ARE THE LAST FOUR POPES A BUNCH OF LIARS ?
On Fatima & the Private Interpretation of Private Revelations
November 2011By Howard P. Kainz
Howard P. Kainz is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Marquette University and a former executive council-member of the American Catholic Philosophical Association. A widely published author, his most recent book is The Existence of God and the Faith-Instinct (Susquehanna University Press, 2010).
Catholics often criticize Protestants for their subjective private interpretations of the Scriptures that give short shrift to tradition. Some Catholics, however, are guilty of the very same thing when it comes to private revelations messages reportedly given by Jesus or Mary to some individual or group of individuals. The 1917 revelations given by the Blessed Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, during World War I, at the outset of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, constituted possibly the most portentous wake-up call the Church has ever received. But the interpretation of the three secrets our Lady entrusted to the children have been subjected to the vagaries of private interpretation by Catholics who give short shrift to the Magisterium of the Church.
The most egregious example of this phenomenon comes from a Canadian priest, Fr. Nicholas Gruner, the so-called Fatima priest, and the Fatima Center he founded. Fr. Gruner was ordained by the bishop of Avellino, Italy, in 1976, and transferred to Canada, but was suspended after refusing to return to his home diocese. The Vaticans Congregation for the Clergy confirmed his suspension a divinis (the loss of faculties for celebrating Mass, hearing confessions, etc.) in 2001. The archbishop of Hyderabad, India, however, disagreed with the suspension and incardinated Gruner there giving rise to confusion about Gruners ecclesiastical status, and claims by his supporters that his suspension was invalid.
For many years Fr. Gruner has been insisting that the request our Lady made at Fatima for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart by the pope in concert with the bishops of the world has not been made in the way the Virgin requested. His sticking point is that the consecration of Russia has not been made by name.
In December 1983, after consulting with Sr. Lucia, the only living Fatima visionary, Pope John Paul II sent out letters inviting all the worlds Catholic bishops, and some Orthodox bishops, to join him in a joint act of consecration, scheduled for the feast of the Annunciation, March 25, 1984. In the consecration, the Pope, accompanied not only in spirit by the bishops to whom he sent the letters, but also physically in St. Peters Basilica by numerous bishops and cardinals, consecrated the whole world to Marys Immaculate Heart. Reportedly fearing retaliation from the Soviet Union, which at the time was threatening to crush the Solidarity movement in Poland, the Pope added a diplomatic but pointed consecration of Russia herself: In a special way we entrust and consecrate to you those individuals and nations that particularly need to be thus entrusted and consecrated (italics added).
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|In defense of Fr. Gruner, there does appear to be several important discrepancies with the official Church issued communications for Fatima, which Fr. Gruner has pointed out and fully documents on his website http://www.fatima.org/. Perhaps these discrepancies are mere vagaries of Fr. Gruner’s private interpretation as Mr. Kainz implies, but perhaps they are in fact real, and the Church has for some reason not yet chosen to fully reveal the full story on Fatima.
||Posted by: dagbat
December 14, 2011 02:58 PM EST
|If the Consecration was done in 1984, where are the fruits? I don't believe for a second that Lucy made any statement confirming that event. The last thing the One World Government crowd would like is Russia converted. The easy way would be as Our Lady asked, but this generation is bound to do it the hard way.
||Posted by: LouMason@live.com
December 14, 2011 06:38 PM EST
||Posted by: norbert kieferle
January 16, 2012 11:35 AM EST
|This is intended to be a short rebuttal to Dr. Kainz's essay regarding Fatima.
I think that Dr. Kainz lays his cards on the table most clearly early on in his later epilogue, when he states that "orthodox Catholics" cannot accept that Vatican prelates, including popes and bishops, would "lie". If one "cannot accept" a proposition, a defense must be constructed against it at all costs. Thus do we see the almost shocking lack of thoroughness, objectivity, and even honesty in this short piece.
First, however, I must point out that it isn't necessary to believe that popes have in fact lied directly concerning the Third Secret, or the consecration of Russia. Dr. Kainz's assumption here is one of the many ways he shows he is not even really familiar with the position of his opponents. On the contrary, not only did neither Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict XVI ever state that the entire Third Secret has been revealed, they both made public statements that cast doubt, at the least, on the Vatican position - which is actually nothing more than the private opinion of an individual or individuals that is by no means binding on the faithful.
(I have to wonder, though, if Dr. Kainz not long ago also refused to believe that a Prince of the Church could lie and cover up for demonic predator priests in the way that Cardinal Mahoney clearly did. Please do keep the domains of Church and churchmen as clear as possible, professor.)
Of course, Dr., educated Catholics know that while even the ordinary Magisterium demands the general assent of the faithful, it is not protected from error - most certainly not in practical matters that are unrelated to either Church doctrine or morality! During the oft-referenced (by Traditionalists) Arian Crisis, when somewhere between 75-90% of the bishops denied the divinity of Christ, how safe were the faithful following those shepherds? I'm afraid that the professor's opening onslaught concerning obedience to the magisterium is essentially a smoky non-sequitur - especially in these times.
The Evidence - The Third Secret
My treatment here will be necessarily brief but I do intend to demonstrate that the professor's command of his subject matter is vacuous and shallow to such an extent that it cannot in any way be called a serious critique. It seems to me that Dr. Kainz is banking on his readers never seriously looking into the arguments of those he eviscerates.
A few words first about Fr. Gruner. Again, Dr. Kainz shows lack of understanding in trying to paint the so-called Fatimist movement as somehow dominated by Fr. Gruner. While Fr. Gruner, has, in fact, been instrumental in publishing the mountain of evidence in favor of the positions we espouse on the subject, in fact not only the vast majority of Traditionalists but countless other Catholics as well (not a tinfoil hat among them) believe that there is an element of Third Secret not released and/or that the consecration of Russia requested by Our Lady was, in fact, never properly done. Among them is or was a certain very famous nun who founded a Catholic television network.
Attacking Fr. Gruner is a red herring for he's just part of the movement. I know nothing of the novel discussed in the Epilogue, but Fr. Gruner did not write it. Frankly, I used to take the same rather dim view of Fr. Gruner, as I had read so much of the negativity given him, but I have heard him speak and spoken to him and my impression is that he is quite a humble and holy man.
On to the Third Secret. Frankly, the story offered by the Vatican in the year 2000 is to any thinking person so preposterous that even the secular media saw through it quite clearly. A Holy Father who is "killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions" actually referred to the failed assassination attempt by a lone gunman against Pope John Paul II? But we have read that many, many people were involved - many died. This scene has almost nothing in common with the actual occurrence of the shooting of John Paul II. Certainly, it is a stretch to imagine that one who read it and knew of the assassination attempt would even connect the two.
Do note that Cardinal Ratzinger said, of his comments on the Secret, that "there does not exist an official definition or official interpretation of this vision on the part of the Church." Clearly, then, Catholics are quite free to do what simple logic demands and at least express skepticism at the large difficulties already seen here.
At this point, I have to note that our good professor does not include Mother Angelica in his hit list of conspiratorial nut-jobs that raise an eyebrow over what we have here. Why not? She, on international television, questioned the veracity of the Vatican story with "As for me, I don't think we got the whole thing". Has there been a more prominent Catholic religious to so bluntly speak her mind on the matter? I think we must suspect that Dr. Kainz wishes to stick to "safe" targets. (Certainly his general characterization of his opponents is too demeaning to apply to someone likable.)
Before enumerating some of the evidence concerning the Secret, I will point out that this is not a "Fourth Secret" of Fatima - that term was used in a book title as a euphemism. What does seem to exist, though, are the words of Our Lady concerning the Third Secret vision - an explanation, analogous to those She gave for each of the first two Secrets.
What Dr. Kainz insinuates are the main reasons for the suspicion that there is another part of the Secret is, frankly, a laughable caricature of the actual evidence. In contrast to what he presents, here is the real stuff. The following quotes and references are all verifiable:
- The Secret concerns a 'divine warning' about 'suicidal' alterations in the liturgy and theology of the Church (the future Pope Pius XII, 1931).
- It contains a prediction that after 1960, 'the devil will succeed in leaving the souls of the faithful abandoned by their leaders' by causing 'religious and priests to fall away from their beautiful vocation... dragging numerous souls to Hell' and that 'nations will disappear from the face of the earth' (Sr. Lucia to Fr. Fuentes in 1957).
- It's contents are 'so delicate' that they cannot be allowed 'for whatever reason, even fortuitous, to fall into alien hands' (Cardinal Ottaviani, 1967).
- It is a text 'diplomatically' withheld because of the 'seriousness of its contents' and which predicts, after 1980, 'great trials' and 'tribulation' for the Church which 'it is no longer possible to avert' and the destruction of 'whole areas of the earth' so that 'from one moment to the next millions of people will perish' (John Paul II at Fulda, 1980).
- It is 'religious prophecy' of 'dangers threatening the faith and the life of the Christian and therefore of the world' (Cardinal Ratzinger, 1984).
- It is a predication of 'apostasy' in the Church that 'begins at the top' (Cardinal Ciappi, 1995).
- It is a warning of a material chastisement of the world which accompanies the great apostasy in the Church, like that predicted in the Church-approved apparition of Our Lady of Akita in 1973, whose message is 'essentially the same' as the message of Our Lady of Fatima (Ratzinger to Howard Dee, Phillipine ambassodor to the Vatican, 1998).
- It is a warning to avoid the 'tail of the dragon' referred to in Revelation (12:3-4), which sweeps one-third of 'the stars' from Heaven (Pope John Paul II, May 2000, sermon at Fatima when he beatified Jacinta and Francisco). (Many believe the Pontiff was here revealing the Secret in a subtle manner here.)
Is it any wonder Dr. Kainz did talk much about the real evidence?
These quotes demonstrate the numerous ways in which the 'interpretation' offered by Cardinal Sodano in 2000 differs substantially (actually radically) from the image painted about the Secret by virtually every other knowledgeable party who's commented on it through its history.
Dr. Kainz also fails to make mention (and, yes, I acknowledge that his paper is very short, but the point is it really needed to be much longer) the rather fascinating story of Antonio Socci. Socci is a very prominent Italian Catholic journalist who, in 2007 or thereabouts, became frustrated with the criticism of Cardinal Bertone regarding Fatima and the general suspicion cast on the non-official explanation of the Secret, so he set out to write a book in defense of Bertone and Sodano. What happened was that he experienced a 180-degree turn in his position and instead published a book presenting the mountain of evidence that there is another part of the Secret.
Since that point, in 2009, he has engaged Cardinal Bertone in a number of ways, challenging him with this evidence. Cardinal Bertone has only made his position much worse with his responses, which have been demonstrated to be both evasive and contradictory.
Before anyone accuses Socci of some sort of "disobedience" (more accurate a failure to submit to clericalism), do consider that he received a letter from Pope Benedict XVI thanking him for the work he did on his book. (Such things should send those who insist that these matters are cut and dried "laymen vs. the Church" quickly back to the drawing board.)
For the record, I have not met a Fatimist who accuses either John Paul II or Benedict XVI of "lying" about the Secret. On the contrary, as I alluded to either, both have made it seem that they'd like to be able to reveal something that is hidden. So would seem John Paul II's sermon at Fatima referenced above as well as the fact that Benedict XVI's statements after ascending to the See of Peter regarding the Secret have been directly contradictory of the "partly line". (He who believes the Secret is entirely in the past "deludes himself" according to the Pope Emeritus. That would appear to include Cardinal Bertone who has claimed exactly that.)
The Consecration Of Russia
For me, the issue of the Consecration of Russia is not as cut & dried as that of the Third Secret (where, frankly, anything thinking person that applies himself to any extent in service of the truth will be find an easy conclusion). However, the evidence does suggest conclusively that the consecration was never done as requested by Our Lady.
It is a simple fact that there has never been a consecration of Russia by name by the Pope with all the world's bishops - which is exactly what Our Lady requested. Professor Kainz knows this which is why he spends the effort he does disparaging the notion that the consecration of a thing has to mention that thing. It is in cases like this that one may need to take a step back to see the sophistry.
What would people think if, when a new church was to be consecrated, the bishop instead simply consecrated the town that it was in? The necessary conclusion would be that the church was not consecrated. Who could think differently? To consecrate a thing means to make it "special" - to set it apart. Logic and common sense do tell us that it is simply silly to claim a thing that is not mentioned is consecrated. If the world is consecrated, Russia, being in it, may have received a blessing as well, but if it has not been consecrated - set apart - by name, then it hasn't been consecrated in the normal sense of the word: in the sense the Church has always used.
Whatever she may have said or have been purported to have said later, Sr. Lucy definitely said the same. Quoting from a "Fatimist" source, though this information is easily verifiable:
Over 55 years ago, on July 15, 1946, the eminent author and historian, William Thomas Walsh interviewed Sister Lucy, which is recounted in his gorgeous work, Our Lady of Fatima. At this interview, which appears at the book's end, Mr. Walsh asked her pointed questions about the correct procedure for the Collegial Consecration:
"Finally we came to the important subject of the second July secret, of which so many different and conflicting versions have been published. Lucia made it plain that Our Lady did not ask for the consecration of the world to Her Immaculate Heart. What She demanded specifically was the consecration of Russia. She did not comment, of course, on the fact that Pope Pius XII had consecrated the world, not Russia, to the Immaculate Heart in 1942. But she said more than once, and with deliberate emphasis:
'What Our Lady wants is that the Pope and all the bishops in the world shall consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart on one special day. If this is done, She will convert Russia and there will be peace. If it is not done, the errors of Russia will spread through every country in the world'."
Here are a few thoughts regarding the 1984 consecration by Pope John Paul II:
- After the consecration, John Paul II is recorded to have said, “Enlighten especially the people whose consecration and entrusting you are awaiting from us.” The Pope had just consecrated the world to the Blessed Virgin - how could anyone be awaiting consecration, by the logic the apologists of this consecration use? And what had Our Lady specifically asked to be consecrated to Her save Russia?
- It is documented that on at least five separate occasions in the 1980s, Sister Lucia said that the 1984 consecration did not satisfy Our Lady’s request. In this quick rebuttal I will not delve into the details but they are easily available.
- John Paul said in regards to the 1984 consecration that he "did as much as he could". What a curious statement! It demonstrates at the least that he did not have the cooperation he desired.
Even those who believe that the consecration was performed as requested must acknowledge it was apparently somehow difficult, because there were many attempts. Why? Why, on earth, should something as simple as the bishops obediently uniting with the Supreme Pontiff to consecrate a nation to Mary as request be difficult?
Only the naive can ask such a question. The answer is that such an action is insulting to the modern notion of ecumenism, the new orientation of the Church since the council. Pray for people to "convert"? How insulting! Single-out Russia as especially in need of such change? Doubly so.
The Pact of Metz forged by John XXIII guaranteed Russia that Vatican II would not condemn Communism. Again, this is common knowledge. How compatible is this with Our Lady's warnings of "the errors of Russia". In the November, 2000 issue of Inside the Vatican, a Cardinal advisor of the pope revealed that the pope had been warned not to offend the Russian Orthodox church by explicitly mentioning Russia in a consecration ceremony.
There you have it. And for those who would rather stick their heads in the sand and mumble about conspiracy theories instead of looking at the evidence, the WikiLeaks affair should provide good insight into the kind of "politics" that does exist in the Vatican.
So, we have issues with Russia in particular, and with promoting "ecumenism" in particular. Carinal Walter Kasper, president Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has stated publicly numerous times that conversion to Catholicism is no longer a "goal" of ecumenism - even for non-Christians. This is, of course, no less than a denial of the Great Commission of Our Lord Himself. (But, those ensnared by the "diabolical disorientation" of modernism do not see things that way, of course. Things are much more complex.)
But, unfortunately, "conversion" does mean to Catholicism. Again, we have evidence that Sr. Lucy did teach exactly this: The renowned Fatima expert Fr. Joaquin Alonso wrote in 1976: "We should affirm that Lucia always thought that the 'conversion' of Russia is not to be limited to the return of the Russian People to the Orthodox Christian religions, rejecting the Marxist atheism of the Soviets, but rather, it refers purely, plainly and simply to the total, integral conversion of Russia to the one true Church of Christ, the Catholic Church."
Fr. Alonso certainly knew Sr. Lucy well. In fact, it is only in today's environment of runaway false ecumenism that it could even be supposed that when the Mother of God speaks of "conversion" speaks of anything other than conversion to the One, True Faith.
While there were certain events - the collapse of the Soviet empire - that did occur within a decade of the 1984 consecration, a close look at Russia today reveals that there is really no way she is experiencing the conversion Our Lady promised - now nearly 30 years ago.
Dr. Kainz insists that Russia is no longer a danger to us, but Iran most certainly is. He apparently misses the irony of contrasting Iran with Russia in terms of fostering evil when the two are, in fact, close allies. Within the past two months, in fact, the two nations signed a “strategic partnership”, with Iran going so far as to host Russian warships.
In any case, Our Lady promised that the entire world would be granted peace after the consecration of Russia, but the world is as unstable and dangerous as ever, as Professor Kainz readily acknowledges. Even nuclear war is at least as likely now as in cold war; the number of wars and conflicts causing untold human misery continue unabated year after year.
Dr. Kainz contrasts Russia's supposed conversion to that which Our Lady of Guadalupe brought upon the Aztec people - where some ten million souls came into the Church, the bulk of the native population, in a mere ten years, and where the human sacrifice of their pagan religion was completely put to an end, permanently. Now nearly 30 years into its alleged conversion, the average Russian woman has eight abortions in her lifetime! Eight! Eight innocent souls sacrificed to the idol of, yes, materialism, by the average woman in this nation three decades into a supernatural conversion to Christ and His Church?
Russia is also known as both the child-porn and "hacker" capital of the world. Pornography is even more ubiquitous and passe than in America - hard-core pornography is shown on Russian television.
Portugal gives us another record of what a true consecration will do for a nation. The nation of Portugal was consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1931 by the nation's bishops. This was followed immediately by a massive resurgence of the faith that included a 400% increase in vocations in under a decade, the inauguration of a good Catholic leader (Salazar) who undid much of the damage of the former masonic government, and a nearly-miraculous preservation of the nation from the terror of World War II that raged all around here. These facts are, again, well-documented and easy to find. Sr. Lucy herself stated publicly that Portugal's preservation from the war was a direct result of the consecration.
In further contract, Russia today forbids Catholic evangelization! The Russian Orthodox church is greatly hostile to Catholic conversion (they're in schism, remember?). Catholicism is not even the second largest religion in Russia today - Islam is.
I agree with Dr. Kainz on one particular question: I think that stories of a "double" Sr. Lucy are untenable and do smack of what we may informally term "nuttiness". However, it is a well-documented that Sr Lucy was in fact forbidden to talk to the press or virtually anyone else about Fatima - muzzled, in effect - after she gave some interviews that were clearly uncomfortable for the Vatican apparatus. Was she silenced in some fashion? Again, one can argue about the motives, but that much is factual. (In matters like this, there are unavoidably tangential hypothesis that arise.)
A couple miscellaneous comments about Professor Kainz's essay and its follow-up epilogue.
He claims, rather incredulously, that the apparitions of Our Lady at Akita, Japan are actually not Church-approved (and clearly implies they should be ignored). Dr. Kainz needs to study the Church's rules regarding private revelation, because Bishop Ito of Akita long ago pronounced these events as "reliable and worthy of belief". This is the only official judgement of the Catholic Church regarding the apparitions. In the case of private revelation, the local ordinary is the Church: his judgement is valid unless overridden by a higher authority. Of course, no higher authority has spoken, and that is by no means unusual. The private opinions given by prelates other than the local ordinary or his superiors are not relevant.
In his usual style, he passes over all information contrary to his position. As noted above, in 1998, Cardinal Ratzinger himself told the Philippine ambassador to the Vatican that "the messages of Fatima and Akita are essentially the same". This is from the ambassador's own testimony. It would seem to be rather highly relevant.
You can check any number of Catholic sources to see that Akita is listed as a Church-approved apparition.
Dr. Kainz also repeatedly misquotes Our Lady regarding the faith of Portugal. What She stated at Fatima is that "the dogma of the faith will always be preserved" there. This is substantially different from what he seems to think the statement was - that it regarded the faith of the people of that nation. Obviously, while these two subjects are related, they are quite distinct. Distinct enough that they make his point regarding Mass attendance there rather moot.
Dr. Kainz's whitewashing of the issues here is not in service to the truth (though of course he may be sincere). Confusion does abound in these times of thorough diabolical disorientation - in these times when our leaders have "itching ears" (as an essay previously published on NOR asserted!). Dr. Kainz claims to be fully-cognizant of the crisis that engulfs us, but it is apparent to me that he is not. Destruction (Protestantization) of the liturgy, clergy overrun with homosexual predators (see Amchurch and Goodbye, Good Men ), and a completely unprecedented collapse in Catholic faith & morals - this is the dire reality.
The professor closes by setting up a false dichotomy between what he regards as obedience (actually a blind obedience not compatible with true obedience) and firm adherence to the faith. He reveals yet more ignorance about traditional Catholics here as they nearly to a man do say their Rosaries very faithfully, attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass frequently with utmost devotion, make use of the immense gift of the Sacrament of Penance, and generally believe and behave as Catholics did for nearly two millennia - in unfortunate, stark contrast to the average modern Catholic. But, we will continue to pray that the Church abandons the liturgical and theological novelties that do not constitute official teaching and were never made binding upon the faithful, but which have at least contributed to the state of virtual devastation the Church is now in.
I do hope for his sake that Dr. Kainz is actually as comfortable in is position as he'd have us believe.
|Posted by: PaulFolbrecht
April 09, 2013 11:45 PM EDT
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