A Difficulty in the Minds of Some
by Father Nicholas Gruner
Some Catholics fear that they would be disloyal to Church authority by insisting on something at variance with the ideas or wishes of their bishop. “What right do I have,” they ask, “to continue petitioning for the Consecration of Russia, if my pastor or bishop has told me that he does not want to be bothered about it?”
It is important for the laity to know that they have very specific canonical rights which follow from their responsibilities as members of the Catholic Church. We all have such responsibilities, just as every member of a family has a role of some kind in preserving the common good of their household. If the need arises, each person in the family must be ready to sound an alarm – if there is a fire or an intruder, or if someone gets injured, etc. It is a task that might fall even upon the youngest in the home to run to his father with a cry of warning or a plea for help.
All of us, from the Chair of Peter to the back pew, have a duty to use the means appropriate to our station to safeguard the welfare of the Church. Petitioning is one such means.
We must not underestimate the power – and our duty – of petitioning. It is an established Church teaching – recognized even in the documents of Vatican II (LG n.37) – that laymen have the right and sometimes even the obligation to petition the Holy Father in matters pertaining to ecclesiastical jurisdiction.
Certainly Fatima is such a matter. The Message of Fatima is a public prophetic revelation formally approved by the Church and endorsed by Pope after Pope throughout the past century. And Our Lady’s Message clearly states that peace will only be given to the world when the Pope and the bishops obey the command of God for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
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