In the final few pages of my 2013 book: Catholicism, Communism & Criminal Reformation, I wrote:

Within this environment of change, the decision by Vatican II to focus on change or as the elements were called then: aggiornamento, development, and ressourcement, or, modernizing, evolving, and returning to sources, respectively, was a wise response to the spirit of the Aquarian times.

One of the ideas, once obscured but now leaping out, is that rather than continuing the strong pronouncements against Communism characterizing the first five decades of the 20th Century, the Church now decided to embrace in order to convert Communism…

And one wonders how much this approach opened the door for Pope John Paul II to play one of the leading roles in vanquishing the Soviet empire a few decades later, and to the emerging potential coming together of the Russian Orthodox with Rome. (pp. 162-163)

With that as context, this article from Crisis Magazine is truly and wonderfully hopeful.

An excerpt.

For much of the twentieth century, Catholics around the world prayed after every Low Mass for the conversion of Russia.

Called the Leonine Prayers, originally they were conceived as a protection of the sovereignty of the Papal States, which were then under attack. This intention ended with the Lateran Treaty of 1929 but the prayers continued from that time for the conversion of Russia that had become an atheistic state bent on destroying religion.

The prayers included 3 Ave Marias, a Salve Regina, a versicle and response, a prayer for the conversion of sinners and the “exaltation of Holy Mother Church,” ending with the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. Pius X added the invocation “Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy on Us.”

Before the prayers were suppressed in 1965 just think of the billions of them offered for this intention? From little schoolgirls to Catholic heads of state to canonized saints, they all prayed for the conversion of Russia. Does any faithful Catholic think that the end of the Soviet Union in 1991 was not the result of these prayers?…

I believe I’ve seen a glimpse of the conversion of Russia.

Vladimir Yakunin, head of the Russian railroad and a long-time close associate of Vladimir Putin, a man sometime suggested as Putin’s successor, had sponsored a visit to Russia of the True Cross of St. Andrew.

The True Cross of St. Andrew was burned in the French Revolution. Before being consumed in toto, a Catholic priest snatched it from the flames. During the pontificate of Pope St. John Paul the Great, it was returned to the Greek Orthodox Church.

Yakunin, along with his wife who brought her husband to the faith, brought the True Cross to Russia. It was shown in Moscow only a stone’s throw from the Kremlin at Christ Our Savior Cathedral, a highly symbolic Church that was built by the Tsar to celebrate the defeat of Napoleon but that was razed by Stalin and then rebuilt under Putin.

On the day I was there, the faithful stood in the rain for five hours to venerate the cross—to kiss the glass—for about one second before Cathedral aides gently but firmly shoved them on their way. Five hours in the rain for one second of veneration. Meditate on that.

Retrieved August 29, 2014 from