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“Conversion of Russia” Update:

Vatican Representative Overrules Message of Fatima

by Christopher A. Ferrara

This column has noted a seemingly endless stream of pronouncements by Vatican bureaucrats who insist that oh no we have no intention of making Catholic converts in Russia. That much is old news. But a new pronouncement along these lines is so striking that it deserves a separate column of its own.

On May 6, 2004, Interfax news agency reported that the Executive Secretary of the Russian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Igor Kovalevsky, “has admitted that some of the steps taken by Vatican representatives in Russia could be qualified as proselytism (conversion of the Orthodox population to Catholicism).” Horrors! How dare the Catholic Church make any effort to bring the Orthodox back into union with Rome?

But, says Kovalevsky, it was all just a mistake. “Certain facts cause surprise and may be interpreted as proselytism,” he said, but “this has not been done deliberately.” Yes, if the Church has made any converts in Russia, it was all just one big oops.

Kovalevsky was speaking to the first session of “a joint working group for relations between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches” — in other words, a joint working group for the neutralization of the Catholic Church in Russia. Sounds like the joint working group is working very nicely.

Kovalevsky went on to state what has become the standard Vatican line on the Catholic Church’s miniscule presence in Russia: “The Catholic Church has no plans of pursuing missionary activities in Russia. Russia is not New Guinea or some African country where it is necessary to preach Christianity. Russia is a country with more than one thousand years of Christian culture.” Kovalevsky failed to mention that the “one thousand years of Christian culture” involves a schism from the Roman Catholic Church that has reduced the Russian Orthodox Church to little more than a creature of the state (and now the puppet of Vladimir Putin).

And then Kovalevsky uttered the words that encapsulate the very reason this website exists, and why its contributors have been morally obliged to state their opposition to Vatican policy on the Church in Russia: “The Vatican is not pursuing any proselytism policy. It has no goal of making Russia a Catholic nation.”

There we have it: the Vatican apparatus is now diametrically opposed to the Message of Fatima. Our Lady of Fatima proclaimed that Russia will be converted — that Russia will become a Catholic nation — but the Vatican bureaucracy now declares that Russia will not be converted, that it will not become a Catholic nation.

This is why the Vatican apparatus, led by “Pope” Sodano I, has been at pains to relegate the entire Message of Fatima to the past. And this is why Father Nicholas Gruner has been hounded relentlessly by the same apparatus. For the Church today is witnessing a great struggle between those who seek to follow the designs of Heaven as revealed for our time in the Fatima message, and those who are determined to follow the designs of mere men, who think themselves wiser and more politic than the Mother of God.