The Fatima Network
“There is need for prayer, and much prayer.”
...St. Alphonsus before the Conclave of 1774

March 2, 2013
Our Lady's First Saturday

Dear Father,

The attached letter that we sent to all the Cardinal electors is self-explanatory. It shows the circumstances we are in right now. And please encourage the pastors and faithful in your care to pray and sacrifice for the intention that our Cardinals choose wisely, our new Holy Father.

    “Prayer, which can provide a remedy for so many present ills, will move the Lord to put His hand to the problem and remedy the situation.”

for God to send to His Church a truly holy Pope, who will serve with great light and courage. St. Alphonsus wrote, offer fervent prayers and sacrifices nowIt is critical that all bishops throughout the world, such as yourself, activate the priests, religious, and faithful in their charge to

He tells us, in his letter to an unnamed bishop of that time, that there could be a less-than-qualified, less-than-zealous Pope elected. God does not automatically put the “right” man on the throne of Peter, who will serve the Church fervently and in accordance with its proper course. That is a tremendous grace which the whole Church must seek from His Mercy!

What would St. Alphonsus say about our situation today?

Seeing what he described as a dangerous state of relaxation and confusion in religious life, of faltering zeal for souls among Church pastors, and a deteriorating sense of obedience among religious, the Saint could easily foresee that unless a general movement of prayer and penance were initiated, God might well punish the Church with the sort of a Pope whom they deserved!

To St. Alphonsus, however, the conclave of that year (which led to the election of Pope Pius VI in 1775) was a matter of grave concern. He knew better than most that there is no divine guarantee that the outcome of the election would be for the good of the Church.

In 1774, the Catholic world looked expectantly toward Rome for a new Pope, just as we do today. To many, then as now, the process of papal elections was a matter of interest and novelty — a curious occasion, attracting widespread attention, but not an occasion of concern and prayer.

 Father Nicholas Gruner
Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary,

Very respectfully yours in the