It is great that Pope Francis will be consecrating Russia again on the 38th anniversary of John Paul II’s consecration. This news brought out several claiming that Russia had not been consecrated to fulfill the request at Fatima. The logic grounds for such claims are extremely flimsy and of necessity need to involve one of several colossally unlikely conspiracies. I will cover Francis’s re-consecration, the basic argument it was done in 1984, & alternatives that don’t make sense.
[Additions after talking with Jimmy Akin at the end.]
Pope Francis Consecrating Russia and Ukraine.
Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Vatican announced on Tuesday.
The Holy See press office said on March 15: “On Friday, March 25, during the Celebration of Penance at which he will preside at 5 p.m. in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
“The same act, on the same day, will be carried out in Fatima by His Eminence Cardinal Krajewski, Apostolic Almoner, as envoy of the Holy Father.”
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski was one of two papal envoys sent to Ukraine last week in an expression of the pope’s concern for the war-torn country’s population.
Sr. Lucia is the Source for Both
Sr. Lucia is either a reliable source or not a reliable source. She is the source for the request and for the 1984 consecration fulfilling Mary’s request. If she is reliable, then we have both are reliable, but if she is not, neither are reliable. Given other external factors of Sr. Lucia’s character, I think she is reliable. However, if she is not reliable for one, she logically is not reliable for the other.
The request for the consecration of Russia first appeared in 1929. The other two Fatima seers were long dead so Sr. Lucia is the only source. Even though Lucia mentioned this related to a 1917 vision, no source predates the other seers’ deaths. After warning about the errors of Russia earlier, Lucia wrote what Mary told her:
The moment has come for God to ask the Holy Father to make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart. By this means, He promises to save Russia.
In 1989 and 1990, the same Sr. Lucia wrote that the March 25, 1984 consecration by St. John Paul II was “accepted in heaven.”
Also, the idea was that Russia would convert. “Convert” can mean any turning towards what is good, not just “becoming Catholic.” Ditching Communism within a decade of the consecration clearly fits that description.
Some argue Sr. Lucia saw this “conversion” more strictly as becoming Catholic: this came from discussions she had with others, not the vision itself, so of far lower evidential value. This interpretation as “Russia becomes Catholic” is not the vision itself but the seer’s interpretation of the vision and seers can err in that far more than they can in the vision itself. On the other hand, the request and indication it was accepted in heaven both appear directly as visions. If choosing between a later vision of a seer or a discussion that seer had about a prior vision, I’m clearly taking the later vision. (Jimmy Akin addressed this distinction between a vision and the seer’s interpretation of that vision more generally on his podcast: I think this episode, but I’m not certain.)
Alternative Theories Don’t Make Sense
Some argue that John Paul II did not do it directly in union with every last bishop on earth so it was not valid. But when we talk about the Pope in union with the bishops, it does not need to be every single bishop. Plus, the same source said it was accepted.
Some argue that somehow someone replaced Sr. Lucia with a body double. Others argue that John Paul II, Ratzinger, and several other high-ranking Vatican officials conspired to falsify Sr. Lucia’s letter. This can take two forms: either she was elderly and suggestible (dementia or similar), or they flat out lied.
As at that time and just after (1989 and 1993), she wrote whole books in her own handwriting, she was obviously not in such a poor mental state as to be unreliable. The consistency of such writing (handwriting, style, and content) with earlier writing makes it unlikely she was a body-double. If they had lied or falsified documents, I highly doubt she would have just gone along with it in multiple public appearances. She had indicated prior consecrations were not accepted in heaven so it would have been fine for who to say so again. Also, every one of these conspiracies involves two consecutive Popes involved in an extremely shady conspiracy without a strong motive.
Promoting These Conspiracy Theories Harms Catholicism
If this just affected you, I would not care much. However, such conspiracies have two negative effects.
First, you create a kind of legalism or scruples for other Catholics. People can get unhealthy scrupules about their prayers if they are told prayers need to be exactly perfect.
Second, it makes Catholics seem credulous to ridiculous conspiracies and thus makes the faith less credible. As I said a year ago:
Those who post conspiracy theories or disproven science as if they were true are less credible. When considering the faith, there is the added factor that if someone believes all kinds of random nonsense online, one comes across as overly credulous or gullible to believe anything whether true or false. This is not the way we want Catholics perceived. […]
Catholicism is not a conspiracy theory. Catholicism is dedicated to the truth in all areas. Conspiracy theories start with a conclusion then cherry-pick or twist facts to fit that conclusion. That is not the way of science or theology… Let’s end the constant sharing of conspiracy theories among Catholics online. Let’s show others the beauty of the Church, not send them away by the untruth of such nonsense.
Let’s say all the prayers we can for peace in Ukraine. Consecrating Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart invokes Mary’s special protection so is good. However, let’s be aware that St. John Paul II fulfilled Mary’s request to Sr. Lucia back in 1984.
Addendum: from Jimmy Akin after 1st Posted
Above I say I thought something was in a particular episode of Jimmy Akin’s podcast, so I asked him privately. He pointed me to a little more info which I add below.
First, a 2001 article:
Sister Lucia replied: “Everything has been published; there are no more secrets.”
 “If I had received new revelations, I would not have communicated them to anyone, but I would have told them directly to the Holy Father,” the religious added.
 The group then spoke about the statements of Nicholas Gruner, a Canadian priest suspended “a divinis,” who is collecting signatures insisting that the Pope finally consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and alleging that this has never been done.
Sister Lucia told the archbishop: “The Carmel Community has rejected the forms for the collection of signatures. I have already said that the consecration requested by Our Lady was done in 1984, and it has been accepted in heaven.”
First, she would have told the Holy Father if there was anything more. Second, she was firm in her belief the 1984 consecration was accepted. Third, the way she told the Pope about the 1994 consecration being accepted implies she got some new revelation from Mary
Second, Episode 65 of Mysterious World:
A few lines (I can’t figure out how to do bullet lists or staggered indents in block quotes on the new WordPress, so I had to add numbers where bullet points were):
What about the idea that the vision can’t have been fulfilled because Russia hasn’t been properly consecrated by the pope and the bishops?
1. One claim used to argue for this objection here is that John Paul II didn’t explicitly mention Russia in the 1984 consecration; but “the peoples whose consecration and entrustment by us you are awaiting”
1.1. This clearly implies Russia
1.2. Also, in 1992 and 1993, Sr. Lucia gave a pair of interviews in which she stated: “The Virgin never said that the holy father had to say the word ‘Russia.’ She said: ‘He will consecrate Russia to me, which will convert, and there will be peace.’ But that promised peace refers to the wars and persecutions that the errors of atheistic Communism were causing in all the world.”
1.3. She also said: “The fact that Russia was not referred to by name did not invalidate the consecration”
2. Another claim is that not enough of the bishops of the world joined John Paul II in making the consecration
2.1. However, in the same interviews, Sr. Lucia said: “The majority of the bishops participated, and the fact that all did not was irrelevant to the validity.”
3. The Message of Fatima also records her statement that the 1984 consecration was sufficient, saying: “Sister Lucia personally confirmed that this solemn and universal act of consecration corresponded to what Our Lady wished (‘Yes it has been done just as Our Lady asked, on 25 March 1984’: Letter of 8 November 1989). Hence any further discussion or request is without basis.”
4. This was not an isolated statement on her part; she said the same thing on other occasions, such as in her 1992-1993 interviews, where she said: “The consecration of Russia was accomplished by John Paul II on March 25th, 1984. . . There is no need for any more consecrations of Russia to fulfill the requests of Our Lady of Fatima.”
5. If the seer herself was satisfied that this was the case, I don’t see a solid basis for challenging it