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Our Lady of Fatima is one of many examples of Marian visions appearing to Roman Catholics, in this case to three young children who claimed that the Virgin had revealed three secrets to them. Like Lourdes, the site of this vision has become a destination for popular pilgrimage.
This type of charismatic vision is actually not authorized by the magisterium of the Roman Catholic church, and represents a form of popular religion, usually originating in the rural and uneducated laity rather than the educated urban clergy. Nonetheless, it is a durable tradition that attracts enthusiastic worshippers and is usually accepted by the Vatican.
Because the children who saw this vision became nuns, the cult of Our Lady of Fatima was brought under the discipline of the Church, but an ongoing concern of the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy is the degree to which such private revelations charismatics may undermine church hierarchy and doctrine by asserting an almost Protestant charismatic notion of the priesthood of the believer` in which individuals can interact directly with the divine without clerical mediation.
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