The Fatima messages came as much of the world around Portugal was embroiled in the horrors of World War I. The first appeal of the apparition was for renewed faith; that quality is more and more a rarity in the 21st century, the cardinal argues.
"We are walking toward a pagan world," he says. "Man today needs faith, to believe in something; to believe in God, who is our common father, to believe in our brothers, we are all children of the same father, we are all brothers."
Faith must be followed by "conversion" — to not only "increasingly draw nearer to God [but also] to always draw nearer to our brothers and sisters."
The Fatima appearances also brought appeals for increased prayer and personal sacrifice in reparations for sins and on behalf of others.
Working and praying for peace worldwide were other directives from Fatima, and their urgency is undiminished.
"One of the most painful wounds today is this fighting one with the other; the lack of peace between Muslims and Christians, the inhabitants of this country and the inhabitants of that country, etc," the cardinal declared.
The fourth point of the Fatima messages? The need for hope.
"Man today doesn't have hope," Martins laments. "He lives a life without a future, without the hope of a future."
The cleric points to high suicide rates among teens as evidence of hopelessness, even among those just beginning life.
"They live a life that has no meaning for them. They lack hope, they lack a vision for the future," Martins says. "[Hope] is fundamental for man."
The answers were provided at Fatima, and they resound today.
Says Martins: "What God demands of men today [is] a deep faith, a hope, brotherhood among us — which is greatly lacking — so we will have peace, which we need to live a dignified life."