Mindful of the high degree of sensitivity attached to the issues being discussed here, and that both of them are the kinds of powder kegs that cause strife, I have opted to do something I very infrequently do and append a statement at the end of Gary Potter’s fine piece. —BAM
WE SHALL talk here about two different subjects. Though different, they are related. The two: 1) the doings at the Vatican on March 25 that included the supposed consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary; 2) the conflict in Ukraine.
The two are related not simply because Pope Francis named Ukraine as well as Russia in his consecration prayer but also on account of his making it, or attempting it, in response to an appeal from the Catholic bishops of Ukraine to do so. On this point I’ll be frank. The appeal looked to me to be a ploy of the bishops of what is a minority religion in Ukraine to be seen as committed to the cause of national independence as the secular Jew President Zelensky and Eastern Orthodox majority.
It was not the first time in recent Church history that a body of bishops acted nationalistically (and to the detriment of Catholics outside their nation). Persons old enough to have observed the proceedings of Vatican II will remember that at the Council nobody lobbied harder for a vernacular Mass than the bishops of Poland. Why? When Poland was still Communist and under de facto Red Army occupation, going to Mass became as much a nationalist political demonstration as a religious obligation. Rightly or wrongly, the bishops believed that the faithful’s attachment to Mass would be strengthened if they heard it offered in the national language.
In any event, Pope Francis routinely ignores St. Paul’s injunction not to conform to the world, but instead seeks to align the Church with its principles, beliefs and opinions. More exactly, he seeks to align it with the parts of the world whose peoples used to be Christian and are now, by and large, secular liberal and globalist. That is, peoples who live without regard for anything higher than themselves, as if God does not exist, which makes them practical atheists. It was natural, therefore, that he would respond to the Ukrainian bishops’ appeal since the formerly Christian nations are unanimous in supporting Ukraine with its pro-abortion, pro-LGBT just-like-them President Zelensky against the one major country left where Christianity (albeit schismatic) still plays a visible role in government and the life of society, Russia.
What else may be said of the March 25 doings? I admit that my view of things was colored the moment I saw that the statue of Our Lady of Fatima stood on the exact spot in St. Peter’s where the idol of the Earth Mother Pacha-demon was set up in 2019. Forget the conversion of Russia, I thought; have those who participated in that idolatrous fiasco themselves converted?
As far as I was concerned the answer could be heard in the Pope’s homily immediately preceding the half-hour during which the faithful gathered in the basilica could make confession. This was when Francis named some sins of which they should be mindful. Conspicuously absent was the one that cries out to Heaven for vengeance but that the German bishops have declared not to be a sin at all – the German bishops whose “Synodal Way” Pope Francis has explicitly approved.
That sin’s absence was all the more striking on account of it tainting so many bishops and other clergy, former cardinal Theodore McCarrick being the most notorious example.
On the other hand, right at the top of the named sins was “rigidity”. Is there anyone who doesn’t understand by now that “rigidity” is Francis’ term for the Faith as it was believed, taught and practiced by the Apostles and then transmitted unchanged across twenty centuries by all the popes (even the “bad” ones of the Renaissance) right up to the pontificate of Ven. Pius XII, and which still had its champions on the floor of Vatican II (like Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani until his microphone was cut off)?
As for the consecration itself, Francis did say consecrate as well as entrust, did say Russia as well as Ukraine, and a majority of the world’s bishops did apparently join themselves to his prayer. Did it “take”? Has there been any sign since then that it did? It’s for sure, alas, that Russia didn’t suddenly convert to Catholicism. Will it soon?
Allow me to hazard a prediction. If “soon” means during the pontificate of Francis, it will not because of a matter already touched on here. Historically, the Russians are the most homophobic of European peoples; Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, often preaches against what he calls “gay pride parade culture”; same-sex marriage is illegal in Russia; the promotion of homosexuality in education, entertainment or anyplace else where youth could be exposed to it is against Russian law, and “promotion” is broadly interpreted by authorities. Under such circumstances it really would be miraculous if Russia converted to Catholicism at a time when Catholic Churchmen of the highest rank deny that the sin that calls to Heaven for vengeance is indeed a sin.
If Francis’ consecration didn’t “take” any more than the attempts of previous popes, we should not be overly distressed. After all, Our Lady has promised that her Immaculate Heart will triumph at some time. Inasmuch as it is promised by her, it is guaranteed. If we don’t see it in our lifetime is not a reason to be downcast any more than that it didn’t happen in the time of our parents or grandparents.
Turning now to the conflict in Ukraine, commentary becomes difficult. Why? It is because one is aware that even before the conflict began Americans, including readers of these lines, have been subjected to unremitting, intense, totally pro-Ukrainian propaganda. I haven’t seen anything like it since I was a kid during World War II and was made to understand by the newsreels in movie theaters, radio broadcast news and the adults around me that the peoples of Germany and Japan were evil and deserved to be obliterated along with the cities in which they lived by the brave crews of our B-29 bombers.
Nearly eighty years later nobody cares to talk about how we purposely targeted the residential neighborhoods of German cities, and so we don’t. Neither do we talk about the 900,000 killed in Iraq and Afghanistan when we invaded those countries. If we did we would realize the numbers coming out of Ukraine don’t begin to compare.
To say that is not to excuse the atrocities that have been committed. It is to deplore that the only atrocities reported by media are ones alleged to be committed by Russians. I haven’t seen anywhere except on Paul Joseph Watson’s Summit News videos posted online by Ukrainian soldiers like one in which numerous captured Russians were shown lying in agony on a concrete floor kneecapped and with their legs broken. There was also one of Ukrainian soldiers calling Russian mothers on phones taken from the bodies of their slain sons.
“Hello!” a mother answers brightly, expecting to hear her son’s voice.
“Is that [so and so]?”
“Yes. Who’s calling?”
“Is your son [so and so]?”
“Yes, yes. Who’s calling?”
“I’m a Ukrainian soldier and I’m calling, b____, to tell you that we’ve killed your f______ son.”
Most Americans will not have seen these videos, but countless Russians did, including soldiers. How many commanders in any army in the world could keep their men from retaliating when they’ve seen comrades and comrades’ families treated like that?
(Watson and Tucker Carlson in one of his broadcasts seem to be the only commentators who reported it at length when President Zelensky banned all political parties except his own and shut down all TV stations except his party’s. All other U.S. media have kept on hailing him as a hero of freedom and democracy.)
The question that really wants answering here is why Vladimir Putin launched Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine on February 24. You have probably heard that it had to do with a Russian fear of NATO expansion, and it did, but the key to understanding is geography. The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans have protected the U.S. from the invasion and potential occupation of territory by foreign enemy land armies. In the case of Russia it is the vast expanse of land between the borders of Eastern Europe and the political and cultural centers of Moscow and St. Petersburg that has protected the country. It is that distance, along with the assistance of General Winter, which defeated both Napoleon in 1812 and Hitler in World War II. They simply could not keep their armies supplied across all that territory, most of which was Ukraine. Russia today, as in the past, wants that distance to be as great as possible.
Let’s go back now to the U.S. Administration of George H.W. Bush. His secretary of state, James Baker, promised Putin’s predecessor Mikhail Gorbachev that if Russia agreed to German reunification NATO would not expand eastward — “not one inch,” he famously said.
Putin still holds it against Gorbachev that he didn’t get the U.S. promise in writing (in the form of a treaty) because NATO soon expanded to include Poland, the Baltic republics, Hungary, Rumania, and Bulgaria. Worse, a NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008 declared Ukraine to be a future member of the alliance.
That was threatening, but not alarming, as long as the government in Ukraine, like the one in Belarus today, continued to see the country within the “Russian world” – the Russian sphere of influence. However, in 2014 the president of Ukraine was overthrown in a coup backed by the U.S. He was eventually replaced by the actor-turned-president Zelensky, who refused to provide any assurance that Ukraine would never join NATO.
The NATO alliance came into existence during the Cold War to defend Western Europe against a Soviet invasion. The Soviet Union has long since ceased to exist, but not NATO. Its continued existence and expansion looks to Russia like determination to replace its government and Christian culture with American and E.U.-style globalist secular liberalism – regime change. Of course that is officially denied by the U.S. and E.U., but now and then the pretense is dropped, as when in March Joe Biden declared of Putin that “he can’t remain in power.”
What does the future hold? Who can say? This much seems clear from what we have seen of Vladimir Putin these past 20 years: he is determined to keep the errors of the modern West from spreading.
He is not alone. It should be noted that China, India, and Brazil have not joined Washington’s and Brussels’ sanctions against Russia. Together with Russia, they constitute forty percent of the world’s population.
In this connection the visit of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to Moscow a week before the “special operation” in Ukraine was launched is worth special note. Bolsonaro took the occasion to remark on the “spiritual affinity” of the world’s largest Catholic nation and its largest Orthodox one.
To speak of religion and the spiritual dimension of life, including the life of nations, is alien to the liberal world order and its godless materialistic vision. If all that remains of Christianity in the West actually came together with Christianity in the East to form some kind of working alliance to advance their common interests, the resulting force could end “the end of history.”
PS: El Salvador President Neyib Bukele, of whom I recently wrote for this website, was in the news at the beginning of April. This was when an eruption of gang violence killed 63 in one weekend. To a resident of Chicago that might seem like just another Friday and Saturday night, but it was shocking to Salvadorans grown used to greater social peace under Bukele than they had known in years. The President responded by ordering the mass arrest of gang members. More than 2,000 were rounded up, visible tattoos identifying their criminal affiliations. Professional human rights activists were outraged by the arrests but ordinary Salvadorans cheered. A nice touch: Bukele ordered that rival gang members be thrown into the same cells.
Our writer, Gary Potter, has selected two very controversial things to write about. It is not like us to shy away from controversy, so we are publishing the piece, mindful of the fact that it will be attacked as will we for publishing it. As usual, Gary shows himself here to have a voice worth hearing. Because Catholicism.org has not directly taken a public position on either of these issues heretofore, I would like to take this opportunity to make clear our positions relevant to these issues:
- Concerning the consecration of Russia, we stated this, prior to the act that took place on March 25: “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.“
- With each day that passes without Russia’s conversion and the period of peace that the Blessed Virgin promised, the hope fades (in my mind, anyway) that this particular act was what Our Lady requested. Yet, the possibility remains that a manifestly divine intervention could still take place that would allow us to see a causal relationship between the March-25 act of Pope Francis with the Bishops and the fulfillment of Our Lady’s promises. God’s ways are not our ways, and we were not given a timeline to inform us exactly what these things would look like.
- Regarding the war in Ukraine, I believe it prudent not to assume that there must be one good guy and one bad guy among the active belligerents. Clearly, as Pat Buchanan and others have been warning for years, the US and NATO have been foolishly and treacherously poking the Russian Bear for decades, and the American deep-state puppet regime in Ukraine is one of Europe’s most corrupt governments. Many astute observers have credited Mr. Putin with being very patient in putting up with protracted and multiple provocations.
- That said, Mr. Putin, who — as we have been criticized for acknowledging, “speaks like a Christian” — may well be continuing a pre-Soviet Russian tradition of Caesaropapism and the cynical manipulation of religion at the service of the State. The Russian Federation’s enthusiastic participation in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Mr. Putin’s multiple appearances at globalist WEF gatherings in Davos, his “warm personal relations” with Henry Kissinger, his statist embrace of Covid hysteria (see here, here, and here), even praising China’s technocratic handling of the “pandemic,” all detract from any claim that Mr. Putin is a Christian statesman. If, as a result of what is most likely a global economic realignment, the US-NATO “New World Order” is defeated by a BRICS “New World Order,” the result is still a New World Order. We want Christendom, not that nonsense. (For more on Mr. Putin’s statism and alternative NWO, please see the embedded video, below, and ignore the Trudeau reference in the title; it’s a deliberate, ironic misdirect on the part of James Corbett. On Mr. Putin’s alternative globalism, please see this piece at Life Site: Are Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and Russia’s Vladimir Putin both globalists?)
- As is always the case in war, the first casualty in the truth and the most heartrending reality is the suffering of non-combatants, especially children. We pray, through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for a speedy end to this war.