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Fatima 100 years later: Hopeful change for Russia?

Clare Hinshaw

Elizabeth Cathedral, Dmitrov by Lynn Greyling (CC0 1.0)
In 1984 Pope John Paul II, in communion with the bishops throughout the world, answered the Blessed Mother's request at Fatima to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart. Our Lady had appeared six times to three shepherd children in 1917 and in her third apparition she declared:

“I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her 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 she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.” 

As always, Our Lady's prophecies were fulfilled.

After nearly a century of leading the world in “error,” the Soviet Union began its slow decline a year after the Holy Father consecrated Russia, the heart of the USSR, to Our Lady's Immaculate Heart. This decline culminated on December 25, 1991 with the end of the Soviet Union in the eyes of the world.  Since then, Russia, as well as the various nations which had fallen behind the iron curtain, have struggled to re-establish themselves as civilized democracies. In order to appreciate the changes and apparent beginnings of conversion occurring in Russia now, it is necessary to have a knowledge of the errors spread throughout the past hundred years. 

We should all be familiar with communism's intrinsic opposition to personal freedom. Less talked about is the system's inherent war on human life. Karl Marx, the father of communism, advocated death and violence from the very beginning. He publicly advocated “hanging capitalists from the nearest lampposts,” and in his newspaper, Neue Rhenische Zeitung, he declared that “When our turn comes, we shall not disguise our terrorism.”

As the Blessed Mother had intimated only a few months before, Russia became the first country in the world to adopt the errors of communism and, as Marx had foretold, the communists did not disguise their terror.  Russia's Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin under the slogan “All power to the Soviets through armed insurrection,” began their reign with three years of bloody civil war.  As soon as they had secured their power the new government established the Extraordinary Commission to Combat Counterrevolution for the purpose of eradicating "all enemies of the new regime,” through “searches, arrests, and death sentences.” The new age of communism was heralded by the execution of the tsar, his wife and children, and their loyal friends. And with the ascendance of Josef Stalin to power in the late 1920's began the purges. It is estimated that by his death, Stalin had influenced the deaths of 20 to 60 million people.

And so, when we see this society built on blood why should we be surprised when we discover that it includes the blood of unborn children? One of the first acts of the Bolshevik rulers after securing their power was to make the Soviet Union the first country ever to legalize abortion and they legalized it up to birth without any restrictions. “Their goal was to destroy the family by encouraging women to get abortions, get out of the home and into the workforce.”

Not only did Russia begin the world’s march toward legalized abortion but she brought the “procedure” into the 20th century with the development of the abortion suction machines still in use today.  The two machines literally “spread” throughout the world, the first, an electric machine exported to the U.S. and other well developed nations, the second, a manual vacuum aspirator sent to third world countries where electricity is not available.

Within the Soviet bloc the Bolshevik attitude toward human life – one of disdain, which “considered human life expendable, subordinate to the ultimate goal” – was imposed on every conquered nation.  Since the dissolution of the USSR, these once oppressed peoples have fought to reclaim their humanity. In 2011 the Polish Parliament voted on a bill to ban abortions in that country. Jacek Sapa of the PRO Foundation, which lobbied members of the Polish Parliament to vote for the bill, stated that “This project is a chance to finally reject the heritage of Nazism and Communism which brought 'legal abortion' to Poland in the first place . . . It was Hitler and Stalin who imposed it on Poles and it's high time we clearly disassociate ourselves from those deadly ideologies.”

Russia itself remains a bit of a quandary. Vladimir Putin, a former member of the KGB (the Soviet secret police), is hardly known for his strict observance of human rights. Nevertheless, recent legal developments in the country lead one to place renewed hope in Our Lady's promises of peace and conversion. On October 21, 2011 abortions after 12 weeks gestation were banned within the country and a week before Christmas this past year Putin signed a ban on abortion advertising. It is speculated that a total ban on abortion may not be long in coming. Meanwhile, Russia's churches are reported to be swelling with converts and “reverts” embracing their long denied right to worship. 

We can only pray that Russia continues on the path toward a culture of life – addressing both abortion and other human rights abuses – and that it will lead the world into an age of virtue.

Topics: Abortion , Church history , Contraception , Culture , Faith , Family , Marian devotion , Prayer

Clare Hinshaw is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Catechetics with minors in Theology and Human Life Studies. She served as the president of the student chapter of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights at Kellenberg Memorial High School on Long Island. At Franciscan University she served as the vice president of the College Republicans and was trained as a pro-life sidewalk counselor.

View all articles by Clare Hinshaw

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