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February 20, 2005

The Conversion of Russia to the Catholic Faith

by Thomas A. Droleskey

There is little need to write at length about the extent to which the spin-doctors at Zenit create and sustain an alternate universe in which the contradictions of one day's dispatches by those of the next day never blunt their zeal for spin-doctoring. The defined dogmas and papally condemned errors mean nothing to those who produce Zenit's daily reports. Anything that confirms the current Vatican line is to reported as though nothing before that very moment in salvation history was at all relevant.

One of the most current examples of this was to be found in a Zenit report of February 17, 2005:

MADRID, Spain, FEB. 16, 2005 ( Zenit.org ).- The Blessed Virgin's role in helping Russia hasn't gone unappreciated there, says a Catholic media official.

The Fatima shrine, for instance, is a "very special place for Russia, for Catholics as well as Orthodox, who are convinced that Our Lady contributed to convert the Russian people," said Victor Khroul, director of the Information Center of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Russia, in an interview with ZENIT.

Khroul said that "although I never knew Sister Lucia personally, I value very much her testimony and encouragement of the Russian people and we are very grateful to her as, thanks to her, many people have prayed for decades for the conversion of Russia."

Sister Maria Lucia, the last surviving visionary of the 1917 Marian apparitions at Fatima, Portugal, died last Sunday at age 97.

Khroul, who is also editor of the Catholic weekly Svet Evangelia, said that when one speaks of "the conversion of Russia" one must understand that it means "the passing from non-belief to the Christian faith," and must not be confused with being or not being Catholic. ZE05021602

No one at Zenit raised any questions about Victor Khroul's nonsensical assertion that "'the conversion of Russia' means 'the passing from non-belief to the Christian faith,' and must not be confused with being or not being Catholic." Mr. Khroul's assertion is simply an effort to parrot the conciliarist commitment to the errors of "ecumenism." After all, the Holy See has discouraged members of Orthodox churches to convert to the true Church. Various cardinals and archbishops have said that Jews are saved by the Mosaic Covenant. Victor Khroul is merely following the Vatican party line, enunciated first and foremost by Pope John Paul II, of discouraging "proselytism" among the Orthodox, especially in Russia.

Our Lady wants all people on the face of this earth to be formal members of the Catholic Church. It was for this reason that Our Lady appeared to Saint Juan Diego in Guadalupe on December 9, 1531. It is for this reason that Our Lady appeared in Fatima for the first time on May 13, 1917, just one month and seven days after the entry of the United States of America into what we refer to now as World War I. Our Lady told Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto and their now deceased cousin, Lucia dos Santos, that she wanted them to pray and to do penance for sins, praying especially for the Holy Father, a personage who is not recognized as the Vicar of Christ on earth by the Orthodox. The consecration of Russia to her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart by a pope with all of the bishops of the world is meant to usher in the conversion of Russia and an era of peace.

Unless you think that the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is compatible with legalized contraception, abortion, euthanasia and other evils, then the era of peace has arrived. And if you think that Our Lady was endorsing a religious indifferentism that had been condemned by pope after pope in the Nineteenth Century, then it is possible Our Lady does not want the Orthodox to convert. If, however, Our Lady meant at Fatima to effect in the entire world what had been effected in Latin America following her apparitions to Saint Juan Diego, then it might be more than a little wise to consider the following papal condemnations of Mr. Khroul's remarks--and of the entire approach to ecumenism that began with Pope John XXIII's pontificate in 1958.

Consider the following propositions contained in Pope Pius IX's Syllabus of Errors, which predates the opening of the Second Vatican Council by ninety-eight years:

15. Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true. -- Allocution "Maxima Quidem," June 9, 1862; Damnatio "Multiplices inter," June 10, 1851.

16. Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation. -- Encyclical "Qui pluribus," Nov. 9, 1846.

17. Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ. -- Encyclical "Quanto conficiamur," Aug. 10, 1863, etc.

18. Protestantism is nothing more than another form of the same true Christian religion, in which form it is given to please God equally as in the Catholic Church. -- Encyclical "Noscitis," Dec. 8, 1849.

Pope Leo XIII noted the following about religious indifferentism in Immortale Dei in 1885:

To hold, therefore, that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice. And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name. Men who really believe in the existence of God must, in order to be consistent with themselves and to avoid absurd conclusions, understand that differing modes of divine worship involving dissimilarity and conflict even on most important points cannot all be equally probable, equally good, and equally acceptable to God.

Pope Pius XI addressed Mr. Khroul's assertion head-on in Mortalium Animos in 1928:

7. And here it seems opportune to expound and to refute a certain false opinion, on which this whole question, as well as that complex movement by which non-Catholics seek to bring about the union of the Christian churches depends. For authors who favor this view are accustomed, times almost without number, to bring forward these words of Christ: "That they all may be one.... And there shall be one fold and one shepherd,"[14] with this signification however: that Christ Jesus merely expressed a desire and prayer, which still lacks its fulfillment. For they are of the opinion that the unity of faith and government, which is a note of the one true Church of Christ, has hardly up to the present time existed, and does not to-day exist. They consider that this unity may indeed be desired and that it may even be one day attained through the instrumentality of wills directed to a common end, but that meanwhile it can only be regarded as mere ideal. They add that the Church in itself, or of its nature, is divided into sections; that is to say, that it is made up of several churches or distinct communities, which still remain separate, and although having certain articles of doctrine in common, nevertheless disagree concerning the remainder; that these all enjoy the same rights; and that the Church was one and unique from, at the most, the apostolic age until the first Ecumenical Councils. Controversies therefore, they say, and longstanding differences of opinion which keep asunder till the present day the members of the Christian family, must be entirely put aside, and from the remaining doctrines a common form of faith drawn up and proposed for belief, and in the profession of which all may not only know but feel that they are brothers. The manifold churches or communities, if united in some kind of universal federation, would then be in a position to oppose strongly and with success the progress of irreligion. This, Venerable Brethren, is what is commonly said. There are some, indeed, who recognize and affirm that Protestantism, as they call it, has rejected, with a great lack of consideration, certain articles of faith and some external ceremonies, which are, in fact, pleasing and useful, and which the Roman Church still retains. They soon, however, go on to say that that Church also has erred, and corrupted the original religion by adding and proposing for belief certain doctrines which are not only alien to the Gospel, but even repugnant to it. Among the chief of these they number that which concerns the primacy of jurisdiction, which was granted to Peter and to his successors in the See of Rome. Among them there indeed are some, though few, who grant to the Roman Pontiff a primacy of honor or even a certain jurisdiction or power, but this, however, they consider not to arise from the divine law but from the consent of the faithful. Others again, even go so far as to wish the Pontiff Himself to preside over their motley, so to say, assemblies. But, all the same, although many non-Catholics may be found who loudly preach fraternal communion in Christ Jesus, yet you will find none at all to whom it ever occurs to submit to and obey the Vicar of Jesus Christ either in His capacity as a teacher or as a governor. Meanwhile they affirm that they would willingly treat with the Church of Rome, but on equal terms, that is as equals with an equal: but even if they could so act. it does not seem open to doubt that any pact into which they might enter would not compel them to turn from those opinions which are still the reason why they err and stray from the one fold of Christ. . . .

9. These pan-Christians who turn their minds to uniting the churches seem, indeed, to pursue the noblest of ideas in promoting charity among all Christians: nevertheless how does it happen that this charity tends to injure faith? Everyone knows that John himself, the Apostle of love, who seems to reveal in his Gospel the secrets of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and who never ceased to impress on the memories of his followers the new commandment "Love one another," altogether forbade any intercourse with those who professed a mutilated and corrupt version of Christ's teaching: "If any man come to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him: God speed you."[18] For which reason, since charity is based on a complete and sincere faith, the disciples of Christ must be united principally by the bond of one faith. Who then can conceive a Christian Federation, the members of which retain each his own opinions and private judgment, even in matters which concern the object of faith, even though they be repugnant to the opinions of the rest? And in what manner, We ask, can men who follow contrary opinions, belong to one and the same Federation of the faithful? For example, those who affirm, and those who deny that sacred Tradition is a true fount of divine Revelation; those who hold that an ecclesiastical hierarchy, made up of bishops, priests and ministers, has been divinely constituted, and those who assert that it has been brought in little by little in accordance with the conditions of the time; those who adore Christ really present in the Most Holy Eucharist through that marvelous conversion of the bread and wine, which is called transubstantiation, and those who affirm that Christ is present only by faith or by the signification and virtue of the Sacrament; those who in the Eucharist recognize the nature both of a sacrament and of a sacrifice, and those who say that it is nothing more than the memorial or commemoration of the Lord's Supper; those who believe it to be good and useful to invoke by prayer the Saints reigning with Christ, especially Mary the Mother of God, and to venerate their images, and those who urge that such a veneration is not to be made use of, for it is contrary to the honor due to Jesus Christ, "the one mediator of God and men."[19] How so great a variety of opinions can make the way clear to effect the unity of the Church We know not; that unity can only arise from one teaching authority, one law of belief and one faith of Christians. But We do know that from this it is an easy step to the neglect of religion or indifferentism and to modernism, as they call it. Those, who are unhappily infected with these errors, hold that dogmatic truth is not absolute but relative, that is, it agrees with the varying necessities of time and place and with the varying tendencies of the mind, since it is not contained in immutable revelation, but is capable of being accommodated to human life. Besides this, in connection with things which must be believed, it is nowise licit to use that distinction which some have seen fit to introduce between those articles of faith which are fundamental and those which are not fundamental, as they say, as if the former are to be accepted by all, while the latter may be left to the free assent of the faithful: for the supernatural virtue of faith has a formal cause, namely the authority of God revealing, and this is patient of no such distinction. For this reason it is that all who are truly Christ's believe, for example, the Conception of the Mother of God without stain of original sin with the same faith as they believe the mystery of the August Trinity, and the Incarnation of our Lord just as they do the infallible teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, according to the sense in which it was defined by the Ecumenical Council of the Vatican. Are these truths not equally certain, or not equally to be believed, because the Church has solemnly sanctioned and defined them, some in one age and some in another, even in those times immediately before our own? Has not God revealed them all? For the teaching authority of the Church, which in the divine wisdom was constituted on earth in order that revealed doctrines might remain intact for ever, and that they might be brought with ease and security to the knowledge of men, and which is daily exercised through the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops who are in communion with him, has also the office of defining, when it sees fit, any truth with solemn rites and decrees, whenever this is necessary either to oppose the errors or the attacks of heretics, or more clearly and in greater detail to stamp the minds of the faithful with the articles of sacred doctrine which have been explained. But in the use of this extraordinary teaching authority no newly invented matter is brought in, nor is anything new added to the number of those truths which are at least implicitly contained in the deposit of Revelation, divinely handed down to the Church: only those which are made clear which perhaps may still seem obscure to some, or that which some have previously called into question is declared to be of faith.

Most of the Orthodox churches reject very dogmas listed by Pope Pius XI above as being part and parcel of the Deposit of Faith, the articles of which can never be divided into "fundamental" and "non-fundamental." Papal infallibility? The Immaculate Conception? Our Lady wants to reaffirm the Orthodox in their errors, Mr. Khroul?

Pope Pius XI reiterated the condemnation of of the errors of of Photius, which had been pronounced by Fourth Council of Constantinople in the Ninth Century as some of the proximate foundations of the Greek Schism two centuries later, inviting all men everywhere into the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church:

11. Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. Did not the ancestors of those who are now entangled in the errors of Photius and the reformers, obey the Bishop of Rome, the chief shepherd of souls? Alas their children left the home of their fathers, but it did not fall to the ground and perish for ever, for it was supported by God. Let them therefore return to their common Father, who, forgetting the insults previously heaped on the Apostolic See, will receive them in the most loving fashion. For if, as they continually state, they long to be united with Us and ours, why do they not hasten to enter the Church, "the Mother and mistress of all Christ's faithful"?[25] Let them hear Lactantius crying out: "The Catholic Church is alone in keeping the true worship. This is the fount of truth, this the house of Faith, this the temple of God: if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation. Let none delude himself with obstinate wrangling. For life and salvation are here concerned, which will be lost and entirely destroyed, unless their interests are carefully and assiduously kept in mind."[26]

Mr. Khroul, was Pope Pius XI--and all of the popes before him going back to Saint Peter, wrong? Was the Second Council of Lyons in 1274 wrong when it stated:

The same holy Roman Church also has supreme and full primary and jurisdiction over the whole Catholic Church. This it truly and humbly recognizes as received from the Lord Himself in the person of Saint Peter, the Prince or head of the Apostles, whose successor in the fullness of power is the Roman Pontiff. And just as the holy Roman Church is bound more than all the others to defend the truth of faith, so, if there arise any questions concerning the faith, they must be decided by its judgment. Anyone who is aggrieved may appeal to it in matters pertaining to the ecclesiastical court; and in all cases that require ecclesiastical investigation, one may have recourse to its judgment. Also, all churches are subject to it, and their prelates render it obedience are subject to it, and their prelates render it obedience and reverence. There is such a fullness of power vested in the Church that it admits other churches to a share in its responsibility; and many of these, especially the patriarchal churches, the same Roman Church has honored with various privileges. Yet always its special position has remained intact, both in general councils and in some others.

Consider these final two passages from Mortalium Animos:

12. Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See, set up in the City which Peter and Paul, the Princes of the Apostles, consecrated by their blood; to that See, We repeat, which is "the root and womb whence the Church of God springs,"[27] not with the intention and the hope that "the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth"[28] will cast aside the integrity of the faith and tolerate their errors, but, on the contrary, that they themselves submit to its teaching and government. Would that it were Our happy lot to do that which so many of Our predecessors could not, to embrace with fatherly affection those children, whose unhappy separation from Us We now bewail. Would that God our Savior, "Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,"[29] would hear us when We humbly beg that He would deign to recall all who stray to the unity of the Church! In this most important undertaking We ask and wish that others should ask the prayers of Blessed Mary the Virgin, Mother of divine grace, victorious over all heresies and Help of Christians, that She may implore for Us the speedy coming of the much hoped- for day, when all men shall hear the voice of Her divine Son, and shall be "careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."[30]

13. You, Venerable Brethren, understand how much this question is in Our mind, and We desire that Our children should also know, not only those who belong to the Catholic community, but also those who are separated from Us: if these latter humbly beg light from heaven, there is no doubt but that they will recognize the one true Church of Jesus Christ and will, at last, enter it, being united with us in perfect charity. While awaiting this event, and as a pledge of Our paternal good will, We impart most lovingly to you, Venerable Brethren, and to your clergy and people, the apostolic benediction.

Once again, Mr. Khroul, was Pope Pius XI wrong? Must everyone become Catholic as Pope Pius XI insisted in Paragraphs 12 and 13 of Mortalium Animos? Alas, to admit that Pope Pius XI was correct must be to admit that Pope John Paul and his immediate predecessors have been unfaithful to the clear teaching of the Church concerning those outside of her fold. Countless martyrs of the Church have given up their lives to bear witness to the truth of the one, true Church founded by Our Lord upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. It is not possible, to use the phrase of a priest who wrote to me recently, that an "ecclesiogensis" has sprung up since 1962, wiping out that which had existed before and consigning it to the Orwellian memory hole. We must be about the business of inviting everyone into the true Church, doing so as totally consecrated sons and daughters of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.

The saint who is listed in the Roman martyrology for tomorrow, February 21 is Saint Peter Mavimenus, who was martyred by the Mohammedans in Damascus in the year 743. Saint Peter exclaimed, "Every man who does not hold the Catholic Christian Faith is damned like Mohammed, your false prophet."

The irony of all this is when some pope actually does consecrate Russia to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart with all of the world's bishops, the daily report from Zenit will run something like this: "As we have been reporting for the past decades, Our Lady meant for Russia to be converted to the Catholic Faith." Zenit's February 17, 2005, report will thus be dispatched to the "delete" file, as will most of its dispatches prior to that time, which we must continue to pray and to make many sacrifices to help realize.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Blessed Jacinta, pray for us.

Blessed Francisco, pray for us.

Saint Peter Mavimenus, pray for us.











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