A controversy has been brewing among Traditional Catholics regarding the address of His Eminence Cardinal Burke at the Roman Life Forum in May of this year. The subject of this address revolved around the continued importance of the Message of Our Lady of Fatima one hundred years after the apparitions in 1917, a reflection that moved the Cardinal to speak of a more explicit consecration of Russia, made by the Pope and bishops in union with him. The reaction to this address within the Traditional world was generally one of gladness. In fact, it was seen as a major breakthrough that could lead to the Pope fulfilling the explicit request of Our Lady that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart.
Now it is not the point of this reflection to enter into the personal motives of His Eminence. In fact, charity bids us to "hope all things". We trust that Cardinal Burke desires that Russia indeed be consecrated, and that he desires to obey Our Lady's command. But even giving him the most noble of desires, it does not seem laudable to ignore some very uncomfortable truths- the most important of these being that his vision of Fatima is closely tied to a vision of the designs of Providence not compatible with true Catholicism. After describing the events of Fatima, His Eminence identifies the desires of Our Lady for a triumph of Her Immaculate Heart with that of the triumph of the Conciliar Church. Her triumph, in his opinion, will indeed be the renewal sought by the "New Evangelization" of Pope Paul VI and Pope John-Paul II. Throughout the address the importance of the message being connected to the desires of the "saint" and the "blessed" cannot be denied. The Cardinal has made of the message of Fatima the very modernism so strenuously fought against by the forces of Tradition since Vatican II.
This point must not be forgotten. The "New Evangelization", as rightly pointed out by the writer Cornelia Ferreira, is not the same as a "re-evangelization". It is not the Faith once delivered to the saints being re-propagated, but rather, it is the preaching of the new definition of it expounded by the Council and the popes following that Council, the popes who have based their pontificates upon it. The change of doctrine brought by the Second Vatican Council is at the heart of the desires of these popes. There must be a new evangelization, that is the preaching of a new Evangelium (Gospel), even as there is now a new ecclesiology and a New Pentecost. Let us listen to the words of the Cardinal as to his belief that Our Lady's message is linked to this Conciliar vision:
"… let us heed once again the maternal direction of the Virgin of Fatima for a new evangelization of the Church and, thus, of the world.”
“Reflecting upon the pressing need to respond to the grace of a new evangelization, we see how timely the apparitions and message of Our Lady of Fatima remain.”
“The words of Pope Saint John Paul II make clear the perennial importance of the Message of Fatima: the giving of one’s whole heart, together with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and thus the commitment to become an ever more effective agent of the sorely needed new evangelization of our culture.”
Over and over, His Eminence makes mention of the Fatima message as being the natural complement of the desires of Pope John-Paul II and Pope Paul VI. It will not be the purpose of this reflection to spend time refuting such a proposition, but merely to remind the reader that for those holding on to Tradition, an unbridgeable chasm exists between the desires of these popes and the Tradition of the Church. One wonders if Traditional Catholics have suddenly suffered from amnesia when they read the Cardinal's claim that "The pontificate of Pope Saint John Paul II, in fact, may be rightly described as a tireless call to recognize the Church’s challenge to be faithful to her divinely given mission in a completely secularized society and to respond to the challenge by means of a new evangelization." The pontificate of John-Paul II may be described in various ways, but for any Catholic who holds to Tradition, this is not one of them! Have Catholics forgotten the disaster, universal in scope, brought about by Popes Paul VI and John-Paul II?
If one is to add insult to injury, the Cardinal assures us that "Attention to the maternal direction of Our Lady of Fatima draw souls to Christ Who will give them the sevenfold gift of the Holy Spirit for the conversion of their lives and the transformation of a culture of death into a civilization of love." This choice assurance follows upon a paean of the saintly pontificate of the Polish pope. That pontificate is not so distant in the past as not to cause the writer to wince at the memory of the many falsities of doctrine and scandalous if not heretical actions committed by John-Paul II, so well symbolized by the supposed excommunication of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Bishop de Castro-Mayer, and the four newly consecrated bishops! Such was the attempt at the assassination of Catholic Tradition by the ally of Fatima!
While His Eminence indeed recalls many truths to mind in his address, he interweaves the errors of the Second Vatican Council and the post-Conciliar popes, But this is not to be wondered at. Cardinal Burke has always been the champion of the Council and the new doctrines. He has never refused to say the "bastard rite" of Pope Paul VI disastrously foisted upon the Church since the liturgical reforms. His vision is the new vision, not the vision of Catholic Tradition. Conservative he is, no doubt, in many things; outspoken he may be against some of the more radical moral ideas now current; but his talk is certainly not compatible with the truth. The wrath of Heaven rests on the vision and reforms of Vatican II, and until the cause of our disaster is truly admitted, His Eminence Cardinal Burke cannot be the hope of Fatima, however much sympathy we may have for him for the good that he has done.