When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world”. ... (emphasis added)Oh, certainly atheistic Communism is one of those great errors. I don't think there should be any doubt about that. After all, the climax of the visions came in October 1917, and the Communists took power in Russia in October 1917. Take a look at the roll call of the martyrs caused by Communist oppression and the nations and peoples slaughtered under Communism
But I think Our Lady's words demand that we look more closely. After all, a great many assumptions and a lot of intellectual baggage goes along with the words "atheistic Communism." That's not a simple, single idea, but an entire complicated ideology, resting on certain basic principles.
Just to name a few:
- Materialism--atheistic Communism presumes that material reality is all there is. There isn't room in its economics or its cultural criticism for the notion of an immaterial soul or realms of spirit. That's not to say all Communists deny spiritual realities--clearly that's not the case, if you look at the various utopian communes that dotted the United States at various points in her history. But it certainly means that one of the errors of Russia that was spread to many nations (and not always by the Russians, either) is materialism.
- Secularism--the hard secularism of the ideology of atheistic Communism, not the positive secularism that was spoken of highly at the synod on the Middle East under Pope Benedict XVI.
- The false notion that the meaning of life is power and/or wealth; that all human motivations and culture can be reduced to politics and/or economics; that these are the only two truly real things in human affairs. As George Weigel has said repeatedly, that overlooks the role of culture, especially insofar as it emerges from cultus, from religion, in shaping world events. It was the Communists' inability to account for religion accurately that allowed Cardinal Wyszynski and St. John Paul II, among many others, to play a transformative role in Eastern Europe and the USSR, setting the stage for the bloodless revolution of 1989.
But again, the errors of Russia are more than strictly Communism. The West has adopted materialism and an increasingly hard secularism, for instance, not necessarily because of any sort of direct action by Russia, but rather because ideas are contagious. Once something has become the animating spirit of the zeitgeist, it can haunt the intellectual world for ages thereafter. The errors of Russia have spread, in part because of active campaigns by the Communist Party; in part because they reflect certain ideas that have taken over the age for whatever reason; and in part because, well, it seems like this was an age of error, intended to be stopped by an early consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart in around 1930.
But the consecration was done late, in 1984. The errors of Russia by then had spread and caused the destruction of many nations in World War II and the Cold War. The Church had suffered enormously. The prophecy was being fulfilled.
And it's still being fulfilled. The consecration was made; the Berlin Wall fell; and Russia has opened the doors to Christianity again. But the Triumph has not been completed yet. We still await the definitive Triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the era of peace, as Pope Benedict XVI said in 2010:
May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfilment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity.What remains? The First Saturdays of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.