Millions of dollars has been spent by misinformed Catholics in movements claiming the collegial consecration of the world and Russia never happened. The freedom is there to help Russia convert but people argue whether the collegial consecration took place. Millions of dollars are spent - which could go to help Russia - but are rather spent on publications and various kinds of media simply attempting to get the Pope and bishops of the world to do what they have already done. The Pope, the retired and present bishop of Fatima and Sister Lucia herself say it did happen on March 25, 1984.
In the meantime, the true spirit of religion is not taking hold in Russia as it should. In many cases the new freedoms are used in a spirit of materialism.
A bishop I personally know went to Rome on his Ad Limina visit and asked Pope John Paul about the Collegial Consecration. At dinner he said to the Pope, "Holy Father we bishops get letters asking us to petition the Holy Father for the collegial consecration of Russia." The Pope answered, "You get those letters too. Who will they go to next?" The Pope's position was that the collegial consecration has happened.
A Cardinal in Rome I personally know tells how an American couple got to meet the Pope at a general audience. They asked the Pope to consecrate Russia collegially. The Pope replied, "How many times to you want me to do it?" The very words of the consecration formula used by the Pope and sent to the bishops spoke of collegiality. It said, "We find ourselves united with all the Pastors of the Church in a particular bond whereby we constitute a body and a college... In the bond of this union, we utter the words of the present Act..."
Of those who say, "but that consecration did not mention Russia explicitly" we reply to look again at the words of the consecration itself. It says: "Forty years ago [consecration of the world] and again ten years later, [explicit consecration of Russia] your servant Pope Pius XII, having before his eyes the painful experiences of the human family, entrusted and consecrated to your Immaculate Heart the whole world, especially the peoples for which by reason of their situation you have particular love and solicitude. This world of individuals and nations we too have before our eyes today..."
Does God not look at the intention of the heart. Is God not intelligent to know what the intention of Pope and bishops was? Were not the words clear that it was now a collegial act of what Pope Pius XII had done in consecration the world and ten years later RUSSIA? Does God have to hear the word "Russia" to hold valid heaven's request when the very words of the consecration said the Pope and bishops were renewing the two consecrations of Pope Pius XII of the world and of Russia?
Even if one accepts the spirit of legalism, it is not valid to hold it was not valid on those terms.
Yet untold efforts in many countries continue involve spending time and millions of dollars claiming Russia has never been consecrated rather than simply spreading the message of faith and love and knowledge of the faith so as to save families and save Russia sooner with what the Immaculate Heart of Mary has already accomplished through her intercession. At the same time strong accusations are often leveled against those who claim the conditions are fulfilled and rather than argue whether the Consecration took place now we must pray, act and sacrifice to help Russia.
When I spoke in all the states of Australia recently I was graciously received for an hour in private audience by Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth. His love for Our Lady of Fatima was obvious and he desired love for Our Lady in his Archdiocese. He was rightly saddened by the divisions in the Fatima movement between those who claim to work for Our Lady of Fatima and her message. He mentioned what I represent and what others who take an opposite position. I agreed with him at this sad division which keeps the beautiful message of Fatima from being known and recognized. It is contrary to the very call for unity which is at the heart of the Fatima message. While we would love to have unity with these others, yet, we cannot say opposite to what the bishops of Fatima, Sister Lucia and the Pope himself have said. To attack those to whom the message is especially confided as to its integrity is not on the side of the good holy angels.
We receive abundant literature from various movements, claiming dedication to Our Lady of Fatima, yet most of what is said is negative, divisive, sows distrust and times hatred. Can this be of Mary's Immaculate Heart.
I represented from the United States the Fatima Family Apostolate at Fatima's 75th anniversary of the apparitions Events which were held at the Centro Pastoral Paulo VI, next to the Cova da Iria, August 8 to August 13, 1992. Leader of Church recognized Fatima movements world-wide were invited. It was called by the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima and the Vatican. I spoke for approximately 50 minutes. This talk was translated into all major languages of the world via head-phones. It was printed up in the official book of the 75th anniversary events.
The present bishop of Fatima, Bishop Serafim S. Ferreira e Silva, was President of this First International Pastoral Symposium on Fatima. Having read my talk in advance, he still listened intently as I delivered, expressed enthusiastically his support and appreciation. Yet, as I completed my talk on the need for the Fatima movement to work for the sanctification of the family, a spokesman from France, in union with the same movement from other countries claiming there was no collegial consecration accomplished, offered offensive comments. When afterwards I nonetheless offered this man my hand in a friendship shake and offered him the priestly blessing he declined both, taking a step backwards. Is this according to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary?
Bishop Albert Amaral who took the miraculous statue from the Cova da Iria to the Vatican at the request of the Pope to have it there for the collegial consecration personally told me that Pope John Paul II said him that the act included, not only the world, and especially mentioned RUSSIA. That was the word of the Pope on March 25, 1984 to the Bishop of Fatima, immediately after the Act of Consecration.
Past issues of the Messenger have printed the words of letters Sister Lucia wrote stating that the collegial consecration is accomplished. One is dated August 29, 1989. [See total letter Jan. 1990 issue]. It is quoted below:
"On May 13, 1982, His Holiness John Paul II made the Consecration. I was asked if it was made. I responded "NO." It was not made in union with all the bishops of the world.
"Then this same Supreme Pontiff, John Paul II, wrote to all the bishops of the world [Dec. 1983) asking them to unite with him. He sent for the statue of Our Lady of Fatima -- the one from the little Chapel to be taken to Rome, and on March 25, 1984 - publicly - with the bishops who wanted to unite with His Holiness, made the Consecration as Our Lady requested. They then asked me if it was made as Ours Lady requested, and I said 'YES." Now it was made.
"Why this urgency of God that this Consecration should be made in union with all the bishops of the world? Because this Consecration is a call for unity of all Christians -- The Mystical Body of Christ -- whose head is the Pope, the one, true representative of Christ on earth to whom the Lord confided the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and on this union depends the faith in the world and the charity which is the bond that must unite all of us in Christ, as that which He wants, and as he asked the Father; "As You, O Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one is Us, that the world may believe that You have sent Me ... I in them, and You in Me; that they be made perfect in one, and the world maya know that You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me (John 17:21-23).
"As we see of the union depends the faith and the charity that must be the bond of our union in Christ, whose true representative on earth is the Pope."
Note how Sister Lucia ties the collegial consecration so close to the Pope's great work for Christian unity. Pope John Paul II, the Fatima Pope, has asked in his Apostolic Letter, Tertio Millennio Adveniente (Nov. 10, 1994) as we prepare for the Jubilee Year 2000 that Christians which divided so seriously toward the beginning of the second millennium and at its middle will now for the third millennium come together once again in Christ in Christian unity.
On July 3, 1990 Sister Lucia wrote the following letter directly to me in care of the Fatima Family Apostolate:
The Peace of Christ
Rev. Father Robert J. Fox,
I come to answer your question, "If the consecration made by Pope John Paul II on March 25, 1984 in union with all the bishops of the world, accomplished the conditions for the conversion of Russia, according to the request of Our Lady in Tuy on June 13 of 1929"? Yes, it was accomplished, and since then I have said that it was made.
And I say that no other person responds for me, it is I who receive and open all letters and respond to them.
In union of prayers.
Coimbra, July 3, 1990
The Messenger through the years has attempted to educate peoples on the Collegial Consecration. Cardinal Edward Gagnon, as Prefect of the Pontifical Council for the Family recognized the Messenger for its balance in regard to the Fatima message:
On November 14, 1989, Archbishop Pio Laghi, Apostolic Pro-Nuncio of the United States of America (No. 4846) wrote to me as addressed to the "Spiritual Director, Fatima Family Apostolate," and stated:
"I am grateful for your confidence in approaching me, as well as for your desire to place your apostolate at the service of the Church. Your efforts to bring unity to this beautiful [Fatima] movement by working under and with the Holy Father are particularly admired. ... I can assure you that I agree with your assessment that three Pontiffs have in fact consecrated the world (and therefore, Russia) to Mary, most recently, His Holiness Pope John Paul II in 1984. The observations of the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, the Most Reverend Alberto Cosme do Amaral, as reported in the Fatima Family Messenger (October-November-December 1989), seem much to the point, and his counsel should be heeded."
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Pio Laghi - Apostolic Pro-Nuncio
Readers of the Messenger can refer for themselves to the issue of the Messenger to which the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to the United States of America is making reference. There is detailed the words of Bishop Amaral of Leiria-Fatima to me and the entire youth apostolate I was leading. In summary, after reviewing the consecrations of Pope Pius XII on October 31, 1942 (the world) and of July 7, 1952 (Russia) and the action of Pope Paul Vi (November 21, 1964) and Pope John Paul II (May 13, 1982) Bishop Amaral concluded:
"In 1984 Pope John Paul II made another consecration. In preparation for it, the Pope sent a letter to all the bishops of the world asking them to join him in the Collegial Consecration of the world as a renewal of the two acts of consecration made by Pope Pius XII. Implicit therefore was the consecration of Russia. Not only was it to be a renewal of Pius XII's two consecrations (of the world and Russia) but the very words of Pope John Paul II mentioned those peoples `most in need.'"
"A moral totality of the world's bishops joined the Pope in this collegial consecration, including Eastern Orthodox bishops. ... The Holy Father knows what must be done. He has done all that he believe must be done.
"The thing for people to do now is to live the message of Fatima. I think the devil gets in between when people are worked up to get excited about the Collegial Consecration not having taken place and then write letters to the Holy See. They need, rather, to live the message of Fatima in their personal lives."
As mentioned above, millions of dollars have been collected from peoples and spent on various kinds of media focusing on the attempted to get the Pope and bishops to do what is already accomplished. How valuable those efforts would have been to help the peoples of Russia in practical ways rebuilt their limited number of churches and obtain the basics they need. Many churches could have been built with such money and efforts but do our knowledge the same have not contributed one penny to help the Church in Russia. At the same time credit and glory for the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is thus not given.
Our Lord and Our Lady have opened up new opportunities for the conversion of Russia and we in the West who believe in the power of God and the intercessory power of His Mother's Immaculate Heart may forget two things:
1. The need to continue to pray and sacrifice for the conversion of Russia, and Church unity, especially through the First Saturdays.
2. Jesus works through the Church, that means priests, religious, the baptized to bring conversions. That means the Church in Russia after 70 years of persecution and atheistic suppression has serious needs of having the Gospel preached to the people in their own language in terms of their own culture. Christians need to unite and help other Christians deprived who are in need.
One movement reportedly has spent multiple millions of dollars over the years on the media in various countries in an effort to convince people that they must petition the Holy Father in union with the bishops of the world to make the collegial consecration Our Lady of Fatima said was necessary for the conversion of Russia. They ask, "If it was made how come the conversion has not taken place?" A simplistic mode of thought holds that if it took place Russia would wake up the next morning and be Catholic. How much better would it have been to have credited the intercessory powers of the Immaculate Heart of God's Mother with obtaining the new freedoms in Russia and then put forth comparable efforts by media and finances to help the Church in Russia bring about conversions. Sister Lucia was told that one of the purposes why God required the collegial consecration of Russia was so that the intercessory power of His Mother's Immaculate Heart could be recognized.
The new freedoms in Russia were long delayed because of the failures of many to make sufficient sacramental reparation and the praying of the Rosary meditatively daily, especially as envisioned with the First Saturday exercises. It is reasonable to conclude that the Pope was able to accomplish the Collegial Consecration only when enough had responded to our Lady's requests. Of war, hunger, and persecution of the Church and the Holy Father, Our Lady said, "In order to prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays." (July 13, 1917).
Our Lady explicitly described on December 10, 1925 the four conditions in the spirit of reparation necessary for First Saturdays: 1. Confession. 2. Holy Communion; 3. Prayers of the Rosary. 4. Keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary. Later, on June 13, 1929 Our Lady appeared in the context of imagery of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Eucharist as Sacrifice and Sacrament, together with the Immaculate Heart of Mary and said: "The moment has come when God asks the Holy Father, in union with the bishops of the world, to make the Consecration of Russia to my Heart, promising to save it by this means."
Why did it take so long? Pius XII attempted it twice. Pope John Paul II did not succeed until his second attempt which was accomplished on March 25, 1984 after which events in Russia begin to change. As stated sufficient numbers had not previously made the First Saturdays enabling the Pope to accomplish the Consecration sooner.
Archbishop Kondrusiewicz, Apostolic Administrator of the Catholic Church, Latin Rite, who resides in Moscow told the Messenger that he believes the Collegial Consecration took place on March 25, 1984 and especially with the Marian Year 1987 there was realized in Russia an opening to newer freedoms religious-wise under the Soviet system. This is not to say that problems of atheistic domination and persecutions of 70 years are even yet all corrected.
Sister Lucia has said that we should continue to make the First Saturdays so that the [eventual] conversion of Russia will be more perfect. When I made a speaking tour in all the states of Australia in October 1996 at a question period one man made an insightful observation. "Is there not danger in our relaxing now and thinking, `Well! Since the Collegial Consecration is accomplished all the work of conversion for Russia is up to Our Lady?'
It would seem that those who say "If the Collegial Consecration has not happened how come Russia is not yet converted?" have just that concept. It seems to say, "Get the Pope and bishops to carry out an act of consecration and all else will be accomplished. But God and the Mother of the Church works through us.
St. Paul said in Romans 10:14: "But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how can men preach unless they are sent? ... So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ."
We ask, how are the peoples of Russia to return to the faith without the presence of the Church, priests, and all the means needed to preach the Gospel?
The Fatima Family Apostolate after consultation with Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Moscow came to the conclusion that rather then build a Shrine to Our Lady of Fatima separately from present needs it would be better to contribute to the rebuilding of the large Marian Chapel attached to St. Catherine's in St. Petersburg, Russia and that area be used for the Shrine to Our Lady of Fatima. We have been collecting funds now for three years and every dollar sent, without reductions of our own expenses in doing so, arrives for use for the Fatima Shrine at St. Catherine's.
In Australia in some of the places where I spoke last October, and briefly mentioned the Shrine to be build, people wanted to have a part in the Fatima Shrine at St. Catherine's and thus joined their brothers and sisters elsewhere in contributions to the rebuilding of the large Marian Chapel attached to St. Catherine's for the Fatima Shrine in Russia. They took up a collection and sent me over $5000 to give to Russia for the Shrine. In conjunction with this article you are encouraged to read - In Russia - Gold Cross and Icon placed over future Fatima Shrine.