In 1917, during one of Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima, the three shepherd children were given a vision of Hell. Our Lady warned that if people didn’t stop offending God then another war would come. In reparation, Our Lady asked “for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays.” She added, “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.”
What, then, were the errors of Russia that she was referring to? Most of us think of Russian errors largely as communist and Marxist ideologies. This is generally correct, as Marxism is behind most of the ideologies we face today either openly or surreptitiously.
But could there be more to it than just that? Something deeper than Marx and crew?
Ryszard Legutko, a Polish Member of the European Parliament and university professor, raises the question of how Poles who were staunch Soviet “comrades” quickly made a smooth transition into European liberals. If the two projects were diametrically opposed, shouldn’t there have been more of struggle from one to the other, Legutko wonders in his book The Demon of Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies (2016). Legutko concludes that the reason the former communists easily leapt from one ideology to the next was that at their core, they were actually the same ideologies; both were committed to making a complete break with the past, tradition, particularly the Church; both looked toward progress to lead to the perfect man, the perfect society; and both found ways to silence those who thwarted their goals, particularly through “newspeak.”
In comparing the two ideologies, Legutko further explains their commonalities:
By becoming a member of a communist and liberal-democratic society, man rejects vast share of loyalties and commitments that until not long ago shackled him, in particular those that were imposed on him through the tutelage of religion, social morality, and tradition. He feels renewed and strong and therefore has nothing but pity toward those miserable ones who continue to be attached to long-outdated rules and who succumb to the bondage of unreasonable restraints. But there is one obligation from which he cannot be relieved: for a communist, communism, and for a liberal democrat, liberal democracy. These obligations are non-negotiable. Others can be ignored.
The false premise animating both ideologies is that human nature can be changed. Once the process is complete and this new nature assumed by all, there will be world-wide happiness. Until then, “we have to break a few eggs.” The only foreseeable solution from their viewpoint is contained in an unwavering adherence to the party. Should ideological faults be exposed, both quickly blame the fact that the ideology hasn’t been embraced by everyone.
Legutko’s insight about the effort to change human nature isn’t just limited to contemporary ideologies but has a much longer history. In writing about demons, St. Thomas Aquinas says, “Now it is evident that the demons would wish many things not to be, which are, and others to be, which are not: for, out of envy, they would wish others to be damned, who are saved” (I, Q64.3). Among their sufferings, the demons have a type of eternal sadness because they cannot change human nature. Psychologist Fr. Mike Driscoll says, “Demons are forever unhappy… because they want God’s creation to be different than it is, and they will never succeed in changing it to their liking.”
It is curious, then, to consider that this eternal sadness of demons is connected with their desire to change human nature. It is not surprising that the ideologies emanating from “Russia’s errors” also have this same fundamental thrust toward changing human nature. This perversion of human nature is at the heart of the errors Our Lady talked about at Fatima.
Distorting men and women
These errors, of course, aren’t exclusive to Russia and Europe. Americans have widely adopted the notion that human nature can be changed. For example: that a mother could willingly and pridefully kill her own child (and then “shout her abortion”), that spouses could forsake each other with the expectation that there will be no consequences, or that men could lie with each other and expect an open embrace from all and sundry. From the 1960s on, each of these sterile concepts aimed at appeasing the desires of the human heart has failed miserably to serve the individual, the family, or the wider common good.
Radical feminism regularly promotes the “nature can be changed” lie, with celebrities proclaiming that gender equality is the “emergency of our time” that must be addressed with frantic (and vulgar) urgency. Meanwhile, the sisterhood of liberal women is held firmly together by the umbilical cord of abortion. Without this lifeline, there would be no cohesive women’s movement, only many splintered factions. Meanwhile, men have become unnecessary because “the future is female.”
Elsewhere, women have become unnecessary because of the changes in nature, particularly in the cabal of homosexual men in the Church. These clerics have largely bought into the lie that the complementarity of male and female is outmoded or unimportant for society to function properly. Women are as useful to homosexual clerics as “a bicycle is to a fish.”
Rev. James Martin, S.J., shows his own slip when he recommends that homosexuality no longer be referred to as intrinsically disordered and rebranded as “differently ordered”. He commits the same error, yet again, in trying to tweak human nature to include sterile and prohibited sexual acts. And the clerical cabal laughs quietly to itself, thinking “the future of the Church is male.”
Both of these ideologies—radical feminism and homosexuality—have no use for healthy, ordered, loving men and women, parents, and children. They want the world and the Church to be ruled by “the new men and women” who are either intrinsically or selectively sterile. Russia’s errors are reverberating through the highest levels of the cultural and clerical elite. Like the demons before them, they are determined to destroy the faith and the fundamental building block of any flourishing society, the family.
This desire to distort human nature was confirmed by Cardinal Caffarra in a letter the Fatima-seer, Sr. Lucia, wrote to him:
The final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about Marriage and the Family. Don’t be afraid because whoever works for the sanctity of Marriage and the Family will always be fought against and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. Nevertheless, Our Lady has already crushed his head.
Truly, Russia has spread her errors, but these aren’t just the invention of men, but the very expression of the disordered desires of the demons. No matter what happens, Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart will triumph. And human nature will once again be human, not demonic.
(This CWR essay was posted originally on September 7, 2018.)
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