The Pope's Opposition To Military Strike In Iraq Can Be Found In Secrets Of Fatima
By Michael H. Brown
We came to Upstate New York near Canada to visit relatives for Easter, and so from where I write, Toronto, is about 30 miles as the crow flies (a bit over an hour by car) across Lake Ontario. I saw it yesterday as I was driving down an escarpment on the way to a shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima; it was in the distance on the far other side of the lake, enshrouded by fog.
I say all this because current events keep bringing Fatima (and now Toronto) to mind. War. Storms. SARS. I went to the shrine with some trepidation because there are always Asian Catholics from Toronto there (sometimes they're even the majority at Mass) and it was precisely Asian Marian and charismatic Catholics from that area who were quarantined last week for the strange and potentially catastrophic new respiratory ailment.
Were my fears foolish? Are all the fears overblown? At any rate, the last time I wrote from this area was last summer when the Pope was visiting Toronto, (one of my favorite cities), and so I had the opportunity to contemplate him and his connection to Fatima -- as well as potential catastrophes like SARS.
That's what I'd like to discuss in line with current events: the Pope's mystical belief that anything -- plague, conflict, upheavals in the family -- can be conquered by prayer.
In fact, while many -- at times, including myself -- have wondered why the Pope was so strongly opposed to the military strike against Iraq, (Didn't he want to free those people? Doesn't he want to end terrorism? Didn't he want to get rid of the truly awful tyrant named Saddam?), I've contemplated this Easter week how the answer can be found in the Fatima secrets.
Those secrets had to do with geopolitics. When she appeared in 1917 the Blessed Mother had told the three seers that an ongoing war -- World War One -- was about to end, but that if men did not change themselves, there would be a greater war, and it would be presaged by a "great sign," a night "illumined by an unknown light." If there was not conversion, Russia would turn atheistic and spread its errors around the world, she presciently warned. The remedy, she said, was in prayer and special devotion. She wanted what have become known as the First Saturday devotions and Russia consecrated to her Immaculate Heart -- promising that such an act would stop it from disseminating evil.
As it happened, World War One did indeed end in 1918, but there was greater danger on the way: just a month after the last apparition, Lenin and his Communists rose to power. The apparitions were also followed by a horrible epidemic of the flu that took between 20 and 40 million lives worldwide -- including those of the two youngest Fatima seers. And there was also that second war. It began soon after a spectacular display of the "northern lights" in 1938 which startled people from England and Morocco to the U.S. and Canada.
Within a month, Hitler was marching in to annex Austria -- an event that helped lead to World War Two.
For those reasons -- and because the assassination attempt against him came on May 13, 1981, the anniversary of the first Fatima apparition -- Pope John Paul II has taken Fatima very seriously. After failed previous attempts by other Popes, he became the first Pope to successfully consecrate the world and implicitly Russia to Mary's Immaculate Heart on March 25, 1984.
What happened afterwards?
There was the remarkable and still unbelievable fall of Communism. For decades, since Lenin assumed power right after the 1917 apparitions, Russia and surrounding territories had been in the grip of one of the strongest, most authoritarian regimes in all of history. The same was true of Eastern Europe: virtually no one acknowledged the possibility that the Soviet Union, with more population than the U.S., and even more nuclear weapons, would lose power within our lifetimes. It seemed like an intractable situation, and the threat of nuclear annihilation or a Soviet atheistic takeover hung constantly over the world.
But a miracle occurred -- a miracle of prayer, a miracle directly related to the consecration.
In Poland, where Soviet-dominated Communists had a great stranglehold, a devout Catholic named Lech Walesa led a freedom movement largely inspired and even in part funded by the Pope -- who had met repeatedly with Walesa since 1981. Against all expectation, Walesa began to score fantastic victories over his Communist opponents -- and eventually succeeded in ousting the Communists, assuming that nation's presidency in 1990!
It was one of history's most dramatic moments: no one on those Sunday talk shows, no one from the National Security Agency, no one from the State Department or The New York Times foresaw the looming fall of Communism, and not only in Poland, but soon after in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania -- and to the world's utter astonishment, in the republics -- Lithuania, Ukraine, Byelorussia -- of the Soviet Union itself. That was followed by the downfall of Communism in Russia!
In the third secret of Fatima was the image of a bishop in white, being shot -- an image many relate to the 1981 attempt on the Pope. As I said, that assassination try was on May 13, which is the anniversary of the first Fatima apparition. The secret also contained the image of an angel about to torch the world, but stopped by a bright light that emanated from the Blessed Mother. According to Fatima seer Lucia dos Santos, the 1984 consecration was not only accepted by Heaven but prevented a nuclear war from occurring the following year -- in 1985.
Prayer had empowered the Virgin, and she had stopped the planet from being "torched" by the Soviets and their nuclear weaponry.
This is all good to remember when we wonder why the Pope did not support the recent military action. The answer is that he believes in the miracle of prayer -- no matter how evil a situation is. He saw what happened in conjunction with Fatima.
It was prayer that the Pope was relying on. It was here that he was placing his bet. He is not a Pollyanna. He is not naive. He knew the great evil and dangers in Iraq, but he also recalled the liberation of Poland, which started a domino effect that took down the most dangerous superpower in history without a single shot.
We can do the same with modern terror. We can do the same with epidemics.
I remember the day Walesa assumed the Polish leadership because I happened to be in Rome at that time and was reading the International Herald Tribune.
I'll never forget it:
There on the front page was Walesa, and behind him, looking directly his way, smiling, was a statue of the Fatima Virgin.
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