In 1984, the consecration of the whole world by Pope St. John Paul II was followed by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of communism in Russia. The world breathed a sigh of relief and the peace that Mary promised seemed to have materialized. Sr. Lucia, one of the three seers of Fatima, unequivocally recognized the validity of the consecration.
Then why was the famous exorcist so certain that it had not been accomplished and would eventually be redone?
He recalls attending the event:
“The Consecration has not yet been made. I was there on March 25 in St. Peter’s Square, I was in the front row, practically within touching distance of the Holy Father. John Paul II wanted to consecrate Russia, but his entourage did not, fearing that the Orthodox would be antagonized, and they almost almost thwarted him. Therefore, when His Holiness consecrated the world on his knees, he added a sentence not included in the distributed version that instead said to consecrate ‘…especially those nations of which you yourself have asked for their consecration’. So, indirectly, this included Russia. However, a specific consecration has not yet been made. You can always do it. Indeed, it will certainly be done.” [LINK]
For him, it was simply not performed in the manner in which it had been requested, a specific consecration of the nation in union with all the bishops in the world.
I can think of four reasons in support of the late exorcist’s stance:
- The collapse of the Soviet Union was a foregone conclusion by 1984. It was why the Reagan administration was so assertive with the Kremlin. the inefficiencies of the ideology and the diverting of resources to the military doomed the economy. That doesn’t necessarily mean that a connection can’t be made; the timing of the consecration seems perfect. It’s tempting to agree with Pat Archibold at the NCRegister who thinks that since the consecration was only partially done, the promise was only partially fulfilled.
- The consecration of the world had already been tried; Pope Pius XII consecrated the whole world to the immaculate heart of Mary in 1942 and it was inconsequential for Russia.
- The meaning of the promise that “Russia will be converted” would have to mean a religious conversion. The context of the apparition in Fatima is a decidedly religious one, and the use of the word in that context could only mean a religious conversion; even the Russian Orthodox Church saw it that way and were offended at the notion. If Mary had intended to mean that Russia would only abandon communism, she would have employed different language. (Some point out, however, that Russians gained religious freedom after the dissolution of the USSR).
- The nature of the rite of consecration is generally not directed toward a collective body. The Catholic Encyclopedia (1908) discusses the rite consistently in terms of a singularity:
“Consecration, in general, is an act by which a thing is separated from a common and profane to a sacred use, or by which a person or thing is dedicated to the service and worship of God by prayers, rites, and ceremonies.”
It describes the consecration of an alter, church, bishop, priest, chalice, etc., but not a group of people or generality like the world. Consider the consecration of priests; while the rite is celebrated collectively, the consecration is only effected through a laying of hands on the individual. That cannot be accomplished collectively. One could counter, however, that while nations stand as singular entities, they are also collective bodies in terms of their population. In any case, God wants Russia to be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, thereby converting the country for a sacred purpose.
Along with many on his side of the emotional issue, all Fr. Amorth wanted was for the consecration to be accomplished in the form in which it was requested. This may reflect the tenuous relationship between the modern Church and private revelation. Including Pope Francis’ consecration of the world in 2013, I believe there have been eight consecrations of Russia; amazingly, none were performed as had been desired. My latest book, Liberating Marriage in an Age of Heresy: St. Hildegard of Bingen and Reform in the 12th Century, demonstrates what can happen when Church authorities embrace private revelation as they did St. Hildegard’s prophetic gift. This century-long episode of Russia’s consecration may be an example of what happens when it doesn’t.