Last of 2 Parts
THE first part, published on Sunday, recounted events following the consecration of nations, or the failure to do so in France and Russia. In both countries, not only did Christianity and its tenets, structures, and personages come under grave attack; the nations themselves suffered destructive wars and despotic regimes.
After three French monarchs failed to consecrate France to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as He had instructed, the French Revolution erupted a century after our Lord conveyed His wish, persecuting the Church and leading to nearly a quarter-century of European wars, most under the dictator Napoleon, till France’s final defeat in 1815.
Russia meanwhile turned communist in 1917, the year Our Lady of Fatima told three shepherd children in Portugal that the Pope and his fellow bishops across the planet should consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart. Otherwise, it would spread its errors around the world.
There was no consecration, and Soviet Russia spread Marxism to half of humanity. Under communist regimes, more than 90 million people perished in famines, executions, and repression in the last century, including 20 million in Russia. The country lost another 20 million citizens in World War 2, the most among all nations.
How Mary saved the Philippines
Should all that scare the Philippines into consecration? In fact, we have our own tales of heavenly intervention in national affairs.
For more than 450 years, the feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of La Naval de Manila has given thanks for her intercession. In 1646, a flotilla manned by Spaniards and Filipinos drove away a larger and better armed invading fleet from the Netherlands.
The Catholic faithful in Intramuros had prayed to a statue of Our Lady carved in 1593 (now in the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City) for succor against the Protestant Dutch. Thus, in 1662, the Archdiocese of Manila declared the naval victory a miracle “Granted by the Sovereign Lord through the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin and devotion to her Rosary…“
There’s more. In 1984, amid the political and economic crisis triggered by the assassination of opposition leader Benigno Aquino Jr. the year before, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) heeded then-Pope Saint John Paul II and dedicated 1985 to Mary— the only national congregation in the Church to do so.
Shortly after the Marian year ended in December 1985, then-President Ferdinand Marcos, ruling for two decades and wielding authoritarian power since 1972, called a snap presidential election to affirm his legitimacy.
Two months later, amid massive protests over election fraud, including marches led by priests and nuns, and bearing religious images, the Marcoses fled, allowing the return of democracy under President Corazon Aquino.
Fast-forward to 2013: Under her son, then-President Benigno Aquino 3rd, the Philippines saw three grave threats emerge: lawlessness, terrorism, and geopolitical conflict.
Crime and contraband tripled, with crime incidence crossing the million-a-year mark by 2013, from 324,083 in 2010. Smuggling surged to $26.6 billion in 2014, from $7.9 billion in 2009, based on International Monetary Fund data. In his 2013 address to Congress, Aquino decried the flood of guns and drugs from abroad, but never investigated it.
The second threat was terrorism, set to entrench in the envisioned Bangsamoro region under the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the separatist faction which broke away from the Moro National Liberation Front. Only the Mamasapano Massacre of 44 police commandos stopped the creation of the MILF-dominated Bangsamoro.
Threat No. 3 was the massive deployment of American forces in the country, under Washington’s “pivot to Asia” plan to move 60 percent of naval assets to the region. The US would also have access to our military bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.
If the EDCA had proceeded, Beijing would have targeted the Philippines as a strategic threat hosting the nuclear-armed Seventh Fleet, which can strike most of China and all its shipping, including 80 percent of its oil imports, from the Philippines. As both Marcos and President Rodrigo Duterte warned, US nukes would be magnets for foreign attack.
Three demonic threats and a Blessed Virgin
So, how did the Virgin Mary stop these three threats? Answer: With Church and State.
In June 2013, the CBCP consecrated the Philippines to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And in the following months and years, the Aquino administration’s plan to stay in power and continue its policies and governance for six more years, got derailed.
The month after the consecration, the pork barrel scam erupted, followed by the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) scandal in July.
Then came three calamities in a row, showing President Aquino’s governance failings: the MNLF siege of Zamboanga City in September, the Bohol earthquake in October, and Supertyphoon Yolanda in November.
December 2013 saw the unanimous Supreme Court decision declaring pork barrel unconstitutional. Half a year later, the same thing happened to the P157-billion DAP. And when the administration floated the idea of Aquino running for re-election, most Filipinos opposed it.
In January 2015, a week after Aquino falsely claimed before visiting Pope Francis that Filipino bishops criticizing him were silent in the past regime, the Mamasapano Massacre plunged him into his worst crisis.
Come the May 2016 presidential race, the most unlikely winner was a mayor from faraway Mindanao with no mammoth war chest and nationwide political network.
President Duterte then proceeded to crack down on crime, drugs and terrorism, recast the Bangsamoro pact, and stop the EDCA. Plus: reconcile with China.
Now, drug lords, terrorists, corrupt and traitorous politicians, and EDCA lovers want him out or dead.
But the people are behind his struggle against lawlessness, terrorism, graft, and foreign domination. So is the Blessed Virgin.
He should now complete this deliverance story by consecrating the Philippines to her Immaculate Heart, as his own daughter Sara did for Davao City.
With the powerful demonic forces we face as a nation, we need her intercession more than ever. Amen.
(The first part was published on Sunday, June 18, 2017.)