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“Conversion of Russia” Update:

Phoning in the Faith

by Christopher A. Ferrara

The followers of Father Fox, and all the other cheerleaders for Cardinal Sodano’s version of the “consecration of Russia”, have come upon increasingly hard times in their studious defense of the indefensible. First, Bishop Mazur, head of the Catholic almost-diocese in Siberia (where most of Russia’s practicing Catholics are found) was expelled from Russia and placed on a “list” of people who will not be allowed to enter the country again. Now — absurdity of absurdities — the head of the largest Catholic region in Russia is forced to conduct services by telephone.

I kid you not. On April 30, 2002 the BBC reported that Bishop Mazur, “who has been banned from entering Russia is conducting services at his church via telephone.” The church in question is located in the Siberian town of Irkutsk. Bishop Mazur has had loudspeakers rigged up inside the church in keeping with the “wishes of his congregation to hear their priest,” according to Interfax news agency as reported by the BBC. Mazur’s disembodied voice is broadcast over speakers during the services.

Wow! That conversion of Russia we have been witnessing since 1984 is proceeding just swimmingly, isn’t it? Isn’t it a good thing we have reliable “authorities” like Father Fox and Cardinal Sodano to assure us that — despite what our eyes may tell us — Russia has been consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?

By the way, according to the BBC the little church in Irkutsk with the telephonic bishop is not getting along very well. In fact, things are falling apart since their live, in-person bishop was barred from Russia: “The church said Mazur’s absence has resulted in the suspension of a number of social projects, including assistance of cancer and tuberculosis patients and construction of a children’s rehabilitation center….”

But surely Vladimir (“the practicing Christian”) Putin will be moved to pity at the thought that cancer and tuberculosis victims are now without assistance. Surely he will order the readmission of Bishop Mazur any day now, any day. After all, isn’t that what the “miracle” of Russia’s conversion since 1984 is all about? Haven’t we seen many “signs” of Russia’s “conversion” over the past 18 years, including the ascension to power of Vladimir Putin, who the Fatima revisionists claim is — everybody now! — a practicing Christian.

But old Vladimir the Practicing Christian seems in no hurry to do anything about the explusion of Bishop Mazur — which, of course, Vladimir himself is behind. As the BBC notes, “Mazur was denied entry into Russia in April, preventing him from returning to his diocese. The Foreign Ministry has said it received ‘serious complaints’ about Mazur’s activities but hasn’t elaborated.” Surely, the Practicing Christian is aware of these “serious complaints” to his own Foreign Ministry. And surely the expulsion of Mazur was not some rogue operation by an irate border guard at the airport. No, the Practicing Christian is in this up to his neck.

Ah, but there I go again, looking at the evidence. What need have we of evidence? Cardinal Sodano and his fellow members of the anti-Fatima clique in the Vatican say that Russia was consecrated to Mary back in 1984. Must we not agree, once these “authorities” have spoken?

Well, as Saint Thomas teaches, there is no argument against a fact. Were the Pope himself to insist that the Eiffel Tower is in Saint Peter’s Square, no one would have to believe it. Nor does anyone have to believe the nonsense — the deadly nonsense — that certain Vatican personages are giving us in place of the very simple words of the Mother of God at Fatima.