The 13th of next month will mark the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. Among the requests she made to the three shepherd children there was that the Holy Father, in union with all the Catholic bishops of the world, consecrate the nation of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. She explained that if her request were honored, Russia would be converted and a period of peace would be given to the world, but that if her requests were not honored, there would be terrible wars and persecutions of the Church, and that the Holy Father would have much to suffer.
Many Catholics believe that the consecration Our Lady requested was completed by Pope St. John Paul II in 1984, despite the fact that he didn’t mention Russia as the object of his consecration nor did he include all the world’s bishops as Our Lady specifically requested. While his consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart undoubtedly brought many blessings, it can hardly be said to have fulfilled Our Lady’s request for the consecration of Russia.
The most obvious indication of this is that the period of peace which Our Lady promised would follow the consecration of Russia has remained tragically elusive. In fact, there has not been a single year of peace in the world since the 1984 consecration.
There are some Catholics who take issue with this argument, claiming that the consecration has been properly done, but that we can’t expect the period of peace to come about all at once. In answer to this, I would first say, why not? After Our Lady appeared at Guadalupe in 1531, the pagans in what is today Mexico began converting to the true Faith by the millions. They didn’t require a waiting period of several decades, so why should the case be any different with the Russian people who are not even pagan but rather schismatic?
Secondly, I would point out that it’s been nearly 35 years since the 1984 consecration of the world. That’s 35 years without any peace. And not only has there been no peace, the geopolitical and moral situations of the world have been getting steadily worse, as anyone who reads or watches the daily news can see.
Consider for a moment the current state of affairs in the following places: Iraq; Syria; Yemen; Afghanistan; Pakistan; Egypt; Libya; Nigeria; Mexico; Ukraine.
All of these places just mentioned are presently trapped in cycles of violence, bloodshed, and war.
Is this really the peace promised by Our Lady?
Is this even moving slightly in the direction of that peace?
To ask the question is to answer it.
Now, as the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s final apparition approaches, the world is facing the issue of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and the strong U.S. reaction to it. It seems likely that eventually the tensions between North Korea and the United States will boil over into an actual war. In that event, does anyone really believe that China will side with the U.S. against North Korea? And in the event of war between China and the United States, does anyone really think that Russia will side with the U.S. against China?
It would seem that our world is on the cusp of another major war. To say that such a prospect is unpleasant would be a severe understatement. Regardless of who won, such a conflict would cost countless lives and cause untold suffering.
Thankfully, Our Mother has shown us the way to avoid this nightmare. She’s already given us the key to peace. While as laymen we don’t have the authority to fulfill her request for the Consecration of Russia, we can pray for those who do, that they might be strengthened to carry out the task with which God has charged them. As Our Lady requested, we must especially “pray very much for the Holy Father.”
The situation in the world is dark, but we must not lose hope. As Pope Emeritus Benedict reminded us back in June, “God will win in the end.” And we already know how He will ultimately win, because His Mother revealed the details a hundred years ago to three, humble, shepherd children in Portugal. “In the end,” she said, “My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”