The errors of Russia

The role of the Russian giant on the geopolitical stage is not one that could ever be ignored. But since the war with Ukraine broke out in February 2022, even those in the West, far beyond Russia’s borders, are alive to its presence in one way or another. 

In the course of the last two years, an increasing number of Western conservatives, and Catholics, have become more sympathetic to Russia and its current leadership than to their own rulers. Moral people, tired of the crisis of authority in the West and contemptuous of their liberal leaders, both political and ecclesiastical, see in Putin (at least) a man of authority with a vision for his nation, whatever his flaws may be. Faced with the unrelenting attacks on Christian faith and morals in the West, they are prepared to overlook nearly a thousand years of schism, focusing instead on the reservoir of Christian values that they see in Russian orthodoxy. Yet it is the weakness of the West, not the strength of the East, that fosters such inclinations. 

Furthermore, Eastern Orthodoxy appears to suffer from the kind of painful internal tension also experienced by Catholics in the West. In a recent essay, “Who guards the Guardians?”,1 Dr John Behr, Regius Professor of Humanity at the University of Aberdeen, discusses the reasons behind the reluctance of the Orthodox leaders to challenge the idea of Russkii mir, promoted by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow by means of a “holy war”, most recently at the World Russian People’s Council on 27 March. Quoting Archdeacon John Chryssavgis, Dr Behr wonders whether their reluctance comes from “an agonizing, albeit unavowed acknowledgement that they too are fundamentally plagued by the very same vulnerabilities and flaws. They, too, could be branded as heretics.” Archdeacon Chryssavgis goes on to ask, “How many Orthodox Churches tend toward glorification of nation and state? How many majority-Orthodox nations confound worship of God and salute to the flag? Could it be that most, if not all Orthodox Churches are in fact much closer than they might concede to the perverted Russian ideology?”

As an increasingly complex situation is played out on the world stage, we are called to rise above a merely geopolitical point of view and aspire to a supernatural perspective. The apparition of Our Lady in Fatima on the eve of the October Revolution in 1917 cannot be separated from such an outlook.

Our Lady came to warn against Communism

At Eastertide, in May 1917, the First World War had made Europe resemble an antechamber of Hell, as American historian Warren Carroll observed in his excellent little book, 1917.2 Pope Benedict XV spoke of a “suicide of civilised Europe” and appealed to the Queen of Peace on 5 May in the following words: 

“To Mary, then, who is the Mother of Mercy and omnipotent by grace, let loving and devout appeal go up from every corner of the earth — from noble temples and tiniest chapels, from royal palaces and mansions of the rich as from the poorest hut — from blood-drenched plains and seas. Let it bear to Her the anguished cry of mothers and wives, the wailing of innocent little ones, the sighs of every generous heart: that Her most tender and benign solicitude may be moved and the peace we ask for be obtained for our agitated world.”

Eight days later, on 13 May, she came in person, appearing in a field of Cova da Iria to three little shepherds, Lucia and her two cousins, Jacinta and Francisco. She gave them instructions to bring about the triumph of Her Immaculate Heart, so that a period of peace might be granted to the world ravaged by war. First, prayer — most particularly the Holy Rosary; second, reparation for the sins and outrages perpetrated against the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary; and thirdly, she revealed that Russia was to be consecrated to Her Immaculate Heart.

“If my requests are heeded,” Our Lady said, “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.”

The consecration of Russia in a timely manner proved to be a difficult task leading to considerable controversy in the following years. Whatever merits can be attributed to the apparently incomplete or delayed attempts of the consecration, it cannot be denied that Russia did spread her errors throughout the world and, to date, has not converted. 

The chief error of Russia is Communism — a revolutionary project to build a world without God, which has conquered territory further west than the Red Army ever could. The spread of material atheism, the breakdown of moral norms and the legal sanctioning of abortion and homosexuality — sins that cry to heaven for vengeance — are all evidence of its success. Its affront to God is proved by Our Lady’s intervention. In 1917, she did not come down from Heaven to condemn freemasonry, globalism or Islam. She came to condemn Communism.

The spread of errors through Russia 

The goal of Communism was to redefine all social structures to exclude God. And to do this it had first to abolish the family, which reflects the divine order. 

The family is where human life is generated, nurtured and protected. On a natural level, it gives a purpose to human life. Societies based on strong families are not easily controlled or seduced by sin and self-indulgence.

The most efficient way to control a nation is to attack its children. By capturing their hearts and minds, the future of a country is decided. Communists were the first to covet the right of parents to educate their children.

In the Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels defended their slogan “Abolition of the family!” with these words: “Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty.”

“But, you say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social … The Communists have not invented the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the ruling class.”3

The Marxists’ “scientific” approach to the family denied the natural law to which human nature is subject. According to them, matter, animated by movement and progress, is all that exists. Thus, the family is a transitional social arrangement that, in time, would give way to a superior form of society — a society of true equals enjoying communal resources, where women are no longer oppressed by men nor children “exploited” by their parents.

As soon as the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia in October 1917, just weeks after Our Lady’s final apparition at Fatima, they launched their programme to abolish the family.

In December 1917, divorce was introduced and enshrined in the 1918 Family Code to be easily obtained on “no grounds”.

In 1920, Soviet Russia became the first country in the world to legalise abortion, unleashing a scourge that has destroyed more lives than all wars in recorded human history.  

The total institutionalisation of education was a crucial part of the Communist programme. In 1920, Aleksandra Kollontai, a highly influential woman in the Bolshevik party and the first People’s Commissar for Welfare, wrote in Kommunistka, “Communist society will take upon itself all the duties involved in the education of a child.”4

In 1922, prostitution and homosexuality were removed from the Criminal Code. 

The political revolution of the Bolshevik regime was accompanied by preparation for the cultural revolution, which from the start, was primarily a sexual revolution. The aim was to redefine not only society but human nature itself.

As Prof Roberto de Mattei has pointed out, the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow had connections with similar bodies in Germany, for example, Dr Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Research (Institut für Sexualwissenschaft), established in 1919, with the aim of normalising homosexuality.5 Throughout the 1920s, “sexual reform” to abolish the family was studied in academic exchanges.

In 1929, the Soviet leadership invited Wilhelm Reich to Moscow to give a series of lectures. Reich was a student of Sigmund Freud, whose ideological platform confronted Christian morality — based on sacrifice and charity towards one’s neighbour — with hedonism based on individual pleasure. Reich advocated for the “cancelling” of the family and moving from “sex-negative” to “sex-positive” attitudes in society.

Reich was also an admirer of Vera Schmidt, whose Detkski Dom — “children’s home” —in Moscow carried out psychoanalytical and sexual experiments with small children. Reich commended this work as confirmation of infant sexuality. Such “findings”, developed by Alfred Kinsey’s criminal experiments in the USA a couple of decades later,6 despite being rejected for their abusive nature, have nevertheless helped to shape the foundational idea of sex education programmes, promoted by national governments and UN agencies throughout the West today, namely that children are sexual from birth.7

While the architects of the sexual revolution had powerful allies among the leadership of the Communist regime (such as Leon Trotsky), Joseph Stalin saw in it a threat to his political power. He needed a strong Russia and for this reason, Stalin reversed many of the anti-family laws the regime had introduced: divorce became complicated and abortion illegal; homosexual relations were once again a criminal offence. 

Rejected by Stalin, the ideologues of the sexual revolution fled to Weimar Germany, giving rise to the so-called Frankfurt School, where they continued their work as a think-tank of Marxist social scientists. From there, these intellectuals made their way to the USA, where they took up key positions in universities such as Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, Berkeley and other institutions that have since trained most of America’s civil and political leaders. 

It is for this reason that policies promoted in the West today, look and sound like Communism. These are the errors of Russia — not the patrimony of the West. 

Communism of the West and how to heal it

The sexual ideologues of the West today faithfully continue to advance the Communist ideal of society without God. It is an ongoing, patient cultural revolution, focusing on education, media, and popular culture. However, it remains Communist: it still seeks to destroy natural order by redefining human nature; it continues to cancel social structures based on the family and the moral norms of the natural law; the rights of parents as the primary educators of their children are undermined and attacked; the innocence of children is systematically destroyed in schools by sexual indoctrination aimed at breaking down their natural reserve through vulgarity and the promotion of immoral practices, especially homosexuality. 

Today’s political correctness can be traced to the Frankfurt School. Its aim was to conform all language, thoughts and behaviour to the tenets of cultural Marxism by creating a new moral code that labelled any expression of Christian morality as a “hate crime”. Thus those who do not accept homosexuality become the problem, rather than those who seek to force it on the public; parents who do not accept the idea that their child is born in the wrong body become a threat, rather than those indoctrinating children with gender ideology, and so on.

The authors of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) (1948) recognised many of the problems of cultural Marxism on a natural level and tried to offer a secular response. The UDHR defends life as well as parental rights, for it was evident by the end of the Second World War that a father of a family cannot be a free citizen when he does not rule his own house and has to compete with the state for the formation of the consciences of his children. 

In today’s UN, there is little regard for its founding documents, and instead, the Marxist vision of education by the state is promoted. The population control lobby has taken on a leading role in forming sex education programmes and international family policies. The Sustainable Development Goals, the global 2030 Agenda, for instance, brings overwhelming pressure on member states to “ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes”. (Goal 3.7)

This means universal access to contraception, abortion, the promotion of homosexuality and indoctrination of children in schools — in other words, the institutionalised destruction of the family. 

This is, of course, what every Catholic must resist. But it cannot be done by embracing a false alternative. It is not a question of preferring one global agenda to another. Or even having to side with one if we reject the other. Rather it is the doctrine of the Catholic Church against which all worldviews must be judged.

The West is not its leaders nor the liberal values that they proclaim. The true West is Christendom, the faith and culture shaped by the teachings of the Catholic Church, her saints and martyrs. 

At present, this West seems to have been erased but it has merely been eclipsed. Behind the shadows, the sun remains. We must not seek to escape the eclipse at the cost of giving up the sun.

The need to rebuild Russia after the devastating loss of manpower and social disruption of the war made Stalin’s introduction of laws to encourage marriage and childbirth inevitable. Yet, despite these “good policies”, history does not consider him as a pro-family leader. On the contrary, it remembers him as a dictator responsible for bloody terror that cost millions of lives. This example should sound a note of caution for those who extol the current Russian leaders for the promotion of pro-life and family-friendly policies rejected by their Western counterparts. 

Analysing the Communist aftermath, David Satter argues that “Russia today is haunted by deeds unexamined and words unsaid, sites that have not been acknowledged, and mass graves that have been commemorated partially or not at all. … Failure to face the moral implications of the Communist experience, however, has meant that real change in Russia was not possible. The psychology of state domination was left intact to influence the new post-Communist Russia.”8 As long as Russia remains haunted by her errors — as long as Russia is schismatic, anti-Catholic and Communist, it cannot heal the wounds its errors have inflicted on the West.

St Pius X said, “The desire for peace is certainly a sentiment common to all, and there is no one who does not ardently invoke it. Peace, however, once God is denied, is absurdly invoked: where God is absent, justice is exiled; and without justice, the hope of peace is nourished in vain.”9

The secularised world, which today enfolds both West and East, says it wants peace but forgets that it has declared war on God by defying the laws that He has written in the human heart. The message of Fatima reminds us that there will be no peace if there is no conversion first. The warning that applied to Russia in 1917 must now be heeded throughout the world, which has adopted the Communist errors as its own. There can be no lasting peace without justice, but this really means that there can be no true peace before nations once again become Catholic.


  1. Very Rev. Dr. John Behr,  “Who Guards the Guardians?”, Public Orthodoxy, 24 April 2024.
  2. Warren Carroll, 1917: Red Banners, White Mantle (Christendom Press, 1981).
  3. Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848) Ch II.
  4. Alexandra Kollontai, “Communism and the Family”, Kommunistka, No 2, 1920.
  5. Prof Roberto de Mattei, “A history of revolutions and their consequences for the family”, a talk given at the Rome Life Forum, 18 May 2017.
  6. Recorded in so-called Kinsey Reports: Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953).
  7. See, for example, Judith Reisman, Kinsey, Crimes & Consequence (2004) Stolen Honor, Stolen Innocence (2013).
  8. David Satter, It Was A Long Time Ago And It Never Happened Anyway: Russia and the Communist Past, (Yale, 2012), p. 300.
  9. Pius X, E Supremi, no 7.