The News Not Fit to Print?
At Fatima, the Blessed Virgin Mary predicted that Russia would be God's chosen instrument of chastisement, warning that unless Her requests were granted (especially concerning the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart), that that "poor nation" would spread its errors throughout the world, enslaving millions and leading to the annihilation of many nations.
In recent years, a lively and at times acrimonious debate has ensued within Catholic circles concerning whether, in fact, the consecration of the world made by Pope John Paul II in 1984 fulfilled the requirements set forth by the Blessed Mother sixty-seven years earlier. One of the strongest arguments advanced by those who believe that it did has been the dramatic series of political changes that occurred across Eastern Europe in the late 1980s and early 90s. Organizations like The Blue Army and Father Robert Fox's Fatima Family Apostolate have publicly affirmed their belief that the "collapse of Communism" and break-up of the Soviet Bloc were the direct result of the Pope's fulfillment of Our Lady's request for the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.
Critics of this position (most notably, Father Nicholas Gruner) have argued that the 1984 event did not and could not have fulfilled the Virgin of Fatima's request. Writing not long after the Pope's consecration ceremony, Father Gruner noted:
By its very nature, the consecration of Russia will be a fact of objective history which should be easy enough to establish. Simply speaking, the consecration requires that the Pope order all the Catholic bishops of the world to, on the same day and at the same hour, solemnly and publicly pronounce a common prayer consecrating Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
No such event has ever taken place. That is, no Pope has ever ordered the bishops to consecrate Russia and no Pope has ever sent a common prayer to the world's bishops that explicitly and specifically consecrates Russia (and only Russia).
Father Gruner's stalwart insistence that the 1984 consecration of the world did not fulfill the Blessed Virgin's request has earned him considerable enmity from many sides, particularly from within the official bureaucracy of the Church. His most ardent detractors continue to maintain that the changes within the former Soviet Union are positive proof that he and others are wrong and that the "conversion" of Russia, promised by Our Lady at Fatima, is in fact well underway.
In response, we wish to offer the following excerpt from a short article that ran in the December 2 issue of The Nation, a journal that is generally conceded to be among the most left-wing publications in the United States:
December 2, 1997
"For the first time in our memory, The New York Times...did not see fit to print any news from Russia on the anniversary of the 1917 Revolution, even though this eightieth anniversary generated some highly significant political developments.
Here are a few things the Times might have reported. In the weeks and days leading up to November 7, the Russian national press was filled with fascinating, soul-searching, across-the-spectrum discussion of the meaning of the Revolution for the country's past and present. It also published opinion polls showing that popular esteem for 1917 has grown in recent years and that a clear plurality of Russians continues to have a anticapitalist, socialist views. On the day before the anniversary, Boris Yeltsin made an unprecedented personal visit to the Communist-dominated Parliament, where he gave a prestigious state award to its Communist speaker for "services to the fatherland." On November 7 itself, despite bad weather, street demonstrations in Moscow and elsewhere appear to have been the largest and most militant in years.
None of these events or their possible meanings were reported by the Moscow bureau of the Times."