As August is the month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, it might a good time investment (not more than a matter of minutes) to read the relevant entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia. It is rather well-written, concise and accessible to the everyday reader, and gives a historical perspective of the development of this devotion.
Once again, the rich tapestry of Catholic devotion is squarely put in front of the reader (with active links to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Miraculous Medal, for example).
The older I get, the more I get to understand what a wonderful gift we have in Mary. It is not that I was stupid in years past (at least, I hope not), but rather that there are certain perceptions that go deeper in one’s person consciousness as the years slowly work in him. I understand only now that the treasure that I have discovered – nay: that I am slowly discovering – would have been able to give me a vast amount of consolation in years past. In a sense, it is as if a fountain of love had been besides me all the time, but I just hadn’t really noticed that I could actually drink out of it, thinking it a beautiful, decorative garden accessory instead.
I can’t stress often enough the importance, and the benefits, of the daily recitation of the Rosary. For those who might not be familiar with this queen of Catholic devotions, there is a link on the top right-hand corner of this blog.
Fatima and Sacro Vergente Anno: Pius XII’s Consecration of “The Peoples Of Russia” to the Blessed Virgin
It is well-known that among the requests of the Blessed Virgin in Fatima was the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.
Less well-known is the fact that Pope Pius XII, Pastor Angelicus, also known as “The Pope of Fatima” for his relentless support to the apparitions, did consecrate “all the peoples of Russia” to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1950.
I am informed that this consecration is widely believed to be somewhat short of the Blessed Virgin’s request, though in all honesty it is not clear to me why it should. It is, though, evident from Sacro Vergente Anno and from further Vatican documents that the great Pope, Venerable Pius XII, had to take care of political considerations in the way he responded to the Blessed Virgin’s request. Therefore, during the “hottest” phase of the Cold War he had limited himself to consecrate to the Blessed Virgin the peoples of all world (not wishing the potential political repercussions of a more direct action); whilst in the comparatively calmer 1952 he felt the moment come to the consecration to the Blessed Virgin of the peoples of Russia so that their freedom (and the freedom of the Church) may be achieved.
I will publish below the relevant part of Sacro Vergente Anno, in the elaborate but extremely elegant Italian in use when people had a somewhat longer attention span and could read longer sentences without becoming dizzy. Following the original text I will write a personal attempt at translation.
I am grateful to all those who will send a message with some link pointing to:
1) an official translation of Sacro Vergente Anno or at least of the relevant passage, none of which I could find.
2) the facts as to why the consecration according to the wishes of Mary is widely considered not to have been completely complied with; perhaps it could be because it was a consecration of the peoples of Russia rather than of Russia itself, though this seems rather a quaestio de lana caprina to me.
In the meantime, enjoy another spectacular example of the work of a truly spectacular Pope.
Noi, pertanto, affinché più facilmente le Nostre e le vostre preghiere siano esaudite, e per darvi un singolare attestato della Nostra particolare benevolenza, come pochi anni fa abbiamo consacrato tutto il mondo al Cuore immacolato della vergine Madre di Dio, così ora, in modo specialissimo, consacriamo tutti i popoli della Russia al medesimo Cuore immacolato, nella sicura fiducia che col potentissimo patrocinio di Maria vergine quanto prima si avverino felicemente i voti, che Noi, che voi, che tutti i buoni formano per una vera pace, per una fraterna concordia e per la dovuta libertà a tutti e in primo luogo alla chiesa; in maniera che, mediante la preghiera che Noi innalziamo insieme con voi e con tutti i cristiani, il regno salvifico di Cristo, che è «regno di verità e di vita, regno di santità e di grazia, regno di giustizia, di amore e di pace»,(8) in ogni parte della terra trionfi e si consolidi stabilmente.
And therefore we, in order that Our and your prayers may be more easily answered, and in order to give you a special attestation of our benevolence, in the same way as a few years ago We consecrated the entire world to the immaculate Heart of the virgin Mother of God, so now, in a very special way, consecrate all peoples of Russia to the very same immaculate Heart, in the safe confidence that with the extremely powerful protection of the virgin Mary the wishes expressed by Us, by you and by every good person for a true peace for fraternal concord and due freedom for everyone and for the Church in the first place, may be answered as soon as possible; in such a manner that, through the prayer that We send up to Heaven together with you and all Christians, the reign of Christ, harbinger of salvation, which is “kingdom of truth and life, kingdom of sainthood and grace, kingdom of justice, of love and of peace”, may triumph and steadily consolidate itself everywhere on earth”