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The Spirit of Fatima - Not Assisi

by Christopher A. Ferrara

The text of the Pope’s speech of greeting at Baku airport in Azerbaijan (where he visited on May 22, 2000), no doubt crafted by some functionary of the Vatican Secretary of State, encapsulates what is rightly called the new orientation of the Church since Vatican II - an orientation quite at odds with Our Lady’s call for the conversion of Russia to the Catholic Faith. At the airport, the Pope, reading this speech, declared as follows:

    I arrive in this ancient land, with my heart filled with admiration for the variety and richness of its culture. Enriched by the many specific features of the Caucasus, your culture embraces elements of various civilizations, especially the Persian and Turanian. Great religions have been present and active in this land: Zoroastrianism lived side by side with the Christianity of the Albanian Church, which was so significant in antiquity. Islam then played a growing role, and today is the religion of the majority of the Azeri people. Judaism too, present here from very ancient times, has made its own specific contribution, which is esteemed to this day. Even after the initial splendour of the Church diminished, Christians have continued to live side by side with the followers of other religions. This has been possible thanks to a spirit of tolerance and mutual acceptance, which cannot fail to be a reason for pride for the country. …

Notice that the speech describes as "great religions" not only "Christianity", but also Judaisim, Islam and, of all things, Zoroastrianism - a heap of primitive superstitions and bizarre practices that makes Islam look good by comparison. Notice also that Catholicism is not at all mentioned as a "great religion." The speech - as is typical of a whole welter of such pronouncements at airports and stadiums during these papal trips - contains not the slightest suggestion that Jesus Christ founded the one true Church outside of which there is no salvation.

The Pope went on to say that "Here at the gateway to the East, not far from where armed conflict continues, cruelly and senselessly, to prevail, I wish to raise my voice, in the spirit of the Assisi meetings. I ask religious leaders to reject all violence as offensive to the name of God, and to be tireless promoters of peace and harmony, with respect for the rights of one and all."

But what exactly is this "spirit of the Assisi meetings," seeing that in the immediate aftermath of Assisi 2002 the world plunged even more deeply into violence - especially in the Middle East, Pakistan and India? What did the gathering of Jews, Hindus and Muslims to light oil lamps and make speeches at Assisi accomplish for world peace? Clearly, nothing. And what possible credence could this illusory "spirit of Assisi" claim in a world where the abortion holocaust continues to consume millions of innocent victims, day after day, month after month, year after year?

By their fruits ye shall know them. The fruits of the Spirit of Assisi are nonexistent. So, we must ask in all candor, what are the fruits of the endless papal trips to nations in rebellion against Christ the King? "In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted, and a certain period of peace will be granted to the world." It is the spirit of Fatima - not the spirit of Assisi - that the world needs now.