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"Conversion of Russia" Update:

Putin the Dictator

by Christopher A. Ferrara

The neo-Catholic establishment (including EWTN, newspapers like The Wanderer and magazines like This Rock), wants us to believe that Russia was consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in a 1984 ceremony at the Vatican — a ceremony that made no mention of Russia and was not joined by the world episcopate of the Catholic Church.

This is the same gang, mind you, that sees nothing wrong with guitar Masses and altar girls (at least not since the Pope caved in and approved them), and tells us that we are in the midst of the “springtime” of Vatican II. In other words, to borrow a phrase from T.S. Eliot, they cannot bear very much reality. But as Ronald Reagan liked to say, facts are stubborn things. Where the Message of Fatima is concerned, those pestiferous facts just won’t go away.

Our Lady’s prophecy concerning the Consecration of Russia exhibits the same heavenly economy of words as the rest of the Message of Fatima; it defies “exegesis” in the post-conciliar style:

“The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted.”

So where is the conversion of Russia following the “consecration” of 1984? Over the past year the neo-Catholic establishment has been hustling to come up with an answer — any answer — to this persistent and increasingly embarrassing question. In the October 2000 issue of This Rock magazine, neo-Catholic commentator James Akin opines that perhaps Our Lady never prophesied a religious conversion at all. Akin claims that the Portuguese phrase se convertera (will be converted) doesn’t necessarily mean a change of religion, but could refer to Russia’s “miraculous” political conversion. So, Our Lady could have been speaking of a religious conversion, but not necessarily. Gee, it’s just so hard to be sure what Our Lady had in mind when She said Russia “will be converted.” We only thought we knew for the past 84 years.

Whatever you say, Mr. Aiken. Nice talking to you. At any rate, even this silly neo-Catholic rendering of the conversion of Russia founders on the stubborn facts. Last June neo-con liberal journalist David Frum confirmed what Fatima followers had already surmised from multiple reliable sources: “In Russia, Putin’s in — and democracy’s out.” (National Post, June 17, 2000) Frum’s article recounts Putin’s systematic reconstruction of a Soviet-style authoritarian government “controlled by more or less the same people who controlled the Soviet state that collapsed in 1991.” And in the New York Times William Safire reports on Putin’s seizure of the only independent television network, and notes that “the Russian media know they are under surveillance by Putin’s KGB no matter where they go.”

On February 7, the Dumas of the Russian parliament overwhelmingly approved a law that would ban opposition parties unless they have 10,000 members and offices in at least half of Russia’s 89 different regions. In other words, there will be no opposition parties at the grassroots, but only a few “big players” under Moscow’s thumb. Meanwhile, the strains of Stalin’s national anthem, restored by Vladimir Putin, are heard once again in Russia. So much for the political “conversion” theory — as if political changes were all that Our Lady of Fatima came to proclaim in the first place.

Facts are stubborn things. The neo-Catholics are trying to peddle a neo-Fatima, but the facts keep spoiling their sales pitch. The facts will not go away. And neither will the words of Heaven go away: “In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph.” Let the neo-Catholics try a rewrite on that one.