For its fourth annual meeting, which ended on May 19, 2017, the Rome Life Forum had the honor of welcoming some choice guests, including Bishop Athanasius Schneider and two of the cardinals who signed the Dubia on Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia. On the agenda: Fatima and the moral and doctrinal crisis of the Church.
The Rome Life Forum is little known to many readers: this annual meeting, as the organizers explain, is “open to all who have, or aspire to, a leadership position in the life and family movement – whether it be internationally, nationally or in your local parish or community”.
In this critical hour for the Church it has never been more necessary for such leaders to come together to defend and promote Catholic teaching on the family.
This Forum’s latest meeting was held on the doorstep of the Vatican on May 18 and 19, in the presence of several high-ranking prelates who have been brought into the spotlight by the recent controversy surrounding the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia. One of the main themes of the meeting was to show the connection between the message of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima, exactly one hundred years ago, and the current crisis in the Church and in society.
The first noteworthy speech was that of Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of Astana in Kazakhstan, who told the audience of his emotion at being present on May 13, in the cathedral of Our Lady of Fatima in Astana, for the explicit consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by all the Catholic bishops of the region, including those of Russia.
On the second day of the forum, a speech was given by Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, one of the cardinals who signed the famous Dubia asking the Holy Father for a much-needed reminder of Catholic doctrine on the sanctity of marriage.
The cardinal used the opportunity to quote the words attributed to Sister Lucia of Fatima on what the visionary called “the last battle”: waged by Satan against God, this ultimate battle, he declared, will be about “the family and marriage, and it will be the duty of every Christian to testify in this last battle”.
Quoting the example of Padre Pio, whom the Italians know well, the cardinal concluded with:
When I read the most official biographies on Padre Pio, it strikes me how attentive the man was to the holiness of marriage, to the sacred character of married couples, sometimes showing himself justly rigorous in the matter, and that more than once.
Cardinal Raymond Burke took the stand last: after explaining the entire message of Fatima and meditating on the Blessed Virgin’s requests, the cardinal called on Catholic faithful to work for the “consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary”.
The prelate then mentioned the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary accomplished by Pope John Paul II in 1984, without explicitly naming Russia. Cardinal Burke declared:
Certainly, Pope John Paul II consecrated the world, including Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 1984. But, today, once again, we hear the call of Our Lady of Fatima to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart, in accord with her explicit instruction.
Without undertaking a hazardous interpretation of the third part of the secret of Fatima, the cardinal had strong words when speaking of the crisis in the Church:
The Third Secret is directed, with particular force, to those who exercise the pastoral office in the Church. Their failure to teach the faith, in fidelity to the Church’s constant teaching and practice, whether through a superficial, confused or even worldly approach, and their silence endangers mortally, in the deepest spiritual sense, the very souls for whom they have been consecrated to care spiritually. The poisonous fruits of the failure of the Church’s pastors is seen in a manner of worship, of teaching and of moral discipline which is not in accord with Divine Law.
The American Cardinal’s last observation perhaps sheds some new light on the crisis: “Today, the Church is beset by confusion and error about even some of her most fundamental and constant teachings.” These errors and confusions “remain uncorrected” for the time being, he added, when we see within the Church “the sentimental embrace of a secular culture”.
This all goes to justify more than ever a posteriori the great idea behind the birth of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X, as seen by its founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, in his cathedral in Dakar:
In the face of the progressive degradation of the priestly ideal...to transmit the Catholic Priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in all its doctrinal purity and in all its missionary charity, just as He conferred it on His Apostles, just as the Roman Church always transmitted it until the middle of the twentieth century.
Sources: Voice of the Family/ Reinformation.tv / Chiesa e postconcilio – FSSPX.News 5/26/17