Browse Our Articles & Podcasts

Have the “Errors of Russia” Now Infected Rome?

One hundred years ago, Our Lady of Fatima mysteriously warned us of the danger that the then-unspecified “errors of Russia” would somehow come to spread throughout the whole world if Russia would not first be adequately and solemnly consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Such a consecration, moreover, was prophesied to attain Russia’s own fuller conversion to the Catholic Faith and, thus, to the genuine incarnational life and culture of the Faith.

But, what, then, are the “errors of Russia” as they were developing at the time of the Bolshevik-Russian Revolution shortly after the Fatima apparitions? It would seem that they include, among other things, the following list of characteristics:

  1. A reductively atheistic materialist world-view which aims at undermining anything Christian in society;
  2. An ideology that is disconnected from Truth and reality;
  3. A cultural Marxism that later permeated also the West with the help of the Frankfurt School and Antonio Gramsci’s ideas;
  4. A revolutionary socialistic spirit that undermines especially major aspects of family life – especially with the help of feminism, divorce and abortion;
  5. A Hegelian dialectic philosophy, along with dialectic materialism, which claims that strife and ongoing contention in society are necessary in order to bring about higher and unfolding forms of life; such an approach essentially denies and purportedly transcends the principle or law of non-contradiction.
  6. A form of governing “revolutionary socialism” that is also constitutionally called “Democratic Centralism,” the latter formulation meaning that things have the appearance of being openly democratic, yet they are all centrally organized and managed in the background (Dr. Robert Hickson recently applied this principle to the current situation in the Church – especially with regard to the Family Synods – here);
  7. A disregard for tradition and for the traditional institutions of society (or now of the Church, such as the Curia?) as “counter-revolutionary forces”;
  8. A deceitful misuse of language with the intent to manipulate the public;
  9. A method of branding one’s own opponents with sweeping and demeaning epithets that abstractly categorize them as “right-wing” or “counter-revolutionary”;
  10. An approach to ongoing revolutionary changes where there is both “a slow path” and “a fast path” of the Revolution; such is “the Dialectic” and the “dialectical process”;
  11. Toward more moderate and compromising opponents, one first tries to incorporate them into the professed new system so as to use them as Lenin’s “useful idiots” in the sense that they help give to the world the illusory idea that nothing has really changed;
  12. As a last element – but of course a very important and painful one for those who lived under Communism – there is a constant sense of distrust and fear, unto the imprisonment and killing of one’s intransigent opponents.

For some months now, a certain expression has recurrently come back to me in my reflections: “The errors of Russia have reached Rome!” Let me attempt to explain why this insight may be so.

There have come to us now several witnesses who speak of an atmosphere of fear and suppression of free speech in Catholic Rome. Just very recently, Edward Pentin, a Rome Correspondent with much inside knowledge, revealed in an interview just how fearful people in employment at the Vatican now are:

The reaction [to the dubia] has been interesting so far: almost all the College of Cardinals and the Roman Curia have remained silent, neither supporting the cardinals, nor, more importantly, coming out in support of the Pope and his decision not to respond. If silence is taken to mean consent for the dubia, then one could therefore argue that the vast majority are in favor of the four cardinals. That can only be speculative of course, but it could conceivably be true as for months one has heard from one significant part of the Curia that they feel great unease about what is happening. The phrases “reign of terror” and “Vatican martial law” are frequently bandied around.

Steve Skojec, as well, has reported on similar details concerning the atmosphere of fear in the Vatican:

I have heard reports that the Vatican is like an occupied state. Certain sources I’ve spoken with have a fear that communications with Vatican officials are being monitored; some have even reported suspicious anomalies in their telephone conversations in which, after a dropped call, the audio of the last moments of their conversation has played over and over again on a loop, as though they are hearing a recording. Some individuals who work within the Vatican are advising their contacts on the outside not to share sensitive information via email or their Vatican-issued cell phones. [emphasis added]

The recent intense responses against the Four Cardinals’ dubia – to include threats and insults thrown at them, instead of properly responding to the substance of their fundamental questions – is another hint of the increasingly suffocating ideological atmosphere in Rome. Not the substance matters, but whether you are in line with the pope’s own methods and procedures and ambiguous proposals. Those who at all disagree with the new line of thought are being intimidated (or removed from office, as was Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke). Just as in earlier Communist times, those who oppose the regime of subversive or coercive novelties are called “right-wing” and “being backwards.” For example, one leading figure in this detraction and method of labeling people is Father Antonio Spadaro, S.J, who just recently came out mocking those “balanced” blogs who report on the Vatican but who have so suddenly, in his eyes, now turned into “right-wing propaganda machines.” Here is his full “tweet”:

After #dubia many so called “balanced” blogs about Church are taking off their mask showing themselves as right wing propaganda machines! [my emphasis]

This tweet by one of the closest friends and advisors of the pope shows how the atmosphere in the Catholic Church has been constricted and politicized under the pontificate of Pope Francis. This is also what Edward Pentin himself has extensively observed in his recent above-mentioned interview:

The Pope’s reaction, of going so far as to question the [Four] cardinals’ mental state, has been read as a manifestation of his own anger at having his agenda taken off course. And instead of taking the four cardinals at their word (they have said they are acting primarily out of charity towards the Holy Father, justice and deep pastoral concern), they are seen as adversaries. I understand he has also been working behind the scenes to ensure his agenda is not thwarted. From strategically placed articles in L’Osservatore Romano to equivocations from those who publicly criticized the dubia when asked if the Pope had asked them to do so, Francis has been acting, as one observer put it, like a “behind-the-scenes political lobbyist.” In the three weeks after the dubia were published, the Pope gave three interviews to the world’s media, each of them aimed at legitimizing his position while denigrating his critics.

Lastly, it’s important to point out that simply by matching facts with words coming from the Pope and his allies, it’s clear there is significant lying and deceit taking place, as well as calumnies and the besmirching of reputations of those labeled to be “on the right” just because they are publicly critical of Amoris Laetitia, or merely report on such criticism. It genuinely pains me to say all this, because as a Catholic journalist one doesn’t wish in any way to diminish the Petrine Office, but I feel I have an obligation to report the facts on what is happening. [my emphasis]

Not only do Pope Francis and his allies use a typical leftist rhetoric against their opponents, but they have now also shown, in general, more sympathy toward left-wing and liberal personalities and politicians, as well as for progressivist themes, such as environmentalism and anti-Capitalism.

One very troubling event that took place under Francis’ pontificate is that a Vatican conference discussed the question as how to use children as “change agents” with regard to implementing an ecological world-view in the world.

In light of all of these grave and fundamental changes in the permeating atmosphere and in the preponderant themes that are now being promoted in Rome, it might be worthwhile to consider Pope Francis’ own recent words about conflict and strife. It seems that the pope himself knows that he is causing strife – instability and insecurity – in the Church, and that he regards such strife (i.e., struggle and dialectical oppositions) as something positive and “constructive” and “creative.” Francis recently said that “oppositions help” and added: “Human life is structured in oppositional form. And that is also what is happening now in the Church. Tensions need not necessarily be resolved and regulated. They are not like contradictions.” His unofficial spokesman, Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S.J said on 9 December 2016 the following about the pope’s attitude toward conflicts: “The pope knows very well that the reform process in the Church – if it is effective – creates and develops tensions and that it is good if they somehow find expression.” [my emphasis] Does this view as expressed here with regard to the positive aspects of conflict remind us perhaps of the positive view upon conflict within the Hegelian-Marxist world-view?

All these new developments, to include the new atmosphere in Rome, remind some of the current major Catholic witnesses of their own prior experience in Communist Russia. There is, for example, the witness of Bishop Athanasius Schneider himself who grew up under the terror of Soviet Communism. He himself recently described the atmosphere in Rome as being comparable to that in the former Soviet Union. According to LifeSiteNews:

“The reaction to the dubia is a proof of the climate in which we actually live in the Church right now,” Bishop Schneider said. “We live in a climate of threats and of denial of dialogue towards a specific group.”

Schneider went to say that “dialogue seems to be accepted only if you think like everyone else – that is practically like a regime.”

Schneider brought up his experience in Russia, where he was born in the time of the Soviet Union. His parents were sent by Stalin to work camps, or “Gulags,” after the Second World War. “If you didn’t follow the line of the party, or you questioned it, you couldn’t even ask. That is for me a very clear parallel to what is happening now in the reactions to the dubia – questions – of the Cardinals.”

Another eye witness of Communism has also recently given us further proof that the current anti-family and gender ideology – which finds increasing acceptance in Vatican circles, to include the pope himself – has troubling similarities to historical Communism. Dr. Anca-Maria Cernea, a Catholic medical doctor and participant at the 2015 Synod of Bishops on the Family, recently gave an interview to Edward Pentin where she says the following (I shall also print here in italics some of Pentin’s own specific questions put to Dr. Cernea):

Would you say your and others’ experience of communism in Central and Eastern Europe has a lot to offer, in terms of tacking this crisis in the Church?

Yes, for us, also, it’s easier, because we went through this for decades. … Now, we’re in a better position to fight this aggression. We are better placed to fight, those of us interested in this. We are more familiar with real Marxism than our brothers and sisters in the West.

You see more clearly what’s happening?

Yes, and there’s no doubt that it is Marxism. In our country, when you visit some internet pages, if there’s a new article about political correctness, you can see people commenting, and they’re saying it [political correctness] is communism, and asking, “Don’t you people realize it’s communism?” It is communism, and the people who make such comments tend to have a very clear intuition. They are correct.

Dr. Cernea says that it is a form of cultural Marxism and of Gramscianism that stands behind the current crisis of the family. Now, with the more permissive laxity appearing in the Church’s moral teaching on marriage and the family, it seems that this same ideology is also seeping into, and sometimes even flooding into, the Catholic Church. I remember conducting an interview with Bishop Athanasius Schneider during the 2015 Synod on the Family and asking him about the new language of “inclusion” and “diversity” that was then coming up and infiltrating into the debate. He answered, in general, and then specifically drew an important parallel to his upbringing under Communism:

This is again to use language without content to make and express an accumulation of letters with beautiful sound, but without sound substance. This is a perversion of language, in order to achieve an aim which is against the Word of God. And this is typical Gnosticism. […]

I grew up in Communism, I went five years to Communist schools, and I remember very well this seductive language, and quite completely; for, they used the same terms, concepts, but in a perverted manner, when they spoke of “peace.” They said: “Oh we are promoting peace,” but we knew that in that Communist time that they were not promoting peace by exporting weapons to Cuba, to Angola, and so on; and, so, this was “the peace.” And this is cynical and is likewise perverting the true meaning of the words [such as mercy?].

For example, I remember as a child in the Communist school, that we had to learn a famous Communist song, quite famous at that time, and it goes like this: our country is a beautiful country with trees and forest, and I don’t know another country where people can breathe so freely. Freely! I had to sing this song again and again. A country where you can breathe so freely – and, in actuality, it was a country filled with prisons and with concentration camps. It is very sad that now this innovative group of bishops in the Synod are using a perverted language to promote an anti-Christian agenda. [my emphasis]

It is worthwhile to present this extended quote because I believe that all of us Catholics should learn from the experience of those members of the Church who have had to live under some form of Communism and its “cultural hegemony” – and who might help us now to “come out from under the rubble,” and “not to live the lie” (two expressions of the great Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who, like Dostoievsky, is much beloved by my own husband).

Another example of a prelate who grew up under Communism and who now has had the courage to stand up against the new stifling ideology in Rome is Cardinal Joachim Meisner. As we just reported, he wrote a most beautiful little text where he mentions his upbringing in Communist East Germany – where Catholics had to suffer variously and very much for their Faith – and where he even chooses to quote a prayer he often prayed as a young man. This prayer may now be of help to all of us, as well. It reads:

“Lord, let me stand

where the storms are blowing,

and do not spare me.

The child has to disappear,

and the man has to appear:

do not be afraid!”

May this prayer also inspire those prelates within the Catholic Church who are now holding back from their private and, if necessary, their own public fraternal correction of Pope Francis – those such as Cardinal Robert Sarah and Cardinal Gerhard Müller, both of whom are Prefects of Congregations under Francis. May they consider the extent to which their loyalty toward Francis should effectively stand above their prior loyalty toward Christ.

Cardinal Müller has now – in obedience to Pope Francis’ order – explicitly declined to comment on the case of the Four Cardinals. However, his demurral to comment upon the dubia of the Four Cardinals can unfortunately now also be interpreted in such a way as to imply his adverse criticism of them. None other than the prominent German newspaper Die Zeit has even made such an inference. In a 8 December 2016 article for its sub-section Christ & Welt, the author Christine Rietz says the following with regard to the Four Cardinals’ Letter:

For this open attack on Amoris Laetitia, they are now being sharply criticized by high-ranking curial cardinals and theologians. The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Müller, already showed, for now, the instruments [for a possible intervention] and commented, correspondingly: well, we would intervene and “mediate” if we received the [pope’s] marching order… If the Holy Office wants to “mediate” something, things become interesting.

That is to say, Cardinal Müller’s own hesitancy to come to the rescue of the Four Cardinals might even be used as a further instrumentality against these very cardinals with whom he has worked so closely in the recent past, especially in order to defend the fuller Catholic teaching on marriage and the family! Do we now need also to receive from him a further “clarification”?

Cardinal Müller and other prelates who might likewise aim at remaining somewhat quiet in order to “survive” this pontificate would perhaps do well consider a recent article from John L. Allen. In this article, Allen presents well the method of Pope Francis: his ignoring those prelates in the Church who are opposing his reform and doing it by often bypassing them and by promoting other prelates to places that are above them in rank, importance, or at least to be more deferred to in practice.

Allen gives an Italian example of this method, with reference to the Italian Bishops’ Conference which is currently run by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco who is reputed to be considerably more conservative than Pope Francis. Allen – who is by no means himself a conservative Catholic journalist – describes the pope’s dealing with this “personnel” problem, as follows:

One option for the pontiff would have been to remove Bagnasco and [to] name someone else as president of the conference. Instead, he’s chosen to leave Bagnasco in the job, while putting his own man in the number two slot and making it so clear that Nunzio [Galantino] enjoys his favor that everyone understands he’s the real papal point of reference in the Italian episcopacy. [emphasis added]

Is this not also what Pope Francis has effectively now done with Cardinal Gerhard Müller, leaving him in his office but putting above him as an effective doctrinal authority Cardinal Christoph Schönborn?

In light of the theme of this article – namely, that there is a growing similarity between the current crisis in Rome and the techniques used by Communist regimes and their Nomenklatura in Russia and its Satellites (but for the network of Gulags) – some of our current prelates might also well consider the history of the Communist takeover in Russia and elsewhere: how the Mencheviks softened up and further prepared things for the more coercive Bolsheviks. To give a small example, Dr. Cernea said in a very important May 2016 talk:

[In the face of the silence of many Catholic bishops with regard to Communism,] No wonder that Christian-Democrats not only failed to oppose communism in Latin America, they even became instruments of the communist take-over of their countries – Salvador Allende took power in Chile thanks to the support of Eduardo Frei. Rafael Caldera was Hugo Chávez’s godfather, both in the literal and the political sense. [my emphasis]

In general, those well-meaning politicians (mostly social democrats and progressive socialists) in emerging Communist countries were then soon removed from their offices of power, in spite of their attempts to make accommodations with the new and more coercive system for the sake of “doing something good from within the system.” These politicians might also not have been sufficiently aware of how their own collaboration – as “useful idiots” (Lenin) – was useful to the new regime from the beginning by giving enough cover and credibility to it so as not to awaken undue alarm and provocative suspicion too soon. The people had to be tranquilized.

Thus we may continue to pray for those who have not yet spoken up – or sufficiently woken up. May they all come out and help all of us to come out from under the asphyxiating rubble. Christ’s truth, we trust, shall set us free! May also the Blessed Mother – who warned us nearly 100 years ago against the spreading of the “errors of Russia” – help us now to fight against these subtle (and sometimes blatant) errors back in Rome. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

96 thoughts on “Have the “Errors of Russia” Now Infected Rome?”

  1. Was Russia properly consecrated as was requested by Our Lady of Fatima? The priest at my parish says, “yes”, although I am not sure that response was believed by the person who asked him.

      • First, an excellent, and very well done article. In response to Susan and your linked article concerning the validity of consecration to the Immaculate Heart Of Mary from 2014, I found the comment section very interesting given “hindsight is 20/20”. Paul Dale makes some very very good points, 2 years ago, that seem much clearer in 2016. The constant war drum that beats from the U.S. toward Russia (from both parties…but seemingly not least at this junkture) points toward an establishment/globalist political base that has been unmasked and more frantic to accomplish their agenda (whatever that may be). Even today, with all the headlines of “Russia Hacked Us”, “Russia is our enemy” is frankly scary. Talk about fake news from a complicit media and it seems we are sitting on a powder keg right now, and the aggression is clearly coming from the U.S. establishment.
        Our Lady Of Fatima Pray For Us !

        As further evidence, I give you this from Vox Contoris from today, December 13th. The video is stunningly sober.

      • NO. On June 13, 1929, in the Presence of the Most Holy Trinity, our Lady said to Sister Lucia:

        “The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father to order and make in union with all the bishops of the world the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means.”

        In the 1950s, Our Lady said to Sister Lucia:

        “Make it known to the Holy Father that I am still awaiting the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart. Without that consecration, Russia will not be able to convert, nor will the world have peace.”

        Check out They are the best resource for the full Message of Fatima.

        • Hi Margaret – is a great resource, and the loss of Father Gruner was devastating, We need that advocate of Fatima now more than ever. I have found “The True Story of Fatima” to be a reliable and thorough account of what happened at Fatima. Old Issues of the Fatima Crusader can also be found and read there, and they are worth the read. Many of the articles are relevant in regards to the times through which we are currently passing.

          • Absolutely! I met Fr. Gruner at 2 CFN conferences and once on the Auriesville pilgrimage. He was a priest and a gentleman.

            St. Therese of Lisieux wrote that she wants to spend her Heaven doing good on earth.

            I could imagine Father asking God to continue to let him work for Our Lady either in Heaven or in Purgatory.

            I still miss him.

          • Hi Margaret – Father was doing what he was put on this earth to do. His love for Our Blessed Mother is a worthy example for us all. I take great comfort in knowing Father Gruner and Mother Angelica are now in heaven having fulfilled their Blessed Missions here on earth. Pray for Us…..

          • We must continue to pray for both of them as we cannot know with certainty where they are presently. If they are indeed in Heaven, Our Lady will use our prayers for others as no prayer is wasted. This is called prudence!

          • Hi Barbara – And if we ask for their prayers, those two blessed souls will not have need for an explanation as to the evil times through which we pass.

          • Because they do not see the Face of God. The saints a.k.a. The Church Triumphant are efficacious intercessors because they stand before the throne of God. The souls in Purgatory a.k.a. The Church Suffering do not yet behold the Beatific Vision and all their suffering is for the sole aim of purifying their souls so that they can. I have always been taught (from the Baltimore Cathechism) that the members of the Church Suffering are unable to help themselves or anyone else but will be loyal and effective intercessors for those who prayed for them once they enter Heaven

          • I am all for praying FOR the Poor Souls, as it is “a good and holy thing to pray for the dead.” However, I do not believe we should pray TO the Poor Souls as they cannot yet intercede for us.

          • Hi Thomas – It is an interesting question. One that has puzzled and placed on opposing sides of the issue many Saints. For myself, I would like to believe those in Purgatory whom I love and whom love me, have the capacity to pray for me, regardless of how they become aware of my prayers. In the end, for me, it is about the power of love, and how the good will formed through the bonds of love, formed on earth, of those who have died and have attained eternal favor, is an authentic reflection of Divine Love and thus available to those in Purgatory who though temporarily deprived of the Beatific Vision, do not lose the capacity to pray for those they love. Love has limitations but I don’t think this is one of them.

          • Hi Thomas – We are companions on the journey toward the Truth. Our feet are definitely pointed in the same direction. .Have a Blessed Christmas, Thomas.

          • I was taught that the souls in purgatory can gain no merit themselves, however they love God and their neighbor and so pray for others, especially those who pray for them.

        • Very interesting that Our Lady said the Pope he is to ORDER the Bishops, and then make the Consecration happen in concert with them.

          • Yes, the Bishops would have to be ordered, because half of them don’t believe in Fatima. If John XXIII had done the consecration as he should have in 1960, he would have had little or no difficulty getting all the world’s bishops to be in union with him making the consecration.

    • Instead, we should ask if Russia is converted, and if so to what?
      Our Lady said that Her Immaculate Heart will triumph but, as far as we know, the doctrine on the Immaculate Conception is still considered an heresy in Russia, as many other Catholic fundamental Truths.

      By now, there is still a big hostility in Russia, as in the occupied areas of Ukraine, against catholic proselytism, especially against the Eastern Rite Catholics.

      The religious Putin says things like this:

      The “Moral Code of the Builder of Communism” was the soviet Marxist catechism with its 12 commandments…

      Also, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, apparently, still misses the soviet times:

      It is interesting that many traditionalist Catholics see in Vladimir Putin some kind of “great monarch” who will save the atheistic western countries… Putinism as a remedy for our diseases? God help us!

    • One of our best friends also thinks so, primarily based on the alleged approval by Sister Lucia. I would guess that most laity and priests of goodwill would also base this ‘yes’ on this same allegation. I’m late to the whole Fatima controversy (questions over the proper consecration of Russia and the release of the full Third Secret), but my initial sense is that neither has been done. There is a very clear and succinct video by John Salza with the Fatima Center outlining the strong evidence for forgery of Sister Lucy’s supposed written approval of the JP2 consecration. They have a whole number of other videos on the right side explaining Fatima and its developments as well as some serious critiques of PF and AL (see Chris Ferrara’s videos in particular):

  2. Many of the theologians are clearly teaching errant understandings of the Catholic Faith. Here is an example I experienced – I was watching EWTN and came across a new show called “Father Spitzer’s Universe” I watched for a few minutes and found that what Father was teaching on that day was that the fires of hell were meant to be taken metaphorically, and not literally. He proposed that the true suffering in hell was a separation from God and that there are no fires in hell meant to punish the souls of the damned. I was surprised that such a teaching was showing up on EWTN, and wondered if such a teaching would have slipped by Mother Angelica while she was in charge. There is a website associated with Father Spitzer and his so called “Magis Project” so I contacted them to question the proposition that the fires of hell were only metaphorical as Father Spitzer proposed. The first response to my inquiry, which included quotations from the Gospels and the Words of Jesus Christ Himself on the topic, was for a nice gentleman named “Mike” to point out to me Father Spitzer’s various theological degrees, I think these were supposed to supersede the Words of Jesus Christ, so I tried another way of establishing that the fires of hell were indeed quite literal. I asked Mike if he believed in the Appearances of Mary, at Fatima in 1917. Mike enthusiastically responded that indeed he did, and that without a doubt it was an authentic Apparition of Mary and worthy of belief. I then asked Mike whether he had read the messages Mary gave to the children of Fatima. He said he had. I then asked him if he recalled the vision that Mary showed to the children of hell, and how that vision was clearly of souls burning in hell. He then said that we weren’t obligated to believe this apparition as it was a private revelation, even though the church endorsed the occurrences at Fatima as worthy of belief. Poor Mike, he was caught in the box many of the highly credentialed theologians find themselves in today, contradicting a Saint. In my second to final email to Mike, I asked him if he prayed the rosary often, and if he did with what prayer did he conclude each decade. Of course he did and in fact he concluded each decade of the rosary with the prayer taught to the children of Fatima. And of course then the conversation came to a telling conclusion when I pointed out how that prayer begins – O my Jesus, forgive us of our sin, save us from the FIRES OF HELL. It is as though Mary taught us to pray that prayer in order to preserve us from making the error Father Spitzer and those who defend his understanding do. 100 years ago, she was sent to warn us, and preserve us from error. Any theologian who contradicts the Words of Jesus Christ or His Blessed Mother is wrong, no matter how many theological degrees theymay have.

    • That’s quite a conversation that you had with Fr. Spitzer. Good for you for pressing the points about the reality of Hell, Our Lady of Fatima, and the seers. Perhaps he will give some consideration to what you pointed out.

    • The fire of hell is not to be understood as physical combustion. Sch an understnading is not correct.In the resurrection, we will have the same bodies but as St. Paul in Romans 15, where he deals wit the resurrection of the body, states, “spiritualized” “pneumatoka”. The pain provoded by this kind of punishment in hell can be compared correctly with the pain of burning in a fire. Fr. Spitzer’s stating that it is metaphorically understood as fire, doesn’t seem to be incorrect. The word metaphor is defined in the Merrriam Webster Dictionary as: “a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (as in drowning in money); broadly : figurative language — compare simile” The Catechism (1034-1035) uses the term fire without going into any explanation of what it actually is, other than being one of the two forms of punishment meted out to the damned in hell. It also states that the souls of the demned suffer it immediately after death, so that it cannot be physical fire, as you seem to understand it. The notion of fire used in Sacred Scripture does help us to understand this kind of punishment, but it must not be taken literally. There is a phisophical principle which states that there is nothing in the intellect which was not first in the senses” (nihil in intellectu quod prius non fuerit in sensu”). Thus, we need the help of similes and metaphors to be able to understand spiritual realitiies and express them, as Sacred Scriputre does constantly.
      As for the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin at Fatima or anywhere else, Catholics are not obliged to accept them as authentic, as they fall into the category of private revelations. The Church may declare them to be credible, in which case it would be prudent to accept them, but Catholics are not obliged to give them the ascent of faith which is due to the contents of the Creed, and all the dogmas of the Church considered “de fide divina et catholica”. In theology, one needs to be very precise in what one states, and also out of charity and justice one needs to be very careful about accusing others of heteredoxy, as it is a matter of justice. The right to a good name which all catholics have, is supported by Canon Law, canon 220. There is also the duty of restitution when one has deprived another of their good name.

      • Sorry, I would listen to the many Saints who spoke and wrote about the pains of Hell – literal pains. This is a mystery to be sure, but we don’t dismiss mystery because we don’t understand it, or minimize it – we give it our assent.

        The second point about Fatima. I think it’s spreading fog to say we don’t HAVE to give them our assent even if the Church says it would be OK. The question to be asked is WHY would someone ignore Our Lady’s warnings and not give assent?

        • I am not stating that the pains of hell are not real or literal, but that we use the comparison with physical fire in order to be able to have an understanding of the tremendous nature of such pains. It has to be some kind of “spiritual” fire.
          Neither am I saying that it is not prudent or advisable for a Catholic to pay no attention to the content of the revelations of Our Lady in Fatima and other places. What I am saying that since it is a matter of private revelation, the Church does NOT oblige us to assent to them as it obviously does in the case of the Divine Revelation, which is public and binding for all Catholics. Neither am I saying that private revelations given to saints such as the one received by St. Juliana of Mont Cornillon in Belgium in the 13th century which was the origin of the Feast of Corpus Christi, or the private revelations received by St. Margaret Mary of Alacoque in the 17th century, or the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico in the year 1531, as well as all the others were not of great importance and the source of great good in the life of the Church over the centuries. I accept all the apparitions approved by the Church and consider them important. There was one case recently in which a supposed appartition was approved by the local bishop in the Phillipines , who is the one authorized to do so, but was later rejected by the Congregattion of the Doctrine of the Faith, which is the higher authority on the matter. I hope this explanation ahs cleared up any doubts you may have had about what I commented previously.

      • Hi Thomas – Luke16:24. There is physical pain in hell. Jesus I trust in you. Those with theological degrees that contradict Jesus, I don’t trust in them. The claim that the pains of hell are psychological only serve to reveal the weakness of the psychological explanation. Psychology is the world’s alternative to spirituality.

        • I do happen to have theological degrees myself. I am a priest and have taught dogmatic and fundamental theology, as well as other subject is seminaries for many years. I do agree that the possession of such degrees is no guarantee of orthodoxy. St Thomas Aquinas also had theological degrees as well as many other saints. Sanctity is a lot more important than theological degrees and there are Doctors of the Church who didn’t have them.
          Regarding Luke 16,24, it is a parable and in it, Jesus makes reference to the standard Jewish understanding of heaven at the time. One must not interpret every detail of a parable as if Jesus intended to positively affirm it. A parable has one fundamental lesson. In the same Gospel of St. Luke, in c. 15, we have the three parables of the lost sheep, the woman and the lost coin and the Prodigal Son. Jesus is not saying that any of these people actually existed, but he is teaching about the infinite mercy of God. No shepherd in his right mind would abandon 99 sheep in the desert and go after one lost one. He is not saying that shepherds should do that. Rather, he is saying that the mercy of God and his desire to save those who have strayed into sin is so great that for Him the salvation of one person is absolutely fundamental. Likewise, the parable of the lost coin. The coin would have been worth maybe 20 cents. What woman would call together her friend and neighbors to celebrate because she found the 20 cent coin? Jesus also uses the figure of speech of hyperbole.
          Pope Pius XII published the important Encyclical called Divino Afflante Spiritu regarding the use of modern means of historical, literary and cultural critique in order to help us achieve a better understanding of Sacred Scripture, but not, of course going to extremes like denying the historicity of the Gospels. Protestants and some Catholics hold that because the Gospels mention brothers of Jesus that the Blessed Virgin Mary was not perpetually a virgin. We, as Catholics cannot accept that becuase the Church holds that Mary is “ever virgin”. Pope Benedict in his work Jesus of Nazareth made use of works are based on these methods, but he obviously uses them in a way which helps to understand the Bible better. The Bible was given to us through the Church and we need to interpret it in accordance with the Tradition of the Church. Of course, there are exegetes who come out with interpretations which we cannot accept. For instance. Pope Francis on more than one occasion stated that the real meaning of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes was about the people sharing the food they already had with them. I read this in some Biblical Commentary, but it cannot be accepted as a correct interpretation of that text. The multiplication of the loaves and fishes, as is obvious for instance in Jn 6, has a great deal to do with the Eucharist, and it is in the four gospels. There is no reason why Jesus did not actually multiply the loaves and fishes. It is one thing for a Biblical Commentator to come up with this kind of an interpretation, but for a Pope to do it is another matter. As Catholics, we should not fall into Biblical literalism incorrectly understood, or fundamentalism which is what characterizes the Evangelicals. However, it is one thing to explain the way Scripture should be interpreted according to the mind of the Church, and another to throw out unexplained details in a homily for instance. There is a document published in 1994 by the Pontifical Biblical Commission which explains the Catholic position on Biblical exegesis
          There is another on published in 1964 on the Historicity of the Gospels
          Here is another link to all the documents of the said Biblical Commission in the Vatican website.
          Some of these materials are in French and Italian, but I think Google could help you read them.

          I hope these comments have been helpful. In my many years of teaching, I have always tried never to deviate in any way from what the Church teaches. Whatever Pope Francis teaches that is in accordance with what the Church has always taught should, of course, be reverently accepted by all Catholics. It is unfortunate that some of his statements are problematical and, cause confusion for devout Catholics. They may then lose confidence in other previous teachings of the Church. That is unfortunate, but we must be confident that the truth will prevail as it has in other difficult periods in the history of the Church and that is because despite everything the Holy Spirit does guide the Church. I hope this will be useful to you.

          • Hi Thomas – Thank You for your response. I see the state the rich man finds himself in, in the passage from Luke, to be a clear reference to hell. I don’t believe Jesus either needed to, or indeed did describe the environment of hell in a fantastical manner. That Hell is a place of torment and flames is not an attempt by Jesus to exaggerate the condition found there. Jesus is describing the afterlife as it was at the time He spoke those Words in Luke. There were only two places the souls of the dead went to then, the Bosom of Abraham, where the righteous(Lazarus) awaited their Messiah, or hell where the rich man found himself. This is exactly what Jesus refers to. Do you really think Jesus, had a need to speak in fantastical terms when describing hell? Why would He incorporate deceptive descriptions of any place into any of his teachings? He describes hell as a place of suffering and flames, and He has no need to be anything but accurate in His description of hell. I really don’t understand why anyone would bring His authority in describing hell into question. Our rally cry shouldn’t be Jesus I don’t trust in You, because your teaching does not conform to the theological innovations of the age. Trust Him, Thomas. Theological Degrees apparently are dependent on novel academic propositions rather than the pure crystalline clarity faith renders to those who have no need to question the motivations of our most Credible Teacher, Jesus Christ.

          • When Jesus used parables, he always indicated this by saying “The Kingdom of Heaven is LIKE. . .” When he talked about hell, he didn’t say “the fires are LIKE”–he said the fires burn, and not in a metaphorical way. Jesus spoke plainly so that people like me wouldn’t trust false shepherds who cast doubt on the realitly of miracles and phenomena of the spiritual life that we haven’t yet seen. “Blessed are those who have not seen, but believe.”

    • EWTN has been very loose/borderline heterodox, theologically, ever since Mother Angelica was sequestered to her convent. Raymond Arroyo’s news program is about the only thing I watch on that network anymore.

      • Agreed. Raymond uses his platform to promote his books a little but too much for my taste, but he has had some excellent shows, especially when the Papal Posse rides into town and exposes the errors associated with the Papacy of Francis. I too, am glad to have Trump as my president. I think those who voted for Hillary have a lot to answer for when they stand before Jesus.

  3. No one who uses “right wing” as a term of disapprobation or abuse should have his opinions taken seriously.

    I do not consider myself “right wing” (unlike Fr Spadaro, apparently).

    Now to read the rest of the article.

  4. FATHER BENAC: Did the Blessed Virgin speak of communism?

    MARI LOLI: Our Lady spoke several times about communism. I don’t remember how many times, but she said that a time would come when it would seem that communism had mastered or engulfed the whole world. I think it was then that she told us that priests would have difficulty saying Mass, and talking about God and divine things.

    FR. BENAC: Did Our Lady ever speak of people being put to death?

    LOLI: What Our Lady said was that priests would have to go into hiding but I didn’t see whether they were being killed or not. She didn’t exactly say they would be killed, but I’m sure they would be martyred.

    FR. BENAC: Your mother told me that one night you were upstairs with your father and that you cried and cried for one hour. Afterwards your father said to her: “I have just seen the most touching sight. Loli was crying the whole time while saying, ‘Oh, it’s going to be like that? People are going to suffer like that? Oh, make me suffer!'” Do you remember what you said at the time?

    LOLI: It was all related to communism and what is going to happen in the Church and to the people because all these things are to have repercussions amongst the people. When the Church suffers confusion, the people are going to suffer too.

    Some priests who are communists will create such confusion that people will not know right from wrong.

    [THE CALL OF GARABANDAL, Apr-Jun 1984.]

      • Interesting. And i am sure you have unequivocal proof? Pope Paul VI (who had one of the seers at the papal House) AND JPII both positively responded to the teachings brought forth. Also Saint Pio commented positively on these apparitions also. Diabolical? i don’t think so. And what about Our lady of Akia’s prophecy?
        That the deaf should hear and the blind to see.

        • You are going to have to post some evidence of your claims preferably from a site without a pro-Garabamdal slant. As for the popes you mentioned, they were wrong about other things they could be wrong bout this.

          When you read the accounts of the apparitions, the ecstasies of the visionaries read more like scenes from a horror movie with bodily contortions and being physically pushed by unseen forces. The apparition wanted unblessed sacramentals so she could bless them herself. Then there is the whole issue that none of the prophecies have been fulfilled in the almost sixty years since the apparition

          • “Then there is the whole issue that none of the prophecies have been fulfilled in the almost sixty years since the apparition” You are absolutely correct. And it has been almost 100 years since Fatima and we still don’t know the 3rd Secret. The prophesies of Garabandal have yet to materialize, but the wisdom of Our lady’s statement to the seers via St, Michael have become sacrosanct. That is what I was pointing out. it is also very interesting that not only 2 popes and St. Pio acknowledged the apparitions, but also St Theresa of Calcutta who not only met with but helped guide one of the seers to get the information out. But you are right, The Warning, Miracle and Chastisement have yet to occur. But i feel certain we will know if and when it happens.

          • Fatima’s prophecies came absolutely and unequivocally true. In the same month that the apparitions ended, the Russian Revolution led to Russia becoming communist. Russia DID spread its errors throughout the world and arguably continues to do so. I would even argue that that the resurgent Russia we see today, causing all sortsa problems in the Middle East, was prophesied by Our Lady at Fatima.

            I do not really buy the official explanation of the Third Secret either, but it’s impossible to deny that prophecies from Fatima have been fulfilled, which is much, much more than can be said for Garabandal (or Medijourie for that matter)

  5. Yes, it has been well documented along the way that the Pope Francis regime acts just like a progressive liberal political system from its interior operations to its dissemination of propaganda to it’s ‘double speak’ that only confuses and to it’s calumniating anyone who isn’t in lock step. It is truly sickening. These men are the worst sort of Tyrants, the kind that believe they themselves are good.
    Calling the work of the Two Synods and it’s diabolical fruit Amoris Laetitia the work of the Holy Spirit is nothing short of Blasphemy.

    I am surprised that you didn’t mention Pope Francis’ secret police the “OARCPF” which means the Observatory for the Implementation of the Church Reform of Pope Francis

  6. Dear Maike,

    Thank you for a very thought provoking article.

    Is it possible that “Russia’s errors” were not simply ideological also included the false understanding of marriage within Russia Orthodox interepretations of Our Lord’s teachings? Are Catholics now being asked to believe what the state religion in Russia practiced with the blessing of the Communists? Bad theology leads to bad politics – and bad politics leads to tyranny.

  7. I don’t know what Francis and his minions are doing, but they’re eliminating one voice after another. Bp Athanasius Schneider gave a long-awaited talk in Spain on the 11th where he essentially just told people to say the Rosary and pray for the Pope, because it was not permitted for a Catholic to say anything against the Pope. Very disappointing.

    I agree that Our Lady can certainly help us, and that we do need to pray for the Pope – just as a human being – because he’s obviously taking the wide path to Hell. But he can’t be allowed to drag the Church along with him, and to insult and calumniate the simplest and most devoted of the faithful. If “by their fruits shall you know them,” his fruits are universally bad. We have to stand up – that is, with all the information and support we can get – but I think the hierarchy, even ones I formerly thought were good, is seriously compromised. Even though I still don’t know how Francis achieved this…

      • I hope it’s not his position. The accounts of his visit to Sevilla were very disappointing. However, these were reports in the Spanish press and I haven’t read his actual words. So this may have been a biased report, but my impression is that the harassed and dwindling orthodox community in Spain was quite discouraged and let down by his words.

        I entirely agree that Our Lady can help us, but she’s helping us to do something…not to wait around for Her to come down and solve it for us.

        • Let us keep Bishop Schneider in our prayers ever more. Some days are probably more difficult than others for him and those who are fighting this spiritual warfare.
          Satan is truly on the move, and will stop at nothing to defeat them.
          Not sure what he said or didn’t say, and I am sorry if there was disappointment among the faithful in Sevilla.

          And I could not agree more with your last paragraph. Perhaps our four cardinals and a few more are waiting, once again, as our first apostles did in the Upper Room.
          May She guide them and console our cardinals until the Holy Spirit directs the next course of action. I believe it will come soon.

          • I read a very good article today about Our Lady’s “conquest” of the Americas (in
            Connection with OL of Guadalupe). So yes, I think she will be there at the right time.

    • Fr Malachi Martin refered to several old prophecies that the last pope of this era “would be under the influence of Satan.” That’s how Francis has achieved this.

  8. “Have the errors of Russia infected Rome?” I suspect that some phrase like that is in the complete third secret of Fatima.

  9. The Perestroika Deception is a book by KGB defector Golitysn. During the 50’s he was part of a plan to create the illusion that the Soviet Union had abandoned communism. He knew, for example, that the Berlin Wall would fall to the joy of many, mostly communists. They would be better able to spread their ideology once people in the West had fewer suspicions about their activities. Golitsyn’s warnings to various presidents fell on deaf ears – or seemed to.

    I could ramble on about things but I know that anyone reading this will learn far more by going to You Tube and typing in The Perestroika Deception. Golitysn is not interviewed but the publisher of his two books is.

    We know that the chief enemy of the Catholic Church is organized communism under its various historical names and we also know that Western society was built on Catholicism. Why wouldn’t communist agents disguised as Catholics climb the Vatican walls and make the place their castle?

    Although I am quite convinced that we have not had a real pope since 1958, I still felt a thud in my heart when Francis’ pal from Argentina cheerfully likened Francis to Che Guevera, a megalomaniac and murderer and, of course, a communist.

  10. Now what is a Catholic serious about his/her faith to do about all of this, given that what we have now is a Catholic Church managed by folks who don’t believe in the Catholic faith. They are rather Communist apparatchiks ridding the Church of anything that would conflict with New World Order. Thus the Church is no longer helpful except to administer the sacraments (hopefully valid) while constantly inflicting confusion, doubt and hopelessness.

    So the question becomes, why not abandon the presently corrupted Communist Catholic Church and start attending SSPX Catholic Church services? This is what I gather for all of these utterly depressing articles. Why not go where hope lies so you can fight the evils of Catholic Church from a fort of doctrinal purity, spiritual support and be surrounded by people who believe as you do. How about that Maike? How about that Steve?

      • Agree. We have an FSSP, only, Church here in Sarasota called Christ the King.

        What needs to be done is for the Catholic Church to become vigorously militant in fighting the modernism of our liberal-democratic society. Prospects for this are between practically nil. We are going to need divine intervention to turn things around.

  11. Interesting to watch U.S. society now suddenly bowing at the altar of Russia and all its errors. I never thought this would happen in my lifetime.

  12. The errors of Russia may also include the errors of the Russian Orthodox Church of that time and that are still errors of the Orthodox; they allow divorce and remarriage for up to 3 total unions. Maybe Our Lady was not speaking of just the errors of atheistic communism but also of the errors of a Church which was the faith of the Russians in 1917.

  13. The summation of points can easily be transferred to oligarchic corporate democracies that use the market to distribute the wealth upward and control a consumer culture with advertising consumption. Have you read ‘Market as God’?

    The Market has deified itself, according to Harvey Cox’s
    brilliant exegesis. And all of the world’s problems—widening
    inequality, a rapidly warming planet, the injustices of global
    poverty—are consequently harder to solve. Only by tracing how the Market
    reached its “divine” status can we hope to restore it to its proper
    place as servant of humanity.

    The Market as God captures how our world has fallen in thrall
    to the business theology of supply and demand. According to its
    acolytes, the Market is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. It
    knows the value of everything, and determines the outcome of every
    transaction; it can raise nations and ruin households, and nothing
    escapes its reductionist commodification. The Market comes complete with
    its own doctrines, prophets, and evangelical zeal to convert the world
    to its way of life. Cox brings that theology out of the shadows,
    demonstrating that the way the world economy operates is neither natural
    nor inevitable but shaped by a global system of values and symbols that
    can be best understood as a religion.

    Drawing on biblical sources, economists and financial experts,
    prehistoric religions, Greek mythology, historical patterns, and the
    work of natural and social scientists, Cox points to many parallels
    between the development of Christianity and the Market economy. At
    various times in history, both have garnered enormous wealth and
    displayed pompous behavior. Both have experienced the corruption of
    power. However, what the religious have learned over the millennia,
    sometimes at great cost, still eludes the Market faithful: humility.

  14. Dear Maike,

    Recently, the third secret of Fatima came to my reflection, specifically the errors of Russia. So, I was googling some related things and I found your article. This is very informative and insightful. Thank you. Since I’m Korean-Canadian, interestingly enough, I think this has been happening in South Korea. I think many things has been moving toward socialism through the previous so called “democratic” governments (Presidents Kim Dae-Joong, Noh Moo-Hyun, and current Moon Jae-In) Now, South Korea has been moved to more left side. I don’t think people understand what’s really going on in the background. To help Koreans, especially Catholics, to get some idea on this, I’ve translated and uploaded it in my blog. I hope I will translated more of your articles and other’s later.

    In Voltuntate Dei – Fiat!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Popular on OnePeterFive

Share to...