“Conversion of Russia” Update:
And Then There Were Six
by Christopher A. Ferrara
Even as Vladimir Putin plays game with the Pope, suggesting through one of his diplomats that a papal visit to Moscow is “necessary”, he ratchets up his regime’s systematic persecution of the Church. As reported by Yahoo news (February 24, 2003), “Russian authorities have rescinded residency permission for a Roman Catholic priest and told him to leave the country within two weeks… The order for Father Bronislaw Czaplicki to leave the country is the sixth case in the past year of foreign priests having their visas revoked or not renewed.”
According to Father Igor Kovalevsky, head of the confederation of Catholic priests in Russia, “no reason had been given for the revocation. A spokesman for Russian Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, who gave his name as Father Sergei, confirmed the order had been issued, but said he had no details.”
So another key Catholic cleric has been expelled from Russia. Furthermore, as the story notes, “Five foreign-born Catholics had their Russian visas revoked or not renewed last year and Kondrusiewicz has complained that in some regions Catholics have experienced bans on constructing new churches, and the vandalism and desecration of existing churches.” The situation has gotten so bad that “Last December, the Vatican’s foreign minister summoned Russia’s ambassador to the Holy See to formally complain about what he called a ‘true anti-Catholic campaign’ in the country.”
It is a fundamental principle of the Catholic religion that faith cannot contradict reason. As St. Paul teaches, we must not despise prophecy, but must test it and heed it if the prophecy is shown to be genuine. Pope John Paul II has left no doubt that he considers the Message of Fatima a genuine prophecy of the Mother of God Herself. That prophecy says that upon Russia’s consecration to the Immaculate Heart, Russia will be converted. Now, our faith tells us that we must heed the prophecy of the Message of Fatima, and it also tells us that the Mother of God could not have made a false prophecy concerning Russia’s conversion. And our reason tells us that a nation that persecutes the Catholic Church, a nation in which there are now twice as many abortions as live births, is not converted to Catholicism.
Thus, our faith and reason, working together and not in contradiction with each other, inform us that those (no matter how high their office) who claim that Russia was consecrated to the Immaculate Heart 19 years ago cannot be correct in their claim. For over the past 19 years we have seen, not the conversion of Russia, but rather her growing apostasy.
When all is said and done, after all the arguments from authority are disposed of, neither faith nor reason can be denied. It is the duty of every Catholic to defend the supremacy of faith, but only on the basis of reason. That is why this column, and fatima.org as a whole, go on.