Pandemic Panic? Take a deep breath and trust in God.
Oddly, the Wuhan pandemic panic seems to get worse even as statistics on hospitalizations and deaths improve. I grew up during the polio, measles, scarlet fever, TB, chicken pox, etc. epidemics of the 1950s and 60s when there were few vaccines available. Children routinely got measles, mumps, rubella, and chicken pox and developed immunities. We were all tested for TB. If someone was sick, families responded by isolating the patient and dealing with it. Rarely, homes were quarantined. My poor little sister had measles, mumps, and chicken pox all at the same time. What she remembers was getting to sleep in Mom and Dad’s bed because they had blackout shades in their room. The “long measles” could result in heart problems, encephalitis, and optic nerve damage. It was no joke!
I grew up with nine siblings so when we caught a bug, it could last for weeks as one after another became infected. Yet, I don’t remember any panic -- ever. But then, my parents knew crisis well. My dad was twelve and Mom was ten when the Great Depression hit. As a young Naval ensign assigned to the U.S.S Detroit at Pearl Harbor in 1941, Daddy was the ranking officer on board. As bombs dropped everywhere, he ordered the ship out of the harbor and had the men put up as much firepower as possible. Mom was on the far side of the island praying. What a terrifying time! But my parents belonged to a generation immune from what I call CLS, Chicken Little Syndrome. No panic. Families pulled together. Neighbors helped neighbors. One of the senior officer’s wives came to get my mom during the bombing so she wouldn’t be alone.
Fast forward to today. Lines to get into grocery stores, empty shelves, people fighting over the last...whatever. One wag talked about TP Syndrome. All from a virus that, while serious and highly contagious, is much less lethal than many other illnesses! Most deaths occur among the elderly and the medically compromised, the same people likely to die from flu and pneumonia. Many Wuhan victims suffer few or no symptoms. It’s not Armageddon!
Observing government-fed hysteria, Bishop Athanasius Schneider penned the term “sanitary dictatorship” which he also described as a “political dictatorship.” His words are sobering. With virtual house arrest and governors making church gatherings over a certain number a “criminal misdemeanor” while encouraging hundreds to protest in the streets, one can’t help questioning the real motives behind Wuhan virus government policies.
But what’s particularly troubling is to see so many Catholics attack other Catholics over their response to the virus. The virtue signaling and public shaming over mask-wearing or not mask-wearing divides friends, neighbors, and parishioners. In one parish during an on-line meeting with the priests, a participant suggested those who fail to wear masks should be given goldfish for Communion. She clearly considered herself better than the unclean non-mask-wearing folks – this despite the fact that social distancing in the church was rigorous. How much division has the virus generated in parish communities around the country because of hysterical fear and sanctimony? One would think that God is no longer the author of life and death, that Dr. Fauci and the CDC are the country’s saviors. To see people in their 80s, who obviously are nearing the end of the race, act like God exited the building when the Wuhan virus emerged is a sad commentary.
Meanwhile, Caesar continues to call the shots and most bishops roll over and play dead. In my own former Howard County hometown of Elkridge, MD, religious services that involved eating or drinking were banned, obviously making Mass impossible. Fortunately, the county backed down after a backlash, but draconian restrictions on the Church continue to be widespread including police invasions and arrests of ministers and rabbis for breaking the rules. Many localities make failure to wear masks a crime with hefty fines. Religious services remain restricted and some churches offer such limited seating that few can attend Sunday Mass. Whether school will open in the fall is questionable Many states plan limited schedules and strict masking and social distancing. Children being the group least impacted by the virus, these orders are simply baffling and have to be stressing families to the max.
Meanwhile, who’s defending freedom of religion in response to policies that crack down on churches while calling abortion businesses and liquor stores essential? Our Protestant brethren, not our bishops. The only lawsuits by Catholic priests against Caesar’s overreach were initiated by SSPX priests suing the governors of New Jersey and New York represented by Catholic lawyer Chris Ferrara of the Thomas More Society.
How do we make sense of any of this? We can’t! But we can turn to Fatima and the Blessed Mother who warned of the coming darkness during her six apparitions in 1917. She called for consecration of Russia which was about to fall to Communism, but we failed to listen. Sr. Lucia, Mary’s apostle of the Immaculate Heart, received the messages throughout her life and kept ringing the tocsin, but we still didn’t listen. Now we are reaping the consequences of disobedience to Jesus Christ and His Mother. It’s never too late, however, so let us revisit Mary’s messages with a firm resolve to hear, listen, and respond to the Fatima messages that culminated in the miracle of the sun, an event that received world-wide media coverage and was seen by 70,000! Most Catholics also know that, during her third visit, Mary warned of a worse war if her requests were not heeded. A light in the sky would signal its onset.
After Jacinta and Francisco died, Lucia went to school and then entered the convent where she continued to receive visits from Mary urging the consecration of Russia and calling for the five first Saturdays devotion of reparation. On June 13, 1929, 12th anniversary of the second apparition when Mary first exposed her heart encircled by thorns, she appeared to Sr. Lucia at Tuy in the famous Trinitarian Theophany. Mary stood beside her crucified Son; the Father and Holy Spirit appeared above the cross. A chalice with the host elevated over it received Christ’s Precious Blood dripping from his pierced side. In urgency, Mary said, “The moment has come when God asks the Holy Father to make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means." Sadly, Pope Pius XI failed to act. In 1931, Christ Himself came sternly warning:
Make it known to My ministers, that given they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My request, that they will follow him into misfortune. Like the King of France, they will repent and will do as I have requested, but it will be very late: Russia will already have spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions against the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer! But it will never be too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary.What was “the example of the King of France?” On June 17, 1689 Jesus gave St. Margaret Mary Alacoque a message for Louis XIV asking him to consecrate the country to His Sacred Heart. A letter sent to the king’s confessor, a Jesuit whose superior was hostile to the devotion, likely was never delivered, although the king probably learned about the Lord’s request by other means. The results of failing to obey were disastrous! Seeds sown by the Masons to destroy the monarchy took root and grew.
Exactly 100 years later to the day, Louis XVI, the great-great-great grandson of Louis XIV, was stripped of his authority by the masonic Third Estate (the commoners who made up the largest group). During his “house arrest” in the Tuileries, the king made a personal consecration to the Sacred Heart promising to establish public devotion if he regained the throne. Instead, he went to the guillotine several years later. The consecration in his handwriting was found in the walls of the Tuileries during demolition of the building in 1871 after the building was partially burned by the radical Paris Commune that, like Seattle’s Chaz/Chop, created its own autonomous zone in Paris. After two months, the rebellion was crushed by the French army.
Is history repeating itself today? Refusing heaven’s messages reaps a harvest of evil. The enlightenment philosophy spawned the French Revolution which affected not only that poor nation, but the entire world. It set in motion the deification of man and the tyranny of moral relativism. Like the kings who refused to listen to the command to consecrate France to the Sacred Heart, all the popes since Pius XI ignored the mandate of Fatima to consecrate Russia explicitly to Mary’s Immaculate Heart.
On January 25, 1938 Mary’s prophecy of another war, World War II, was fulfilled. The night sky lit up with a brilliant display seen by millions around the globe. Many feared it was the end of the world. Sr. Lucia recognized the light as the great warning and sent a message to the Cardinal Patriarch of Portugal:
War is imminent. The sins of men will be washed in their own blood. Those nations will suffer most in the war which tried to destroy the kingdom of God. Portugal will suffer some of the circumstances of war, but because of our country’s consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, she will not suffer them all.
And still, the pope refused to take action on Mary’s request. Every consecration including that of Pope John Paul II in 1984 has been deficient, since they all either failed to mention Russia or were done without the union of the world’s bishops. The 1984 consecration of Pope John Paul II, which the Vatican claims fulfilled Our Lady’s wishes, included this ambiguous statement:
In a special way we entrust and consecrate to you those individuals and nations which particularly need to be thus entrusted and consecrated.... Enlighten especially the peoples whose consecration and entrustment by us you are awaiting.The pope seemed to acknowledge that his consecration was incomplete, and controversy still rages over whether it fulfilled Our Lady’s request. Some say the pope did his part, that by 1984 things had changed and it needed to be a “world” consecration. They say the failure to see peace is because the second part of Mary’s request remains unfulfilled, i.e., to spread the devotion of the five first Saturdays of reparation. In view of the fact that the majority of Catholics don’t even believe in the Real Presence, the core doctrine of our faith, how many have actually responded by embracing that devotion? Presumably few.
In 2017, Archbishop Raymond Burke gave a talk at the fourth annual Rome Life Forum organized by Voice of the Family (VOF) calling for the explicit consecration of Russia. And in May of this year at VOF’s virtual forum, he made the call again:
The consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is more needed today than ever. When we witness how the evil of atheistic materialism, which has its roots in Russia, directs in a radical way the government of the People’s Republic of China, we recognize that the great evil of communism must be healed at its roots through the consecration of Russia, as Our Lady has directed. Recognizing the necessity of a total conversion from atheistic materialism and communism to Christ, the call of Our Lady of Fatima to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart, in accord with her explicit instruction, remains urgent.Without denying the Vatican’s claim that the 1984 consecration fulfilled Mary’s wishes at Fatima, Cardinal Burke quoted Pope John Paul II’s statement that, “Mary’s appeal is not for just once. Her appeal must be taken up by generation after generation, in accordance with the ever new ‘signs of the times.’ It must be unceasingly returned to. It must ever be taken up anew.”
Behind the persecution of the underground church in China and the rise of Marxism around the globe lurks the same red menace of the past. Pope Pius XII’s 1937 encyclical, Divini Redemptoris on atheistic Communism, is more relevant than ever as we observe the actions of Marxist groups like Black Lives Matter and Antifa:
[O]ne convulsion following upon another has marked the passage of the centuries, down to the revolution of our own days. This modern revolution, it may be said, has actually broken out or threatens everywhere, and it exceeds in amplitude and violence anything yet experienced in the preceding persecutions launched against the Church. Entire peoples find themselves in danger of falling back into a barbarism worse than that which oppressed the greater part of the world at the coming of the Redeemer. This all too imminent danger, Venerable Brethren, as you have already surmised, is bolshevistic and atheistic Communism, which aims at upsetting the social order and at undermining the very foundations of Christian civilization. In the face of such a threat, the Catholic Church could not and does not remain silent. This Apostolic See...has not refrained from raising its voice, for it knows that its proper and social mission is to defend truth, justice and all those eternal values which Communism ignores or attacks ....Communists...endeavor to sharpen the antagonisms which arise between the various classes [and races] of society. Thus the class struggle with its consequent violent hate and destruction takes on the aspects of a crusade for the progress of humanity. On the other hand, all other forces whatever, as long as they resist such systematic violence, must be annihilated.... We cannot conclude this Encyclical Letter without addressing some words to those of Our children who are more or less tainted with the Communist plague. We earnestly exhort them to hear the voice of their loving Father. We pray the Lord to enlighten them that they may abandon the slippery path which will precipitate one and all to ruin and catastrophe, and that they recognize that Jesus Christ, Our Lord, is their only Savior: "For there is no other name under heaven given to man, whereby we must be saved.”Pius XII was aware of the threat to the world of atheistic Communism, an evil which continues to stalk us. Many modern clerics, including cardinals and bishops, have fallen under the spell of its siren song, unashamedly promoting it. It is way past time to consecrate Russia explicitly to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She and her Son warned that the hour would be late. Will we experience a 100 year catastrophe like the French kings did for failing to consecrate France to the Sacred Heart? Will June 13, 2029, the anniversary of Mary’s apparition at Tuy, see a chastisement on the world like the French Revolution?
As we watch our cities burn and people murdered in the chaos orchestrated by Marxists forces intent on destroying the West, it seems more than possible. But we have the solution given at Fatima, Mary’s peace plan from heaven. Embrace it! Pray the Rosary every day, put on Mary by wearing the brown scapular, desire the will of Christ and imitate Him, do penance to save sinners, make reparation by following the first Saturdays devotion, and pray for and beg the Holy Father to consecrate Russia to Mary in union with the world’s bishops. The victory is ours; we have the cure for the deadly virus attacking us. Do we have the will to take the cure? Say yes! The world needs Fatima!