I've been struck in the last several days by the observation of many that by the canonizations and beatification of this year that Pope Francis was in effect "canonizing the Second Vatican Council". This effort has been obvious to me for some time, but for some reason the phrase kept sticking with me last weekend.
Therefore, I was more than usually struck by comments I recently read from these popes themselves about the Council they are being used to "canonize", and of its consequences.
This first passage is from Paul VI, and I actually feel very sorry for him-- his worry and disillusionment come through. And note he comments about the Council's interpretation and then speaks of Fatima:
"The first intention is the Church: the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. We wish to pray for her interior peace. The ecumenical council has reawakened many energies in the bosom of the Church, has opened more ample visions in the field of her doctrine, has called all of her children to a clearer conscience, and more intimate collaboration, a more lively apostolate. It pushes us so that this benefit and renewal will be conserved and will grow. What an evil it would be if an arbitrary interpretation, not authorized by the Magisterium of the Church, were to transform this spiritual renewal into a restlessness which dissolves the Church's traditional structure and constitution, substituting the theology of true and great teachings with new and partisan ideologies which depart from the norm of faith, that which modern thought, often lacking the light of reason, neither comprehends nor accepts, finally transforming the apostolic anxiety of redemptive charity into an acquiescence in the negative forms of the profane mentality of worldly customs. What a disenchantment, then, would be caused by our effort at a universal approach!
This thought carries our memory at this moment to those countries in which religious liberty is practically suppressed and where the denial of God is promoted... We declare: the world is in danger. Therefore we have come by foot to the feet of the Queen of Peace to ask for the gift that only God can give: peace.... Men, think of the gravity and the greatness of this hour, which could be decisive for the history of the present and future generation. The picture of the world and of its destiny presented here is immense and dramatic. It is the scene that the Madonna opens before us, the scene we contemplate with horrified eyes."
-- from the Homily of Paul VI, at Fatima, May 13, 1967 (emphasis added)
St. John Paul II also echoed these thoughts fourteen years later:
"We must admit realistically and with profound suffering that Christians today feel lost, confused, perplexed and also disappointed; there are diffused ideas in contrast with the truth as revealed and always taught; there are diffused true and proper heresies in the field of dogma and morals [...] the liturgy has been altered; immersed in intellectual and moral relativism and therefore in permissiveness, Christians are tempted by atheism, by agnostics, by agnosticism, by a vaguely preached illuminism and by a sociological Christianity, deprived of definite dogmas and moral objectivity. It is necessary to begin all over again." John Paul II, as reported in L'Osservatore Romano, Februay 7, 1981 (emphasis added).
Paul VI also released an Apostolic Exhortation dated the same day as his Fatima homily. It is a beautiful document about Our Blessed Mother-- so good that I hope to post separately on it in the future. From that document:
"And then a message of supreme utility seems today to reach the faithful from her who is the Immaculate, the holy, the cooperator of the Son in the work of restoration of supernatural life in souls. In fact, in devoutly contemplating Mary they draw from her a stimulus for trusting prayer, a spur to the practice of penance and to the holy fear of God. Likewise, it is in this Marian elevation that they more often hear echoing the words with which Jesus Christ announced the advent of the Kingdom of heaven: "Repent and believe in the Gospel"; and His severe admonition: "Unless you repent you will all perish in the same manner."
Therefore, impelled by love and by the wish to placate God for the offenses against His sanctity and His justice and, at the same time, moved by trust in His infinite mercy, we must bear the sufferings of the spirit and of the body that we may expiate our sins and those of our fellow beings and so avoid the twofold penalty or "harm" and of "sense," that is to say, the loss of God--the supreme good--and eternal fire."
Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation, Signum Magnum, May 13, 1967
Can anyone doubt that we are living the crisis about which these Popes warned? When will we heed the admonitions of Our Lady of Fatima to our great good? Theses Popes link the crisis to Fatima (Paul explicitly in the above excerpts and John Paul in other statements not above). When will the consecration of Russia be made?
The above quotes can be found in Antonio Socci's must-read, The Fourth Secret Of Fatima, within pp.79-83.