I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. (1917)
The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father to make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart…(1929)
These words of Our Lady, spoken to Sr. Lucia of Fatima, have long been well-known to tradition minded Catholics.
In this, the 100th anniversary year of the Fatima apparitions, they are receiving wider attention still; with the primary focus of many commentators being on the repercussions of the popes’ failure to heed Our Lady’s request.
In this post, I would like to direct readers’ attention toward the promised rewards; in particular, the period of peace, after which we will perhaps be better suited to respond to the needs of our present day.
What does Our Lady mean by “peace”?
Considering her words in context, one may be tempted to believe that it primarily means the absence of “wars and persecutions against the Church,” but conditions such as these do not so much constitute peace as they are a result of peace.
That peace of which Our Lady speaks is, of course, the peace of Christ; that which is best understood as the fruit of conversion; e.g., as she stated, if her requests are met, Russia will be converted and there will be a period of peace.
With this in mind, we may come to understand that the current state of affairs, with Russia having already spread her errors far and wide, is one in which both the Church and the world stand in desperate need of conversion.
How are we to understand “conversion”?
The Catholic Encyclopedia provides a very useful and concise definition:
In the Latin Vulgate (Acts 15:3), in patristic (St. Augustine, Civ. Dei, VIII, xxiv), and in later ecclesiastical Latin, conversion refers to a moral change, a turning or returning to God and to the true religion…
The “true religion” is, of course, that religion established by Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, and it is found in the Holy Catholic Church alone; His Mystical Body.
It is only in communion with the Church, therefore, that one may know the peace of Christ; yes, even on earth, and this in spite of the fact that we reject the chimeras of those who, both within the Church and without, strive for a Utopian ideal.
As Our Lord said:
These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you shall have distress. But have confidence. I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
At this, I presume that the intimate connection between conversion and the peace of which Our Lady spoke is perfectly plain.
So too is the necessity of calling on those outside the Church to enter her – including the Orthodox and the so-called “separated brethren” with whom the post-conciliar popes have been pleased to engage in endless “ecumenical” dialogue.
Even so, the question remains:
What does it mean, on a practical level, to dwell within the Mystical Body of Christ as one converted, both individually and socially, in such a way as to realize peace?
For insight into this question, we will turn to Pope Pius XI, who in my estimation occupies a rather special place in the message of Fatima as evidenced by the fact that Our Lady spoke of him by name even before his elevation to the Chair of St. Peter.
With this in mind, let us now consider the 1922 Encyclical of Pope Pius XI, Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio – The Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ.
In the opening paragraphs of this, the first Encyclical of his pontificate, the Holy Father referred to the Petrine ministry as a “ministry of peace and reconciliation.”
Here, the inextricable link that exists between conversion (reconciliation) and peace is cited yet again. This time, however, we find an important addition; namely, the necessary role played by the Vicar of Christ in leading mankind along the way. Keep this point well in mind as we proceed.
The Holy Father went on to lament, in spite of the fact that WWI had ended, “the nations of the earth had not as yet found true peace,” and the reason is simple:
Because men have forsaken God and Jesus Christ, they have sunk to the depths of evil. (ibid.)
The Holy Father then went about expounding upon the remedy that is suggested in the very title to his Encyclical; namely, the only way for man to realize the peace of Christ, is to dwell within the Kingdom of Christ – that is the Holy Catholic Church – such that Our Lord may “reassume His rightful place as King of all men, of all states, and of all nations.” (ibid.)
Three years later, in 1925, Pope Pius XI articulated in greater detail precisely what this means in the Encyclical, Quas Primas – On the Feast of Christ the King, wherein he called upon all of mankind – including every nation and every ruler of nations – not to “neglect the public duty of reverence and obedience to the rule of Christ.”
When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony. (ibid.)
Three years later still, in 1928, this same Holy Father promulgated the Encyclical Mortalium Animos, wherein he condemned in no uncertain terms the aforementioned endless ecumenical dialogue that is so commonplace in our day; ostensibly carried out in search of Christian unity:
For the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it. (cf Mortalium Animos 10)
[NOTE: The teachings set forth in the aforementioned Encyclicals of Pope Pius XI – teachings utterly incompatible with the conciliar faith – are no less than providentially given. This is perhaps suggested by the dates of their promulgation; in the years between 1917 and 1929 as mentioned in the opening. I would encourage you to read or re-read them carefully.]
In review, it is clear that the attainment of peace is intimately tied to the faithfulness of the Holy Father in several important ways; specifically, with respect to his duty to:
– Proclaim and insist upon the Sovereign Rights of Christ the King
– Call to conversion those outside the Church
– And last but far from least, to grant the request made by Our Blessed Lady concerning the consecration of Russia
The first of these two activities are readily recognizable as part and parcel of the ordinary means by which the Church Militant carries out her mission; guiding the world in such way as to make the peace of Christ a present reality, even as we dwell in this vale of tears.
The consecration of Russia, however, appears to constitute something extraordinary, but this is not so; even as the outpouring of grace that Our Lady promised in return may be considered something extraordinary. (Indeed, all grace is a gratuitous gift of God and in some sense extraordinary).
NB: The consecration of Russia is not to be considered an extraordinary activity that supersedes, or adds to, the ordinary activity of the Church.
Why is this such an important point?
Fr. Gruner consistently insisted that the consecration of Russia is necessary, and that no other pious act, though it may merit grace, will suffice in leading us out of the present crisis. He was most certainly correct.
In hearing that the consecration is uniquely necessary, however, it seems that many have taken this to mean that the ordinary activity of the Church – the mission of baptizing the nations and teaching them everything whatsoever that Jesus commanded; safeguarding the doctrine of the faith from any all attacks – is in some way insufficient in light of our present circumstances.
In other words, one may mistakenly believe that the Church, prior to Our Lady’s appearance at Fatima, was in some way lacking; unable as it were to meet the needs of the present day, as if the following teaching is not always and everywhere true:
“[The Holy Catholic Church is] perfect in its nature and in its title, possessing in itself and by itself, through the will and loving kindness of its Founder, all needful provision for its maintenance and action.” (Pope Leo XIII, 1885, Immortale Dei)
This raises a question:
If indeed the Church has ever been a perfect society with all needful provision, then how are we to understand the consecration of Russia as necessary?
As the famed canonist, Fr. Gregory Hesse, explains in great detail HERE, consecration has always been not only an ordinary activity of the Church, is at times a necessary activity; one that she has always been perfectly capable of performing.
Fr. Hesse points out that in addition to setting something apart for the service of God, consecration can also be an act of atonement or reparation; at times, sanctifying or re-consecrating that which has been desecrated.
As Our Lord made plain in the Divine Commission, every nation on earth belongs to Him; each one is an object to be set apart in service to Him.
So why Russia, and why now?
Fr. Hesse explains:
With the help of corrupt and evil American businessmen the Soviet Union started to preach the satanic religion of Atheism to the whole world. The world’s largest country became “the evil empire” as Ronald Reagan called it so aptly. Its evil influence was extended rapidly by dedicated and fanatical dictators, agents, and the evil allies of communism in the West …
Already in the 1930’s Stalin sent secret agents into the Western seminaries and into the Vatican, until communism finally flooded the Sacred Aula of St. Peter’s Basilica during the Second Vatican Council, [emphasis added] where the petition to speak out against communism disappeared together with any further intention to dedicate an entire document to the Mother of God.
The incessant attacks against Christendom by the communists and their allies were so efficient that by the time the Iron Curtain was torn down, this barrier against the formerly Christian West was not needed anymore, the latter having become a cesspool of atheism, abortion, sin, corruption, liberalism, and blasphemy … There can be no doubt for any informed person that the source of all this evil was Russia.
Fr. Hesse concludes:
It can easily be seen why RUSSIA has to be consecrated more than any other individual country. [Emphasis in original]
Has to be consecrated… Note very well that the great canonist argues that this would be necessary even if the Fatima apparitions never happened.
With this in mind, the apparitions are best understood as manifestations of Our Lady’s maternal solicitude; pointing out certain dangers in an extraordinary way.
[NOTE: The timing of her appearance also corresponds to the momentous events that were unfolding in Russia at the time, as pointed out HERE.]
We can also understand the Fatima apparitions as something extraordinary with respect to the way in which they made Our Lord’s desire concerning devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary most perfectly plain; similar to the way in which the Sacred Heart devotions were made known to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.
With respect to the latter, the Catholic Encyclopedia states:
In approving the devotion to the Sacred Heart, the Church did not trust to the visions of St. Margaret Mary; she made abstraction of these and examined the worship in itself.
Let us be clear: It was always well within the Church’s ability to discern that both of these devotions, to the Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart, coincide perfectly with God’s will. The apparitions themselves served to make known their timeliness and deepened our understanding of God’s will.
NB: Even if Our Lady had not deigned to appear at Fatima, the Church, under the headship of the pope, has always possessed all that she needed in order to recognize the evils previously described (the errors of Russia), as well as the means to combat them, including consecration.
Short of recognizing this, one may be tempted to focus almost exclusively on the necessity of the consecration of Russia; treating all of the other ordinary means of combating the present evil (which has been made manifest in the Church herself primarily by way of the Second Vatican Council and all of its rotten fruits) as if these other ordinary means are, at best, of only secondary importance if not practically pointless.
My friends, are we not witnessing precisely this phenomenon among certain traditional apostolates today; including the one founded by Fr. Nicholas Gruner?
At this, one may find cause to flirt, God forbid, with despair, as clearly the Church has long been deprived of a pope willing to do what is necessary to combat the present evil; that the world may come to know the peace of Christ.
So what is a faithful Catholic to do?
First of all, we must not fail in our own duties; in particular, as it concerns those requests made by Our Lady at Fatima that pertain to all of us, among them:
Turning away from sin and amending our lives; praying the Rosary daily; making sacrifices for the conversion of poor sinners; taking part in First Saturdays Communion of Reparation; wearing the Brown Scapular, etc.
While it is true that only the pope can carry out the necessary consecration of Russia as requested, we mustn’t discount the value of our prayers and sacrifices in drawing down God’s graces; thus aiding not only in our own personal sanctification, but also in forestalling and perhaps lessening the severity of the coming chastisement.
Our pious acts and offerings may even hasten the day when a faithful Holy Father will be given to us, at long last doing as Our Lady has asked.
Our desire for peace, and our concern for the salvation of souls even beyond our own, in addition to urging us to prayer and sacrifice, should also move us to grow in our knowledge of the one true Faith and doing our best to share it with others; an activity that necessarily entails condemning those errors that threaten the innocent.
This important point is being overlooked by far too may in our day, as if the peace of Christ is an all-or-nothing proposition that hinges solely upon the consecration of Russia.
In Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, Pope Pius XI said that it is in teaching her doctrine that the Church provides “a remedy for the ills which afflict the world today … leading mankind toward a universal peace.”
He noted, however, that even as he wrote in 1922, not all who speak in the name of the Church uphold their duty to teach rightly, saying:
Many believe in or claim that they believe in and hold fast to Catholic doctrine on such questions as social authority, the right of owning private property, on the relations between capital and labor, on the rights of the laboring man, on the relations between Church and State, religion and country, on the relations between the different social classes, on international relations, on the rights of the Holy See and the prerogatives of the Roman Pontiff and the Episcopate, on the social rights of Jesus Christ, Who is the Creator, Redeemer, and Lord not only of individuals but of nations. In spite of these protestations, they speak, write, and, what is more, act as if it were not necessary any longer to follow, or that they did not remain still in full force, the teachings and solemn pronouncements which may be found in so many documents of the Holy See, and particularly in those written by Leo XIII, Pius X, and Benedict XV.
My friends, the paragraph above describes every single member of the sacred hierarchy who champions the Second Vatican Council, whereby, as mentioned, the errors of Russia have been made manifest in the Church herself!
In conclusion, it is not enough to simply encourage the consecration of Russia as requested by Our Lady; an act that does not, properly speaking, supersede or add to the ordinary activity of the Church.
In order to uphold our own duty as soldiers for Christ, laboring to make known the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ, the same of which Our Lady spoke at Fatima, we must also vigorously combat the errors of Russia wherever they are found – that is, the errors that entered the Church at Vatican II – regardless of who may be spreading them.