From the Pastor’s Desk …

Continuing my series on the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, I have to say something about the
proper response to ‘the errors of Russia’ about which Our Lady spoke. First, though, we must recall at
this point in time we must not confuse ‘the errors of Russia’ for the present Russian regime, however it
is that we evaluate that regime; rather the errors of Russia refer to the errors of atheistic communism
with its doctrine of the perpetual warfare and perpetual revolution of the ‘Have-nots’ against the
‘Haves’, the continual discovery of new groups of ‘oppressed’ who can be manipulated for political
ends. This perpetual warfare involves a continual ideological combat in which truth is sidelined and
words (and all other means of communication) are turned into weapons.

So what is the proper response? It does not mean the passive acceptance of the reality of political,
social, and economic oppression in human life; much less does it mean ignoring grave, systematic
abuses of human rights. Perhaps no other person exemplifies and embodies the proper response to ‘the
errors of Russia’ than a man who resisted both the errors of Nazism and the errors of Russia, having
lived in both Nazi occupied Poland and Soviet dominated Poland, a man who in the end proved
instrumental in the collapse of the Soviet regime, St. John Paul II.

St. John Paul II has also become closely linked to the third part of the secret of Fatima. In the vision
of the secret Sr. Lucia sees the Holy Father, a “Bishop dressed in White”, “on his knees at the foot of the
big Cross” where “he was killed.” On May 13, 1981, the anniversary of the 1st apparition of our Lady
of Fatima, in St. Peter’s Square, Mehmet Ali Agca, a trained assassin, fired a pistol at Pope John Paul II
from point blank range. Miraculously the Pope survived and would later say that one hand pulled the
trigger, but another, the hand of Our Lady, guided the bullet. It was only while he was in the hospital
that he first asked to read the third part of the secret of Fatima, which only he was authorized to see. He
recognized himself in the Bishop dressed in White.

Earlier in his life, the Holy Father had learned to resist both the Nazis and the Communists,
without yielding to the temptations of violence or embracing the false doctrine that the end justifies
the means. As Pope he forcefully reiterated the Church’s perennial teaching, writing, “Reason attests
that there are objects of the human act which are by their nature ‘incapable of being ordered’ to
God, because they radically contradict the good of the person made in his image. These are the acts
which, in the Church’s moral tradition, have been termed ‘intrinsically evil’ (intrinsece malum): they
are such always and per se, in other words, on account of their very object, and quite apart from the
ulterior intentions of the one acting and the circumstances.” (The Splendor of Truth, 80)

Now, if we consider the purpose of Saul Alinksy’s ‘Rules for Radicals’ (“The Prince was written in
the early 16th century by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written
for the Have-Nots on how to take it away”) we see that the revolution of the ‘Have-nots’ is a response,
an almost mirror response, to a program undertaken by certain men among the group of the ‘Haves’.
The ‘Haves’ that Alinsky opposes are, we could say, the same as the ‘Princes’, to whom Machiavelli
was writing. Neither Machiavelli, nor Alinsky, would accept St. John Paul II’s teaching on acts that
are intrinsically evil; both held that the end justifies the means. Their ends, however, are opposed.
Machiavelli proposes that the ‘Prince’ do whatever is required to acquire and maintain power; Alinsky
proposes doing whatever is needed to take power away from the ‘Princes’, so that others, in the name of
the “Have-nots” might acquire that power, effectively becoming the new ‘Princes’.

Machiavelli, in fact, had proposed that the ‘Prince’ should take care to appear ‘good’ in the eyes of
the people, but he should never be concerned about being good. To that end also the ‘Prince’ should
seek to use and manipulate the religion of the people for his own ends.

In sum, then, opposing the ‘errors of Russia’ requires that, like St. John Paul II, we resist the
temptation violence and that we refuse to accept the idea that the ends justifies the means. Then, to
avoid being manipulated in the power struggle between the ‘Have-nots’ and the ‘Princes, the disciples
of Jesus must harken to the words of their master and learn to be wise as serpents and simple as
doves. The simplicity of the dove reaches out in love and mercy to all men, without dividing them into
opposing camps of ‘Haves’ and ‘Have-nots’; the wisdom of the serpent refuses to be manipulated by the
false friendship and deceptive appearances of either the powerful ‘Machiavellians’ or the revolutionary
‘Alinskyites’; the wisdom of the serpent remains free of these deceptions by keeping the eyes of
faith firmly fixed on the true Head of the Church, Jesus Christ, Son of God and Savior of mankind,
maintaining always the connection to the head, judging all things in the light of faith.

Next Week: Proper Response, Part II – The Papal Consecration of Russia

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Fr. Joseph Levine graduated from Thomas Aquinas College and after a long journey was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Baker, Oregon. He currently serves as pastor of St. Peter Catholic Church in The Dalles on the Columbia River.