaven's Queen.

The second message of the Blessed Mother came about in the mid- afternoon of August 3, 1973. It was a first Friday — a day when Traditional Catholics try to pay special prayerful attention to the passion and death of the Lord on the Cross on Good Friday. As Sister Agnes relays the story, she was in the chapel when her Guardian Angel made an unexpected appearance to assist her in her Rosary. Then, just when she was about to address a question to the Angel, she heard once more the voice of indescribable beauty:

"My daughter, my novice, do you love the Lord? If you love the Lord, listen to what I have to say to you. "It is very important. You will convey it to your superior. "Many men in this world afflict the Lord. I desire souls to console Him to soften the anger of the Heavenly Father. I wish, with my Son, for souls who will repair by their suffering and their poverty for the sinners and ingrates.

"In order that the world might know His anger, the Heavenly Father is preparing to inflict a great chastisement on all mankind. With my Son I have intervened so many times to appease the wrath of the Father. I have prevented the coming of calamities by offering Him the sufferings of the Son on the Cross, His Precious Blood, and beloved souls who console Him forming a cohort of victim souls. Prayer, penance and courageous sacrifices can soften the Father's anger. I desire this also from your community ... that it love poverty, that it sanctify itself and pray in reparation for the ingratitude and outrages of so many men. Recite the prayer of the Handmaids of the Eucharist with awareness of its meaning; put it into practice; offer in reparation whatever God may send for sins. Let each one endeavor, according to capacity and position, to offer herself entirely to the Lord.

"Even in a secular institute prayer is necessary. Already souls who wish to pray are on the way to being gathered together. Without attaching too much attention to the form, be faithful and fervent in prayer to console the Master. "Is what you think in your heart true? Are you truly decided to become the rejected stone? My novice, you who wish to belong without reserve to the Lord, to become the spouse worthy of the Spouse, make your vows knowing that you must be fastened to the Cross with three nails. These three nails are poverty, chastity and obedience. Of the three, obedience is the foundation. In total abandon, let yourself be led by your superior. He will know how to understand you and to direct you."

Dates in the Church year are significant. There are many important feast days which have no set date for celebration but are determined by the seasons of the year and the phases of the moon. Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday fall into this category. Christmas day, the feast of the Assumption and all feasts of the Saints are given set calendar days to celebrate even if they may not necessarily correspond to the actual birthday of the Lord, the date when Our Lady was actually taken up into heaven, or when a Saint died. For those Catholics who are students of Marian Apparitions, and in particular students of Fatima, it is difficult to overemphasize the specific date of October 13, 1917. That was the date of the great and horrifying Miracle of Fatima. For the first time in recorded human history, a miracle of God was foretold with an exact date and time of performance allowed for the benefit of seventy thousand witnesses, photographers and reporters. The date of that media-scheduled miracle of October 13, was also the date the Lady chose to give her third and last message at Akita. Apparently heaven keeps a Gregorian calendar.

Like the preparatory teaching of the Fatima "Decade Prayer" to Sister Agnes four years before the first message, the granting of the third and final message by Our Lady on an October 13 was certainly not a coincidence. The Akita affair seemed in many critical ways to be Fatima II.

Sister Agnes' devotion to the Rosary just prior to her receiving the messages, and the spirituality of suffering that permeated the entire experience of Sister Agnes makes connections with Fatima even more apparent. Father dos Anjos needed no more convincing about the Akita contact being another attempt of the Blessed Mother to warn mankind. Still, he was even more certain when he heard Sister Agnes' following account of October 13, 1973:

Sister Agnes prayed the usual Lauds with her sisters and after that they all enjoyed a time of adoration While reciting the Rosary, she again saw the luminous splendor of the Blessed Sacrament. The entire chapel was washed in the beautiful light which she alone could see. Simultaneously, the statue of Mary had given off a fragrance of beauty which filled the room. After the conclusion of her chapel time she tried to complete her duties but was drawn back to the chapel later that morning. She knelt down and took up her Rosary. Then, to the delight of her deaf ears, she heard the call of the Voice of indescribable beauty:

"My dear daughter, listen well to what I have to say to you. You will inform your superior.

"As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by My Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and the priests.

"The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres ... churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.

"The demon will be especially implacable against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will be no longer pardon for them.

"With courage, speak to your superior. He will know how to encourage each one of you to pray and to accomplish works of reparation."

Father Antonio looked out the rectangular window with rounded corners, at his right shoulder. The clouds below him were flat as fields. They gave the impression that you could walk across them and leave footprints as if they were topped with boot-high powdered snow. Appearances are indeed deceiving. There was nothing to those fields of white but water droplets several thousand feet deep. Below that, maybe twenty thousand feet down, rolled the East China Sea. God never intended any man to walk that white field of faux snow. Those white fields were just to trick the eye. Sometimes in God's creation, he mused, men can fall for that kind of illusion. They can mistake fog droplets for solid ground. They can see what they want to see — but if they do — there is nothing to stop them but a long drop into complete catastrophe. He had made a few missteps in his career but none so far had resulted in anything like the theoretical free fall teasing outside his jet window. Besides, he thought, God takes care of his own. As long as he remained faithful there would always be someone around to catch him. This time he was safe. Whatever may happen in the future, this time he was setting his foot on solid rock.

He contemplated the rather narrow scope of his assignment there in Akita. He was not required to research the reports of Sister Agnes' stigmata to her left hand. Nor was he to comment on the reports of the blood said to flow from a wound on the right hand of the Statue of Our Lady. On January 4, 1975 it was even reported that this statue was seen weeping for the first time. On subsequent dates the tears of the statue were also seen to flow thereby making the Akita events to appear to be a reprise of the authentic message of Our Lady of La Salette as well as that of Fatima. He decided to address those events in his final draft but he could make his recommendation even without reference to those significant events. However, there was one last aspect of the Akita matter that he was not quite sure how to handle.

Perhaps an appendix to his final report would be in order — "for what it was worth." Perhaps there should be an appendix devoted just to "the dream."

The date was June 10, 1974 — ten months after the last message was received from the Blessed Mother. The sisters were talking about a terrible dream that Sister Agnes had experienced. It was a nightmare to be sure but had the power of prophesy to it as well. Father Antonio had heard the specifics of the dream from the best possible source and he was given a very detailed written description of the whole experience for further detailed study.

Once again, the relative innocence of Sister Agnes, like that of the many other seers of convincing Marian apparitions, serves as a profound basis for belief in the influence of heaven in the dream's origin. It was as if the dream presented an entirely different kind of warning for the Church regarding its growing and troublesome tolerance for Modernist-inspired violations of the first Commandment.

Sister Agnes had never been to Rome. It is doubtful she had ever even heard the word "ecumenism" much less had the ability to define it. There is no way she could even imagine the attacks lodged so far against the well defined dogma Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus by "Catholic" clergy.

It is even more unlikely that she could imagine the possibility that there might be "Catholic" clergy who even challenge the Church's insistence on Traditional Trinitarian monotheism — and/or attack the divinity of Jesus Christ.

As she related the dream she probably had no idea that the perverted theology she encountered in her nightmare was already beginning to sprout in liberal seminaries and theological circles proudly open to eastern poly-theistic religions.

What she presented was an all-too-possible scenario if and when the extreme ecumenists gained positions of power and had a mind to apply pressure to eliminate the troublesome Traditionalist Catholic opposition. She described the dream as follows:

"Before me was a group of persons who seemed to be religious. One of them who must have been their head, a foreign Catholic theologian it seemed to me, had a gray colored habit and advancing towards me said in a peremptory tone: 'Why would the God of the Trinity be one God? We cannot believe that Christ is God. According to you, where then is the center of the Catholic faith? If you believe in God and say that you serve Him, why do you not do as we who adore a multitude of gods? If you say you believe in God, do as we; believe in many gods. Then all of us, too, will become Catholics. If you would join us, you would lead an easy and agreeable life as we do. It is indeed because you wish it that you lead that life there. You are truly painful to see. Go, tell us that the God of the Trinity is not one, that there are a multitude of gods. If not, take that for your pain.'"

"Saying that, he brandished a sort of cane and I clearly saw that it was a large serpent which began to entwine itself around me. I was so afraid that I could not open my mouth but finally I was able to say with supreme effort: 'The God of the Trinity is the only God. I can believe in no other God than He. If you cannot believe that Christ is God, you can never become Catholics. I believe that the essential of the Catholic doctrine is that Christ is God and Man.'"

"Then he returned to the charge: 'You say that Christ is God? We cannot believe that. You became a Catholic because you believe that Christ rose from the dead?'"

"'Yes, that is true. It is because we believe that Christ is God and Man that we have become Catholics.'"

"At this response the serpent tightened around me strongly and completely immobilized me. For moments he darted out his red and pointed tongue, bringing his nose before my face. I was too exhausted with fear and physical oppression to be able to answer to the same question which was tossed at me without ceasing like a defiance. I gripped my Rosary with all my strength reciting the prayers.

When the serpent's red tongue came so close to my face I chased it with my Rosary, but my strength was little by little fading away. Seeking some aid around me, I saw my companions form a row on my right. I saw clearly that they were frightened and concerned, that they remained powerless to help me. Looking at each of them I could read in their look, 'We are with you, courage!' No one, even the superiors who are usually of such great help, was able to extend a helping hand."

"I was at the end of my strength, no longer able to chase the head of the serpent nor to say the prayers, when suddenly Father Yasuda appeared before me. He made a large Sign of the Cross saying: In the Name of the Father, of the Son, of the Holy Spirit.' Then he added in a strong voice, 'She has a right to say that we believe that the God of the Trinity is the only God. Those who do not wish to believe that cannot become Catholics.'"

"At that moment the chief of the group who was standing at my left with his repugnant and menacing air began to recoil and then the serpent who held me prisoner also left."

"My companions were finally able to come to save me. I was in a state of extreme exhaustion. I did not even find enough energy to thank the chaplain for arriving in time. Perspiration flowed abundantly, but I did not even have the courage to dry it. It is then that the guardian angel came and dried it for me. At that instant I awoke."

The courtesy lights throughout the business class cabin of the jet liner were dimmed as the passengers made what comfort adjustments they could with pillows and blankets issued from the overhead compartments. Although the plane was efficiently racing the sun to the west it was apparent from the sunset off the starboard side of the craft that the sun would win that contest. By the light of the beam next to the adjustable blower above his head, Father Antonio found the final paragraph of his draft of the memorandum to the Committee with the tip of his ballpoint pen. The pen point settled on the next line of his legal pad but momentarily froze as he offered up a sincere prayer each to His Triune God, the Blessed Mother of his Incarnate Lord, and his own guardian angel — Providence. Then, and only then, did he feel ready to finish the document with his final coded sentence:

"After careful and prayerful investigation and consideration, I find the three alleged Messages of the Queen of Heaven to Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa, to be, in my opinion, very authentic."

The flight attendant, inspecting each passenger down the aisle, handed the last blanket and pillow to the priest. With the kindest of respectful smiles she whispered "Rest peacefully, Father Fiore."

The priest returned the smile and took the pillow and blanket. As the attendant walked on he set the pillow and blanket onto the seat next to him for a while. He was not quite ready for any rest yet. He slipped his notepad into his brief case and slid it under the seat. Staring out the window, he pulled his Rosary pouch out of his right jacket pocket and emptied it again into his hand. As the final lines of gold turned purple on the western horizon beyond the level field of clouds, he made the Sign of the Cross. Then he kissed the crucifix at the end of the chain.

© Matt C. Abbott


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media, and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on HLN, MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 2019 ‘Unsolved’ podcast about the unsolved murder of Father Alfred Kunz, Alex Shuman's 'Smoke Screen: Fake Priest' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wisconsin. He’s been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets. He’s mentioned in the 2020 Report on the Holy See's Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017), which can be found on the Vatican's website. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome and appreciate thoughtful feedback. Insults will be ignored. Only in very select cases will I honor a request to have a telephone conversation about a topic in my column. Email is much preferred. God bless you and please keep me in your prayers!)


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