From “fatima in twilight” by Mark fellows
“Many of the visitors to Cova da Iria also visited Aljustrel to talk to, or pray with, or plead intercession from the three seers. Although the apparitions had stopped, the events at Fatima had acquired a momentum of their own. The attraction increased over the years, despite violent attacks in the Masonic press, the presence of armed troops at Cova da Iria, and the fact that within four years of the last apparition, none of the little seers lived at Fatima anymore.
“Back at Lisbon, Freemason and Editor-In-Chief of ‘O Seculo’, Avelino de Almeida, was raked over the coals by his fellow leftists for daring to report the miracle of the sun as it actually occurred. It was thought that such a public concession to reality only encouraged the forces of reaction, and consequently imperiled the revolutionary cause in Portugal. In Ourem, no one needed to instruct Arturo Santos (“the Tinsmith”) about the party line. To his dying day he denied that anything miraculous had ever occurred at Cova da Iria – although he never set foot there. On October 23, 1917, however, some of his henchmen did.
“The Tinsmith’s agents were joined by members of the Grand Orient Lodge of Santarem (about forty miles south of Fatima). Under cover of darkness they entered Cova da Iria to cut down the holm oak tree, and remove the rustic wooden arch built over it, from which hung lanterns perpetually lit in honor of the heavenly Lady. They also took a table and the small altar resting on it, and an image of the Blessed Virgin. The carload of booty was driven to Santarem, where the thieves displayed the stolen items the next day. For a small fee, one could view the arch and a small hatcheted tree, and receive a Masonic harangue on medieval superstition. That night the Freemasons staged a public procession with their display, “singing blasphemous litanies to the accompaniment of drums.
“Adding salt to the wound was the fact that the Portuguese government had outlawed Catholic religious processions. The Masonic “procession” was so fanatical in its anti-Catholicism that even the secular press was critical of the event. On the morning of October 24 Maria Carreira hurried to Cova da Iria. Her heart sunk when she saw the arch and lanterns missing, then rose when she saw the little stump of the holm oak tree still sticking up out of the ground. The vandals had cut down the wrong tree.
“Lucy went to investigate too. “I then asked Our Lady to forgive these poor men,” she wrote in her Second memoir,” and I prayed for their conversion.” The next ploy of the “poor men” was to post armed cavalry around Cova da Iria to intimidate pilgrims. The crowds only seemed to increase.
“Publicly dismissing the apparitions at Fatima as a “shameful spectacle staged as a ridiculous comedy” ( as one hyperventilating Brother put it), an implacable hatred of the one true God gave Freemasonry no rest. Truth too tell, the revolution in Portugal was menaced. But it was not, as the Masons supposed, the dark plotting of the Jesuits or Portuguese clerics that would stall the force of progress. Most clergy maintained a prudent silence regarding the apparitions, and more than a few were downright skeptical. Rather, it was the prayers, penances and sacrifices inspired by the beautiful Lady at Cova da Iria that posed the real threat to Masonic authority. Before this onslaught of religious fervour Freemasonry could only sputter impotently, and flee.
“On December 8, 1917, the Blessed Virgin began to grind Her heal on the spiteful head of the revolution. Portugal’s government was overthrown by one of its own, a Freemason named Sidonio Pais. The day after his coup d’etat Pais allowed the Portuguese bishops to return from exile. Two weeks later he allowed worship in the churches the revolution had confiscated from the Church. Diplomatic relations with the Vatican were reopened, and other measures were taken to allow freedom of worship in Catholic Portugal. Obviously Pais was no ordinary Freemason. He knew that by his actions he was signing his own death warrant. It is said he felt protected by the Blessed Virgin, and even received “encouraging visions” from Her. Had he lived long enough, it is likely he would have converted. But he had made himself a marked man, and he knew the Masonic reputation for vengeance was justified.
“Nevertheless, Pais persisted. His efforts to allow the Jesuits to re-enter Portugal were rewarded by an assassination attempt. Undaunted, Pais had the police raid the Masonic headquarters in Lisbon. On December 14, 1918, he attended Mass for fallen Portuguese soldiers. Afterwards, he was gunned down at a train station in Lisbon. He died there, his body riddled with bullets, a crucifix resting on his bloody chest.
It was another glorious victory for the champions of liberty, equality, and fraternity. Yet Freemasonry had only killed a messenger; they were powerless against the message, and they knew it. Their days were numbered.”