Lightning Strike of St. Peter's Basilica: What Does It Mean?
A Guest Document
by Marianna Bartold
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The purpose of this guest document is to make available to the over one
hundred and five countries from which our Domains receive visitors an
excellent composition and interpretation of yet another bolt of
lightning striking the Vatican.
We encourage one and all to make this document available to as many
individuals as possible - Catholic or not; Christians or not. Ignoring
God's warnings will not make anyone impervious to their consequences.
Yes, it happened again. This
morning (October 7, 2016) in Rome, on the Feast of Our Lady of the
Rosary, a lightning bolt hit the dome (2) of St. Peter's Basilica.
“The bolt hit the dome of St. Peter’s
at approximately 9:20 am., as a
strong rainstorm passed through Rome. Vatican police confirmed the
strike. No damage was reported.
“Those close to the Vatican, from Swiss
guards to local shop owners, felt the shock.
“I was in the shower and heard what
sounded like a loud thunder clap which lasted a few seconds and seemed to shake everything. I knew
it was storming but it sounded more
like an earthquake than a thunderstorm”, said one resident.
Most of us will remember that lightning twice struck St. Peter’s dome
(3) when Pope
Benedict XVI announced his resignation of the papal throne.
The date of his announcement – February 11 – the Feast of Our Lady of
What Does It Mean?
To answer that question, we need to review a bit of history with a
“Catholic conscience”, as Hilaire Bellloc coined the term.
First: Did you know that
October 7 was originally the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mother of
To commemorate the date of October 7, 1571 of the Catholic Armada’s
victory over the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto, Pope Pius V introduced
in 1572 the “festem BMV de victoria” (Feast of the Blessed Virgin
Mother of Victory). This same Pope had earlier called all Christians to
ardently pray the Rosary, for the Muslim threat had reached epic
proportions. With constant supplications for the Virgin’s intercession,
coupled with the great battle at Lepanto, the threat was turned back.
Two years later, the new pope, Gregory XIII, changed both the title and
the date: The “Feast of the Holy Rosary” was to be celebrated on the
first Sunday of October. At the time, the privilege of celebrating this
feast was only granted to all churches with a Rosary altar. Later, Pope
Clemens XI extended the feast to the universal Church.
Pope St. Pius X returned the feast day to its original date, October 7.
In the early papacy of Pope John XXIII, the name was changed to “Feast
of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Rosary.” In 1969, the name was again
changed to “Our Lady of the Rosary.” Today, the feast is celebrated as
a mandatory memorial.
Second: As previously
mentioned, Pope Benedict XVI announced his upcoming resignation on
February 11, 2013, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. On that very day,
lightning struck the dome of St. Peter’s basilica – not once, but twice.
Let's consider: What was the main
message of Lourdes? It was three-fold: The daily Rosary,
“Penance, penance, penance!” (as Bernadette quietly repeated during one
apparition), and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, where Our Lord is
truly present. This is known by Our Lady’s “request” for a “chapel” and
“Let processions come hither.”
There is yet another message of Lourdes, often overlooked as intended
only for St. Bernadette: “I do not
promise you happiness in this world but only in the other.” We ,
too, must offer, as our penance to God, our faithful adherence to daily duty (which has a two-fold
direction: our duty as a Catholic and in of one’s state), as was proven
by the life of the humble Bernadette. The same message about adherence
to “daily duty” and accepting the sufferings that God allows or sends
was repeated at the Fatima apparitions, first by the Angel Guardian of
Portugal and, years later, by Our Lord to Lucia.
The Sign of Lourdes. After the
parish priest of Lourdes directed Bernadette to ask for a specific sign
(the blooming of the wild rose bush under the niche where the Lady
stood), the Virgin directed the 14 year old Bernadette to a hidden
spring, inside the Grotto’s confines and the River Gave. In following
the Lady’s command, “Go to the spring, drink of it, and wash yourself
there”, Bernadette was at first confused. She saw no spring, so she
took a few steps toward the River Gave, when the Lady gently
interrupted her, “No, the spring yonder” and indicated a particular
spot. Bernadette went to it and felt impelled to dig into the ground.
As a small amount of water came up, she rubbed her face with the mud,
and also ate of the nearby wild plants, as Our Lady also told her. To
the eyes of others, Bernadette’s actions appeared to be insane, and so
she was called. In other words, for obeying a simple command of the
Virgin which, to others, made no sense, the 14 year old saint was
subjected to loud, public ridicule and humiliation.
But the child’s obedience to the
Lady’s command brought forth a miracle.
While the uncovered spring’s source is natural, the supernatural graces
imparted through it are not. Since the year 1858, the water of Lourdes
has brought to many the graces of spiritual conversion or restored
bodily health, granted by God through the intercession of the Lady, who
eventually revealed, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” The miraculous
spring of Lourdes is a “sensible sign” (that is, a sign that one can
perceive through one or more of the five senses of sight, hearing,
touch, taste, or scent).
As I point out in my book (Fatima: The
Signs and Secrets (4)) when comparing Fatima,
Lourdes, La Salette,
and the Rue-de-bac: “Lourdes is the first of modern apparition sites
which drew onlookers. St. Bernadette Soubirous stated that ‘the Lady’
who came to her simply appeared in the Grotto niche – but when pressed
for details, she said that a ‘golden cloud’ within the niche quickly
preceded the Lady’s appearance. The people who came to Lourdes during
St. Bernadette’s apparitions would testify to the saint’s demeanor
during her ecstasies, but none
reported any sensible signs attesting to the Vision’s presence.”
Third: Such was not the case at Fatima, Portugal,
and which (for many reasons) I have long described as “the crown of all
Marian apparitions.” The first apparition of the Virgin occurred in
May, 1917 and the only ones present were the three child visionaries.
By June, word spread and people came, increasing in numbers, month by
It was also in June that the first “sensible sign” was seen by
onlookers: a light cloud, traveling from east to west, serenely
settling over a young holmoak tree upon which “the Lady” stood. The
same cloud, after resting on the tree during the entire time of the
Apparition, rose and departed from whence it came – toward the east.
What is truly incredible is that the visionaries themselves did not see
this cloud. Over the course of five months, witnesses were graced with
even more signs. The faithful were convinced that “the Lady” was the
Virgin, but she did not announce her identity until October 13,
1917 – the day of the promised sign, the Miracle of the Sun. On that
the Madonna stated very simply: “I am the Lady of the Rosary.”
The Signs at Fatima
As I also address in my book, “witness testimonies reveal the following
‘sensible signs’ seen at Fatima over the course of five months” and
then I explain the meaning of each of these signs, section by section:
“- A delicate white cloud, traveling
from east to west, serenely settling over a young holmoak tree. The
same cloud, after resting on the tree during the entire time of the
Apparition, rose and departed from whence it came – toward the east.
“- In July (the month in which the Virgin gave the children a Great
Secret), the cloud (mentioned above), three times curling and rising
into the air during the whole time of the Apparition – as though
invisible thurifers were liturgically incensing the Vision.
“- Claps of thunder, either as
the Lady arrived or as she departed.
(The day was clear and sunny.)
“- Flashes of light, seen only
by the three children, as the Vision
approached the small holmoak tree.(Again, the weather was fine.)
“- The ground of the apparition site momentarily trembling, like the
briefest of earthquakes.
“- The branches and shoots of the young holmoak tree mysteriously
bending to the east after the Apparition departed.
“- Atmospheric changes of the sky’s luminosity, similar to a solar
eclipse, or changes of unusual color, from yellow gold to all the
colors of the rainbow. Some people reported seeing stars in the sky at
“- A relieving drop in temperature, during the hottest days of summer,
accompanied by a cool fresh breeze.
“- Small, white objects described as stars, roses, or doves gently
falling from the sky, only to disappear before touching the ground.
“- A globe of extraordinary light that glided, from east to west,
descending toward the small holmoak tree.”
The Biblical Explanation of the Signs
of Thunder and Lightening
For the purposes of the current subject (lightening striking the dome
of St. Peter’s), below I’ll share more excerpts from my book (4), which
refer to the signs of lightning and thunder of the Fatima apparitions,
and which were seen and heard on clear, sunny days:
- In July, the month in which the
Virgin Mary gave the three child visionaries the Great Secret of Fatima
in its three distinct parts, a “large clap of thunder” was heard just
seconds before the eldest child, Lucia, suddenly jumped up from her
kneeling position, exclaiming, “There she goes! There she goes!” as the
Lady departed. The thunder shook the ground, so that a small arch
placed by the apparition site “trembled as if in an earthquake.
- In August, when the children were not present at the apparition site
because the mayor had abducted them, a great crowd gathered in
anticipation of solar noon, the usual time of Our Lady’s appearance.
When the hour arrived, the people heard an extremely loud boom of
thunder, which so badly frightened them that many scattered and ran,
thinking they would be killed.
- A flash of lightning, following the thunder, was also seen in August,
garnering the attention of the now-silenced crowd. This “flash”, always
seen by the children, served as the sign of the Virgin’s approach but
had never been previously perceived by the people.
In the Scriptures, the sound of
thunder, the appearance of
lightning, or the trembling of
an earthquake announce a
direct manifestation from the Lord or of the Lord. Thunder
denotes God’s “voice” – i.e., His irrevocable declaration of His truth,
mercy and judgment: “The Lord shall
thunder from heaven: and the Most High shall give forth His voice.”
(Here it should be noted again that only
twice was thunder heard at
Fatima – in July, after the Great Secret was divulged, and an
greater “boom” in August when the plotting mayor kidnapped the
children. Recalling that thunder denotes God’s voice, often in judgment, we
should also remember that Our Lady would, in August, tell the children,
“If you had not been taken away to the City, the miracle would have
Lightning is the sign of God’s
divine majesty and His wisdom and power in His wonderful works, His
miracles, and His judgment. In the Book
of Exodus, thunder and
announce the Holy Presence of the Lord God immediately before He gave
the Ten Commandments to Moses: “And now the third day was come, and the
morning appeared: and behold thunders began to be heard, and lightning
to flash, and a very thick cloud to cover the mount…and the people that
were in the camp, feared.”
Both thunder and lightning are
likewise found in the Psalms,
representing Divine Revelation which
enlightens the interior life of the soul, when King David mysteriously
addressed the Lord: “The voice of thy thunder in a wheel. Thy
lightnings enlightened the world: the earth shook and trembled.” As was
mentioned earlier, an eyewitness of the Fatima apparition in July
inadvertently chose similar words to those of King David when, at the
moment the child Lucia exclaimed the Lady’s leave-taking, “the earth
trembled like an earthquake.”
Most interesting, a witness in Rome to today's lightning strike said
something along the same lines: it "seemed
to shake everything. I knew it was storming but it sounded more like an earthquake..."
If there is a
message from God in the lightening that struck St. Peter’s (for
the third time, on yet another feast day of Our Lady’s), it is this:
Shirking the true duties of the Church and of the papal office will
save no one. “Ecumenism” will save no one. Adapting the ways of the
world will save no one. Making grand concessions to those who
are – objectively speaking – in heresy, or schism, or mortal sin will
save souls. For
my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord
(Isa. 55:88). What, then, shall save the Church and the world from the
terrifying descent in which both are caught?
The answer is clear and wonderfully
easy: Heed all of the “requests” of Our Lady of Fatima. (N.B. I’ve said it elsewhere, but it
bears repeating: In the original Portuguese, the Virgin used the word
“pedido”, meaning “order” or “command”, as in a “request” made by a
superior to a subordinate. As we can see, Our Lady gave her commands
with both a motherly and queenly grace.)
Simply stated, Our Lady of Fatima has waited almost 100 years for the
Vicar of Christ to heed her requests for the following:
- Worldwide devotion to the Immaculate
Heart of Mary.
- Papal promulgation of the Five First Saturdays of Reparation for the
five major blasphemies committed against the Virgin’s Immaculate Heart.
- The public dissemination of the Third Secret Text.
- The solemn and public collegial consecration of Russia (and Russia
alone) to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
To repeat another excerpt from my book:
“Individual Catholics can and do respond to the other requests made by
the Blessed Mother at Fatima (daily Rosary, daily duty offered in
penance, making sacrifices for the conversion of sinners, the wearing
of the Brown Scapular, conscientiously striving not to offend the Lord
our God any longer, and taking part in First Saturday devotions where
they might be offered, or otherwise privately making the intention of
reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at a Saturday Mass when the
intention is not publicly stated by the priest; the requirements
include Confession, Holy Mass, Rosary, and 15 additional minutes on the
15 Rosary Mysteries of the Redemption).”
Why Such Simple "Requests"?
At Fatima, the Lady who eventually gave her name as “the Lady of the
Rosary” said in July 1917 (the day she gave the Great Secret, in three
distinct parts): “God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my
Immaculate Heart.” That is the central message of Fatima–the “heart”,
if you will, of God’s purpose.
Since 1929, no Pope has yet to fully obey the Queen and Mother of the
Church. Whoever he may be, whether the present pope or a very-near
future pope, the man holding the papal office must recognize and accept
the power of his authority and jurisdiction (which is universal) and
use it for the good of the Church and the world. The Pope needs
nobody's permission to command and lead the collegial consecration of
Russia; he need not ask the cardinals, the bishops, or even Russia, for
he alone is Pope and Steward of the Catholic City. Our Lady’s
“requests” (again, “commands”) to the Pope, bishops, and the entire
Church Militant still stand.
Finally, as we consider this recent sign, may we also recall what Pope
Benedict XVI said in May, 2010: “We
would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete.”
CONCLUSION by The M+G+R Foundation
For details on key Marian Apparitions since the early ninetheenth
century Click Here
strikes dome of St. Peter’s Basilica on Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary
bolt hit Vatican not once but TWICE hours after Pope's shock resignation
(4) "Fatima: The Signs and Secrets" by
Published on October 8th, 2016
The M+G+R Foundation
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