Artur de Oliveira Santos (22 January 1884 – 27 June 1955), was a Portuguese journalist and local politician, mayor of Ourém, in which the locality of Fátima was located, during the time of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fátima to three young shepherd children in 1917.
Although he had little formal education, Santos was made the editor the local newspaper Ouriense, in which he displayed his anti-monarchical and anti-religious opinions. In his twenties he was elected to the Masonic lodge of Leiria, and then founded a separate Lodge at Vila Nova de Ourém, his native village. Shortly after that he was made mayor or administrator of the county. He possessed the corollary titles of President of the Town Hall and Judge Substitute of Comarca, and was, at the time of the apparitions, the most influential man in his area of Portugal.
Role in the Fátima apparitions
Santos was known for his hostility towards organized religion in general and Catholicism in particular. He was especially hostile with regards to the apparitions and repeatedly sent law enforcement officials to seek to impede public access to the site. He went so far as to kidnap the three children and place them in jail, in order to prevent them from proclaiming another apparition. Years later, Lucia would recall how the three had been jailed, and that Santos had threatened the children with being boiled in oil unless they revealed to him the secret which they had reported receiving from the Lady.
In his later years, Santos professed to be a Christian, but he denied going to Mass or Confession. He sent a letter to a newspaper stating his side of the story on the issue of having arrested the children. Although stripped of political offices in his later years, he would talk of the relative fame he had once had, and he would take pride in his assertion that he was known all over the world "and in Russia, too".
Notes and references
- "At twenty-six he joined the Grand Orient Masonic Lodge at Leiria." OPPOSITION TO FATIMA (Part I), The Fatima Crusader, Issue 7 Page 12, Spring 1981
- p 87, The Immaculate Heart, Farrar, Straus, and Young, New York, John De Marchi, 1952
- "The children were kidnapped on the morning of the 13th by the Mayor of Vila Nova de Ourém, Artur Santos." The Apparitions at Fatima, Theotokos Catholic Books
- The Immaculate Heart, Farrar, Straus, and Young, New York, John De Marchi, 1952, pp. 96-100
- Joseph Pelletier "The Sun Danced at Fatima", Doubleday, New York (1983),p226)