Meaning of the
“Consecration” of Russia
by Father Joaquin Maria Alonso, S.T.D., Ph.D.
(Official Archivist of Fatima)
We live in days where words have lost their true meaning, so now and then, it is necessary to strictly define our terms. When lack of precision is applied to religious terms, it can have terrible consequences. Father Alonso helps us to understand not only the true meaning of the word “consecration”, but also what its conditions are, and finally, how this applies to the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Historically it is not enough to be acquainted with facts and texts. It is necessary besides to penetrate their meaning. The Message of Fatima speaks to us about Russia, not to provide us with a lesson in geography or politics, but to tell us in what way “Russia” comes into the economy of salvation and how at the present time it touches our lives. In an impressive manner Fatima updates us regarding the religious significance of that prophetic word: “Russia”.
Therefore Fatima speaks about Russia as an agent of evil against God; it requests Russia's consecration under the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as if to surround Russia with some holy fortifications which Russia will be unable to resist. It hopes for Russia's “conversion” as a certain fact which would avert great evils and bring with it enormous benefits. In this section we seek to refer to the consecration.
1. What is a consecration
The word “consecration” possesses a specific religious significance, which is today so necessary to hold on to when applied to Russia in the Message of Fatima.
Of course, we exclude at the outset, every “profane” sense of the word because nowadays, in this increasingly and unjustly encroaching secularization of life, religious vocabulary has been lamentably subverted to worldly interpretations. For example: vocation, priesthood, faith ... and consecration. We are dealing here with a consecration only of a religious nature.
The consecration is an interior act of the moral virtue of religion, as a potential part of justice, which totally delivers man to the service of God. It is then, a “justice” which we owe God, but surpasses the purely rationalistic concept of justice, since it places us in a personal relationship of love with God through a participation in the very free Divine “agape” which raises us to a share in the Life of God, in the essential love overflowing in our hearts by the Holy Ghost Who has bestowed it upon us.
“Devotion” and surrender are nothing more than the expression of that religious attitude which in its excellence we call “consecration.” The kind of justice which is encountered in a consecration is that of a servant and creature returning what he has received and it is governed by charity in a movement which envelopes us and draws us to God.
The consecration is, above all, personal; that is, it is directed to the person who surrenders himself to God. But the personal necessarily brings with it a social “element” that shapes the human person and molds him.
When one wants to find the supernatural foundations of the consecration of certain social structures, it seems that not everyone has been careful enough to take the right route that leads to this goal.
Thus for example, someone might start his thinking from the liberal principle of the absolute separation of Church and State, the absolute separation of the sacred from the profane as two spheres which are parallel but profoundly separate. Then from that principle it is easy to declare that a consecration, which is neither Christian nor even religious does not make sense in our day to those living in modern secular states which are becoming more and more atheistic.
Similarly we can also reason from a false premise regarding the spiritual rights of the Vicar of Christ, in order to end in an absolute denial of his ordinary power to make an act of religious consecration.
The theology of the consecration, which is suited for deducing, later on, a proper spirituality regarding necessary social structures and institutions therefore must be firmly founded on Christian theological principles (Christological and ecclesiological) which leave no room for doubt. These principles exist. We shall record them here in logical order.
1. All social structures, even the highest ones, are by their very nature religious ones because man himself is religious.
2. These religious social structures based on the very nature of man are in fact historically social structures of a supernatural character. As such these structures are in fact necessarily ordered toward Christian Order by the positive will of God.
3. All things in the Christian supernatural order of things are centered on “CRISTO — KYRIOS” (Jesus Christ Our Lord) to Whom the Father has given all power in Heaven and on earth.
4. Finally, all of this power has been vicariously transmitted to the Holy Roman Pontiff.
The consecration then, of whatever social structure, like that of a state or a nation, can be done by the Supreme Pontiff. Such an act is within the power that Christ gave to St. Peter and his successors. The possibility of it is one thing, however, regarding the act itself and its convenience and opportuneness is quite another thing.
From here where we treat of a particular case, as is the case of the Consecration of Russia, we must consider not only the possibility of the Pope doing it; and we know that it certainly is possible, but we must also consider the convenience and the opportuneness of actually doing it.
The value of social structures is real and at the same time not to be confused with the value of a human person, however social structures do not have any real value if they do not serve personal values.
From this consideration we must ask if the consecration of social structures are useful or not to build up religious values of the persons or if they are at least useful as a preparation for helping persons.
Thus from here we must examine the criteria for the convenience and opportunity of such a consecration.
2. Conditions for the Consecration of Russia
The word consecration (consagração) appears in all the documents referring to Russia. In some documents the word “reparation” has been added and they speak of a “solemn and public act of reparation and consecration”. These words are very significant, since they express so clearly that the request by the Virgin had a solemn and public character, which, as Sister Lucy teaches, possessed the finality of presenting and fostering devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Therefore, any act of a private nature would not suffice. It should also be noted that one document speaks to us about the consecration “to the Most Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary,” although all the others refer only to the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Nevertheless, the difference in fact is of no importance: every consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary necessarily brings with it an implicit consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, since the consecration to Mary is always absolutely relative to the consecration to Jesus.
The consecration of Russia should be done, in the first place, by the Pope. This condition is necessary, because he is the only one who can give unity to the consecration made by the bishops. This same thing is valid even with bishops joined in a Council, since the Council is only genuine insofar as it is united under its Head, the Pope.
Moreover, neither can the Pope perform the consecration alone in spite of having the power to do it. He should do it “in union with all the bishops”. This condition has been mentioned in all of Lucy's documents. Of course, we say that this condition does not affect the “validity” of a consecration made by the Pope alone, but it does indeed affect an essential condition demanded by Heaven.
Here are some texts of Sister Lucy:
“The moment has come in which God asks that the Holy Father make the Consecration of Russia, in union with all the bishops of the world” (June 13, 1929). “... if the Holy Father deigns to make and command that the bishops of the Catholic world do it likewise.” (May 29, 1930).
“... if Your Holiness deigns to make and commands that all the bishops of the Catholic world do it likewise ...” (Petition of the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima to the Holy Father in April 1937).
“... in union with Your Holiness, and at the same time all the bishops of the world do it also.” (December 2, 1940).
Note that in this text of the celebrated letter of Lucy to the Pope, it is clearly determined that it deals with a simultaneity of time. Otherwise the attempted finality, that is, that solemn and public act, would not be obtained.
Responding to Father Jongen, Lucy cannot be more explicit.
“The exact petition of Our Lady was for the Holy Father to make the Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart, commanding that at the same time and in union with His Holiness, all the bishops of the Catholic world should do it.”
Father Fonseca in a conversation with Lucy, in July of 1946, clearly grasped the reason for that condition which scandalized so many people:
“The Consecration of Russia — according to Lucy, Our Lady wanted the Pope to consecrate Russia, and at the same time She wanted the bishops of the world to consecrate it (Russia), thus promoting a solemn Crusade of prayer and reparation (like the consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus).”
Thomas Walsh, the writer, grasped the fact that a special circumstance brought out further the quality of solemnity.
“What Our Lady desired,” (Lucy is speaking), “is that the Pope and all the bishops of the world consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart on one special day.”
With the vision of all these testimonies, the conclusion is clear: the union of the bishops with the Pope for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary must occur at the same time. Obviously it need not be “mathematical,” but it must indeed be one which brings about solemnity and publicity.
1. It is concerned, in the first place, with giving solemnity and publicity to the act, as the importance of the matter demands through the graces hoped for and the dangers to be avoided. On the other hand, the theme “Russia” is world-wide today and of political, social, cultural and economic significance as never before in the world's history. Even from a temporal point of view, life and death of the world in the East and West are intimately connected with it.
2. With all its solemnity, nevertheless, the consecration does not attempt publicity in the way in which the large agencies seek it. Much less does it attempt publicity through “provocation”. What is attempted is merely a religious aim, nothing more; to this objective all possible efficacy is intended to be given, thus causing the intervention of the whole Catholic Hierarchy, extended throughout the entire universe.
3. The union of the bishops with the Pope, in an act which is so very important because of its transcendence, emphasizes very aptly the collegial aspect that the Catholic episcopacy has towards its head. It has exemplary influence upon non-Catholic religions regarding the manner of conceptualizing the relationship between the Pope and bishops.
3. The Consecration of Russia, not of the world
Communists imagine that “Soviet” Russia is the messianic native land of the socialist revolution in the world, and Fatima refers to that Russia when it requests its consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as the efficacious means of conversion, and as the remedy for so many future evils.
In the text of July 1917 only Russia is mentioned. Several times Lucy has warned that this text should never be changed, putting in “world” instead of “Russia”.
The North American writer MacGlynn heard it from Lucy's own lips, when she declared emphatically: “No, not the world! Russia, Russia!” When Our Lady in June, 1929, fulfilled Her promise to return and ask for this consecration, only the word “Russia” appears in the text.
It is certain that Lucy prays for Spain, Portugal, Russia and the whole world, but when consecration is mentioned, the word Russia is the only word. It can be believed, Lucy explains, that the consecration of those nations and of the world, will draw down great graces ... but the promise of conversion as such, has only been made for Russia.
When the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, pressed by Lucy, petitioned the Holy See, it referred only to the Consecration of Russia. When in February of 1946 Lucy conversed with Father Jongen, the priest questioned her:
“What did the Blessed Virgin request?”
“She requested the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, by the Pope, along with the bishops of the world.”
“She did not mention the consecration of the world?”
Sister Lucy: “No.”
Father Jongen explains that: “Lucy has always believed that the Pope did not satisfy the request of the Most Holy Virgin, demanding a special Consecration of Russia. In this case, it must be admitted that we are now in the time period described in the Secret by these words:
“If My requests are not heeded, Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and various nations will be annihilated.”
Sister Lucy is also of that opinion that we are now living in the period of time when these prophecies are being fulfilled.
For the rest, the present-day international events illustrate this fulfillment of prophecy in an impressive manner.
Excerpts taken from Chapter 5 of Fátima Ante la Esfinge.