“Conversion of Russia” Update:
Belarus Crushes Catholic Church
by Christopher A. Ferrara
On September 12, 2001 Father Gruner was publicly declared “suspended” — without any grounds — by the ever-vigilant Congregation for the Clergy in a Vatican Press office announcement. A “reminder” of this suspension was published a few days later. That was the sum total of the Congregation’s public notifications regarding the discipline of the Church’s 405,000 diocesan priests in the year 2001.
Meanwhile, we are now informed that all disciplinary procedures involving innumerable pedophile priests, who shamefully exploit and abuse innocent children, will be conducted in secret and that even the rules for these procedures will be kept secret. Preach the conversion of Russia, and you get suspended. Molest an altar boy — molest a dozen altar boys — and you get a secret trial in which your reputation is protected.
But not to worry. Now that Father Gruner is “suspended”, the Vatican, and the world, can return to the important business of building world peace through the United Nations and prayer meetings with the representatives of false religions. After all, Russia was “consecrated” 17 years ago. Let’s have no more talk of the “conversion of Russia” or that equally embarrassing “triumph” of the Immaculate Heart. Let’s all go to sleep now.
But while we are sleeping, reality continues to exist. And the reality is that Russia has not only failed to convert, but is increasing her persecution of the Catholic Church.
On January 10, 2002 CWNews.com reported “disturbing new indications of hostility to the Catholic Church” in Belarus. The article notes that “The broadcasting of Sunday Mass on the state radio service has been canceled without warning, and the official newspaper of the city of Vitebsk — Vitebski Rabochi (Vitebsk Worker) — recently carried an article calling for a ban on the establishment of ‘Catholic institutions’.”
CWN further notes that the article was unsigned, “which, in today’s Belarus suggests that it is a ‘trial balloon’ to test an idea that might later be incorporated into official policy. The anonymous author urges that Catholic institutions should be banned since, ‘in particular, they are liable to entice our children from Orthodoxy into Catholicism’.” Well, we can’t have that! Both Belarus and the Vatican agree that the conversion of the Orthodox to Catholicism is no longer “appropriate”. As the 1993 Balamand declaration signed by Vatican emissary Cardinal Cassidy declares, the return of the Orthodox to Rome is “outdated ecclesiology”.
What does all this have to do with Russia? Well, as CWN notes “Belarus is officially a secular state…[I]ts authoritarian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, although he proclaims himself to be an atheist, nevertheless looks to the Orthodox Church for support in his policy of the ‘integration’ of Belarus with Russia.” Get the picture? Belarus and Russia are getting back together again — as if they ever really separated in the first place.
Day after day the evidence mounts that the will of Heaven in the matter of Russia’s conversion has been thwarted by the plans of men. But Heaven will not be denied. Sooner or later the promises of Fatima will be fulfilled — and I would not want to be among those who are delaying the coming of that glorious day.