PART III - FATHER ALONSO EXPLAINS:
The True Meaning of the
"Conversion” of Russia
(Official Archivist of Fatima)
We are indebted to Father Alonso for clearly seeing and marvelously explaining the true meaning of Our Lady of Fatima's words and promises.
We live in a day of deception, and when there are so many lies about Russia and world peace in our time, we must go back to the solid ground of Our Lady's own words and the obvious and intended meaning of Our Lady as they were and are interpreted by all Fatima scholars for the past 65 years.
We live in days where words have lost their true meaning, so now and then, it is necessary to strictly define our terms. When lack of precision is applied to religious terms, it can have terrible consequences. Father Alonso helps us to understand not only the true meaning of the word "conversion", but also what its conditions are, and finally, how this applies to the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
To summarize briefly, Father Alonso in Part 1, showed us that the Act of Consecration is a religious act and the Consecration of a social structure, such as a state and a nation can be done by the Holy Father, who has this authority as the Vicar of Jesus Christ.
Jesus, Himself, is King of kings and Lord of lords, and has been given all power in Heaven and on earth by God the Father.
Regarding the Consecration of Russia, Father Alonso goes on to show it is both possible and very useful in our time for the Pope to do it together with all the bishops of the world.
He clearly shows from many quotes of Our Lady and Sister Lucy, that in fact this is what, through the Fatima Message, Heaven demands be done; the explicit, solemn, public Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary - by the Pope and all the Catholic bishops of the world on one special day.
Father Alonso goes on to point out in Part I that the consecration of the "world", which he and everyone else knows also contains Russia, is not enough to fulfill Our Lady's requests.
Rather, the solemn act by the Pope and bishops must be the explicit and specific Consecration of Russia exclusively. To substitute the word "world" for the word "Russia" in the act of consecration demanded by Our Lady is to invalidate, to ruin, to negate, to make null and void the fulfillment of Our Lady's request.
In Part II of this series Father Alonso explains why various previous consecrations of the world and of Russia by the Popes have not fulfilled the requests of Jesus and Mary given through the Fatima Message. Because of the sins of mankind, and the persecutions of the Church and the Holy Father up to now this all-important act of religious devotion and obedience has not been complied with.
Thus, so far, we do not yet have fulfilled for us the marvelous promises of the Conversion of Russia and world peace. Father Alonso in Part III explains what we can look forward to, when the Pope and the bishops finally fulfill Our Lady's and Our Lord's command for the "Consecration of Russia" and what terrible catastrophes will befall us if it is not soon done.
For a more complete understanding of Part I, we urge you to reread "Meaning of the ‘Consecration’ of Russia (Part I)" in The Fatima Crusader Issue 50, pages 10 to 15. For a more complete understanding of Part II, we urge you to read and reread "Meaning of the ‘Consecration’ of Russia (Part II)" in The Fatima Crusader, Issue No. 51. For previous issues of the Crusader and for extra copies of this issue contact us at the Fatima Crusader. See "Help Us Spread the Fatima Message" for our phone number and address.
We now give you Part III of Father Alonso's scholarly but very readable treatise regarding Our Lady of Fatima's most important request.
The Consecration of Russia must bring with it the conversion of atheistic, Marxist Communism. But how can all of this be understood within a correct understanding of the Church's teaching on grace?
Any 'theory' or explanation which is based only on purely material and mechanical elements eliminates the work of God in man as a person and therefore must be rejected. Nor is it sufficient to give a general explanation which reduces the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as a simple stimulus of Faith to the believer.
These false or general theories would cause one to forget the true theological element and certainty of the sacramental nature attached to this kind of authentic Divine promise.
The message of Fatima above all, presents the intercessory mediation of Mary with its undeniable objective sacramental content. We shall further clarify these concepts.
1. What is Conversion?
It follows from what we have already said that the word "Russia" can mean no less than a concrete historical and geographical reality. That is to say, an atheistic and materialistic force at a certain time in history has come to power in a nation or group of nations known as Russia.
This power, together with all its resources, pledges itself both internally and externally, to combat and destroy the reign of God on earth. The little shepherd children understood that Fatima is not just an historical fact. It does not give a history lesson, not even in a prophetic way.
Rather. Fatima is a fact of specific religious content. That is to say, this historical event is destined to have tremendous effects upon the religious development of humanity.
These Fatima effects are based upon two things: First a call from Heaven to make the most perfect act of faith, namely the consecration of that nation, Russia, which is currently subject to a malevolent power. Secondly, there is the splendid promise of conversion.
This word conversion has a spiritual sense that is well-defined and does not have need of long explanations. It is a return to God that abandons all that is contrary, or as we Westerners say, all that is sinful.
The New Testament talks of “metanoia” a Greek word that signifies a radical change of spirit that permits passing from the darkness of sin to the light of God.
Conversion, naturally, is a personal act and today we do not want to misapply certain sociological concepts of conversion to the Faith for example of cities, nations and continents...while recognizing to some extent that there are also sociological effects that come with religion. We must prevent these categories of thought from obscuring the fundamental religious aspect of the concept "Conversion."
Father Gruner offers Holy Mass at Our Lady's Shrine in Covadunga, Spain, a fitting location, which stands for perseverance and victory against all odds. It was there, in 715 A.D., when all the rest of Spain had been taken over by Islam, that the Christians decided to make their last stand despite being outnumbered and surrounded. The angels, led by St. Michael, visibly fought on their side and the Catholics won.
STOPPING Russian Religious Persecution: Not Enough
Russia, becoming the first "official" Marxist-atheistic country in history, reminds us of a similar historical event when Spain became officially "Catholic Spain". The reality referred to in these two cases is purely sociological and not personal or individual.
What then is the significance of conversion as a sociological reality? In the context of Fatima, this sociological conversion can have no other meaning than in a uniquely religious sense. For example it cannot just mean a political, social or economic change such as changing from a communist regime to a capitalist regime.
Fatima does not allude to what the future political power of the Soviet Union will be. Nor does it allude to the philosophical change of character in the mentality of those who rule Russia.
On the other hand, would it be sufficient for the power in control of Russia to renounce the persecutions against religion and human rights thus barely fulfilling their broken promise from the Helsinki Accords?
Would it be sufficient for so-called Marxist-Leninist, totalitarian Communism to adopt a 'human' face and transform itself, for example, into Eurocommunism?
Such a purely negative "conversion" would NOT be sufficient. In the first place, atheistic Marxist Communism remains no less intrinsically evil as long as it is Communism.
It would be necessary for the totalitarian power of that state and its official constitutional legislation to cease being enemies of all religion. Even if they did not carry out their anti-religious legislation, it still would not be sufficient.
The sociological concept of conversion then should not only be in the application of the law, but should be an integral part of the actual legislation itself that rules the state.
An author observed decisively that Soviet Russia will be converted when it ceases to fight religion. Figuratively speaking, nothing less ought to be interpreted as conversion. Neither should we dwell on just the negative concept of not fighting religion.
Russia's Conversion Means Its Return to Fullness of Catholic Faith and Unity
The conversion promised by the Blessed Virgin at Fatima has a much richer meaning than just the cessation of an atheistic Marxist power. It is not only the cessation of fighting religion and the reign of God in souls, but much more.
The same author asked himself, "Is the conversion of Russia to mean the return of the Russian Orthodox Church to full union with the Catholic Church?
It is explicitly clear that the texts of Fatima do not speak of it. The minimum requirement to satisfy the meaning of conversion is that the political power dominant today in an "official" sense be transformed into a state with an official religion''.
We have already seen how Cardinal Schuster, a great authority, saw the conversion of Russia promised at Fatima, as the return of Russia to Roman Catholicism understanding the concept of conversion in its full sense. We agree with him completely.
It is understandable how difficult it is to offer a definite solution to the problem. Nevertheless we can say that change of a political power "without God" to one that 'recognizes God" would already be a true and positive conversion of the state. Insofar as it were official we may also say it would be a change in the social nature (a sociological effect) of Russia.
However, in the finality itself of everything in the message of Fatima, there is a tendency, a direction, an orientation to "totalize". That is to say, it tends to complete itself progressively in a conversion. Thus the conversion of Russia, when it is perfect, is total and as such, is a return to the fullness of Catholic Unity, with all that this term can signify in its fullness.
It could be said that certain initiatives of Sister Lucy lead us to this understanding. The same can be said of statements made by Cardinal Ottaviani in his famous discourse on February 11, 1967. All this indicates to us a total, perfect conversion of Russia.
And, it cannot be denied that Pope Paul VI was inspired to take the position as a humble Fatima pilgrim, to ask the Blessed Virgin for peace inside and outside of the Church and in the world. There, making special reference to the Church suffering from the divisions of the separated brethren, he said:
"Our gaze is directed to all the non-Catholic Christians (...) for whom our prayer and hope is for perfect communion in the unity wanted by Jesus (...). We would seriously delude ourselves in our efforts to reach out to all our separated Christian brethren and all those who are deprived of the Catholic Faith if we did not offer to them the Catholic Faith in its pure authenticity and original beauty. This Catholic Faith is the inheritance of truth and charity of which the Roman Catholic Church is the depository and dispenser."
2. Faith and Sacramentality
We are so filled with awe by the great promises that would be the fruit of this Consecration and so overwhelmed at the duty of explaining it that we feel compelled to ask for supernatural help.
The whole problem (regarding the Consecration of Russia and its promise) consists of explaining at the same time the necessary balance between the power of God Who interrupts human history and that interruption happening in a manner that does not suppress human liberty. God as Creator has already created man to be free and God to have His way need not oppress that which He has created to the point of making it disappear.
If the intended effect of conversion were only to be attributed to the primacy of Faith, it would weaken the meaning of the Divine promise. That would imply that the conversion is entirely gratuitous as a result of the merciful goodness of God.
God, on His part, however, attaches to the promise a necessary requirement to be fulfilled in order for the effect to take place.
At the same time we must not fall into a false understanding of this Divine promise. We must be aware that God does not only do this by grace, but at the same time God does it through the free will co-operation of man with His grace. To leave it entirely to grace, without including in the equation man's free will, is to fall prey to a Protestant-type error regarding how God operates with man.
The Protestant negation that exists against the Catholic conception of the sacraments is well known. Protestantism, more than denies the existence of some sacraments, while retaining, in appearance the Word of God, Baptism and for some, the Supper. What is proper to Protestantism is that it reduces all sacraments to mere signs and exercises of faith.
The sacraments, for the Protestant, do not have a grace which works in virtue of the efficacious sacramental sign but it only works in virtue of the faith (of the recipient).
Catholic doctrine, on the contrary, affirms that the visible sign is efficacious in itself in order to be an instrument of a sacramental grace proper to each sacrament. In the "consecration" two elements can be observed:
The first we will call ''Sacramental", which is efficacious in itself and dependent on Our Lord, Who grants the promise of world peace by means of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The second element is "Faith" by which man co-operates with his free will to know, understand and believe in this promise and fulfill its conditions in order to follow Divine Destiny. God desires and insists upon the exercise of His formula before granting this sacramental-like grace.
Protestantism, however, would call the Consecration 'ritual magic'. They do not understand and they think that they would somehow be fatalistically imposing themselves upon God, snatching from Him gifts, graces, cures. events and extraordinary effects if they were to exercise these invocations and rites.
Catholic doctrine, of course, does not affirm that. Rather it points out that Sacraments and their effects, in the sense of efficacious signs of grace, obtain their efficacy, not from supposed latent forces in nature but by virtue of the institution of the Sacraments by Christ Our Lord. He is the Lord and Author of grace. Christ communicates the merits of His Passion and death through the ministry of His ministers.
ln certain cases, sacramental-like graces are granted through certain 'promises' of our holy religion, which is above all, a religion of great promises.
This is also manifest in the promise of the conversion of Russia if the sacramental-like means of the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is duly employed. It is necessary to add that in this case, this Divine promise is well-guaranteed by the criterion of credibility of an authentic prophetic revelation.
Here also, two excesses can be committed. There are those who trust in the external practices alone of the messages, particularly those made public and even more when they are "official and solemn".
These people run the risk of making the Catholic religion appear as drawing inner strength from following purely materialistic and/or sociological or political actions.
This tendency forgets the constant Catholic teaching of Christian personalism. God Almighty wants to be worshiped as the Creator that He is, by the human person, that is by his free will and intellect above all. God has good reason to emphasize the sacramental elements that consecrate the natural and invigorate it against the congenital weaknesses of wounded human nature.
The natural, sociological and even socio-political elements can be convenient factors of development, but never true factors if isolated from the spiritual elements. The danger of materialistic blindness to the true Faith is that of a ritualistic and sociological Catholicism of very little consistency or results.
On the other hand, Protestantism bases itself on a naturalistic and exaggerated personalism that repels all mediations, considering them as imposing man on God. By this they precisely deny God's grace and His promise. That excessive personalistic tendency throws all the sacramental doctrine of the Church overboard.
Equilibrium consists of the middle road. It is necessary to accept that God has placed at our personal free will disposition, a series of "means" through which we have to unite ourselves to Him.
From the first Law of the Incarnation constituted in Christ and from its continuation in the Church as a visible institution and general sacrament of salvation, everything flows into a channel of the instrumental laws. We are obliged to subject ourselves to its authority if we want to continue to the Fountain which is Christ.
It is necessary to have confidence in the splendid promise of the conversion of Russia, obtained by a means that God puts at our disposal - the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
We can collect signatures to ask the Pope to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but the conversion will not be produced as if by magic through the simple mechanical recitation of a formula. We Catholics must also undergo an authentic conversion of heart.
3. The Effects of the Conversion of Russia
It is extremely curious that Fatima, in a unique and prophetic way, would have had so certain and so concrete a vision of the importance that Soviet, Communist Russia was going to exercise over all humanity during the entire twentieth century.
The prophecy of Fatima makes known some requests whose fulfillment carry attached to them promises of good things. Incompletion of these requests will attract various punishments that the texts of Fatima present as Divine threats.
It Is God Who Makes These Requests
We must understand these Divine requests well. The requests of Heaven were given us on July 13, 1917 at Fatima and made obligatory in 1925 at Pontevedra and in 1929 at Tuy. They are reduced to two:
(1) The reparatory practice of the Five First Saturdays of the month.
(2) The Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
This is what is meant by the words, "If they do what I tell you" and "I will come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays."
Keeping Her promise to make these requests:
The Blessed Virgin asked for the Communions of Reparation on December 10, 1925.
Rebuking Sister Lucy, on February 15, 1926 Our Lord said to her, "And have you, as yet, propagated throughout the world what the Mother of Heaven requested of you?"
As for the Consecration of Russia, the statement of Our Lady, at Tuy, on June 13, 1929 is definitive: The moment has come."
The requirement of fulfilling these Divine requests was already virtually included on July 13, 1917 in those general words. "God wants to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart."
It is not licit to separate the principal Divine intention, "to honor Her Whom the King wants to honor," from the facts and the concrete prescribed practices as the Consecration of Russia and the reparatory Communions of Reparation of the first Saturdays.
Sister Lucy asked Our Lord why the conversion of Russia could not be done without having to use such difficult means. He responded to her that it has to be done in this way so that the establishment of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary may be obtained in a public, solemn manner.
"In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me. Russia will be converted and a period of peace given to mankind."
Many Souls Saved by Obedience to These Requests
The fulfillment of the promises of Our Lord at Fatima are accompanied by benefits both of spiritual and temporal order. Contrary to God's threats, His promises are without repentance.
In the first place and with ultimate finality, the salvation of souls is promised. "Many souls will be saved." Is this not the concrete finality of God's plan and purpose of the Old and New Testaments?
Fatima does no more than continue the history of salvation in a way appropriate for our time. When the little seers saw the vision of Hell, the poor children raised their eyes toward Our Lady with fear and She, full of kindness and sadness told them: "You have seen Hell where the souls of poor sinners go. In order to save them, God wants to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart."
Communist propaganda against Fatima pretends that Fatima is a political battering ram in the hands of the Vatican to use against the Communist party.
They are ignorant of the final purpose of Fatima which ultimately is the salvation of souls.
The principles of materialistic atheistic Marxism lead the Communists to either deny that such a promise and its effect exist, or to deny that such a promise is true. In the first case there is a deliberately perpetrated ignorance that closes the eyes to concrete facts regarding the pure, spiritual promises of Fatima.
In the second case, it is certain that Communism cannot accept the supernatural and spiritual "salvation of souls". They should at least, however, be subdued at the evidence that Fatima is not something "combative" and "militant" against the Party.
It is not a material force with political arms that threatens to demolish Communism but rather one with a peaceful purpose to "save souls." It is granted principally to those souls of the militant atheistic communists themselves.
No other thing indicates the future conversion of Russia better than the splendid promise of its eventual Consecration.* Sister Lucy's phrase is exciting: "God promises to save it by this means." and "The good God promises to end the persecution", meaning once the conversion has begun.
As we have seen, Communism, as the Party and as the Soviet State, persecutes religion. The conversion would begin with a revocation of all the anti-religious legislation, as much in the state of Russia as in the Party. This would offer the best guarantee of the beginnings of authentic democratic liberty.
The immense benefits of that conversion, even considered sociologically in their political aspects of war and economics would be great to anyone they reached. We will not dwell upon this here since that touches on another subject.
* Our Lady said on July 13, 1917: "In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will Consecrate Russia to Me. Russia will be converted and a period of peace will be given to mankind."
Fatima is summed up by one word, "There will be peace". The conversion of Russia will signal a new era in the world, the era of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Most of the cause of the political-social evils that agitate humanity today historically reside in Soviet communism. The "Peace" that Fatima offers naturally is not what is found in the grave, nor what keeps peace during Cold Wars, or applying protest as a brake on the arms race.
It is a peace of a religious and moral type in which man is reconciled first with himself, and with God, and then afterwards with other men. It is the Peace of Christ in the reign of Christ. This is the foundation of all peace.
The promise of Fatima, "There will be peace" does not only refer to the end of the wars that have recently decimated humanity. It refers to all human order, beginning above all with the peace of consciences. While not minimizing other good reasons and causes, Fatima gives us that peace through the conversion of Russia.
St. Mary is the Queen of Heaven and Earth. Finally, She will triumph over all the enemies of God and bring in the era of peace.
God's Fatima Threats
Fatima gives us not only promises but threats also. There are those today who are foreign to God and the Fatima Message, who proclaim falsely that Fatima represents an empire of warnings and punishments, over sad humanity - which is already sufficiently suffering.
On the other hand it is not extraneous to Fatima to reflect that God desires to vomit evil man out of His mouth, when He considers the evilness of much of mankind which is so bad that it has now gone to inconceivable limits. This evil has spread over much of the earth like a black sea causing God to have repented of creating mankind. (Gen. 6:7)
The threats of Fatima, like those generally found in Sacred Scripture, are simply threats. That is to say, God does not bring them to execution except in the case of a sinful world that fails to repent.
When God scrutinizes the heart and intentions of man, God does not fail to see the actual evil disposition of men, and for these interior sins, man already deserves punishment, but God being merciful often shows mercy towards the sinner even to the limit. Thus God first uses the threat to encourage the sinner to repent and turn back.
He does this by means of His prophets who reveal that God is offended and vengeful. God, in His compassion, allows their conversion after they have been effectively punished and become industrious about the means of salvation. "I do not want the death of the sinner, but that he be converted and saved." In Fatima, these ideas about the mercy of God, even in His own punishments, are more certain than before, because there is now revealed that new specific element of the mediatory intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
God wanted it so. God wants to manifest, through the Blessed Virgin Mary, His mercy more than His justice. Fatima does no more than continue the great Catholic tradition concerning the maternal function of the Blessed Virgin Mary upon sinful humanity.
On the other hand, the message of Fatima has often been falsified and caricaturized. To it has been attributed all the fateful and terrible prophecies that have been the fruit of other apparitions not approved by the Church; that is, false prophecies which are the fruit of feverish minds not controlled by a true theological understanding of the Catholic Faith.
There have been those who have exaggerated, and falsified it, augmenting inconsiderately the good, clear and simple texts of Fatima, making of it a pitiful caricature. They have made Fatima into a decadent apocalypse, robbing it of that strong and eschatological effect that is destined to awaken souls from a fatal lethargy.
Because of this, we pray that our readers pay attention to the facts given in this article and other publications by us. Few others publish the truly authentic texts. In the true texts, Fatima is certainly a prophecy that can shake the mountains and cedars of Lebanon ... but it is not, as the enemies and distorters of Fatima would have you believe, a miserable vision that announces calamities without end.
Those Divine threats, first and in general, are those with which God, through the mouth of all His prophets, has beseeched humanity for all ages.
When, in the last apparition, the Blessed Virgin says in a moving way: "Let them not offend God anymore, as He is already too much offended," we can do no less than proclaim that prophetic plea far and wide in our time, a time which is so disoriented. We must do the same for all the other Fatima appeals for prayer and penance addressed to all mankind in this era of confusion.
Let us now address the Divine threats and warnings which Fatima reveals under the term "Russia." They are specifically as follows and they are as a result of the nonconversion of Russia:
a) Russia will propagate her errors.
b) Russia will stir up wars everywhere.
c) Russia will foment disorder and confusion in order to obtain her dark designs.
d) Russia will persecute the Church and the Holy Father will have much to suffer.
e) The good will be persecuted and martyred
f) Various nations will be annihilated.
All these threats are already being fulfilled in an evident and historic way more than sufficiently satisfying the prophecy. The realization of these prophesied threats vindicates the authenticity of Fatima, without even taking into account the other proofs of its authenticity.
The Third Secret
It is known that the third part of the Secret of Fatima remains hidden in the pontifical Archives. Does it perhaps contain new threats? The answer I have given in my book.** It does not add any new catastrophic threats, but addresses something much more grave that made Sister Lucy's hand tremble when writing it.
|** Father Alonso's teaching on the Third Secret is in Frère Michel's book The Third Secret available from The Fatima Crusader.|
The Third Secret speaks of the obscuring of the Faith and because of it the Church having to suffer terrible pains. But all of this is due to the actual sins of humanity.
Soviet Communism is seen in the light of Fatima as a scourge of God, like a terrible instrument which God utilizes to punish sinful humanity. We find ourselves returning to biblical times in which the "people of God", when they were parted from God, from Yahweh, were punished by the violent eruptions of vast bordering peoples who plundered them. They inflicted great punishments on the "people of God" who also were taken prisoner to distant lands.
Today, those bordering peoples have been condensed into a nation called Russia. Following the texts of Fatima, that single nation is dominated by a secularism, because of its atheism which is more atrocious, more contrary to the Kingdom of God, and more disposed to forever putting an end to the Name of God throughout the whole world.
From here the eschatological*** importance is clear. Fatima cannot be reduced to being simply a new announcement of prayer and penance, not even to simply an urgent request for prayer and penance.
On the contrary, we have seen that Fatima deals with our most recent history to draw out from it its true theological meaning.
Fatima has come to give us the true "theology of the history of our day" and to warn us of the terrible theological significance of the role that Marxist atheistic Communism is fulfilling.
|*** Note of translator: Eschatological refers to the events in the last days predicted in Sacred Scripture and Cardinal Ratzinger has confirmed that the Third Secret of Fatima is a prophecy about our times and it concerns "the importance of the last events at the end of time."|