It Doesn't Add Up
The Latest Reported News of Sister Lucy
by John Vennari
For over 70 years, Sister Lucy of Fatima has maintained constancy on the exact conditions Heaven demanded for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary to bring about the conversion of "that poor nation".
But according to a communiqué issued on December 20, 2001, by the Vatican Information Service (VIS), that's all changed. The VIS reports of an alleged interview with Sister Lucy by the Vatican's Archbishop Bertone wherein, contrary to more than 7 decades of unchanging testimony, Lucy now allegedly declares "the consecration that Our Lady desired was accomplished in 1984 and was accepted by Heaven".1
Faced with this response, Archbishop Bertone did not ask the obvious questions that reason demands. For starters: if the 1984 Consecration of the world (with no mention of Russia) fulfilled the desire of Heaven, then where is the conversion of Russia that the Message of Fatima promised since 1917?
This question must be asked -- and answered -- before any reasonable person can lay down his arms in the struggle for the proper Consecration of Russia, a nation that shows no signs of converting to the Catholic Faith.
In fact, nearly 18 years after the Consecration, Russia is a decadent country raging with abortion, divorce, immorality and homosexuality, to the point where Moscow now broadcasts live X-rated programing on Russian television -- its version of "Reality TV" of which Russian viewers "cannot get enough".2 Even worse, Russia is now a leading world center for the distribution of child pornography3 -- but more of these horrid details later.
"Gently Debunked the Fatima Cult"
The interview between Sister Lucy and Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was held on November 17, 2001, says VIS. Readers will recall that Archbishop Bertone co-authored with Cardinal Ratzinger the June 26, 2000, Vatican document, "The Message of Fatima," that accompanied the release of the vision of the Third Secret.
The November interview reportedly lasted over two hours, and took place in the presence of Father Luis Kondor, S.V.D, vice-pos- tulator of the causes of Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta, and the prioress of the Carmelite convent of St. Theresa in Coimbra, where Sister Lucy lives.
In the report, Sister Lucy denies rumors that she has received new revelations from Our Lady, especially regarding the September 11 tragedy. When asked about the Third Secret of Fatima and those who claim we've not received it all, she reportedly says "everything has been published, no secret remains".
The question of the Secret will be left aside for the moment, especially since my able friend Mark Fellows discusses it elsewhere in this issue. There is one point, however, that casts doubt on Sister Lucy's purported words.
Before claiming the Third Secret has been revealed in its entirety, Bertone's Lucy says that she "attentively read and meditated upon the booklet published by the Congregation of the Faith and confirmed everything that was written there". This is odd since even the Los Angeles Times recognized (and stated) that the Vatican's June 26 document on Fatima "gently debunks the Fatima cult".4 Further, the same June 26 Ratzinger/ Bertone document floats the suggestion that Sister Lucy might have gotten the idea of the vision of the Secret from "images which Lucia may have seen in devotional books".5 This, in fact, is the thesis of Father Edouard Dhanis, the modernist Jesuit who contributed to the heretical Dutch Catechism,6 who made a career out of trying to debunk Fatima, and who suggested that Lucy might have inadvertently made up the entire matter of the "Third Secret".7
If Bertone's Sister Lucy "confirms everything written" in the June 26 document, it means that Sister Lucy now confesses, indirectly, that the vision of the Secret may not have come initially from Heaven, (as Catholics were led to believe since 1917) but might have been fabrications out of her own head, based on what she read in devotional books. Statements such as this seem a bit too self-serving for the Fatima revisionists in the Vatican.8 It also threatens to undermine the credibility of the seer herself. Rather than comment further on this point, we simply observe that it doesn't jibe with the stability of Lucy's lifelong testimony. As is typical of the post-conciliar period, we are faced with another Vatican "clarification" that raises more questions than it answers.
The 1984 Consecration
The VIS then refers to the question of Pope John Paul II's 1984 Consecration of the world. To quote the report: "Sister Lucy was asked: 'What do you say to the persistent affirmations of Father Gruner who is gathering signatures in order that the Pope may finally consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which has never been done?' She replied: 'The Carmelite Community has rejected the forms for gathering the signatures. I have already said that the consecration that Our Lady desired was accomplished in 1984 and was accepted by Heaven'."9
Before discussing the questions this statement raises, it must be said that gathering signatures for the Collegial Consecration of Russia is not exactly a sinister act, nor did it start with Father Gruner. Fatima Apostolates were doing it for decades.
Just one example. In 1971, five years before young Nicholas Gruner was ordained to the priesthood, Bishop Venancio of Fatima encouraged lay groups, especially the Blue Army, to gather signatures requesting the proper Consecration. Within a few years, Cardinal Slipyi presented Pope Paul VI with more than 2 million petitions for the Collegial Consecration of Russia.10 Further, it is not clear that Sister Lucy's Carmelite Convent ever took part in these signature-gathering initiatives.
But that is a minor point. Of graver concern is the sudden rupture in Sister Lucy's steady testimony of what Heaven required for the Collegial Consecration of Russia by the Pope in union with the world's bishops, to bring about the conversion of Russia and the triumph of Our Lady's Immaculate Heart.
Over Half a Century of Consistency: Russia Must be Consecrated by Name
Over 55 years ago, on July 15, 1946, the eminent author and historian, William Thomas Walsh interviewed Sister Lucy, which is recounted in his gorgeous work, Our Lady of Fatima. At this interview, which appears at the book's end, Mr. Walsh asked her pointed questions about the correct procedure for the Collegial Consecration:
"Finally we came to the important subject of the second July secret, of which so many different and conflicting versions have been published. Lucia made it plain that Our Lady did not ask for the consecration of the world to Her Immaculate Heart. What She demanded specifically was the consecration of Russia. She did not comment, of course, on the fact that Pope Pius XII had consecrated the world, not Russia, to the Immaculate Heart in 1942. But she said more than once, and with deliberate emphasis:
'What Our Lady wants is that the Pope and all the bishops in the world shall consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart on one special day. If this is done, She will convert Russia and there will be peace. If it is not done, the errors of Russia will spread through every country in the world'."11
Sister Lucy is clear and forthright. The collegial consecration requested by Heaven is the Consecration of Russia, not the world, which must be done by the Pope in union with the world's bishops on the same day.
Then there is the little- known revelation of Our Lady to Sister Lucy in the early 1950s, which is recounted in Il Pellegrinaggio Della Meraviglie, published under the auspices of the Italian episcopate. The Virgin Mary appeared to Sister Lucy in May 1952 and said "Make it known to the Holy Father that I am always awaiting the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart. Without the Consecration, Russia will not be able to convert, nor will the world have peace."12
Thus, 10 years after Pope Pius XII's 1942 Consecration of the world, we have the report of Our Lady reminding Sister Lucy that Russia will not be converted, nor will there be peace, unless Russia is consecrated by name.
Fast forward 30 years to 1982, Sister Lucy's testimony remains steadfast. On May 12, 1982, the day before the attempted 1982 consecration, the Vatican's own L'Osservatore Romano published an interview of Sister Lucy by Father Umberto Maria Pasquale, a Salesian priest, during which she told Father Umberto that Our Lady had never requested the Consecration of the world, but only the Consecration of Russia:
"At a certain moment I said to her: 'Sister, I should like to ask you a question. If you cannot answer me, let it be. But if you can answer it, I would be most grateful to you ... Has Our Lady ever spoken to you about the Consecration of the world to Her Immaculate Heart?"
"No, Father Umberto! Never! At the Cova da Iria in 1917 Our Lady had promised: I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia ... In 1929, at Tuy, as She had promised, Our Lady came back to tell me that the moment had come to ask the Holy Father for the Consecration of that country (Russia)."
This testimony was confirmed by Sister Lucy in a handwritten letter to Father Umberto, which the priest also published. (See p. 23) A translation of the letter reads:
"Reverend Father Umberto, in replying to your question, I will clarify: Our Lady of Fatima, in Her request, referred only to the Consecration of Russia ... -- Coimbra 13 IV - 1980 (signed) Sister Lucia"
Again, on March 19, 1983, at the request of the Holy Father, Sister Lucy met with the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Portalupi, Dr. Lacerda, and Father Messias Coelho. During this meeting, Sister Lucy confirmed that Pope John Paul's Consecration of 1982 did not fulfill the requests of Our Lady. Sister Lucy said:
"In the act of offering of May 13, 1982, Russia did not appear as being the object of the consecration. And each bishop did not organize in his own diocese a public and solemn ceremony of reparation and Consecration of Russia. Pope John Paul II simply renewed the consecration of the world executed by Pius XII on October 31, 1942. From this consecration we can expect some benefits, but not the conversion of Russia."
She concluded, "The Consecration of Russia has not been done as Our Lady had demanded it. I was not able to say it because I did not have the permission of the Holy See."13
A year later, on March 25, 1984, Pope John Paul II made an Act of Offering wherein he again consecrated "the world", not Russia. As with the 1982 Consecration, "each bishop did not organize in his own diocese a public and solemn ceremony of reparation and consecration of Russia".
Fatima author Frère François writes, "In the months which followed the Act of Offering of March 25, 1984, which was only a renewal of the act of 1982, the principal scholars of Fatima agreed in saying that the consecration of Russia had not yet been done as Heaven wished it."
Such was the conviction of Father Antonio Maria Martins,14 and of Father Messias Coelho who, on the eve of March 25, 1984, had announced in Mesagem de Fatima, of which he is the publisher-editor, "Consecration of Russia: It will not be done yet this time." He further explained, "It is certain the more contains the less. Apparently therefore, the 'Consecration of the world' will perhaps give the impression of having the power to take the place of consecrating specifically Russia. However, the problem cannot be resolved in logical terms, nor even in the light of systematic theology."15
These theologians based their statements not only on the bald fact that a consecration of Russia needs to mention the word "Russia", but also on the testimony of Sister Lucy herself.
On Thursday, March 22, 1984, two days before the Act of Offering, the Carmel of Coimbra was celebrating Sister Lucy's seventy-seventh birthday. She received on that day, as was her custom, her old friend Mrs. Eugenia Pestana. After extending good wishes to her Carmelite friend, Mrs. Pestana asked, "Then Lucy, Sunday is the Consecration?" Sister Lucy, who had already received and read the text of the Pope's consecration formula made a negative sign and declared "That consecration cannot have a decisive character."16
The "decisive character" which is the stamp of the proper consecration is the miraculous conversion of Russia.
And it must be emphasized, since today's ecumenical mind-set has confused the issue, that the conversion of Russia means conversion to Catholicism. This is not only a point of common sense, but it is also found in the testimony of Father Joaquin Alonso, probably the top Fatima expert of the 20th Century. Father Alonso, who had many interviews with Sister Lucy, wrote in 1976:
"... we should affirm that Lucia always thought that the 'conversion' of Russia is not to be limited to the return of the Russian People to the Orthodox Christian religions, rejecting the Marxist atheism of the Soviets, but rather, it refers purely, plainly and simply to the total, integral conversion of Russia to the one true Church of Christ, the Catholic Church."17
In a 1985 interview in Sol de Fatima, Sister Lucy was asked if the Pope fulfilled the request of Our Lady when he consecrated the world in 1984. Sister Lucy replied: "There was no participation of all the bishops, and there was no mention of Russia." She was then asked, "So the consecration was not done as requested by Our Lady?" to which she replied: "No. Many bishops attached no importance to this act."18
Even Father Rene Laurentin, a comrade of the progressivists, admitted in 1986, "Sister Lucy remains unsatisfied19 ... Lucy seems to think that the Consecration has 'not been made' as Our Lady wanted it."20
Then on July 20, 1987, Sister Lucy was interviewed quickly outside her convent while voting. Here she told journalist Enrique Romero that the Consecration of Russia has not been done as requested.21
More of Sister Lucy's affirmations that the 1984 consecration did not fulfill Heaven's conditions could be cited,22 but I think the point is made.
Yet Archbishop Bertone, who traveled all the way to Portugal to give us a "clarification" never asked Sister Lucy the obvious question: "Why do you now say that the consecration of the 'world' satisfies the demands of Heaven when for the last 70 years you insisted, without wavering, that Our Lady did not ask for the Consecration of the 'world', but "Russia"?
Did our shrewd Vatican interrogator simply forget to ask this question? Did it never occur to him? Did he "let it pass" out of convenience? For that matter, are we receiving an honest account of the conversation between him and Sister Lucy? None of us can answer these questions. All we see is that Archbishop Bertone never clarified for us the reason for what appears to be Sister Lucy's sudden about-face on seven decades of unswerving testimony.
Nor did Archbishop Bertone ask Sister Lucy the other questions screaming to be asked: If the Consecration demanded by Heaven was fulfilled, then where is the conversion of Russia? Where is the promise of peace? Where is the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart?
But let's face it. No one has ever accused Archbishop Bertone of being an expert on Fatima. He doesn't even appear to be a Fatima hobbyist, not even a weekend dabbler. Perhaps Msgr. Bertone is unaware that Our Lady already gave the world a glimpse, a peek, a prelude, of how the Triumph of Her Immaculate Heart will look. She did this in Portugal after the Portuguese bishops consecrated that nation -- by name -- to the Immaculate Heart on May 13, 1931.
It seems that Our Lady used Portugal to show on a national level what She will do worldwide when the Pope, in union with the world's bishops, Consecrates Russia to Her Immaculate Heart. Perhaps Our Lady also gave us this preview so that an insipid pan-religious "civilization of love" could never masquerade successfully as the Triumph of Heaven's Queen.
The Consecration of Portugal: "Showcase of Our Lady"
On May 13, 1931, in the presence of three-hundred-thousand faithful who came to Fatima for the event, the bishops of Portugal solemnly consecrated their nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. These good bishops placed Portugal under the protection of Our Lady to preserve that nation from the Communist contagion that was sweeping through Europe, and especially Spain. As a result of this Consecration, Portugal experienced a three-fold miracle. Here, we will give only the barest details:23
1) There was a magnificent Catholic Renaissance, a great rebirth of Catholic life, so striking that those who lived through it attributed it unquestionably as the work of God. During this period, Portugal enjoyed a drastic upsurge in priestly vocations. The number of religious almost quadrupled in 10 years. Reli- gious communities rose likewise. There was a vast renewal of Christian life, which showed itself in many areas, including the development of a Catholic press, Catholic radio, pilgrimages, spiritual retreats, and a robust movement of Catholic Action that was integrated into the framework of diocesan and parish life.
This Catholic Renaissance was of such magnitude that in 1942, the bishops of Portugal declared in a Collective Pastoral Letter: "Anybody who would have closed his eyes twenty- five years ago and opened them now would no longer recognize Portugal, so vast is the transformation worked by the modest and invisible factor of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin at Fatima. Really, Our Lady wishes to save Portugal."24
2) There was a miracle of political and social reform, in accordance with Catholic social principles. Shortly after the 1931 Consecration, a Catholic leader in Portugal ascended to power, Antonio Salazar, who inaugurated a Catholic, counter-revolutionary program. He strove to create, as much as possible, a Catholic social order wherein the laws of government and social institutions harmonize with the law of Christ, His Gospel and His Church.25 A fierce adversary of socialism and liberalism, he was opposed to "everything which diminishes or dissolves the family."26
President Salazar did not simply talk a good line; he enacted legislation to protect the family, including laws that frowned upon divorce. Article 24 read "In harmony with the essential properties of Catholic marriages: It is understood that by the very fact of the celebration of a canonical marriage, the spouses re- nounce the legal right to ask for a divorce."27 The effect of this law was that Catholic marriages did not diminish in number, but increased. So that by 1960, nearly 91 percent of all marriages in the country were canonical marriages.
That is a civilization of love, and it's nowhere in sight as we step into the Third Millennium. It's certainly not found in post- 1984 Russia, as we will later observe.
3) There was the twofold miracle of peace. Portugal was preserved from the Communist terror, especially from the Spanish Civil War which was raging next door. Portugal was also preserved from the devastations of World War II.
Regarding the Spanish Civil War, the Portuguese bishops had vowed in 1936 that if Our Lady protected Portugal, they would express their gratitude by renewing the National Con- secration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. True to their word, on May 13, 1938, they renewed the Consecration of Portugal to the Immaculate Heart in thanksgiving for Our Lady's protection. Cardinal Cerejeira acknowledged publicly: "Since Our Lady of Fatima appeared in 1917 ... A special blessing of God has descended upon the land of Portugal ... especially if we review the two years which have gone since our vow, one cannot fail to recognize that the invisible hand of God has protected Portugal, sparing it the scourge of war and the leprosy of atheistic communism."
Even Pope Pius XII expressed astonishment that Portugal was spared the horrors of the Spanish Civil War and the Communist menace. In an address to the Portuguese people, the Pope spoke of "the Red Peril, so menacing and so close to you, and yet avoided in such an unexpected manner."28
The Portuguese passed this first danger unscathed, but immediately there was a second staring them in the face. World War II was about to break out.
On February 6, 1939, seven months before the declaration of war, Sister Lucy wrote to her bishop, Msgr. da Silva. She told him that war was imminent, but then spoke of a miraculous promise. She said "in this horrible war, Portugal would be spared because of the national consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary made by the bishops."29
And Portugal was spared the horrors of war, the details of which are too numerous to here recount.30 Even more remarkable, Sister Lucy wrote to Pope Pius XII on December 2, 1940, to tell him that Portugal is receiving special protection during the war that other nations would have received if the bishops would have consecrated their nations to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She wrote:
"Most Holy Father, Our Lord promises a special protection to our country in this war, due to the consecration of the nation, by the Portuguese prelates, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary; as proof of the graces that would have been granted to other nations, had they also consecrated themselves to Her."31
Likewise, Portugal's Cardinal Cerejeira did not hesitate to attribute to Our Lady of Fatima the great graces that She had obtained for Portugal during this time. On May 13, 1942 he said, "To express what has been going on here for twenty-five years, the Portuguese vocabulary has but one word: miracle. Yes, we are convinced that we owe the wonderful transformation of Portugal to the protection of the Most Holy Virgin."32
Cardinal Cerejeira further explained that the miraculous blessings that Our Lady obtained for Portugal due to the 1931 Consecration, is a preview of what She will do for the entire world after Russia is properly consecrated to Her Immaculate Heart.33 The Cardinal said:
"What has taken place in Portugal proclaims the miracle. And it foreshadows what the Immaculate Heart of Mary has prepared for the world."34
Thus it is not hard to understand why Portugal at this time has been called the "Showcase of Our Lady". And this triple miracle of Portugal stands as a preview of how Russia and the world will look after the Collegial Consecration of Russia. This preview is also helpful to us as it is a gauge by which we can judge the present. If we contrast the threefold miracle of Portugal with the present condition of Russia and the world, it is obvious that the proper consecration of Russia is not yet achieved.
1) After the 1931 Consecration, there was a great Catholic Renaissance in Portugal. But since the 1984 Consecration, Russia boasts no rebirth of Catholic life.
The Catholic Church is still a minority religion in Russia. The largest religion in Russia is the Schismatic Russian Orthodox, the next largest is Mohammed- anism, followed by an assortment of Protestant sects. The Catholic religion in Russia only has the status of a sect among sects, that is, it is on the level with kooky minority religious such as the Moonies, the Mormons, the Quakers, the Jehovah Witnesses, the Hari Krishnas and the Church of Scientology.35
This is no "conversion of Russia", especially when contrasted with the Catholic Renaissance of Portugal that was the result of the bishops' consecration.
2) Following the 1931 Consecration, there was in Portugal the miracle of political and social reform, in accordance with Catholic Social Principles. But after the 1984 Consecration, there is no Catholic social reform anywhere in Russia. To the contrary, Russia now boils with immorality and decadence.
Nearly 18 years after the Consecration, Russia has the highest abortion rate in the world. Fr. Daniel Maurer, CJD, who spent the last eight years in Russia, says that statistically, the average Russian woman will have eight abortions in her childbearing years -- though Fr. Maurer believes the actual number is about 12 abortions per woman. He has spoken to women who have had as many as 25 abortions. The reasons for these dreadful figures is that other contraception methods (which are immoral anyway) have not been introduced in Russia, nor are they trusted. This leaves abortion as the "cheapest way to limit the family size". Presently in Russia, abortions are free, but births are not.36
In post-1931 Portugal, a Catholic head-of-state virtually outlawed divorce. But in post-1984 Russia, the divorce rate matches the United States, which means it is an extremely high divorce rate.
Russia also has the highest alcohol consumption in the world. Satanism is on the rise in Russia, the birth- rate is plummeting, and homosexuality is rampant in Moscow and throughout the country. In fact, in April 1993, nine years after the "proper Consecration", Boris Yeltsin allowed homosexuality to be de-crimin- alized. Homosexuality is now "legal" in Russia.37
Worse, Russia is now a leading world center for the distribution of child pornography. The Associated Press reported on August 9, 2001, of a Moscow-based child pornography ring linked to another child pornography ring in Texas. To quote AP:
- "Russian law does not distinguish between child pornography and pornography involving adults, and treats the production and distribution of either as a minor crime, said Dmitry Chepchugov, head of the Russian Interior Ministry's department for high technology crimes. Russian police often complain about the legal chaos that has turned Russia into an international center of child pornography production. 'Unfortunately, Russia has turned into a world trash bin of child pornography,' Chepchugov told reporters in Moscow".38
Once again it was Dmitry Chepchugov, head of the Russian Interior Ministry who complained, "three- quarters of international inquiries regarding hacker attacks that passed through Interpol last year concerned Moscow".
He said there is a "steady trend toward criminal groups acquiring the latest complex technology, mostly electronic equipment, to both carry out and hide crimes, as well as for fraudulent commercial operations through the Internet, distribution of child pornography, to sell drugs and weapons, collect and distribute compromising materials, and place anonymous orders, including for contract killings, via e-mail".39
The next instance of Russia's depravity is so lecherous that it is embarrassing to write about, so I apologize to the reader in advance. I relate it only to add fuel to the already-burning question: if the 1984 Consecration of the world, with no mention of Russia, fulfilled the desires of Heaven, then where is the conversion of Russia?
Eight days after the purposed Bertone/Lucy interview, the Sunday Times- London ran a story on Russia's new and lewd "Reality TV" program "Za Steklom" ("Behind the Glass"). Of this program, which is aired three times a day, another news service commented, "Russia has made a pointed effort to make the show more risqué than their Western counterparts".40
That's putting it mildly.
Here's what Russian viewers are tuning in to by the millions.
Six young contestants in their early twenties -- three male, three female -- are locked up in an apartment where 60 cameras film them 24 hours a day. All of their activities are filmed and broadcast, including the young women taking showers and worse.
Just days after the November 17 Bertone interview, where we are sup- posedly told that Russia has been properly consecrated, the program broadcast a male and female contestant fornicating in the apartment "as millions of incredulous viewers watched".41
The winners (the couple or individual voted by the viewing audience as most popular) will each receive a flat in Moscow and "can look forward to lucrative advertising and show business contracts".
And I will spare the reader the details of the homosexual activity that the program broadcast.
Franchetti reports that despite grumbles of disapproval from old hard-line Communists, Russian viewers "cannot get enough" of this "raunchiest version" of Reality TV. The program "boasts an audience share of more than 50% and thousands of Russians have endured sub-zero temper- atures and queued for more than a hour to catch a glimpse of it through a window of the flat. Millions have logged on to the website, which has crashed frequently under the weight of traffic."
Conversion of Russia?
No wonder we distrust Cardinal Ratzinger and Archbishop Bertone when they declare with unjustified pomposity, "any further discussion or request for the Consecration of Russia is without basis".42 No wonder we question Archbishop Bertone's lone testimony that Sister Lucy suddenly agrees with everything he says.
3) As a result of the 1931 Consecration, Portugal was granted a miracle of peace: it was spared the horrors of the Spanish Civil War and World War II. By contrast, after the 1984 consecration, there is no peace. The promise of peace to follow the proper consecration of Russia is not going to be for Russia alone, but the whole world: "a period of peace will be granted to the world," pledged the beautiful Lady from Heaven.
There is no need to propound at length on the dearth of peace, especially in the light of September 11 and its aftermath. The "worse terrorist attack in history" will not be one of the defining moments of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. The clattering of war sabers is heard around the world. Violence in the Holy Land is constantly front- page news. The rumblings in Afghanistan continue. India and Pakistan -- two countries with nuclear weapons and the apparent resolve to use them -- are close to a major armed conflict.43 President George W. Bush has declared that 2002 will be "war year".44 Even the Pope's Christmas Midnight Mass at St. Peter's was held amid high security, tighter-than-usual, "for fear of a possible attack" by terrorists.45
And yet the Vatican's campaign against Fatima has been one that expects us to pack up our "Please Consecrate Russia" banners and go home, because the "consecration has been done" and "Fatima is finished".
Don't Rain on My Charade
Why, then, do leading Catholic prelates give Our Lady of Fatima such backhanded treatment? Why is the prevailing attitude at the Vatican one that strives to stamp out the "Fatima problem," and to silence the coarse herd who actually believe Our Lady's words?
The usual reason given is the Vatican-Moscow Agreement -- the "Pact of Metz" -- wherein Pope John XXIII, on the eve of the Council, guaranteed Moscow that Vatican II would not condemn Communism so that, in the interest of ecumenism, Russian Orthodox bishops could attend the Council as observers.
This Pact, still in force, is paramount to the Vatican Secretary of State who is determined that no competing viewpoint gain prominence among Catholics. And the Message of Fatima, with its stiff warnings about the "errors of Russia", could not be more adverse to the Pact of "Metz".
As a result, today's climate at the Vatican seems to be governed by a "fear of offending Russia" that borders on insanity. In the November 2000 Inside the Vatican, a Cardinal identified as "one of the Pope's closest advisors" divulged that the Pope has been advised not to mention Russia in the various consecration and "entrustment" ceremonies because it would offend the Russian Orthodox hierarchy.46
This is all true enough, and there are mountains of evidence to support each point.47 But I wonder if there is not yet another element here at work. Given the new orientation within the Church since the Council, perhaps the reason that many Vatican leaders seem intent on beating back with a stick Our Lady of Fatima is because they are actually embarrassed by the word "conversion". Especially since "conversion", according to Our Lady of Fatima, is not simply a pan-religious "heart that says yes to God", but the conversion of the non-Catholic to the one and only true Church of Christ, the Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation.
Conversion to Catholicism for salvation? How stodgy! How unenlightened! What a pre-Vatican II carbuncle! Who is this Lady of Fatima with Her exclusivist mentality and narrow denominational view?
It is a sad reality that the bulk of our Church leaders, including those in the Vatican, operate on the false principle that it is not necessary for the non-Catholic to convert to the one true Church of Christ for unity and salvation.
For the first time in our sacred history, in defiance of 2,000 years of Catholic Teaching, it is ecclesiastical policy to accept members of false religions as they are, rather than combat their errors and work to convert them to the Catholic Church.
This "new way of thinking," spawned at Vatican II, is found everywhere in the Church, from the Catholic press to the highest echelons of the Vatican.
Take, for example the recent statement of Cardinal Walter Kasper, who was the former secretary of the Church's star non-believer, Hans Kung. Kasper, whose modernist views are well- known throughout the Church, was made a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II in February 2001 and now enjoys the rank of Prefect of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Kasper said:
- "... today we no longer understand ecumenism in the sense of a return, by which the others would 'be converted' and return to being 'Catholics'. This was expressly abandoned at Vatican II."48
In fact, Kasper's statement, which scorns the thrice defined dogma that "outside the Church there is no salvation," actually represents the true "spirit of Vatican II." We know this because Father [now Cardinal] Joseph Ratzinger, in his 1966 book Theological Highlights of Vatican II, boasted of the Council's new orientation to non-Catholics which dispenses with conversion. Ratzinger explains:
- "The Catholic Church has no right to absorb the other Churches ... [A] basic unity -- of Churches that remain Churches, yet become one Church -- must replace the idea of conversion, even though conversion retains its meaningfulness for those in conscience motivated to seek it."49
This tallies with Father Edward Schillebeecx, another progressivist Council peritus, who celebrates, "At Vatican II, the Catholic Church officially abandoned its monopoly over the Christian religion."51
Likewise, a "Catholic" journal from the Rome- based International Jewish- Christian Documentation Service (SIDIC)52 spoke of Vatican II's new orientation toward non-Catholics. In 1999 it spotlighted what it considers to be the "main problem" with so-called "traditional Catholics", including Archbishop Lefebvre. SIDIC explained:
- "... The only ecumenism accepted by Lefebvre and his followers is that which strives for the unconditional return of the members of other confessions to the one Church of Christ, the Roman Catholic Church. This hardened sectarianism is precisely the kind of logic which Vatican II, through profound reflection on the nature of the Church, refused to accept..."53
"True reunion can only come about by the return of dissidents to the one true Church of Christ"55 (the Catholic Church).
Sadly, Pope John Paul II gives every indication of siding with Vatican II's new orientation rather than that of Pius XII. True, John Paul does not declare openly that non-Catholics need not convert to Catholicism for salvation, but his words and actions leave little room for any other conclusion.
One of the most powerful (of many) examples is Pope John Paul II's call for the creation of a "common Martyrology" containing "saints" from Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant religions.56
The Vatican's Archbishop Sergio Sebastiani, commenting on the proposed New Martyrology, admitted that it is "completely novel" and rejoiced, "The Holy Father's ideas on venerating the martyrs of the Orthodox and the Protestant Churches are indeed ecumenical in the broadest possible sense."57
Then on Sunday, May 7, 2000, as one of the Pope's most ambitious Millennium celebrations, John Paul II presided over the ecumenical commemoration of the "New Martyrs", held at the Colosseum in Rome. The Los Angeles Times called it "the most broadly representative ecumenical event staged by the Vatican".58 Five thousand people attended the gathering at which 19 representatives of Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant sects took part.
At the ceremony, the only two "martyrs'" Pope John Paul mentioned by name were non-Catholic: an Orthodox Metropolitan and a Lutheran Pastor.59
These words and actions fly in the face of Pope Eugene IV's ex cathedra declaration that "none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics, and schismatics, can ever be partakers of eternal life, but that they are to go into the eternal fire 'which was prepared for the devil and his angels,' (Mt. 25:41) unless before death they are joined with Her; ... no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved unless they abide within the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church."60
Even more disturbing are reported cases of Vatican Cardinals actively discouraging non-Catholics who desire to convert to Catholicism.
Catholic Family News published the story of Father Linus Dragu Popian who had been raised in the Romanian Orthodox religion. In 1975 he risked his life to escape Communist Romania and presented himself to the Vatican expressing his wish to convert to Catholicism. The then- Secretary of State, Cardinal Villot, and other Vatican Cardinals were horrified. They told young Popian that he must not flee Communism and must not become Catholic, because this would damage the Vatican's relations with Communist Romania and the Romanian Orthodox Church.61
Little has changed in Rome since then.
Bishop Fellay of the Society of St. Pius X related in a recent interview that he had met a schismatic [Orthodox] bishop who wanted to convert to the Catholic Church. Bishop Fellay advised him to deal directly with Rome. When the Orthodox bishop told the Vatican he wanted to become a Catholic, "Panic ensued. The following day, Cardinal Neves, Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops said to the schismatic bishop, 'Your Excellency, it is not necessary to convert. Since the Council, things have changed! There's no need to convert any more."62
How much more evidence do we need that the Message of Our Lady of Fatima, with its insistence on conversion to the Catholic Faith, is at war with the "spirit of Vatican II"?63 And in a Church now dominated by men whose first allegiance is to the Council's pan-religious vision, the curtain will be dropped on Our Lady of Fatima quicker than you can say aggiornamento. Put Gorbachev center stage. Put the Dalai Lama center stage. Put the pan-religious potted-plant ceremony-for- peace center stage. Put anything and anyone in front of the floodlights rather than Our Lady of Fatima. For once the spotlight shines on the Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue, the conciliar burlesque will retreat into its native darkness, and the entire stage will glow with the two-thousand-year Catholic Tradition that She loves and represents.
1. "Sister Lucy: Secret of Fatima Contains No More Mysteries", Vatican Information Service [VIS], Dec. 20, 2001. A report of this interview also appeared in the Jan. 9, 2002 L'Osservatore Romano. It was substantially the same as the VIS report with a little more information regarding Sister Lucy's alleged comments on the Third Secret. Nothing in L'Ossovatore Romano's report answers the questions we put forth in this article: Namely, a) why would Sister Lucy claim to agree with Cardinal Ratzinger's June 26 2000 document "Message of Fatima", when even secular newspapers noticed that Rat- zinger's document "gently debunks" Fatima; b) After more the seven decades of unswerving testimony, why did Sister Lucy apparently change her testimony regarding the consecration of Russia?; c) If the Consecration of Russia was accomplished, then where is the conversion of Russia promised by Our Lady of Fatima?
2. "Big Brotherski Goes Too Far for Staid Russians", Mark Franchetti, London Times, November 25, 2001.
3. "Activists Says Child Porn Prosecutions Will be Difficult in Indonesia, Russia", Christine Brummitt, Associated Press, Aug. 9, 2001.
4. Los Angeles Times, "Catholic Church Unveils Third Secret: The Vatican's Top Theologian Gently Debunks a Nun's Account of Her 1917 Vision That Fueled Decades of Speculation", June 27, 2000.
5. "The concluding part of the 'secret' uses images which Lucia may have seen in devotional books and which draw their inspiration from long-standing intuitions of faith." The Message of Fatima, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, June 26, 2000.
6. See, Hebblethwaite, Peter. Paul VI (New York: Paulist Press, 1993), pp. 490-91.
7. Father Dhanis is the only "Fatima expert" mentioned in Cardinal Ratzinger's June 26 document The Message of Fatima.
8. We can only mention in passing the large issue that in 1988, the Vatican ordered all Fatima Apostolates to claim that the 1984 Consecration fulfilled the request of Our Lady of Fatima. Frére François writes that in 1988, "an order came from the Vatican addressed to the authorities of Fatima, to Sister Lucy, to diverse ecclesiastics, including Father Messias Coelho, and a French priest very much devoted to Our Lady, ordering everyone to cease pestering the Holy Father with the Consecration of Russia." Fatima devoteé Father Caillon writes, "An order came from Rome, obliging everyone to say and think: 'The Consecration is done. The Pope having done all that he can. Heaven has deigned to agree to this gesture." (Fatima: Tragedy and Triumph, pp. 189-190.) It was around this time, 1988-1989, that many Fatima Apostolates who had said the consecration of Russia had not been done suddenly started saying that the 1984 consecration fulfilled the desires of Heaven. It was also at this time that the fake, typewritten letters of Sister Lucy started to circulate. Sadly, even Father Caillon soon afterwards, changed his testimony and started to say that the 1984 Consecration fulfilled the requests of Fatima. For more, see The Chronology of a Cover-up, (1929- 2001) recently published by the Fatima Center, 17000 State Route 30, Constable, NY 12926.
9. Vatican Information Service, Dec. 20, 2001.
10. Fatima: Tragedy and Triumph, which is Volume IV of Fatima: Intimate Joy, World Event, Frère François de Marie des Anges, (English translation by Immaculate Heart Publications, Buffalo, NY, 1994) p. 134.
11. Our Lady of Fatima, William Thomas Walsh, (Image-Doubleday, New York, Imprimatur 1947) p. 221 Emphasis in the original.
12. Il Pellegrinaggio Della Meravigle, p. 440. Rome, 1960. This same work, published under the auspices of the Italian episcopate, affirms that this message was communicated to Pope Pius XII in June. Also, Canon Barthas mentioned that apparition in his communication to the Mariological Congress of Lisbon-Fatima, in 1967; see De Primoridiis cultus mariania, Acta congressus mariologici-mariana in Lusitania anno 1967 celebrati, p. 517. Rome, 1970. See Fatima: Tragedy and Triumph, pp. 21 and 37.
13. Reported within an article by Father Pierre Caillon of Centre Saint Jean 61500 Sees, (Orne) France. This article was published by the monthly periodical Fidelite Catholique, B.P. 217-56402. Auray Cedex, France. English translation from The Fatima Crusader, Issue 13-14 (Oct.-Dec., 1983) p. 3.
14. See Fatima e o Coraço de Maria, p. 101-102.
15. Fatima, Tragedy and Triumph, pp. 172-173.
16. Ibid. pp. 167-168.
17. La Verdad Sobre el Sacradoto de Fatima, Fatima sin mitos, Father Joaquin Alonso, (2nd edition, Ejercito Azul, Madrid, 1988) p. 78. English translation by Joseph Cain. Original Spanish reads: "... podriamos decit que Lucia ha pensado siempre que "conversion" de Rusia no se entiende solo de un retorno de los pueblos de Rusia a la religion cristiano-ortodoxa, rechazando el afeismo marxista y ateo de los, soviets, sino que se refiere pura y llanmente a la conversion total e integral du un retorno a la unica y verdadera Iglesia, la catolico-romana."
18. Sol de Fatima, September 1985.
19. Chrètiens-Magazine, March 1987, #8. Cited from Fatima: Tragedy and Triumph, p. 189.
20. Father Laurentin, "Multiplication des apparitions de la Vierge aujourd'hui, p. 45, Fayard, September, 1988. Cited from Fatima: Tragedy and Triumph, p. 189.
21. This testimony of Sister Lucy was reported in the early August (1985) edition of Para Ti published in Argentina. See World Enslavement or Peace, ... It's Up to the Pope, Fr. Nicholas Gruner (Immaculate Heart Publishing, 1989), pp. 212-213.
22. For more testimony, see Chapter VI of Fatima: Tragedy and Triumph.
23. This "Threefold Miracle" is explained in greater detail in the cassette lecture "Why Portugal was Saved from War and Terror" by John Vennari, available from the Fatima Center, 17000 State Route 30, Constable, NY, 12926.
24. Collective Pastoral Letter for the Jubilee of the Apparitions in 1942, Merv. XX's. P. 338. Cited from The Whole Truth About Fatima, Vol. II, "The Secret and the Church", Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité (English edition, Immaculate Heart Publications, Buffalo, NY, 1989) p. 410.
25. Salazar's influence in the Portuguese government had been growing since 1928. He became President of the Council in 1933. Later, Salazar received for his efforts the praise and blessing of Pope Pius XII. Pius said, "I bless him with all my heart, and I cherish the most ardent desire that he be able to complete successfully his work of national restoration, both spiritual and material." Cited from The Whole Truth About Fatima, Vol II, p. 412.
26. Ibid. p. 415. (Salazar's own words).
27. Ibid. p. 421.
28. Ibid. p. 422.
29. Ibid. p. 428.
30. See The Whole Truth About Fatima, Vol. II, pp. 369-439.
31. Ibid. p, 428.
32. Ibid. p, 405. Cardinal Cerejeira spoke these words during the 1942 Jubilee celebration of the Fatima apparitions.
33. I trust the word of a Fatima believer such as Cardinal Carejeira, rather than a Fatima debunker such as Cardinal Ratzinger.
34. Cardinal Cerejeira, Preface to Jacinta (1942), Obras Pastorais, Vol. II, 333. Cf. Also his homily of May 13, 1942, Merv. XX's, p. 339. Cited from The Whole Truth About Fatima, Vol. II, p. 437.
35. Figures taken from "This Present Darkness" Part II, Mark Fellows, Catholic Family News, Sept. 2000.
36. Father Maurer's remarks appeared in an interview in Catholic World Report, Feb. 2001. A synopsis and commentary on this interview was published in "The Myth of a Converted Russia Exposed", Marian Horvat, Ph.D., Catholic Family News, March 2001.
37. "Russia Legalizes Homosexuality", United Press International, May 28, 1993. To quote the beginning of the article: "Russia's homosexual activists Friday celebrated a major victory for gay rights in post-Soviet Russia following the repeal of Article 121 of the Soviet criminal code, which outlawed consensual sex between men. 'This is great news for gays and lesbians in Russia,' said Vladislav Ortanov, editor of the Moscow gay magazine Risk."
38. "Activist Says Child Porn Prosecutions Will be Difficult in Indonesia, Russia", Christine Brummitt, Associated Press, Aug. 9, 2001. (Emphasis added)
39. "High-Tech Crime on the Rise in Moscow" Interfax News Agency, Communications and Electronics Report, October 22, 2001. (Emphasis added)
40. "Interactiverussia Announces its Own Version of 'Big Brother'," Business Wire, Nov. 8, 2001.
41. "A fortnight after being locked up in a flat fitted with 60 cameras, two contestants, Margo and Max, had sex as millions of incredulous viewers watched. … Last week, they were filmed having sex again in a bathroom" Quoted from "Big Brotherski goes too far for Staid Russians", Mark Franchetti, Sunday Times (London), November 25, 2001.
42. "The Message of Fatima", Vatican Commentary, June 26, 2000.
43. "India, Pakistan Prepare for War", Associated Press, Dec. 26, 2001. "India Vows to Use Military Might", Reuters, Jan. 3, 2002.
44. "Bush Predicts 'War Year' in 2002," Reuters, Dec. 21, 2001.
45. "No War in God's Name, Pope's Christmas Message Says," Reuters, Dec. 27, 2001.
46. The same Cardinal made the absurd statement: "Let us beware of being too literal-minded." Inside the Vatican, Nov. 2000.
47. Just to name a few: "The Vatican- Moscow Agreement", originally published in France, by Jean Madiran, English translation published in the Fatima Crusader, (Sept.-Oct., 1984), "Communism and the Catholic Church" series by Father Paul Crane SJ in Christian Order, 1977, "The Metz Pact", Atila Sinke Guimarães, Catholic Family News, Sept. 2001.
48. Adisti, Feb. 26, 2001. English translation quoted from "Where Have They Hidden the Body?" by Christopher Ferrara, The Remnant, June 30, 2001.
49. (Emphasis added) Theological Highlights of Vatican II, Joseph Ratzinger [Paulist Press, New York, 1966], p. 65-66. This section of the book focuses on the deliberate ecumenical foundation on which is based the Council document Lumen Gentium. For a more complete discussion of Father Ratzinger's book, see "Vatican II vs. the Unity Willed by Christ," by J. Vennari, Catholic Family News, Dec., 2000. [Reprint #537, $1.75US post-paid].
50. This remains true even if Cardinal Ratzinger would completely change his own personal views to a more orthodox position. The Council texts themselves remain ambiguous, imprecise, and oriented toward an unorthodox ecumenism which does not seek the conversion of non-Catholics to Catholicism.
51. E. Schillebeeckx, OP, Ingreja ou igrejas?, in V.A. Cinco problemas que desafiam a Igreja hoje, pp. 26f. Cited from In the Murky Waters of Vatican II, Atila Sinke Guimarães (Maeta, Metairie, 1997) p. 243.
52. SIDIC is from a Catholic association "founded in Rome in 1965 at the request of a group of experts of the Second Vatican Council following the promulgation of Nostra Aetate", to promote Catholic-Jewish "dialogue". The Rome-based SIDIC has local representatives in the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, France, Holland, Israel, Italy, United States.
53. The full quote reads, "Lefebvre's refusal to accept ecumenism originates in clear teachings from the Magisterium: the encyclical Satis Cognitum of Leo XIII (1896); the encyclical Mortalium Animos of Pius XI (1928); the Dec. 20, 1949, Instruction of the Holy Office regarding ecumenism. The only ecumenism accepted by Lefebvre and his followers is that which strives for the unconditional return of the members of other confessions to the one Church of Christ, the Roman Catholic Church. This hardened sectarianism is precisely the kind of logic which Vatican II, through profound reflection on the nature of the Church, refused to accept. Though rooted in Tradition [sic] the scope of the Council's reflection was without precedent in the history of Christianity. For integralists, ecumenism is one of the fundamental betrayals by Vatican II." (Emphasis added) Service Internatial de Documentation Judéo-Chrètienne, Rome, [English edition from Washington, D.C.] Vol. XXXII, No. 3, 1999, p. 22.
54. The verbal ambiguity used by Vatican II to advance this false notion is found in Lumen Gentium 8 wherein it says "The Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church" rather than Pope Pius XII's definition that the Church of Christ IS the Catholic Church [Mystici Corporis, Pope Pius XII]. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who has always been a progressivist, recently admitted that the word subsists was used at the Council in order to advance the [false] notion that the Church of Christ is actually bigger than the Catholic Church. Ratzinger said: "When the Council Fathers replaced the word "is" with the word subsistit, they did so for a very precise reason. The concept expressed by "is" (to be) is far broader than that expressed by "to subsist". 'To subsist' is a very precise way of being, that is, to be as a subject, which exists in itself. Thus the Council Fathers meant to say that the being of the Church as such is a broader entity than the Roman Catholic Church, but within the latter it acquires, in an incomparable way, the character of a true and proper subject.", Interview in the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine, Sept. 22, 2000.
55. Instructio, [The Instruction from the Holy Office on the Ecumenical Movement, Dec. 20, 1949] entire English translation published in The Tablet [London] Mar. 4, 1950.
56. Ut Unim Sint, Pope John Paul II, 1996, #84. The Pope also mentioned the pan-denominational "Martyrology" in Jubilee Encyclical Tertio Millennio Adveniente [#37].
57. Interview with Vatican Archbishop Sergio Sebastiania, The Catholic World, January, 1996.
58. "Pope Honors 20th Century Christian Martyrs", Los Angeles Times, May 8, 2000.
59. "Blood of Christ's Witnesses Gives Impulse to Ecumenism", Zenit News, Rome, May 7, 2000. "Pope Honors Modern-Day Heros", Associated Press, May 8, 2000.
60. Bull, Cantate Domino, Eugene IV, Feb. 4, 1442, Council of Florence.
61. For a brief account of Father Popian's story, see "Vatican says, Do Not Convert to Catholicism", John Vennari, Catholic Family News, Dec. 2001. Father Popian's testimony on audio cassette entitled "Vatican's Ostpolitik and Ecumenism Tried to Prevent My Conversion to Catholicism" is also available from the Fatima Center, 17000 State Route 30, Constable, NY 12926.
62. "We are a Sign of Contradiction", interview with Bishop Bernard Fellay, SSPX, Latin Mass Magazine, Fall, 2001, p. 11.
63. We have not even addressed the large topic of how Our Lady of Fatima's Message resonates perfectly with Quas Primas, but clashes with the discord of Gaudium et spes. What else is the conversion of Russia but the triumph of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ?
Reprinted from the February 2002 edition of
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