The Consecration of Spain to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
By Joseph Cain
"The most genuine form of devotion to the Most Holy Virgin ... is consecration to Her Immaculate Heart. By this means, a growing communion and familiarity with the Holy Virgin takes life in the heart as a new way of living for God and of carrying on, here on earth, the love of Jesus the Son for Mary His Mother."1
To Jesus through Mary
On Sunday, May 22, 2005, in the Plaza del Pilar, before the majestic Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, the bishops of Spain2 consecrated their country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the presence of 70,000 Faithful. The Act of Consecration was led by the President of the Spanish Catholic Episcopal Conference, His Excellency Ricardo Blázquez Pérez, Bishop of Bilbão. It was broadcast on Spanish TV, channel 2, and on the SEC (Spanish Catholic Episcopal Conference) website; but beyond that, there was an almost complete news blackout of the event by the secular media throughout the whole of Spain and the rest of the world. The Fatima Crusader wants its readers to know about this milestone event for several reasons, but first of all, to make up for the deplorable and seemingly intentional neglect on the part of Spain’s news services to communicate this major news to the public.
May 22, 2005 marked the close of the Jubilee year in Spain that began on May 20, 2004 and was the first Centenary of the Canonical Coronation of the Statue of Our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragoza. In November 2004 the SEC (Spanish Catholic Episcopal Conference) met in its eighty-third plenary session in Madrid and issued a document that was published on their website on the 25th of that month entitled: ‘Message of the Plenary Assembly on the 150th Anniversary of the Definition of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary’. They convoked ‘The Year of the Inmaculada’ in Spain beginning on December 8, 2004 and stated:
We are convinced that the new challenges that face us as Christians in a world ever in need of the light of the Gospel, cannot be confronted without the close protection of Our Mother, the Immaculate Virgin. As the centerpiece of the celebration of the ‘Year of the Inmaculada,’ the diocesan churches of Spain, we, the pastors, religious, and lay people, adults, youth and children, will go on Pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragoza on the 21st and 22nd of May, 2005 to honor Our Mother and solemnly consecrate ourselves again to Her Immaculate Heart.3
An art exposition under the title Inmaculada, exhibiting some of the greatest treasures of painting and sculpture which express the truths of the Faith contained in this Marian Dogma, is taking place in the Cathedral of La Almudena in Madrid from May 1 to October 12, 2005. The Spanish Episcopal Conference is also coordinating similar initiatives that most of the dioceses of Spain are already undertaking or will undertake throughout the year.
The SEC continues:
The sincere love for the Virgin Mary in Spain, since antiquity, has been interpreted as an ‘intrepid defense’ and most particularly with regard to Mary’s Immaculate Conception; a defense that, without doubt, laid the groundwork for the dogmatic definition. If Spain is the ‘Land of Mary’ it is in great measure by virtue of its devotion to the Inmaculada.4
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8 has been celebrated in Spain since the Eleventh Century despite theological controversies, and, obviously, long before its definition as a dogma of Faith. The Popes have always said that this dogmatic definition was advanced by the Spanish. Pope John Paul II, on his first apostolic visit to Spain on June 11, 1982, stated, "In your history, love for Mary has been the leaven of Catholicity. It impelled the peoples of Spain to a firm devotion and to an intrepid defense of the grandeurs of Mary, above all in Her Immaculate Conception."5
Since the Sixteenth Century, up until the Second Vatican Council, professors and students in the universities of both Spain and Portugal took an oath to defend the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. In Spain there exists a tradition of many centuries to greet fellow Catholics and to start a letter with the acclamation ‘¡Ave María Purísima!’ (Hail Mary Most Pure!) For centuries, both Spain and Portugal have called their countries, i.e. the Iberian Peninsula: ‘The Land of Mary’ (Tierra de María) or ‘The Land of Holy Mary’ (Terra de Santa Maria).
When Our Lady spoke of Her Immaculate Heart at Fatima in 1917, She was, without any doubt, deliberately using the same word that She used when speaking with St. Bernadette at Lourdes in 1858, saying, "I am the Immaculate Conception." And it was this word that Blessed Pope Pius IX used four years earlier in 1854 in his Papal Proclamation Ineffabilis Deus when he defined dogmatically that Our Lady was conceived immaculatus: that is, without macula — without stain of original sin.
The Consecration of Spain on May 22, 2005 was a renewal of the national Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary done on October 12, 1954 by an earlier generation of the Spanish Bishops which had marked one hundred years since the dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception of Blessed Pius IX on December 8, 1854. The year 1954 was proclaimed a Marian Year by Pope Pius XII to commemorate the centenary of the definition.
A question arises when one wonders if the renewal of the Consecration of Spain had been planned long in advance. Why did the SEC wait until May 2005 to do it? The 150th anniversary of the definition of the dogma was 2004, not 2005. And John Paul II, in spite of his having beatified Pope Pius IX, was out of sync with the anniversary of the definition, having proclaimed 2001 a Marian Year and 2005, ‘The Year of the Eucharist’. Though the SEC dedicated a few lines in their November 25, 2004 document trying to tie in their convoking of the ‘Year of the Inmaculada’ with the Vatican’s ‘Year of the Eucharist’, it seemed clear that the honor being shown to the Mother of God by the Spanish Episcopacy was their own initiative and was not planned long in advance.
It can be deduced that, most likely, the Consecration of Spain was in response to two recent dire events: first, the Spanish nation having elected, in the immediate wake of the traumatic March 11, 2004 terrorist attack in Madrid, a socialist government that has pledged to further dechristianize that country with the legalization of elective abortion and same-sex marriage. And second, the desecration of the Little Chapel of the Apparitions in Fatima, Portugal on May 5, 2004 by Hindus performing a pagan ritual on a Catholic altar on the very spot where the Most Holy Virgin first asked that reparation be done for outrages, sacrileges and indifference to Her Immaculate Heart, and the subsequent total lack of reparation by the Portuguese hierarchy.
During the summer months of 2004, the Fatima Center sent to the Bishops of Spain a Spanish version of the article by John Vennari published in The Fatima Crusader (see Issue number 77). The article, entitled "Pictures of a Desecration," presents photographic proof of the desecration of the Little Chapel of the Apparitions by Hindus who had been invited by the rector of the Shrine and the Bishop of Fatima.
During the third week of October, 2004, two representatives of the Fatima Center, one of whom is a priest and a renowned expert on prophecy and geopolitics, met with several bishops in Spain concerning the sacrilege at the Fatima Shrine and the not yet performed Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In the first week of November, the clergy listed in the diocesan directories of nearly all the 69 dioceses of Spain were also sent the Spanish version of "Pictures of a Desecration".
The SEC met in plenary session shortly thereafter and convoked ‘The Year of the Inmaculada’ and announced their intention to consecrate Spain to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in May 2005. The Fatima Center heard the news of the SEC’s intention in January but kept quiet about it, being counseled to not jeopardize it in any way by publicizing it in advance.
Two of the Spanish prelates who met with the Fatima Center’s representatives in October, as events would have it, played key roles in the Consecration of Spain. The first, who had just published in September a comprehensive and detailed Marian pastoral ‘letter’ 225 pages in length, which included 154 footnotes, a most eloquent testimony of his love for Our Lady, was the one who hosted the event and celebrated the Mass during which the Consecration of Spain took place.
The other prelate who graciously received the Fatima Center’s representatives (quoting the representatives’ report), "... was charitable, not only with a donation given us to help pay for a hotel room that night, but also by his kindness and evident appreciation of the work we were doing ... he listened to the presentation without interrupting, without appearing bored or annoyed, taking great interest in what was said and asking pertinent questions ... We were impressed by his openness and sincerity, both in the expression on his face as we talked ... as well as his comments and questions concerning the desecration of the Capelinha in Fatima, geopolitics and prophecy." This same bishop, five months later, was elected to a position of authority over his peers, and it was he who led his brother bishops in the Consecration of Spain on May 22.
Did the Fatima Center have a part to play in making the Consecration of Spain happen? Ultimately only God could have coordinated the surprising convergence of circumstances in the series of events that led up to it, and in which this Apostolate may have been an instrument. To Our Lord Jesus Christ and to His Holy Mother be all glory and honor! May Spain’s Consecration protect and strengthen the Faithful and future Faithful of that nation in the difficult times to come, and may this solemn public act be recognized as the first joyful precursor of other national consecrations.
May the Church continue to take up spiritual arms in "intrepid defense" of Mary Immaculate, honoring Her in the same solemn and public manner by the Episcopal Conferences of other nations, in this way climbing out of the pit the nations of former Christendom have fallen into. The Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the Pope in union with all the Catholic Bishops of the world will be the last step on the road to Our Lady’s Triumph and the new dawn of a purified and restored Catholic Church. And, as Our Lady of Fatima promised, the fruit that awaits the world is universal peace. May it come soon, please God.
Prayer of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the Bishops of Spain
Mother of Christ and Our Mother, to commemorate the Anniversary of the proclamation of Thy Immaculate Conception, We wish to unite ourselves with the consecration that Thy Son made of Himself:
And for them do I consecrate Myself, that they may also be consecrated in truth (Jn. 17:19) and renew our consecration both personal and in common, to Thy Immaculate Heart.
We bow to Thee, Immaculate Virgin, who are totally united to the redemptive consecration of Thy Son. Mother of the Church, enlighten all the Christian faithful of Spain in the paths of faith, hope and charity; protect with Thy maternal succor all the men and women of our country in the paths of peace, respect and prosperity.
Help us to conquer the threat of evil that lacerates the hearts of people and prevents them from living in concord:
From all types of terrorism and violence, save us!
From all manner of crime against human life, from the first instant of one’s existence till one’s last natural breath, save us!
From the attacks against religious liberty and the attacks against the liberty of conscience, save us!6
From all types of injustices in social life, save us!
From the easiness of trampling on the Commandments of God, save us!
From offenses against and contempt of the dignity of Marriage and of the family, save us!
From the propagation of lies and hatred, save us!
From the loss of the sense of right and wrong, save us!
From sins against the Holy Ghost, save us!
Receive, O Immaculate Mother, this plea full of confidence and thanksgiving.
Protect all of Spain and its peoples, its men and its women.
May the light of hope that is in Thy Immaculate Heart open out to all.
1. Spanish Episcopal Conference, (SEC) Mensaje de la Asamblea Plenaria en el CL aniversario de la definición del Dogma de la Concepción Inmaculada de la Virgen María, Madrid, Nov. 25, 2004; c.f. Pope John Paul II, Mensaje con ocasión del Año Mariano Carmelitano, March 3, 2001, page 4 (our translation).
2. Here in alphabetical order are the names of many of the bishops who participated in the Consecration of Spain.
The Apostolic Nuncio:
Mons. Manuel Monteiro de Castro
Amigo Vallejo, Carlos; Archbishop of Seville • Rouco Varela, Antonio María; Archbishop of Madrid
Barrio Barrio, Julián; Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela • Cañizares Llovera, Antonio; Archbishop of Toledo and Vice-president of the SEC • García Aracil, Santiago; Archbishop of Mérida-Badajoz • Gil Hellín, Francisco; Archbishop of Burgos • Martínez Sistach, Luis; Archbishop of Barcelona • Pujol Balcells, Jaume; Archbishop of Tarragona • Rodríguez Plaza, Braulio; Archbishop of Valladolid • Sebastián Aguilar, Fernando; Archbishop of Pamplona and Bishop of Tudela • Yanes Álvarez, Elías; Apostolic Administrator of Zaragoza. There were also 33 Bishops and 7 Auxiliary Bishops.
3. SEC, Mensaje de la Asamblea Plenaria en el CL aniversario de la definición del Dogma de la Concepción Inmaculada de la Virgen María, Madrid, Nov. 25, 2004.
4. Ibid., point 8.
5. Ibid., point 7, c.f. John Paul II, Alocución en el acto mariano celebrado en Zaragoza, June 11, 1982.
6. The Spanish bishops are clearly appealing to freedom of religion and conscience in the Catholic sense: Freedom for the true religion and the rightly formed conscience, both of which are under attack in Spain, where secular authorities are seeking to legalize abortion and same-sex "marriage".