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Fear of the Wolves

by Christopher A. Ferrara

There is a great deal to criticize in the acts and omissions of the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, first and foremost his attempt (as The Los Angeles Times rightly put it) to "debunk the cult of Fatima" in his commentary on the Message of Fatima in June of 2000. Candor requires us to remember this.

But now the faithful encounter the former Cardinal under the title Pope Benedict XVI, who is the Vicar of Christ. With that highest of earthly offices comes the special assistance of Heaven, the grace of the papal state. This, no doubt, is what accounted for the once-liberal Blessed Pope Pius IX becoming, almost overnight, one of history’s fiercest opponents of liberalism.

Will this happen with Pope Benedict XVI? At the moment we have reason to hope so. There are several signs of this. For example, in his sermon at the papal installation Mass, Benedict XVI declared: "Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves." The recognition that wolves threaten the Pope is quite a departure from the stupefying optimism and suicidal "openness" of the past 26 years. Pope Benedict’s justified fear of the wolves reminds me of Paul VI's equally justified declaration that "The opening to the world has become a veritable invasion of the Church by worldly thinking. We have perhaps been too weak and imprudent."

Let us hope and pray that Benedict XVI will reverse the calamitous "opening to the world" and repel the invading wolves, instead of allowing them to roam unhindered in the sheepfold, where they have caused so much damage to the Church and to souls since the Council. But if the new Pope is going to do that, he will need to take the first step prescribed by Our Lady of Fatima: the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart.

No one knows better than Benedict XVI of the intimate connection between the Fatima Message and the current crisis in the Church. It was he who, having read the Third Secret of Fatima as Cardinal Ratzinger, said in his published interview in 1984 that the Secret pertains to the "dangers threatening the faith and the life of the Christian and therefore of the world." Cardinal Ratzinger also stated in that same published interview: "But the things contained in this Third Secret correspond to what is announced in Scripture," and that the Secret refers to "the Novissimi"  —  the Last Times.

We are clearly living through the Third Secret at this very moment. And now the Pope who has read the Secret is in a position to combat the ever-widening apostasy Our Lady predicted when She warned at the beginning of the Third Secret: "In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved"  —  but not elsewhere in the Church.

As we encounter the new Vicar of Christ, there is, for the moment, hope for a change of course. The biblical period of 40 years of chaos since Vatican II seems to mean something. But we shall see.