The Last Help Before the End of Time, by Dr. Courtney Bartholomew, a handy little review of messages to an mystic named Berthe Petit, whose cause for beatification is under investigation and who had messages that Dr. Bartholomew, a well-know Marian writer, relates to our current times and other revelations! click here



Astonishingly, the argument goes on: whether Russia was ever consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as requested at the famous Fatima apparitions.

A petition letter is currently circulating requesting the new Pope to make the formal consecration.

While seer Lucia dos Santos repeatedly told cardinals and bishops during interviews in the early 1990s that the consecration had been accomplished (by John Paul II) and accepted by Heaven, others argue that because that consecration -- March 25, 1984, the third such attempt -- did not specifically mention the name "Russia" (instead including it in a consecration of the "world"), it was not valid. Sister Lucia argued that the virtually miraculous fall of Communism in Eastern Europe and then the Soviet Union itself was a consequence of that consecration (the Blessed Mother had promised the conversion of Russia if such a solemn consecration was accomplished).

We won't wade further into that debate. We respect views on all sides. We do certainly trust the discernment of John Paul II. The most pressing question: is Russia indeed now converting? Is something profound afoot there?

Many argue that Communism is only temporarily disbanded. But there are some stark changes in what Ronald Reagan once dubbed "the evil empire." One can start with the way the formerly atheistic government not only now allows the exercise of Christianity -- Orthodox, Catholic, and others alike -- but actually has been funding the rebuilding of churches in the former U.S.S.R., to the equivalent of dozens of millions of dollars.

Can you imagine the uproar if the government in the United States funded church repairs or reconstructions?

Moreover, Russia leaders such as Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev have been photographed lighting candles or wearing icons of the Blessed Mother and even kissing them.

Can we imagine a President doing that?

Religion can be taught in schools and Putin prosecuted punk singers for disrespecting a church. Cosmonauts have worn icons as they blasted into space.

On the other hand, Russia's Catholic Church expressed this month (4/13/13) surprise and concern after a wave of raids on its parishes and charities, part of a government clampdown on organizations with foreign links. The million or so Catholics say they suffer discrimination (as the government favors and historically has controlled the Orthodox leaders).

Premature to say the nation is "converting"?

It still has a stunningly high (forty-two for each hundred live births) abortion rate.

Still, it is an interesting time.

A recent poll showed -- startlingly -- that seventy-one percent of Russia wish the Pope would visit there -- seven of ten, and this in a nation that while turning back to Christianity is mainly Russian Orthodox!

It is certainly worth watching.

The Orthodox currently plan on building two hundred new churches in Moscow alone. Many of the churches shuttered or turned into warehouses during Communism are back in business -- from Byelorussia to Ukraine (where the Blessed Mother reportedly has appeared at a number of them). Both Orthodox and Catholics share deep devotion to the Mother of God (and there are certain overtures of reunification with Rome in other branches of the Orthodox faith; a Patriarch attended the installation of Pope Francis).

Time will tell. There are also the reputed apparitions, currently under Vatican study, at Medjugorje, where the Blessed Mother in 1981 allegedly said, "The Russian people will be the people who will glorify God the most. The West has made civilization progress, but without God, as if they were their own creators."

[see also: Putin: Church should have bigger role in Russian life, Obama: allow homosexual Scout masters, And in another former Communist country: Romania order skyscraper demolished to protect church]

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