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The war in Ukraine and the second secret of Fatima

03/18/2022 | Comments

On Ash Wednesday, March 2, the Ukrainian Catholic bishops of the Latin Rite asked Pope Francis to consecrate Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In a letter to the pope, Ukrainian bishops stated that they were writing “in these hours of immeasurable pain and terrible torment for our people” in response to numerous requests for consecration.

“In answer to this prayer, we humbly ask Your Holiness to make the public act of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Ukraine and Russia, as requested by the Most Holy Virgin in Fatima,” read a letter published on the bishops’ website. “May Our Lady, Queen of Peace, accept our prayer: Regina pacis, ora pro nobis.” 

The bishops’ request comes at a time when Russian forces are surrounding the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, and besieging Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. According to Border Guard data, as of March 8, over one million people have fled to Poland.

The Ukrainian bishops have posted on their website the updated text of the act of consecration of Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, asking for it to be recited privately and after each Holy Mass. Latin rite Catholics make up about 1% of the Ukrainian population. They are located mainly in the western part of the country, where there are six dioceses that make up the Latin rite metropolis of Lviv. Most Catholics in Ukraine, on the other hand, belong to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. About 9% of Ukraine’s 44 million people, the majority of whom are Orthodox, are Greek Catholics.

Before the revolution in 1917 that stopped the Russian Empire and led to the creation of the Soviet Union, Russia was commonly referred to as “the house of Mary” because there were more shrines and churches dedicated to Our Lady than in any other country at the time.

During the apparitions of Fatima in 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary presented three secrets. A question comes up in regards to the second secret, which proclaimed the end of World War I and announced that another war (World War II) would break out under Pope Pius XI if people continued to offend God and Russia was not consecrated to Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Sister Lucy, one of the three visionaries of Fatima, says in her notes that Our Lady asked for “consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and for Catholics to receive Holy Communion on the first Saturdays” to prevent the Second World War.

She also pointed out that Mary told her: “If my prayers are heard, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, it will spread its errors around the world, causing wars and persecution of the Church. The good ones will be tormented; The Holy Father will have much to suffer; different nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me and she will be converted, and there will be peace in the world.”

The act of consecrating Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was performed by Pope John Paul II on March 25, 1984. In a letter from 1989, Sister Lucy confirmed that this was the fulfillment of Mary’s request.

However, among some Catholics, doubts arose as to the force of this act. According to Sister Lucy herself, Mary appeared to her on June 13, 1929, repeating her call and emphasizing its elements: God calls the Holy Father in union with all the bishops of the world to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The question seems to be primarily with one element — whether all the bishops of the world are actually involved an act performed by the Pope. Some also point out that the papal act was a consecration of the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and lacked a clear focus on Russia.

As for the “period of peace” promised by Mary, whether this has happened is a matter of debate. Some see it as the time following the collapse of the Soviet Union, but it would be a very limited peace given the subsequent acts of aggression by Russia in Georgia, Chechnya and Ukraine.

It is even harder to talk about the conversion of Russia. Admittedly, after the fall of communism, churches were opened in that country, and the faithful enjoyed relative religious freedom, but this is not synonymous with conversion. The attitude of the Moscow Patriarchate, which is basically a shadow of the Kremlin, is particularly controversial, the latest proof of which is their silence in the face of the Russian attack on Ukraine.

Perhaps it is time to come back to the Fatima apparitions and reflect on to what extent we have taken up their message. Certainly, the bishops of the Latin rite in Ukraine take them seriously, as evidenced by their call for the consecration to be recited after each Mass.

Also, Pope Francis recently announced that he would consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, the same day as Pope John Paul II. Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, who recently visited Ukraine, will carry out the consecration in Fatima as well.

In the letter issued by the Ukrainian Catholic bishops, there was also a call to the Christian love of our enemies. “Let us protect our hearts from hatred and anger towards our enemies. Christ gives a clear command that we pray for them and bless they wrote.”

Such an approach is certainly an expression of a profound conversion. Where are the Moscow Patriarchate, Russia and its people in all of this? Are their hearts converted to the Lord, or are they enslaved by fear and stunned by Kremlin propaganda?

(Father Gregory Golyzniak is pastor of St. Peter Parish in Monument and is a native of the Diocese of Tarnow, Poland.)

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