Update: Just as I was posting this on our site, this news came to my attention: Pope Francis now says he will consecrate ‘humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine’ to the Immaculate Heart. I do not see the need to edit one word of what I wrote. I will, however, add another with some emphasis: OREMUS!
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THIS Friday, Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Is this the consecration that Our Lady asked for? Will Her requests finally be heeded?
This question is being answered differently by many who are in agreement that none of the previous consecrations by the Roman Pontiffs satisfied the clear requirements made by Our Lady. These imperfect consecrations brought about certain positive results, but did not effect either the conversion of Russia or the period of peace that Our Lady promised.
Our position here at Saint Benedict Center is essentially what David Rodriguez admirably articulated at the Fatima Center’s website. In response to the unnecessary debates that have erupted concerning the matter, I would encourage our readers to heed his wise and prudent words:
All devotees of Our Lady of Fatima know that Her promises are assured. Hence, there need not be much useless “debate” or arguing on “is this consecration the valid one?” Events themselves will show the truth of the matter. Here are indisputable points. We know that, following the proper consecration of Russia:
• Russia will be converted to the true Catholic Faith (there is only ONE, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, outside of which there is no salvation).
• The world will be granted a period of peace.
• The Immaculate Heart of Mary will reign.
If these things happen, then we know the consecration was done correctly. If the situation in the world continues to worsen, then we will know something was lacking in the act of March 25, 2022.
Mr. Rodriguez’s logic would be hard to refute. I would like to focus on the first of the three bulleted points that he enumerates. Concerning the consecration, Our Lady said (emphasis mine):
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.
What does “converted” mean here? There are many who believe that this conversion of Russia is a turning away from communism toward non-communism. Catholic common sense should dictate to us that the Blessed Virgin would not use such a supernaturally charged word as “conversion” to speak of a merely temporal effect. After all, an atheist can convert from communism to capitalism, and what good would it do to his unbelieving soul? Others, who have more interest in the supernatural, seem to think that a return from atheistic Marxist-Leninist materialism to Russian Orthodoxy is what is meant. Catholic common sense should help us here, too; unencumbered at it is by ecumenical pseudo-theology, it informs us that the Blessed Virgin is hardly one to tout schism as good enough. No, the very consecration She called for is an act of the Holy Father and the bishops in communion with him. She is calling Russia to Catholic unity under the pope, to which Russia historically belonged before she embraced the tragic Eastern schism.
Thankfully, we need not rely on mere common sense — which is sadly not as common as it ought to be — for we have the testimony of Father Joaquin Maria Alonso, C.M.F.,
who for sixteen years was the official archivist of Fatima, [and] wrote a monumental work on the Fatima Message, entitled Fatima Texts and Critical Studies. This book, which consists of 24 volumes containing 5,396 documents, was withheld from publication by the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, Msgr. Alberto Cosme do Amaral, at its completion in 1975. Since then, only two of the 24 volumes have been released for publication, and these were heavily edited [source].
Here is Father Alonso’s testimony (emphasis in the original):
[W]e should affirm that Lucia has always thought that the conversion of Russia is not to be understood as being limited to the return of the Russian people to the Orthodox Christian religion, rejecting the Marxist atheism of the Soviets, but rather as a total and perfect conversion to the one, true Roman Catholic Church. —Alonso, Joaquin Maria, C.M.F. The Secret of Fatima: Fact and Legend. 1979, Ravengate Press, page 84.
Another respected Fatima scholar, Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité (now Dom François Marie Velut, O. Carth.) said the following in a talk given on November 24, 1985, and reproduced with permission on our website (The Third Secret of Fatima):
Russia, delivered from her demons through a remarkable miracle of conversion, will return to the sheepfold of Roman unity. A period of peace will be granted to the world. The Catholic faith will be preached to all nations. And countless numbers of souls shall go in joy to the Fountains of Salvation in the One Holy Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church of Christ under the guidance of a single Shepherd!
If, after the consecration, we see Russia begin to enter the Catholic fold in earnest, then we will know that the requests of Our Lady have been fulfilled. If not, then we will know that they have not been. It is really quite simple. How much time will it take? I cannot answer that, but I can say, given the evidently signal value of the event, that the effect ought to be chronologically close enough to its cause for their connection to be easily perceived.
Let me emphasize that for Russia to become Catholic en masse will be an exceptionally extraordinary event. It will be a sign to the world. Writing — over a century-and-a-half ago! — of Russia’s embrace of Catholic unity, Dom Prosper Guéranger tells us, “This transformation will be the greatest event of the century that shall see its accomplishment; it will change the face of the world.”
And why is a return to Russian Orthodoxy not good enough?
Is it necessary to remind our readership that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church? Is it necessary to point out that the Council of Florence — which was, along with Lyons II, a “union Council” that effected an all-too-temporary reunion of the Christian East with Rome — taught us that “none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal”? Whether those reminders are necessary or not, there they are! Revealed truth as infallibly mediated to us through the Church must inform our assessment of reality. It must also guide all loyal children of the Church in fulfilling our common task to evangelize all nations.
Regarding this bedrock dogma, here are two disclosures from Sister Lucia. While neither is a precisely dogmatic statement on the question, both imply a simple faith in this doctrine. The first is from Father Fuentes’ book, The Secret of Fatima, p. 106, and is his account of an interview the liberal Jesuit, Father Riccardo Lombardi, had with Sister Lucy in 1954:
On February 7, 1954, Father Lombardi, after much insistence, but at an inopportune time for Sister Lucia, managed to speak with her in the parlor of the Carmelite convent in Coimbra. He wrote later of the impression she made on him: “Her face was simple, her voice clear and without the slightest trace of the artificiality which can be so easily assumed in certain situations. She was not well; in fact, she was running a temperature. I questioned her:
«Tell me if the Better World Movement (which was already known to her) is the Church’s response to the words of Our Lady to you.»
«Father,» she replied, «there is certainly need of this great renewal. Without it, and considering the present state of humanity, only a limited part of the human race will be saved.»
«Do you really believe that many people go to hell? I myself hope that God will save the greater number, and I even wrote it in a book entitled The Salvation of Those Who Have No Faith.»
«Father, many are condemned.»
«It is certain that the world is an abyss of vice….Still, there is always hope of salvation.»
«No, Father, many, many are lost.»”
The second is the more recently disclosed (2014) account of Sister Lucy’s vision and Marian locution that gave her the strength she needed to commit the Third Secret to writing:
And the Mother of God said to her: “Be at peace, and write what I have commanded you, but not, however, that which has been given to you to understand its meaning,” intending to allude to the meaning of the vision which the Virgin herself had revealed.
Immediately afterward, said Sister Lucia, “I felt my spirit inundated by a mystery of light that is God and in Him I saw and heard: the point of a lance like a flame that is detached, touches the axis of the earth, and it trembles: mountains, cities, towns and villages with their inhabitants are buried. The sea, the rivers, the clouds, exceed their boundaries, inundating and dragging with them, in a vortex, houses and people in a number that cannot be counted. It is the purification of the world from the sin in which it is immersed. Hatred, ambition, provoke the destructive war. After I felt my racing heart, in my spirit a soft voice said: ‘In time, one faith, one baptism, one Church, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic. In eternity, Heaven!’ This word ‘Heaven’ filled my heart with peace and happiness in such a way that, almost without being aware of it, I kept repeating to myself for a long time: Heaven, Heaven.”
We are not the only ones to think of extra ecclesiam nulla salus when reading Sister Lucia’s description. Professor Roberto de Mattei, after relating the account, tells his readers,
“One faith, one baptism, one Church, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic.” Our Lady’s words are the same as Pope Boniface VIII in his Bull, Unam Sanctam [link], in which, at the end of the Middle-Ages, he reiterated the Church’s uniqueness in the work of redemption: “The faith obliges us to admit and retain that there is only one Church, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic (…) outside of which we will not find salvation, nor remission of sins (…). In Her there is only one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism (Eph. 4,5).”
And the final exclamation: “Heaven! Heaven!” seems to refer to the dramatic choice between Heaven, the place where souls that are saved reach eternal happiness, and hell, the place where the damned undergo sufferings for all eternity.
The Church doesn’t open the gates of hell, but the gates of Heaven.
Let us all pray that the consecration to take place on this coming March 25 will be the exact one called for by the Blessed Virgin. Russia is in sore need of conversion, and we are all in sore need of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart!