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While claiming to be obedient to the Law, the Pharisees of old emptied the Law of its true meaning and replaced it with a corrupted human interpretation. Today, Fr. Robert J. Fox and his fellow apologists for the “new” religion of “ecumenism” and “inter-religious dialogue” are doing much the same with the Message of Fatima.
“They are blind, and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the pit.”
It has been more than twenty years since the consecration of the world, but not Russia, by the Pope and some bishops on March 25, 1984. Since that ceremony took place there has been no sign of the conversion of Russia, the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the period of world peace Our Lady promised if the Consecration of Russia were carried out according to Her request at Fatima.
Quite the contrary, over the past twenty years the spiritual and moral condition of Russia has only deteriorated. The Catholic Church now suffers overt persecution by the Putin regime, whose neo-Stalinist authoritarianism has drawn protests from the Vatican, world leaders and human rights organizations. Wars rage around the globe, and the holocaust of abortion continues unabated. The situation is so grave that on the 20th anniversary of the 1984 ceremony Pope John Paul II himself lamented: “Twenty years later, the world is still marred by hatred, violence, terrorism and war. … So much blood continues to be shed in many regions around the world. … The wait for justice and peace becomes longer and longer in every part of the world.”1
Clearly, the 1984 ceremony has not produced the benefits promised by the Virgin at Fatima. Since the Virgin could never make a false promise, there is only one possible explanation for the state of affairs in which we find ourselves: a consecration of the world is simply not what Our Lady requested. As Sister Lucy herself stated in response to the question (by Father Umberto Maria Pasquale) whether Our Lady had ever mentioned consecrating the world as opposed to Russia: “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].”2
Since 1984 Father Nicholas Gruner has consistently maintained, in keeping with Sister Lucy’s own testimony, that a consecration of the world could not fulfill Our Lady’s request —— a conclusion that should be perfectly obvious to any reasonable observer, given the condition of Russia, the world and the Church today. As the evidence mounts that Father Gruner is right, various apologists for the untenable claim that a consecration of the world is just as good as a consecration of Russia have stepped up their attacks on Father Gruner and his Fatima apostolate.
Chief among these attackers is Fr. Robert J. Fox, who dutifully defends the party line3 promoted by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State, and other members of Vatican bureaucracy: that the 1984 ceremony is an adequate substitute for Our Lady’s request and that no one must seek any longer the consecration of Russia. The more the folly of Fr. Fox’s position is revealed, and the greater the pressure on him to admit that the 1984 ceremony clearly hasn’t worked, the nastier his attacks on Father Gruner become.
In the April-June 2004 issue of his magazine Immaculate Heart Messenger, Fr. Fox, citing the many letters he has received objecting to his position on Fatima, devoted two articles and six pages to an assault on Father Gruner’s good name. As always, Fr. Fox avoided the merits of Father Gruner’s eminently reasonable claim — that a consecration of Russia requires mention of Russia — and engaged in pure character assassination.
|Bishop Stanislaw Dziwisz (right) personally receiving a document from Joseph Cain, demonstrating that Father Gruner has done nothing wrong in his Apostolic work of promoting Our Lady of Fatima.|
“Father Gruner — A Suspended Catholic Priest”, screams the headline of one of the stories. Here we go again. As Father Gruner and various writers and published documents have demonstrated abundantly, he is not “suspended”, but rather is the victim of a canonical ruse engineered by the Vatican Secretary of State. Determined to suppress Father Gruner’s legitimate views on the Message of Fatima, the Secretary of State pressured Father Gruner’s original bishop to order him to return to Avellino, Italy (where he was ordained in 1976) unless he found a new bishop to incardinate him. At the same time the Secretary of State applied various forms of coercion to prevent a series of benevolent bishops from following through on their offers of incardination to Father Gruner. Having prevented Father Gruner from being incardinated elsewhere, the Secretary of State then directed the Bishop of Avellino to threaten Father Gruner with “suspension” for “disobedience” — in “failing” to be incardinated! In short, Father Gruner was punished for “failing” to do that which Vatican bureaucrats had prevented him from doing.
Yet despite all this illicit maneuvering, the Archbishop of Hyderabad proceeded to incardinate Father Gruner, noting in his decree of incardination that “evil forces have conspired to destroy your work of love," and that "bureaucratic forces cannot stifle God’s work.” One can only admire the courage of this prelate.
For those who might require more information, the whole story is laid out in detail in such articles as “Actually, Virginia, Father Gruner Is Not Suspended.”4 Suffice it to say that it is impossible to “suspend” a priest who has not violated any Church law or legitimate command,5 and that neither Fr. Fox nor anyone else has ever demonstrated such a violation — because, in fact, Father Gruner has done nothing wrong. The “suspension” of Father Gruner is a canonical fiction, based upon a non-existent offense concocted by the Vatican Secretary of State.
This much is clearly recognized by no less than the Pope’s personal secretary for the past forty years, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz. In 1996 Archbishop Dziwisz, in a moment captured by a photographer for L’Osservatore Romano, was personally handed a copy of a canonical recourse to the Pope, detailing some of the Secretary of State’s machinations against Father Gruner.6 (See photo above) Since then, Archbishop Dziwisz has three times sent Father Gruner personal notes of encouragement for his work. (See copies photographically reproduced below) Most recently, on January 12, 2004, the Pope’s secretary acknowledged Father Gruner’s Christmas greeting by conveying “prayerful good wishes and blessing for the New Year to you and the faithful entrusted to your care at Fatima Center.” Now the Pope’s secretary receives many thousands of Christmas greetings at the Vatican, yet he responded to Father Gruner’s greeting with a personal note, addressed to “Father Nicholas Gruner,” referring to and encouraging his work at Fatima Center. The Pope’s secretary, who is well aware of Father Gruner’s situation, would hardly send a series of such notes to a “suspended priest”.
|In response to the lies of Fr. Fox, we photographically reproduce here, three letters recently received by Father Gruner from Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, Pope John Paul II’s personal secretary of 40 years. As can be read here, these letters of recent date are warm and supportive of Father Gruner’s Fatima Apostolate and include a personal greeting from His Holiness.|
But even if we assume for the sake of argument that Father Gruner were “suspended”, what would that have to do with whether the Consecration of Russia has been accomplished? Nothing, of course. As Fr. Fox well knows, he is engaging in an illegitimate argumentum ad hominem, attacking the man rather than addressing the merits of the man’s arguments. That is a very old and very cheap debating trick.
So let us hear no more from Fr. Fox concerning Father Gruner’s bogus “suspension”. It is time for Fr. Fox to address the merits of this controversy in a manly manner, instead of kicking Father Gruner in the shins and running away.
But the shin-kicking continues with Fr. Fox’s arch observation that “It would be interesting to see how many millions of dollars Father Gruner has collected over the years …” What does the amount of donations to Father Gruner’s apostolate have to do with whether Russia has been consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary? Nothing, of course. At any rate, Father Gruner has not “collected” one penny. The donations in question are made to the non-profit organization of which Father Gruner is president, and the amount of those donations is a matter of public record.
It must be said that Fr. Fox’s question about millions of dollars in donations can fairly be turned against him: How many millions has Fr. Fox raised to promote the delusion that a consecration of the world is just the same as a consecration of Russia? How much money has he spent trying to persuade Catholics that the current state of Russia, the world and the Church represents the fulfillment of Our Lady’s promises at Fatima? How much more money will Fr. Fox squander in his misguided effort to delay fulfillment of Our Lady’s request by perpetrating the lie that Her request has already been honored? Why should any Catholic give money to a “Fatima apostolate” that works against the Message of Fatima?
Now let us address the merits Fr. Fox tries so hard to avoid. If words have meaning, then the words of Our Lady of Fatima do not correspond to the position taken by Fr. Fox and certain elements of the Vatican bureaucracy. Here it would be well to recall just how clear and simple were Our Lady’s requests at Fatima.
In Her apparition of July 13, 1917, the Blessed Virgin showed the three children a vision of hell, filled with sinners who had been condemned to eternal torment. Then She told the children: “You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart.”
Our Lady next warned the three seers of temporal punishments of the worst kind if people did not stop offending God. God would punish the world “by means of war, hunger and persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father,” using Russia as His “chosen instrument of chastisement.” She told the children that “to prevent this, I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart.”
Our Lady then promised that “If people attend to My requests, Russia will be converted and the world will have peace.” She warned, however, that if Her requests were not granted, “Russia will spread its errors throughout the world, raising up wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer and various nations will be annihilated.”
Finally, Our Lady promised that the Consecration of Russia, no matter how long delayed, was inevitable because God had ordained it as the means for bringing peace to the world in this epoch of salvation history: “In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”
True to Her word, Our Lady did come to ask for the Consecration of Russia. On June 13, 1929 at Tuy, Spain, Our Lady appeared again to Sister Lucy during a great and sublime vision representing the Blessed Trinity. She told Sister Lucy that “The moment has come for God to ask the Holy Father to make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means.”7
So, the Message of Fatima concerns the Collegial Consecration of Russia by the Pope and the bishops and the consequent conversion of Russia in order to establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart, save souls from hell, and obtain a period of peace for mankind. Russia, and only Russia, is in view here — not the world, but Russia.
Sister Lucy has explained that the object of the Collegial Consecration must be Russia, specifically and distinctly, because when that particular nation is converted following a ceremony consecrating only that nation to Mary, it will be obvious to everyone that Heaven has deigned to produce this miracle in honor of the Immaculate Heart. As Sister Lucy revealed to her confessor on May 18, 1936: “Recently, I asked Our Lord why He would not convert Russia without the Pope making that consecration.” Our Lord deigned to answer her, as Sister Lucy recorded in her letter: “Because I want My whole Church to acknowledge that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary so that it may extend its cult later on and put the devotion to this Immaculate Heart beside the devotion to My Sacred Heart.”8
What is there about the Virgin’s request that is difficult to understand? Nothing at all. Even a child can understand it, which is why it was delivered to three simple children who could not even read. For as Our Lord Himself said (with the contemptibly sophisticated Pharisees in view): “Suffer; Let the little children come to me, and forbid them not to come to me: for do not hinder them, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven is for such! Verily I say unto God. Amen I say to you, Whosoever shall does not receive, accept, the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.” (Matt. 19:14; Mk. 10:15)
Today we stand 87 years removed from the apparition of July 13, 1917, and still the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary — an exceedingly simple act has yet to be carried out. Instead, on March 25, 1984, Pope John Paul II consecrated the world, deliberately omitting any reference to Russia.
Why? There is no need to speculate concerning the answer: In the November 2000 issue of Inside the Vatican, a leading Cardinal, identified only as “one of the Pope’s closest advisors” (it was, in fact, Cardinal Tomko) expressly admitted that today “Rome fears the Russian Orthodox might regard it as an ‘offense’ if Rome were to make specific mention of Russia in such a prayer, as if Russia especially is in need of help when the whole world, including the post-Christian West, faces profound problems …” The same Cardinal-advisor added: “Let us beware of becoming too literal-minded.”
In other words, the Heavenly Message understood and accepted by three little children with the faith of children, has been subjected to an attempt at human revision by certain adults in the Vatican apparatus. These worldly-wise practitioners of “ecumenical dialogue” balk at publicly consecrating Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary because the Russian Orthodox might regard it as an "offense". They wish to avoid giving the impression that “Russia especially is in need of help,” when God Himself has decreed through His Blessed Mother that special help is precisely what Russia needs.
The Pope’s advisors, however, seem to think that God sent His Mother to earth to ask for a gratuitous insult to the Russian Orthodox. And so, instead of a Collegial Consecration of Russia, these papal advisors gave us a ceremony from which any mention of Russia was deliberately omitted so that no one would think Russia was being consecrated. This, Fr. Fox asks us to believe, is what Our Lady requested at Fatima.
As Father Gruner and various writers and published documents have demonstrated abundantly, he is not “suspended”, but rather is the victim of a canonical ruse engineered by the Vatican Secretary of State.
The failure to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for fear of offending the schismatic Russian Orthodox is only part and parcel of the disastrous liberalization of the human element of the Church that followed in the wake of the vaunted “opening to the world” at Vatican II. The Consecration has been impeded by the novelties of “ecumenism” and “dialogue” which suddenly appeared in the Church during and after the Council. Too late did Paul VI recognize that “the opening to the world has become a veritable invasion of the Church by worldly thinking.” And when all is said and done, it is worldly thinking — or, to be more precise, neo-modernist thinking — that has prevented the consecration of Russia since the Council’s close.
What is meant by the term neo-modernist? A neo-modernist is simply a new modernist, a modernist of the present-day, whose way of thinking has descended from the original modernists of the early 20th Century. A modernist is one who practices the subtle art of undermining the Catholic faith, not through blatant heresies that are easily identified, but rather ambiguities, studied omissions of truth, and “modern ways of speaking.” By these means, today’s neo-modernist seeks to change the traditional meaning of Catholic terminology so that, in the end, the Faith is totally destroyed, just as a house is totally destroyed by the activity of termites, even though it still has the outward appearance of solidity.
Father Joaquin Maria Alonso, C.M.F., world renowned theologian and Mariologist, attended the Second Vatican Council as an advisor to bishops. He understood the danger to the Church from Modernist “theologians”. In 1966, Bishop John Venancio, the second Bishop of Fatima, appointed Father Alonso to research and publish a complete scholarly history of the revelations of Fatima in order to refute the attacks of the Modernists against Fatima.
He spent the next ten years studying the Fatima archives. In 1976, his monumental work, consisting of 24 volumes of approximately 800 pages each and including at least 5,396 original documents, was ready for publication. But under the regime of the next bishop, Bishop do Amaral, they were not allowed to be printed. Father Alonso was never to see the publication of his scholarly work. He died December 12, 1981 and it wasn't until the 1990's that only two very heavily edited volumes were released. The 22 remaining volumes have never been released from 1976 to this day.
Father Alonso explained in the prestigious Theological Journal, Ephemerides Mariologicae, that the consecration required by Our Lady of Fatima is specifically that of Russia, and that the consecration of the world will not fulfill this most urgent and important request of Our Lady. He also stated that it must be a strictly collegial act, that is, to be done by all the Catholic bishops, and that a moral union of the Catholic bishops would not suffice nor would subsequent ratification by them be sufficient.9
In his monumental encyclical against the original modernists, Pascendi (1907), Pope St. Pius X succinctly defined modernism — and the definition applies with equal force to today’s neo-modernists — as nothing less than “the synthesis of all heresies”. As St. Pius X declared: “Were one to attempt the task of collecting together all the errors that have been broached against the faith and to concentrate the sap and substance of them all into one, he could not better succeed than the Modernists have done.”
The basic technique of the modernist is to pay lip service to Catholic verities while undermining them completely. The false appearance of orthodoxy is what makes modernism so dangerous to the Faith. The heretics of old, such as Martin Luther, did not hesitate to proclaim their heresies openly and explicitly, thus subjecting themselves to exclusion from the commonwealth of the Church, once the Church had exposed and condemned their clear errors as heresy. The modernist, however, is a far cleverer fellow. He endeavors to remain within the Church while attempting to bring Her into line with his heretical views, passed off under the guise of seemingly Catholic terminology.
As St. Pius X warned in Pascendi, these ecclesial termites “are striving, by arts entirely new and full of subtlety, to destroy the vital energy of the Church, and, if they can, to overthrow utterly Christs kingdom itself.” Their principal technique, said St. Pius, is to appear to affirm Catholic truth at one moment, only to cast doubt upon it in the next by means of ambiguity or studied omission: “Hence in their books you find some things which might well be expressed by a Catholic, but in the next page you find other things which might have been dictated by a rationalist. When they write history they make no mention of the divinity of Christ, but when they are in the pulpit they profess it clearly; again, when they write history they pay no heed to the Fathers and the Councils, but when they catechize the people, they cite them respectfully.”
St. Pius X noted how the modernists, professing loyalty to the Magisterium, “express astonishment” at being exposed as enemies of the Faith. Nevertheless, they are “the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church. For as We have said, they put their designs for Her ruin into operation not from without but from within; hence, the danger is present almost in the very veins and heart of the Church, whose injury is the more certain, the more intimate is their knowledge of Her.”
The key, then, to the great advance of neo-modernism in the post-conciliar period is that it is being carried forward by men who inhabit the very veins and heart of the Church, and who hold themselves out as exemplars of sound orthodoxy even as they empty orthodoxy of its objective content.
A modernist, as Pope St. Pius X explains, has only one fundamental doctrine, and it is really quite a stupid and self-contradictory one — namely, that there is no absolute truth except the “dogma” that there is no absolute truth. Therefore, they do not hold any Catholic dogma as true at all times, everywhere, and in the same sense. As a result, they must attack true Catholic dogmas and undermine confidence in orthodox Catholic teachers, so as to make every Catholic a modernist like themselves. St. Pius X described with righteous contempt how these theological frauds praise each other for their novelties, while condemning defenders of orthodoxy who dare to question their “discoveries”: “Let one of them but open his mouth and the others applaud him in chorus, proclaiming that science has made another step forward; let an outsider but hint at a desire to inspect the new discovery with his own eyes, and they are on him in a body; deny it — and you are an ignoramus; embrace it and defend it — and there is no praise too warm for you.”
As St. Pius X made clear, modernists can succeed in eating away at Catholic doctrine only to the extent they are able to cloak themselves in ecclesiastical legitimacy and respectability, thus persuading the faithful that they speak the mind of the Church and ought to be followed. That is why St. Pius called for the Oath Against Modernism to be taken by every Catholic priest and theologian, and for the exposure and removal of modernists from every position of authority in the Church. After Vatican II, however, the Oath Against Modernism was abandoned by Paul VI, along with any systematic effort to eliminate modernists from positions of authority. We have seen the results of this aspect of “the opening to the world.”
Let us see how the neo-modernist insurgency, with the help of clerics like Fr. Fox, has used the cloak of legitimacy and respectability to undermine the Catholic verities of the Message of Fatima.
The supreme law of the Church is the salvation of souls.10 Our Lord founded His Church, “which He hath purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28), to save souls from eternal damnation, warning that “he who believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he who believes not shall be condemned.” (Mk. 16:16). Having announced the founding of His Church on the Rock of Peter, Our Lord further warned that if a sinner “will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican.” (Matt. 18:17).
In keeping with Our Lords divine commission to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 28:19), the Catholic Church has three times infallibly defined as Catholic dogma the teaching that outside the Church there is no salvation:
There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved. (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215.)
We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff. (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302.)
The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches 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; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church. (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1442.)
All speculation about “invincible ignorance” aside, the only known way to Heaven is baptism and actual membership in the Catholic Church. To be a member of the Church requires not only that one be baptized, but also (in those who have attained the age of reason) that one hold to the same Catholic faith of all time and submit to the same governance as all Catholics, under the Pope and the bishops in communion with him. Hence unity of faith in the one true Church is objectively necessary for salvation, because knowing and adhering to the truth is what saves us. As the Athanasian Creed explains, “Whoever wishes to be saved must, before all else, hold fast to the Catholic faith integral and inviolate.” As Our Lord Himself taught us, it is the truth that makes us free — free from bondage to the devil. (Jn. 8:32). To say otherwise is to say that the truth revealed by God in Christ does not matter, which is blasphemy.
Therefore, to break from the unity of the Faith is to set out upon the path of eternal damnation. This is why heresies against the Faith have always been condemned and punished by excommunication from the Church, for nothing less than the salvation of souls is at stake. For example, in the Bull Cantate Domino, the Council of Florence, after affirming such dogmas of the Faith as the Trinity and the true humanity and divinity of Christ, declared:
“Whoever, therefore, have adverse and contrary opinions the Church disapproves and anathematizes and declares to be foreign to the Christian body which is the Church. It, moreover, anathematizes, execrates, and condemns every heresy that suggests contrary things.”
Indeed, not only the integrity of the Church requires the defense of true doctrine and the condemnation of heresy, but also the integrity of the family and society as a whole — as we can see today from the effects of all the errors against the Faith that have multiplied since the Protestant rebellion of the 16th Century.
|… the very essence of modernism is to pay lip service to Catholic verities while undermining them completely. The false appearance of orthodoxy is what makes modernism so dangerous to the Faith.|
For all these reasons, the Virgin of Fatima’s call for the conversion of Russia was Heaven’s own affirmation of the constant teaching of the Magisterium on the necessity of the return of the dissidents to the one true Church as the only way to achieve Christian unity and secure the salvation of souls. Contrary to what Fr. Fox suggests (quoting Msgr. Guerra, rector of the Fatima Shrine), Our Lady of Fatima did not come to earth to call for “the spirit of dialogue with persons of other convictions.” Ridiculous! She came to call for a massive return to the one true Church by those (the Russian Orthodox) who are estranged from Her because of schism.
It is no coincidence that the pre-conciliar Popes restated the Church’s teaching on the return of the dissidents with great force shortly before, and shortly after, the Fatima apparitions. In his encyclical Præclara Gratulationis Publicæ, Pope Leo XIII, writing only 13 years before Our Lady appeared at Fatima, addressed himself to the Orthodox as follows:
[T]he yearning desire of Our heart bids us conceive and hope that the day is not far distant when the Eastern Churches, so illustrious in their ancient faith and glorious past, will return to the fold they have abandoned. … ‘Make the schisms of the churches cease,’ and ‘Assemble those who are dispersed, bring back those who err, and unite them to Thy Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.’ May you thus return to that one holy Faith which has been handed down both to Us and to you from time immemorial; which your forefathers preserved untainted… The true union between Christians is that which Jesus Christ, the Author of the Church, instituted and desired, and which consists in a unity of faith and a unity of government.
Only eleven years after the Fatima apparitions, Pope Pius XI, in line with all his predecessors, declared in Mortalium animos that “the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it. To the one true Church of Christ, we say, which is visible to all, and which is to remain, according to the will of its Author, exactly the same as He instituted it.”
Summing up this whole body of papal teaching only a few years before Vatican II began, the Holy Office of Pius XII warned in its 1949 instruction on the Protestant-inspired “ecumenical movement” that the Catholic party in any approved theological discussion on the subject of Christian unity was obliged to present to the non-Catholic party “the teachings of the encyclicals of the Roman Pontiffs on the return of the dissidents to the one true Church” and “the Catholic truth regarding... the only true union by the return of the dissidents to the one true Church.”
Thus, in calling for the consecration and conversion of Russia, the very Mother of God affirmed the Catholic truth on the necessity of the return of the dissidents to the one true Church. And by “conversion” Our Lady most certainly meant — as Catholics have always understood — conversion to the one true religion, which is the Catholic Faith. For it is only the Catholic Faith that preserves intact the Mass and the religious and moral truths God Himself has provided for the due worship of His divinity and reparation for sin, obedience to His Law, right living and ultimate salvation.
Hence, it would be absurd and blasphemous to suggest that by “conversion” Our Lady could have meant an embrace of the schismatic Russian Orthodox religion. The Mother of God certainly did not come to earth to confirm the Russian people in their existing schism and religious errors and heresies. The Russian Orthodox, like all Orthodox churches, reject the Catholic dogma on the necessity of submission to the Roman Pontiff, as well as the Catholic teaching on purgatory, the filioque (procession of the Holy Ghost from both the Father and the Son, not merely the Father, as the Orthodox claim), and the immorality of divorce and remarriage, which the Orthodox permit. Further, the Orthodox do not recognize the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, and thus do not proclaim or practice a devotion to Her Immaculate Heart as such. And yet it was precisely to “establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart” that Our Lady came to Fatima and called for Russias conversion.
Therefore, the return of the dissidents, beginning with the conversion of Russia to the Catholic Faith, pertains to the very essence of the Fatima message. How else can devotion to the Immaculate Heart be established in the world, as Our Lady requested? How else is the triumph of Her Immaculate Heart to be achieved? For it is only the Catholic Church, alone among all churches, that professes and practices the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and devotion to the Immaculate Heart.
Even the Russian Orthodox Russian philosopher and theologian, Vladimir Soloviev, writing a few years before the Fatima apparitions, was able to foresee that only through the reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church with Rome could Christianity be defended against the rising forces of secularism in Russia. As Fr. Ray Ryland has noted in a discussion of Solovievs writings: “Soloviev pointed out that once the Russian Church abandoned the jurisdiction of Rome it had inevitably fallen under the control of the government. That, he said, is the fate of all purely national churches. The only way a national church — like the Russian Church — can avoid being subject to the authority of the state is to have a center of unity outside the state. That supranational center of unity can only be Rome.”11 In 1892 Soloviev reconciled with the Catholic Church. Earlier, in 1888, he had received the personal blessing of Pope Leo XIII for his efforts to bring the Russian Orthodox Church back into communion with Rome. This non-Catholic thinker was able to perceive (however imperfectly) God’s plan for this epoch, soon to be revealed to the whole world at Fatima: the dissidents of the Russian Orthodox Church must return to Rome.
One of the most alarming developments of the post-conciliar epoch is the sudden disappearance of the Church’s teaching on the necessity of the return of the dissidents. Under the influence of the two great novelties spawned by Vatican II — “ecumenism” and “dialogue” — the return of the dissidents has been replaced by the vague notion of a “convergence” between Catholics, on the one hand, and Protestants and Orthodox on the other.
But to eliminate the concept that those outside the Church are obliged to return to Her is also to eliminate the very concept of conversion to the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church, including the conversion of Russia called for by Our Lady of Fatima. Indeed, one of the highest-ranking neo-modernists in the Church today, Cardinal Walter Kasper, whom the Pope has made head of the Pontifical Council for Christian unity, has publicly declared that “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 by Vatican II.”12
Although the Council’s ambiguity might lend itself to Kaspers heretical view, in point of fact, the Council did not expressly “abandon” the doctrine of the necessity of the return of the dissidents to the One True Church, which would mean the abandonment not only of solemn, ex-cathedra, infallible and unchangeable papal definitions13 that cannot be discarded, but of the Church’s very mission to make disciples of all nations, which necessarily includes seeking the return of lost sheep to the fold. Yet even if Kasper cannot really cite the Council for an “express abandonment” of the teaching of the Roman Pontiffs on the return of the dissidents, its “abandonment” in practice by powerful and influential prelates like Kasper is certainly a direct result of the Council’s introduction of the novelties of “ecumenism” and “dialogue” into the Church — notions that have produced the false impression that one must not preach to people and make converts of them. Thus it is hardly surprising that today the Church’s traditional evangelical activity is virtually at a standstill and the missions are practically extinct.
This picture was taken at Fatima, on Sunday, October 11, 1992 at 5:30 in the afternoon in the main hall of Paul VI Center, at the end of the conference given by Fr. Fox, who is at the center of the table, and in the presence of Father Kondor, who is at the far right of the table. Frère François is at the microphone. He is denouncing the five bogus letters, including the one addressed to Fr. Fox, which Fox claims to be signed by Sister Lucy. These letters attributed to Sister Lucy which speak about the Act of Consecration of the world of March 1984, began to be circulated by Fr. Fox and Father Kondor in August, 1989. Frère François denounced these letters in their presence and said: “These letters are fake. I have already published the demonstration of it, and my demonstration has not been refuted. I am ready to justify my accusations and, if necessary, to retract them if my criticisms are refuted in a decisive manner.” The session was swiftly closed and no reply to this public accusation was given. The next day, October 12, Father Rene Laurentin expressed astonishment upon learning that Fr. Fox and Father Kondor gave no reply to Frère François.
1. L’Osservatore Romano, Italian Daily Edition, March 25, 2004, p. 1.
2. L’Osservatore Romano, Italian Daily Edition, May 12, 1982.
3. See Father Paul Kramer, ed., The Devil’s Final Battle, (The Missionary Association, Terryville, Connecticut, 2002) Ch. 8, pp. 88-89ff.
4. This article as well as A Law for One Man, Don’t Shoot the Messenger and other articles relevant to this topic are available from The Fatima Center. For free copies, see the address at the end of Part III.
5. According to the explicit law of the Catholic Church, no one can be suspended or otherwise punished without committing a seriously culpable offense. To quote Church Law explicitly, Canon 1321 - §1 reads: “No one can be punished for the commission of an external violation of a law or precept unless it is gravely imputable by reason of malice or of culpability.”
6. To read a copy of the document handed to Archbishop Dziwisz, see Fatima Priest, Second Edition, (Good Counsel Publications, Pound Ridge, New York, 1997) pp. 312-321.
7. Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, The Whole Truth About Fatima, Vol. II, The Secret and the Church, (Immaculate Heart Publications, Buffalo, New York, 1989) p. 464. See also, p. 555.
8. Sister Lucy letter, May 18, 1936, p. 415, Documentos.
9. Alonso, “Fatima et le Cœur Immacule”, Ephemerides Mariologicae, Vol. XXII, 172, pp. 431-434. See also, Alonso, “Fatima Ante la Esfinge” ed Sol de Fatima, 1979, p. 111.
10. “... keeping in mind the salvation of souls, which in the Church must always be the one supreme law.” (Can. 1752)
11. Zenit news report, November 19, 2003.
12. Adista, February 26, 2001: “La decisione del Vaticano II alla quale il papa si attiene, è assolutamente chiara: noi intendiamo l’ecumene oggi non più nel senso dell’ecumene del ritorno, secondo il quale gli altri devono ‘convertirsi’ e diventare ‘cattolici’. Questo è stato espressamente abbandonato dal Vaticano II.”
13. See p. 7 of this report for the thrice-defined dogma that outside the Church there is no salvation.