John Paul II Admits 1984 Consecration Invalid

That the papal consecration of Russia to the Mary in union with the bishops as specifically requested at Fatima has not been properly carried out is generally admitted by most Catholics. That Pope John Paul II himself admitted the fact is not as well known.

The 1942 consecration of the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by Pius XII clearly failed to mention Russia by name, and the written consecration of the 1952 document Carissimis Russiae Populis was not joined by the bishops of the world, as Mary requested. Paul VI again consecrated Russia in 1964, but again without the participation of the bishops of the world. John Paul II consecrated "the world" to Mary in 1982, implying Russia was consecrated along with the world, but Sr. Lucia said this did not fulfill our Lady's request. John Paul made another consecration in 1984, this time of "all individuals and peoples of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary." This consecration never mentioned Russia, but did state "In a special way we entrust and consecrate to you those individuals and nations which particularly need to be thus entrusted and consecrated." Those individuals who particularly need to be entrusted and consecrated are an obvious veiled reference to Russia.

Is a veiled reference good enough? Does our Lady require that Russia be specifically named as the object of the consecration? Many Fatima devotees say yes and can point to various statements by Sr. Lucia to the effect that Russia had to be specifically named as the object of the consecration. Others, no less devoted to Fatima, say 1984 was valid. The late Fr. Robert Fox of the Family Messenger magazine stated, "To say that the Pope was not consecrating Russia in union with the bishops of the world does violence to logic. It makes a taskmaster of God who nit-picks for fine details or wording rather than the intention of hearts."[1]

That's not to say God does not expect certain rules and guidelines to be followed. Just ask Uzzah, who despite his good intentions was struck dead for touching the Ark of the Covenant against God's directive (2 Sam. 6), or the sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, who were struck dead for offering incense improperly (Lev. 10). God does care about obedience to specific details.

Going back to John Paul's 1984 consecration, though others would later come back in the coming years and assert that this consecration fulfilled our Lady's request, it seems that the pope himself doubted it at the time it was made.

The consecration of March, 1984, was done in front of 250,000 pilgrims. Again, the pope consecrated "the world" and hinted at Russia, as we have seen above. But moments after the consecration, John Paul II added some unscripted, off the cuff remarks, in which he implored Our Lady of Fatima to "enlighten especially the peoples of which You Yourself are awaiting our consecration and confiding." These statements appeared on the cover of the March 26th 1984 edition of L'Osservatore Romano.

If the entire world and the human race had just been consecrated by the pope, who on earth could possibly be "awaiting consecration and confiding"? In making this statement, the Pope was publicly acknowledging that the consecration requested by Our Lady had still not been performed. A similar report appeared shortly after the consecration in the Italian bishops’ newspaper Avvenire, describing the Pope praying in St. Peter’s several hours after the consecration ceremony, asking Our Lady to bless "those peoples for whom You Yourself are awaiting our act of consecration and entrusting." Again, an admission from Pope John Paul II himself that he did not consider the 1984 consecration as fulfilling our Lady's requests. The bishops of the world did not buy it either, as by 1989 the Vatican had received signatures from 350 bishops pledging to participate in a public consecration of Russia by name. Three million petitions from lay Catholics came to Rome asking for the same thing between 1985 and 1989; in 1989 alone a million petitions were delivered. Clearly, many people were unconvinced, even those in the hierarchy.

So why would John Paul II bother going through with a consecration he knew was invalid? We will never know John Paul II's motives for sure; as in many other instances, JPII is an enigma here. It seems that the answer might be found in a previous statement from John Paul II dating back to his first abortive attempt to consecrate Russia in 1982. After being asked why the Pope failed to mention Russia by name in his 1982 consecration, John Paul II responded that "I tried to do everything possible in the concrete circumstances."[2]

The Pope felt that "concrete circumstances" stopped him from expressly mentioning Russia during the consecration. Though John Paul II never admitted what these circumstances were, or why he felt powerless against them, many point to the so-called Vatican "Ostpolitik" adopted in light of the Second Vatican Council. The Ostpolitik policy was adopted in the 1960's and represents a striking departure from pre-Vatican II Catholic attitudes towards Communism. The pre-Vatican II stance of the Church was unwaveringly hostile towards Communism. But, beginning in 1962, the Vatican began to shift towards a more diplomatic approach to Communism, hoping to soften relations between the East and West.

To obtain Moscow’s approval for two observers from the Russian Orthodox Church to attend, the Vatican formally agreed not to condemn Soviet Russia or communism in general at the Second Vatican Council. Since then, the Vatican voluntarily restrained itself from opposing Communism by name, or condemning Communist regimes that persecuted Catholics. Instead, the Church was supposed to engage in dialogue and negotiations with these governments, as well as with the orthodox churches in the name of ecumenism. The 1993 Balamand Coneference that basically called for an end of Catholic missionary work in orthodox countries was an example of this policy.

An example of how this played out in the Vatican's relationship with the Soviet Union: Catholic Family News published the story of Father Linus Dragu Popian who had been raised in the Romanian Orthodox Church. In 1975 he risked his life to escape Communist Romania and presented himself to the Vatican expressing his wish to convert to Catholicism. The then-Secretary of State, Cardinal Villot (who, by the way, has long been suspected of Freemasonry), and other Vatican Cardinals were horrified. They told young Popian that he must not flee Communism and must not become Catholic, because this would damage the Vatican's relations with Communist Romania and the Romanian Orthodox Church. [3]

Was John Paul's unwillingness to mention Russia by name during the consecration just another expression of the post-Conciliar popes' general unwillingness to upset the ecumenical apple-cart? It certainly seems possible, as the weight of longstanding Vatican diplomacy would probably be the only barrier large enough that even the Pope felt he could not challenge it.

Continue to pray for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the pope, publicly, in union with all the bishops of the world.

[1] Fr. Robert Fox, The Collegial Consecration of Russia is Accomplished, (Augustine Publishing Company, Devon, 1990), p. 13-15

[2] General Audience of May 19, 1982: "I tried to do everything possible in the concrete circumstances ..." L'Osservatore Romano (English edition) May 24, 1982.

[3] "Vatican says, Do Not Convert to Catholicism", John Vennari, Catholic Family News, Dec. 2001. Father Popian's testimony on audio cassette entitled "Vatican's Ostpolitik and Ecumenism Tried to Prevent My Conversion to Catholicism" is also available from the Fatima Center, 17000 State Route 30, Constable, NY 12926.