May 13th, 5PM 2

By Tom Quiner

The bullet that almost killed Pope John Paul II thirty years ago today is mounted in this crown.

Three children saw something that changed the world. The year was 1917.

It took place in Portugal on May 13th at 5PM. Lucia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto were stopped in their tracks by the mystical appearance of a beautiful woman.

Here’s how Lucia described the woman:

She was “brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal ball filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun.”

The woman appeared to them again on June 13th. And again on July 13th. Word was getting out about the mysterious woman, and thousands of people began to flock to the area.

The communist authorities attempted to stop all of this nonsense by jailing the children on August 13th. But the Woman appreared to them instead on August 19th upon their release from jail.

The children claimed “the Lady,” as they called her, entrusted them with three secrets. The first involved a vision of Hell. The second gave instructions on how to save people from Hell.

The third remained a secret until the year 2000.


The day was May 13th.

The time was 5PM.

The year was 1981.

Pope John Paul II made his way through St. Peter Square in an open air vehicle. A man approached the pontiff, raised a gun and fired at point blank range.

Five, maybe six shots were heard. The Pope was hit.

His internal injuries were severe. He was bleeding internally. In fact, he lost most of his blood.

He was near death. In fact, he should have died.

But he lived.

It was a miracle he lived. Upon gaining consciousness, the Pope recalled the significance of the date and time, 64 years to the second that the Lady had appreared to those three children in Fatima, Portugal.

And he thought about the significance of the yet unrevealed “3rd secret.” What was the secret? That a “Bishop dressed in white” would be shot and killed.

But John Paul II lived. He credited the Lady with deflecting the bullet just enough to spare his life.

Today is the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II. I marvel at the events of 1981 and contrast them with the events of 1968.

I was in 9th grade when Martin Luther King was shot and killed in Memphis. And then two short months later, Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed.

It seemed as if our country was falling apart.

In 1981, I was married and just a week away from becoming a father for the first time when a gunman shot President Ronald Reagan.

The President almost died. By all accounts, he should have died. His injuries were grave.

Six weeks later, Pope John Paul II was shot and almost died.

Two men with the potential to change the world were shot and died in 1968.

Two men with the potential to change the world were shot and lived in 1981.

Why did events go so differently in 1981? Was it divine intervention?

Did this mysterious Lady from Fatima somehow intercede in a supernatural way to allow President Reagan and Pope John Paul II to fulfill their destiny, to meet and join forces to defeat communism?

You be the judge.

The Pope was presented with the bullet doctors removed from his body. He held it in his hand, turned it and studied it from every direction.

What did he do with it? He had it mounted in the crown of the statue of the Lady of Fatima, the Blessed Mother of Christ.

The Pope was devoted to the Blessed Mother. He asked for her prayers of intercession daily.

I juxtapose the events of 1917, 1968, and 1981 as one of life’s many mysteries.

Should the President release photos of Bin Laden? 2

By Tom Quiner

President Obama has announced that he is not going to release photos of the gravely wounded Osama Bin Laden.

Reports indicate that they are graphic and gruesome. I support the President and trust his judgement on this call.

Sarah Palin is taking the President to task on this issue on Twitter:

“Show photo as warning to others seeking America’s destruction. No pussy-footing around, no politicking, no drama; it’s part of the mission.”

I think a one decade pursuit of Mr. Bin Laden sufficiently reveals American resolve.

House Speaker, John Boehner, supports the President as does New York Congressman, Peter King, who is the Republican Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee:

“I understand the president’s decision and will not oppose it. While I have said that a photo release may be a good way to combat the predictable conspiracy theories about bin Laden’s death, this is a decision for the president to make, and I respect his decision.”

Let’s face it, conspiracy theories will abound whatever decision President Obama makes. Some will say the photos are faked. There are already fake photos of a bloodied Bin Laden on the web.

Let’s not unnecessarily titillate the masses with gore. The American culture already gets enough of it from Hollywood.

Kudos to two Presidents 1

By Tom Quiner

A mass murderer receives justice

I have not been impressed by President Obama’s leadership.

However, I am impressed with the decisive action he took to uncover Osama Bin Laden’s whereabouts and subsequent raid to bring the world’s #1 terrorist to justice.

Good work, Mr. President!

You stuck your neck way out there. Your call took guts.

I also commend former President George W. Bush’s relentless pursuit of justice, his steely resolve to protect American’s from further harm from terrorists. He was much maligned by the political left, but is vindicated as President Obama continues to embrace more of the former President’s philosophy.

As Mr. Bush once said, justice must be served no matter how long it takes.

Kudos to these two Presidents for their relentless pursuit of justice in hunting down a notorious mass murderer.

What is the engine of history? 1

By Tom Quiner

Poland's most beloved piece of art: The Black Madonna

Some Republican leaders are urging their party to focus on economic issues and de-emphasize cultural issues. They believe that it is economics and politics that drive history.

Pope John Paul II (JPII) disagreed. He believed, and he proved, that it is culture that drives history.

Not economics.

Not politics.

Economics and politics are certainly potent forces. They are interconnected with each other, as well as with culture, as engines of history.

But culture drives us more than anything. It defines our national identity. It IS our national identity.

Here is a pretty straight forward definition of “culture” as put forth in 1963 by J. Useem and R. Useem in Human Organizations:

Culture is “the learned and shared behavior of a community of interacting human beings.”

Poland was a nation that had been brutalized by it’s neighbors, Germany and Russia. Germany tried desperately to destroy Poland. Russia (the Soviet Union)  subjugated it.

When Pope John Paul II arrived on the scene on June 2nd 1979, he said quite simply, Poland belongs to Christ.

He is the source of your dignity.

He is the source of humanity.

He is your reality.

He invoked the great heroes from Polish history such as Edith Stein and Maximillian Kolbe who exhibited such great courage and died at the hands of their oppressors.

He traveled to Czestochowa and paid homage to the most beloved work of art in Poland, the Black Madonna.

And the Pope said “be not afraid.” He spoke these words from a perspective of Christian fearlessness. If Christ is with you, who can be against you?

Polish art, literature, and religion defined the shared behavior of this proud, but wounded nation. Pope John Paul II reminded Poles who they really were as their communist overlords looked on.

Nazis or communists can’t take your art, literature, and religion away.

When this first Slavic Pope was elected, every Pole thought of the prophetic poem written by their “Shakespeare”, Juliusz Slowacki, in the 19th century:

“Behold the Slavic pope is coming,

a brother of the people;

He already pours the world’s balm into our breasts,

And the angel choirs sweep the throne for him, with flowers.  …

Amidst all the discord, God sets an immense bell ringing,

He opens the throne to a Slavic Pope …”

The Polish culture sustained an often beleaguered nation for a thousand years. A mere decade after JPII’s journey home, Poland elected Lech Walesa President as communism crumbled.

Culture is power.

Let us remind our Republican friends to fight hard in the public arena to preserve our great American culture that embraces a God-given right to life,  liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

Let us encourage our Democratic friends who have abandoned the essence of these building blocks of our culture to put politics aside, to go back to the cultural forces that made America great.

Let us all remember the wisdom of a great man, John Paul II, as he is beatified this Sunday.

What is the engine of history? It is culture.