Consecration and Conversion
In the third of Her six apparitions at Fatima, on July 13, 1917, the Blessed Virgin told the three shepherd children that She would return later to ask for the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart. Our Lady emphasized the importance of this request, which was accompanied by a dire warning:
If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.
These are the words of the Mother of God, as recounted by Sr. Lucia in her memoirs about the apparitions, first published in the 1940’s.
The Request is Made
In June of 1929, Our Lady appeared to Sr. Lucia in her convent in Tuy, Spain. As promised, the Blessed Virgin requested the consecration she had mentioned 12 years earlier at Fatima. Our Lady’s words were recorded in Sr. Lucia’s memoirs:
The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the Bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means. There are so many souls whom the Justice of God condemns for sins committed against Me, that I have come to ask reparation: sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray.
Our Lord Adds a Warning
Two years later, in the summer of 1931, the urgency of the request was underlined by another visit. This time, Our Lord Himself spoke to Sr. Lucia, and gave her a warning about the consecration of Russia:
Make it known to My ministers given that they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My command, like him they will follow him into misfortune.
This was a reference to Louis XVI, who failed to consecrate France to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and was later overthrown in the French Revolution and beheaded in 1793.
Sr. Lucia Urges Action
Early in 1935, Sr. Lucia wrote to her confessor, Father Bernardo Goncalves, to answer some questions he had about the consecration of Russia: “Regarding the matter of Russia, I think it would please Our Lord very much if you worked to make the Holy Father comply with His wishes… I think that it should be exactly as Our Lord asked it …” Clearly, the consecration was a matter of some urgency to Sr. Lucia, but there was little indication of any response from the Church hierarchy.
In the spring of 1936, Our Lord told Sr. Lucia that the conversion of Russia would only occur when it was solemnly and publicly consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the Pope, together with all the world’s bishops. Our Lady came to tell Sr. Lucia that unless “that poor nation” was consecrated as requested, Russia would become the instrument of world chastisement.
A Consecration — But Not As Requested
In October of 1942, with World War II at its height, Pope Pius XII performed a consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He made no mention of Russia, nor did any of the world’s bishops participate in the ceremony. The following spring, as the war continued, Our Lord told Sr. Lucia that world peace would not result from the Pope’s consecration, but the war would be shortened.
Request Unsatisfied: Sr. Lucia
On July 15, 1946, Sr. Lucia answered some questions from Professor William T. Walsh of New York, regarding the consecration. He is author of the most popular book on Fatima. She pointed out that Our Lady did not ask for the consecration of the world, but specifically and only Russia. The Pope’s consecration in 1942 therefore failed to satisfy Our Lady’s request.
Another Inadequate Consecration
In mid-1952, with the Korean War raging, Pope Pius XII performed another consecration. In this case, he specifically mentioned Russia, but did not ask any of the world’s Catholic bishops to join him in the ceremony. Without their participation, the consecration still failed to satisfy Our Lady’s request.
A New Obstacle Arises
A decade later, in the fall of 1962, the opening of the Second Vatican Council created a new obstacle to performing the consecration. To obtain Moscow’s approval for two observers from the Russian Orthodox Church to attend, the Vatican formally agreed not to condemn Soviet Russia or communism in general at the Council. This decision launched the policy of “Ostpolitik,” under which the Vatican was constrained from opposing communism by name, or condemning communist regimes that persecuted Catholics. Instead, the Church was supposed to engage in dialogue and negotiations with these governments. This policy was a radical departure from the Church’s long-standing opposition to atheistic communism and its repressive treatment of Catholics within the Soviet bloc. For most of the next two decades, the issue of the consecration was pushed into the background, and disappeared from the Vatican’s agenda.
A Petition Ignored
In the late 70s, Cardinal Josyf Slipyj launched a public petition seeking the consecration of Russia, as requested by Our Lady of Fatima. In only three years, the petition garnered over three million signatures. This massive appeal from the faithful was delivered to the Vatican in 1980. It was ignored, and no action was taken.
Another Consecration Omits Russia
While still recovering from wounds inflicted in a failed assassination attempt, Pope John Paul II performed another consecration to the Immaculate Heart in June of 1981. However, the official wording referred to the world, without mentioning Russia specifically, and all the world’s bishops were not asked to participate. This consecration thus failed once again to satisfy Our Lady’s request, even though the Pope credited Our Lady of Fatima with saving him from the assassin’s attack.
Sr. Lucia Speaks Again
A year later, in May of 1982, the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano published an article about Sr. Lucia by Father Umberto Maria Pasquale, a Salesian priest who had known her since 1939. Fr. Pasquale reported that Sr. Lucia told him emphatically that Our Lady had never asked for the consecration of the world, but only of Russia. He also published a photographic reproduction of a handwritten note to him from Sr. Lucia confirming this point.
The Pope Makes an Admission
The day after this article appeared, Pope John Paul II visited Fatima, where he again consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. A few days later, in an article in L’Osservatore Romano, the Pope explained why he had failed to mention Russia specifically, saying he had “tried to do everything possible in the concrete circumstances.” This was widely interpreted to mean that he could not violate the terms of the Vatican’s continuing policy of appeasing Russia.
Our Lady Still “Awaiting Our Consecration”
Two years later, this evasive approach was taken again when the Holy Father once more consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in a ceremony before 250,000 people in Rome in March of 1984. But this time, the Pope made his position clearer. In a departure from his prepared text, he asked Our Lady of Fatima to “enlighten especially the peoples of which You Yourself are awaiting our consecration and confiding.” The Pope thus publicly acknowledged that the consecration requested by Our Lady had still not been performed. These words were included in an official report of the event in L’Osservatore Romano on March 26, 1984. A similar report appeared the next day in the Italian bishops’ newspaper Avvenire, describing the Pope praying in St. Peter’s several hours after the consecration ceremony, asking Our Lady to bless “those peoples for whom You Yourself are awaiting our act of consecration and entrusting.”
A Fatima Scholar Speaks
Also in 1984, Father Messias Coelho, a Fatima scholar of many years, publicly insisted that the requested consecration had still not been done. Five years later, Fr. Coelho was to reveal that Vatican officials had issued instructions to Sr. Lucia and others to contradict this statement, and claim the consecration had actually been done.
A Cardinal Agrees With Sr. Lucia
In September of 1985, in an interview in Sol de Fatima magazine (published by the Blue Army in Spain), Sr. Lucia confirmed that the consecration still had not been done, because the 1984 ceremony did not mention Russia, and the world’s Catholic bishops did not participate. Later in the year, Cardinal Edouard Gagnon acknowledged in another interview that the consecration had still not been done as requested. He later objected to having his remarks published, though he did not deny making them.
Confirmation From a Cousin
For many years, Sr. Lucia’s cousin, Maria do Fetal, publicly quoted Sr. Lucia as saying the consecration had not been done. Maria do Fetal continued to maintain this position until mid-1989, when she suddenly reversed herself, in accordance with the Vatican “instruction” revealed by Fr. Coelho.
More Confirmation from Cardinals
In a brief interview outside her convent while voting in an election in the summer of 1987, Sr. Lucia confirmed to journalist Enrico Romero that the consecration had not been done. Her view was confirmed a few months later by Cardinal Paul Augustin Mayer in an audience with a dozen Catholic leaders, among them the Catholic journalist Victor Kulanday, and again by Cardinal Alfons Stickler a month after that. Cardinal Stickler maintained that the Pope had failed to perform the ceremony as requested because he lacked the necessary support from the world’s bishops. “They do not obey him,” he explained.
Bishops Raise Voices
Since the Vatican had ignored petitions with more than three million signatures of lay persons, Fr. Nicholas Gruner, the “Fatima Priest,” turned to a much smaller but much more influential group. In 1989, he obtained written confirmation from 350 Catholic bishops of their willingness to perform the requested consecration of Russia specifically. In the same year, petitions bearing another million signatures of the faithful calling for the consecration were also delivered to Rome.
Enforcing the Party Line
In the summer of 1989 at the Hotel Solar da Marta in Fatima, Sr. Lucia’s longtime friend Fr. Coelho made a surprising disclosure. He told several witnesses that Sr. Lucia and her fellow religious had received instructions from the Vatican to say that the Fatima request had been satisfied by the consecration performed in 1984. In evident obedience, Sr. Lucia’s cousin Maria do Fetal suddenly repudiated her previous statements, and claimed the consecration had been done. This claim flatly contradicted the Pope’s own comments made in his prayers both during and after the 1984 ceremony.
Maria do Fetal now showed how unreliable she was as a witness when, in obedience to the Party Line, she claimed she “was inventing” when she reported that Sr. Lucia had said the 1984 consecration did not satisfy Our Lady’s request.
An Opportunity Missed
After another decade of inaction, the Vatican prepared once again to perform a consecration. With over 76 Cardinals and 1,400 bishops gathered in Rome for “the Jubilee of Bishops” in October of 2000, a golden opportunity to perform the ceremony as requested presented itself. Some bishops actually believed the long-awaited event would finally take place, but they were doomed to disappointment. When the text of the consecration was released the day before the ceremony, it made no mention of Russia whatsoever but contained only an “entrustment” of various groups of people, including the unemployed and “youth in search of meaning.”
A month later, Inside the Vatican magazine reported that a Cardinal said to be “one of the Pope’s closest advisors” admitted that the Holy Father had been advised not to mention Russia, for fear of offending the Russian Orthodox Church. This provided high-level confirmation that the Vatican’s “Ostpolitik” and “Ecumenism” were indeed preventing the specific consecration of Russia.
No Conversion in Sight
If the consecration was performed in 1984 as some Vatican officials claim, then the promised conversion of Russia should surely be evident by now. No such evidence has appeared. Instead, there are now two abortions for every live birth in Russia, and the Catholic Church is still hemmed in by impossible legal restrictions. Catholic bishops and priests are not even permitted to become permanent residents, and can only visit that country for three months at a time. And, over the past several years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has erected a veritable neo-Stalinist authoritarian state in Russia — silencing all major media and hobbling his major political opponents with criminal investigations and indictments. New York Times columnist William Safire calls this “Putin’s creeping coup”. At the same time, Russia is developing a whole new generation of nuclear missiles, which Putin promises will be unstoppable by any missile defense.
As The Washington Post observed in late 2003: “We must now recognize that there has been a massive suppression of human rights and the imposition of a de facto Cold War-type administration in Moscow.” In a recent statement to Congress, Republican congressman Christopher Cox told the truth that Fr. Fox never reports in his “don’t worry, be happy” magazine: “Russia does not enjoy an open, competitive political system that protects freedom of expression and association, and its government does not uphold universal standards of human rights.” Russian analyst Nikolai Zlobin of the Center for Defense Information put it most simply: “We’re fighting a kind of new Cold War.”
Clearly, Russia is continuing to “spread her errors throughout the world” as Our Lady of Fatima predicted. Those who claim that the consecration was done nearly two decades ago must therefore explain how it has failed to produce the results the Mother of God promised. Has Our Lady failed? Or has the Vatican failed to respect Her wishes? These are questions millions of Catholics are still asking, despite decades of official maneuvers and manipulations aimed at evading the issue. Pope John Paul II has publicly declared that the Message of Fatima “imposes an obligation on the Church.” So far, the Church has failed to fulfill that obligation, and the whole world is suffering the consequences.