It was a staple of the Church in the Cold War era to pray for the conversion of Russia. The Soviet regime was a fierce enemy of the Church and a great persecutor of Catholics and orthodox Christians. Josef Stalin was the architect of mass murder. Christians were murdered or sent to the Gulag, a network of concentration camps, which were in existence before the Nazi camps. Millions upon millions died in these camps. This was documented by Alexander Solzhenitsyn in his book The Gulag Archipelago.
A personal account of that persecution is the book With God in Russia by Father Walter Ciszek S.J. The Soviets were at work in our country with a public communist party, front-groups, and a network of underground spies. They were imbedded in the government, the military, the media, academe, labor unions and many other areas of American life. (Front organizations can act for the communists without the actions being attributed to the communist thereby allowing them to hide from public view. They usually have attractive names like “The Alliance for Peace,” or “Citizens for Equality.”)
Part of the reason for all the prayers for the conversion of Russia, including the prayers after Mass: three Hail Mary’s, the Hail Holy Queen, and the prayer for the conversion of sinners was the Blessed Virgin’s appearances in Fatima in 1917. In her conversation with the three Portuguese children she said the following: When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. (On January 25, 1938, an unearthly phenomenon lit up the skies all over Europe and as far away as Bermuda. World War II began shortly after.)To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the communion of reparation on the first Saturday's. 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 of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. There is a dispute whether the consecration ever took place or not.
One of the places to which communist Russia spread her errors was China brought there into power by the mass-murderer and dictator Mao Tse Tung in 1949.The errors of the Chinese communists have metastasized in our era. The Chinese communist government has far surpassed the Soviet communists in their methodology for world domination and the defeat and subjugation of the United States. They are using methods the Soviets used like the communist/Marxist/socialist organizations in our country, communist front groups, and the placement of underground spies. Senator Diane Feinstein and Congressman Eric Swallwell both were involved with Chinese communist spies: Senator Feinstein’s driver for twenty years was a communist spy and Congressman Eric Swallwell was involved with a Chinese communist spy, a spy for Communist China’s Ministry of State Security, yet he continues to sit on the intelligence committee in the House of Representatives! Nancy Pelosi refuses to remove him from a committee where he has access to the nation’s most sensitive information.
In the movie Casablanca, Rick played by Humphrey Bogart there is the following conversation with his friend Sam: RICK: Sam, if it's December 1941 in Casablanca, what time is it in New York? SAM: Uh, my watch stopped. RICK: I bet they're asleep in New York. I'll bet they're asleep all over America. Of course, was not simply referring to time-differences. Rick was referring to the threat of the Nazi’s and the apparent unconcern of the U.S. in 1941.
Many Americans are asleep in 2021 and this includes many churchmen including the Vatican with respect to the Chinese communist drive for world domination. Where the Chinese communists have far surpassed the Soviet Union is their use of economic and technological warfare against the U.S. One of the things the COVID crisis revealed is the strangle-hold that China has on vital items that the U.S relies on like antibiotics, medical equipment, electronic equipment. Via technology and communication software the Chinese communist gather enormous amounts of personal information about American citizens. The Chinese communists own large portions of our debt, they buy corporations, and real estate, they steal our intellectual property via “students” in our universities and they have infiltrated all aspects of American life by spreading around large amounts of cash. Any number of politicians including the current administration are compromised by Chinese money along with the lure of cheap labor and manufacturing in order to get rich by giving China “sweetheart deals” while American workers languish and American manufacturing is harmed. Years ago President Clinton gave them technology which they used to perfect their ballistic missiles. This calls to mind a prediction of Lenin that the West will give the communists the rope that they will use to hang them. The open-borders policy of this administration is a security and health-care nightmare feeding drug cartels, aiding terrorists, human trafficking and the spread of COVID and a mutant Brazilian strain. This weakens the U.S. and serves China’s goal. The World Health Organization is under the sway of the Chinese communists and will not offer real cooperation about the origin of COVID. American technological giants like Apple, Facebook, Twitter, cooperate with China in the censorship of the people of China and imitate them in censoring Americans with whose views they disagree. Large portions of the media are mute in the face of this censorship and Chinese communist concentration camps and persecution of all religions, but especially Christians.
The Holy See has repeated a disastrous strategy of Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI in dealing with communists. The strategy was called Ostpolitik. It betrayed countless Christians who stood for the independence of the Church and the truth of the Gospel in the face of communist persecution and control. Scholar and writer George Weigel wrote in First Things: In the 1960s, Popes John XXIII and Paul VI initiated a new Vatican approach to the countries behind the iron curtain, the Ostpolitik. According to its chief architect and agent, Archbishop Agostino Casaroli, the strategic goal of the Ostpolitik was to find a modus non moriendi—a “way of not dying”—for the Catholic Church in the countries of the Warsaw Pact. The tactics included a cessation of all public Vatican criticism of communist regimes, and endless negotiations with communist governments. The results were, to put it gently, minimal.
The Ostpolitik came close to destroying Catholicism in Hungary where, by the mid-1970s, the Church leadership was owned and operated by the Hungarian communist party, which also was in de facto control of the Hungarian College in Rome. In Czechoslovakia, the Ostpolitik disempowered Catholic human rights activists, did nothing for those brave Catholic souls who resisted the regime, and empowered a gang of clerical collaborators who served as a front for the communist party and its repressions. In East Germany, the Ostpolitik couldn’t do much damage because the damage had already been done.
In Poland, the Ostpolitik was deftly resisted by the Polish primate, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, working in tandem with the man who would become Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla. Yet despite the Poles’ well-founded criticisms of the Ostpolitik, Vatican diplomats continually tried to displace Wyszynski, a canny and tough-minded negotiator, as the Church’s interlocutor with the regime. Serious damage was done in Rome, too. There, the Ostpolitik led to the serious penetration of the Vatican by communist secret intelligence agencies, including the Soviet KGB, the East German Stasi, the Czechoslovak StB, the Polish SB, and the Hungarian AVH—nasties who did not play well with other children. During Vatican II, the SB tried to undercut Cardinal Wyszynski by preparing and circulating to all the Council fathers a memorandum questioning the Polish primate’s orthodoxy. In the years after the Council, communist-bloc moles operated in Vatican offices and in the Vatican press corps, compromising the very negotiations so prized by Archbishop Casaroli and his associates.
All this is well documented, thanks to materials now available from the archives of the state security agencies run by communist regimes. Scholarly conferences have sifted the evidence and analyzed the spooks’ methods; books have been published exploring this fascinating, if tawdry, story; the second volume of my John Paul II biography, The End and the Beginning, brought new details of the communist war against the Church during the Ostpolitik to a world audience for the first time. Yet senior Vatican diplomats continue to insist, today, that the Ostpolitik was a success: so much so that it’s now serving as the model for twenty-first-century Vatican diplomacy around the world.
Pope Francis and Cardinal Parolin have repeated this disastrous policy in its Sinopolitik sacrificing countless faithful Chinese Catholics who stood for a faithful Church loyal to the Holy Father as opposed to the Chinese patriotic church, a puppet of the communist regime in China and doing its bidding. The Chinese government has a say in which bishops are appointed by the Pope. Meanwhile persecutions of Christians and other religions continue including the use of re-education and concentration camps by the regime.
Just as in a prior era the Church poured out prayers for the conversion of Russia, prayers must be poured forth for the conversion of China and the defeat of the communist pathology and for Pope Francis to change direction and stand up for the persecuted Christians in China and elsewhere and oppose the regime. He should listen to the hero Chinese Cardinal Joseph Zen who knows the Chinese communists well and their methods first hand. Catholic social teaching indicates that communism is intrinsically evil. We must pray for this intention to our Lady, the Immaculate Conception, the patroness of our country, using her Rosary, the five First Saturday’s, prayer and fasting and speaking the truth. The world and our country are in mortal danger while many Americans actively cooperate with this menace in Washington, in the media, in universities, in big tech for ideological reasons, for money, because they are compromised, or all of the above. Recall this reminder about communism from Catholic philosopher Edward Feser:
The Western world is the creation of the Church, and the crisis of the West is always at bottom the crisis of the Church. This is especially so where the Church has receded into the background of the Western mind – where men’s plans are hatched in the name of progress, science, social justice, equity, or some other purportedly secular value, and make little or no reference to religion. For liberalism, socialism, communism, scientism, progressivism, identity politics, globalism, and all the rest – this Hydra’s head of modernist projects, however ostensibly secular, is united by two features that are irreducibly theological.
First, they are all essentially apostate projects, enterprises that have arisen in the midst of Christian civilization with the aim of supplanting it. And they could have arisen only within the Christian context, because, second, these projects are all heretical in the broad sense of that term. That is to say, they are all founded on some idea inherited from Christianity (the dignity of the individual, human equality, a law-governed universe, a final consummation, etc.) but removed from the theological framework that originally gave it meaning, and radically distorted in the process.BACK TO LIST