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Controversy Regarding Pope Francis’ Consecration of Russia

There is a lot of controversy regarding Pope Francis’ announcement that on March 25, he, in union with all the bishops of the world, will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  This controversy centers on a multiplicity of concerns, like:

  • Can such a corrupt hierarchy make this consecration?
  • How do we know if all the bishops participate?
  • Will mentioning Ukraine invalidate the consecration?
  • What if Jorge Bergoglio isn’t actually the Pope?

I’m not going to pretend to have the answers to these questions, but there is one thing I am sure of; Our Lady didn’t JUST ask for the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart by the pope in union with all the bishops of the world.  She also requested that everyone stop sinning and offending Our Lord, that we pray the Rosary daily for the Pope and for peace, and that we make the five First Saturdays of reparation to Her Immaculate Heart. 

The consecration of Russia has been attempted in 1942, 1952 and 1984 (some have posited that the 1942 and 1952 consecrations have already fulfilled the request, though this is not conclusive).  My wife has asked me on several occasions why none of the previous popes had consecrated Russia in the manner Our Lady requested. In trying to come up with an answer, I recalled that in 1943, Sr. Lucia was ordered by her bishop to write out the Third Secret.  In her memoirs, Sr. Lucia recalled that it was extremely difficult for her to complete the request, and it took her over a year to do as she was commanded.  It wasn’t until Our Lady appeared to her and said, “Do not be afraid, God wanted to prove your obedience, faith and humility. Be at peace and write what they order you, not however what is given you to understand of its meaning.”  It seems to me that Sr. Lucia’s struggle to do as she was told is the key to understanding the difficulty these popes have had in fulfilling the requested consecration: it takes prayer and penance to carry it out. 

As faithful lay members of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, we have no authority to require the hierarchy to do anything; but we can do what Our Lady requested of us.  She asked us for penance, for the daily Rosary for the Pope and for peace, and she asked for the Five First Saturdays.  If Sr. Lucia needed Our Lady’s grace to fulfill an obligation imposed upon her, then so does the hierarchy of the Church.  And the source of that grace which Our Lady desired is our prayers and penances.

March 25 is seven days away.  Regardless of the multitude of concerns about the nature of this consecration, prayer is never wasted.  So, rather than debating the matter, we should give pious and humble submission to Our Lady's request regarding our part, and hope for the grace that the leaders in the Church fulfil theirs.  In light of this, Bp. Athanasius Schneider has requested that the faithful recite the following Preparatory Novena prayer for the Consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

O Immaculate Heart of Mary, Holy Mother of God and our most tender Mother. Look down upon the distress in which the Church and all humanity finds itself due to the spread of godlessness, materialism and the persecution of the Catholic Faith, errors of which you warned in Fatima.

Preparatory Novena prayer for the Consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

You are the Mediatrix of all graces. Obtain for us the grace that all the bishops of the world, in union with the Pope, may consecrate Russia and Ukraine to Your Immaculate Heart on March 25, 2022. By this consecration we hope - as you told us in Fatima – that, at a time appointed by God, Russia will be converted, and mankind will be granted an era of peace. We hope that by this consecration, the triumph of Your Immaculate Heart will soon draw near and the Church will be authentically renewed in the splendor of the purity of the Catholic Faith, the sacredness of the liturgy and the holiness of the Christian life.

O Queen of the Holy Rosary and our most tender Mother, turn Your merciful eyes toward the Pope, the bishops and each of us, and graciously hear our fervent and trusting prayer. Amen.

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As always, please pray for the Church, for our bishops, priests, deacons, and for Lepanto's mission as we continue to unearth the truth and "restore all things to Christ." (Col. 1:20)

Christus Vincit!

Michael Hichborn
Lepanto Insititute