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Defending the Immaculate 
Heart Against A 
"Flawed Theology"

by Edward Henry Albrecht, Jr.

At Fatima, His Holiness exclaimed: "Oh, how pained we are by all the things in the Church and in each one of us that are opposed to holiness and consecration!" It is becoming increasingly evident that one of the things in the Church that is most opposed to consecration - and reparation - is a "flawed theology" which portrays the Blessed Mother as a detraction from Her Son, and which renders the Church incapable of fulfilling - or even acknowledging - Christ's mandate to establish devotion in the world to Her Immaculate Heart. This is the great mystery of Fatima. It may be our greatest challenge.

We may be headed where angels fear to tread when it is suggested that a "flawed theology" is mainly responsible for the Church's failure with Fatima. Nevertheless, it is a question we must address if we are to hope for some appreciable movement in the direction of recognizing - let alone fulfilling - Fatima's conditions. It is a question of emphasis and of achieving a balance.

Catholics have always insisted that it must be "To Jesus, through Mary", and that's true: She always brings us closer to Her Son and instructs us to do as He says. But it is also true that Christ gave us His Mother from the cross. He gave Her to us with the expectation that we would take Her into our homes, and into our hearts, that we would cherish and protect Her and that She, in turn, would be our help.

At Fatima, Pope John Paul II stated that Mary's special motherhood is "a sharing in the power of the Holy Spirit". At Fatima, Almighty God deigned to share with Her the power to perform the miracle of the sun. At Fatima, Christ mandated (i.e., willed) the establishment in the world of devotion to Her Immaculate Heart, which brings with it the duty to repair the injury inflicted on Her Heart by our slights and indifference, let alone our outrages and (pardon the expression) sins.

Where is the theology that acknowledges that He has given Her power; that She is due our respect and - yes - our obedience; that when She is slighted, He is offended; that when She is loved, He loves us. Christ is not jealous of His Mother, Who will voice for us a theology which will permit us - the Church - to do God's will and fulfill the Fatima conditions.

An artist by the name of Joe Carroll made a pen and ink drawing of Pope John Paul II and Satan playing chess in which His Holiness has just moved rather forcefully to a checkmate position with his Queen, depicted as Our Lady of Fatima. As time passes, it appears more and more that this could never happen in the real world because the Church's own ground rules - this "flawed theology" for want of a better term - prevent her or render her incapable of ever fulfilling Our Lady's request, or even acknowledging Our Lord's mandate (desire) to establish in the world the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The Mother of God performed a miracle at Fatima so that ALL would believe and act upon it - bishops, priests, religious, laity. Detractors and opponents counter the miracle in one fell swoop with the spurious half-truth: "that's private revelation, you don't have to believe it". For most (count them), that's the end of the discussion and their hearing and acceptance. Some hold out the example of His Holiness as the answer.

Yet, if the Church teaches that Fatima is worthy of belief on the one hand, and on the other hand, that you don't have to believe, the obvious response as demonstrated over and over is: "Why bother?" We badly need a theology which will enable us to harness the power and the promise of Fatima. What is lacking is a theology, adopted by bishop and parish priest alike, that acknowledges: that He has given Her power; that She is due our respect and - yes - obedience; that will enable us - His entire Church - to do God's will and fulfill the conditions laid down by Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima. Is this a fair assessment of where we are? (Is it unfair?) If not, is there a way out of this dilemma - a way around it - a way to overcome it? (Don't tell me this is the way to go, but you can't get there from here!)

The central focus of the Message of Fatima is the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our Lady asked that the Holy Father consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart. She asked for Communions of Reparation to Her Immaculate Heart on the First Saturdays. During the June apparition at Fatima, She made known Our Lord's wish to establish devotion to Her Immaculate Heart in the world, and in front of the palm of Her right hand there was a heart encircled with thorns, which pierced it, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, outraged by the sins of humanity, in want of reparation. Our Heavenly Father has revealed Her Heart and the need for reparation to "the merest children" - the children of Fatima. It has apparently not been revealed to the vast majority of our priests and bishops and, consequently, the vast majority of the Faithful. Since faith cometh by hearing the Word of God, this may be an indifference born out of ignorance. If so, who instructs the shepherds? Who will they listen to? The Vicar of Christ? The Sacred Congregation for the Clergy? How are they to understand, if no one tells them? The central focus of Fatima, the Immaculate Heart of Mary is neither understood nor appreciated within the Church.

It is our mission to do more than sell devotion to Mary; we must, along with the child Lucy, implant devotion to Mary's Immaculate Heart. Have you ever tried to explain to a Protestant the "concept" of consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus? It is just as difficult to communicate this to most modern day (not necessarily modernist) Catholics, and the level of difficulty takes a quantum jump of sorts when the Immaculate Heart of His Mother is introduced. Our ultimate objective is to place devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary alongside devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This has always appeared as our Gordian knot. Where is our Alexander - where is his sword - where do we begin?