Any person can consecrate himself, and he can consecrate others as well. At Fatima, however, Our Lady required that this act of consecration of Russia be accomplished by the highest authority on earth, the Pope. And not only the Pope, but the Pope together with all the bishops of the world, i.e., Peter and the college of apostles, represented by the bishops.
Our Lady requested not only the consecration of a particular nation bound by the power of the apocalyptic beast, but also that this consecration be offered by a particular person for it to be efficacious.
Any person can consecrate himself, and, in the sense explained above, he can consecrate others as well. At Fatima, however, Our Lady required that this act be accomplished by the highest authority on earth, the Pope. And not only the Pope, but the Pope together with all the bishops of the world, i.e., Peter and the college of apostles, represented by the bishops.
There is only one situation in the history and life of the Church in which the pope acts visibly with the bishops on earth: it is a universal council, when the head of the Church calls all the bishops of the world together for an extraordinary act of the highest authority in the Church (extraordinary magisterium) regarding the most important matters in the life of the Church. There have only been twenty-one councils in the entire history of the Church.
It is clear, then, that Our Lady has tied this act of consecration to the highest extraordinary authority in the Church. What does this mean? Why has she done this?
The first, most obvious reason would be to show the whole world the overwhelming importance of her message at Fatima as the “last means of salvation” at the time of the world’s final conflict. The more important the action, the more it depends on a higher authority for its execution. Because Our Lady requests the consecration of Russia by the Pope and all the bishops, she indicates that her request is extremely important. Such a weighty request cannot be taken lightly.
Secondly, her request is bound up with the exercise of the highest magisterial authority of the Church, the authority which is used to solemnly proclaim certain doctrines as articles of the Faith, drawn from revelation and apostolic tradition. Proclamations thus made “ex cathedra” are called dogmas. The last dogma to be proclaimed by the Church was the Assumption of Our Lady, body and soul into heaven. Since then, we have waited for another doctrine concerning the Blessed Virgin to be proclaimed as a dogma: that Our Lady is Mediatrix of all graces, meaning that she is the repository of all graces of conversion and sanctification, and that it is her role to distribute these graces to souls. The Second Vatican Council should have been the occasion to proclaim this doctrine a dogma of the faith, as a great number of bishops and fathers of the Council were requesting it, but the Modernist bishops at the Council prevented it from happening. All the apparitions of Fatima fully demonstrate the fact that the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the channel for all graces of conversion and sanctification of mankind, both individually and socially. Her promise of the conversion of Russia is nothing but the supreme exercise of her power as Mediatrix. The might of her power is strikingly unveiled in the miracle of the sun, but her conversion of an entire nation separated from the Church and at enmity with God would be even more striking. How fitting it would be if the Pope, together with all the bishops of the world, proclaimed the dogma of Our Lady Mediatrix at the same time as fulfilling her request for Russia’s consecration, stating: “We believe that Our Lady is the Mediatrix of all graces. Since she promises to give these graces of conversion to the poorest and most abused nation on earth, we want to fulfill her desire to consecrate it to her in homage of our firm belief in the efficacy of the dogma we have just proclaimed”.
Thirdly, Our Lady’s request for Russia’s consecration demonstrates that Fatima is an extraordinary and universal event of the Catholic Church, in the Catholic Church, and for the Catholic Church. She will not circumvent the order established by her Divine Son: whatever comes from heaven must pass through the established hierarchy of the Church. There is no exception to this rule, as if there were two sets of parallel authorities in the Church, with the ordinary care of the Church belonging to the hierarchy, and extraordinary intervention belonging to Our Lady for those who benefit from her apparitions. Clearly she wants the message of Fatima to be counted among the most important manifestations in the universal Church, and this has to be recognized from its supreme authority, “the Pope together with all the bishops”. Throughout the first volume we have considered how the apparitions of Fatima are solemn reminders of various doctrines of the Church, especially the truths which are the most neglected and condemned in our contemporary world, even among Catholics. Submission of the highest authority of the Church to the requests of Our Lady would renew these forgotten and despised teachings of the Church.
Fourthly, one of the most important roles of the Pope and bishops is to lead Catholics in the spiritual fight. The Church on earth is a militant Church, constantly in battle against a terrible enemy. When the “errors of Russia” began to spread throughout the world, Pope Pius XI (and later Pius XII) immediately understood that Communism was a frontal assault of the enemy to destroy the Church. It is the gravest responsibility of the Pastor to defend his sheep and to find appropriate means to lead the counterattack or at least to control the damage caused by the enemy. When the Turks attacked Catholic Europe, it was the popes who organized the resistance, and it was through their initiative that Christian forces won strategic battles at Lepanto (1571), Vienna (1683), and Peterwardein (1716). The popes themselves were not military commanders of Christian armies, but they established important prayer crusades, uniting the Christian world in the prayer of the Rosary. Today, however, the attack of Communism against the Church is much worse than previous conflicts, and again this time, the Popes do not have to organize armies or propose novel means of defence: Our Lady herself is there to lead them to a brilliant victory. Was not the striking miracle of the sun more than sufficient to prove how mighty she alone is? Are not the many miracles of conversions associated with devotion to her Immaculate Heart no less striking proof that her requests at Fatima really ARE the true solution and surest defence of the Church and souls? At Tuy, Our Lady summoned the Pope and all the bishops, as if to say to them: “My beloved Sons! I come to give you the sovereign means of victory over the worst of all attacks in the history of the Church. Come and take this gift!”.
Finally, while the present crisis in the Church is primarily a crisis of the papacy and hierarchy with many years of negligence and toleration of heresies within the Church, this solemn act of the entire hierarchy together with the Pope would re-establish the Church’s unity of government behind Our Lady, rallying Catholics around the everlasting Catholic truths of which Our Lady reminds us at Fatima. The consecration of Russia would be a solemn call for the “Restoration of all things in Christ”. It would implicitly condemn every error and heresy of our times. Moreover, it would be the beginning of the cleansing of the Church Herself from the errors that followed the Second Vatican Council. This last effect would take place immediately, since the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart would necessarily be an end of “ecumenism” and at the same time a call to all non-Catholics for conversion.
Our Lady demands that this act of consecration be solemn and public, because the errors of Russia themselves are public and universal. A public act of consecration also emphasizes the universal dimension of Fatima; it is not a mere personal private devotion. Our Lady is not Queen of some hidden or secluded realm, but Queen of our own world, of our own human race. She is OUR LAST HOPE, and she must be publicly recognized by mankind! Public honour and recognition of her is public honour and recognition given to God, since He entrusted His Church to her in the latter times.
Two other details deserve mention:
Firstly, Sr. Lucia makes it clear that this act should be both an act of consecration and of reparation. This shows again the importance of reparation in Fatima’s message. Reparation removes obstacles to grace, militates against evil, effectively and actively repudiates sin and error, and prepares for the re-establishment of the truth. The errors of Russia perpetuate insult and blasphemy against the first commandment. After being exposed to such evil, only an act of reparation can restore one’s disposition to choose the truth once more, and in a broader sense to dispose Russia to be once more the kingdom and land of Our Lady.
Secondly, all is not finished once Russia converts. Once Russia returns to the Faith, Our Lord requires a continued effort on the part of the Pope and bishops to promote and extend devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In particular, they must continue to approve and recommend the devotion of the five Saturdays. From this perspective, the consecration of Russia appears as a solemn inauguration of the “Reign of Mary,” which will continue to advance through the conversion of many souls, especially through the devotion of the five Saturdays. We can never finish giving Our Lady all that Our Lord wants us to give her!