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The Diabolic Disorientation of Ostpolitik and Ecumenism

Vatican says, "You Must Not Become Catholic!"

Padre Dr. Linus Dragu Popian’s Dramatic Testimony

by John Vennari

Father Linus Dragu Popian delivered the dramatic story of his conversion at the Rally Against Terrorism in New York on November 10, 2001, sponsored by The Fatima Crusader.

His testimony stands as a severe reproach against the present-day Vatican policies of Ostpolitik and Ecumenism, which are considered of greater value than the salvation of souls. His own conversion to Catholicism and eventual ordination were continually blocked by Vatican officials — particularly the Vatican Secretary of State — because it would "damage relations" with Communist Romania and the Eastern Orthodox.

We first met Father Popian at the Fatima Peace Conference 2001 in Rome this past October, also organized by The Fatima Crusader. A month later, at the New York rally, Father Popian delivered his speech in a very animated Italian, and Father Nicholas Gruner provided the English translation.

What follows is a brief summary of this historic speech. In order to benefit from the many inspiring details of the lecture, readers are encouraged to obtain the audio cassette of the presentation. (For more information see "New York City Rally Against Terrorism Audio Tapes.")

Communist Romania

For twenty-four years, Linus Popian lived under Communism in Romania. He grew up as a true anti-Communist. As a youngster, he remembers the people of Romania looking to the skies in the hope that US airplanes would come to rescue them from the tyranny of Communism. The airplanes never came.

He was raised in the Romanian Orthodox religion, that is, he was not united with the Roman Catholic Church. "Like Stalin" says Father Popian, "I went to the seminary. But unlike Stalin, who while at the seminary was converted to the Revolution, my seminary studies converted me to the Catholic Church."

From the moment he resolved to become Catholic, he realized he would have to flee Romania. The government had put to death the 13 Catholic bishops living in Romania, and it was against the law for a Romanian to convert to the Catholic Faith. Anyone in Romania who converted to Catholicism was regarded as a traitor to the Orthodox religion, a traitor to his family, a traitor to his country, and would be sent to Siberia.

Many Romanians suffered this fate. "But for me", says Father Popian, "Our Lady worked a miracle."

Escape

It was the Holy Year of 1975 when Father Popian and a fellow seminarian fled Romania. They ran for 24 days. Their escape route ran from Romania through Hungary through Poland to Rome. Along the way, they were given money, counsel, encouragement and a blessing by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Poland, who later became Pope John Paul II.

One of the greatest miracles of his escape was that the Communist police accepted his forged passport even though they spent 2 hours examining it. In fact, they held up Fr. Popian’s airplane — and the entire runway of airplanes at the airport — while they examined the fake passport, which they eventually accepted.

Father Popian arrived in Italy and was treated with great kindness by the Italian police. He and his fellow seminarian were given political asylum in four days, which, says Father Popian, is a miracle in itself, since the process usually takes four months.

Do Not Convert!

The seminarians were told to present themselves at the Vatican, wherein they received the shock of their lives.

Here were two seminarians who had risked their lives to become Catholic, risked their lives to escape a Communist regime, and who were now presenting themselves at the Vatican to be accepted as members of the Catholic Church.

When they presented themselves to the heads of the Congregation of the Oriental Churches (Eastern Rite Churches) the prelates became extremely nervous. They said they would have to discuss the matter with the Secretariat for Ecumenism and the Secretariat for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

Two days later, the heads of these Congregations, along with Cardinal Villot, the then-Vatican Secretary of State, told the seminarians that they must not become Catholic and they must not flee Communism.

All-important for these Congregations then, as today, is the policy of Ostpolitik, which fosters friendly relations with Communist regimes. Ostpolitik is built on the Vatican-Moscow Agreement, also known as the Metz Pact, wherein the Vatican, in the early 1960s, agreed not to condemn Communism in exchange for Russian Orthodox observers to be present at Vatican II. This policy defies Pope Pius XI’s stern warning that "Communism is intrinsically evil, and no one who would save Christian civilization may collaborate with it in any undertaking whatsoever." (Divini Redemptoris, 1937)

Tragically, this policy is still in force to this day. Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand described Ostpolitik as one of those areas that demonstrate "Satan at work" in the modern Church. He rightly denounced it as "a terrible betrayal of the Catholics behind the Iron Curtain".

Also, all-important for these Congregations was ecumenical dialogue with the members of the Eastern Orthodox religion. If the Vatican accepted these two seminarians as Catholics, and ordained them as Catholic priests, it would damage the progressivist policies of Ostpolitik and ecumenism.

The seminarians were told to remain as "secret Catholics" inside the Romanian Orthodox Church to "work for unity from the inside". The seminarians, rightly so, rejected this proposal as absurd.

Shortly after, Father Popian and his seminary friend happened to tell some Italian journalists of the bizarre reception they received at the Vatican. The next day, the seminarians’ sad story appeared in the newspaper under the headline, loosely translated into English as, "the Vatican says, ‘What an Error it is for Someone to Become Catholic’."

The seminarians further pleaded their case to Cardinal Villot and the other Vatican Congregations, but they received no answer.

They then cast out in search of a bishop who would accept them into his seminary. They tried various national seminaries in Rome: the Catholic Colleges of America, England, France, Spain, etc. All these institutions refused saying, "We cannot accept you, we must do what the Secretary of State has said."

Father Popian had many recommendations from clandestine priests in Communist countries, as well as boasting some of the highest marks in academic studies. Finally a German bishop, unnamed, told the seminarians that he would incardinate them into his diocese.

The Vatican’s Archbishop Agostino Casaroli, who was the primary architect of Ostpolitik, and who became the Vatican Cardinal Secretary of State in 1979, contacted the German bishop and warned him, "Woe to you if you ordain these men." Father Popian further explained that Archbishop Casaroli was always hostile to refugees from Communism. The only refugees Archbishop Casaroli was friendly towards were those from Chile. Obviously, it was because the Communist government under Salvador Allende fell in 1973, so the refugees from Chile at this time were pro-Communist.

Ordination Blocked

Four times the bishop tried to ordain the two seminarians. Each time the Vatican found some excuse for blocking the ceremony.

Then in February of 1977, all was ready for Father Popian and his friend to be ordained. They were dressed in their white albs, there were twenty priests present, thousands of people had arrived for the event, and all were awaiting the bishop’s arrival at a Marian shrine in northern Italy.

But the bishop did not come, because he had received a personal telephone call from Archbishop Casaroli, ordering the bishop to put off the ordinations indefinitely.

Casaroli gave two reasons why these two men must not be ordained:

1) It would spoil the Vatican’s relations with the Communist, Socialist government of Romania,

2) It would cause difficulties between the Vatican and the Romanian Orthodox.

The bishop stayed home. The shrine’s rector dispersed the large congregation, who had come to the ordination, with the explanation that the bishop could not come because he was running a high fever.

"For the first time" said a disillusioned Father Popian, "I saw that a priest would lie in public."

Come to Augsburg

The two seminarians, now devastated, increased their prayers and sacrifices for the intention of their ordination. In Rome, however, nothing changed. The seminarians were still stonewalled.

All the while, Father Popian was receiving what he saw as signs from Heaven to continue his prayers and his struggle, the details of which are provided in his lecture. The day after he received one of these signs, a letter arrived from the Bishop of Augsburg that said, "Come to Augsburg. I will ordain you deacon with or without Vatican approval."

He and his friend traveled immediately to Augsburg. The bishop, true to his word, ordained them to the diaconate.

The Vatican was furious

The two newly-ordained deacons were threatened with suspension. The Vatican vowed, "You will be a deacon forever!" In other words, these two men would never be ordained priests.

It is worth noting that the seminarians suffered this brutal treatment from the highest echelons of the Vatican at the same time as when Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre was "suspended" by Rome (1976) because he insisted on training priests according to the traditional Catholic Faith, and ordaining priests in the traditional rite who would celebrate exclusively the traditional Mass. Perhaps now we can better comprehend the true malevolent forces behind the "condemnation" of Archbishop Lefebvre.

It is also worth noting that it is the Vatican Secretary of State that is presently behind the ongoing persecution of Father Nicholas Gruner.

Can Nothing Be Done?

Not long after, the two deacons were at dinner with a bishop and a small group of lay-people. Father Popian described it as a "sad dinner", as the deacons were explaining their plight to all present.

A woman at the table asked the bishop, "Is there nothing that can be done for these two young men?"

"Nothing!", said the bishop.

"Nothing?", she insisted.

The bishop responded half-jokingly, "There is only one way for these men to be ordained, and that is, the Pope must die!"

"The Pope must die?"

The bishop provided the explanation. The Vatican Secretary of State is now blocking the ordination. But when the Pope dies, all the heads of the Vatican Congregations, including the Cardinal Secretary of State, lose their power. They only derive their authority from the Pope who appointed them, and when the Pope dies, they lose all authority until they are reappointed by the succeeding Pontiff, who may even choose someone else. (This law is still in force today.) Thus, during the interim of the Pope’s death and the election of his successor, the Vatican Secretary of State will have no power to block the ordination. A friendly bishop could ordain them then.

The pious woman, who was known to love the Pope deeply, exclaimed, "Then I will pray a rosary every day for the death of the Pope!"

Praying at the Shrine at Fatima

Shortly after, Father Popian traveled to Fatima to seek the intercession of Our Lady, who had always proven Herself to be his life, his sweetness and his hope. He was on his knees in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel praying about the dilemma of his priesthood. The date was August 6, 1978.

A friend burst into the chapel, interrupting Father Popian’s prayers. The friend was weeping. He said "Lino, I have tragic news. The Pope is dead!"

Father Popian said, "As a good seminarian, I should have wept. But I found myself exclaiming with joy Il Papa e morto! Il Papa e morto!"

The next day, August 7, a letter arrived from the Vatican stating that the seminarians may now be ordained.

The date was set for October 12.

The deacons were afraid that if a new Pope was elected, the Secretary of State would step in once again and block the ceremony. Nonetheless, they started the 30-day Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius in preparation for ordination.

In the meantime, the conclave elected Pope John Paul I, who died in thirty-three days.

The deacons completed their Retreat, and on October 12, 1978, the eve of the October 13 Fatima anniversary, Linus Dragu Popian and his friend were ordained to the Catholic priesthood. Four days later, October 16, the conclave elected Karol Wojtyla as Pope.

Father Popian, who is most respectful of Pope John Paul II, laments that the leftist forces in the Catholic Church have been gaining ground ever since.

"You Are a Visceral Anti-Communist"

Fr. Popian’s 1975 arrival in the West was the occasion for many shocking surprises for him. He had grown up in the "prison" of a Communist country, and did not know of the decadent situation of Western Europe until he arrived in Italy.

He was scandalized by the "superficiality and modernism of Catholics in the West". He was also shocked to find Catholic laity, religious, priests, bishops and Cardinals who believed in Communism. This flabbergasted him because, as he explained, "no one in Communist countries actually believes in Communism. Even Stalin did not believe in Communism." The Communist regime is all lies, says Father Popian, and everyone involved knows that it is all lies.

Even after his ordination, he was stunned at the high number of Catholic priests and prelates who were pro-Communist, or at least, decidedly anti-anti-Communist.

For example, he applied as a military chaplain to NATO. The government approved his appointment. But the Military Bishop of Italy sent Father Popian a letter refusing his appointment as a military chaplain because "You are a visceral anti-Communist".

Father Popian was speechless. NATO is supposed to be an anti-Communist military force, but according to the Italian bishop, the military chaplain is not allowed to be anti-Communist.

The First Non-Communist Mayor in 50 Years

In the Italian city where Father Popian lives, there had been a Communist mayor for decades. May 13 of this year was election day, when the city would vote for a new mayor. Just prior to elections, Father Popian told his congregation, "If you vote for the Communists, the fires of hell will not be sufficient for you!"

A journalist said to him, "Father, you must not say these things". Father Popian responded, "We are priests to tell the truth!"

Italian journalists picked up the story, and it ran in newspapers and news wires all over Europe, that a priest in a Rome suburb had threatened hellfire to those in his congregation if they voted for leftist candidates. The journalists did this to mock Father Popian, but it might have had the opposite effect they intended. Father Popian says he does not know if it was because of his preaching, but for the first time in 50 years, the people elected a non-Communist mayor, whom Father Popian describes as "a good Christian".

In fact, on November 2 this year, the mayor invited all the priests of the diocese to come to the cemetery to bring flowers and bless the dead. Tragically, out of the 60 priests in the diocese, only one priest went to the cemetery, Father Popian.

The Madonna Weeps

Father Popian then related the story of a small statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary that cried tears of blood on February 2, 1995. It has wept blood a number of times since, the last time was when it was being held by the bishop.

The bishop himself did not believe in the weeping statue. But when the statue wept blood while he was holding it, the bishop believed and became deeply devoted. Father Popian said that the Vatican told the bishop "you’ve lost your career" because you admitted to believing in the miracle of the statue.

Father Popian then asked the question, why is the statue weeping?

He answered by relating the story of a weeping statue of Our Lady of Syracuse, Italy, in 1953. The statue wept real tears not long before a general election, at a time when the Communists were gaining strength among the people of Italy.

Pope Pius XII, commenting publicly on the weeping statue of Syracuse, told the Italians, "The Madonna had to cry in order to get you to understand how you should vote."

As a result, the Communists did not win the 1953 elections.

Father Popian laments that in 1953, Catholic churchmen and bishops were anti-Communist, whereas today that is no longer the case. In the mid-1990s Italian election, for example, the Italian Episcopate instructed the priests and religious to vote for candidates of the left. Interestingly, there is no report of Vatican censures against those bishops who told their clergy to vote for leftist candidates.

Then on February 2, 1995, the triumphant leftist politicians held a celebration to which they invited the Catholic clergy to thank them for such a helpful role in their election. Father Popian was one of the few priests that did not go.

But at 4:00 in the afternoon, on the same day, February 2, the statue of Our Lady cried blood. Obviously, observes Father Popian, Our Lady is weeping blood to show Heaven’s disapproval of the betrayal by Catholic priests and bishops. It is no wonder that Sister Lucy of Fatima complained of the "diabolic disorientation of the upper hierarchy".

Father Popian with Father Gruner, speaking at the Rally Against Terrorism in New York City on November 10, 2001.

"Russia Must be Consecrated by Name"

Father Popian concluded by explaining that the only way to rid ourselves of these manifold evils is for the Pope to consecrate Russia by name to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This Consecration will be a kind of exorcism to drive the devils out of Russia. He points to his own conversion as a microcosm of the conversion of Russia. While in the seminary, he converted in a flash. It is so easy for an Orthodox to convert to Catholicism. "Orthodox theology" he says, "is very close to Catholic theology, except for a few points."

He believes that if the Pope would consecrate Russia by name, in union with the world’s bishops, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Russia would be converted the next day.

In the meantime, he urges Catholics to increase their prayers, their morning and evening prayers, to pray many Rosaries, and to pray without ceasing. He closed his dramatic presentation with the Scriptural quotation that relates Our Lord driving the devils out of the possessed, "That kind is only driven out by prayer and fasting."

Note: A cassette lecture of Father Popian's testimony, along with the other 17 speeches from the New York Rally, are available from the ad in "New York City Rally Against Terrorism Audio Tapes."

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