Cause for Hope, Cause for Fear
We are at the beginning of a new papacy. The media savants and veteran Vaticanistas are squeezing every column inch they can out of the novel and uncertain situation that having a Jesuit Pope from Argentina presents. But what Pope Francis might think about economic or political questions is secondary to his main job: Preserving and propagating the Catholic Faith as it has always been defined and taught.
And we know, for She has told us, only Our Lady can set things right in the Church and the world at this time in our history, no matter who is Pope or Secretary of State. In other words, the Pope can only do his job if he first obeys Our Lady of Fatima. This obedience involves the Pope consecrating Russia to Her Immaculate Heart in conjunction with all the bishops. It’s that simple, that inescapable, that urgent!
We have reason to hope that Pope Francis will be the Pope who will at long last obey Our Lady. For one thing, the Holy Father prays 15 decades of the Rosary every day (see: “Pope John Paul’s example inspired Pope Francis to pray Rosary daily”). Anyone with this sort of devotion is guaranteed divine assistance in whatever difficulties in life he faces, even if he is the Pope (perhaps especially if he is the Pope!).
For another thing, Pope Francis chose to go to St. Mary Major as his first act on the first full day of his papacy and to place before the Icon of Our Lady a bouquet of flowers. He then spent a full 30 minutes in silent prayer in front of Our Lady’s image, which impressed even the secular media (see: “Pope Francis starts first full day as pontiff with prayer”).
Perhaps the most encouraging thing about Pope Francis is that when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he received the regular letters Our Lady’s Apostolate sends to all the bishops with great kindness. He twice responded to us, encouraging our work and telling us that two churches in his archdiocese are named in honor of Our Lady of Fatima (see video on papal election at: archive.fatima.org).
And the Pope clearly believes that satan is at war with the Church. (See: The Moynihan Letters: “Letter #61: ‘Prepare well’”.) The fact that this is notable shows how careful recent Popes have been to express the doctrines of hell and the devil in muted and roundabout ways. Pope Francis states without equivocation that we are being targeted by the Father of Lies. This plain speaking heartens those loyal to Catholic tradition and embarrasses those who want a “modern” Pope who will tailor his vocabulary to what is considered reasonable by the secular media, for whom satan is superstition.
As Sister Lucy of Fatima has told us that satan is “in the mood for a final battle” with Our Lady, and that the Consecration of Russia will turn the tide of this battle, it is indispensable that we have a Pope who sees satan as the enemy in no uncertain terms.
And there are clear indications that the Orthodox patriarchs, including the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church, are favorably disposed to the new Holy Father and that there may be genuine hope that the millennial rupture of Christendom may be healed at long last. For the first time in history, an Orthodox patriarch attended the papal inauguration (see: “Orthodox patriarch to attend Pope Francis’ investiture”).
There is even speculation that the Pope may travel to Moscow. Such an occurrence has never before been treated as a practical possibility, despite the often expressed hopes of Pope John Paul II (see: “Will Francis go to Moscow? Russian Orthodox size up new pope”).
The Church’s relations with the Orthodox is important on several levels. It has often been cited as a stumbling block to the Consecration of Russia. (See: “Fatima’s Unfinished Business”.) But this impediment to the consecration has been greatly exaggerated, especially by those who would place the wisdom of men and human respect before obedience to Heaven. If the rift between Rome and the Orthodox Church were healed, this excuse could no longer be used. In fact, the Russian patriarchs could even add their voices to the act of consecration, as Marian devotion is very strong in Russia and placing that nation under Her protection could not possibly offend Russian believers.
So, we have many reasons to hope that Pope Francis will do what his predecessors have failed to do. We don’t need a consecration of the world: we need a consecration of Russia, as Our Lady requested. When this happens, the Pope will have the divine assistance he needs to sort out the many problems facing the Church. And peace will be granted to the world.
But we cannot indulge in a false optimism. We must continue to work and pray so that the Holy Father will have the grace and courage to do the only thing that can help him — and us. There are forces at work around Pope Francis that are at variance with his Marian devotion and the wisdom that comes with it.
Pope Francis is very much imbued with the spirit of Vatican II. And unlike Pope Benedict, he appears less concerned with continuity with the past and more intent on moving ahead with what he still regards as the Council’s ongoing agenda. So there is cause for concern (see: “Could the Criticism Have Merit?”).
But we must remember that the grace of office has significantly changed the mindset and policies of popes in the past, with Pope Pius IX being a good illustration: liberal at the beginning, he quickly became a staunch defender of tradition. The best and most useful thing we can do at the moment is to pray for the Pope, as Our Lady told us to do. And petition him to do the consecration that is his — and our — only hope.
We must work and pray ever more fervently that the Holy Father and the bishops will heed the requests of Our Lady of Fatima. (See: Petition to Our Holy Father — The Consecration of Russia and Petition to Our Holy Father — The Release of the full Third Secret.)
We must also keep informed. Read the recent “Fatima Perspectives” and “Fatima News & Views” articles listed below.
Latest Fatima Perspectives
Mar. 20: FROM THE ROMAN CONCLAVE Art. No. 7 — The Return of Christ the King? — During the rite for the inauguration of the pontificate of Pope Francis, which preceded the papal Mass, the schola intoned repeatedly: Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat — Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ commands. And, at the conclusion of the rite, the schola intoned: “May the peace of Christ come!” to which the assembly replied: “May the reign of Christ come!” Christ is, in fact, our King. The papal inauguration rite proclaimed this as well: “King of Kings. Our King.”
Mar. 19: FROM THE PAPAL CONCLAVE Art. No. 6 — Some Wise Words from Father Gruner — Certain pundits and commentators of the Internet are already publicly renting their cyber garments and pronouncing the new Pope anathema: his humility is really pride, he hates the traditional Latin Mass, his former archdiocese is a disaster area, etc. Father Gruner is a prudent man, as anyone who knows him (versus the caricature produced by his critics) can attest. When asked what he thinks of the new Pope, his reply was characteristically prudent: “You can criticize anybody for anything. For example, if someone works hard he must be overly ambitious. Or if he dresses plainly he is just trying to impress people with his frugality. Or if he shows loyalty he is only trying to curry favor with a higher-up. That kind of guessing game about motives never ends. And what does it get us besides a justified accusation of rash judgment?”
Mar. 18: FROM THE PAPAL CONCLAVE Art. No. 5 — Speaking Truth to Power — The great triumph of the modern nation-state has been its practical subjugation of the Catholic Church via a regime of “religious liberty” that allows the Church a certain private “space” in which to operate, provided the Church agrees that the civil power shall reign supreme and unchallenged by any spiritual authority. The new Pope recognizes that this is the devil’s bargain and he has refused to abide by it.
Mar. 14: FROM THE PAPAL CONCLAVE Art. No. 4 — Pope Francis: The Marian Dimension — “Tomorrow I’m going to go pray to the Virgin Mary. Good night, thank you and have a good rest.” With those words, Pope Francis, the first Pope so named, and the first Jesuit Pope, ended his appearance on the loggia of Saint Peter's Basilica last night. True to his word, early the following morning the new Pope visited the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, the world’s oldest church (c. 431 A.D.) dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. There he prayed and left a bouquet of flowers before the famous icon of Mary under the title Salus Populi Romani, which, loosely translated, means Protectress of the Roman People.
Mar. 12: FROM THE PAPAL CONCLAVE Art. No. 3 — Two Popes? — As this column appeared, the first day of the papal conclave, it seemed the issue of Pope Benedict’s decision to retain his title, adding “emeritus,” continued to elicit concern about canonical confusion. Writing in La Stampa in February, Andrea Tornielli addressed the same problem, quoting Civiltà Cattolica, the Catholic intellectual journal whose content is vetted by the Vatican Secretariat of State. The article in Civiltà, by the eminent canonist Gianfranco Ghirlanda, concluded that the appropriate title for Benedict, if not simply Bishop of Rome emeritus, would be “former Pope.”
Mar. 11: FROM THE PAPAL CONCLAVE Art. No. 2 — On Twittering Cardinals — When Cardinal Roger Mahony arrived at the Vatican to take part in the papal conclave, and before the General Congregations of the College of Cardinals began, he was required to place his hand on a Bible and swear an oath to observe “rigorous secrecy with regard to all matters in any way related to the election of the Roman Pontiff.” There is no wiggle room here. However, Mahony promptly violated the oath by sending a “tweet” to his Twitter following regarding the progress of the General Congregations being conducted in secret.
Mar. 9: FROM THE PAPAL CONCLAVE Art. No. 1 — On Transparent Cardinals — One significant development in the run-up to the conclave has been the silencing of the American cardinals, who seemed to think that part of their mission to participate in the papal election was to stage press conferences about it.
Mar. 6: Russia Gears Up for Nuclear War — Bill Gertz at Washington Free Beacon reported that “Russian nuclear forces conducted a major exercise last month [February 2013] that tested the transport of both strategic and tactical nuclear weapons near Europe, according to United States officials.” Note well: near Europe. Including Italy, where it would appear (from that portion of the Third Secret published in 2000) that a future Pope escapes a devastated city filled with the dead only to be killed himself in what could well be a post-nuclear war scenario. Gertz’s report notes: “The exercise raised concerns inside the Pentagon and with the U.S. European Command because it was the largest exercise of its kind in 20 years and involved heightened alert status of Russian nuclear forces.”
Mar. 4: Is Benedict the “Bishop Dressed in White”? — The text of the enigmatic vision that the Vatican published in June 2000, presented as the Third Secret of Fatima in its entirety, contains these enigmatic passages in the handwriting of Sister Lucia: “a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’ .... before reaching there [the top of a steep mountain] the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him.” Who exactly is the “Bishop dressed in White”? Sister Lucia states merely that she and the other seers had the impression it was the Holy Father. The seers’ lack of certainty in this regard indicates ambiguity regarding the office of this bishop, an ambiguity the Virgin could not have failed to clarify, given the absolute urgency of the Secret.
Mar. 1: A Quasi-Pope? — In his last audience address on February 27, Pope Benedict XVI introduced some ambiguity into the matter concerning the See of Peter being vacant and the Church being without a Pope, as did his entire decision to resign while retaining his papal garb — the white cassock — his papal name, Benedict XVI, and even the title His Holiness. He spoke of his “decision to forgo the exercise of active ministry”. What is one to make of this affirmation? This statement is curious. Will the new title of “Pope Emeritus” have some sort of passive ministry, and will it be, passively, some sort of papal ministry?
Feb. 28: Why Do They Care? — As the movers and shakers of the “modern world” would have us believe, “contemporary man” has advanced far beyond what was once called Christendom. In this new age of man, they boast, the Catholic Church is an outmoded institution, no longer relevant to the concerns of an enlightened society. The Church has had her day, they assure us. The Western world has moved on forever from its Catholic past. The Empire of Liberty has superseded the Empire of Christ. And yet, how is it that in the Empire of Liberty the “resignation” of Pope Benedict XVI was instantaneously and universally headline news, displacing all other events in the attention of the mass media?
Feb. 27: Cardinal Zen Blasts Vatican Appeasement of Beijing Regime — In the wake of Pope Benedict’s stunning abdication, the retired Cardinal of Hong Kong, Joseph Zen, has at last said openly what he had only hinted at before: that the Catholic Church in China has been enslaved because of the Vatican’s policy of appeasing the communist regime in Beijing — an extension of the policy of Ostpolitik, masterminded by the Vatican Secretary of State, which silenced the Second Vatican Council in the face of Soviet Communism.
Feb. 26: The Papal Resignation: Blessing or Catastrophe? — With the Church still reeling in its immediate aftermath, what are we to make of Pope Benedict XVI’s almost unprecedented “retirement” from the Petrine office? I say almost unprecedented because there is one clearly pertinent precedent: Pope St. Celestine V, the canonized pope whose tomb and relics Pope Benedict tellingly visited in 2009-2010, leaving his pallium at the tomb in April 2009, as if to signal what he has now done.
Latest Fatima News & Views
Mar. 13: Pope Francis: Cardinal Bergoglio Becomes First Latin American Pontiff — Argentina’s Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope on the final ballot today, becoming the Church’s first Latin American pontiff after a conclave to elect a leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. The final vote took place on the second day of the Conclave.
Mar. 11: Interviews, Buzz and Media Men — There are so many journalists now in Rome for the Conclave that we witness journalists interviewing other journalists. This morning I did a three-minute spot for Father Gruner’s Fatima TV that will be broadcast on their Italian TV station. Chris Ferrara also did his own three-minute segment. This took place outdoors on the rim of Saint Peter’s Square.
Mar. 9: Vatican Press Conference: March 9, 2013 — The Vatican Press office held a press briefing on Saturday, March 9 at 1:00 p.m. There are two press offices now in operation: the main Vatican office for full-time Vatican journalists, and an adjacent press office set up in the Paul VI auditorium. Those of us in the Paul VI press office receive a televised transmission of the press conference as it happens.
Mar. 8: Keeping Secrets — These days, the Third Secret of Fatima is not the only secret being kept behind the walls of Vatican City. On March 4, 2013, the news agency Reuters reported that the VatiLeaks dossier (the documented outcome of a recent investigation by three Cardinals into the VatiLeaks scandal) will be made available only to the next Pope, a decision that the now Emeritus Benedict XVI had reached prior to his abdication.
Mar. 7: Another Prophecy Fulfilled Indicates the Approach of Zero Hour — Buried under all of the political intrigue, as well as under the rampant speculation of who will become the next Pope, is the reality that a significant prophecy is now being fulfilled. In the year 1973, on the conspicuous date of October 13 (the anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima), the Blessed Virgin Mary told Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa, in the often cited Church-approved apparitions of Our Lady of Akita (Japan), “The work of the devil will infiltrate even the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops.”
Feb. 26: Cardinal Zen: Vatican Must Accept Responsibility for Confusion and Disunity of Chinese Catholics — Retired Bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen, blames the Vatican’s policy of “appeasement and compromise” toward the Communist Party of China for the confused plight of Chinese mainland Catholics, who are divided between the true underground Church and the veritably schismatic official Church, whose bishops are mere “slaves” of the Party.
Feb. 25: Do Recent Natural Events Mean Anything? — Our times considerably influenced and shaped by Naturalism, a philosophy which maintains that all phenomena can only be accounted for naturally — that is, to the exclusion of a divine purpose and origin — events such as that of the 2012 DA14 asteroid, which zoomed past the earth on February 15, 2013 at an eyebrow-raising 17,200 miles above the planet’s surface; the meteorite that exploded over Russia earlier that same day; the fireballs reported and confirmed to have been seen in the skies over California, Florida and Cuba; the lightning bolt that struck the very top of St. Peter’s Basilica on February 11, 2013; and the 4.9 magnitude earthquake of February 16, 2013, which struck the Lazio region of Italy have no real significance besides that which is of interest to the scientific community.
Feb. 18: The “Original Sin” of Vatican II — Italian journalist Sandro Magister published a February 9 article on his Chiesa website that attracted much attention. The article, entitled “The Impossible ‘Road Map’ of Peace with the Lefebvrists”, spotlighted a recently-released book by Professor Enrico Radaelli; a “philosopher, theologian, and believed disciple of one of the greatest traditional Catholic thinkers of the twentieth century, the Swiss Romano Amerio (1905-1997)”. In his book, Radaelli’s critique of Vatican II echoes the prophetic warning given by Archbishop Lefebvre prior to the Council’s opening.
Feb. 15: Physician, Heal Thyself: A Suffering Pope Abdicates — Andrea Tornielli, the well-known Vatican journalist who spoke at our “Consecration Now!” conference in 2011, wrote an article on February 12 for La Stampa about Pope Benedict’s resignation, entitled “The meaning of the Pope’s gesture.” The article begins with Tornielli addressing Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz’s startling comment from this past Monday, that Pope John Paul II did not step down from the papacy because “he [John Paul II] was convinced that one doesn’t come down from the cross.”
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