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Comments by Christopher A. Ferrara, Esq.
I am a civil attorney who practices law in the federal tribunals of the United States, exclusively in defense of the religious and civil rights of Roman Catholics. Catholics are being persecuted throughout the United States because of their faith, and in particular their strong opposition to abortion.
In my 22 years as a lawyer I have seen a great many injustices perpetrated in the name of justice. I have seen Catholics thrown into federal prison for simply standing or sitting in the entrance of an abortion clinic or lying down on the public sidewalk in front of the places where children are murdered in their own mothers womb. At this very moment I am awaiting the decision of an appellate court on the West Coast of America about whether it will overturn a $107 million verdict against some Catholics who have done nothing more than circulate political posters that condemn abortionists by name.
In short, I have seen the law broken in the name of the law. I have seen the letter of the civil law exalted over the eternal law of God. And this is what happens in every nation that turns it back on God.
But in my 22 years as a lawyer I have never seen a worse injustice than the injustice that is being perpetrated against this priest, Father Nicholas Gruner, by the tribunals of the Vatican apparatus. I think the best way to explain this injustice is to tell you a story — a story about each of you. Suppose that you, as a journalist, had written a series of sensational, but completely true, news articles exposing corruption in high places in the Italian government. Suppose that your superior suddenly came under pressure from on high to silence you so that you would no longer be able to publish the truth. Now, you are an exemplary journalist, and your work is beyond reproach. So the problem is: How can such a good journalist be silenced when he has always spoken the truth, when he has done nothing wrong? Clearly, your superior must find some false pretext to get rid of you.
So, your superior, acting under pressure from above, contrives a plan to make it appear that you have failed in your duty as a journalist, and that you should be stripped of your title and demoted to some lowly job, such as proof reader. And here is the plan:
You are told to cover a very important story that will require you to obtain interviews with several important people. You are told that this story is so important that your career will depend upon your success in obtaining these interviews. You are told that you must obtain this story within 30 days if you wish to keep your job.
Following orders, you proceed to contact the people who must be interviewed. Since you are a very respected journalist, you are able to obtain the agreement of each of these people to speak with you. But after you obtain their agreement to be interviewed, your superior contacts these people behind your back, and he tells them not to speak with you. Because your own superior has blocked the interviews, you are unable to write the story by the deadline of 30 days. When the deadline passes, your superior calls you into his office. He tells you that since you have failed to complete the assignment, you can no longer be a journalist and will now be demoted to the lowly title of proof reader.
Later on, you find out that it was your superior who blocked the interviews and prevented you from carrying out his own order. You present him with the evidence of his misdeeds, and you object that he cannot take away your position as a journalist because it was he himself who prevented you from writing the news story. How can he blame you for a failure that he himself caused?
Your superior responds that he has the right, as your superior, to tell people not to speak to you, and he also has the right to demote you for not following his orders — even if he himself prevented you from following his orders!
Now if such a thing really happened to you, would you not be outraged? Would this not be an incomprehensible injustice?
Yet precisely the same sort of thing has happened to Father Nicholas Gruner. Let me explain: Father Gruner is from Canada, but he was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Avellino in 1976. He was ordained in Italy because he intended to become a member of an English-speaking community of Franciscans near Avellino. But this particular Franciscan community never materialized, and so Father Gruner had to make other plans. With the written permission of the Bishop of Avellino, Father Gruner returned to Canada where he was allowed to live and work until such time as he could find some other bishop to incardinate him.
In 1978, at the suggestion of a Bishop of the Eastern Rite of the Catholic Church, Father Gruner was made a member of the Board of Directors of a Canadian apostolate known as The National Committee for the National Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima. This apostolate has custody of a statue of the Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima personally blessed by Pope Paul VI.
Under Father Gruners guidance this small apostolate of a few people grew to become the largest Fatima apostolate in the world. Its publications are read by more than a million people, and its radio and television broadcasts are heard throughout North America. The apostolate has been singularly successful in promoting throughout the world a greater awareness and appreciation of the authentic Message of Fatima, which Our Lady conveyed to the three Fatima seers in 1917. As you know, the Message of Fatima includes three Secrets.
The First Secret contains a vision of hell, which Our Lady showed the three seers, telling them that She had come to save souls from hell through devotion to Her Immaculate Heart. The Second Secret accurately predicted the end of World War I, the rise of world communism, and the Second World War. The Second Secret also calls for the specific Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the Pope together with the Bishops, in a solemn public ceremony. If this is done, Our Lady of Fatima promises that Russia will convert to the Catholic Faith, that Her Immaculate Heart will triumph throughout the world, and that the world will be granted a period of peace. If this is not done, Our Lady of Fatima warns that there will be wars and persecutions of the Church, many people will be martyred, the Holy Father will suffer and many nations will be annihilated.
As for the Third Secret of Fatima, we know that after having kept it under lock and key at the Vatican for nearly 60 years, on June 26, 2000 the Vatican finally published a text that is said to be Sister Lucias description of a vision contained in the Third Secret. In this vision the Pope and many bishops, priests and religious are shot dead by soldiers as they kneel at the foot of a large wooden cross, after the Pope has walked through a half ruined city.
Millions of Catholics are convinced that despite the Vatican ceremonies performed by the Pope in 1982 and 1984, the Consecration of Russia has yet to be done. These ceremonies did not mention Russia specifically, and the worlds bishops did not participate. After the 1984 ceremony, Sister Lucia herself declared in the magazine Sol de Fatima that the ceremony was not sufficient because Russia was not mentioned and the bishops failed to participate. Many Catholics have also speculated, not without reason, that there must be more to the Third Secret than what the Vatican disclosed on June 26 since the vision, standing alone, is hardly something the Vatican would have concealed for more than half a century. Contrary to what the Vatican claims in its official interpretation of the Third Secret, many Catholics do not see how a vision of the Pope and many other clerics being shot dead by soldiers could have anything to do with the attempted assassination of John Paul II in 1981. Indeed, if the vision in the Third Secret relates only to the 1981 assassination attempt, then why did the Vatican continue to keep it a secret for another 19 years after the attempt?
Father Gruner is, of course, one of the millions of Catholics who believe that Russia has not yet been properly consecrated to the Immaculate Heart, and that only this can explain the deteriorating moral and spiritual condition of Russia and the whole world today. His apostolate has been very successful in promoting awareness of the continuing need for the Consecration of Russia. His apostolate has also joined with Catholics around the world who are wondering about whether the Third Secret has been fully disclosed to us.
Now, until about 1989 Father Gruners apostolate was able to grow and prosper without any objection by the Bishop of Avellino, who had no objection to Father Gruners work in Canada. But in that same year the Bishop told Father Gruner that he was getting worried signals from the Vatican Secretariat of State about Father Gruners apostolate. The Secretariat of State was clearly concerned about Father Gruners success in promoting the view that the Russia has not yet been consecrated to the Immaculate Heart and that Russia must be converted if the world is to have true peace.
By continuing to promote this view, Father Gruners apostolate was in effect opposing the Vaticans policy of Ostpolitik which began at Vatican II---that is, the Vaticans refusal to condemn communist regimes which oppress Catholics and to seek accommodation with these regimes rather than confronting them. This policy was enforced by Cardinal Casaroli and now Cardinal Sodano, as Vatican Secretary of State. We see this policy at work even today in the Vaticans refusal to make any public condemnation of the persecution of Catholics by the Red Chinese government. Instead of condemning the Communist Chinese persecution of Catholics loyal to Rome, the Vatican sent Cardinal Etchegaray to celebrate Mass in a Marian shrine now under the control of the Red Chinese government and the schismatic Chinese Patriotic Association, which ordains bishops without the Popes approval.
Closely allied to this policy of Ostpolitik is a new vision of the world which does not see the Church bringing the Faith to everyone and making disciples of all nations, as Our Lord commanded, but rather sees the Church as just one part of what is now called the civilization of love. In this civilization of love the members of all religions, true and false, are supposed to put aside all their differences and live in happy agreement with each other. This, of course, is a utopia which coincides with the false idea of the world Masonic order. Pope Saint Pius X and Blessed Pius IX condemned this false ideal.
You may recall that only one day after the Vatican published the vision of the Third Secret, it staged a press conference to celebrate publication of the memoirs of Cardinal Casaroli, and to praise his Ostpolitik. The guest of honor at this press conference was none other than Mikhail Gorbachev, who was seated between two Cardinals: Sodano and Silvestrini. Gorbachevs foundations promote abortion and contraception around the world in order to remove four billion people from the worlds population. Gorbachev stands for everything Our Lady of Fatima came to oppose in the name of Heaven.
In this press conference we see in a highly visible way the new worldly orientation of the Vatican — it is distinctly not the orientation of the Message of Fatima, but rather one of accommodation with the powers of this world.
Father Gruners apostolate presents a great obstacle to the Vatican Secretariat of State, because the Secretariat of State considers the Virgins call for the conversion of Russia a great embarrassment to its new orientation. By 1994 the Vatican Secretariat of State had put into motion a plan designed to silence Father Gruner. This plan is the same in principle as the one in the story I just told you about the journalist who is silenced.
Under pressure from the Vatican Secretariat of State, the Bishop of Avellino told Father Gruner that he must find another bishop to incardinate him or else return to Avellino after an approved absence of more than 16 years. Well, Father Gruner did find another bishop to incardinate him. In fact, he found three bishops who were very glad to accept Father Gruner into their dioceses and to sponsor his apostolate. But, each time Father Gruner found a benevolent bishop, the Secretariat of State, acting through the apostolic nuncios and the Congregation for the Clergy, pressured that bishop not to incardinate Father Gruner. One by one these benevolent bishops were coerced into dishonoring their promises to incardinate Father Gruner. At the same time, these members of the Vatican apparatus ordered the Bishop of Avellino not to allow Father Gruner to transfer to any other diocese.
However, one of the three bishops threw off the coercion against him and affirmed his incardination of Father Gruner. In his decree of incardination this bishop declares that Father Gruner is doing Gods work and that evil forces have conspired to destroy your work of love. This same bishop also signed an Open Letter to the Pope protesting the unjust treatment of Father Gruner, which was published in Il Messaggero on April 2, 1998.
Confronted with this one bishop who would not bow to their illicit coercion, these members of the Vatican apparatus simply declared the incardination non-existent. Therefore, according to these Vatican bureaucrats, Father Gruner had failed to find another bishop to incardinate him — a failure they themselves had caused.
In short, these members of the Vatican apparatus gave an order that Father Gruner find another bishop, and then prevented him from obeying the very order they had given. Having prevented Father Gruner from obeying their own order, they then accused him of disobedience and told the Bishop of Avellino to demand that Father Gruner return to Avellino in 29 days or else be suspended from the priesthood. They also accuse him of having an irregular condition. What is this irregular condition? Father Gruner lived in Canada with the written permission of his bishop, while conducting an apostolate he had every right to conduct under the law of the Church. Father Gruners condition is no different from that of thousands of other priests in the Church who live and work outside the dioceses of their incardination. In other words, the irregular condition does not exist. It is a total fiction.
So, after an approved absence of more than 16 years, Father Gruner is expected to abandon his lifes work, close down his apostolate and its 150 employees, leave behind his residence and personal affairs and return to Avellino to live in exile until he dies. Father Gruner does not even have legal permission to reside in Italy on a permanent basis. He would be violating Italian immigration law if he were to obey this ridiculous order.
Naturally, Father Gruner made a canonical appeal against the order to return to Avellino. He first appealed to the Congregation for the Clergy. But there his appeal was judged by the same Vatican bureaucrats who were working with the Secretary of State to force Father Gruner to return to Avellino. At first they denied they were trying to block Father Gruners excardination. But when the evidence of their illicit interference became overwhelming, the finally admitted what they were doing, but they claimed that they had the right to interfere in Father Gruners incardination because they exercise the authority of the Pope himself! In other words, these Vatican bureaucrats consider themselves to be little popes who can run the entire Church without any explicit permission from the big pope.
Father Gruner also appealed to the Apostolic Signatura, which is the highest tribunal in the Church. But when he first appealed to that tribunal it was headed by the very same cardinal, Cardinal Agostoni, who had sent the Bishop of Avellino a secret letter telling the Bishop to recall Father Gruner to Avellino and pretend that this was the bishops own idea! Needless to say, Father Gruner did not receive a fair hearing in the Signatura either, even after Cardinal Agostoni was forced to step down from the case when his secret letter was uncovered.
The canonical appeals in Father Gruners case are still continuing, and he has now heard rumors that the Signatura has issued another decree which he has yet to receive. Meanwhile, the current head of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, sent Father Gruner a letter this past June in which he threatens Father Gruner with excommunication.
Excommunication for what? This is a priest who has kept his vow of chastity, who has never preached or taught anything contrary to faith or good morals. Yet at the same time this faithful priest is being threatened with excommunication, there is no threat of excommunication for any of the priests around the world who molest young boys, preach heresy or steal money from the faithful. In fact, if Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos threat were carried out, Father Gruner would be the only priest in the entire post-conciliar Church to be excommunicated by a direct sentence from the Vatican.
What is to account for this outrageous double-standard of justice in the Church? There can be only one answer: the Message of Fatima. It is this and this alone which earns Father Gruner the enmity of these members of the Vatican apparatus, and especially the Secretariat of State. Indeed, when Father Gruner objected to the groundless threat of excommunication by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos replied that he had turned the matter over to higher authority. The phrase higher authority is Vatican code for the Secretary of State.
Father Gruner has appealed to the Holy Father himself. He and his apostolate have filed three separate recourses to the Pope setting forth all the details of the abuse of power in Father Gruners case. The Holy Father has yet to act on these petitions, and we fear that those who control the daily operation of the Vatican will see to it that the petitions are never considered. Father Gruners case is a vivid example of the corruption of a Vatican now controlled by a group of prelates who pursue the agenda of the Masons, instead of the agenda of Our Lady of Fatima. This sad truth was recently exposed in the book Via Col Vento nel Vaticano, authored by Msgr. Luigi Marinelli and others. The Monsignor, I note, died rather suddenly after the book was published. This book has now been published in North America under the title Shroud of Secrecy. The book was very favorably reviewed in one of the largest Catholic newspapers in America — the Wanderer. Now even mainstream Catholic journalists are coming to recognize what Father Gruner and others have been warning for years: the Vatican is in the grip of forces which are undermining the Church and which threaten to destroy her.
Father Gruner is only one victim of this corruption in the highest places in the Church. The forces that are attempting to silence him are the same forces that told us on June 26 that Fatima is a thing of the past. They are the same forces who invited Mikhail Gorbachev to the Vatican as a guest of honor, one day after Our Lady of Fatima was pushed out the door.
It is the great injustice done to this fine priest, and infinitely more important, to the Woman whose cause he advocates, which has caused me to come 6,000 miles to this press conference. It is that same injustice which compelled me, as an advocate, to co-author Father Gruners biography: Fatima Priest. I wanted to shine a light on a hidden scandal in the Church. Like the late Monsignor Marinelli, I wanted to tell the world the truth about what is going on at the Vatican.
As journalists you have dedicated your lives to making the truth known to as many people as possible. I hope you will make known the truth about the case of Father Nicholas Gruner — and above all the truth about the cause of Our Lady of Fatima. I hope you will do this not only for the honor of your profession, but for the good of the Church and the whole world.