The Message of Fatima, The Errors of Russia and The Treaty of Lisbon
Perhaps it is a coincidence that, at the time of the apparitions of Our Lady in the small Portuguese village of Fatima, the capital of Portugal was considered to be the most atheistic city on earth. And certainly the Portuguese government of the time provided an immense challenge to the spreading of the Message of Fatima, and indeed to the Catholic ethos of Portugal itself. Although the reputation of Lisbon as atheistic capital of the world may have changed in the course of the 20th century, a new threat to Christian civilisation has emerged from that city. For it was there that the Treaty of Lisbon was agreed and signed on 13th December, 2007.
In the third apparition of Our Lady in Fatima, on 13th July, 1917, Our Lady warned that if man does not “stop offending God, another even worse war will begin in the reign of Pius XI… To prevent it [the war], I will come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays. If they listen to my requests, Russia will convert and there will be peace; if not, it will spread its errors throughout the world, promoting wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and several nations will be annihilated.”
What exactly are these errors of Russia, of which Our Lady speaks? What was so different about Russia, that Our Lady should single it out with such a comment?
The Russian Revolution took place in 1917. Its fruit in Russia was the formation of a new regime that became the foundation of the Soviet Union, which did, as Our Lady had predicted, promote wars and persecutions of the Church, where the good were martyred, which did annihilate several nations and which caused the Holy Father to suffer much.
This new regime was atheistic, and it persecuted religion, especially the Catholic Church. It enacted laws to diminish the role of the family and to abolish private property. It was the first government in modern times to openly promote abortion on demand, years before the eugenic program of Nazi Germany, and long before abortion was legalised in any western country. The breakdown of the family was almost complete in soviet society. The government usurped the place of parents in educating children. It interfered in every detail and every aspect of the life of its citizens. All power and authority were centralised.
So, what has all this to do with the Treaty of Lisbon?
In spite of much talk and debate over the years about subsidiarity, it is very little practiced in the European Union, and will be even less so if the Treaty of Lisbon is approved. There is already a marked tendency in the European Union, just as in the former Soviet Union, to centralise all authority. The Lisbon treaty will facilitate a further development of this tendency.
Already we have seen attempts by the EU to take control of education and schools from parents and religious denominations. Recently, for example, the European Commission has accused Ireland of being in breach of the EU’s equality directive because denominational schools, to enable them to protect their ethos, have exemption from some provisions of equality legislation.
On moral issues there has been much pressure from the EU to encourage legislation on abortion, homosexual unions and in various other areas in which the Catholic social and moral teaching would be adversely affected. For example, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe are openly campaigning to have abortion and euthanasia recognised as “human rights” throughout Europe, and an associated group, “Make Noise for Free Choice” is hoping to use provisions of the Lisbon treaty to enforce this, wishing to specifically target Ireland, as well as Poland and Malta. Meanwhile there is currently a case before the European Court of Human Rights, attempting to overthrow our ban on abortion in Ireland.
Until now the national governments within the union have been able to resist pressure from the EU institutions, in order to preserve their own identity and ethos.
However, the Treaty of Lisbon comes packaged with a new instrument which will wrest control of much of our legislation from our own government, especially in social and moral issues. This new instrument is the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, which, if the Lisbon treaty is approved, will be binding in law throughout Europe. Its implementation will be overseen by the European Court of Justice, which will have the power to ensure that national governments will comply with the Charter.
Through this charter the protection of human life will be restricted, and abortion, euthanasia and embryo experimentation will be facilitated. “Sexual orientation” will be recognised as a basis for non-discrimination, opening the way for homosexual marriage and adoption of children by homosexuals.
The Treaty of Lisbon amends previous treaties (the Treaty on the European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community). In doing so it creates a new European Union such as the European Constitution would have created if it hadn’t been rejected by referendum in France and the Netherlands in 2005. Already at that time His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, lamented that there wasn’t a single reference to God in the Constitution, nor in the Charter of Fundamental Rights. He also lamented that the then Constitution completely failed to recognise the Christian roots of Europe. These omissions continue in the Treaty of Lisbon.
The errors of Russia, as Our Lady predicted in 1917, would be spread throughout the world. Already much of our legislation, and indeed that of every western country, is greatly influenced by the laws and especially by the ideology of the old Soviet Union. And like in the Soviet Union, the breakdown of the family is well advanced throughout the western world. Through the Charter of Fundamental Rights, this situation could get even worse.Within this perspective the European Charter of Fundamental Rights is a vehicle for perpetuating these same errors.
For this reason, the Treaty of Lisbon should be rejected by all Catholics who wish to fulfil the requests of Our Lady of Fatima.
Compassion Must Be Guided by Reason, Not Sentiment*
Saint Thomas Aquinas teaches that the sentiment of compassion only becomes a virtue when it is guided by reason because “it is essential to human virtue that the movements of the soul should be regulated by reason.” Without this
regulation, compassion is only a passion. Like all passions, compassion is a powerful, irrational inclination, and therefore a potentially dangerous one since it can favor not only good but also evil. To feel pity at the sight of someone’s sufferings is normal. However, to act without prudent analysis may lead to unintended harm.
Consider, for example, the case of a man who buys whiskey for his alcoholic friend because the man cannot bear to see his alcoholic friend suffer when going without a drink. Likewise, consider a father who plies his gambling-addicted son with cash because the father is distressed at the thought of his son suffering for not being able to gamble. The father’s action does not show true love for his son, for instead of freeing his son from gambling’s stranglehold, the father supports the vice with easy access to money.
Helping Vice Is Not Compassion
While everything must be done to help sinners, this cannot include helping them sin or remain in vice. Given human frailty, a sinner deserves pity and compassion. However, vice and sin must be excluded from this compassion because sin can never be the proper object of compassion.
When a misguided pity leads to supplying the sinner with the means to remain attached to his vice, this assistance, be it material or moral, actually helps keep the sinner chained to his evil ways. Such action helps the vice, not the person. Despite good intentions, the action is harmful, for true compassion leads a sinner away from vice and back to virtue.
* TFP Committee on American Issues, Defending a Higher Law (The American TFP, Spring Grove, Pa., 2004), 119-120.
Our Readers Write
- I am writing to thank you for all the work you put in organising your ‘Call to Chivalry’ fathers and sons camp. It was certainly worth the effort and expense in coming over. The combination of informative talks, wholesome games and interesting outings and activities, all experienced in lovely settings and with good company is just what my son and the others teenagers need to combat the negative influences in the world today. All the fathers I spoke to said that they benefited greatly too, and are interested in coming back next year.
- I feel very confident that societies like Irish Society for Christian Civilisation will bring back the Faith and Morals of our country.
SB, Co. Roscommon
- God bless you all and all your good work for Our Lady. Thank you very much for enrolling me as a Benefactor Member.
MC, Co. Cork
Hope of a Hopeless World
Written by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
If there is an age whose sole hope lies in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, it is our own. The evils committed by mankind today can scarcely be exaggerated. To mention just a few, these include blasphemy, the destruction of the family through abortion, divorce, euthanasia, widespread pornography, immoral fashions and lifestyles, homosexuality and so on. As Pope Pius XI once said, the contemporary world is so morally depraved that at any moment it could be plunged into a deeper spiritual misery than that reigning in the world when Our Blessed Redeemer was born. In consideration of so many crimes, the idea of divine vengeance naturally comes to mind. When we view this sinful world, groaning beneath the weight of a thousand crises and a thousand afflictions but nevertheless unrepentant; when we consider the alarming progress of neo-paganism, which is on the verge of conquering humanity; and when, on the other hand, we consider the lack of resolve, foresight, and unity among the so-called remnant, we are understandably terrified at the grim prospects of catastrophes that this generation may be calling upon itself.
There is something liberal or Lutheran in imagining that so many crimes do not deserve punishment, that such a widespread apostasy of humanity is merely the fruit of some intellectual error without moral guilt. The reality is otherwise, for God does not abandon His creatures. Rather, He continuously assists and supports them with sufficient grace to aid them in choosing the right path. If they choose to follow a way other than His, the responsibility is theirs.
Behold the grim picture of the contemporary world: on one hand, an iniquitous and sinful civilisation and, on the other, the Creator holding high the divine scourge. Is there nothing left for mankind but fire and brimstone? As we face the dawn of the new millennium, can we hope for a future other than the scourge foretold by Sacred Scriptures for the final impenitence of the last days?Were God to act solely according to His justice, there is no doubt what we should expect. Indeed, could we even have made it as far as this twentieth century? Nevertheless, since God is not only just but also merciful, the gates of salvation have not yet been shut against us. A people unrelenting in its impiety has every reason to expect God’s rigour. However, He Who is infinitely merciful, does not want the death of this sinful generation but that it “be converted…and live” (Ezech.18:23). His grace thus insistently pursues all men, inviting them to abandon their evil ways and return to the fold of the Good Shepherd.
If an impenitent humanity has every reason to fear every catastrophe, a repentant humanity has every reason to expect every mercy. Indeed, for God’s mercy to be poured on the contrite sinner, his repentance need not have run its full course. Even while still in the depths of the pit, if the sinner but sincerely and earnestly turn to God with a budding repentance in his heart, he will immediately find help, for God never disregards him. The Holy Ghost says in Sacred Scripture: “Can a woman forget her infant…. And if she should forget, yet will not I forget thee” (Isa. 49:15). That is, even in such extreme cases where even a mother gives up, God does not. God’s mercy benefits the sinner even while divine justice cuts him down on the way of iniquity. Modern man cannot lose sight of these two basic concepts of divine justice and divine mercy – justice lest we dare presume that we can save ourselves without merits; mercy, so that we do not despair of our salvation as long as we repent and start anew.
God is charity, so the simple mention of the Most Holy Name of Jesus evokes love. It is the infinite, limitless love that drove the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity to become man. It is the love expressed in the utter humiliation of a God Who comes to us as a poor infant, born in a cave. It is the love shown in those thirty years of hidden life spent in the humility of the strictest poverty, in the three gruelling years of evangelisation, when the Son of Man travelled highways and country roads, climbed mountains, crossed valleys, rivers and lakes, visited cities and villages, walked through deserts and hamlets, spoke to rich and poor, dispensing love and, for the most part, reaping ingratitude. It is the love manifested in that supreme moment of the Last Supper when, after generously washing the feet of His apostles, He instituted the Holy Eucharist. It is the love of that last kiss bestowed on Judas, of that poignant look at Peter, of those insults received and born patiently and meekly, of those sufferings endured until the last drop of blood was shed. It is the love in that last pardon to the dying thief that enabled him to steal heaven. Finally, it is the love manifested in the supreme gift of a heavenly mother for a wretched humanity! Each of these episodes has been painstakingly studied by the learned, wondrously reproduced by artists, devoutly contemplated by saints, and, above all, incomparably celebrated in the Divine Liturgy.
In venerating the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Church specially praises the infinite love demonstrated by Our Lord Jesus Christ to men. Since His heart is the symbol of love, by venerating His Heart, the Church celebrates Love.
Many and beautiful are the invocations used by Holy Mother Church in reference to Our Blessed Lady. Yet, every single one of these clearly underscores her relationship to God’s love. Each celebrates either a gift of God to her, to which she was perfectly faithful, or some special power or influence she has with her Divine Son. Now, what are God’s gifts but a special manifestation of His love? And what is Our Lady’s power of intercession with God in our favour but a sublime aspect of God’s special love for us? Thus, it is perfectly appropriate to call her Speculum Justitiae, “mirror of justice” on one hand and “omnipotent intercessor” on the other. She is the mirror of justice because God so loved her that He concentrated in her all perfections possible to a human creature. In no other creature is He so well reflected as in her. Thus, she mirrors His justice perfectly. She is the omnipotent intercessor because no grace is obtained without Our Lady and there is no grace she cannot obtain for us. Thus, on invoking Mary as Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, we make a beautiful synthesis of all the other invocations; we recall the purest reflection of the Divine Maternity; we simultaneously strike all the chords of love in beautiful harmony, the same chords we strike when we recite her litany or sing the Salve Regina.
Yet, there is one other invocation of Our Lady that I especially wish to recall. It is “Advocate of Sinners.” Our Lord Jesus Christ is our judge, and as great as is His mercy, He nevertheless remains our supreme judge and cannot fail to exercise His judicial duty. But Our Lady is our advocate and does solely what an advocate is supposed to do – defends the accused. Do we not have in Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, the Advocate of Sinners, an all-powerful advocate before the bar of divine justice whose pleas for mercy will not be refused? To say then, that Our Lady of the Sacred Heart is our advocate is equivalent to saying that we have an omnipotent advocate in heaven who holds the golden key to an infinite store of mercy. So, what better solution for a sinful humanity, a humanity that falls deeper into sin if justice is not mentioned but despairs of salvation if it is mentioned? By all means, let justice be mentioned; it is a duty; its omission has produced only sorry fruits. But right alongside justice, which targets the sinner, let us never forget mercy, which helps the seriously repentant sinner to abandon sin and thus be saved as He desires with all His Heart – the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
A Call to Chivalry
Boys Summer Camp in Ireland
From July 19th to July 25th Irish Society for Christian Civilisation hosted its third Summer Camp for fathers and sons. The program was held once again on the grounds of the beautiful and majestic Mount St. Joseph’s Cistercian Abbey in Roscrea. As in previous camps the course entailed outings to historic places of Christian civilisation, talks on doctrinal and historical topics, as well as wholesome recreation.
During the Camp, participants were nourished daily by the Blessed Sacrament.
During the course of the camp we were honoured to have the sacraments regularly, and daily Mass. The camp ended with a magnificent Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Fortified by the Eucharist, the tone of the camp was always elevated with a good deal of camaraderie among its participants. Enrolment in the brown scapular was a highlight for those who had not previously been enrolled in this ancient devotion. The enrolment played an important part in one of the goals of the camp, to promote devotion to Our Lady and have Her at the centre of all our endeavours.
The Rosary was also part of the schedule near the end of each day, with the singing of the Salve Regina as the boys’ final prayer before retiring.
The camp began on Sunday night with a talk by Mr. Byron Whitcraft on the topic of Chivalry, including an explanation of the Ten Commandments of Chivalry. During the talk the participants were called to a Crusade, not of arms as in the past, but of ideas to confront the neo-pagan tendencies of today’s secular and materialistic world. Taking the principles of Medieval Knighthood, Mr. Whitcraft explained how a young man today could be courageous in standing up for Catholic principles. In addition to this Mr. Whitcraft used a lecture given by the great Catholic leader, Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, to illustrate these points in the person of Charlemagne. During the following days Mr. Whitcraft gave talks on good manners, the principles of Dress, true piety and the fight between good and evil throughout history.
Later in the week Mr. Julio Loredo gave a brilliant analysis of the Revolutionary process that is aiming to destroy Christian civilisation, showing how this process is already centuries old. He demonstrated clearly and precisely how the God-centred Christian society of the Middle Ages has been decaying in several stages, reaching its worst phase in our own troubled times. He proved this through a series of quotations, video clips and slides which made the meetings both interesting and highly convincing. He quoted several authors and studies, in particular the work Revolution and Counter-Revolution by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. Using slides and video clips, he analysed schools of art, fashions, dances and ways of being throughout history, illustrating an ever-subtle change in mentality. Man developed an excessive tendency to focus on this world, and no longer on his final destiny with God.
Daily lectures provided the camp with intellectual substance.
He also analysed the same process through revolutionary historical figures such as Luther, Danton and Lenin. This was further illustrated in a Chinese shadow skit, played by some of the young participants of the camp, and very much appreciated by everyone.
The meetings were informative and gave the participants good tools to help them to face the modern crisis with courage and conviction.
Mr. Neil McKay gave an enlightening presentation on the Medieval Spirit. His PowerPoint presentation analysed the Christian Spirit of the medieval world, and how our own culture today is so removed from that. He proved that the thought of great thinkers like St. Thomas Aquinas was prevalent in all aspects of life in the Middle Ages. His presentation included pictures of art from Medieval times, and so called art and architecture of our own day. He explained why some of these buildings and works of “art” are offensive to God.
The program included outdoor games and tours of historic places.
During the camp participants travelled to places of historic interest, one of which was the ruins of the monastery of Clonmacnoise, founded in the sixth century by St. Ciaran. Among the remains of seven churches, two round towers and three Celtic high crosses, there was an imponderable of ancient monks bringing Christianity to the pagan tribes of Ireland. This atmosphere permeated Clonmacnoise and complemented perfectly the series of talks given during the Summer Camp. The outing continued, on the same day, to Birr Castle with its majestic gardens. Even though the castle is privately owned and cannot be toured, just to see it and its extensive gardens is well worthwhile. The gardens include a variety of trees from around the world and what had been the largest telescope in the world during a period of over seventy years. The telescope was constructed by the third Earl of Rosse in the 1840’s. Other outings during the week included visits to Portumna Castle, Portumna Abbey and Redwood Castle.
If what has already been mentioned was not enough to fill almost a week, there were also outdoor games, a treasure hunt and board games during a few spare moments. The last day of the program held the customary Medieval games and Medieval banquet. Heavy rain only slightly hindered the games, which went ahead as scheduled. The participants donned their colourful scapulars and proceeded to play in a chivalrous fashion.
When the games were over both the victorious and the vanquished proceeded to the Guest House of the Monastery for the Medieval Banquet, during which all were honoured by the presence of the newly elected Abbot, Dom Richard Purcell, together with a visiting French Dominican priest, Fr. Jean Bertrand. After the Abbot led the prayers, and while the meal was being served, there was a slide show of scenes from the camp. The parents who were present enjoyed the presentation as well as the meal, the finishing touch of which was a delicious chocolate cake made in the shape of a castle.
A fine letter opener, like a miniature Medieval Crusader’s sword, was given as a souvenir and a symbol of militancy to all the participants of the 2009 Irish Summer Camp. The day ended with a colourful candle-lit and torch-lit Rosary procession in honour of Our Lady, through whom the entire program was made possible. After the procession, Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament was held with great splendour in the Chapel.
After a final breakfast the next morning the participants travelled back to their homes. Even though it was sad to see them go the atmosphere was filled with gratitude for the blessings that God had bestowed upon the camp. Each one left with solid principles to help him to act in defence of Christian civilisation. When thinking about the blessings of the camp a quote from the great Marian saint, St. Louis de Montfort, comes to mind in this quest for a truly Christian society:
“And we, great God! Although there is so much glory and profit, so much sweetness and so many advantages to be gained by serving Thee, shall there be so few to take up Thy cause? Hardly any soldiers under Thy banner! Hardly a St. Michael to proclaim among Thy brethren in zeal for Thy glory: Who is like unto God?”