In 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in Fatima to three little shepherds, Lucia dos Santos and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, entrusting them with a message whose contents were officially authenticated by the Church on 26 June 2000. This message is divided into three parts, also called “secrets”; the first part depicts a terrible vision of Hell, the second contains a prophecy about the future of humanity, and the third presents a dramatic vision of martyrdom, against a backdrop of destruction, which awaits the pope, churchmen and many Catholics — religious and lay.
The fulcrum and interpretative key of the message of Fatima is made up of these words of Our Lady:
“You have seen Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. In order to save them, God wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. If they do what I say, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war will end, but if they do not stop offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illuminated by an unknown light; know that this is the great sign God is giving you that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and for the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If they answer my requests, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, it will spread its errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me and it will be converted, and the world will be granted a time of peace.”
So, Our Lady is asking for the conversion of humanity and affirming that, if her requests are answered, Russia will convert and there will be peace, otherwise it will “spread its errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church”. But this scenario of tragedy contains a ray of immense hope: the conversion of Russia and the final triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
What are the errors of Russia of which Our Lady speaks? According to all the interpreters of the message, they are the errors of communism: the criminal twentieth-century ideology. The Soviet Union collapsed between 1989 and 1991, but the communist poison continues to spread throughout the world. China is ruled by Xi Jinping who, last 15 October, on the occasion of the twentieth National Congress of the Communist Party, reiterated that Marxism is the “fundamental ideological guide” on which the country is based, while in Russia, Vladimir Putin is proposing a variation of national communism that reconciles the legacy of Stalin with that of the Tsars.
Whatever the judgment on Putin may be, there has certainly been no conversion of Russia to the true faith, nor triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This means that Russia has not ceased to spread its errors throughout the world, and will be the instrument that God will use to punish unrepentant humanity. Our Lady does not get her predictions wrong, even if she sometimes veils them from human eyes.
Anyone who believes that Russia is not spreading its errors but its “values” around the world is inverting the message of Fatima. This reversal of perspective is evident in the speech that philosopher Aleksandr Dugin made in Moscow on 27 October, speaking at the twenty-fourth World Council of the Russian People, presided over by Patriarch Kirill of the Orthodox Church.
In his speech, Dugin defined the war between Russia and Ukraine as:
“a very real war. This war is not only a war of armies, of men, it is also a war of the spirit … It is a war of Heaven against Hell. It is a war of the angelic armies. It is a war of the Archangel Michael’s army against the devil. … The speech of our president (Putin) on 30 September spoke of the satanic nature of Western civilisation. This is not a metaphor. … The West is an ideology. Liberalism, globalism, secularism and posthumanism are ideologies. This is the realm of ideas, not that of matter, bodies and technology. Above all, it is an absolute lie: it is the inversion of the true proportions of the mind, of ideas, of religious foundations. This is why two ideas are clashing today, two armies; because angels are spirits and minds; angels and demons. The battlefield is none other than Ukraine. On one side, we are Holy Russia, as His Holiness the Patriarch says, and we are standing up against the forces of absolute global historical evil. This is why we speak more and more often of Armageddon, the end times and the Apocalypse. All this is happening before our very eyes. We are taking part in the last — perhaps penultimate, nobody knows — and most important battle. Without a spiritual, ideological and intellectual dimension, we cannot win. … There is no neutral ground. There is a battle between Heaven and Hell. And we are Holy Russia”
What we find facing us is a distorted philosophy of history which confuses the West with its degeneration. Liberalism, globalism and secularism are rotten fruits of a revolutionary process that, for centuries, has been attacking Western and Christian civilisation, on whose authentic roots Dugin is silent. The West is in fact the geographical space, including Europe and the two Americas, which has taken up the values of Greece and Rome, enlivening them with the Catholic faith. The national communist philosopher forgets the debt owed to the West for the creation of universities, the diffusion of knowledge, the artistic, technological and scientific development of humanity, from which Russia also benefits. For Dugin, the West is synonymous with the political and media oligarchies that are dominant today, just as, for some, the Catholic Church is synonymous with the pontificate of Pope Francis.
The “Holy Russia” which Dugin contrasts with the West is the Orthodox “Third Rome” that, since the sixteenth century, has considered the Catholic religion and the papacy as its worst enemy. Patriarch Kirill, who served with Putin in the KGB — heir to the Cheka, the Soviet terror police — is presented as the champion of “Holy Russia” who must “evangelise” the world.
More striking than Dugin’s eschatological appeal, however, is the welcome it has received in the West among Catholics who adhere to Tradition. In Italy, for example, his speech was published in its entirety, without a word of reservation, by esteemed vaticanisti who seem to share an apocalyptic vision that altogether omits Our Lady and her role.
In 2017, traditional Catholics celebrated the centenary of Fatima with one heart; today they are abandoning Fatima, replacing it with a new theology of history that exchanges the triumph of the Immaculate Heart for the triumph of national communist “Holy Russia”. St Maximilian Kolbe, who was not acquainted with the Fatima message, said that the flag of the Immaculate would one day fly over the Kremlin.
“A great battle will be fought under her banner, and we will hoist her flags aloft on the fortresses of the king of darkness. And the Immaculate will become the Queen of the whole world and of every single soul, as Blessed Catherine Labouré foresaw”
(Gli Scritti di Massimiliano Kolbe, It. tr. Città di Vita, Florence 1975–1978, vol. I, p. 550)
Is the flag of the Immaculate destined to fly over the Kremlin, or that of the Kremlin over St Peter’s Basilica? Will Russia spread its errors or alleged “values” around the world? This is a great question posed to Catholics at the present time.