- WHY FATIMA
- FATIMA CENTER
- PRAYER & DEVOTION
By Gregorius D. Hesse, S.T.D., J.C.D. (Cand.)
Already a while ago, we heard that the Pope would consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary this October 8th. I write this article in September and its purpose is not to predict the Pope’s actions in October (I am not a prophet), but to outline the conditions necessary for a consecration correspondent to Our Lady’s requests and the possibilities of what may happen. Several facts that will have to be mentioned have been amply discussed in past issues of The Fatima Crusader and I will — consequently — try to avoid unnecessary repetitions.
I write this article in my quality as a theologian and canonist, but, in all frankness, I have to underline the fact that, the message of Fatima being one of the clearest ever, for many of my conclusions no academic knowledge of theology is required, but simply our God-given common sense, which — according to G.K. Chesterton — was the method of St. Thomas Aquinas. It really needs little more than common sense to be able to see through the Vatican’s impertinent and often rather silly lies and schemes in their plot to silence Our Lady.
In 1929, on June 13, when Sister Lucy lived in Tuy in Spain, Our Lady requested the consecration of Russia with the following words, written down by Sister Lucy:
“The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father to make, and to order that in union with him and at the same time, all the bishops of the world make the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart.” (Frère Michel, The Whole Truth About Fatima, vol. II, p.555).
As I said, this is a very clear message that leaves hardly any room for interpretation. The next chapter, therefore, will be an explanation rather than an interpretation.
I waste little time and space here with an eventual discussion about the authenticity of Our Lady’s request, even though this has been challenged only recently by someone who stated that only the 1917 events had received an approval by the Church, not the events after that.
The absurdity of this statement can easily be seen by a closer look at the fact that no Pope after 1929 even remotely hinted at the possibility that the events after 1917 would be anything but authentic. Such suspicions also show very little respect for Our Lady. Sister Lucy herself confirmed the events after 1917 repeatedly. Either they are authentic or she is mentally incapacitated or even a liar, in which case the question arises why Our Lady would not have been informed by God about this aspect of the future....
Many of the past issues of The Fatima Crusader have dealt with this kind of doubt and given sufficient proof for the authenticity of the messages that were received and revealed after 1917.
In a past issue of The Fatima Crusader I showed that a consecration is never generic or haphazard. I said:
Any consecration is specific. As it is not sufficient to consecrate the world as a whole to have Russia, Austria or any other country consecrated, it is not sufficient to have the people of Israel consecrated, neither is it sufficient to have the Levites consecrated; the individual must be consecrated namely, as we can see in the example of Aaron: “Tell all the skilled men to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve Me as a priest ... It will be on Aaron’s forehead, and he will bear the guilt involved in the sacred gifts the Israelites consecrate, whatever their gifts may be. It will be on Aaron’s forehead continually so that they will be acceptable to the Lord ... After you put these clothes on Aaron and his sons, anoint and ordain them. Consecrate them so they may serve Me as priests”. (Ex. 28:3, 38, 41)
This is one of the reasons why it cannot be sufficient to consecrate the world, which includes many countries and not one. Still more has to be considered:
As a consecration has to be specific, it also has to be individual. At Baptism, which is the first consecration of a Christian, the child has to be baptized individually. Even in the old days when missionaries still had a lot of conversions to deal with (instead of praising the “merits” of other religions), it would not suffice to baptize a village! It was not even sufficient to baptize each individual, but he had to be given a name. The same is true at Confirmation, where we receive another name. Marriage is invalid if one of the two is in error about the identity of the other. At Ordination each single candidate is presented by name just as in the case of Aaron.
Antiquity believed in the importance of names. They were not that much concerned whether the “seat of the soul” was the heart, the brain, or the left kidney, but they were concerned about the name: An individual’s name — in a way, according to the ancients — WAS his soul.
When ancient Egypt decided to eliminate one’s name, it was worse than death: After Pharaoh Amenophis IV (Amenhotep IV, 1352-1336 B.C.) decided to change Egypt’s system of worship, he changed his name from “Amenhotep” (= Amun is content) to Echnaton (Akhenaten = Aten is Life, or: Glory of the Sundisc) to signify the change in his soul. When he had died and Egypt had returned to its old system, his mummy disappeared together with his name, for to eliminate one’s name was to eliminate the person.
Sacred Scripture underlines the importance of names and so does Christ: When Simon, the son of Jonas, becomes His Vicar, his name changed to Kephas, Petrus, the Rock upon which the Church is built (Cf. Matt. 16:17ff.). The Church celebrates the most Holy Name of Jesus (Jan. 2, or the Sunday before Epiphany) and the Most Holy name of Mary (Sept. 12) that commemorates Our Lady’s victory against the Turks in 1683.
Most of all it is the Name of God that is sacred. While the Catholic veneration of the Most Holy Names has no immediate tradition dating back to the Apostles, but is of more recent origin (16th, resp. 17th Century), ever since God appeared to Moses, His name is Most Sacred — He answers Moses’ question as to His identity: EGO SUM QUI SUM (I Am Who Am; Ex. 3:14). Since then, to pronounce this Name in vain was punishable by death and — consequently in their blindness — the Jews and Pharisees grab rocks to stone Jesus, when He says: Antequam Abraham fleret, EGO SUM (Before Abraham was, I am; John 8:58). It is neither daring nor adventurous to say that the word “God” is a mere description. The EGO SUM is really HE, Who in His infinite and perfect Simplicity “cannot” say but “I AM.”
Can these considerations be applied to a country?
In Ancient Egypt, any name was of importance: In the so-called Memphite on the Shabaqo Stone, the god Ptah creates everything in the universe by pronouncing each of the names. When Rameses II (1279-1213 B.C.) extended an old village to become his residential city, he called it Pi-Ramesse, Seat of Rameses, so the holiness of his name would protect the city.
The name Israel means: Fighter for God. The country’s name is sacred! To the Catholic, Rome means (or meant) the Holy City and the name “Roma” means a lot more than a noisy bustling conglomerate of houses and streets full of Italians.
Finally we have to remember that Our Lady mentioned Portugal’s Guardian Angel!
This shows us clearly that a country — however flexible its political boundaries might be — can be considered an individual. Switzerland is a country of four established languages — without the local dialects — and yet a definite individual.
An individual it is also that Our Lady explicitly wants consecrated, because She mentioned Russia quite often, apart from the wish for a consecration:
Sister Lucy of Fatima speaking in 1957 to Father Fuentes said:
“Many times the Blessed Virgin Mary told me and my cousins, Jacinta and Francisco, that Russia is the instrument of chastisement chosen by Heaven to punish the whole world (for its sins) if we do not beforehand obtain the conversion of that poor nation” (See The Fatima Crusader Issue 63, p. 28).
Russia is the instrument of chastisement for the world, not the world for the world; thus, Russia must be consecrated.
It must also be noted that Our Lady explicitly named “Russia” when its official name was SSSR (Sojuz Sovietskikh Sotsialistitsheskikh Respublik = Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics), obviously in reference to the name of the country, not the communist oppression of (officially) 22 republics.
Even if we had not been able to establish the importance of names, also of countries’ names, we would still have to consider the virtue of obedience:
Our Lady explicitly named Russia. She did not mention the world or the world and Russia, but only Russia. Would it be too audacious to say that Our Lady has not been taken seriously so far?
No individual can judge or command the Pope, but that does not mean that he would have no further obligation to obey Christ, tradition, Christ’s manifest Will — and common sense... With all due respect, it has to be pointed out that the Pope is not the Head of the Church, but His vicar on earth. He is not the president, but the vice-president.
We have already discussed the theological convenience of a consecration in union with all the bishops (See The Fatima Crusader Issue 63, pp. 56-57).
Now we have to examine the practical consequences of Our Lady’s request for the Pope and the bishops:
As quoted, Our Lady requested the consecration of Russia with the following words, written down by Sister Lucy:
“The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father to make, and to order that in union with him and at the same time, all the bishops of the world make the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart” (Frère Michel, The Whole Truth About Fatima, vol. II, p.555).
There can be no doubt about the words “in union with him and at the same time,” except for the detailed question of the time: That it would have to be on the same day — say Sunday, October 8th of the year 2000, the last of the century — cannot be doubted.
The phrase “all the bishops” must be explained too: According to the Code of Canon Law (1983):
... bishops are the successors of the apostles by divine institution, they are constituted pastors within the Church, so that they are teachers of doctrine, priests of sacred worship and ministers of governance (can. 375, § 1). By the fact of their episcopal consecration, bishops receive along with the function of sanctifying also the functions of teaching and of ruling ... (can. 375, § 2). Bishops are called diocesan when the care of a diocese has been entrusted to them; all others are called titular (can. 376).
Canon 375, in its second paragraph, is somewhat misleading as to the power of “ruling,” received “by the fact of their episcopal consecration.” This is impossible. According to can. 382, § 1, a bishop “cannot exercise the office entrusted to him unless he has first taken canonical possession of the diocese.” Titular bishops, whose “diocese” is usually a heap of rubble in the Sahara, or similar, “by the fact of their consecration” enjoy no “function of ruling” except, according to canon 967, § 1, the faculty of hearing Confession universally, a faculty that can be limited according to the same canon. Any Vicar General has more jurisdiction by virtue of the law than a titular bishop (cf. cc. 475ff.).
As with many a non sequitur in the New Code of Canon Law, we have to consult the Code of 1917:
According to can. 329, the bishop governs a particular church (ecclesia pecularia), while can. 348 denies jurisdiction to the titular bishop. The other relevant canons (cc. 329; 350-355; 948ff.) mention no power of ruling either.
Are titular bishops, then, no real bishops? In the sacramental sense, they are bishops most definitely, but as to their jurisdiction, they are not bishops in the proper sense of the linguistic usage: “the bishop OF his diocese.” They are but auxiliaries IN the jurisdiction of the bishop OF the diocese.
The request for the union with ALL bishops does not seem very clear:
Sister Lucy set forth the conditions necessary to fulfill in order to validly accomplish the consecration of Russia according to Our Lady’s request at Tuy:
(1) Russia must be clearly indicated as the object of the consecration;
(2) Each bishop must make a public and solemn ceremony in his own cathedral. (See The Fatima Crusader Issue 63, p. 14).
What does this mean? Only a diocesan bishop possesses a cathedral. In consequence I consider it possible that the request would be fulfilled if only, and all, the diocesan bishops joined in the consecration. In the age of concelebration, however, I would deem it theologically convenient that all auxiliaries joined with their ordinaries to have the episcopal college consecrate Russia in its fullness.
A remaining question would be on how the Pope could move the bishops to this consecration? As complicated as the answer might be in political life, as simple as it is from the viewpoint of faith and morals:
The Pope enjoys the primacy not only in matters of faith and morals, but also discipline and government of the Church (DS 3060, can. 331). According to can. 333, § 1, (1983) this power extends “over all particular churches and groupings of churches” and he has the “;right, according to needs of the Church, to determine the manner either personal or collegial, of exercising this function” (can. 333, § 2). There is neither appeal nor recourse against a decision or decree of the Roman Pontiff (can. 333, § 3). All bishops, even diocesan, are subject to this authority, if reserved (cf. can. 381). “The Church has an innate and proper right to coerce members of the Christian faithful by means of penal sanctions” (can. 1311). The Supreme legislator and judge in the Church can order bishops by a decree threatening the automatic penalty “against certain particularly treacherous offences which either can result in more serious scandal or cannot be effectively punished by means of inflicted penalties” (can. 1318). If a bishop culpably (can. 1321) ignores “legitimate precepts ... of the Apostolic See” (can. 1371) AND after a warning, the “just penalty” (can. 1371) could even be more severe (can. 1326).
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In clear words: The Pope can, may, and must order the bishops to join in the consecration, and threaten them with a just penalty, e.g. suspension from their office for the case of non-compliance. Only in this case would the request of Our Lady be fulfilled: Sister Lucy mentioned that “many bishops attached no importance to this act” (See The Fatima Crusader Issue 64, p.34). They WILL attach importance to this act, if threatened with losing their position, job, honors, incomes, and comforts, if they are not interested in the fate of their souls. Only in this case ALL bishops would have joined in the consecration as the ones who did not cease to be bishops. (This is another indication that — probably — only local ordinaries are meant by the words of Our Lady, because their office can be taken away, never their consecration).
The Pope has to command, order, and request every single bishop in union with him to publicly and solemnly consecrate Russia (and only Russia) by name to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in his own respective cathedral, on the same established day and at the same established hour, and to do this consecration under threat of immediate and automatic (Latae Sententiae) suspension for the case of a defective execution of this command, order, and request.
When I consider that Father Gruner has been threatened with excommunication for preaching Our Lady’s Message and for pursuing his canonically granted rights, I believe the above-mentioned penalty of suspension to be too lenient, it might serve the practical purpose, however.
The answer is definitely in the negative. Among the hundreds of quotations that answer this question in past issues of The Fatima Crusader, it will be sufficient to remember three:
Father Gruner says:
“The Pope has consecrated the world several times; he did it on June 7, 1981. Then he did it again with much more ceremony ... before a million people on May 13, 1982. And again on March 25, 1984. He consecrated the world all these times, but he has never consecrated Russia in the manner requested by Our Lady of Fatima.” (See The Fatima Crusader Issue 64, p.26).
In the same interview, Father Gruner said:
“... after consecrating the world on March 25, 1984, Pope John Paul II acknowledged before about 250,000 people in St. Peter’s Square that he had not done what Our Lady of Fatima requested. He said: ‘Enlighten especially the peoples of which You Yourself are awaiting our consecration and confiding.’ He said that after he did the consecration of the world. So he knows he hasn’t done what Our Lady of Fatima asked for. (See The Fatima Crusader Issue 64, p.25.)
Father Paul Kramer quotes Sister Lucy and says:
“Here is what Sister Lucy actually stated after the March 25, 1984, consecration of the world. On July 20, 1987, Sister Lucy stated to Enrique Romero in a subsequently published interview that the consecration of Russia requested by Our Lady of Fatima is not yet done. In an interview which appeared in the September 1985 issue of Sol de Fatima, Sister Lucy was asked if the Pope fulfilled the request made by Our Lady at Tuy when he consecrated the world on March 25, 1984. Sister Lucy answered: ‘There was no participation of all the bishops, and there was no mention of Russia.’ The interviewer then asked, ‘So the consecration was not done as requested by Our Lady?’ Sister Lucy answered: ‘No. Many bishops attached no importance to this act.’” (See The Fatima Crusader Issue 64, p.34).
This answers the question sufficiently and — alas — in the negative.
The question has actually arisen if it would be heresy to say that the minor changes that have occurred since 1989 are to be seen as a victory by Our Lady. I answer: It is not heresy; it is merely baloney, nonsense, rubbish, or whatever name you might prefer. Theologically, it cannot be heresy as it is not a matter of faith.
Politically and historically, it is plainly absurd. Philosophically, it is nonsense and common sense will condemn this error as foolish. It is too obvious that all the promises for the eventual consecration have not come true yet. Father Paul Kramer has written 12 articles on this topic (See The Fatima Crusader Issue 64, p.34) and there is no need for further repetition.
There are several possibilities:
Today is the feast of the Archangel Michael and I do not know what will happen October 8, but I have a strong conviction: Do not chide me for having become slightly pessimistic in the light of the last decades in the history of the Church: I firmly believe that the requests of Our Lady at Fatima will NOT be heeded on October 8. I pray that I will have been proven wrong by the time you read this article and would gladly celebrate a public TE DEUM in this case, but I do not believe it for one minute.
Facts will enlighten us, but what are we to do if I was right?
Our Lady indicates the correct way:
First and foremost(!), we should not even discuss Fatima if — through negligence — we have not yet done the Five First Saturdays of Reparation.
Second, we might as well do the Five First Saturdays a second (or one more) time — (a) to please Our Lady, (b) for safety’s sake.
Third, we should make other people do the Five First Saturdays and help them especially with the most difficult item: finding a truly Catholic priest for Confession and Mass (and/or Communion).
Fourth, we should make our daily Offering to the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart with the intention of Reparation.
Fifth, we should stay very faithful to the Holy Rosary, which is the most important form of prayer, second to Holy Mass only.
Sixth, we should preach this devotion in a Catholic manner: firm but never intrusive.
Seventh, we should willingly and actively support those who preach and set forth Our Lady’s Message. There is little more that we can do, but the more people will do it, the closer we get to the triumph of the Immaculate Heart Who will remember all Her helpers on the Day of Reckoning.
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