Once again Ches hits the nail on the head:
… today’s events in Rome are another indication of how complex it is trying to get a handle on this pope. I have no need to rehearse again here the various papal remarks which have shocked not just me but many people in the last month. At the same time, as I say, today’s consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary which Pope Francis will perform in Rome is clearly a work of divine origin. Those people who have already labelled him as a modernist and a heretic – some of whom have come sniffing around here looking in vain for validation – cannot begin to account for such an initiative (not even by making desperate reference to Pope St Pius X’s famous profile of a modernist).
Then of course there are various people who are saying that the pope ought to mention Russia explicitly. There was even a petition to this effect doing the rounds this week. A friend send me the link to the petition, asking me what I thought. This is what I wrote:
I’m torn about this issue. It’s true that JPII (and his predecessors) did not do the consecration which Our Lady of Fatima requested through Sister Lucia (specifically mentioning Russia). On the other hand, who can deny that Russia has massively changed – and for the better, though it is not exactly conversion in the full sense of the word – since that consecration in 1984?
Then again, has Heaven bound its gifts so tightly to this one act? On the other hand, we are now beset with all the violence of the post-Cold War period wherein the vacuum left by the end of the ideological struggle between the USA and USSR has been filed with other anxieties: terror, the population bomb, etc. That said, Fatima said nothing about such things, I think…
My piety forbids me dismissing the prospect of a specific consecration of Russia. But intuition says the world is in a different moment about which Fatima did not speak explicitly.
Fatima-ists will find such words impious. I make no claims other than to wish to remain alert to how the world has changed, and to state my doubts about literalism when interpreting Our Lady’s words.
Pope Francis’s papacy is demanding a lot from people I know. The main intellectual challenge is to understand and prepare for the consequences of Francis’s primacy. These could be as dramatic as those of Paul VI’s or as inconsequential as those of John Paul I’s: it is still too early to tell.
The main moral challenges – for me at least – are to try to love Christ’s sweet vicar through all the storm of controversy, to remind myself that I might have had a lot of hard things to say about St Peter, and lastly not to forget in all this that people in glass houses should not cast stones.
May the Immaculate Heart of Mary bless all of you readers today, bless the pope, the whole Church and even me, your servant blogger.
Her Son is still Lord of the universe and has not abandoned us.