Friday, April 12, 2013
“Pope Francis asked me twice to consecrate his new ministry to Our Lady of Fatima,”said José Policarpo, Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon. “It is a request I may fulfill in the silence of a prayer. But it would be fine if the whole Bishops' Conference would associate itself to make this request. Mary will guide us in all our labours [meaning all things to be discussed] in the meeting, and also in the way to accomplish this wish of Pope Francis.”
The Catholic Family News blog quotes a source in Coimbra, Portugal as stating:“Policarpo, as a man who is on record as saying he doesn’t believe in Fatima, leaves the final decision to the Bishops’ Conference. If they agree in doing a collective consecration, good; if not, Policarpo will do it in ‘silent prayer.’”
While it is most heartening to know that Pope Francis wishes to consecrate his papacy to Our Lady of Fatima, a few things must be observed. First, the Pope’s “request”was personally made to Cardinal Policarpo, not to the Bishops’ Conference. Suggesting that the Pope’s “request” be considered by the Conference was Cardinal Policarpo’s idea. Second, when a Pope makes a “request,”he is neither appealing for a vote nor asking “the permission” of the bishops. He’s the Pope – the reigning monarch of the Church. Third, the fact that the Pope had to twice make the request suggests that Policarpo might not have responded to the first request or that the Pope initially received some obfuscating response. At any rate, one wonders why Pope Francis doesn’t publicly announce on his own accord that he has consecrated his papacy to Our Lady of Fatima.
Consider Cardinal Policarpo’s words, “It is a request that I may fulfill in the silence of a prayer.” The response seems somewhat impertinent but perhaps it was a trial balloon for the other bishops. Think about it: A Pope twice makes a request to a cardinal – who is the pope’s subordinate - and the Cardinal responds by saying he will turn the decision to the Bishops’ Conference and if they don’t “vote” to acquiesce to the Pope’s “request,” then he “may” meet it by “silent prayer”? This is a perfect example of redefining the word “collegiality.” The Pope doesn’t need the permission of the bishops to consecrate his papacy to Our Lady of Fatima. It is he who is the Bishop of Rome and, in consequence, he is the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.
Meanwhile, the Rorate Caeli blog recently reported: “As an answer to the request of the Pope to the Patriarch of Lisbon, Cardinal José Policarpo, asking that he consecrate the Pope’s Pontificate to Our Lady of Fatima, the Bishops of Portugal have just decided that this consecration be made next May 13.
The consecration will be included in the program of the International Pilgrimage of May 12/13 and will be made on the 13th at a time to be announced later.
May’s International Anniversary Pilgrimage, on the 96th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady to seers Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, will be presided over by Mons. Orani Tempesta, Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro.”
Let us remind you that, during the opening speech of the 181st Plenary Assembly of the Bishops Conference of Portugal, Cardinal Policarpo said that he could very well fulfill the request all alone, ‘in silent prayer,’ but that ‘it would be nice if the entire Bishops Conference joined him in fulfilling the Pope’s request.’”
Considering the recent development, was Cardinal Policarpo’s response impertinent to the Pope or was it a trial balloon in the event Pope Francis may someday “request” the collegial consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary? What say you?