It follows an abstract of Molly Olmstead’s article linked above.
The Vatican announced last week Pope Francis had invited all the bishops and priests of the world to “join him in the prayer for peace and the consecration of Russia and of Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” The prayer will occur Friday and seems to support the Ukrainians, but the news sent shockwaves to some Catholics who think the consecration will be illegitimate.
Mary’s appearances in1917 to three shepherd children in Fátima, Portugal, is the recent major apparition the Vatican confirmed. Mary prophesied the Great War and a miracle on Oct. 13. A multitude reported the sun dance in the sky. Mary gave three secrets to the children: apocalyptic visions and premature death of two of the children, who died in the 1918 influenza epidemic. The third child, their cousin Lúcia dos Santos, would not reveal the first two secrets until the 1940s, and the third would not be revealed until the turn of the century.
The three secrets were cryptic. The children had a vision of hell and were warned a worse world war would come. They were shown a pope slain at the foot of a cross. This last vision may allude to Pope John Paul II’s assassination attempt in 1981.
Mary had told the children of a way to prevent an even more devastating war:
To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the communion of reparation on the first Saturdays. If they listen to my requests, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. Otherwise, she will scatter her errors through the world, provoking wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, she will convert, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.
Mary visited Lúcia in 1929 and repeated the request: “The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart.” The “consecration” is akin to a dedication for a holy purpose.
The Vatican has maintained the terrible war referred to World War II, it saw in the revelation “the prediction of the immense damage Russia would do to humanity abandoning the Christian faith and embracing Communist totalitarianism.” Some popes have tried to avert or resolve international conflict invoking Mary’s protection: In 1942, Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In 1952, he consecrated “the peoples of Russia, specifically.” Pope Paul VI renewed the consecration in 1964, and Pope John Paul II did similar renewals during the Cold War in 1981, 1982, and 1984.
The consecration in 1984, conducted in St. Peter’s Square in Rome on behalf of humanity, naming Russia specifically, would have been politically dangerous. In 2000, during the third secret’s revelation, the Vatican informed that Sister Lúcia, in a handwritten letter in 1989, had assured the pope the consecration had been “accepted in Heaven.” The Cold War ended, communism fell, and Mikhail Gorbachev publicly embraced the Orthodox Church.
Pope Francis’ decision to do another consecration this month came from a plea from the bishops in Ukraine. “We need to repeat the consecration of Russia and Ukraine…. We believe this act will be listened to by Our Lady and she will intercede before God for peace in Ukraine.” On March 15, Francis announced he would say a prayer for the two nations. Three days later, a letter circulated requesting the bishops’ participation. This will be the consecration for the Fátima enthusiasts.
OFFICIAL Fatima Act of Consecration Prayer to the Heart of Mary to be Used by the Pope on March 25th