- WHY FATIMA
- FATIMA CENTER
- PRAYER & DEVOTION
by Father Paul L. Kramer, S.T.B., M.Div., S.T.L. (Cand.)
What follows this introduction is a detailed canonical complaint filed with the Holy Father against Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos of the Congregation for the Clergy on behalf of Father Nicholas Gruner. The complaint seeks the Cardinal’s removal from office and other remedies which the Pope alone is authorized to grant under the 1983 Code of Canon Law.
In order to understand why this extraordinary complaint has been filed, and why it is being published here, one must consider briefly its factual context:
The Pope’s physical condition continues to decline, and persistent rumors from Rome indicate a decline in mental acuity as well. As the death-watch over the Pope continues, the members of his Vatican apparatus — the de facto mini-popes who actually run the Church — have brought their campaign to silence Father Gruner and his Fatima apostolate to a new level.
The June 26, 2000 press conference regarding the Third Secret was a frontal attack on the Message of Fatima. The Los Angeles Times noted that Cardinal Ratzinger’s and Msgr. Bertone’s commentary on the Third Secret “gently debunked the cult of Fatima.” The commentary reduces the Message of Fatima to practically nothing but the advice that everyone say his prayers and be holy — good advice in itself, of course, but not what Fatima is specifically about. The prophecies and warnings Our Lady was sent by God Himself to deliver were brushed aside on June 26, or consigned to the past as things which no longer concern us.
During the question and answer session at the June 26 press conference, Cardinal Ratzinger went out of his way to mention Father Gruner by name, suggesting that Father must now be silent about the consecration of Russia because “the Magisterium” has declared it to be accomplished. Of course, “the Magisterium” — the teaching office of the Church — has said nothing of the kind. If anything, the Pope declared the opposite in his public remarks during and after the 1984 ceremony, remarks clearly suggesting that he knew Our Lady of Fatima is “still awaiting” the specific consecration of Russia.
Indeed, the November issue of Inside the Vatican reveals that a Cardinal who is a close advisor to the Pope told him not to mention Russia in the 1984 ceremony for fear of offending the Russian Orthodox. So, the men who run the Vatican evidently consider themselves wiser and more prudent than Our Lady of Fatima. And this is why they feel they must keep a dying Pope from doing precisely what Our Lady requested, while silencing the one priest and the one apostolate who provide a worldwide voice to those who know the truth about the Vatican’s deliberate obstruction of Heaven’s own plan for peace.
Meanwhile, Russia continues to decline even further toward disaster each day, as Our Lady of Fatima’s requests and Her warning about the failure to heed them, continue to be ignored. (See “When Black is White,” on page 6 of this issue.)
The June 26 press conference at the Vatican was just one small part of a coordinated final assault on Father Gruner and the apostolate. Only a few days before the press conference, Father Gruner received a written threat of excommunication from the aforesaid Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos — the same Cardinal who would not dream of threatening with excommunication the true enemies of the Church who are spreading heresy and scandal throughout the Mystical Body at this very moment. In fact, if this threat were carried out, Father Gruner would be the only priest since Vatican II to be excommunicated by direct sentence of the Vatican. Think about that.
As noted in the following canonical complaint, the same Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos has actually ordered the papal nuncio to the Philippines to issue a communique containing the ridiculous and completely false allegation that Father Gruner forged documents of the Vatican Secretariat of State to imply endorsement of his work. How can a Vatican Cardinal lend himself to such a monstrous lie? The persecution has reached insane proportions.
The Fatima Crusader, and especially Father Gruner, do not know how much longer they can hold out under this kind of pressure. This is Father Gruner’s 25th year as a Catholic priest. As he looks back on the apostolate’s beginnings as a one-man office with one assistant, and its growth to almost 200 employees and a million supporters, he realizes better than anyone that nothing is guaranteed — except the will of God and Our Lady of Fatima’s final victory over the devil and his followers.
No one knows if the campaign against Father Gruner will ultimately succeed. But looking back at all the other worthy Fatima apostolates which have been destroyed or swerved off course, humanly speaking there is cause for great concern about the survival of his Fatima Apostolate. And yet, by the grace of God, it has survived. That is why your prayers, Novenas and Mass intentions are so important.
Meanwhile, Father Gruner must still use the human means at his disposal under the law of the Church. That is why the complaint you are about to read was filed with the Holy Father, and why it is being published here today.
Father Gruner has tried to go through private channels, but to no avail. The Pope is inaccessible to anyone but his cadre of “handlers” and those they allow to see him. And yet, grave crimes have been perpetrated against Father Gruner and his apostolate by men who claim to act with the Pope’s authority. There is no choice but to make a public entreaty that the Holy Father address these crimes — not just for Father Gruner’s sake, but for the sake of everyone who believes in the Message of Fatima. And also for the sake of the world, which stands to suffer beyond imagining if the warnings of Fatima are ignored much longer.
The crimes we speak of are detailed in the complaint which follows. When you read it, you will understand more clearly than ever that, as Sister Lucia said in her last published interview some 40 years ago, Our Lady is in a decisive battle with the devil. And the battleground is Fatima.
Together with this letter is my formal Canonical Complaint against Cardinal CASTRILLÓN HOYOS. This brings to three the total number of complaints I have personally filed with Your Holiness in due legal form and according to the norms of the 1983 Code of Canon Law which Your Holiness himself promulgated. (The first complaint, dated September 29, 1996, was handed to Your Holiness personally at your general audience of November 20, 1996. The second complaint, dated November 22, 1999, was sent to Your Holiness by registered mail from the Vatican Post Office on December 3, 1999.)
Your Holiness has bound himself to hear these canonical complaints under canons 1405, 1406 and 1506 of the Code, which provide that you are the exclusive judge of penal cases against Cardinals and Bishops, and that (under canon 1506) Your Holiness is deemed to have admitted the 1996 and the 1999 complaints for adjudication by the Supreme Pontiff, given that, under Canon 1506, Your Holiness was duly reminded of his obligation to decide the complaints and the required time has elapsed since the formal reminder was sent to you. Thus, Your Holiness is bound before God and man to render a decision.
Holy Father, your continued failure to do anything goes against the law you have promulgated. You leave yourself open to the appearance of having two weights and two measures, given that you proclaim the obligation of secular tribunals to do justice and respect the dignity of the human person, yet do nothing in a matter involving human rights, and infinitely more important, divine imperatives regarding the Message of Fatima, even though the law you promulgated reserves this matter exclusively to your decision.
I have now waited more than four years for even a simple acknowledgment that my case is before you and is being considered. Yet under canon 1506 you have bound yourself to hear my claims in the first two complaints. Furthermore, justice requires that you hear the third complaint, together with the first two, even before it is deemed accepted under canon 1506 (as were the prior two complaints).
Regarding this present complaint, I note in particular that since Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos has committed ecclesiastical crimes (including attempted extortion by means of a baseless threat of excommunication, and falsely accusing me of forging Secretariat of State documents), you are bound to hear this case by Canon 1452 §1, since the Cardinal is your direct and immediate subject and since under the Code of Canon Law, accusations of ecclesiastical crimes cannot be ignored. They must be heard. By the same token, you are also bound to hear the criminal charges in the complaints of November 1996 and November 1999, which are lodged against Cardinal Innocenti, Cardinal Sanchez, Cardinal Agustoni, Archbishop Sepe, Archbishop Grochelewski, and Bishop Forte.
Your Holiness, if you do not acknowledge this request to me directly, either in person or by letter, I will presume in charity that you are not being allowed to receive the letters I have sent you regarding the adjudication of my complaints. In that case, I shall have no alternative but to give permission to publish my correspondence and the canonical complaints in certain journals to which I have consigned copies of these documents. I trust I shall hear from Your Holiness within the next thirty days, after which I shall presume that publication is the only remaining alternative.
Meanwhile, I will endeavor to send this final letter via various channels in the hope that it might reach Your Holiness within the next thirty days. Since I am under tremendous pressure from the most recent illicit interventions against me and my apostolate, I will not be able to wait any longer than thirty days before making a public response to the public attacks against us. I am obliged in conscience to do everything in my power to continue preaching the Message of Fatima, for I am convinced that this world cannot long avoid the catastrophic chastisement Our Lady of Fatima warned would be the ultimate consequence for failing to heed Her requests.
Humbly yours in Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
TO HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
in the cause of
FATHER NICHOLAS GRUNER, S.T.L., S.T.D., Cand.)
CARDINAL DARIO CASTRILLÓN HOYOS
under Cann. 1389, 1390, 1391, 1401, 1405 and 1406 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND
II. THE WRONGS COMMITTED BY RESPONDENT
Respondent wrongfully usurps the power and authority of the Vicar of Christ, claiming to be a de facto Pope in his dealings with priests and bishops.
III. THE IMPROPER MOTIVES FOR RESPONDENT'S CONDUCT
IV. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
V. PRAYER FOR RELIEF
Most Holy Father:
This document serves as my formal complaint and request for penal sanctions against CARDINAL DARIO CASTRILLÓN HOYOS (hereafter the Respondent).
According to the 1983 Code of Canon law promulgated by Your Holiness, the Supreme Pontiff alone hears complaints of abuse of authority and other violations of ecclesiastical law against Cardinals, legates of the Holy See and (in penal cases) bishops. Can. 1405, § 1, 2°, 3°. The incompetence of any other tribunal to hear such complaints is absolute. Can. 1406, § 1. Thus, under the law promulgated by Your Holiness himself, only Your Holiness can consider this complaint.
This complaint consists of five parts: (1) a general factual background; (2) a specification of the particular wrongs committed by the Respondent; (3) a discussion of Respondent’s improper motives, as revealed in his own written statements; (4) a summary and conclusion; and (5) a prayer for relief.
I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND
A. The prior canonical complaints regarding the attempted destruction of my apostolate.
This complaint comes to Your Holiness against a background of systematic abuse of authority by former Prefects and Secretaries of the Congregation for the Clergy and the Apostolic Signatura. The parties involved in this abuse of authority and the many details of their misconduct are set forth in combined recourses and canonical complaints received by Your Holiness in November 1996 and December 1999.
The admission of the canonical complaints by Your Holiness, and the concomitant obligation of the named prelates to join issue and respond to the complaints, was confirmed according to Canon 1506, as noticed to Your Holiness (as formally brought to Your Holiness’ attention) in my letter of April 20, 2000. I am still awaiting action by Your Holiness on these complaints, as required by the Code of Canon Law Your Holiness yourself has promulgated.
The Respondent, who is the current Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, has joined this general scheme and plan of systematic and deliberate abuse of authority by the named prelates. The ultimate aim of this plan is to silence me and destroy my apostolate, commonly known as the International Fatima Rosary Crusade, among other titles (hereafter the Apostolate), even though there is no basis in the law of the Church for prohibiting our activities. This scheme and plan involves numerous illicit interventions without precedent in the living memory of the Church. Although, as noted, the details of this scheme and plan are fully set forth in the prior proceedings before Your Holiness, I summarize them briefly as follows:
B. My Apostolate Is Theologically Beyond Reproach.
The purpose of my apostolate is to make Our Lady of Fatima’s entire authentic message better known, understood and appreciated within the Church so that its imperatives might ultimately be followed for the good of the Church and the world. Thus, the Apostolate engages in the frank public discussion within the Church of the Message of Fatima, most notably its call for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Many millions of Catholics are convinced the Consecration of Russia has yet to be done, because there has yet to be a solemn and public act of Consecration of that particular nation by the Pope and the world’s bishops acting together at the same time. In all the previous Consecration ceremonies performed by Your Holiness, including those of 1982, 1984, and 2000, Russia has not been mentioned as the object of the Consecration and the moral totality of the world’s bishops did not participate.
As a consequence, it is quite apparent that Russia is not converting, as Our Lady promised it would if the Consecration were done in the manner She requested. On the contrary, the Catholic Church still suffers from official persecution in Russia and is forbidden by law to make converts among the schismatic Orthodox, who adamantly reject the papal primacy established by Our Lord Himself. As even the Russian Orthodox patriarch of Russia has admitted, the moral, spiritual and material condition of Russian society has been degenerating rapidly since the alleged “fall of communism” in 1989, which some people confuse with the spiritual conversion of the Russian people. There are more abortions in Russia today then there were in 1984, the year of the alleged Consecration of Russia — a fact which surely must grieve Your Holiness most acutely.
The Apostolate also promotes its views on the Message of Fatima as it bears on certain prudential policies and initiatives of the Vatican apparatus, especially the Vatican Secretariat of State. These include Ostpolitik, a policy still at work in the Vatican’s refusal to condemn persecution of the Church in China or the schism of the Chinese Communist-controlled “Patriotic Catholic Association,” which has illicitly consecrated nearly 100 bishops in open opposition to Rome. There is also the Vatican’s deep involvement in the godless and positively anti-Catholic United Nations, and other pernicious institutions of the rapidly emerging New World Order. These institutions include a new International Criminal Court (ICC), which would be controlled by the same forces that have legalized abortion and destroyed Catholic social order in every nation. The Vatican’s diplomatic efforts through the Secretariat of State were instrumental in obtaining approval of the first statutes for the ICC during the recent meeting of future member nations in Rome itself. It now remains only for a sufficient number of nations to ratify the ICC treaty, an undertaking which is supported by the Vatican Secretariat of State. The ICC will undoubtedly foster the worldwide regime of official state atheism, including abortion, and many Catholic organizations are now calling for a movement to stop final erection of the ICC.
Finally, there is the Vatican’s general line since the Council of pursuing what innumerable recent Vatican pronouncements describe as “the civilization of love.” This novel idea does not involve the achievement of Catholic social order, or anything approaching it, but rather the supposed cooperation of the “believers” of all religions in creating a just society — as if a truly just society were at all possible without explicit faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to the teaching of His Church.
Your Holiness, we believe these Vatican policies and initiatives are at odds with the Church’s divine mission to bring every soul within her fold and thereby to establish the Social Kingship of Christ in every nation.
First of all, as Your Holiness well knows, the Church has defined infallibly in one solemn pronouncement after another the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus est — outside the Church there is no salvation. (Cfr. Council of Florence and the Bull Unam Sanctum) Your predecessor Blessed Pius IX, whom you yourself have beatified, warned the faithful in Singulari Quadem that they must not preoccupy themselves with pointless speculation about the possibility of salvation for those who are not formal members of the Catholic Church, since only God knows whom He will save (in some extraordinary manner) from among the great mass of humanity which has not exteriorly professed the Catholic faith. For this reason, Blessed Pius IX exhorted the faithful to hold fast to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus est and to continue the divinely appointed work of the Church in making disciples of all nations. As for the lot of those who remain outside the visible Church, His Holiness warned that “all further inquiry is unlawful.”
Who can doubt the wisdom of this admonition? Indeed, the Church has constantly and infallibly taught that no one in this world (absent a special private revelation) can know with absolute certainty the subjective state of any soul, much less whether a soul — even one’s own — is numbered among the elect. Since it is not possible for the Church to presume that anyone is either saved or damned, the ministers of the Church are duty-bound to seek the conversion of every man, woman and child on the face of the earth, following Our Lord’s own command: “Go forth and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded thee. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; he who believes not shall be condemned.” Mark 16:16)
Following this command, the Church has not only taught the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus through the infallible definitions of her extraordinary magisterium, but has also infallibly proposed through the constant teaching of her universal ordinary magisterium the doctrine of the Social Kingship of Christ — that is, the duty of every nation, as well as every man, to profess the Catholic faith and follow the law of Christ the King. As Your Holiness well knows, this teaching is expounded in a marvelous manner in the encyclical Quas Primas, by your predecessor of blessed memory, Pius XI, and is also found in the encyclicals of Saint Pius X (Vehementer Nos), Pius IX (Quanta Cura and the Syllabus of Errors), Leo XIII (Immortale Dei and Libertas Humana), Gregory XVI (Mirari Vos) and others.
Moreover, in his apostolic letter against the French Sillonist movement, Notre Charge Apostolique, St. Pius X condemned the very notion of a pluralist social order in which men of various religions agree to work for the common good and build up an imaginary new civilization of peace and harmony, putting aside the differences which divide them. Pius X contemptuously described this utopian ideal as “a Democracy which will be neither Catholic nor Protestant, nor Jewish. It will be a religion … more universal than the Catholic Church, uniting all men as brothers and comrades at last in ‘the Kingdom of God.’” His Holiness condemned this notion as a threat to the very mission of the Church, reminding the bishops of France that the task of the Church is not to pursue a non-Catholic utopia, which has never existed and never will exist, but rather to work for the building of the only truly just civilization by restoring Christendom and “the Catholic City.”
Holy Father, it is one thing to agree in principle to collaborate with non-Catholics of good will to uphold the natural law in a society in which Catholics comprise a minority, and where such collaboration would not pose any danger to the integrity of the Faith or the salvation of souls. It is quite another, however, to present as some sort of ideal a “civilization of love” in which there would be no objective duty on the part of every member of society to embrace the one true religion — the whole and entire Catholic faith — nor any duty on the part of temporal authority to protect and defend that religion which God Himself commanded be brought to every corner of the world.
Holy Father, in view of the Church’s infallible teaching on these matters, is it not apparent that the Vatican’s post-conciliar policies of accommodation with the powers of the world and its pursuit of a non-Catholic “civilization of love” are at odds with the Message of Fatima? For the Message of Fatima is nothing other than a heavenly recapitulation of the necessity of the Church for salvation and the duty of the Church to establish the Social Kingship of Christ throughout the world:
“You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart ... In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”
As the words of Our Lady of Fatima show beyond any doubt, the establishment of worldwide devotion precisely to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the very intention of God Himself in making known the Message of Fatima. But the Immaculate Heart cannot triumph in this manner until the Russian people embrace the Catholic Faith, since the Orthodox churches do not admit the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, and thus do not have the Catholic Faith. Furthermore, because the Orthodox do not formally, officially and publicly acknowledge the Immaculate Conception (even if some individual members of the Orthodox do) the public cult and devotion to the Immaculate Heart as Our Lord wills it, cannot be achieved ever under the Orthodox churches. We must recall that Sister Lucy testified in a letter to her confessor, dated May 18, 1936, Our Lord Himself told her: “I want My whole Church to acknowledge that Consecration [of Russia] as a Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that it may extend its cult later on and put the devotion to this Immaculate Heart beside the devotion to My Sacred Heart.”
Now, if the Vatican’s new orientation, since the Council, does not represent some contradiction to the perennial teaching of the Church on her own mission in this world — then it would have to be shown how this new orientation comports with the prior teaching of the infallible extraordinary and universal ordinary Magisterium. Only a further infallible definition by Your Holiness or his successor could establish this new orientation as also the binding teaching of Holy Church.1 Otherwise, it cannot be accepted, since it does not carry the approval of the infallible Magisterium, but is found only in the opinions of certain functionaries in the Vatican, or perhaps in views expressed even by Your Holiness in speeches and other pronouncements that lack the character of infallible Catholic doctrine addressed to the universal Church. This new orientation stands as a complete novelty in the history of the Church, which until recently never ceased to preach the objective necessity for membership in the one, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church by every man, and the profession of the true Faith by every man for salvation.
What is more, since this novel orientation works against the constant teaching and orientation of the Church, one would have a duty to resist it, in keeping with the unanimous teaching of the theologians and doctors of the Church (including St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Alphonsus Liguori and Suarez), that a subject may resist a prelate — even the Supreme Pontiff — when he says or does something that threatens harm to souls or the common good of the Church.
All of this being so, no one can say — indeed, no one has said — that anything I have preached or published over the years is contrary to the Faith. Quite the opposite: my apostolate promotes the Faith in all its integrity, as well as pious practices fully approved by the Church, most especially the Rosary and the brown and green scapulars. Yet, as early as 1989, the Bishop of Avellino (in whose diocese I was originally incardinated) was receiving what he called “worried signals” from the Secretariat of State about our perfectly lawful and legitimate apostolate. Beginning in 1994, certain persons in the Secretariat of State, combined with the former Prefects and Secretaries of the Congregation for the Clergy and the Prefects and Secretaries of the Signatura, began to take direct action in order to silence me and the Apostolate.
1. In view of the widespread confusion on this point, it should be noted that this document is not suggesting that His Holiness or any Pope can define a new doctrine that contradicts the previously defined doctrine of the faith. As Vatican I solemnly taught — Papal infallibility is not given so that the Pope can teach a new doctrine. “The reason for this is that the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of St. Peter not that they might make known new doctrine by His revelation, but rather, that with His assistance they might religiously guard and faithfully explain the revelation or deposit of faith that was handed down through the apostles." (Emphasis added) Denzinger 1836
C. The Plan to Silence the Apostolate.
Recognizing that no law of the Church prohibited our activities, these persons contrived an illicit canonical ploy which they hoped would destroy the Apostolate: The former Prefect of the Congregation pressured the Bishop of Avellino to recall me from Canada (where I had been living with his permission since 1978) unless I could find another bishop to incardinate me. Then high ranking persons in the Congregation for the Clergy (with the help of the nuncios) illegally and deliberately blocked my incardination by a series of benevolent bishops, while directing the Bishop of Avellino not to excardinate me under any circumstances. Having unlawfully interfered with the rights of four bishops in the matter of my excardination/incardination, the Congregation declared that I had “failed” to find another bishop and was therefore guilty of being in an “irregular condition.”
This immoral and illicit canonical ploy was combined with “announcements” in L’Osservatore Romano and on Vatican Radio urging the entire Church to shun any conference conducted by the Apostolate. Similar communications were carried to every bishop in the world in the diplomatic pouches of the nuncios, who also sought to prevent bishops from obtaining travel visas to attend the Apostolate’s Fatima conferences.
These actions against me have no known precedent in Church history. Not even notorious heretics who condemn Your Holiness in public pronouncements have been treated in this manner by Vatican officials. Clearly, the motive for these actions can only be suppression of the Message of Fatima, since there is nothing else about my work which is controversial. This was made quite clear at the Vatican press conference of June 26, 2000, concerning publication of the vision associated with the Third Secret of Fatima: the entire conference was organized around the theme that the Third Secret relates only to past events, that Russia has been validly consecrated and that nothing remains of the Message of Fatima but a call to personal holiness. Cardinal Ratzinger took the occasion to mention me by name, suggesting that “the Magisterium” has declared that Russia has already been validly consecrated. Of course, Your Holiness has never said so himself in any magisterial pronouncement addressed to the universal Church.
Of course, Your Holiness has never said that “the Magisterium” declares the Consecration to have been done. In fact, to my knowledge Your Holiness has never made any statement to the public that Russia has been validly consecrated. On the contrary, before more than 200,000 people in St. Peter’s Square on March 25, 1984, (as reported in the L’Osservatore Romano in the March 26-27 Italian edition) Your Holiness, addressing himself to Our Lady of Fatima, stated as follows: “Enlighten especially the peoples whose consecration and entrusting You are awaiting from us” (“Illumina specialmente i popoli di cui tu aspetti la nostra consacrazione e il nostro affidamento”). You uttered these words, in a departure from the printed text, after you had just consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart. That is, you acknowledged before the world that what you had just done on March 25, 1984, was still not what Our Lady of Fatima had requested concerning Russia.
Several hours after the Act of Consecration of the World on March 25, 1984, while inside St. Peter’s Basilica, Your Holiness (again addressing yourself to Our Lady of Fatima) stated before 10,000 people that: “We wished to choose this Sunday, the Third Sunday of Lent, 1984 — still within the Holy Year of Redemption — for the act of entrusting and consecration of the world, of the great human family, of all peoples, especially those who have a very great need of this consecration and entrustment, of those peoples for whom You Yourself are awaiting our act of consecration and entrusting”. (But any person who has studied the matter knows that Our Lady of Fatima specifically asked for the consecration of only one country … Russia.) Your Holiness, you then said, “We have been able to do all this according to our poor human possibilities and the measure of human weakness but with immense confidence in Your maternal solicitude”. This was reported in the Italian Catholic Bishops’ official newspaper Avvenire, dated March 27, 1984, on page 11.
Obviously these remarks by Your Holiness lead many to the conclusion that Your Holiness himself does not believe that he has been able to accomplish what Our Lady requested of you concerning the Consecration of Russia. Accordingly, I say with all respect that it is incumbent upon you, Your Holiness, either to do precisely what Our Lady requested or else pronounce with the full authority of your infallible magisterium that you have fulfilled Her request. With respect, Holy Father, neither Cardinal Ratzinger nor Archbishop Bertone nor anyone else can remove the burden from you by offering the opinion that the Consecration has been done, for no one but Your Holiness has the authority to settle this question.
Meanwhile, the condition of the world continues to deteriorate by the hour. In Russia the abortion holocaust not only continues but grows worse. As for the condition of the Church in Russia, two of Russia’s apostolic administrators (the Church is even afraid to establish a Catholic diocese in Russia lest the Orthodox object) have been told that they must marry Russian women if they wish to remain in the country. Holy Father, your own bishops are being told by civil authorities that they must violate their vows of chastity in order to remain in Russia!
Your Holiness, nothing could be clearer than that there is still a need for the work of our Apostolate. No authority in the Church can require the faithful to ignore the evidence of their senses or to suspend the use of their reason. The First Vatican Council infallibly decreed that there is no contradiction between faith and reason. It is reason which demonstrates that our views about the Message of Fatima are correct. It is reason, viewing the evident facts, which causes so many members of the faithful, including more than 1000 members of the Catholic episcopate and 40 percent of the Cardinals, to support the Apostolate’s aims.
As Your Holiness knows, despite the unprecedented abuses of power designed to destroy my reputation and the work of the Apostolate, the Archbishop of Hyderabad proceeded to incardinate me, and he has affirmed his decree of incardination in a subsequent decree. His Grace (along with 26 other bishops, 1900 priests and religious and 16,000 members of the laity) has also signed an Open Letter to Your Holiness which was published on April 2, 1998, in Il Messaggero. The Open Letter protests the scheme and plan to silence me and the Apostolate, while true enemies of the Church within the priesthood are allowed to attack her with impunity in every nation.
On November 22, 1999, I made recourse to Your Holiness from the latest decree of the Signatura in my case, which purports to uphold the order to return to Avellino based on nothing more than my alleged “irregular condition.” This “irregular condition” was created and imposed upon me by the above mentioned prelates, who have systematically abused the authority of their offices within the Congregation for the Clergy (acting according to the same “worried signals” of the Vatican Secretariat of State cited by the Bishop of Avellino in 1989).
Finally, as noted in my recourse to Your Holiness, the latest decree of the Signatura boldly declares that the successive Prefects and Secretaries of the Congregation for the Clergy involved in this scheme and plan had the right to engage in these unprecedented interventions because they allegedly possess the ordinary vicariate power and jurisdiction of the Pope and are the “hierarchical superior” of every bishop. As my recourse to Your Holiness explains, this novel theory (which appears to have been developed solely for my case) is a direct attack on the divine constitution of the Church. (This heretical theory may also explain other abuses which are now coming to light in the Catholic press.)
II. THE WRONGS COMMITTED BY RESPONDENT
The Respondent has made his own peculiar contributions to this scheme and plan. Since his appointment as Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy in 1996, the Respondent has undertaken the following illicit actions against me:
A. Respondent threatens me with excommunication if I do not abandon a perfectly legitimate civil proceeding in which he has no right to interfere.
Ten years ago I instituted a suit for libel against Monsignor Alan R.A. McCormack, former Vice-Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Toronto. This civil proceeding is fully permissible under natural law and the 1983 Code of Canon Law Your Holiness himself promulgated. Indeed, today there are innumerable pending claims in the civil tribunals throughout the world against priests, monsignors and even bishops who are accused of abusing their authority in ways which violate the civil law and the legitimate civil rights of persons.
My own proceeding is based on Msgr. McCormack’s false statements in 1990 regarding my canonical status. These statements falsely implied that I was a suspended or imposter cleric, when only two months before the Bishop of Avellino had issued a certificate of good standing to me and renewed my permission to reside in Canada.
Msgr. McCormack’s libels were circulated in secular newspapers throughout North America, where they were read and believed by millions of people. The damage to my reputation and the Apostolate’s good name is incalculable. It was only for the sake of the Apostolate that I took this action in the first place — but only after Msgr. McCormack had refused my repeated requests to make a retraction.
In March of this year the civil tribunal refused to dismiss my claim, rightly recognizing that it involved grave damage to my reputation in civil society and was not simply a Church matter. During the ten years the suit was pending, no one in the Vatican had objected to it. Meanwhile, however, Monsignor McCormack had become a Vatican employee in one of the Congregations. This perhaps explains what happened after the civil tribunal refused to dismiss my claim and scheduled a trial for August of this year.
On June 5, 2000, about two months before trial, Respondent sent me a letter in which, while shamelessly invoking Our Lord and Our Lady and the “Spirit of the Jubilee,” he threatens me with excommunication if I do not accede to his demand that I abandon the suit before it went to trial.
Respondent’s June 5 letter states the threat as follows:
“Besides, this situation is aggravated by the civil process pending before the Provincial Tribunal of Ontario. This cause, independently of the results that you will be able to have, will not fail to generate further tensions right at the moment in which the current Jubilee Year promotes significant gestures of reconciliation and communion. It would really be sad if, in such circumstances, instead of being able to reach a solution to this old and tormented affair, you should give to public opinion the bad example of a judicial conflict in the civil forum and, as a consequence, you should ultimately proceed on the canonical level even unto the penalty of excommunication.” (Emphasis added)
[Inoltre, questa sua situazione è agravata dal processo civil pendente presso il Tribunale provinciale dell’Ontario . . . Sarebbe davvero triste che, in tali circonstanze, anziché poter addivenire ad una soluzione della annosa e tormentata vicenda, si dovesse dare all’opinione pubblica il cattivo essempio di uno scontro giudiziario in foro civile, e, di consequenza, si dovesse ulteriormente procedere sul piano canonico anche fino all pena della scomunica . . .]
Respondent openly confirmed his groundless and extortionate threat of excommunication in a July 6 communiqué which he directed the Apostolic Nuncio to circulate to all the bishops of the Philippines:
“In the spirit of the Jubilee Year, the Congregation for the Clergy, through the Apostolic Nuncio in Canada, wrote to Father Gruner on June 5, 2000, admonishing him to undertake to withdraw his civil litigation and to undertake to reconcile himself with ecclesiastical authorities. The same letter warned that failure to do so would provoke additional canonical procedures against him, up to and including the penalty of excommunication.” (Emphasis added)
In response to his threat of excommunication, I wrote to Respondent on July 11 and July 12, 2000, offering to withdraw the civil proceeding if his threat were also formally withdrawn. I also requested a meeting with Respondent in an effort to resolve the civil proceeding and all related matters.
In reply, Respondent sent me a letter dated August 8, 2000 in which he states that he cannot discuss the civil proceeding with me because the Congregation has no competence in these matters and that he must maintain strictly the distinction between the civil and ecclesiastical forums. Thus, after attempting to interfere in my legitimate civil proceeding by making an extortionate threat of excommunication if I did not abandon the lawsuit, Respondent admitted he had no right to meddle in the matter in the first place. He thus admits to his own hypocrisy, mendacity and abuse of power.
Respondent knows there is no canonical basis for his threat of excommunication. Not even heretics and sexual deviants in the priesthood have been threatened with this ultimate penalty. If I were excommunicated, I would be the only priest in the history of the post-Vatican II Church to be excommunicated by a sentence of the Vatican. Yet I have violated no law of the Church nor committed any offense against faith or morals. What could be more absurd and unjust than this, Holy Father?
Respondent compounded his abuse of power by publicizing his threat to excommunicate me through the nuncio to the Philippines, with the obvious intention of increasing its illicitly coercive effect upon me. Merely to make this threat in private was unconscionable. That Respondent would publicize it is an abuse of power without parallel in the modern Church history.
B. The Respondent has used the Apostolic Nuncios of the Philippines, India and Papua New Guinea to deliver communiqués which falsely accuse me of criminal activity and contain many other false statements concerning my canonical status and the work of the Apostolate.
These communiqués are either written by Respondent himself, or by a nuncio or a nuncial employee at Respondent’s direction. The falsity of these communiqués is amply demonstrated in the Apostolate’s Formal Response of July 28, 2000 to the July 6, 2000 communiqué of the Philippine Nuncio, as well as our letter in response to the acting Papal Nuncio of Papua New Guinea.
The communiqués contain the following falsehoods, among others:
1. The communiqué to the bishops of the Philippines falsely claims that in 1989 I used “forged Secretariat of State documents . . . to imply endorsement” of the Apostolate.
Holy Father, there are no such “forged Secretariat of State documents.” The allegation is a pure invention and a demonstrable lie.
If such forged documents really existed, I would have been ordered to cease using them eleven years ago, when the Nuncio claims they first appeared. I was never notified of any “forged Secretariat of State documents” because they do not exist.
In my letters to Respondent on July 12, August 31 and September 16, 2000, I brought this false allegation of criminal activity to his attention. He has thus far failed to retract the accusation or to make restitution for having falsely accused me of a crime.
This Respondent’s libel has been circulated far beyond the Philippines via the Internet and otherwise. For example, we have received information that the libel is being circulated in Taiwan.
2. All three communiqués imply that I and the Apostolate lack required “ecclesiastical approval” to “organize his [Father Gruner’s] conferences” for bishops, priests and laity held in various countries to promote the Message of Fatima.
Respondent is certainly aware that this implied accusation is false. Under the 1983 Code of Canon Law promulgated by Your Holiness himself (not to mention the natural law) there is absolutely no requirement for “ecclesiastical approval” of conferences on Fatima or any other subject of concern to Catholics.
Nor is there any requirement for “ecclesiastical approval” of my personal participation in such conferences, or in the activities of this organization as a whole. See Canons 208-228, in particular, cc. 212, 215, 278, 299. In fact (as Respondent well knows from reading the acts of my case) upon my election to the Board of Directors of this organization, Your Holiness himself conveyed his congratulations through his personal secretary.
Holy Father, you know better than anyone that today in the Church there are thousands of private associations of clergy and laity operating without “ecclesiastical approval” of any kind and in perfect conformity with the law of the Church.
To accuse someone of functioning without “ecclesiastical approval” when no such approval is necessary is to commit calumny by means of the deliberate use of a half-truth. The accusation is also an outright lie in the sense that the Code of Canon Law in and of itself grants “ecclesiastical approval” for private associations of clergy and laity, and episcopal attendance at private conferences arranged by such associations, without any need whatever for formal approval by any Church authority. Cfr. Canons 215 and 212.
Oddly enough, the prelates who have attempted to interdict our Fatima conferences by various illicit means did nothing to stop Bishop Lucker from attending a recent conference of the heretical Call to Action movement in the United States. But such is the double-standard which animates all of the interventions against our apostolate. It seems that the only thing which truly alarms these prelates is the prospect of a spreading awareness of the authentic Message of Fatima.
3. Respondent publishes the false accusation that the Apostolate’s activities are of “dubious orthodoxy.”
Here the Respondent, acting through the Philippine Nuncio’s July 6 communiqué, refers to a circular letter to the world’s bishops issued by Cardinal Gantin in 1996. The only such letter from Cardinal Gantin that we know of makes no reference to “dubious orthodoxy.” In fact, Cardinal Gantin’s letter mentions only the alleged lack of “ecclesiastical approval” for the Apostolate’s activities, which approval is not required in the first place. As noted already, no one has ever accused me or the apostolate of a lack of orthodoxy. Respondent’s attempt to put such an accusation in the mouth of Cardinal Gantin is despicable.
In March of 1997 the Apostolate replied to Cardinal Gantin’s letter by registered mail, demonstrating that his implied accusation of canonical impropriety was false, and posing certain queries to His Eminence. Cardinal Gantin has never replied to the registered letter — not even after it was published in 90,000 copies of the book Fatima Priest over the past three years.
Furthermore, it should be noted that in December of 1998 I wrote to the Congregation for the Clergy and the Apostolic Signatura, requesting copies of approximately 15 more “circular letters” concerning me and the Apostolate of which we were previously unaware. The existence of these letters, which have been circulated behind my back and some of them for more than ten years, by various nuncios, was first revealed by the Promoter of Justice in a 1998 document he filed during the proceedings before the Signatura. So it seems that secret accusations conveyed by nuncios have been added to the array of unprecedented interventions against me.
To date, my requests to the Signatura and the Respondent for copies of these secret missives, which requests I made more than two years ago, have gone unanswered.
4. Respondent publishes the falsehood that I was acting in “open defiance of the Holy See’s directives” in 1996.
This is another demonstrable lie in the July 6 communiqué. I have never been given any “directive” of the Holy See. There were no “directives of the Holy See” requiring any action by me as of 1996, nor or at any other time thereafter.
I have never “defied” any “directive” of “the Holy See.” The “Holy See” itself has never issued me any directive. Rather, the Congregation for the Clergy has merely upheld a purported directive of the Bishop of Avellino, not “the Holy See,” that I return there after an approved absence of 18 years. As I have already noted, until recently, the Congregation consistently took the position that the order to return to Avellino was the bishop’s own idea and not the result of its own illicit interference behind the scenes. I have made recourse from the bishop’s order to return. There is no “defiance” or “disobedience” to the Holy See in making a canonical recourse against a bishop’s unjust order.
Therefore, it is simply a lie to say that in 1996 I was “defying” a “directive of the Holy See.”
5. The Respondent publishes the falsehood that I was “suspended a divinis” by the Bishop of Avellino on May 16, 1996.
This demonstrable lie is contained in all three communiqués.
As Respondent certainly knows, the Bishop of Avellino’s decree of May 16, 1996, only threatened the penalty of suspension if I did not return to Avellino within 29 days, after an approved absence of 18 years. Since I pursued timely canonical recourses from that order, under Canon 1647 the operation of any threatened penalty was suspended. Those recourses are still pending in the Apostolic Signatura, although it is rumored that there is some new decree which I have yet to receive (if it exists). Therefore, it is a lie to say that I was suspended a divinis in 1996.
6. The Respondent publishes the falsehood that the Apostolic Signatura has definitively concluded all of my hierarchical recourses.
This falsehood is likewise contained in all three nuncial communiqués. It is obviously intended to create the false impression that I have been deprived of any and all canonical grounds for contesting the illicit actions against me.
In truth, there is still pending before the Apostolic Signatura a petition for restitutio in integrum or, in the alternative, a declaration of nullity. I have heard from third parties that the Signatura has issued a document regarding my petition, but I have yet to receive it from anyone. Although I requested a copy of this rumored decree by letter of November 5, 2000, to the Apostolic Signatura, I have not heard from the Tribunal as of this date.
My petition notes that the only allegation now remaining against me, after years of canonical proceedings, is that my “condition” was “irregular” and needed to be “corrected” by the Bishop of Avellino. This alleged “irregular condition” consists of nothing more than my residing in Canada with the written permission of the Bishop of Avellino (as well as my subsequent Ordinary), while being engaged in an apostolate which does not require ecclesiastical approval and which I had the canonical and natural right to conduct. Cfr. cc. 215, 278, 299. In other words, Holy Father, there is nothing irregular about my “irregular condition.”
My petition for restitutio further notes that the order that I return to Avellino and reside there permanently (after an approved absence of some 22 years) is patently illegal. I am not an Italian citizen but a citizen of Canada. The Bishop of Avellino never took any measures to obtain a proper entry visa for me, even assuming he had the right to order me to return, which he does not. Thus, the order to return violates Italian civil law on immigration, by which the Church agrees to be bound. Cfr. can. 22. If I were to attempt to comply with the bishop’s illegal order to take up residence in Italy without the proper visa, I would be deported immediately at the point of entry, unless I were to lie about the purpose of my visit.
In any case, I am now incardinated in the Archdiocese of Hyderabad. Both the Signatura and the Bishop of Avellino were provided with copies of the Archbishop of Hyderabad’s pertinent decrees in the latter part of 1999, and neither the bishop nor the Tribunal has since expressed any objection. Under apparent prodding from Respondent, however, the Bishop of Avellino (in August 2000) issued a letter that simply ignores my incardination in Hyderabad and suggests that I should enter Italy as an illegal alien, without regard to the requirements of Italian immigration law. I wrote to the Bishop of Avellino on September 16, 2000, pointing out that his order is legally (under both civil and canon law) and morally impossible to obey. He has not replied.
7. The Respondent publishes the falsehood that the Apostolic Signatura has “settled” my well-founded claims regarding abuse of power by him and his collaborators.
The nuncial communiqués the Respondent has caused to be issued all falsely assert that the Apostolic Signatura has “settled” my factual and legal contentions regarding the abuse of power in my case, which I have set forth in my 82-page reply to the Promoter of Justice. In truth, the Signatura declined to address those contentions, stating only that its failure to consider my reply does not mean that it admits that my contentions are true. In addition to establishing the systematic abuse of power against me, my reply also conclusively demonstrates that the Promoter’s document is filled with false, misleading and factually inaccurate statements about me and the apostolate which are gravely damaging to my reputation and standing as a priest.
Instead of addressing the merits of my reply, the Signatura simply ignored all my responses I had raised and ignored all of the rebuttals I had given, while stating that its failure to address those issues and my rebuttals does not mean that it agreed with anything I had to say. Meanwhile, the Signatura has effectively abandoned the Promoter’s document — implicitly recognizing that I had refuted it — yet does not have the decency to retract any of the Promoter’s falsehoods and inaccuracies, or to order the Promoter to do so, thereby leaving his grossly flawed document as part of the record in my case.
On November 22, 1999, I formally requested Your Holiness that Your Holiness himself consider my contentions concerning the abuses of power in this case, as well as my demonstration of the Promoter’s falsehoods and inaccuracies, none of which have been retracted. Therefore, it is quite false to say that issues I have raised in my 82-page reply (and in related documents) have all been resolved by the Signatura’s decrees in this case.
Neither has the Signatura “settled” the fundamental question of how the Bishop of Avellino could order me to become a permanent resident of Italy in violation of Italian immigration law, even if he were still my bishop, which he is not.
Also not “settled” are the allegations in the two separate canonical petitions lodged with Your Holiness. Both petitions (one in my name and one in the name of the Apostolate) were delivered personally to Your Holiness on November 20, 1996. A third petition sent to Your Holiness on or about November 22, 1999, and its acceptance as a case pending before the Supreme Pontiff was confirmed by a registered letter from me, dated April 20, 2000, citing can. 1506, under which acceptance of the case is now mandated by the Code of Canon Law which Your Holiness himself promulgated.
These petitions, reserved exclusively to the Supreme Pontiff under cc. 1405 and 1406, cite abuses of power by the Prefects and Secretaries of the Congregation for the Clergy and the Signatura who have been involved in the totally unprecedented process described here: namely, preventing my lawful incardination by three different benevolent bishops, followed by accusations that I have not “obeyed” because I have “failed” to find another bishop, followed by a sentence of exile for my “failure” to “obey.” These illicit measures were combined with equally unprecedented attempts to de facto interdict the Apostolate throughout the world without any canonical grounds or due process of law.
Therefore, it is quite false to state that the petitions I have lodged with Your Holiness have been “settled” by any decree of the Signatura.
8. The Respondent publishes a false characterization of the civil proceeding I instituted in Toronto.
The communiqués falsely claim that I have brought suit against the Archbishop of Toronto, when in truth the only defendant is the former Vice Chancellor, Msgr. McCormack. This lie is obviously designed to provoke outrage against me by creating the false impression that I have sued an Archbishop in the civil tribunal.
The July 6 communiqué falsely suggests that the proceeding against Msgr. McCormack was commenced during my recourses before the Congregation and the Signatura (“Regretfully, in the meantime, Father Gruner initiated a civil proceeding . . .”). The false implication is that I commenced the civil proceeding to retaliate for the unprecedented canonical interventions against me. In truth, the civil proceeding was commenced ten years ago, long before the canonical interventions or my recourses against them.
9. The Respondent hypocritically justifies his many false statements as necessary for the good of the Church.
Respondent, through the various nuncios, claims that he and his collaborators have acted against me in order to “safeguard ecclesiastical discipline” and with “exclusive regard to the salus animarum (the salvation of souls).” Holy Father, I must say that in view of the state of the Church today it is hard to believe the Respondent expects this statement to be taken seriously.
Your Holiness, the faithful everywhere know that throughout the world the Mystical Body of Christ is being wounded grievously by innumerable clerical scandals involving heresy and unspeakable immorality. Clerics who prey on small boys are transferred from diocese to diocese and parish to parish for years, and the Congregation for the Clergy does nothing about them until civil suits are filed and the matter becomes a public scandal. Open heretics are allowed to preach against Catholic doctrine and dogma for decades without suffering any penalty from a Vatican congregation, and even if they do eventually receive some minimal punishment, they are allowed to remain priests in good standing. They are never required to retract the heresies they have preached and published in books and journals. They are even allowed to continue expressing their lying opinions.
Even though the Church is afflicted by true enemies of the Faith on every continent, the Respondent seriously suggests that I must be suspended and even excommunicated when I have violated no law of the Church and committed no offense against faith or morals. On the contrary, I have always defended the Catholic Faith and promoted good morals by preaching and teaching the Message of Fatima, with its call for penance, the Rosary and the Communions of Reparation on the First Saturdays. What is more, the Apostolate has distributed millions of brown and green scapulars which (by the promise of Our Lady) save properly disposed souls from Hell and produce miraculous conversions.
Holy Father, I ask you to consider the intolerable hypocrisy of those who do nothing (or next to nothing) about the true enemies of the Faith within the Church, while abusing the power of their high offices to persecute me in this unprecedented manner, claiming to act for the good of souls and ecclesiastical discipline. Does Respondent really believe he is acting for the good of souls and to preserve ecclesiastical discipline when he does nothing about the evils which afflict the Church, while persecuting one priest who promotes the Message of Fatima, distributes scapulars and encourages devotion to Our Lady? If this is Respondent’s notion of serving the Church, then he is a positive danger to souls. This is yet another reason Respondent must be removed from office.
In the midst of a total collapse of Church discipline, they pursue me with boundless energy while indolently ignoring those who undermine the good order of the Church in every nation and in virtually every diocese.
In the midst of a loss of faith throughout the Church, they seriously suggest that the salvation of souls requires them to condemn me and my apostolate before the entire Church, yet they take no such action against countless clerics who threaten the welfare of souls with heretical preaching or immoral behavior.
Holy Father, what is to explain this insane disparity of treatment? There can only be one answer: the Message of Fatima.
C. Respondent wrongfully usurps the power and authority of the Vicar of Christ, claiming to be a de facto Pope in his dealings with priests and bishops.
As noted in my recourse of November 22, 1999, when the Signatura was unable to deny any longer the illicit sub rosa interventions of the Congregation, aimed at preventing my incardination by any benevolent bishop in the world, it finally resorted to an utterly novel theory. In its decree of July 10, 1999 (issued September 3, 1999), the Signatura declared that the Congregation for the Clergy was entitled to prevent any bishop from incardinating me because the Congregation possesses the “ordinary vicariate power” of Your Holiness himself, and is therefore the “hierarchical superior” of every bishop in the Church. According to this novel theory the Congregation for the Clergy is the Supreme Pontiff, for all practical purposes.
The mendacity of this belated claim of “vicariate” papal authority is shown amply in my recourse of November 22, 1999, which makes note of the fact that neither Respondent nor any of his predecessors ever made such a claim during the previous five years of canonical proceedings. On the contrary, at all times the Congregation implicitly denied its extra-canonical interventions and pretended it was merely upholding the will of the Bishop of Avellino. Yet it is undisputed that the bishop frankly admitted to me that he had no will of his own in this matter, and had no grievance against me, but was merely responding to coercion from the Congregation (which in turn was doing the bidding of the Vatican Secretariat of State).
The notion that Respondent is a surrogate Pope who may interfere at will in the process of excardination-incardination, even without any specific delegation of authority from Your Holiness, obviously does violence to the divine constitution of the Church. For the Church’s divine constitution is based upon the divinely conferred right of each bishop to rule his own diocese as a successor of the apostles. This de fide truth was solemnly proclaimed by the First Vatican Council.
There is no question that Your Holiness himself has direct and immediate jurisdiction over every member of the Church, including every bishop, or that he can assign certain tasks of governance to the heads of Vatican congregations. But this does not, and cannot, mean that the head of every Vatican congregation exercises your personal and direct jurisdiction so as to become a de facto Pope. The result would be a disastrous proliferation of de facto Popes in the Vatican and the reduction of bishops to mere subordinates of Vatican congregations. Your own authority would thus be squandered and divided among various fallible men whose aims might be, and often are, at war with each other and (as the long history of the Church shows us) at variance with truth and justice.
Holy Father, I feel it is not out of hand to say that Respondent’s hugely expansive view of his own power savors of heresy because it undermines the Church’s divine constitution. And since this notion smacks of heresy, it leads to de facto schism, since heresy always causes division among the faithful.
In this case, a kind of schismatic division is also introduced into the proper relation between a priest and his bishop, driving a wedge between them simply in order to serve the personal agenda of Respondent and his collaborators in the Vatican apparatus. That agenda is one of human policies and geopolitical dealings with the likes of Mikhail Gorbachev, rather than the advance of the Catholic Faith into Russia and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary throughout the world. It seems that to serve this agenda, Respondent and his collaborators are willing to distort and even destroy (if necessary) the divine constitution of the Church.
I hope and pray that Your Holiness has not directed Respondent and his predecessors and collaborators to conduct themselves in this way. Even if their actions had been personally authorized by Your Holiness himself they would still constitute an immoral abuse of authority.
I say to Your Holiness in all humility and respect that not even the Supreme Pontiff would have the moral right to command a priest to do something, prevent the priest from obeying that command, and then accuse the priest of “disobedience.” Yet that is precisely what has occurred in my case: I was ordered to correct my “irregular situation” by finding another bishop to incardinate me. Each time I found a willing bishop, I was prevented from effectuating the incardination by the very people who issued the order — with your “vicariate” authority, as they now claim. I was then accused of “disobeying” the order to find another bishop and of “failing” to correct my “irregular condition.”
Your Holiness, no one, not even a Pope, has the right to abuse his authority in this way. No one, not even a pope, has the right to manipulate and torture one of his own subjects, like a cat with a mouse. If indeed these actions against me were by your own explicit command or with your approval, then I am compelled to say that they would bring disgrace upon you. This would be all the more true given that these actions are clearly directed toward suppression of the authentic Message of Our Lady of Fatima, to whom Your Holiness professes to have dedicated his entire pontificate.
I cannot, and will not, presume that Your Holiness would engage in such an abuse of authority and steep himself in such hypocrisy. Yet without some concrete sign from Your Holiness that my pleas have been heard and will be granted, how am I to avoid the ultimate conclusion that what has been done to me has been done by your command? And if that be true, what choice would I have but to resist such an abuse of papal authority, following all the doctors and theologians of the Church, mentioned above, who unanimously counsel such resistance even against the Supreme Pontiff when he acts in a manner that poses a threat to souls or to the common good of the Church? God grant that I will never have to engage in such resistance, and that my spiritual father will come to my aid rather than assisting in my persecution by remaining silent.
III. THE IMPROPER MOTIVES FOR RESPONDENT’S CONDUCT
In one respect the Respondent’s actions have produced a providential benefit. The communiqués issued at Respondent’s behest reveal plainly, at long last, what really motivates his illicit interventions against me, along with those of his predecessors and collaborators: namely, a desire to suppress my legitimate teaching and preaching on the Message of Fatima. The Respondent openly admits this in his own statement defending his actions, which he caused the Papal Nuncio to India to distribute to all the Indian bishops:
“2.4 Reducing the rich doctrinal-catechetical content of the message [of Fatima] to some particular aspects, often in an exploitative and imaginary way, not only creates confusion among the faithful, but also weakens the message itself. For example, Rev. Gruner directs his polemics against the Holy Father for supposedly not fulfilling the Virgin’s request to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart. Actually, the act of consecration made by John Paul II on the 25th March, 1984, has fulfilled all that was requested (by) the Holy Virgin. This is repeatedly vouched for by Sr. Lucia herself.” (Prot. No. 200000997, June 19, 2000)
Here, finally, Respondent abandons any pretense that the actions taken against me were motivated by a need to correct my non-existent “irregular condition” or punish my non-existent “disobedience.” Here, finally, the Respondent admits that he hounds and persecutes me because I will not subscribe to the fiction that Russia has been consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and that the prophetic warnings of the Message of Fatima may now be safely disregarded, even if our senses tell us that the world’s condition grows worse by the hour. Respondent falsely denounces my refusal to subscribe to this fiction as “polemics against the Holy Father,” even though I have written not one word against Your Holiness.
Meanwhile, Respondent says nothing and does nothing about the many priests who, like Hans Küng, really do engage in polemics against Your Holiness. In addition to his notorious denial of numerous doctrines of the faith, Küng has publicly denounced Your Holiness as a despot who “rules in the spirit of the Spanish Inquisition.” Yet the Respondent has sent no communiqués to the bishops of the world denouncing Küng. In fact, Küng remains a priest in good standing in the Diocese of Basle.
In fact, during his entire tenure as Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, the Respondent has never publicly condemned the heretical preaching or scandalous behavior of any of the thousands of priests who deeply wound the Mystical Body and destroy the credibility of the Church in the eyes of those outside her. This state of affairs Respondent is evidently prepared to tolerate in silence, despite his sacred obligation to maintain vigilance over the clergy. But when it comes to a priest expressing the view that Russia has not yet been consecrated to the Immaculate Heart, how quickly and decisively he acts — as if he has suddenly discovered a reason for the existence of his high office in the Church!
And so it is now admitted that I am to be condemned, suppressed and even excommunicated because I do not accept the “consecration” of 1984 and the “official” declaration that Fatima’s prophetic warnings to the Church and the world need no longer concern us because they are all in the past. Yet the facts cannot be made to disappear as easily as one priest, Holy Father. And these are the facts:
Since the “consecration” of 1984 the holocaust of abortion has only intensified in Russia. There are now two abortions for every live birth in Russia, and the Russian population is dwindling at the rate of 2500 people per day. Life expectancy is declining, and half of all Russian men die before the age of 60. Abortion, contraception, divorce, alcoholism and violent crime are rapidly destroying what is left of Russian society. No less than Alexander Solzhenitsyn has declared that Russian democracy is a myth and that the demographic trends in Russia are very alarming.
The Catholic Church in Russia today labors under government-imposed restrictions to which the Orthodox, the Jews, the Muslims and the Hindus are not subject, including the prohibition of Catholic “proselytization” among non-Catholics. As a result, there are almost no converts to the Faith in Russia, but many thousands of converts to Islam, a favored religion under Russia’s new laws on “freedom of conscience.”
By every measure, then, Russia’s spiritual and material condition has only worsened since 1984. There is no sign of the conversion of Russia. Meanwhile, overt communism still enslaves one third of the world’s population in Red China and elsewhere. The Catholic Church in China has been forced underground. Bishops and priests have been arrested and imprisoned for the “crime” of remaining in communion with the Pope.
Infinitely greater than any offense Respondent has committed against me is the offense of promoting the lie that mere political changes in Russia constitute the conversion of Russia and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart as well as the period of peace promised by Our Lady of Fatima. This great lie endangers the spiritual and the temporal welfare of the whole world, because it lulls the world, and especially Catholics, into a deadly sense of complacency. This lie is a blasphemy, because it implies that the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary — an action of God Himself — means nothing more than the alteration of a political system, not the miraculous supernatural conversion of souls to the one true religion and their turning away from abortion and the other grave sins still rampant in Russia.
Holy Father, it is evident to millions of the faithful that the actions of your own subordinates only confirm that the consecration has yet to be done. Consider that only seven months ago many Vatican officials, including Cardinal Ratzinger and Cardinal Sodano, were in Fatima for the beatification of Jacinta and Francisco. Yet no Vatican representative asked Sister Lucy herself if the Consecration was accomplished in 1984, even though she was in their presence and available to speak! Instead, the Vatican’s commentary on the Third Secret, published June 26, 2000, cites as the only evidence for the Consecration being done in 1984 a computer-generated letter supposedly signed by Sister Lucy in 1989 and mailed to a person whom the commentary does not even identify. Holy Father, Sister Lucy does not even use a computer! Her voluminous memoirs were written entirely in her own handwriting, yet we are expected to believe that this cloistered nun (who was then over 80 years old) used a computer terminal to type a one-page letter! We are also expected to believe that this letter was composed by Sister Lucy even though it contains errors of fact Sister Lucy herself would never have made — for example, that Paul VI performed a “consecration” of the world during his visit to Fatima on May 13, 1967, when this never happened.
Your Holiness, one of the reasons Respondent and his collaborators seek to destroy me and the Apostolate is that we pose to the public legitimate questions such as the following:
Your Holiness, it is clear that Respondent and his collaborators will stop at nothing to bury the Message of Fatima so that the Vatican Secretariat of State can proceed unimpeded in its approchement with the powers of the world. As Your Holiness is surely aware, on June 27, 2000, the day after the vision contained in the Third Secret was published and explained away as entirely a thing of the past, the Vatican staged a press conference at which Mikhail Gorbachev was given a place of honor between Cardinals Sodano and Silvestrini.
This press conference was called to celebrate the publication of the late Cardinal Casaroli’s memoirs concerning his policy of Ostpolitik — the non-condemnation and non-confrontation of communist regimes — which Cardinal Casaroli imposed when he was Secretary of State, and which Cardinal Sodano continues to impose to this day in the Church’s dealings with communist China.
Mr. Gorbachev, who recently admitted that he is still a Leninist, uses his Gorbachev Foundation to promote a universal regime of abortion and contraception in order to eliminate four billion people from the world’s population. Gorbachev stands for everything Our Lady of Fatima came in the name of Heaven to oppose and warn against. Yet Gorbachev, this false prophet of the very culture of death which Your Holiness has so often condemned, was made the Vatican’s guest of honor and seated between two princes of the Church, only one day after the Message of Fatima was consigned to the past.
This disgraceful event at the Vatican is the very embodiment of the Vatican Secretariat of State’s entire agenda since the Council, as I have described it in my introduction to this complaint. Holy Father, was this not a most terrible insult to Our Lady and Her divine Son?
Your Holiness, the faithful have other legitimate questions concerning the Consecration of Russia, which the apostolate has not ceased to raise:
Indeed, in your own beautiful sermon during the beatification ceremony this past May 13, you yourself, Holy Father, expressly linked the Message of Fatima to the Book of the Apocalypse, Chapter 12, verses 1-4. In your sermon at Fatima you declared that the appearance of Our Lady of Fatima was nothing less than the fulfillment of the biblical prophecy of the “Woman clothed with the sun” in Apocalypse 12:1. You also drew our attention to verses 3 and 4, wherein we see the tail of the dragon sweeping a third of the stars from heaven. We know that the common interpretation of these verses is that the stars of heaven represent the Catholic clergy. (See The Book of Destiny by Rev. Herman B. Kramer, pages 280-285).
What were you trying to tell us with this reference, Holy Father? Were you not suggesting that the story of Fatima is far from over? Were you not warning us that we must be on our guard against the many clergy who are doing the devil’s work in our time? And who can seriously deny this, given the ever-deepening crisis of faith and discipline in the Church, and the rapidly deteriorating condition of the world at large? The almost daily news of scandal and malfeasance among the Catholic priesthood tells us that you are right: many consecrated souls have indeed been swept from heaven by the dragon’s tail.
Yet instead of addressing the fall of so many consecrated souls, and the incalculable damage this disaster has caused to the Church and the world, the Respondent and his collaborators busy themselves with finding ways to destroy the good name of one priest from Canada, whose only “offense” is to be outspoken about the very prophecy Your Holiness himself has just proclaimed to the entire world.
Your Holiness, my work does not bring me any material gain. I live in very modest circumstances, and could live far more comfortably if I gave up this Apostolate. Nor do I derive any pleasure from being unjustly denounced around the world by the Respondent and his collaborators. Nevertheless, my conscience impels me to continue with my work because, like millions of other Catholics, I continue to believe that the Message of Fatima is a prophecy for our age which [as attested by Sister Lucy’s own letter to Your Holiness in May 1982 and published by the Vatican on June 26, 2000] has yet to be fulfilled.
The Respondent’s communiqués accuse me of being “polemical” concerning the consecration of Russia, but, Holy Father, any reasonable observer should be able to see that the only polemics in this affair are coming from the Respondent and his collaborators. For it takes a polemic indeed to explain why the Church cannot simply do precisely as the Queen of Heaven requested — in a Message authenticated by God Himself with the greatest public miracle in the history of the world since the Resurrection.
Why Your Holiness has thus far refrained from consecrating Russia in the manner Our Lady requested is a question only Your Holiness can answer. But millions of Catholics around the world continue to hope and pray that whatever impediment stands in the way of the Consecration will be removed and Heaven’s request honored at long last, for it is becoming apparent to more and more people that time is running out.
And this is why I go on with my work, Holy Father, even under Respondent’s groundless threat of excommunication.
IV. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
The Respondent enjoys a very high position in the Church. As Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, he is charged with the duty of protecting and defending the rights of the clergy, not merely reviewing their obligations. (Pastor bonus, Art. 95) The Respondent’s position requires that he exhibit exemplary prudence, justice and composure in the exercise of his duties.
What is more, as Your Holiness would know, the Council of Trent [quoted in Canon 2214 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law] has stated the binding teaching of the Church on the proper relation of bishops to their subjects: “Bishops and all ordinaries must be pastors not persecutors. They must rule their subjects, but not dominate them. They must love their subjects as brothers and sons . . .” [Meminerint Episcopi aliique Ordinarii se pastores non percussores esse, atque ita praeesse, sibi subditis opportere, ut non in eis dominentur, sed illos tamquam filios et fratres diligant . . .]
Respondent has made a mockery of these sacred obligations of his. Instead of showing me brotherhood and charity, he has done precisely what the Holy Council of Trent condemned: he has sought to dominate and destroy me by brutishly abusing his authority and spreading lies about me throughout the world. Enlisting the worldwide apparatus of the Vatican Secretariat of State, and squandering the prestige of his office in this illicit enterprise:
In summary, Respondent has taken actions against me and the Apostolate he would never dare to take against any of the notorious enemies of the Church, who operate freely within the ranks of the sacred priesthood while Respondent does nothing to stop them.
Respondent’s brutal behavior demonstrates that his motives are malicious. He seems to think it is his personal mission to destroy me, no matter what means he must employ. He has completely lost sight of the purpose of his office and the obligations of utmost charity and justice it imposes upon him. Shamelessly invoking the name of Our Lord and Our Lady in his extortionate correspondence, he cynically cloaks his malicious abuse of power in the language of piety. In short, the Respondent is simply out of control. His abuse of power and his naked hypocrisy disgrace the office he holds and bring shame on the Church as a whole. Only Your Holiness can rein him in and restore the dignity of his office — by removing him from it.
Furthermore, not only Respondent, but all those who have combined and conspired with him in his activities, are liable to severe punishments, not excluding their removal from office. Cfr. Canons 1329 and 1389-91.
V. PRAYER FOR RELIEF
For all of the reasons I have set forth here, and in my pending recourses and canonical complaints before Your Holiness, I respectfully request the following relief:
B. A decree of Your Holiness compelling Respondent to retract his false allegation of forgery and the other false allegations he has made against me, and further compelling him to make restitution by publicly proclaiming that I am a priest in good standing who has committed no offense which would warrant penal action against me, as envisioned in Cann. 1390 and 1391.
C. A decree of Your Holiness compelling Respondent to publicly withdraw his illicit threat of excommunication.
D. Public censure of Respondent by Your Holiness for his abuse of power, as envisioned in Can. 1390, §2.
E. Public censure and removal from office of all those who have conspired and acted in concert with Respondent, as envisioned by the Canons cited in A-D and Can. 1329.
Your Holiness now has before him three canonical recourses/complaints from decrees and actions of Respondent and his predecessors and collaborators, including this canonical complaint. The documents I have lodged with Your Holiness demonstrate beyond any doubt an utterly unprecedented pattern of abuse of power by high-ranking prelates who claim to be acting in your name.
I remain hopeful that Your Holiness will act to correct the unparalleled injustices being perpetrated in your name. I also retain the hope that Your Holiness will remove the illicit motive for these injustices by finally heeding the key imperative of the Message of Fatima, which our adversaries have labored for so long to obscure and deny.
Father Nicholas Gruner, S.T.L., S.T.D., (Cand.)
Humbly submitted this 20th day of December
|"Make it known to My ministers, given that they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My command, like him, they will follow him into misfortune."|
...Jesus to Sister Lucy
"It will never be too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary."...Jesus to Sister Lucy