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What’s Wrong with this Picture?

by Christopher A. Ferrara

On September 26, 2002 Zenit reported that “John Paul II offered a Mass today for the Catholic communities in Russia that suffer the lack of a bishop or priests, sources close to the Pope told ZENIT.”

What’s wrong with this picture? I will tell you: it is not the picture that Our Lady of Fatima painted with Her heavenly message that Russia would be converted as the miraculous result of its consecration to Her Immaculate Heart. Now, instead of the Pope offering a Mass in thanksgiving for the conversion of Russia, we find the Pope offering a Mass for Russians who suffer from the lack of priests and bishops.

As Zenit notes, “Over the past few months Bishop Jerzy Mazur of St. Joseph’s in Irkutsk, in eastern Siberia, and four foreign-born priests have been expelled from the Russian Federation. Russian authorities have not explained the expulsions.” And yet again, a Vatican functionary swears that the Catholic Church has no intention of seeking converts among the Orthodox: “Regarding accusations of proselytism leveled against Catholics by the Orthodox Church, Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Moscow told the Italian weekly Famiglia Cristiana: ‘We do not wish to invade anyone's territory, we do not want to steal faithful from anyone. However, we emphatically confirm the principle that each man has the right to choose his own faith’.”

This is about as far as the current Vatican apparatus will go in proclaiming the rights of the Catholic Church according to its “post-Fatima” way of thinking: Every man has the right to choose his own faith — Catholic or Orthodox — what’s the difference? The difference, of course, is truth. No man has the right to “choose” a false religion. That is precisely why, in his Syllabus of Errors, Blessed Pius IX condemned the proposition “Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true.”

Zenit reveals an interesting development in Russia’s non-conversion conversion: According to Archbishop Kondrusiewicz “The last meeting of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church stated that it does not even wish to discuss the definition of proselytism.” Now the Orthodox won’t even discuss the very meaning of the very term they use to justify what even the Vatican now admits to be an open persecution of the Catholic Church in Russia. So much for “ecumenical dialogue”.

Meanwhile, the Pope offers Mass for the tiny, benighted, priestless Catholic minority of Russia. But under no circumstances will his Vatican apparatus consider a consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. For, as Pope Sodano I (as I have referred to the Cardinal Secretary of State in an earlier column) assures us, the consecration has been done.