Pope Francis and Vladimir Putin will soon be sitting down face-to-face to discuss world affairs. (See: “Pope Francis to hold talks with Russian leader at Vatican”.) Other Russian leaders have met with popes in recent years, but Putin has distinguished himself from his predecessors by showing a marked sympathy for Russia’s past as a Christian nation.
While Putin's personal beliefs may be a matter of speculation, and his sincerity open to doubt, it cannot be denied that he has taken a public posture that favors traditional Christian morality. He has been staunch in his opposition to homosexual propaganda, even at the cost of considerable public-relations pressure for the upcoming Winter Olympics. (See: “Russia will develop as democratic state, defend Christian values - Putin”.)
The meeting may be significant for another reason: there is an acknowledged possibility that Pope Francis may visit Russia. The bar to a papal visit in the past has not come from the Kremlin, but rather from a lack of invitation from the Russian Orthodox Church. The Russian Orthodox, however, have softened their stance against the Church of Rome in recent times and may welcome a visit by the Pope. (See: “Pope meeting Putin, could help mend Catholic-Orthodox relations”.)
We know that Russia has been chosen by Heaven to play a special role in salvation history. (See: www.fatima.org/consecrussia/) So any analysis of Russia's interaction with the Vatican, and especially with the Pope, must allow that the workings of Providence may supersede the conclusions of human wisdom. Granting this, we can still examine situation in terms we can readily understand.
Unless trends are reversed, Russia will become a nation incapable of any constructive effort. Russian leaders want to find a means to counter contemporary decadence. They seem to have come to the same conclusion as the great Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who saw Russia’s salvation in a return to her Christian roots. (See: “An Interview with Alexander Solzhenitsyn”.)
Some historical circumstances, which is simply another way of saying the Divine Plan, appear to have created the situation in which Russia and the West are coming closer together, but not through any political initiative, but through shared faith in Our Lord and Our Lady.
Pope Francis has consecrated his papacy to Our Lady of Fatima. He clearly loves Our Lady. What is preventing him from performing the consecration of Russia as She requested? We cannot know at this point, but we can note that a growing sympathy between Russia and the West, based on those elements of Faith shared by the Orthodox and the Catholic may create an atmosphere in which prudential objections to a consecration may no longer be persuasive. Let us pray that this meeting between Pope Francis and Vladimir Putin may bring us closer to the day when Our Lady of Fatima will be obeyed and Her blessings will bring peace to our tormented world.
We must also keep informed. Read the recent “Fatima Perspectives” articles listed below.
Vatican Turns Off the Apparitions Tap
There are doubtless many devout people who have become very attached to what they believe to be messages received from Our Lady through the seers of Medjugorje. With all due respect to the pious intentions of those who may believe in these apparitions, it has to be said that there are plausible reasons for doubting the authenticity.
The episcopal investigation by the diocese where the alleged apparitions occurred concluded that no evidence of a supernatural event can be discovered, and therefore, the apparitions and the messages supposedly delivered to the seers were not to be credited to Our Lady. (See: “Bishop of Medjugorje . . . Declares Apparitions Are Not Real”.)
Despite the warning of the local bishop, people continued to flock to Medjugorje and the cult grew exponentially. Even a growing number of scandals involving the seers and the clergy failed to dissuade devotion. (See: “Medjugorje: The Actual Situation Today (March 2010)”.)
Now, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has intervened. As one of the seers is poised to begin a tour in the United States, the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Vigano, has relayed an instruction to the secretary of the United States Catholic Bishops Conference forbidding Catholics to participate in devotional gatherings centered on the Medjugorje apparitions. (See: “Vatican gives firm thumbs-down to ‘seers’ of Medjugorje”.)
One of the curious aspects of these tours by the Medjugorje seers is the promise that those who come to see them will witness an apparition, or rather, will witness the seer experiencing an apparition. The claim appears presumptuous, to say the least, and in itself should be enough to cast doubt on the whole proceeding.
Meanwhile, Our Lady's apparitions at Fatima, honored by the Church as authentic, must compete for attention with such dubious phenomena as Medjugorje and other alleged apparitions. One may be permitted to wonder who benefits by the spreading of unapproved and doubtful apparitions. We would do well to stick to whatever is certain.
If we wish to honor Our Lady, let us do as She asks. We can perform the First Saturday Devotions as Our Lady requested (see: “First Saturday Communion of Reparation Checklist”) and we can pray with all our hearts that at long last the Holy Father and the bishops of the Catholic Church will consecrate Russia as our Lady of Fatima has commanded.
Pope Francis’ October 13 Entrustment — “Pope Francis Consecrates World to the Immaculate Heart”. This was the headline from EWTN, from Vatican Radio, from the National Catholic Register, and other Catholic news outlets. Unfortunately, these headlines are not accurate. Pope Francis’ “Entrustment” ceremony at the Vatican on October 13, 2013 contained no mention of “Consecration”, no mention of the “Immaculate Heart”, and no mention of “world”.
Videos: Vatican Security Harasses Father Gruner — Head of Vatican Security tells Father Gruner: “Don’t go near the Pope!” A presentation of 3 video interviews with Father Gruner, wherein he provides details of the three incidents of harassment while in St. Peter’s Square for the papal ceremonies of Oct. 12-13, and discusses Pope Francis’ “Entrustment”.
On Pope Francis’ Consecration of the World: A Reply to Jeff Mirus — Another year, another consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And still no Consecration of Russia. Our hopes dashed yet again. How many consecrations of the world have there been in response to Our Lady of Fatima’s call for the consecration of Russia? John Paul II alone performed six consecrations or “entrustments”: in 1981, 1982 1983, 1984, 1991 and 2000.
The Consecration of Russia: Even the Huffington Post Gets It! — In an astonishing development, the left-leaning Huffington Post blog site has published an article by Noel Irwin Hentschel with this almost incredible headline: “Pope and Putin: Seize Opportunity, Heed Directive for World Peace and Good, ‘Consecrate Russia!’”
Cardinal Bertone’s Ungraceful Exit — At long last the disastrous reign of “Prime Minister” Bertone — the Fatima Fixer — finally came to an end with his replacement by Archbishop Pietro Parolin as Vatican Secretary State, effective October 15. It is not surprising that this ecclesiastical politician did not go gently into retirement but rather had issued bitter recriminations redolent of losing politicians everywhere.
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