The Gospel Truth

The Conversion of Russia? | January 20, 2014

After reading a recent article on Fatima, in the St. Louis Review one of my most faithful readers raised some interesting questions about Fatima.

Fatima is the site of one the handful of approved Marian visions in the Catholic Church.

It was at the three appearances of the Blessed Mother to Lucia, Jacinto and Francisco— three small peasant children in the Portugal city where Mary chose to make her plea for the faithful to say the Rosary for the conversion of Russia.

Were tending their sheep

My reader wants to know did Mary warn us that a Communist state would logically become a Godless state, with the government replacing the Church? .

When the Soviet Empire collapsed in 1991 many Catholic adults felt that their prayers had been answered and the conversion of Russia would happen shortly.

That optimism was a bit premature.  The efficacy of long-range prayer does not always work that fast.

It is difficult to undo the vestiges of 75 years of Communist rule when atheism was at the core of its religious belief.

The Blessed Mother wasn’t promising a miracle but more like a historical process.

A historical process

But just what kind of country would replace this atheistic state when its conversion took place?

My reader raised this question in the context of the emerging reign of Pope Francis with a seemingly leftward tilt:

Would the Catholic Church grow best in a Socialist/Communist environment or a Capitalist environment?

In is his view that the Pope seems to fear Capitalism, with the apparent ‘worship of wealth’ more than Socialism, with the inevitable worship of government.   

These are all very interesting questions.

Let me start with Our Lady’s promise of a conversion of Russia.

Russia has been ruled for centuries by the czars, a royalist form of government that the Western world had started to reject in the 18th century.

The repressive and inefficient government of the czars was no match for the philosophical and near-religious fervor of world communism.

From 1917 to 1991 Russia and its surrounding countries emerged as the imperialistic Soviet Empire with nuclear teeth.

Its rule was based on its twin principles of atheism and Marxist economics–later called Marxism-Leninism.

If Russia’s conversion were to eventually take place, it would have to be a complete social, economic and most importantly religious transformation.

Asked to pray for Russia’s conversion

Since Mary is an important figure in Catholicism I would think that  a conversion would entail that Russia rejoin the Catholic Church it left in the 11th century.

Its economic conversion may be another story.  It appears that there is a strong fervor of Marxist economics rampant in the Catholic Church.  Russia has no history of democracy or self-rule.

While the pope denies he is a Marxist, he knows many and finds them to be good people.

But Marxism is primarily an atheist construct and so if they were good people, it would have to be more along the lines of secular humanism, which is fast becoming the choice religion of the elite, the well-educated and the politically minded.

At Notre Dame President Barack Obama  opined in 2009 that practical atheism was the working religion of governments and by inference, economies.

What the pope does not seem to mention is that a socialist/Marxist kind of society denies personal freedom and responsibility for one’s life and by inference soul.  That seems to me like a rejection of the Church he represents.

The pope need only to look to his own country of Argentina to see what big government interference does to a population.

It usually takes a long time to destroy the wealth of a nation according to the Wall Street Journal but after a decade of what the locals derisively call kirchnerismo, that is government by the late president Nestor Kirchner and his widow Christina seem to be accomplishing the job in record time.  The country is on the brink of lawlessness and social chaos.

Destroyed Argentinian wealth in 10 years

This kind of government violates virtually all of the Commandments of the Catholic Church, especially the 1st, 7th, and 8th.

A church that promoted this kind of wishy-washy faith would certainly be out of step with the Catholic faith I have known since I was a small boy.

This is an image of a copy of the 1675 Ten Commandments, at the Amsterdam Esnoga synagogue, produced on parchment in 1768 by Jekuthiel Sofer, a prolific Jewish eighteenth century scribe in Amsterdam. It has Hebrew language writing in two columns separated between, and surrounded by, ornate flowery patterns.

Breaks most of them

Of course Capitalism without any sense of the moral order will turn into an environment where the survival of the fitness rules and most people are left by the wayside.  No one but the most corrupt robber baron on earth would want that.  To my mind this breed died out in the early 20th century.

What has emerged since their demise was the robber bureaucrat.

In the United States capitalism flourishes and all boats rise when there are logical and humane rules that limit the excesses of capitalism and promote more of the general welfare.

One might even borrow George W. Bush’s phrase of a compassionate conservative into a compassionate capitalism.

In this environment capitalists are free to innovate, create, expand and make as much money as their talents will allow but all within the framework of fair play and the just rule of law.  This is a far cry from what e have now.

Government acts merely as a referee that sets fair and equitable laws that will not favor big business, big labor or big government.

For this to happen moral teachings will have to return to the classrooms so that our society stops producing atheistic-minded adults who fill the boardroom and the Senate chambers with the ideas, not of Jesus  Christ but more of Nico Machiavelli and Saul Alinsky.

Portrait of Niccolò Machiavelli by Santi di Tito.jpg

His ideas rule

Will this ever happen in Russia?  I think we will need to say  more rosaries and have more faith.

But at least Vladimir Putin is at least a nominal Christian.  That is better than we have in this country today.

I have painted my vision of the ideal state, though while not utopian, it is certainly more like things were 50 years ago.

What worries me is the fact that America is declining at Argentinian speed.

When a president starts talking about the evils of inequality it is a given that the country is on the road to tyranny and dictatorship because inequality is a fact of life, like poverty, disparities in height weight and intelligence as well as climate change and wealthy people—all common facts that the left will never understand.

Maybe too many opposite currents of thought have come down the pike since then but this is the way things ought to be and that’s what we can all hope and pray for, but not just in Russia.

I think maybe we should also pray for the conversion of America.



  1. America is Dead the dirt has not been pushed into the hole to cover the body!

    Comment by Mike Ellington — January 20, 2014 @ 4:56 pm

  2. I have so much to say that I will write you a personal letter in the next few days. Fatima, America, Pope, Putin etc etc etc.

    Comment by Mary B. Lachney — January 21, 2014 @ 2:32 am

    • I will look forward to it. Thanks for writing. My next one will be on the The Good Marxist. BB


      Comment by Bill Borst — January 21, 2014 @ 3:08 pm

  3. A reader writes me: Very good article. You laid out the groundwork and the pros and cons. Now, we just have to “wait and see”. Francis has a definite agenda. Once that agenda is crystallized, we shall “know the truth”. I believe that it is Marxist in nature. I believe that he will call Vatican III to finish what J23 started and which he believes that JPII and Benedict hijacked as reactionaries. I believe that he will link up with Obama and that a world government is in the offing.

    Comment by Bill Borst — January 21, 2014 @ 3:21 pm

  4. The “trends” we are seeing in America, and those that existed under the Czars and the marxists in Russia, are not trends at all. They are the latest manifestation of the age-old struggle between centralized power and dispersed power, between slavery and freedom. It usually seems as though the forces of centralization are winning, but things are not always what they seem.
    The forces of freedom and the resulting free market are so strong that, once established, attempts to centralize are often thwarted because thay are developed and promoted by the mind of man and freedom is natural and therefore from God.
    I do not mean to be a Pollyanna. We need to fight the forces of God’s rival. If we do not, our children or grandchildren will be doomed and it will be very difficult (and probably bloody) for the society to return to God’s ways. But this is as it has always been.
    Obama has not destroyed America, even though he has tried very hard and has lots of powerful allies. The fact that he has failed to “transform” speaks to the great strength and momentum of freedom and its resulting human flourishing in the land.
    Let us pray and work hard to restore America to its place as the best expression of God’s system ever devised.

    Comment by John Kelly — January 22, 2014 @ 9:26 pm

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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at







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