When Black is
"Who are you going to believe?
Me or your own eyes?"
— Groucho Marx in Duck Soup
by Christopher A. Ferrara, Esq.
In George Orwell’s 1984, an allegory of totalitarian communism, the mythical society of Oceania is ruled by the omnipresent god-like dictator known as Big Brother. The main character, Winston Smith (who struggles against the regime’s effort to reprogram him) recalls how the chocolate ration was cut, but the brainwashed citizens were told the ration had been increased. The people obediently rejoiced at their good fortune, and praised Big Brother for his generosity.
The state of affairs in the post-conciliar Church is similarly Orwellian. We are expected to proclaim with joy that which is not, while ignoring that which plainly is. Although the Roman liturgy has been wrecked by unprecedented innovations, we are expected to rejoice at the “liturgical renewal”. Although ecumenism is a manifest failure, with Protestant sects drifting ever further from the true Church and even from the natural law, we are expected to proclaim the “growing unity” of Christians. Although the great majority of Catholics practice abortion, contraception and divorce as readily as Protestants and Jews, we are expected to marvel at the lively faith Vatican II has engendered. Although Catholics are being slaughtered by Muslim fundamentalists around the world, local wars rage on every continent, and the abortion holocaust flames higher and higher in the sight of God, we are expected to hail the advent of the “civilization of love”.
Much of the human element of the Church has become enfeebled in its activity and confused in its message, but the Vatican apparatus proclaims that the Church is more vigorous than ever. Let us have a Jubilee to celebrate the wonderful news. Yes, let us have little celebrations for everyone: A Jubilee of Young People, a Jubilee of the World of Entertainment, even a Day of Pizza Makers. Let us have crowds and music and thunderous applause for an entire year. Let us rejoice that the chocolate ration has increased.
And then there is the Message of Fatima. In 1984, oddly enough, there took place at the Vatican a ceremony we are now told was the Consecration of Russia requested by Our Lady of Fatima. Mind you, the Pope himself does not say this. Quite the contrary, both during and after the 1984 ceremony the Pope clearly indicated in spontaneous remarks that Our Lady was still awaiting the specific consecration of Russia. It is not the Pope, but the ecclesial bureaucrats he allows to rule the Church de facto, who tell us that the 1984 ceremony was the Consecration of Russia.
This coterie of mini-popes, this Vatican apparatus, is our own Big Brother1. They control everything in the Oceania of the post-conciliar Church, while the Pope is kept busy circling the globe in pursuit of the ever-receding mirage of world peace and brotherhood without the Social Kingship of Christ and the Queenship of His Blessed Mother.
On June 26, 2000, at the Vatican press conference concerning the Third Secret, Big Brother ordered us to stop thinking about the Consecration: “Any further discussion or request [for the Consecration] is without basis,” declared Msgr. Bertone in the Vatican’s commentary on the Secret.
But wait a moment. Surely, Big Brother is wrong. Do we not remember how Sister Lucy let it be known again and again (from at least 1946, per William Walsh’s Our Lady of Fatima, in L’Osservatore Romano in 1982 and even after 1984 in Sol de Fatima magazine) that Our Lady told her Russia must be mentioned specifically in the act of Consecration, and that the world’s bishops must join in the act together with the Pope? And isn’t it completely obvious that when Heaven requests the consecration of Russia, Russia ought to be mentioned somewhere in the act of the consecration? Yet there was no mention of Russia and the bishops did not participate in the 1984 ceremony.
Never mind, says Big Brother. According to Msgr. Bertone, Sister Lucy now says that Russia was consecrated 16 years ago, despite everything she had said to the contrary. We are told that Sister Lucy, like Winston Smith in 1984, has finally come to see that two plus two is five, after all.
Big Brother did not allow Sister Lucy to come forward and confirm to the public her amazing change of heart. No, for some strange reason she remains under a gag order which prevents her from speaking to anyone without the Vatican’s permission, even though Big Brother declared on June 26 that the Third Secret has been revealed in full, that it pertains to the past, and that nothing further remains to be said about the prophetic warnings of Fatima. Instead of producing Sister Lucy in the flesh, Big Brother referred to a very curious substitute for her testimony as the only surviving witness: a letter Sister Lucy is said to have written to an unidentified recipient on November 8, 1989, more than 11 years ago. In this letter, we are told, Sister Lucy said “Yes, it [the Consecration] has been done just as Our Lady asked, on 25 March 1984”.
|"I want My whole Church to acknowledge that consecration (of Russia) as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that it may extend its cult later on, and put the devotion to This Immaculate Heart beside the devotion to My Sacred Heart."|
But why did Big Brother fail to provide a copy of this letter at the June 26 press conference? And why was the letter’s recipient not identified? Perhaps it is because the same letter — addressed to a Mr. Noelcker — was published years ago in the Catholic press, whereupon it was promptly exposed as a fake. When it was first published (by certain friends of Big Brother) we were asked to believe that the one-page letter to Mr. Noelcker was typed on a word processor the then 82-year-old cloistered nun had suddenly switched to after a lifetime of writing everything by hand, including her voluminous memoirs. We were asked to believe that Sister Lucy herself wrote this letter, even though it claims that Pope Paul VI performed a consecration of the world when he visited Fatima in 1967. That Paul VI never performed any consecration — of the world or anything else — when he went to Fatima is one of those little facts Big Brother insists we forget. Yet Sister Lucy herself could not have made this blunder, since she was there in person for the Pope’s visit and knows better than anyone that there was no consecration of the world on that occasion.
Sister Lucy Ignored
We are also ordered to stop thinking about such things as why neither Msgr. Bertone, nor Cardinal Sodano (the Vatican Secretary of State), nor Cardinal Ratzinger nor any other Vatican representative asked Sister Lucy about the sufficiency of the 1984 ceremony when they were in Fatima for the beatification of Jacinta and Francisco on May 13, 2000. Isn’t it rather odd that with the only live witness available to testify only days before, the Vatican relies entirely on an 11-year-old computer-generated note, containing a glaring factual error Sister Lucy herself would never have made?
Ah, but Big Brother has told us — has he not? — that “any further discussion or request is without basis.” If Big Brother says that Russia has been consecrated to the Immaculate Heart, it matters not that Russia was never mentioned or that the bishops did not participate. Where Big Brother is concerned, saying makes it so.
But there is another problem: If Russia was consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary more than sixteen years ago, what has become of Our Lady of Fatima’s promise concerning the effect of the consecration?
“You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart ... In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”
So, Our Lady promised the conversion of Russia as a manifestation of the worldwide triumph of Her Immaculate Heart, and with it the salvation of many souls from hell.
What is “Conversion”?
Webster’s dictionary defines “conversion” as “an experience associated with a decisive adoption of religion.” If even Webster recognizes conversion as the adoption of religion, it can hardly be suggested that Our Lady of Fatima had something else in mind when She spoke of the conversion of Russia. A mere change of political systems, from one amoral regime to another, would not secure the salvation of souls. But the adoption of a new religion would.
What religion would Russia adopt as the result of its conversion? Our Lady of Fatima, Who appeared to Catholic children with a message for the Catholic Pope and the Catholic bishops, could only have meant the Catholic religion. She could hardly have meant a conversion to the Orthodox religion: the Orthodox Church was already prevalent in Russia at the time She appeared; and the Orthodox rejected then as they do now the dogma of the Immaculate Conception which is the very heart of the Message of Fatima.
Surely, then, we Catholics know what Our Lady meant by the conversion of Russia. She meant that Russia would become a Catholic nation. This would mean that the Russian Orthodox would abjure their schism, submit to the Vicar of Christ, and renounce their erroneous doctrinal teachings. It would mean in particular that the Russian Orthodox Church would embrace the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception, without which devotion to the Immaculate Heart could not be established in that country.
Now, if Big Brother tells us that Russia was consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary more than 16 years ago, then Russia must surely be undergoing the promised conversion to Catholicism. On June 26, however, Big Brother was strangely silent about this question. There was no discussion of the conversion of Russia in the Vatican’s commentary on the Third Secret. Perhaps this is because not even Big Brother can expect us to believe that what we have seen in Russia since 1984 is a religious conversion.
Russia not Converted
We know the truth. Since the alleged consecration of 1984, Russia has undergone a spiritual, moral and material collapse. Even the Russian Orthodox Patriarch, Alexy II, has decried the spiritual decomposition of Russian society since “the fall of communism.” Indeed, Russia has not even “converted” to the Orthodox religion: 94% of Russians aged 19-29 do not go to church.2 As for the state of Catholicism in Russia, the total number of Russian Catholics is 110,000 — in a nation of 145 million people. That is less than 1/10 of one percent of the population. In all of Russia there is a grand total of 114 priests, only three of whom were trained and ordained in Russia.
There were four times as many Russian Catholics when Our Lady of Fatima appeared in 1917, even though the Russian population then was a fraction of what it is today.
There are now two abortions for every live birth in Russia. The Russian population has shrunk by 3.3 million people since the alleged “collapse of the Soviet Union” in 1991. In the year 2000 alone, Russia lost more than 550,000 people. The situation is so desperate that Russian nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky is advocating polygamy to produce more babies. Alcoholism and violent crime give Russia the world’s highest rate of premature death. More than 20,000 Russians died of alcohol poisoning in the first seven months of 2000 — a 43 percent increase over the same period last year. Retirement planning in Russia consists of funeral arrangements. The average male life expectancy is 59.9 years — down three years over the last decade. The entire nation lives in grinding poverty, and one-third of the population receives less than $60 a month.3
Russia is not converting. Russia is dying. In the face of such evidence, it is no wonder Big Brother is silent about the conversion of Russia, which he has written out of the Message of Fatima. But Big Brother has many friends, eager to please him by telling him what he wants to hear. These friends of Big Brother — the same people who publicized the Noelcker letter and similar fakes — are spreading the notion that Our Lady of Fatima never spoke of the religious conversion of Russia at all, but only the “miraculous” political events we have seen since 1989. Yes, they say, “conversion” means a change from communism to freedom, from warlike behavior to peaceful cooperation. Our Lady of Fatima was the herald of democracy in Russia, and this represents the Triumph of Her Immaculate Heart.
We shall not consider the blasphemy inherent in this absurd rendition of the Message of Fatima, which puts the omnipotence of God at the service of human politics which still opposes God. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that Our Lady of Fatima came to earth to prophesy nothing more than political changes in the Soviet Union. This is ridiculous, but let us assume for the sake of our discussion, that it is true. Even this revisionist Message of Fatima is belied by the empirical evidence.
And the evidence abounds. For example, the liberal journalist David Frum, writing in The National Post, declares “In Russia, Putin’s in — and democracy’s out.” His article details Vladimir Putin’s systematic “reconstruction of an authoritarian state in Russia controlled by more or less the same people who controlled the Soviet state that collapsed in 1991.” Well, Father Gruner has been saying that for years, hasn’t he? Frum notes that Putin has ordered the arrest of the owner of Russia’s only independent media outlet on trumped up charges, moved to reseize Russia’s petroleum industries, and begun to dismantle the independent judiciary recently created for commercial disputes while giving a high-level cabinet position to Yevgeny Primakov, the former KGB high-ranking officer and later prime minister. Primakov is an archetypal Soviet-era thug. Frum concludes that Putin “should be seen as a dangerous man — dangerous to the world, dangerous to his long-suffering and once-again disappointed people.”4
William Safire, another neo-con/liberal, is just as forthright. In his New York Times article “KGB is Back Running the Show in Russia”, Safire recounts the arrest of independent media mogul Gusinksy and how the Russian media “know they are under surveillance by Vladimir Putin’s KGB no matter where they go.” Safire — a liberal, I remind you — recounts how Putin’s “election” as Russian President was in reality a coup that was accomplished by granting amnesty to Yeltsin, who stepped aside to allow the interim appointment of Putin (another KGB man), who was then able to “run for office” from the seat of power in the Kremlin.
The examples of similarly alarming headlines can be multiplied:
Russian Media Fight to Live5
Russia’s Putin Outlines Curbs on Small Political Parties6
Rebel Governor Says Russia Returning to Dark Days7
US Aid is Funding Russian Weapons8
Russians pick Lenin as ‘man of the century’, Stalin as runner up9
When Father Gruner’s apostolate publishes stories like these, the friends of Big Brother ridicule him as a “doomsayer” and a “Fatima conspiracy theorist.” But as the odious strains of Stalin’s national anthem are heard in Russia again (restored by Vladimir Putin), it is time for sensible people to listen to the music. As even the liberal David Frum can recognize: “It’s time to stop hoping for the best and prepare for the worst.”
That is good advice for Catholics, especially, who understand Russia from the perspective of Fatima. Russia is not converting — not religiously, not morally, not politically. On the contrary, Russia is declining in every way. To attribute the current condition of Russia to the intervention of the Mother of God is to make a mockery of the Catholic faith and insult the Blessed Virgin Mary. From the Catholic perspective then, only one conclusion seems possible: what Our Lady of Fatima requested has yet to be done, no matter what Msgr. Bertone says.
We have come to a very bad place indeed when the Vatican apparatus expects us to believe something which even the liberal press can see is a lie. Archbishop Bertone may insist that “Any further discussion or request [for the Consecration] is without basis,” but saying doesn’t make it so. Maybe in Oceania. But not in the Holy Catholic Church.
(1) For the malicious and willfully blind who delight in bashing Father Gruner and this publication, let me deprive them of yet another deliberate mischaracterization of the apostolate’s views: As is obvious from the text above, by Big Brother I do not mean the Pope, but rather the Vatican apparatus which surrounds and “handles” him. the Pope himself has avoided committing his own authority to the version of Fatima Promoted by the apparatus. Indeed, the Pope's sermon in Fatima on May 13, 2000, which warned the Church to avoid the "tail of the dragon" spoken of in the Book of the Apocalypse, Chapter 12, was an astonishingly clear affirmation that Fatima's prophetic warnings are still very much in effect. The tail of the dragon is seen sweeping the stars from Heaven, i.e., consecrated souls (priests, bishops and religious) according to the common Catholic interpretation of that verse. Was the Pope trying to smuggle a message past the apparatus, which was clearly seen trying to prevent his very appearance in Fatima for the beatufications? We can only speculate.
(2) “Russian Church Failing to Reach Youth” The Wanderer, January 11, 2000, p. 9.
(3) The data cited in this paragraph were obtained from “Wanted: More Russian Babies To Rescue a Fast Dying Nation.” London Observer, December 31, 2000.
(4) National Post, June 17, 2000.
(5) Washington Post Service, June 28, 2000.
(6) DPA New Agency, December 27, 2000. Putin has introduced legislation which essentially outlaws all opposition parties unless they have at least 10,000 members and offices in at least half of Russia’s 89 regions – an impossibly burdensome requirement.
(7) Reuters, December 24, 2000.
(8) Insight, January 9, 2000.
(9) “Lenin the Man of the Century,” December 27, 2000, News World Communications, Inc.