Hitler an Antichrist


Pope who turned his back on Hitler


Part Two:Hitler an Antichrist



Damien F. Mackey

“Pius XI regarded Hitler as “the greatest enemy of Christ and of the Church

in modern times,” and compared the Führer to an Antichrist”.



According to Part One in this series:


Pope Pius XI had left the Vatican in late April 1938, earlier than usual for his summer retreat at Castel Gandolfo. He intended it to be an obvious snub directed at Adolf Hitler who was meeting the first week in May with Italian leader Benito Mussolini.


The pope rejected being present while the “crooked cross of neo-paganism” flew over Rome. Hitler’s anti-Semitic campaign had become the pope’s great preoccupation.


Along similar lines we read at Zenit:



Pius XI Considered Hitler an Antichrist


Italian Archives Shed Light on Pope´s View in 1938


ROME, MAR. 5, 2001 (Zenit.org). – If Adolf Hitler had wished to visit the Vatican, Pius XI would have had the Führer first ask publicly for forgiveness for persecuting the Catholic Church in Germany.

Pius XI regarded Hitler as “the greatest enemy of Christ and of the Church in modern times,” and compared the Führer to an Antichrist.

“The persecution against the Catholic Church in Germany was his work, wholly and solely his, enough was already known about it to be able to state it without fear of a denial,” the Pope said.

These revelations have come to light in the correspondence of Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano, which has just been reviewed in the archives of the Foreign Ministry in Rome.

The documents go back to the early days of April 1938, one month before Hitler´s trip to Rome. He had been invited by Benito Mussolini. The Nazi leader did not visit the Vatican.

The documents were published by Gianluca Andre, professor of international political history at the University of Rome, in a new volume entitled “Italian Diplomatic Documents,” printed by the State Polygraphic Institute.

Pius XI spoke of a possible visit of Hitler to the Vatican, during a reserved conversation on April 7, 1938, with Bonifacio Pignatti, ambassador of the Fascist government to the Vatican. Ciano and Mussolini were informed by ambassador Pignatti that Pius XI deprecated “the apotheosis of Mr. Hitler” being prepared in Rome.


Pope Francis goes to Egypt as a “messenger of peace”

Egyptian Coptic Christians protest attacks on Christians and churches, in front of the state television building in Cairo.

April 25, 2017

Pope Francis said he wants his visit to Egypt “to be a witness of my affection, comfort and encouragement for all the Christians of the Middle East, a message of friendship and respect for all the inhabitants of Egypt and the region, and a message of brotherhood and reconciliation with all the children of Abraham, particularly the Muslim world” in a video message to the Egyptian people released on Tuesday ahead of his April 28-29 visit to the country.

Pope Francis goes to Egypt as a “messenger of peace”

An altar boy holds a candle during a service at Saint Cyrill Greek Catholic Church, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, April 23, 2017. Pope Francis is scheduled to make a two-day pilgrimage to Egypt this week. (Credit: Amr Nabil/AP.)

ROME — Pope Francis has sent a video message to the people of Egypt ahead of this weekend’s two day visit to the country, saying he hopes his trip “will make a fruitful contribution to interreligious dialogue with the followers of Islam and to ecumenical dialogue with the venerable and beloved Coptic Orthodox Church.”

On Friday, April 28, the pope will participate in an international peace conference taking place at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, which is the most prominent institution in the Sunni world.

Francis will join Pope Tawadros II, the head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, and Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual head of the worldwide Orthodox Communion (which does not include the Coptic Church), to present a united Christian front at the meeting, which Al-Azhar said was called to encourage “respect instead of rejecting each other, to live in peace instead of fighting, and to tolerate instead of being fanatical.”

On Saturday, April 29, Francis will celebrate Mass for the local Catholic community before flying home to Rome in the late afternoon.

In his video message, released on Tuesday, the pope said he was coming as “a friend, as a messenger of peace, and a pilgrim” to Egypt.

He noted Egypt was  “the land where Patriarchs and Prophets lived, and where God, Benevolent and Merciful, the Almighty and One God, made his voice heard,” and was the place which “gave refuge and hospitality to the Holy Family as they fled the threats of King Herod.

“I would like this visit to be a witness of my affection, comfort and encouragement for all the Christians of the Middle East, a message of friendship and respect for all the inhabitants of Egypt and the region, and a message of brotherhood and reconciliation with all the children of Abraham, particularly the Muslim world, in which Egypt holds so important a place,” Francis said. “I would also hope that my visit will make a fruitful contribution to interreligious dialogue with the followers of Islam and to ecumenical dialogue with the venerable and beloved Coptic Orthodox Church.”

Francis also referenced a spate of violence which has left dozens of people dead over the past weeks in Egypt, including twin bombings at two churches in Tanta and Alexandria, which left at least 45 people dead.

Egyptian police later arrested 13 people who were planning attacks against Christians and public institutions in the country.

“Our world is torn by blind violence, a violence that has also struck the heart of your beloved land,” the pontiff said in his video message.

“Our world needs peace, love and mercy,” Francis continued, “it needs peacemakers, people who are free and who set others free, men and women of courage who can learn from the past in order to build the future, free of every form of prejudice.  Our world needs people who can build bridges of peace, dialogue, fraternity, justice and humanity.”

Pope Francis will show his solidarity with the victims of anti-Christian violence on Friday, when he and Tawadros will visit the church of Sts. Peter and Paul, which had been bombed during a  Mass in December 2016, leaving 24 people dead and dozens of others injured.

The Vatican spokesman, Greg Burke, on Monday said that although heavy security is the “new normal,” Francis will not use an armored car during his visit to Egypt.


Taken from: https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2017/04/25/pope-francis-goes-egypt-messenger-peace/

In Lourdes the Virgin is so close to us!

Our Lady Immaculate Conception of Mary POSTER 12x18 Virgin Mary print image Blessed Mother picture Holy Mary painting Catholic posters prints

On February 11, 2017, Cardinal Parolin, sent as papal legate in Lourdes, France, for the Day of the Sick and explained what a ‘papal legate’ is: “It is the highest way to represent the Holy Father. In legal terms, it is as if the Pope himself were visiting a place.”

Pope Francis, Cardinal Parolin stated, “is especially close to the sick.” In Lourdes, he said, “what strikes me is to see the faith of people; that is what has always struck me here. In addition to healing, the ill people ask to be able to accept the situation of frailty that they are experiencing, and offer it up. It is the summit of the Christian experience … to be like Jesus on the Cross.”
The message of Lourdes, he added, is “the message of closeness to the person who suffers”: “The Virgin who is close and who invites us to be close to all people who are sick (including) those who suffer from mental illness.” It is a “closeness to sinners” because “the most serious illness is sin.”

Read more on mariedenazareth.com:
Lent is the key to understanding Lourdes

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death.

The Feast Of Mercy

The Feast Of Mercy
The New Plenary Indulgence

During the course of Jesus’ revelations to Saint Faustina on the Divine Mercy He asked on numerous occasions that a feast day be dedicated to the Divine Mercy and that this feast be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. The liturgical texts of that day, the 2nd Sunday of Easter, concern the institution of the Sacrament of Penance, the Tribunal of the Divine Mercy, and are thus already suited to the request of Our Lord. This Feast, which had already been granted to the nation of Poland and been celebrated within Vatican City, was granted to the Universal Church by Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the canonization of Sr. Faustina on 30 April 2000. In a decree dated 23 May 2000, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments stated that “throughout the world the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that mankind will experience in the years to come.” These papal acts represent the highest endorsement that the Church can give to a private revelation, an act of  papal infallibility proclaiming the certain sanctity of the mystic, and the granting of a universal feast, as requested by Our Lord to St. Faustina.

Concerning the Feast of Mercy Jesus said:

Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. (Diary 300)

I want the image solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it. (Diary 341)

This Feast emerged from the very depths of My mercy, and it is confirmed in the vast depths of my tender mercies. (Diary 420)

On one occasion, I heard these words: My daughter, tell the whole world about My Inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.* [our emphasis] On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy. (Diary 699)

Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to our neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to absolve yourself from it. (Diary 742)

I want to grant complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy. (Diary 1109)

As you can see the Lord’s desire for the Feast includes the solemn, public  veneration of the Image of Divine Mercy by the Church, as well as personal acts of veneration and mercy. The great promise for the individual soul is that a devotional act of sacramental penance and Communion will obtain for that soul the plenitude of the divine mercy on the Feast.

*The Cardinal of Krakow, Cardinal Macharski, whose diocese is the center of the spread of the devotion and the sponsor of the Cause of Sr. Faustina, has written that we should use Lent as preparation for the Feast and confess even before Holy Week! So, it is clear that the confessional requirement does not have to be met on the Feast itself. That would be an impossible burden for the clergy if it did. The Communion requirement is easily met that day, however, since it is a day of obligation, being Sunday. We would only need confession again, if received earlier in Lenten or Easter Season, if we were in the state of mortal sin on the Feast.

‘Men of Research’

Image result



 Damien F. Mackey



“It reveals the whole problem of knowledge that remains self-sufficient

and so does not arrive at Truth itself, which ought to transform man”.





Blissfully Ignorant


There is a world of difference between knowing ‘stuff’ and being truly wise.

As I have written before, the universities are full of clever academics who know much about a lot of things, but who are unable to synthesise that vast knowledge in a coherent fashion.

True Wisdom is tied up with God, and it transforms rather than debases whoever possesses it (Proverbs 9:10): “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is prudence”.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen had written of ‘men of research’ in relation to Herod and the chief priest and scribes in their efforts to pin-point the geographical beginnings of the Messiah in the case of the visit of the Magi. And I continued that theme in my:


Geographical Origins of Prophet Jonah. Part One: He could not have been from Galilee



These men, “the chief priests and the Pharisees”, were expert in the sacred Scriptures – the Law and the Prophets – which they knew in the tiniest detail. So, when they asserted before Nicodemus that ‘none of the prophets had hailed from Galilee’, I take them to be quite right. They challenged Nicodemus to “search and … see”, knowing that a thorough investigation of the matter would prove them to be correct. These were, like Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, had described Herod, men ‘of research’. They knew ‘stuff’. But they lacked wisdom. Fulton Sheen explained in another place (http://www.catholictradition.org/Christmas/christ-child10.htm):


When the Magi came from the East bringing gifts for the Babe, Herod the Great knew that the time had come for the birth of the King announced clearly to the Jews, and apprehended dimly in the aspirations of the Gentiles. But like all carnal-minded men, he lacked a spiritual sense, and therefore felt certain that the King would be a political one. He made inquiries as to where Christ was to be born. The chief priests and learned men told him, “At Bethlehem in Judea, for so it has been written by the prophet.” Herod said that he wanted to worship the Babe. But his actions proved that he really meant, “If this is the Messiah, I must kill Him.”

When Herod saw how the astrologers had tricked him he fell into a passion, and gave orders for the massacre of all children in Bethlehem and its neighborhood, of the age of two years or less, corresponding with the time he had ascertained from the astrologers. [Matthew 2:16]

Herod will forever be the model of those who make inquiries about religion, but who never act rightly on the knowledge they receive. Like train announcers, they know all the stations, but never travel. Head knowledge is worthless, unless accompanied by submission of the will and right action.


Just as Herod was able to ascertain from “the chief priests and the learned men [Pharisees?]” that the King of the Jews was to be born “at Bethlehem in Judea”, so did “the chief priests and the Pharisees” well know that none of the prophets – and they were ‘building tombs for them’ (Luke 11:47) – had hailed from Galilee. Their ancestors had killed many of these same prophets. And Jesus, whom “the chief priests and the Pharisees” were intending to murder (John 11:53) – even though they were quite aware that He had raised Lazarus from the dead (11:46) – had also, as a child, been marked for death by Herod.

Apparently intelligence and learning are, on their own, not enough. They can lead to murder.

[End of quotes]


A reader (in 2011) predicted the eventual downfall of a conventional Egyptian chronology that fails to enlighten, but rather causes confusion:


Those holding to the old orthodoxy of Egyptian History will soon vanish and out of the mists will arise a new historical chronology that will again dramatically shorten the length of Egyptian chronology. I think the works of Velikovsky, Courville … and others will eventually unseat the modern Pharisees and Sadduccees who hold sway over the old orthodoxy which is dying as the revisionists get their ideas out in the internet. I hope that you are actively engaged in further research and I suspect you realize that the Hebrew Chronology which influenced three of the major religions in history is more critical than the Egyptian documents that are carved in stone as almost nothing in the Egyptian Chronology matches that of the Hebrews. Keep up the great research.


[End of quote]

“Not Knowing”


Now, Pope Benedict XVI has written astutely on this theme of ‘expert knowledge coupled with ignorance’ in his 2011 book, Jesus of Nazareth Holy Week From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection (p. 207), in which he would excuse those who are not wilfully ignorant:


Once again, the theme of “not knowing” appears in one of Saint Paul’s autobiographical reflections. He recalls that he himself “formerly blasphemed and persecuted and insulted” Jesus; then he continues: “but I received mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief” (I Tim 1:13). In view of his earlier self-assurance as a perfect disciple of the Law, who knew and lived by the Scriptures, these are strong words; he who had studied under the best masters and who might reasonably have considered himself a real expert on the Scriptures, had to acknowledge, in retrospect, that he was ignorant. Yet his very ignorance is what saved him and made him fit for conversion and forgiveness. This combination of expert knowledge and deep ignorance certainly causes us to ponder. It reveals the whole problem of knowledge that remains self-sufficient and so does not arrive at Truth itself, which ought to transform man. ….

[End of quote]



Part Two: Philosophy and Faith




“Most people have some degree of higher education and so are accustomed to dealing with complex issues in a sophisticated manner in other areas of life. But when it comes to their faith, or when it comes to an outlook on how life is, they have been brought up on a diet of simplistic fluff”.


Bishop Richard Umbers





Need for Metaphysics


The case for metaphysics is given by Bishop Umbers iThe Catholic Weekln y (16 April 2017), pp. 18, 23:


… the recovery of metaphysics is necessary to the re-evangelisation of culture.

“Metaphysics is the ‘first philosophy’. … It deals with the question of God, the question of the world and of the soul, of the state of ‘being inasmuch as it is being’ or [in Latin] ens qua ens.  It is looking at the technical aspect of reality.

Since the ancient Greeks, the world’s greatest thinkers were, first and foremost, metaphysicians. It was the gold standard of intellectual pursuit.


In the Modern Era, metaphysics has been slowly replaced with epistemology, the question of how we know things. In this way, the focus of the world’s thinkers shifted from objective Truth, to subjective knowledge. Although it may have fallen out of fashion, Bishop Umbers explains how metaphysics still operates as the basis of all thought – even for those who expressly claim the opposite.

“When we say that philosophy doesn’t matter, (as) scientists like Lawrence Kraus and Stephen [Hawking] (say), they are actually making metaphysical assumptions. They are just doing bad metaphysics” ….


“Most people have some degree of higher education and so are accustomed to dealing with complex issues in a sophisticated manner in other areas of life. But when it comes to their faith, or when it comes to an outlook on how life is, they have been brought up on a diet of simplistic fluff”.

This inverse proportion between people’s general education and their philosophical and faith formation “creates a false dichotomy between faith and reason” ….

Metaphysics is a “certain training of the mind” and … it is a gruelling, but rewarding, ride. “You have to be prepared to read. There are no short cuts. There are no easy courses. You can’t use your imagination when doing metaphysics, it is purely conceptual … it is less about “gooey feelings” and more about “well though-through positions”.

Apart from being difficult, the biggest obstacle to learning metaphysics is knowing where to begin.

“It would be good to have a teacher … especially when you first set out, you tend to get many things wrong”.


But more than anything, Bishop Umbers encourages people to hit the books themselves.


[End of quote]


Whilst Bishop Umbers traditionally points would-be readers in the direction of the Greeks, I would be suggesting the Hebrews, and books such as this one by Peter Kreeft.


Isaiah’s ‘Suffering Servant’ points to mission of Jesus

Image result for Jesus suffering servant


 Damien F. Mackey



“The Suffering Servant, who has the guilt of all laid upon him (53:6), giving up his life as a sin-offering (53:10) and bearing the sins of many (53:12), thereby carries out the ministry of the high priest, fulfilling the figure of the priesthood from deep within. He is both priest and victim, and in this way he achieves reconciliation”.

Pope Benedict XVI



“Suffering Servant”

prefigures Jesus Christ


Richard B. Hays, writing a review of Pope Benedict XVI’s book, Jesus of Nazareth Holy Week From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection (2011), acknowledges an outstanding feature of Benedict’s book: how the Old Testament prefigures and leads to the New Testament: https://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/08/001-benedict-and-the-biblical-jesus


Benedict and the Biblical Jesus



From beginning to end, Benedict grounds his interpretation of Jesus in the Old as well as the New Testament. The significance of the gospel stories is consistently explicated in relation to the Old Testament’s typological prefiguration of Jesus, and Jesus is shown to be the flowering or consummation of all that God had promised Israel in many and various ways. The resulting intercanonical conversation offers many arresting insights into Jesus’ identity and significance. Many of the connections that Benedict discerns are traditional in patristic exegesis, but his explication of them is artful and effective.


[End of quote]


On p. 81, Pope Benedict credits French priest André Feuillet with pointing out how well Isaiah’s Suffering Servant Songs throw light upon the high-priestly prayer of Jesus (John 17):



Before we consider the individual themes contained in Jesus’ high-priestly prayer, one further Old Testament allusion should be mentioned, one that has again been studied by André Feuillet. He shows that the renewed and deepened spiritual understanding of the priesthood found in John 17 is already prefigured in Isaiah’s Suffering Servant Songs, especially in Isaiah 53. The Suffering Servant, who has the guilt of all laid upon him (53:6), giving up his life as a sin-offering (53:10) and bearing the sins of many (53:12), thereby carries out the ministry of the high priest, fulfilling the figure of the priesthood from deep within. He is both priest and victim, and in this way he achieves reconciliation. Thus the Suffering Servant Songs continue along the whole path of exploring the deeper meaning of the priesthood and worship, in harmony with the prophetic tradition ….


On p. 136, Benedict returns to this theme:


For we have yet to consider Jesus’ fundamental interpretation of his mission in Mark 10:45, which likewise features the word “many”; “For the Son of [Man] also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”. Here he is clearly speaking of the sacrifice of his life, and so it is obvious that Jesus is taking up the Suffering Servant prophecy from Isaiah 53 and linking it to the mission of the Son of Man, giving it a new interpretation.


And then, on pp. 173 and 199, he broadens it:


This idea of vicarious atonement is fully developed in the figure of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53, who takes the guilt of many upon himself and thereby makes them just (53:11). In Isaiah, this figure remains mysterious: the Song of the Suffering Servant is like a gaze into the future in search of the one who is to come.

…. The history of religions knows the figure of the mock king — related to the figure of the “scapegoat”. Whatever may be afflicting the people is offloaded onto him: in this way it is to be driven out of the world. Without realizing it, the soldiers were actually accomplishing what those rites and ceremonies were unable to achieve: “Upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed” (Is 53:5). Thus caricatured, Jesus is led to Pilate, and Pilate presents him to the crowd — to all mankind: “Ecce homo”, “Here is the man!” (Jn 19:5).


Before concluding his treatment of the subject on pp. 252-253:


A pointer towards a deeper understanding of the fundamental relationship with the word is given by the earlier qualification: Christ died “for our sins”. Because his death has to do with the word of God, it has to do with us, it is a dying “for”. In the chapter of Jesus’ death on the Cross, we saw what an enormous wealth of tradition in the form of scriptural allusions feeds into the background here, chief among them the fourth Song of the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53). Insofar as Jesus’ death can be located within this context of God’s word and God’s love, it is differentiated from the kind of death resulting from Man’s original sin as a consequence of his presumption in seeking to be like God, a presumption that could only lead to man’s plunge into wretchedness, into the destiny of death. ….


Cardinal Arinze Discusses Mary at Fatima — and in Tradition and Christian Devotion

(Dennis Callahan/denniscallahanphotos.smugmug.com via Flickr, CC BY SA 2.0)

Vatican  |  Mar. 30, 2017

Cardinal Arinze Discusses Mary at Fatima — and in Tradition and Christian Devotion

The former prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship is the author of the new book Marian Veneration: Firm Foundations.

VATICAN CITY — Cardinal Francis Arinze has no doubt that, this year, which marks the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima, the Blessed Virgin Mary will help the Church through her current difficulties and confusion — but it depends on the faithful’s prayers to the Holy Mother of God.

The Nigerian cardinal was speaking in a March 13 interview with the Register in Rome about his new book, Marian Veneration: Firm Foundations.

Cardinal Arinze explained how he hopes the book will equip Catholics and non-Catholics with a full knowledge of Our Lady, the importance of Marian devotion today, and the meaning of apparitions in the life of the Church, especially in this anniversary year.

The former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments also gives his opinion on the perennial question of whether a pope has consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart that would usher in a period of world peace — an act Our Lady requested at Fatima in 1917.

Your Eminence, what prompted you to write the book?

One motivation was the anniversary, indeed, the centenary, of Fatima, which is in May this year. Also, one of my priest friends said to me: “You haven’t really written a book on Our Lady. You’ve given talks, but not written a whole book.”

So I thought of it. But the bigger reason is to furnish people who are devoted to Our Lady with arguments — scriptural, dogmatic — on the foundations of Marian veneration so they should not be on the defensive. They should be calm, knowing this is actually founded on holy Scripture, on the Tradition of the Church and on good theology — not to focus on the practice of saints or the teachings of popes, and the actual living of Christian people all around the world — so that those devoted to Our Lady will have this type of assurance, the foundation on doctrine and Scripture.

Also, if anybody asks them the reason for their Marian veneration, not so much for those who want to argue, or for those who are against Marian veneration: If they want information, this book will help them, but if they only want to win an argument, then this is not the reason for the book.

It’s so a Catholic will be equipped with material so that if he has a Protestant friend who wants to know, “Why are you Catholics devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary?” my answer is: “Take this book.”

It is part of Christianity, because when divine Providence decided to put into action God’s plan for human salvation, he sent the archangel Gabriel, who came to the Virgin Mary of Nazareth with God’s proposal, and Mary accepted it, saying, “Let it be done to me according to your word,” which means that the Blessed Virgin Mary cooperated in a very exceptional way with God’s plan for human salvation.

It was not her own invention, but she accepted it, and she was an associate of the Redeemer, not only at the Annunciation, of course, the Visitation of Elizabeth — of course, we know what happened there — but the Nativity of Christ in Bethlehem, the flight into Egypt and her private life in Nazareth, about which we would like to know so much — we are told just enough, but not enough for our curiosity.

Then, in the public life of Christ, Vatican II talks of Mary’s significant appearances, especially on Calvary and what Christ said there, which means Christ was saying to John: “This is your mother” and to the Blessed Virgin Mary: “Behold your son.”

Christ was declaring what was already there by the fact that he is the Redeemer, and we who are redeemed are his brothers and sisters, so we are spiritual children of the Virgin Mary. This means Marian veneration is not something invented by the Vatican or by enthusiastic Catholics. It is something that is just in the normal, calm reading of God’s working out of our salvation.

So Mary cooperated in a special way in our salvation history — which means Marian veneration is normal to Christianity. The way it is expressed can differ and change.

Would you say that it’s especially important to listen to God’s word today and that she gives the perfect example of listening to God and what he wants for our lives? Is that the primary example she gives us?

You are right — she listened.

Indeed, one chapter is on the faith of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which many Christians don’t think about. Mary believed every detail about the life of Christ wasn’t made clear to her.

Two or three times, St. Luke tells us she did not understand what he had said: “She kept these words and reflected on them in her heart,” which means she made what Vatican II calls a pilgrimage of faith. She grew in faith. She believed. Elizabeth praised her: “Blessed are you who believed.” She must have been thinking of a man very near her [Zechariah] who did not believe, and the angel struck him with dumbness for nine months! So she’s a model of faith.

You say one has to adapt the devotions to today. How have the devotions changed compared to, say, 100 years ago?

Well, the way it is expressed can change according to people or cultures or times.

If you are in Spain, they have long traditions of how they express devotion to the Virgin Mary. On Good Friday, they have a type of procession where she is wearing black. We don’t have that in Nigeria. We are new Christians, in a way.

And then in Italy, they have 2,000 years of Christianity, so they have developed forms of Marian veneration — the shrines, the big sanctuaries and even the small ones, their style, their expression, the hymns associated with lutes. So it is just normal.

How does the book aim to help the faithful practice their devotions in particular ways?

On what we call popular devotions, the Second Vatican Council, in its document on the liturgy [Sacrosanctum Concilium], Paragraph 13, says that popular devotions should be encouraged, but they should be in line with good theology and also with the liturgical life of the Church.

You will notice that the earlier forms of devotion of the Blessed Virgin Mary were in Advent, because it was normal when expecting the nativity of Christ to think of his mother. So that would be one of the ways in which devotion develops.

Then there is a particular stress or an angle: prayer, penance and listening to the word of God. Everyone will have their own way of having recourse to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The religious sisters would record her as an example, a model, although she was not what we would call a religious sister, in the sense of a consecrated religious.

If anything, she was a married woman, but [had] a very special type of marriage. Then mothers would look on her in their own way, of course, and even girls growing up can look on her. And because she brought Christ to other people, every one of us priests are to bring Christ to other people. She lived for Christ. Her whole life was Christocentric, so every one of us, in our own way, can look up to her.

How significant is the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima?

Our Lady appeared at Fatima to the three children in 1917. It took the Church some time to approve it because it is normal that the Church is slow to approve apparitions — because our faith is not built on apparitions. So they are proposed, not imposed.

If, therefore, a person says: “I am not attracted by Fatima, I am not attracted by Lourdes,” we do not condemn anybody for that. But if a person says: “I do not believe he died in Jerusalem,” that’s different, because that’s part of Revelation. But an apparition can help us: not because Our Lady appeared at Fatima to make a new revelation, but to stress an angle, or emphasis we need. So she asked for prayers: prayer for sinners, prayer for peace, to do penance, to pray the Rosary, and then “my Immaculate Heart will finally triumph.”

So, in that sense, yes, an apparition helps us.

And do you see this whole year as particularly significant? Do you expect some special grace from it?

There is no question of binding anyone to that, or condemning a person because they’re not enthusiastic about the Fatima anniversary and so then [saying] they’re not a good Catholic.

That’s not good logic, nor good theology. But an individual is free. I don’t personally expect a particular miracle this year.

But for the Church generally?

Oh, I will pray that we take more seriously the message of Fatima, that we pray — pray the Rosary, do penance, and pray for world peace; and also that the ideology behind communism would not keep a hold on people. That is part of the message of Fatima. It is relevant, and it is in line with the Gospel. Therefore, I have hope and pray, in that sense.

How can Our Lady, perhaps through this anniversary, help guide us through this difficult moment in the Church, where people say there’s a lot confusion? Could the Blessed Virgin help us through this, perhaps by praying to her more, so that we could achieve clarity?

Yes, no doubt — hoping to have a miracle this year, as if I were giving God an ultimatum, that, no, but that Our Lady will help us, yes, because she’s the mother of Christ the Savior, and she’s the spiritual mother of all Christians. She is the mother of the Church.

Even if Paul VI didn’t declare that in 1965, or 1964, it is still a fact, as Christ even said it on Calvary. And even if Christ didn’t say it on Calvary, the fact that she’s the mother of Christ, and therefore spiritual mother of all of us, makes her Mother of the Church and means she must be interested in how the Church is getting on.

If the Church of her son is in difficulty, we can’t expect the mother to be unconcerned. Therefore, we must pray to her more this year and believe that she intercedes for the Church. How it will work out, I cannot tell.

Do you subscribe to the view that the Pope still needs to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart for peace to be achieved?

If I begin to make a statement: “Has the Pope done that or not?” — I’m not ready to do that. But Our Lady said, “Consecrate the world and Russia to my Immaculate Heart.” Yes, Pope St. John Paul II said: “I have done that,” especially in 1984, and, for me, that is good and enough.

But it is not a dogma, whether he actually did all Our Lady asked for or not; we don’t have to go to that length.

On apparitions in general, do you deal with that in the book?

I give it a chapter, because it is a fact in the life, the history of the Church.

God is not bound to send the Blessed Virgin Mary to appear, but de facto in history, in the last 2,000 years, some say that Christ appeared to them, such as St. Margaret Mary Alacoque or Sister Faustina. Many said the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to them — now, not all of them would be authentic, but some are, and the Church, in a very rigid way, has looked to them, with theologians, psychologists and so on, and finally pronounced this [instance] is from heaven.

In some cases, the apparition is not clear, so the Church, when it is not clear, does not pronounce, because the Blessed Virgin Mary does not get permission from the Pope, or a bishop, to be able to appear to anybody. She will appear as she wishes, according to God’s plan.

We don’t have to be informed, but we take notice of the fact — our faith is not built on an apparition, but an apparition can help us and does help us.

It’s an aid to faith?

Oh definitely, so I gave it a chapter; and, indeed, I listed shrines where Our Lady is in many countries in the world — some of them already approved right up to Rome, others approved by the bishops at the diocesan level, others with no certainty, so no approval, and it’s just normal that it should be so.

Edward Pentin is the Register’s Rome correspondent.


Sister Lucia of Fatima ‘said Russia’s prophecy was fulfilled’

Archbishop of Minsk, Belarus, said she made the remark after learning he was the Catholic Archbishop in Moscow.

People in the former Soviet republic of Belarus have a great devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, and so does the archbishop who leads them.

Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk, Belarus, who served as archbishop of Moscow from 1991 to 2007, speaks passionately about his devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, who appeared to three children in Portugal in 1917.

“The idea of Fatima, the idea of the conversion of Russia – it’s in my heart,” he told Catholic News Service during a late-March visit to Washington.

“You will never find a church without a statue of Our Lady of Fatima in my country,” he added.

Archbishop Kondrusiewicz said he met three times with Carmelite Sister Lucia dos Santos, one of the three children who received the visions of Mary.

At the first meeting, in 1991, he told Sister Lucia that he was the Catholic archbishop in Moscow. “She asked several times, ‘Is it true?’”

“‘So,’ she said, ‘it means the prophecy of Fatima is fulfilled,’” Archbishop Kondrusiewicz said.

Part of the Fatima message – contained in a vision to Sister Lucia and her cousins – warned of the rise of communism, but also spoke of the ultimate triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, especially in Russia if the country was consecrated to her Immaculate Heart. Although some Fatima devotees have debated whether the consecrations were carried out properly, Popes Pius XII, Paul VI and John Paul II each entrusted the world, and Russia in particular, to Mary. Archbishop Kondrusiewicz said Sister Lucia assured him that it was done correctly.

Archbishop Kondrusiewicz said Sister Lucia told him to work with the Orthodox, and she sent a statue of Our Lady of Fatima with him to give to Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow, who was patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church at the time.

“Later, I saw the statue on his table several times,” the archbishop said.

In honour of the 100th anniversary of the first time Mary spoke of Russia in the apparitions, he said, two pilgrimages from Belarus will meet in Fatima on July 13.

As far as Sister Lucia’s instructions to work with the Orthodox, the archbishop said the two churches applied to open counselling centres in abortion hospitals and received government permission.

“We saved a lot of lives,” he said, adding that the two churches along with some Protestant communities lobbied to change the Belarusian law to limit instances in which abortion is allowed.

Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk, Belarus (Photo: CNS)

Archbishop Kondrusiewicz told CNS that, as in other European countries, a growing secularism is threatening family life. He said about 50 per cent of Belarusian couples are divorced and, unfortunately, Catholic couples are part of the statistic. The Church is sending family consultations teams – psychologists, doctors, priests and nuns – to different parishes, “and people are coming,” he said.

During a large part of the 20th century, Belarus was under communist rule and there were no churches, the archbishop said, but parents taught their children to pray every day. Now there are churches, but many parents do not take their children to church after their first Communion at age seven or eight.

The city of Minsk – with about 400,000 Catholics – has five churches, six chapels and seven churches under construction.

“It’s not easy to receive permission to build a church, but we are receiving permission, and we are receiving land for free,” said Archbishop Kondrusiewicz.

About 20 per cent of the nation’s 500 priests are from other countries, and the head of the nation’s Religious Affairs Department is making it difficult for them to stay. The same government official has said that when the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences holds its plenary in Belarus in late September, participants must receive special permission to celebrate Mass in public.

Archbishop Kondrusiewicz was in the United States seeking support for a new Catholic business university. He said he often is invited to speak at secular universities about moral values and ethics. “Our society, they feel this necessity. They say, ‘Please come.’”

He said there is a university for sale in Minsk, with the potential to buy it on the condition that current students must be allowed to finish their course of studies. He is not sure such a university would succeed, “but we are trying to move stone.”

He also expressed thanks for all the support Catholics in the United States and other Western countries gave former Soviet republics after the fall of communism. As a Catholic in the former Soviet Union, he said, he was only “able to dream about” things like reconstruction and renovation of churches.


Taken from: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2017/03/30/sister-lucia-of-fatima-said-russias-prophecy-was-fulfilled/