The Controversy about Father Nicholas Gruner

 Father Nicholas Gruner is probably the most controversial priest in
the Church today. It is a matter of routine to condemn him as being
"unfaithul to the Church, or the Pope, or the Magisterium." Why?
Because he is not afraid to speak the truth. It seems that anyone who
has the balls to stand up to the Vatican bureaucracy, and to so-called
"conservative" Catholics, can't possibly be in union with the Church.
Recently, on September 12, 2001, 1 day after our country was attacked,
the Vatican decides to release a notice about the "suspension" of
Father Gruner. It was noted in two major news stories, one put out
by the Vatican Information Service, and by Catholic World News. I 
covered some of this in a short article I wrote as my site update of
9-14-01, found on my main page.

I'm not going to cover all the same ground here. I am going to cover
a couple other things.

First, I saw that Colin Donovan of EWTN updated his statement on Fr.
Gruner on the EWTN website to reflect the "suspension." Also, I found
another "attack" on Father Gruner elsewhere on the 'Net, which I will
deal with after Donovan's statement.

Here is the complete text of Colin Donovan's statement. At the end, I 
will list the URL. I will also place my own commentary throughout:


Fr. Gruner and his media apostolate Fatima Crusader and Catholic
 Family News

 Fr. Nicholas Gruner started out in the 1970's proomoting the message
of Fatima through a magazine called Fatima Crusader. He and his maga-
zine have always taken a negative tone on the compliance of the Popes
with the message of Fatima, specifically vis-a-vis the request for the
Consecration of Russia, and has become more strident over the years.
This approach pervades the magazine, and always has, especially in its
attitude toward the Roman Curia, BUT, not excepting the Popes them-
selves, including the present pontiff. This magazine also attacks any-
one who disagrees with Fr. Gruner's opinions on Fatima, showing con-
tempt for all other Fatima Apostolates. This includes holy priests 
like Father Robert Fox, whose Fatima Family Apostolate has propogated
the Fatima message to far greater audiences than Fr. Gruner could ever
hope to do, taken tens of thousands of young people to Fatima, led 
them to consecrating themselves to the Immaculate Heart, led them to 
holy vocations to the priesthood, religious life and matrimony.

 COMMENT: Mr. Donovan is like most of his so-called "conservative
 Catholic" brethren. Notice the talk of "negative tone". It seems 
 that unless one is entirely "positive" about the Church's leaders and
 their decisions, then one is doing a bad thing. As for the Fatima 
 Crusader having "contempt" for other Fatima apostolates, ah, another
 "negative tone" problem. There are 2 other major Fatima apostolates,
 the Blue Army, and the Fatima Family Apostolate run by Fr. Robert J.
 Fox. Both of which claim Church approval. From what I have read, the 
 Blue Army, which was the first, didn't even have ecclesiastical
 approval until the 1970's, though it was founded in the 1940's.
 (If I am mistaken on this, please correct me.) As for Fr. Fox's
 apostolate, it claims the approval of a Roman Congragation, but there
 is no direct Papal approval (No surprise there.) Both of these have
 been promoting the idea the "Consecration of Russia" has been done,
 even claiming the the Pope and Sr. Lucia have said it was done. 
 REALLY???!!! Then where is the official Papal document signed by the
 Pope (encyclical, motu proprio) in which he declares it was done?
 Where can I find a video of the press conference or speech or what-
 ever that took place where he says this? I challenge Mr. Donovan,
 Fr. Robert Fox, and the Blue Army to produce said documentation.
 Since none exists, any reasonable person would show contempt for
 people who have made money, and acquired fame for their "faithfulness
 to the Pope" by circulating a lie that the very Catholic TV network,
 and website which supports these apostolates, has the documentation
 that proves these people are liars! Yes, I am referring to EWTN, the
 very same outfit Mr. Donovan works for. As noted on my article on my
 main page, the EWTN library has a file that has the text of 3 Papal
 Consecrations to the Immaculate Hreart of Mary, including the text
 of the 1984 Consecration which is the one which the Blue Army and 
 Fr. Fox love to talk  about, and claim that the Consecration of 
 Russia has been done. The words of the Pope are there for all to see,
 but Mr. Donovan, Fr. Fox, and the Blue Army can't see that the Pope
 NEVER CONSECRATED RUSSIA TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY. And yet,
 these same people have gotten a lot of mileage out of BEING SEEN as
 "faithful to the Pope", when the POPE HIMSELF on the VERY DAY of this
 alleged Consecration of Russia does not even use the word RUSSIA at
 all! But has this stopped people from claiming that the Pope did it?
 Of course not. In the post-Vatican II Novus Ordo Church, it doesn't
 matter whether you REALLY ARE in union with the Pope and obey him,
 it only matters that ONE APPEARS to be. As for Fr. Fox being a "holy
 priest", I don't consider a priest who has spent the last decade or
 more promoting a lie to be holy.

It has also suggested that Sr. Lucia, the surviving seer of Fatima is
kept from speaking the truth about the message of Fatima, the Conse-
cration of Russia, and the Third Part of the Secret of Fatima. All
evidence that Sr. Lucia has spoken on these matters, whether in lett-
ersto others or statements to those who have visited her, including
bishops, are denounced as fabrications. Currently, he charges a Vat-
ican conspiracy to cover up the real content of the Third Secret, a
conspiracy that necessarily involves the Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger, Sr.
Lucia and other living individuals, such as Archbishop Capovilla, who,
unlike Fr. Gruner, have actually read the Third Secret!

 COMMENT: Well, then, perhaps Mr. Donovan can answer this. If Fr.
 Gruner is so wrong, then why not solve the debate in one swoop? On
 the day of Jacinta and Francisco beatification, when Sr. Lucia was 
 there, and the Pope was there, why did the Pope have the Vatican
 Secretary of State read the "Third Secret"? The reason alleged at the
 time was basically so there would be no confusion about the status
 of the Third Secret, since it is private revelation, it would not be
 good to be seen reading because it seem to lend a certain "equality"
 to Divine Revelation. Ok, that makes a certain amount of sense. So,
 if Father Gruner is so wrong, then why didn't the Pope order Sr. 
 Lucia to read the Third Secret in front of the cameras under obed-
 ience? Surely, she who has been a nun for well over fifty years,
 who took a vow of obedience to her superiors would have obeyed
 such an order without a second's hesitation. And since she was the 
 one to whom it was revealed and who wrote it down, she would know
 without question what the Third Secret was. If she read it, in front
 of the whole world with everyone watching and recording, there would
 be no grounds for even the slightest doubt about what the Third Sec-
 ret said. Instead, we are read a text by a man who the very next day
 was sitting at a table with a man who is one of the most public
 supporters of abortion the world has ever known. Gorbachev, a commu-
 nist. A holder of a philosphy condemned by the Church, by Pope Pius
 XI. If that isn't enough, this Secretary of State, not long before
 had positive praise for a heretic that "conservative Catholics" love
 to talk about how the Pope took action and declared to not be a 
 "Catholic theologian", a man who called the Pope a "despot", but for
 some strange reason, has not been excommunicated, or otherwise cens-
 ured. Yes, I am talking about Hans Kung. I find it highly interesting
 that clergy like this, and bishops, like the 3 in this country who
 are huge supporters of the dissident "Call to Action", and the many
 priests who have of late been implicated in child molesting and in
 supporting homosexuality are never "suspended" or otherwise discip-
 lined. They are routinely just shunted off to another parish in the
 diocese. But Fr. Gruner, who has NEVER, been involved in such
 activities, and who even the Vatican bureaucrats have never tried to
 accuse him of doing anything against faith or morals, is the one who
 is "suspended." Now, of course, Sr. Lucia doesn't speak English, but
 there has got to be somebody out there who knows both Portugeuse and
 English who can be trusted to give a true translation.

One's views about Fatima, however, cannot seperate one from the 
Church. Private revelation does not oblige, so neither can a partic-
ular interpretation of it. No matter how wrong-headed Father Gruner's
views are, they can never, in themselves constitute disbelief or sch-
ism.

 Well, thank you, Mr. Donovan for having the balls to point this out,
 even if it will make you unpopular with your fellow "conservatives",
 who seem to hold a contradictory opinion.

However, in recent years Fr. Gruner has aligned himself increasingly
with ultra-traditionalists who, forgetting the First Vatican Council's
doctrine of papal primacy, oppose the acts and decrees of Vatican II
and the recent pontiffs in a number of matters, especially liturgical.
Taking to themselves the judgment of the sufficiency of acts of papal
governance and the interpretation of Sacred Tradition, contrary to 
both canon law and Catholic theology, they see themselves as the rem-
nant of the True Church, awaiting the conversion of the Pope, the 
bishops, and other "Novus Ordo" Catholics, as they call those who
follow the Council and the Papal Magisterium. This practice of 
private interpretation has led them to a public campaign of resistance
to the Holy Father spelled out in another Gruner journal The Catholic
(sic) Family News, under the title "We resist you to you face." The
"you" is Pope John Paul II. All Catholics should resist this impious
campaign to its face! [Note: This campaign is also a formal part of
the editorial policy of another ultra-traditionalist newspaper The
Remnant, as well.]
 
 Well! Ultra-Traditionalists....private judgment... OK, Mr. Donovan,
 perhaps you can show me a Papal document POST VATICAN II, mind you,
 in which he condemns "ultra-traditionalists", whatever they are 
 exactly. I would like to draw your attention to the following web
 page:

 salbert.tripod.com/index-19.html

 Here I have posted material that explains what the authority of the 
 Pope is, and is not, and I will also cite a book by Germain Grisez,
 who, to the best of my knowledge, is an entirely orthodox theologian,
 that also explains the authority of the Pope.
 [to be posted later]

 In addition, Mr. Donovan, the title of the document is "We resist you
 to THE face." And it is obvious you have not taken the time to read
 it carefully AND objectively. As for their forgetting Papal Primacy,
 you really show your ignorance of said document, because if you had
 read it, or read it with an eye to being objective, it was addressed
 to the Pope in the first place!

Catholics who associate themselves with such efforts participate in
at least material disobedience to lawful papal authority. This means
that externally, in themselves, their acts are disobedient, though 
internally, through ignorance, or lack of intention, they may not be
morally culpable (formal disobedience). However, they could, over 
time, find themselves in formal schism from the Church, that is,
willfully disobeying papal authority. This is because in the human 
will it is not very far from whining and complaining about what you
don't like about the Church and this pontificate to formally (that is,
with full moral culpability) breaking communion with Peter, especially
when you have taken the first step of material resistance to Papal
authority.

 Interesting, on one hand they are basically in schism, on the other,
 they are on not, but on the verge of it. Which is it? Mr. Donovan,
 I am no theologian, I have no fancy degree, but I do have common
 sense. I don't take everything that comes out of Rome at face value,
 at least not these days. On one hand we have the Pope, in official 
 documents, saying we should follow the Traditional way when it comes
 to ecumenism, but in practice, he goes to synagogues, and says noth-
 ing to the Jews about Christ being the Messiah, he kisses the holy 
 book of a religion which denies the Trinity and refers to it as dung,
 he (apparently) authorizes the issuance of notices that certain 
 hardly known theologians or priests and nuns, are not faithful to the
 Church, while imposing no discpline on them, no punishment, no 
 excommunication; he does not crack down on bishops who willfully 
 allow those certain priest's who have been accused of child molest-
 ing to continue their sick activities, all under the umbrella of
 the protection of their bishops, which has resulted in several dio-
 ceses of late paying out millions of dollars in lawsuits, money that
 was given by the lay people to the Church to provide for the upkeep
 of our churches, to let let our priests and bishops live without
 getting a secular job, etc., and all you can do is accuse people
 who want answers to questions as to why such are going on and noth-
 ing is being done about them of being disobedient!!!!!!!??????
 
Finally, in recent years there has been a certain lack of clarity
regarding the priestly status of Fr. Gruner.

 Well, obviously even the Vatican believes he has been validly ord-
 ained, he is referred to as Father, and since no lay person can be
 suspended, or claimed to have been, suspended a divinis........

Although those who questioned the Roman Congregatiion of the Clergy 
were told that his faculties had been suspended, Fr. Gruner proclaimed
himself innocent of disobedience and was appealing to the highest 
ecclesiastical court, the Apostolic Signatura. As a result, charity
and justice obliged that reserve be taken in the matter, until such
time as his status was definitively judged by the Holy See. His appeal
having been rejected by the Signitura, such reserve is no longer just-
ified. The Holy See has made clear, with the authority of the Pope,
that "the activities of Father Gruner ... do not have the approval of
legitimate ecclesiastical authorities." Catholics should heed this
warning, for the reasons stated above.

 First, Mr. Donovan, and anyone else reading this, if you have not
 done so already, read the book "Fatima Priest" by Francis Alban for
 the rest of the story on this. Second, Mr. Donovan, as a moral
 theologian, you should know better, charity and justice still pre-
 vail, and also I believe you should be familiar with the 7th Comm-
 andment of God. I read the news story released by the Vatican Inform-
 ation Service on September 12, 2001, and it did not say the Pope
 said or did anything. It said that it was done, and I quote, "upon
 the mandate from a higher authority". The story is no longer on the
 Vatican website, but can be found elsewhere. Now if the Pope did it,
 why not just state "upon the mandate of the Pope" (or Holy Father,
 or whatever)? Easy, because the "higher authority" wasn't the Pope,
 it was someone else, and Cardinal Hoyos wasn't about to chance being
 caught in a blatant lie at some point. As for their being no "eccles-
 iastic approval" of Father Gruner's activities, that crock has been
 around for years, even EWTN has a file on an older declaration say-
 the same thing. Since when did Father Gruner need "ecclesiastical
 approval" to carry out a private meeting? Many clergy carry out 
 private meetings and apostolic activities without "ecclesiastical
 approval" and they are not "suspended" or accused of being disobed-
 ient to the Pope. There are some who carry out private (and public)
 meetings and other activities which are blatantly anti-Catholic that
 no one in the Vatican has even bothered to complain about. For exam-
 ple, there are 3 BISHOPS in this country who are members and VERY
 active supporters of Call to Action, an extremely dissident group.
 Yet, where is the Congregation of the Clergy and the Pope when it
 comes to them? Am I to assume that the Pope approves of Call to Act-
 ion and these BISHOPS support of these activities? Am I to assume 
 that because these 3 BISHOPS support Call to Action that it has 
 "ecclesiastical approval?" Since there has been no condemnation of 
 this dissident organization or these BISHOPS, from Rome, I guess I
 should assume so.

 Oh, yeah, I hear you getting warmed up to say, "Just because they 
 disobey, does not justify Father Gruner." Ah, the age-old answer....
 Be serious. When I see an official statement spoken or written by 
 Pope John Paul II himself condemning and excommunication all the
 dissidents, whatever their rank, then I will take a Vatican news 
 release that claims a perfectly faithful priest has been "uspended"
 seriously. I would also take it seriously if the Pope himself stated
 Father Gruner was suspended, until either of those happens, at least
 have the honesty to state the truth, not what you wish were the case.

Father Gruner's disciples, naturally, will appeal to the example of
Blessed Padre Pio, who was silenced by the Holy See for a time despite
his innocence. It remains to be seen whether Fr. Gruner will imitate
the obedience of Padre Pio to what he alleges is an injustice, or,
continue to go his own way, thereby demonstrating its validity.
Revised 20 September 2001
Answered by Colin B. Donovan, STL

 Really Mr. Donovan, you can read minds, now? And after making sure
 the STL is after your name, you have to stoop to taking a cheap shot
 at a priest! I really wish I knew how to answer such a cheap shot.
 First, you claim the authority of Pope was inviolved in this, which
 is easily proven to be doubtful at best, and then you try to make it
 seem if Father Gruner doesn't give up his activities, his opponents
 will be vindicated of their lies and misrepresentations! 



The URL: www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/fr_gruner.htm