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ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - Cardinal Raymond Burke is publicly calling for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
His comments came in front of an audience at the fourth annual Rome Life Forum, which included co-author of the dubia Cdl. Carlo Caffarra, as well as Bp. Athanasius Schneider and more than 100 pro-life leaders from around the world. In his address, "The Secret of Fatima and a New Evangelization," Cdl. Burke spoke of a connection between the Third Secret of Fatima and the teaching and governing roles of priests and bishops.
Burke clarified that he's not aiming to cast doubt on the merits of the May 25, 1984 consecration by Pope St. John Paul II of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but called again for an explicit consecration of Russia by name, together with the world's bishops. A consecration, which fulfills all of those conditions, has not yet been accomplished.
"Certainly, Pope St. John Paul II consecrated the world, including Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 1984," he said. "But, today, once again, we hear the call of Our Lady of Fatima to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart, in accord with her explicit instruction."
He began his talk reminding priests of their principal duty. "The teaching of the Faith, in its integrity and with courage, is the heart of the office of the Church's pastors, the Roman Pontiff, the bishops in communion with the See of Peter and their principal co-workers, the priests," Burke said.
The cardinal went on to speak on the current crisis of moral catechesis and the resultant casualties among the Catholic faithful. "For that reason, the Third Secret is directed with particular force to those who exercise the pastoral office in the Church," he insisted.
He also pinpointed the crisis in the Church:
Their failure to teach the Faith, in fidelity to the Church's constant teaching and practice, whether through a superficial, confused or even worldly approach and their silence endangers mortally, in the deepest spiritual sense, the very souls for whom they have been consecrated to care for spiritually. The poisonous fruits of the failure of the Church's pastors is seen in a manner of worship, of teaching and of moral discipline which is not in accord with Divine Law.
The cardinal also spoke about the requests of Our Lady of Fatima to be carried out directly on the part of the faithful in reparation for sins against Her Immaculate Heart, to include daily recitation of the Holy Rosary, the wearing of the Brown Scapular, daily sacrifices for sinners and the Five First Saturdays devotion.
Several additional consecrations aimed at fulfilling Our Lady of Fatima's request were undertaken by previous popes. While Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart in October 1942, no explicit mention of Russia was made. Pius XII made another consecration in 1952, this time mentioning Russia, but this consecration was not made in communion with the world's bishops, as Our Lady of Fatima requested.
Our Lady of Fatima on July 13, 1917, told Sts. Jacinta and Francisco Marto and Sr. Lucia, "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 against the Church."
This was only a few months before the Bolshevik Revolution. One hundred years later, there are continued provocative displays and military threats from Communist nations like North Korea and China. Burke pointed out that although there are physical and temporal aspects to Our Lady's warning, there is also a spiritual dimension to her promise of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart. The triumph is, according to Fatima scholars, firstly over apostasy.
"As horrible as are the physical chastisements associated with man's disobedient rebellion before God," Burke clarified, "infinitely more horrible are the spiritual chastisements, for they have to do with the fruit of grievous sin: eternal death."
Burke was recently slammed by liberal Cdl. Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, the cardinal-archbishop of Tegucigalpa in Honduras and head of Pope Francis' so-called Gang of Nine. Maradiaga, speaking of Burke's months'-long plea for clarity on Pope Francis' teaching on Holy Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried, called Burke "a poor man" and "a disappointed man, in that he wanted power and lost it."