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Fatima, Russia & Pope John Paul II

By Timothy Tindal-Robertson

Revised 3rd US and UK Edition,
AMI Press, Washington, N.J.
Paper, 260 pp., $8.95

Reviewed by Msgr. Arthur B. Calkins

Ever since May 13, 1982, when Pope John Paul II made his pilgrimage of thanksgiving to Fatima and made a public Act of Entrustment-Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the Cova da Iria at Fatima, there has been debate whether what he did fulfilled the request of Our Lady as relayed by Sister Lucia for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. if anything, the debate intensified after the Act of Consecration and Entrustment which the Holy Father invited the bishops of the world to make in union with him on the weekend of March 24-25, 1984.

Some argue that, since not every bishop in the world complied on that latter occasion, the act did not fulfill the request for the consecration of Russia. Others insist that since Russia was not explicitly mentioned on either occasion, the consecration was invalid. Holders of these positions maintain that the collapse of communism and the concession of religious freedom in the former Soviet Union is a mirage and that the real "conversion of Russia" is yet to begin.

Timothy Tindal-Robertson has written this book specifically to deal with these questions in the light of the events that have unfolded in the former Soviet Union. With a wealth of compelling illustrative details he supports his thesis that only the supernatural intervention depicted in this study affords a credible explanation of how a regime motivated by such open and unrelenting opposition to God and the Church could to turn about upon its original principles and purpose (p. 190).

The author provides helpful appendices giving the most important papal documents dealing with the consecration of the world and of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and cites the convictions of Sister Lucia of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the remaining seeress of Fatima, the former Bishop of Leiria-Fatima and the testimonies of Cardinals Meisner of Germany, Paskai of Hungary, Korec of Slovakia and Archbishop Kondrusiewicz, Apostolic Administrator of Moscow to the effect that the consecration has been made and the effects are beginning to be seen.

Of interest is the story of Bishop Paul Hnilica in his role as underground priest and bishop, protagonist of the Fatima message and "co-consecrator" of Russia in union with the Holy Father in 1984 in the Kremlin (pp.157-161).

I would have welcomed more information on the author's statement that the Orthodox bishops had been invited by the Holy Father to make the consecration with him in 1984 (pp. 23, 36). I would also dispute the amount of advance time involved before the 1984 consecration was to take place (pp. 25, 31, 33). The Pope's letter is dated December 8, 1983, but was only released by the Holy See on February 17, 1984, a matter which may be corroborated by the lnsegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II and contemporary press releases.

Admittedly, however, these are small matters which do not invalidate Mr. Tindal-Robertson's thesis in any way. He has done us all a great service in sharing with us not only the reasons for his conviction that the 1984 Consecration fulfilled the desires of Our Lady, but also many beautiful testimonies to the fruit that is already being borne as a result.

This is a book which deserves a wide circulation as a narrative of faith and hope and a spur for us all to continue complying with Our Lady's requests to hasten the full triumph of her Immaculate Heart.

In his greeting to English speaking pilgrims after the general audience of May 19, 1982, the Pope said: "The message of Fatima puts us on our guard. It also invites us to approach anew the Fountain of Mercy by an act of consecration."

He spoke in a similar vein in the Church of the Gesù in Rome on December 31, 1984, about the Act of Entrustment and Consecration which he had carried out in union with the bishops of the world on March 25 of that year. I cite it at length because it offers the Pope's own confirmation of Mr. Tindal-Robertson's thesis.

"Closely united with the Jubilee Year was the Act of Entrustment to the Immaculate Heart of Mary which I carried out in union with all the bishops of the world.

"I had already made such an entrustment and consecration on May 13, 1982, during my pilgrimage to Fatima, thus linking myself with the two acts carried out by Pius XII in 1942 and 1952. On March 25 of this year the same act of entrustment and consecration had a collegial character, because it was made simultaneously by all the bishops of the Church: it was carried out in Rome and at the same time all over the world.

"This Act of Consecration was a drawing nearer of the world, through the Mother of Christ and Our Mother, to the source of life, poured out on Golgotha: it was a bringing back of the world to the same fount of Redemption, and at the same time, to have the Madonna's help to offer men and peoples to him who is infinitely holy (cf. Homily at Fatima, no. 8).

"Before the venerated statue of Our Lady of Fatima, brought to Rome for the occasion, I offered the hopes and anxieties of the Church and the world, invoking the aid of Mary in the struggle against evil and in preparation for the third millennium. Now is the hour when every person must make an effort to live faithfully this Act of Consecration to Mary."

Reprinted from SOUL Magazine - Nov-Dec 1999

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