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“Conversion of Russia” Update:

The Pathetic State of the Catholic Church in Russia

by Christopher A. Ferrara

In a previous column I noted that the Vatican’s creation of an “Archdiocese of the Mother of God at Moscow” was clearly designed to avoid any accusation by the Russian Orthodox that the Catholic Church was acquiring territory in Russia. No, there would simply be Catholic structures that happened to be located in Russia, but were not claiming to be dioceses of Russia.

Well, my opinion has been confirmed by none other than Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, the Archbishop, not of Moscow, but in Moscow. On the website of an organization called Aid to the Church in Russia, we find Kondrusiewicz’s statement in response to the objections of Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II to the creation of the pseudo-dioceses. Kondrusiewicz states the following: “Taking all that is written above into consideration, we think that the alteration of the status of the structures of the Catholic Church in Russia and the institution of an ecclesiastical province cannot be seen as the creation of a new Catholic structure parallel to the Russian Orthodox Church. In the first place the dioceses do not bear the name of the city in which they have their See. We have not the Archbishop of Moscow or for Russia, but an Archbishop in Moscow.”

Note well: According to Archbishop Kondrusiewicz himself, the Catholic Church does not have an Archbishop of Moscow, nor any other bishop of Russia.

The other day I received a piece of fundraising literature from Aid to the Church in Russia, whose Board of Advisors includes Archbishop Kondrusiewicz. To read this solicitation is to understand fully the pathetic condition of the Church in Russia, eighteen years after the “consecration” of 1984. First of all, the letter (in line with Fatima revisionism in general) claims that “the fall of communism” in 1991 represents the fulfillment of “the incredible promise of Our Lady of Fatima: Russia ‘…will be converted and the world will enjoy a period of peace’.” Notice the deletion of any reference to the consecration of Russia (the ellipsis is in the original fundraising letter).

On examining the rest of the letter, however, we see anything but a fulfillment of the Virgin’s promise. We find that Archbishop Kondrusiewicz has been forced to conduct the affairs of the Catholic Church in Russia from “a few rooms in a Moscow apartment”, that he has no meeting rooms, and that “the vicar general in Moscow (they will not even say the vicar general of Moscow in their own fundraising literature!) “meets with his guest and staff in the kitchen.” The Catholic Church in Russia must conduct its meetings in a kitchen!! We read also that the Archbishop “must deal with a Russian government increasingly hostile to the Catholic faith.” — hardly a surprise to the readers of this column.

Finally, we read a desperate plea to send money now for the building of a facility for Archbishop Kondrusiewicz, since the Archbishop “cannot maneuver against such forces [the increasingly hostile Russian government] from inadequate headquarters.” In fact, if money is not sent right away so that construction can begin, “the government could revoke the Church’s permission to build.” But the Russian government, says the letter, “cannot remove a functioning building.” Really? Can we take that to the bank? And what if the “Russian government” simply decides that the building does not “comply” with some regulation, and takes it over or closes it down?

Meanwhile, as Aid to the Church in Russia seeks funds to build a headquarters for the Archbishop at Moscow, another Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need, is giving millions of dollars to the Orthodox Church for its continued functioning in Russia — a fact recited by the Vatican itself as justification for its creation of the Catholic pseudo-dioceses: “Navarro-Valls also reminded reporters that in the past decade Catholic groups such as Aid to the Church in Need have provided more than $17 million in direct aid to the Russian Orthodox Church.” (CWNews.com, Feb. 11, 2002) The website for Aid to the Church in Need proclaims: “Following a 1984 decree of the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy, Aid to the Church in Need was recognized by the Catholic Church as a universal public association of faithful.” [http://www.kirche-in-not.org/e_home.htm]

So, one Catholic charity combats the agenda of another in Russia! The faithful are asked, on the one hand, to help build up the Catholic Church in Russia, and, on the other hand, to give money to an organization that helps build up its hateful opponent, the Russian Orthodox church, already fattened by the spoils that Stalin robbed from the Catholic Church at gunpoint in the 1940s.

This, then, is the utterly pathetic state of Roman Catholicism some 18 years after the “consecration of Russia”: an Archbishop in Moscow, who holds meetings in a kitchen and worries that his building permit will be revoked by the government of Vladimir (“the practicing Christian”) Putin, while a Vatican-chartered charity raises millions for the Russian Orthodox Church, which viciously opposes any Catholic presence in Russia and denounces the Pope for even daring to appear on a television screen at a Moscow prayer service.

What sort of insanity is this? It is the insanity of the postconciliar “springtime of Vatican II.” It is the insanity of Cardinal Sodano’s Party Line that Fatima is “in the past”, and that one must never speak again of the consecration and conversion of Russia.

What a grievous insult it is to attribute this state of affairs to “the incredible promise of Our Lady of Fatima.” But such is the way of Fatima revisionism and the Party Line of Cardinal Angelo Sodano, chief persecutor of Father Nicholas Gruner and his Fatima apostolate.