Catholic, Lutheran and Russo-Orthodox perspectives on the Reformation

[Catholic, Lutheran and Russo-Orthodox perspectives on the Reformation]

[Are the Orthodox more Catholic than the Pope?]

Catholic World News – 10/31/17

Joint Vatican/Lutheran statement hails benefits of Reformation

In a joint statement released on October 31, the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Lutheran World Federation gave thanks for “the spiritual and theological gifts received through the Reformation.” The statement remarked that in the joint celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, “for the first time Lutherans and Catholics have seen the Reformation from an ecumenical perspective.

Source: Vatican Press Office

Reformation ‘not an occasion to rejoice,’ notes Russian Orthodox spokesman

Metropolitan Hilarion, the chief ecumenical spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church, said that the 500th anniversary of the Reformation is “not an occasion to rejoice and triumph,” because any split in Christianity is an offense against God’s will. Nevertheless he argued that the Reformation reflected “a great craving for traditional Christianity,” and stressed that all Christians are united by faith in Christ.

Source: Russian Orthodox Church (Google translation)

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One comment on “Catholic, Lutheran and Russo-Orthodox perspectives on the Reformation

  1. [Another perspective on “Are the Russo-Orthodox more Catholic than the Pope?”]

    BEWARE: Russia as blessed “instrument of peace”

    Louie October 31, 2017

    Sometimes, defending an important truth in the face of error or misunderstanding requires challenging comments made by the people we respect the most.

    In September of last year, for example, I wrote an article critical of certain comments made by Cardinal Ottaviani. I prefaced that treatment, writing:

    Criticizing Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani is enough to get one stoned in certain “traditional” circles, but let’s not be afraid to state the truth.

    Today, it is necessary to confront a very serious error concerning the message of Fatima; one that Cornelia Ferreira mentioned in her most recent article:

    The claims of a “more-Christian” Russia have given an opening to Churchmen to now promote Russia as the generator of world peace!

    It’s the next dialectical step in the communization of the Catholic Church in order to merge her into the Masonic/Communist one-world religion of the New World Order, a religion foretold by Pope St. Pius X in Our Apostolic Mandate.

    Lest anyone think that Mrs. Ferreira is given to wild conspiracy theories:

    It has recently come to light that the Masonic Grand Orient Lodge of Italy is hosting a conference on 12 November under the banner, “Church and Masonry – So close, so far away,” the speakers of which are an Archbishop (Maurizio Aliotta), a Bishop (Antonio Stagliano) and two Grand Masters. (HINT: The bishops aren’t going there to call the Masons to account; much less conversion.)

    In this very important, and necessarily lengthy article (one that I admittedly labored over many prayerful hours to write), we’re going to take a closer look at the idea that Russia has been chosen by God from among the nations for a unique blessing; namely, that of being the instrument of the peace that was promised by Our Lady at Fatima.

    This “spin” on Our Lady’s words may initially appear harmless, perhaps even diplomatically wise, and yet, as we shall see, it inevitably leads to the abandonment of certain fundamental Catholic truths, and possibly even the Faith itself.

    Where this glorified notion of Russia’s role with respect to the message of Fatima originated is not known (more on that later), but one thing is absolutely certain; it did not come from Our Lady.

    Even so – and it pains me to tell you this – it appears that certain of Fr. Nicholas Gruner’s comments may have contributed to its burgeoning popularity among so-called “Fatimists” today; including those who are presently running the apostolate that he labored so many years to build.

    In a Q&A video (below) with John Vennari dated 11 December 2013, Fr. Gruner was asked to comment on the question, “Why is Russia being picked on?” This video is the second in a three part series of videos on the topic published on consecutive days.


    www.youtube.com/embed/O7NgHUL9PZ0

    This installment is linked at the Fatima Center website with the following description:

    Shows how Russia is not being picked on, but on the contrary how it was chosen for a special blessing and the role Russia will play in being an instrument of peace for the whole world.

    In this episode, Fr. Gruner states:

    I think Russia has a special mission that it cannot achieve without being consecrated.

    As for the consecration itself, he went on to say:

    The fact is it’s a blessing, so it’s not a question about who’s guilty, it’s a question about who’s being more blessed in this case. Russia is being more blessed.

    There is more in this video to address, but let’s stop here for just a moment.

    There can be no doubt that the consecration of any nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary – singled out by name, and made by the pope in union with the bishops of the world, no less – is a great blessing.

    Then again, so too is the absolution that we receive in the Sacrament of Confession, and this most certainly pertains to questions about who’s guilty; i.e., these two concepts, guilt and blessing, are not mutually exclusive under certain circumstances.

    The bottom line on this point couldn’t be simpler:

    Our Lady’s message is quite clear; the requested consecration of Russia, far from indicating that it is thus being more blessed, is indeed being made in light of that nation’s guilt before God.

    In 1917, Our Lady said:

    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 … 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.

    Our Lady, as promised, did return to ask for that consecration. The year was 1929.

    Pay close attention to these dates; they are significant.

    Just weeks after the final Fatima apparition in 1917, the “Great October Socialist Revolution” took place in Russia; setting in motion a torrent of severe anti-religious legislative activity that culminated in the 1929 Laws on Separation of Church and State. (For more detail on how the Church and her faithful were thus persecuted, please see the post HERE.)

    Note very well that Russia stood guilty before God even before the consecration was formally requested; i.e., the errors of which Our Lady spoke, and the persecution of the Church about which she warned, were already by then, though not at their zenith, a present reality.

    The primary stated purpose of the requested consecration, according to Our Lady, was to effect that nation’s “conversion;” i.e., its return (or turn as the case may be) to God. Her words are very plain; the consecration is not ordered toward anointing that nation (like King David) for a special mission.

    Having scoured all three volumes of The Whole Truth about Fatima, by Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, and consulting with others far more knowledgeable, I can state with confidence (and please, if I have overlooked anything, do not hesitate to let me know as I am far more interested in being truthful than being correct):

    Nowhere in the words spoken to Sr. Lucia by Our Lady, either in 1917 or later, does one find the idea that Russia is “more blessed” and has “a special mission” (more on that momentarily); much less do we find any indication that it has been uniquely chosen as an “instrument of peace.”

    In fact, according to Sr. Lucia, Russia is unique for the exact opposite reason.

    In a 1957 interview with Fr. Fuentes, Sr. Lucia said:

    Russia will be the instrument of chastisement chosen by Heaven to punish the whole world if we do not beforehand obtain the conversion of that poor nation.

    As I write nearly 90 years after the consecration was requested, it is clear that the errors of Russia have spread even into the Church.

    When we consider “chastisement” and “punishment,” most of us tend to think almost exclusively of matters temporal (e.g., wars, famines, the annihilation of nations, etc.), but this is a mistake.

    There is no greater punishment to be had in this world than the corruption of the Holy Catholic Church such as it is in this post-conciliar age as evidenced by the fact that even the popes no longer call men to conversion, no longer teach the fullness of faith with conviction; much less preach the Kingship of Christ to the nations!

    We must, therefore, say unequivocally that this nation, Russia, not only has been, but remains by virtue of its errors, the instrument of chastisement by which the whole world is presently being punished.

    Do not be lulled into complacency on this point by virtue of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s popularity among those who have elevated him to Christian-hero status.

    An article published earlier this year by the Society of St. Pius X states it well:

    Whatever indirect or practical good the Russian Orthodox Church can carry out by aiding longsuffering Christian communities or resisting certain secular-liberal trends such as the spread of gender ideology and homosexualism pales in comparison to the supernatural good Our Lady can accomplish. May her Immaculate Heart triumph.

    The supernatural good Our Lady can accomplish…

    Temporal peace is not possible apart from this supernatural good, and both will come about only after Russia’s conversion.

    Following this, Our Lady promised a period of peace indeed, but this is a far cry from suggesting that Russia has been uniquely blessed among the nations of the world to serve as the “instrument” of said peace.

    This notion is but an ill-advised embellishment of the Fatima message: regardless of intent.

    One might be tempted to defend the idea of Russia’s special anointing by pointing to St. Paul as an example of a persecutor of the Church who, once converted, became an instrument of peace.

    In fact, Fr. Gruner made exactly this case in another unfortunate video; this one dated 15 May 2014.

    The St. Paul analogy fails, however, when one considers that even though he knew very well that Our Lord Himself had made him an Apostle (a designation that Our Lady never conferred, even by way of suggestion, upon Russia), he recognized the danger of “running in vain” unless he receive from the Church “the right hands of fellowship” – that is, union with, and a commissioning from, the leaders of the Church of Christ – the pope included. (cf. Galatians 2)

    As we will see, even Russia’s union with the Catholic Church in order to serve the cause of peace is being questioned.

    For now, let us ask an important question:

    So, if not the nation of Russia, what precisely will be the “instrument” of the peace that Our Lady promised?

    It is the Holy Catholic Church, she who alone speaks and acts with authority in the name of the King and Prince of Peace; in a most profound way through His Vicar on earth, the pope!

    At this, we are drawing very near to the heart of the matter, but for now let’s return to the video of 10 December 2013.

    Fr. Gruner suggested that Russia has been singled out “to give an example as a nation; as a Catholic nation, living the social doctrine.”

    He elaborated:

    God has chosen Russia for his own good reasons to be this nation, that through the conversion of Russia, and that Russia as a nation living the gospel, that it will be able to be an instrument to convert the whole world.

    As for how Russia will affect the conversion of the world, Fr. Gruner went on to say:

    It will come through first of all Russia being converted and living that gospel, and spreading the gospel in such a way that it will become infectious and people will want to join [the Church].

    Is it reasonable to believe that Russia, once it is converted (which, make no mistake, means becoming a truly Catholic nation, but more on that momentarily), will set a compelling example for other nations?

    Sure, but let’s not allow our esteem for Fr. Gruner to prevent us from admitting that this is but a highly speculative “prediction” that finds no support whatsoever in Our Lady’s words.

    This notion of an infectious truth capable of drawing others to itself is one that found great favor at Vatican Council II, and we know all-too well that it does not work, and for the simple reason that man’s sinful nature is such that he is more readily drawn to evil.

    Mankind (and nations) need, therefore, an authoritative teacher capable of leading it to truth, and more importantly, a Holy Mother able to dispense the grace necessary to embrace and to remain in said truth.

    For this, Our Lord commissioned His Church to set about spreading the Gospel and Christianizing the entire world, baptizing the nations and teaching them everything whatsoever that He commanded (cf. Matthew 28:16-20), including the Social Kingship of Christ.

    There simply is no indication whatsoever in Our Lady’s message that Russia has been chosen to assume that role in any degree whatsoever; not even by way of good example.

    The Church Militant, according to the mission given to her by Christ, is, and always will be, the unique instrument of peace in this world.

    Indeed, every nation on earth is obligated to learn from Holy Mother Church (i.e., to be a disciple; not an apostle) so as to know how to order its affairs in accordance with the Sovereign Rights of Christ the King, and to defend His prerogatives as circumstances may demand, whether at home or abroad.

    Now, that is not to say that Russia will not be used in a unique way according to Divine Providence. In 1936, Sr. Lucia asked Our Lord why the consecration is necessary for the conversion of Russia.

    Before we consider His answer, it is important to recognize that the question only makes sense if we understand very well that Our Lord has given His Church the mission of converting every nation.

    Furthermore, we must also consider that Our Lord has given to His Church all that she needs to carry out this mission, and consecration to the Immaculate Heart is not understood as an explicit prerequisite for the conversion of nations.

    As such, it is reasonable for Sr. Lucia to ask why this is the case with respect to Russia.

    Now for Our Lord’s reply:

    Because I want My whole Church to acknowledge that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that it may extend its cult later on, and put the Devotion to My Mother’s Immaculate Heart beside the Devotion to My Sacred Heart.

    The miraculous conversion of Russia that will follow the consecration, in other words, is intended by the will of Christ for the exaltation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; it is not intended to exalt Russia as a nation “more blessed.”

    And note very well that the immediate beneficiary of Russia’s conversion, according to Our Lord’s own words, is not the world by virtue of the peace that Our Lady promised, but rather it is His whole Church!

    How so?

    As Our Lord’s words suggest, by leading the Church more deeply into the truth that His Mother is the Mediatrix of All Graces; a truth that He wills for His Church to spread; thus putting devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary beside the devotion to His Sacred Heart.

    Pay close attention to the order of events as revealed by Our Lord and Our Lady:

    Russia’s conversion is not ordered toward making it a unique instrument of peace in any direct sense; rather, it is ordered toward propelling the Holy Catholic Church (the hierarchy of which all of us recognize as being in need of its own conversion) forward in her mission as the unique instrument of peace established by Our Lord for all time.

    Let us never lose sight of the fact that the message of Fatima and Our Lady’s warnings concern the Church first and foremost. It is she who nurtures sinful man in the ways of repentance and sanctity, and it is she who directs the course of human society; not the other way around.

    The baseline reason why the world lacks peace in any age is always the same – rebellion against God.

    Today, the world is in open rebellion against God in an unprecedented way; not due to the actions of Russia, per se, but rather due to the “suicide of altering the faith, etc.” that took place in the Holy Catholic Church just as Our Lady forewarned!

    Returning now to Fr. Gruner’s commments:

    IMPORTANT: In the video of 10 December 2013 – the first in the series – Fr. Gruner provided a word of caution; a disclaimer of sorts that should make those who wish to continue his work very careful not to make his comments about Russia (as cited herein thus far) the basis for how the message of Fatima is to be promoted moving forward.

    He said:

    I think there’s several reasons why Russia has been mentioned and I’m not suggesting that my reasons are the only reasons or the best reasons.

    Fr. Gruner went on to cite an article by Fr. Gregory Hesse (which one does well to read in full) that makes one of the very important points that I am raising here; namely, that the requested consecration of Russia is indeed due to its guilt, and what’s more, a consecration of this nature (as an act of reparation that restores to God that which has been desecrated) is something that the Church has always done.

    So, what is the danger in spreading the idea that Russia has been singled out as more blessed in order to serve as an instrument of peace?

    As mentioned at the beginning of this article, if embraced, this idea may lead to an abandonment of certain fundamental truths of the faith.

    At this point, it should be clear that one of those truths concerns the unique role of the Holy Catholic Church. From there, it is but a small step to denying the necessity of conversion to her – the Kingdom of Christ, wherein alone authentic peace can be realized.

    That said, we must acknowledge first and foremost that we simply do not have the right to embellish the message of Our Lady by painting Russia as anything other than what her words plainly indicate.

    This is the case even if our intentions are to somehow allay the degree to which the schismatic Russian Orthodox and the Russian people at large may take offense to the consecration, in the hope (founded purely on speculation) that doing so will help usher in the day when it will be done.

    Our Lady provided simple instructions concerning how to move from “Point A to Point B,” if you will, and they must be defended, taught, and heeded precisely.

    Just as an arrow once aimed directly at its target will miss by a wide margin if the bow is moved just one degree, so too do we risk going far afield by deviating in the slightest from what Our Lady actually stated.

    As has been noted in this space by both Cornelia Ferreira and myself alike, even now we can see where a hyper-focus on simply getting the consecration done leads; namely, to the tolerance of grave errors.

    This is quite obviously the case concerning those who recklessly applauded Cardinal Burke’s convoluted call for the consecration while ignoring totally his promotion of the very errors about which Our Lady forewarned.

    This is precisely what one should expect when sight is lost of the fact that the message and warnings of Fatima concern the Church first and foremost.

    At this, let us ask:

    Where did these ideas about Russia being more blessed as a specially chosen instrument come from, and more specifically, how did Fr. Gruner come to consider them so plausible?

    We cannot know for certain, but it appears that one of the ways in which Fr. Gruner was so influenced was via a book that the Fatima Center published in 2011; a work of fiction entitled, Russian Sunrise, written by one Bruce W. Walters.

    Linked is a review of the book that was written for the Fatima Crusader by Suzanne Pearson. In the interest of space, I invite those interested to read Mrs. Pearson’s review.

    Full disclosure: I have not read Russian Sunrise, nor do I have any interest in reading a fictional account about what may or may not happen in the future. As far as I’m concerned, Our Lady told us everything we need to know.

    Be that as it may, it appears that this fictional work, which contains a number of the fanciful ideas about Russia addressed in this article thus far, made quite an impression upon Fr. Gruner, who cited it by name in both of the aforementioned videos (of 11 December 2013 and 15 May 2014).

    In the latter presentation, Father stated:

    The Orthodox say, ‘well we don’t have to become Catholic, you guys have to become Orthodox.’ And well the answer would be let God decide. Let the Pope do the Consecration of Russia; if the Orthodox become converted to better Orthodox, then we can see that this is really the meaning of it.

    I sincerely believe that if given the opportunity to reconsider, Fr. Gruner would confirm that the answer is never to lead those mired in error (and in schism) to believe, even momentarily, that they may be justified by God for their intransigence. (More on the state of the Russian Orthodox in a moment.)

    Fr. Gruner did, however, add a little later in the video:

    I’m convinced it’ll be the conversion of the Orthodox to the Catholic faith, but they don’t have to take it offensively.

    It pains me to share these comments, but they provide an important example of how far afield even the best of us can go if we allow ourselves, even with good intentions, to go beyond what Our Lady actually stated; e.g., in no way did she indicate that we (much less the pope) are to be concerned about how offended the Orthodox may or may not be.

    Certainly, there was no doubt in Fr. Gruner’s mind as to what Our Lady meant by “Russia will be converted.”

    To invite the Orthodox to imagine otherwise, however, even as a strategy for allaying their concerns, is an offense against the Faith as we know very well what Our Lord desires of them. The means simply do not justify the ends.

    In this, it appears evident that Father had – albeit with good intentions, no doubt – departed from the mission that he was given to some extent by suggesting what is, at best, a dubious diplomatic maneuver that might (or might not) hasten the day when the consecration will take place.

    This is not what Our Lady has asked of any of us.

    It seems rather clear that the Fatima Center of today has gone further still, fully adopting a “get the consecration done at all costs” manner of thinking, and this is the very reason why the apostolate appears to be in compromise mode at this very moment.

    This brings me to what, by all appearances, is going to serve as the Fatima Center’s crowning “achievement” in this 100th anniversary year of Our Lady’s appearance.

    As many readers are aware, this upcoming weekend, November 4-5, 2017, the Fatima Center will host a conference in Moscow, the online description of which begins:

    Though it is not widely known, Father Gruner, for a few years before his untimely death in 2015, had been working toward hosting a Fatima Conference in Moscow, in the heart of Russia. Father knew well that if the perceived resistance of the Russian people, and specifically of the Russian Orthodox leaders, could be demonstrated to be a non-issue, the Vatican’s main platform of resistance to Our Lady of Fatima’s request would be removed.

    Once again, this is raw speculation. No one knows precisely what serves as “the Vatican’s main platform of resistance to Our Lady of Fatima’s request.”

    Furthermore, as the Vatican cover-up of the Third Secret as perpetrated most notably in the year 2000 strongly suggests, the “main platform of resistance” is that the movers and shakers in Rome simply do not believe that Our Lady actually appeared at Fatima!

    The conference description continues:

    Thus the great imperative to bring to Russia the truth about the Fatima Message — that it is not “against” Russia. On the contrary, Russia is a vessel of election chosen by Heaven to play an instrumental role in ushering in Our Lady’s coming Triumph. Russia holds a very special place in the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

    Again, let it be said that Our Lady spoke not one word to Sr. Lucia, either in 1917 or afterward, suggesting anything of the sort about Russia.

    In other words, this so-called “great imperative” did not come from Our Lady; much less is the so-called “truth” described above found in her message.

    At this, we will let Bruce Walters, author of Russian Sunrise, describe the upcoming Fatima Conference in Moscow.

    Writing for the schismatic Orthodox website Russian Faith, in a piece entitled, “Letter from Traditional Catholics: ‘Russia is God’s Chosen Nation to Re-Convert the West,’” Walters states:

    A Catholic conference scheduled in Moscow, Russia on November 4-5, 2017, will explain the traditional Catholic perspective on why the world desperately needs Russia now: heaven has chosen Russia to turn the world back to Christian faith.

    What utter and complete nonsense!

    The world desperately needs, and has always desperately needed, the sacred hierarchy of the Holy Catholic Church to carry out the mission given by Christ the King! It is the Catholic Church alone that is endowed with what is necessary to turn the world back to Christian faith and thus to peace.

    Walters goes on:

    We look upon the resurgence of the Russian Orthodox Church with hope and joy, wondering if perhaps God has used the millennium-long “schism” as a means of preserving true faith and Christian practice in the East — for this very time when the West is forsaking its Christian roots and descending into paganism and chaos.

    God used schism to preserve the true faith? Apparently, Mr. Walters, who remember, is writing to inform readers about this upcoming conference, does not comprehend the true faith and where it resides.

    The Orthodox bless second and even third marriages (i.e., adultery), they reject the Primacy of Peter, and even refuse to accept that the Immaculate Conception is a dogmatic truth! What’s more, the Russian Orthodox continue to persecute Eastern Rite Catholics!

    So you tell me, where is the hope and joy in this?

    Walters continues:

    Just as they [traditional Catholics] strive to preserve timeless Catholic tradition in belief and practice, they view the resurgence of Orthodox Christianity in Russia as a cause for great hope.

    Make no mistake, my friends, “Orthodox Christianity,” in spite of its adherents’ proclamations against the immoral state of society, has rejected the Social Kingship of Christ by rejecting His Vicar; the same who rules with authority over the Kingdom of Christ here present.

    So, where will the undercurrent of this nonsense lead the naïve and the foolish?

    Directly to the point where it will be openly denied that “Russia will be converted” refers to its union with the Holy Catholic Church; i.e. it will be believed and taught that the peace Our Lady promised will come even if Russian Orthodoxy continues as it is.

    Already I can tell you that persons whose identity would shock you are holding firmly to precisely these errors, disseminating them privately.

    I cannot say to what extent Bruce Walters speaks for the Fatima Center; even though his influence has been duly noted.

    What I can tell you unequivocally, however, is that his views represent neither the “traditional Catholic perspective,” nor the words of Our Lady as spoken at Fatima.

    If, however, he has provided an accurate snapshot of the aims of the Fatima Center’s upcoming conference in Moscow (and there is reason to believe that he has), then clearly the apostolate – the one that all of us counted on for so many years to hold the line – has truly lost its way.

    We must pray and fast and make reparations for the offenses described in this difficult article, begging Our Lady to raise up faithful voices that are willing to persevere in defending the integrity of her message regardless of cost.

    May it please Our Lord and Our Lady to grant me and our other contributors all that we need to be among them.

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