Fortress of Reason

First of all, let me say that I am not an official spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Church. I tell this story because I feel it needs to be said, but it may contain inaccuracies.

Part I : French Revolution

In 1689, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque receives a vision of Jesus. Jesus reveals to St. Margaret that despite the love he has shown to men we only repay Him with ungratefulness and wickedness. He orders St. Margaret to ask the King of France to consecrate France to His sacred heart. The King Louis XIV ignores this order.

Painting of Jesus appearing to Saint Margaret Mary, Church of San Michele
Painting of Jesus appearing to Saint Margaret Mary, Church of San Michele by Giovanni Destefanis

Exactly a 100 years later the French Revolution breaks out. It is one of the deadliest revolutions in history. The aftermath of French Revolution was :

  1. Reign of Terror, murder and mayhem on the streets
  2. The Napoleonic wars severely depopulates France with a large number of people perishing in Napoleon’s thirst for power
  3. Catholic Church suffers major setbacks : it’s nuns and priests turned out, leaders killed or put in exile, it’s property seized and controlled by enemies
  4. There is an attempt to de-Christianize France

However, the effects were partially reversed in time. Some effects still remain to this day. Most important of these are “liberalism” and the  idea of replacing God with reason. See : The Cult of Reason.

It is believed that the King Louis XVI did consecrate France to the Sacred Heart of Jesus after he was arrested by revolutionaries, but it is wasn’t valid since he was no longer the King of France.

Part II: The events at La Salette

In 1846, in the French village of La Salette-Fallavaux, Mother Mary appears to two shepherd children : Mélanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud.

Our Lady at La Salette By Qfamily

Here is what She said :

France has corrupted the universe, one day it will be punished. The faith will die out in France: three quarters of France will not practice religion anymore, or almost no more, the other part will practice it without really practicing it. Then, after [that], nations will convert, the faith will be rekindled everywhere.

A great country in the north of Europe, now Protestant, will be converted; by the support of this country all the other nations of the world will be converted

I see that there are many versions of this text and some readings of these messages will lead you to consider the notion that there is nothing much to it. Be warned that interpreting these messages are difficult for the best of us, but at least we can see that half of this has already come true. If you look at religion in France today, only a quarter believe in God.

So now, the question is which is the great country to the north of Europe ?

Part III: Our Lady and Fátima

In 13 May 1917, three children ( among them Lúcia Santos ) in Fátima, Portugal reported a vision of Mother Mary.

Children of Fatima
Lúcia Santos (left) with her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto, 1917

The veracity of these visions have been declared worthy of belief by the Church. Here is a brief overview of the events that came out of this apparition :

  • The Lady revealed Three Secrets to St. Lúcia. Here is some text from the second secret :
  • The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pope Pius XI. 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. 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 Saturdays. 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 shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.

    To me it looks like the ‘war that is going to end’ is World War I and the other one that ‘breaks out during the Pontificate of Pope Pius XI’ is World War II.

 

  • Our Lady fulfills her promise, asking “for the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart, promising its conversion through this means and the hindering of the propagation of its errors
  • At Rianjo, Spain in August 1931, Our Lord communicated to Sister Lucia His dissatisfaction. Here is what He said :

Make it known to My ministers, given that they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My requests, they will follow him into misfortune. 

They did not wish to heed My request! Like the King of France they will repent of it, and they will do it, but it will be late. Russia will have already spread its errors in the world, provoking wars and persecutions against the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer.

  • Many consecrations of Russia are attempted  ( in 1942, 1952, 1964, 1982 ). St. Lúcia informs that none has fulfilled the conditions ( the conditions are that all bishops in union with the Pope and Russia must be specially mentioned )
  • In March 25, 1984, Pope John Paul II, “united with all the pastors of the Church in a particular bond whereby we constitute a body and a college,” consecrates “the whole world, especially the peoples for which by reason of their situation you have particular love and solicitude.” Both the Pope and Sr. Lucia initially seemed uncertain that the consecration has been fulfilled, but shortly thereafter Sr. Lucia tells the papal nuncio to Portugal that the Consecration is fulfilled.
  • May 13, 1984, An explosion at the Soviets’ Severomorsk Naval Base destroys two-thirds of all the missiles stockpiled for the Soviets’ Northern Fleet
  • 1991, Dissolution of Soviet Union

Technically Russia is to the north of Europe and technically the country is Protestant, in the sense that Orthodox Christians do not accept the authority of the Pope. Since the fall of Communism religion is returning to Russia.

Part IV: Why did I tell this story ?

Regardless of what you think about the interpretation of these events, what you have to accept that there are currently two major threats to our faith :

  • Replacing God with the State

This is mostly a Communist idea. We can see echoes of this idea in modern left wing and liberal movements. Since I went to a government college and grew up in a Communist influenced state, I know this is a bad idea already. I do not think governments are very good at their jobs. There may be good people in the government, but mostly it is an instrument used by people with power to take advantage of people without power. Incentive structures within the government are setup so that people get paid well even if they mistreat the people who have to deal with these bureaucrats.

  • Replacing God with Reason

This is the modern vision put forward by New Atheists. We are required by our professions to maintain and upgrade our capacity to reason, and for a long time, we have done so. We have built our minds into a Fortress of Reason, and this benefits us. Unfortunately, to maintain our relationship with God, it is upon this Fortress of Reason that we must commence our siege.

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6 thoughts on “Fortress of Reason

  1. Immensely enjoyed this post and your previous one.

    You’ve mentioned that growing up in a largely Communist state (albeit one that is only Communist in name, and not even Socialist in nature. At the least, all means of production would be owned by the public in a minimal Communist rule) you know that governments do not work well. Fair enough. But I would argue that governments-not-working-well is not a consequence of the said governments being “communist”. If that were so, then the anti-communist (capitalist, plainly put) governments should be a beacon of efficiency and that, coming from somebody who has lived under capitalist “democracies”, is far from the truth.

    Secondly, I really liked your term “Fortress of Reason”, because it can be read in two extremely descriptive ways. One can be a strong mind full of those ideas that arise out of or are protected by reason. Another can be a closed structure surrounded by thick concrete walls where reason lives and dies alone. My reading of your text is that none of these two would be much fun or sustainable.

    Have you read Brother Karamazov? It’s a pretty thick book, but one long sections in particular is very interesting in this respect. It’s a conversation between Father Zosima, a monk who mentors one of the brothers, and Ivan Karamazov. I can highly recommend.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Saahil.

      Regarding the points you raised, I don’t disagree with you that the government fares no better in free market capitalist societies. One of the problems with communist or socialist idealogies is that it enlarges government’s role in our life. By removing means of production from the hands of the government and by limiting the role of government in the market, we can rid us a little bit of it’s malevolence.

      One of the big ideas behind free market capitalism is that competition for customer’s money and worker’s talent largely keeps the power hungry from mistreating the powerless. Give the government more power to regulate the market ( and prices, both of which happens a lot in Kerala ) and conditions deteriorate quickly.

      In other words, a good government is that which governs the least. This principle is called Small Government ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_government ). Government is like The One Ring, the more powerful we make it, the more it attracts the unscrupulous.

      Oh, and thanks for the book recommendation, I have been meaning to read Dostoyevsky, but so far I haven’t been able to spare the time

  2. 🙂
    I didn’t intend to have a communism vs. capitalism discussion on your exceptional stories about Roman Catholic saints so I’ll only say the following and then end it.

    Maybe because of growing up in Kerala the image of govt. owned means of production has stuck with you, but my personal experience has been the opposite entirely. I’m all in favor of “small government” (a pure-ish instance of which hasn’t been noted in history), but align myself against free-market entirely (instances of which can be seen today). It would be dishonest to say that the owners of the means of production in capitalism are not power hungry and driven by anything other than profits. Countries with the most rampant forms of free-market economies are also some that, either, have the highest rates of domestic poverty or have engaged in the most brutal human rights violations in the pretext of extending the free-market globally. The examples of failed communism, in my limited view, are far less widespread and far more brutal than failed capitalism.

    So, to conclude, a fair form of government for me would be the one which installs a framework that ensures that the rights of most vulnerable and powerless do not get trampled upon by the rights of free-market to be more free (eg. illegal land acquisitions, wage slavery, collusions etc.). If this government can also be small, that would be ideal.

    1. Actually I am still using the same Xfce setup on all my machines as before, so I have not found something useful I can add to the document. I have pushed some small changes that should correct some outdated information though

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