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Waiting to Exhale in Russia

by Christopher A. Ferrara
January 4, 2010

An editorial in The New York Times entitled “Putin in Perpetuity?” (December 5) notes that “It has long been obvious that Vladimir Putin — the current prime minister and former president of Russia — craves his dominant hold on power.” Yes he does, which is why it is becoming increasingly certain that he will run for the Russian presidency again in 2012.

At a televised call-in event watched by millions of Russians, Putin was asked if he would run again in 2012. He replied: “I’ll think about it.” Very funny. When asked whether it was time to consider retirement, he answered: “Don’t hold your breath.” For wit like this, one must go to Russia.

As the Times observes, this kind of coy talk might be normal for a democratically elected official, but “under Mr. Putin, Russia has strayed far from the democratic model. It is a place where journalists and human rights activists are murdered with impunity, political and business opponents are thrown in jail and independent media have been seriously degraded.”

But how can this be? Has not Russia undergone a “conversion” since the “consecration of Russia” in 1984? True, the 1984 “consecration of Russia” never actually mentioned Russia, but who ever said the consecration of a place has to mention the place consecrated? Only common sense and right reason would suggest such a ridiculous thing, not to mention the words of Our Lady Herself, who told Sister Lucy on June 13, 1929 at Tuy, Spain: “The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means.”

But as John Paul II’s advisor Cardinal Tomko told Inside the Vatican magazine in November 2000: “Let us beware of becoming too literal-minded” in this matter. After all, does Russia really mean Russia? Can it not mean something else along the lines of the various substitute ceremonies that have taken place, one after the other, at the Vatican? Why not just say that Russia means “all peoples,” or “youth in search of meaning,” to choose one of the stranger objects of the “entrustment” ceremony the Vatican cooked up in 2000?

According to this way of thinking (as Mark Fellows has so cleverly observed), hitting a series of doubles would be just as good as a home run. But of course it isn’t. Not by a long shot.

But, one must not be “too literal-minded” in carrying out the request of the Virgin Mother of God. Then again, one who does not wish to be “too literal-minded” about the consecration of Russia cannot expect to receive literally what Our Lady promised in return: Russia’s conversion and a period of peace for mankind, not to mention the salvation of countless souls.

The Vatican apparatus has indeed refrained from being “too literal-minded” respecting Our Lady’s request. And that is why Russia labors under an autocrat today, as the world continues its descent toward the “final disaster” that Pope Leo XIII predicted in 1879 in his encyclical Inscrutabili — 38 years before the Mother of God asked for the simple thing that Her willful children have stubbornly refused to give Her.