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A Book Review…. Fatima’s Mysteries And The “Errors Of Russia”

May 11, 2017 Frontpage No Comments

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY

Fatima Mysteries: Mary’s Message to the Modern Age, by Grzegorz Górny and Janusz Rosikon. Ignatius Press, 2017, 400 pages, $34.95, hardcover. Visit ignatius.com or call 1-800-651-1531

Fatima Mysteries: Mary’s Message to the Modern Age is a large and heavy book, and not only in the physical sense, but also in terms of the subject it covers and the pain and suffering it describes, and which were the lot of so many people under Communism during the 20th century.
It is a joint work by author, Grzegorz Górny, and photographer, Janusz Rosikon, and they have certainly produced an engaging and physically attractive book, full of beautiful and informative photos. In that sense it could be described as a “coffee-table” book.
But in terms of content it is a very serious offering, and comprises 14 chapters on topics ranging from the assassination attempt on Pope St. John Paul II, through the story of Fatima and the deaths of the youngest seers, to the legacy of Communism and its ongoing effects on the modern world.
The most striking and memorable parts of the book are those chapters which deal with the playing out of the catastrophic consequences of the “errors of Russia” which our Lady warned about at Fatima in July 1917. It concludes with chapters chronicling the consecration carried out by St. John Paul II in 1984, and the subsequent downfall of Communism, with a final chapter on the third secret of Fatima.
Perhaps fittingly, it begins with assassination attempt on the Polish Pope on May 13, 1981, and how this led the Pontiff to read the third part of the secret, and thus realize the importance of carrying out the collegial consecration which our Lady had asked for way back in 1929.
Following this, we go back to the very beginning of the Fatima story, to the appearance of the Angel of Portugal, or of Peace, to the three shepherd children, Lucia dos Santos, and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto. The latter two have now been canonized, an act carried out by Pope Francis on May 13 in Fatima, and Lucia is also on the path to sainthood.
The Angel appeared three times in 1916, in the midst of World War I, and spiritually prepared the children for their encounter with the Blessed Virgin the next year. At this point, there is an excursion into Portuguese history, which explains why this small country was chosen by God for the giving of such an important message through our Lady. And in fact, the church in Portugal at this time was undergoing persecution under a government imbued with the ideals of Freemasonry.
Then the story of the apparitions of our Lady is dealt with, and illustrated with numerous photographs with a particular focus on the final apparitions in October 1917, and the miracle of the sun.
The account of the deaths of the two youngest seers, Francisco and Jacinta, in 1919 and 1920 respectively, due to the Spanish flu that ravaged Europe, is interweaved with the story of St. Maximilian Kolbe and the growth of his Marian organization, the Militia Immaculata, the Army of the Immaculate.
The greater part of the rest of the book, though, is devoted to describing just how the errors of Russia were indeed spread around the world and in particular the impact this had on those countries most afflicted by Communism, including Poland and the Ukraine.
In some respects we can also include Nazism as one of the errors arising out of Communism, since it was modeled on Communist practice, and the Nazis would never have gained power in Germany in the 1930s without the threat of Communism.
The authors describe the errors of Russia as an “Anti-Decalogue” — that is, as ideas totally in opposition to the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments. They outline how each of the Commandments had it blasphemous and evil counterpart in the Communist system, and how precepts such keeping the Sabbath Holy or honoring one’s father and mother were profaned by the Communist persecutions of the Church, and the insistence that loyalty to the party was more important than loyalty to one’s parents.
Regarding the Fifth Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” Communism negated this and engaged in mass murder on a horrific scale, as millions perished either due to imprisonment in the Gulag or to deliberately engineered famines, such as the one in Ukraine from 1932 to 1933, which claimed between six and seven million lives.
And Communist Russia had the awful distinction of being, in 1920, the first country in the world to introduce abortion. Likewise, the Commandments regarding sexual morality, lying, and stealing were routinely transgressed under Communism. The book also details the methods used to undermine the West by Communism, including propaganda campaigns and spying.
Interspersed with this material are episodes from Polish history, and accounts of later apparitions to Sr. Lucia, in 1926 and 1929, in which our Lady spoke more explicitly of the Five First Saturdays devotion and the consecration of Russia.
Then the threats to the world presented in the 1930s and 1940, by the “Two Totalitarianisms” of Communism and Nazism, are explained, but likewise the spiritual response in terms of the life of Blessed Alexandrina da Costa, a Portuguese mystic, and the action of Pope Pius XII in consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1942 is described. This act has been credited with shortening World War II, just as the consecrations of Portugal made by the Portuguese bishops in the 1930s kept the country out of the Spanish Civil War and World War II.
The Cold War and all the sufferings of those living under Communism, and the rise of the Blue Army, are described.
The Ostpolitik practiced in the Church around the time of Vatican II is contrasted with the more robust attitude adopted by Pope St. John Paul II, which along with the collegial consecration made in 1984, eventually led to the downfall of Communism in Russia and Eastern Europe. But it should also be said that the full conversion of Russia probably awaits a much fuller compliance with the Fatima message and particularly the request made by our Lady for the widespread implementation of the Five First Saturdays devotion.

A Sense Of Urgency

The final chapter of the book deals with the relevance of Fatima for our age and the third part of the secret, which when it was revealed in the year 2000, was connected with the sufferings undergone by Christians during the 20th century.
Those people inclined to say that the full text of the third part of the secret has not been revealed — despite the then Cardinal Ratzinger categorically asserting that in 2000 it was then being “published…in its entirety” — would do well to read this book and ponder the awful sufferings which so many Christians underwent under Communism.
The great value of Fatima Mysteries is that unlike most books on Fatima, and Communism, we are not seeing events through jaded Western eyes, but through the hearts and minds of people who know what it was like to suffer under Communism, and who keenly understand the importance of the Message of Fatima.
We need to urgently regain their sense of urgency about heeding our Lady’s words, and particularity the importance of the daily rosary, the Five First Saturdays devotion, and a meaningful and often repeated personal consecration to her Immaculate Heart.

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(Donal Anthony Foley is the author of a number of books on Marian Apparitions, and maintains a related website at www.theotokos.org.uk. He has also a written two time-travel/adventure books for young people — details can be found at: http://glaston-chronicles.co.uk/.)

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