Communist Russia was the first country to legalise abortion. It was in 1917, two years after Our Lady appeared at Fatima. The communist regime had birth control high on its agenda and with socialist misery the lot of every Russian, abortion became a widespread method of preventing births.
By 2004 Russia had the highest number of abortions per woman of childbearing age in the world, according to United Nation’s figures.
Not surprisingly, Russia’s population has been declining to the point that the nation may face extinction. President Putin’s government is trying to reverse the trend with incentives for couples to have more children. Even if inspiration for this change in official policy is somewhat inspired by the revival of Russian nationalism, we hope it succeeds and that we see the renewal of this great nation.
Hatred of motherhood and family
It is no coincidence that the Soviet Union was where abortion was legalised for the first time in history. A propaganda campaign, along with rewards and coercion, made Russian mothers accustomed to killing their unborn children. The anti-natural abomination of abortion was turned into a patriotic virtue.
Socialist hatred for motherhood, family and marriage goes back to Karl Marx himself. The father of communism said marriage is an artificial invention, a “bourgeois claptrap”. Why did Marx and his followers hate marriage and the family so much?
According to them, authority is an injustice because authority places one human being above another, and they believe this encourages inequality. Even though they themselves are the worst despots when in power, socialists and communists hate the idea of authority and hence inequality (we take socialists and communists to be essentially the same thing).
Some inequalities are unjust. However, inequality itself is not unjust. The universe could not exist without it. God has built equality into the very order of creation.
In the French Revolution the hereditary representatives of authority, i.e. the king, queen and nobility, were killed. Socialists say that was good, but not enough. They go on to say any form of government is unjust.
They don’t stop there. They say teachers are unjust because they lord it over their students; employers are unjust because they lord it over their employees; parents are unjust because they lord it over their children.
Marxists see the family as an oppressive institution that will perpetuate oppression through the generations unless it is destroyed.
A light in the darkness
The Communists found an unprecedented opportunity to take over Russia when World War I broke out in 1914. It lasted four years and changed the world beyond recognition. Saint Pius X saw the war approaching and said he would gladly give his life to prevent it. As the armies marched to slaughter each other in the trenches, British Foreign Minister, Edward Grey, remarked: “The lights are going out all over Europe, and we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”
By 1917 it seemed the whole world had been plunged into an ocean of darkness. But in that year, the gates of heaven opened and the Mother of God appeared to three innocent children at Fatima.
Our Lady told Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta that, “The war will end. But if they do not stop offending God, another, even worse, war will begin. God will punish the world for its crimes”; and as part of the coming chastisement, “…the errors of Russia will spread throughout the world, provoking wars and revolutions.”
These illiterate children, unaware of the world outside their village, were entrusted with a most important message from God, which they were to give to mankind.
We may wonder why Our Lady chose to entrust such an important message to these little ones? Does it not remind us of Jesus’ admonition:
“Truly I say to you that unless you are converted and become as little children you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)
The greatest message of modern times
Fatima is, in the words of Blessed John Paul II, “The greatest message of modern times.” We understand Fatima better when we see it in the wider context of the cycle of Marian apparitions, beginning with Rue de Bac (Miraculous Medal) in 1830, La Salette (1846), Lourdes (1858), and Fatima (1917). There is a common thread running through all of them. Our Lady is personally intervening in the world and is calling for conversion and amendment of life.
At Rue du Bac (1830) the Mother of God told Saint Catherine Labouré that the medal she asked to be made (which later became known as the Miraculous Medal) would help people persevere in the evil days to come. At La Salette she was found weeping over the sins of mankind. At Lourdes, Saint Bernadette tells us, on one occasion Our Lady became so anguished that Bernadette thought she was about to faint. Then Our Lady whispered: “Penitence…penitence.” At Fatima, the three children saw an angel with a flaming sword in his hand pointing at the earth saying, “Penance! Penance!”
Have we heeded the message?
Now, almost one hundred years after the Fatima apparitions, we must ask whether we have heeded Our Lady’s call to conversion?
We see many sincere individual conversions, souls striving for holiness, canonised saints, and other positive signs in modern times, but still, we have to admit that mankind, as a whole, has not corresponded to the message of Fatima. To quote again Blessed John Paul II, mankind has “gone in the opposite direction” to Fatima.
When the Mother of God looked out across world from Fatima in 1917, she must have seen the horrors that were to come. The twentieth century that began with such optimism, became the most destructive in all of history. As she predicted, World War I, the so-called ‘war to end all wars’, was followed by World War II, the annihilation of cities by aerial bombardment and atomic bombs, nations reduced to starvation, and murder on an industrial scale in concentration camps. By the century’s end, humanity had become used to living in constant fear of nuclear annihilation.
The dictatorship of relativism
At Fatima, Our Lady was sparing with her words. However, every word she spoke had great significance. “The errors of Russia will spread throughout the world,” she said. It is significant that she used the word ‘error’.
Theologians use the word ‘error’ to describe a doctrine contrary to the teachings of the Church. Today, relativism has so corroded hearts and minds that if we speak of errors against the Faith we are called extremist, judgmental, discriminatory. Pope Benedict XVI referred to this as “the dictatorship of relativism.”
Errors of Russia spread throughout the world
When Our Lady said the errors of Russia would spread throughout the world provoking wars and revolutions, we know she was speaking of communism. Communism is not merely a political system. It is a whole fabric of lies and half-truths that make up a counter-religion, set up against Christianity in every point. Socialism and communism (for all practical purposes the same thing) have at their core, a great hatred for the order of creation, especially for inequality and authority. Hatred for the order of creation can only lead to hatred of the Creator.
When Marx was a young man, he wrote a poem in which he vowed to climb over shuddering humanity to avenge himself, “…against the One who rules above.” Communist agitator Saul Alinsky dedicated his famous book Rules for Radicals to the devil: “…the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.”
“Behold the handmaid of the Lord”
Trouble is, Lucifer’s kingdom is hell. But to Lucifer, it is better to be free in hell than in heaven obeying God. The Prince of the angels lost heaven by revolting against God. Tradition tells us that Lucifer cried out “I will not serve!” This is the shrill cry of his kindred spirits throughout history. Our Lady became Queen of Heaven and Earth because of her humility: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.” Her humility crushes the head of “The old serpent, called the Devil and Satan.” (Apocalypse 12:9)
Our Lady loves the order of creation that reflects so perfectly the Creator. She contemplated sunsets, sunrises, the moon, the stars and all the wonderful things the good Lord made. What must be her love for the family and the marvelous plan of God for procreation?
On the other hand, how her pure soul must be indignant, seeing this plan of God mocked and desecrated by the devil and his cohorts! And abortion? Is it not one of the most insidious and cruel attacks against the family?
Souls lost through sins of the flesh
Along with their hatred of authority and hierarchy, due to pride, the communists hate chastity. This is because they hate the restraints placed by the Law of God on human passions. English communist Douglas Arnold Hyde, in his celebrated autobiography I Believed, describes the orgies practised by British Communist Party cadres. When he realised that his own daughter would grow up to become common property of the Party members, he decided to leave the movement. At Fatima Our Lady said most souls that are lost are lost through sins of the flesh.
From red to green
As said beforehand, the first country to legalise abortion was Soviet Russia, in 1919, just two years after Our Lady came to Fatima with her call to conversion. Today, most western countries have legalised it, with Ireland being one of the most recent to do so.
The 1960s and ’70s saw a wave of revolt against all forms of chastity, the institution of the family and motherhood. In the name of liberating women from ‘the slavery of motherhood’, voices arose everywhere for birth control.
It is important to note that the architects of the pro-abortion movement are not motivated by the lure of money as much as by hatred of motherhood. Making a buck may motivate the staff at the local abortion mill, but money is not really what motivates the higher ranks of the anti-life forces.
Also significant, is that in every situation where socialists and their fellow-travellers have been able to control public policy, divorce, contraception, abortion, and euthanasia have been legalised. Socialism is an expression of the Culture of Death.
As the Soviet Union fell into disarray in the late 1990s, the Green movement was becoming a political force in the West. Avant-garde lefties moved into Green activism – for instance, Mikhail Gorbachev who founded Green Cross. The Left saw Green politics as a way to achieve old dreams in a new globalised world.
Feminism, as well as Lesbian-Gay-Bi-Transgenderism (LGBT), also found favour with the Green movement, as it became a catchment to gather up assorted “progressive” forces wishing to revolutionise society. Little wonder that today Green parties are staunch advocates of abortion and same-sex marriage.
The turning tide
Then a strange thing happened. Youth, which in the 1960s and ’70s was at the cutting edge of revolutionary change, was turning conservative by the ’90s.. The pro-life movement was attracting youth in vast numbers. In France, the socialist government recently legalised same-sex marriage behind the closed doors of parliament, refusing a referendum on the issue. Out on the streets of Paris, over a million pro-family people were protesting and the average protester was under thirty years of age.
In the East, the fall of Soviet power left a vacuum that is being filled, incredibly, with something of a religious revival. It is perhaps overstepping the boundary of reasonable conjecture to affirm this is the conversion of Russia prophesied by Our Lady at Fatima. Even so, it is an exciting scenario.
Our response to Our Lady of Fatima
We must do our part. In particular, we must respond generously to the requests Our Lady made at Fatima. We can do this by living the Fatima message of amendment of life. Secondly, we can pray the Rosary as she specifically requested at Fatima. Thirdly, we can make sacrifices and do penances. Our Lady lamented how many souls are lost because there is nobody to pray and offer sacrifices for them.
For instance, praying the Rosary greatly pleases Our Lady. If we do so in front of an abortion mill, we offer both prayer and penance at the same time.
Fourthly, we can do the First Saturdays Devotion, which consists of going to Confession and Communion every first Saturday of the month; and spending an additional fifteen minutes meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary. This devotion must be fulfilled with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Coming triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
“My Immaculate Heart will triumph.” With these words our Blessed Lady foretold an historical event – one we hope to live to see. The triumph of her Immaculate Heart will be a splendid triumph of good over evil. She promised the conversion of the world and the time of peace following that conversion. This promise gives us hope and strength as we persevere in our pro-life apostolate.
Although Our Lady specifically said “Russia will convert”, we may reasonably assume that means not only Russia itself, but the whole world. If the “errors of Russia” have had a major role in the moral decline of humanity, logically the conversion of mankind means those errors must be renounced and repudiated.
Saint Benedict is said to have told the pagans whom he baptised: “Now burn what you have adored (false idols) and adore what you have burned.”
We might apply this to the modern world insofar as an authentic conversion must be a total conversion. It must be a conversion so profound and complete that mankind is willing to burn all of its idols of pride, sensuality, materialism, and atheism. And then, in the words of the Psalmist, the Holy Spirit, the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin, will come to “renew the face of the earth.” .