John D'Aloia Jr.
John D' Aloia Jr. is a retired navy captain and submarine commander. He is a columnist for several newspapers in Kansas.
"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." -- George Santayana.
Could the world and national situation of today actually be a repeat of some other date in history? Many think so, including Ross Douthat, author of an August 15 Wall Street Journal op-ed in which he wonders what year in history we are repeating. The op-ed's title is "What Year is it? 1938? 1972? Or 1914?" Douthat discusses a series of landmark 20th Century years and who today is shaping their comments, policies, and actions based on the year they believe we are reliving. Is it 1938, when England tried to appease Hitler, an act he took as a weakness to be exploited? Or the dark hours of 1942 when we were seemingly on the short end of a war with both fascists and a divine emperor? (Douthat holds that 1942 is the year corresponding to the President's position today.) Is it 1948, the beginning of a long Cold War broken by hot periods such as Korea and Vietnam, where containment was the principal policy? Is it 1972? That seems to be the position of those who fear repression at home more than they do any foreign enemy. Could it be 1919? Several prominent pundits believe so, likening President Bush, in Douthat's words, to: "Woodrow Wilson, a feckless idealist bent on sacrificing U.S. interests and global stability on the altar of messianic liberalism." A belief that talking will solve our problems is rejecting the inescapable evidence that our Islamic enemies are more interested in the eradication of all who will not bow to their god and the imposition of Islam on all. (To believe in 1919 also requires blinders to the fact that the United Nations is no more effective than was the League of Nations.) Douthat's column ends by speculating that perhaps it is 1914, when all seemed well with the world. He wrote:
. . . as the crisis deepens, it's worth considering 1914ism, and with it the possibility that all of us, whatever year we think it is, are poised on the edge of an abyss that nobody saw coming.
More germane today is an abyss the world faced 13 centuries before 1914, an abyss it did not recognize, the 7th century beginning of the Islam-versus-the-world battle. It was an abyss that since then has consumed an uncountable number of souls employing the same strategy being employed today--won't submit and convert? Die.
Several weeks ago, I sensed 1938 appeasement in the air. The possibility that an abyss could exist was being denied. I saw Chamberlain's specter roaming inside the beltway. "Peace in our time" it moaned over and over again. Munich morphed into Turtle Bay. Pictures of the Founders still adorned the walls of Congress, but the Founders' soul and spirit had been banished from the capital. Was the warning--and challenge--in Benjamin Franklin's retort "if you can keep it" about to be sorely tested?
In reality, two very critical dates are being left out of the secular musings and introspection--July 13, 1917, and June 13, 1929--dates when the world was provided the means by which it could avoid the abyss. On July 13, 1917, in Fatima, Portugal, Our Lady appeared for the third time to three children, Lucy, Francisco, and Jacinta, telling the entire world, through them, how to obtain peace. The core of Her message was:
To prevent this [future war], 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 against 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 will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.
Our Lady fulfilled Her promise on June 13, 1929, when she appeared again to Lucy, now a nun, and told her:
The moment has come when God asks the Holy Father to make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means.
For unknown reasons, each and every Pope since that time, while recognizing the validity of Our Lady's appearance at Fatima, has avoided and ignored Her message. Our Lady of Fatima, we pray that your request will be heeded by the Holy Father.
In the vernacular, nothing ventured, nothing gained. *
"It is too early for politicians to presume on our forgetting that the public good, the real welfare of the great body of the people, is the supreme object to be pursued . . ." --James Madison