This past week marked the 100th Anniversary of the Bolshevik coup d’état in St. Petersburg, Russia, 1917, under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin. It happened three weeks after the great sign in the heavens, the “Miracle of the Sun”, at Fatima, Portugal, before a crowd of 70,000 people, which Our Lady had promised through the three shepherd children: that a sign would be given which all the people could see. This sign would serve to validate the children’s testimony that they had seen her.

Part of that message to the children at Fatima concerned Russia, and the great evils that would soon come out of her. At that time Russia was in a state of internal collapse even as German armies were invading. The Czar had been overthrown in a revolution a few months before and Russia’s Provisional Government was unable to govern effectively. Seeing his opportunity, the leader of the most extreme militant faction of the Russian Social Democratic Party (Lenin and his cohorts styled themselves the “Bolsheviks”— the “majority”—of the Russian socialists even though they were, in fact, a minority with little real popular support) seized power in St. Petersburg (renamed “Petrograd” during the war to make it sound more Russian and less German) with almost no opposition.

Here is how Richard Pipes in his book The Russian Revolution (1990) writes about the ease with which the Bolsheviks seized control of Russia’s capital city on the night of October 24th -25th (according to Russia’s Julian Old Calendar then in use. The Gregorian Calendar date was November 6th-7th): 

According to eyewitnesses, on October 25 life in Petrograd returned to normal as offices and shops re-opened, factory workers went to work, and places of entertainment filled with crowds. No-one except a handful of principals knew what had happened: that the capital city was in the iron grip of armed Bolsheviks and that nothing would ever be the same again. Lenin later said that starting the world revolution in Russia was as easy as ‘picking up a feather.’

Writing in the New York Times Book Review (Sunday, October 22nd, 2017) on the upcoming centenary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, Martin Amis observed that:

It was not a good idea that somehow went wrong or withered away. It was a very bad idea from the outset and one forced into life—or the life of the undead—with barely imaginable self-righteousness, pedantry, dynamism and horror.

As one example he cites an order by Lenin from March 1922 (after the Bolsheviks had succeeded in defeating the armies opposing them in the Civil War which followed their coup d’état):

‘It is precisely now and only now, when in the starving regions people are eating human flesh, and hundreds if not thousands of corpses are littering the roads that we can (and therefore must)…’ At this point the universal reader might pause to wonder how the sentence will go forward. Something like ‘pursue all avenues of amelioration and relief,’ perhaps?

But no. This is Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the leader of ‘a party of a new type,’ who continues: ‘...carry out the confiscation of church valuables with the most savage and merciless energy...Precisely at this moment we must give battle to [the clergy] in the most decisive and merciless manner and crush its resistance with such brutality that it will not forget it for decades to come...The greater the number of representatives of the reactionary clergy and reactionary bourgeoisie we succeed in executing for this reason, the better.’   

(Fr. Higgins)

About Our Parish

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes is Newton and Needham Massachusetts's oldest Roman Catholic Parish. Founded as Saint Mary's Parish in 1870 it was renamed "Mary Immaculate of Lourdes" when the new Church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1910. In addition to being a regular territorial parish of the Archdiocese of Boston it is also a "Mission Parish" since 2007 with a special apostolate for the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missal).

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