Fátima and Communism
A concrete block that belonged to the Berlin Wall stands out, nowadays, in the vast grounds of the Sanctuary of Fatima: no pilgrim fails to see it.
This relic of the Cold War was a gift to the Sanctuary from a Portuguese emigrant residing in Germany. It has been there since the 13th August 1994. It weighs 2600 kilograms, it is 3.6 metres high and 1.20 wide.
The Wall, which was erected in the German capital – back then a divided city – between 1961 and 1989 – works today, essentially, as a symbol of the collapse of the so-called “real socialism” always fought by the “message of Fatima.” With a remarkable coincidence: both apparitions at Cova da Iria and the implementation of the first communist regime took place in 1917. With a six-month difference between the initial vision of the seers and the take-over by the Soviets led by Lenin in Russia.
THE CONSECRATION OF RUSSIA
According to Lúcia, on the apparition of the 13th of July of that year, Our Lady would have transmitted the following words to the seers:
“I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”
These words were not finalised until much later, in a manuscript written by Lúcia – the only survivor of the seers – on the 31st of August, 1941, in the convent of Tui (Galicia) where she lived her religious life. They appear in the “third memory” of the seer, drafted at the request of the Bishop of Leiria, D. José Correia da Silva.
The political nature of this message, although it is not a dogma of faith, would be upheld at the highest level by representatives of the Catholic Church. Beginning with Pope Pius XII during World War II, when he broadcast a radio message in our language aimed at the Portuguese people.
In his message of the 31st of October, 1942, when the “fourth year of war” had dawned “even darker,” the highest representative of the Church consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, making a veiled reference to Russia, then subjected to Stalin’s totalitarian regime, in supplication to Our Lady: “to the people separated by error or by dissent, particularly those who profess to thee singular devotion, where there was no house that did not flaunt your venerable icon (now perhaps hidden and reserved for better days), give them the peace and lead them to the only fold of Christ, under the one and true Pastor.”
De Fátima ao Vaticano
Also by Pius XII initiative, ten years later, the people of Russia were consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Thus meeting the request of the Lady of Fátima produced by Lúcia in her missive from 1941.
This way, the Supreme Pontiff also corresponded to a suggestion that had been directed to him by the seer herself, in a letter to the Vatican dated from 2nd December 1940: “Holy Father, Our Lord promised our nation a special protection during the war, in consideration of the consecration that the Portuguese prelates and reverends made from the nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This protection will be the proof of the graces that He will pour out upon other nations if, such as Portugal, they were consecrated to Him.”
The consecration was performed in an apostolic letter from the Pope, dated 7th of July, 1952, under the title Sacro Vergente Anno.
“Such as, a few years ago, we have consecrated the whole human race to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of God, today we consecrate and entrust all the peoples of Russia to this Immaculate Heart.”
Pius XII insisted on distinguishing the “atheistic communism” as a doctrine, from those who believed in him and that at any time could reconsider. “Error Condemnation and charity to those who err,” the Pope stressed in this apostolic letter. “For a real peace, by a fraternal unity and for the freedom due to all [in Russia] and firstly to the Church.”
The Supreme Pontiff thus satisfied the appeal transmitted to him by Lúcia. The message of Fatima definitely reached the Vatican.
The successors of Pius XII adopted a very similar line.
On the 21st of November, 1964, at the end of the third session of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI made the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
And on the 25th of March, 1984 John Paul – the Pope from the East, who was sacred archbishop of Krakow in communist Poland, in 1964 – renewed this consecration, before 250,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square.
“In a particular way we entrust and consecrate to thee those individuals and nations which particularly need to be entrusted and consecrated”, he specified, in a natural allusion to the republics annexed by Stalin who still lived in the Soviet sphere – starting with Russia.
Less than a year later, on the 11th of March, 1985, the reformer Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the USSR. And from 1989 on, communism came into collapse throughout Central and Eastern Europe.
HERESIES FROM OUR TIME
At a national level, and even before the disclosure of the letter from Sister Lúcia, the bishops already mobilised against communism. The first clear position on this matter took place precisely in Fatima, during a meeting of the Portuguese episcopate in May 1936. At that time, when the outbreak of civil war in Spain was imminent, the prelates promised to head, on the 13th of May, 1938, a great “national pilgrimage” to give thanks to the “Blessed Virgin Mother of God” in case she provided “for Portugal the victory over atheistic communism.” The promise was fulfilled in a solemn thanksgiving, in front of about a half million believers, in Fatima.
The most influential of these prelates was the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, D. Manuel Gonçalves Cerejeira, a very close friend of Oliveira Salazar from the time when both were college students in Coimbra.
In his book How to Lift a State (originally published in France in 1937), the Portuguese dictator had shown, clearly, his visceral anti-communism: “We are therefore against all internationalisms, against communism, against socialism, against the libertarian syndicalism, against all that diminishes, divides, disintegrates the family, against the class struggle, against stateless and without God people, against the slavery of work, against the purely materialistic conception of life, against strength as a source of law. We are against all the great heresies of our time.”
In a letter to Salazar, on the 8th of May, 1946, Cerejeira sent him these words: “The miracle of Fátima is at sight. You are connected to it: you were on the mind of God when the Blessed Virgin prepared our salvation.”
Words that illustrate the close relationship between the Catholic Church and the New State (Estado Novo). Already in October 1940, when receiving the credentials of Ambassador Carneiro Pacheco as a Portuguese diplomatic representative in the Holy See, Pope Pius XII had emphasised: “The Lord [God] gave the Portuguese nation a head of government that has been able to conquer not only the love of his people but also the respect and esteem of the world.”