May 24, 2000
volume 11, no. 98


    During this "month of Mary" and the focus on Fatima with the beatifications on May 13th of the Fatima Shepherd Children Jacinta and Francisco Marto by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, and with the debut of the DailyCATHOLIC now being published daily in Russian to reach all parts of the former Iron Curtain, we present a special series written by Father Robert J. Fox, director of the Fatima Family Apostolate and editor of the full color Immaculate Heart Messenger. We are delighted to work with Father Robert Fox in bringing you this special series on Our Lady's plans for the conversion of Russia. If anyone knows the temperature of the Faith in the former Soviet Union it is Fr. Fox. These articles first appeared in earlier issues of his full-color magazine Immaculate Heart Messenger which Fr. Fox edits and publishes. To order a subscription or to find out about other materials such as books and tapes or about the upcoming 18th Annual National Marian Congress to be held on the weekend of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary on June 9-11 at the Shrine in Alexandria, South Dakota, call the toll-free number: 800-721-MARY or 800-213-5541.


installment one:
Special homily given by Bishop of Fatima

    The following is from the sermon given by the Bishop of Aveiro, His Excellency Bishop Manuel de Alemeida Trindade on Oct. 13, 1991 in the Cova da Iria at Fatima before hundreds of thousands of pilgrims including the newly-appointed Latin Rite Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Moscow and the first pilgrimage group ever to come to Fatima from Russia.:

        "A well-known French historian summarized what happened in Russia exactly 84 years ago, thus:

      "On the 6th of November (24 October according to the Russian calendar) the insurrection broke out in the capital (the capital was then St. Petersburg); all the government buildings were occupied: on the 7th the revolution was victorious and the Soviets took over the Power. The first Socialist State was born. (Jean Roux, in Marxism-Leninism).

        Now, almost three quarters of a century have passed, we can evaluate (or begin to evaluate) the costs of that revolution. The costs relating to the number of victims sacrificed were millions. There were costs referring to liberties cut off and oppressions felt. Solzhenitsyn gives us in the Gulag Archipelago a vivid portrayal of how human rights were trampled on. There were still further costs because of the disproportion between the expenses involved and the results obtained: If Russia was, for centuries, a country where hunger was rampant, it can be seen that abundance is no greater at the end of 74 years of collectivist experience.

    Atheism First Imposed

        As a background for this bitter experience it must be added that Russia was the first modern state in which atheism was imposed as an official ideology. It was there that Marx's expression became a classic one: "Religion is the opium of the people." If this is so-opium, that is, an alienating drug-then it must be extirpated with the same determination with which society of today defends itself from narcotics and from those who cultivate them and engage in drug dealing. And there is no doubt that this was so indeed.

        Russia-The Holy Russia of Orthodoxy-did not invent these expressions. They were imported from the West. Karl Marx, it is well not to forget this circumstance, was a Jew, born in Trevinos, in Germany. And all that Marx learned and later spread with the ardor of an apostle, was taught him by philosophers and ideologists who dominated the culture of central Europe.

        And what was it that they taught?

        They taught that God does not exist, that there is no other reality beyond that which can be measured and touched, that human life ends with the dust in the tomb. And, about what refers to Jesus Christ, that such a man never existed; or if He existed, we know little about Him; that the miracles attributed to Him, namely His Resurrection, are no more than legendary fables; that the Gospels which bear the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were written in the middle of the second century and not by eyewitnesses. It was necessary to allow time for the legend to be composed...

        When we see these statements in brooks written by men of letters, we wonder about the acrobatics of the mind to which certain reasonings or fixed ideas are capable of subjecting the human intelligence.

        But these were the ideas which the October revolution imposed on Holy Russia, whose history, molded by Christianity, was totally to the contrary. Now that the lid has been removed and the wall knocked down, it has come to light that the Christian faith remained hidden in the depths of the heart of millions of people. Many of them paid with their lives or with imprisonment or with exile for daring to say they were believers. Not all had the vocation to martyrdom: earning bread for their children often obliged them to guard in secret what they would have wished to proclaim to the four winds.

        What underground currents will bind together the two extremes of Europe: this little Portugal, planted on the seashore of the Atlantic Ocean, and that immense Russia, at the other eastern end of Europe?

Thursday: part two Three Humble Children

Father Robert J. Fox

May 24, 2000
volume 11, no. 98

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