Some Vatican Officials Attempt to Silence and Suppress
Our Lady of Fatima and
by Father Paul Leonard Kramer, B. Ph., S.T.B., M. Div.
and Coralie Graham, Editor, The Fatima Crusader
The following letter is self explanatory. We publish it because the grievously unjust attack of Cardinal Innocenti is not only against Father Gruner, but is really against the Apostolate of The Fatima Crusader, Heaven's Peace Plan Radio Program and the new TV program, Fatima: "The Moment Has Come."
The only defense we have to prevent this attack from destroying the Apostolate is to publish the relevant facts now. If we were to wait, it would become impossible for us to defend ourselves later. By publishing now, we inform you, our readers and supporters, so that you will know beforehand what is the nature and purpose of this attack, so that you can help defend this Apostolate of yours against this attack. Only public support at this time can effectively protect it against such powerful and prestigious enemies of Our Lady of Fatima.
This defense must be public because there are only two alternatives left to this Apostolate:
1. Father Gruner departs from Canada on or before September 30, 1989, and then the public enemies of Father Gruner can lie about him as they have done in the past. Father Gruner's enemies will be in a position to allege false reasons why he was made to return to Italy. This would destroy Our Lady's Apostolate because he would not be in a position to defend himself.
2. Father Gruner stays in Canada even after September 30 and then Cardinal Innocenti will illegally and unjustly declare that Father Gruner is suspended. In this event the various Diocesan papers will feel justified to attack this Apostolate by publishing the unlawful and invalid "decree". This would be a source of confusion for many of our supporters, and we would not be in a position to adequately respond at that time.
The only course of action left to us at The Fatima Crusader is to defend this magazine and this Apostolate now. The Fatima Crusader is the only mass-circulation publication which propagates the authentic Catholic teaching against Communism and shows how that teaching is contrary to theVatican-Moscow Agreement. It is necessary that we repulse now these satanically-inspired acts of unjust aggression on the Apostolate of Our Lady so that we may continue to bring you the full Fatima Message in order to make the whole truth about Fatima known to you.
Only by making the Message of Our Lady of Fatima known, heard and obeyed throughout the world will we be able to avoid nuclear war, the annihilation of nations, the enslavement of the entire world to the godless Communist tyranny of Russia and the condemnation of a vast multitude of souls to hell for all eternity. The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, is attempting to silence the voice of Our Lady's Apostolate, in order to eliminate all opposition against his perfidious and immoral Vatican-Moscow Ostpolitik. Cardinal Innocenti has become an active participant in this evil scheme. They seek to punish us for our fidelity to Catholic teaching and to Our Lady's Message. We appeal to the Pope and to you, our supporters and readers:
Do Not Allow the Politicians of the Vatican to Silence the Only Voice of the Full Message of Fatima.
Father Gruner's Letter Follows
(Subtitles and emphasis added by Editor of The Fatima Crusader.)
August 21, 1989
I am indeed shocked, nay even scandalized, by the tone of your letter. It is not what a Diocesan Catholic priest should expect from his Cardinal Protector.
Cardinal Innocenti Falsely Accuses
You accuse me of disobedience. This is a sacrilegious and slanderous lie. It is a lie against a sacred person, myself a Catholic priest, therefore it is sacrilegious. It is slanderous because it is false and gravely damaging to my reputation therefore slanderous. It is a lie because I have never been disobedient to any legitimate superior, not to my bishop in Avellino, not to any bishop in whose diocese I have resided, and not to any representative of the Holy See who has jurisdiction over me. No competent superior has ever given me a legitimate order that I have not obeyed.
I have never disobeyed any command issued to me by the Bishop of Avellino. I have been given the written authorization of the Bishop of Avellino to be outside of the diocese. The Bishop of Avellino has not recalled me.
The Bishop of St. Catharines has not issued me any order. So I have not disobeyed him.
The Apostolic Pro-Nuncio has not ordered me to Ottawa as you seem to think — he only "invited me". I asked him if he was ordering me. He said, "I am inviting you," therefore he was not ordering me.
You say that the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy "has been following for a long time (my) "case" which arouses serious preoccupation on the part of the Holy See and of the bishops directly involved in it." It is indeed incredible that the Holy See should be seriously preoccupied with my "case", and "following (it) for a long time", since previous to receipt of your letter, I have never been accused of any specific wrongdoing.
Father Gruner's Juridical Position is Irreproachable
You allege that it is my "juridical position" which is the cause for such concern on the part of the Sacred Congregation and the Holy See. In my letter of July 10th to my bishop, Mons. Pierro, I explained precisely what my juridical position is. I explained in that letter that the Diocese of Avellino has authorized me to be here in order to seek a benevolent bishop, and that authorization has never been withdrawn. The Bishop of St. Catharines consented to my residing in the diocese of St. Catharines, and that permission has never been withdrawn.
I have explained very precisely in that same letter to Bishop Pierro why it is that I am not a "fugitive" or a "vagus", but on the contrary I am fully within the Law of the Church to reside here in the Diocese of St. Catharines:
The 1917 Code of Canon Law, which was in force when I left the diocese of Avellino, explicitly states in Canon 143: "Clerici, licet licet beneficium aut officium residentiale non habeant, a sua tamen diocesi per notabile tempus sine licentia saltem praesumpta Ordinarii proprii ne discedant." Canon 283 of the 1983 Code is substantially identical to Canon 143 of the 1917 Code. The licentia discedendi was given to me by Mons. Venezia in writing, and has never been revoked. I have been received in various dioceses of Canada and have been given faculties in those respective dioceses. I am presently residing in Fort Erie, in the Diocese of St. Catharines. Before moving here I received the permission of the Ordinary, Bishop Fulton, to reside here. I have been here for four years. Quite clearly therefore, I am residing here entirely within the provisions of Canon Law.
Cardinal's "Definition" Has No Basis In Law or in Fact
I find it very illuminating that after having explained precisely what my juridical position really is according to the Code of Canon Law, you do not dispute my claim, but rather you now attempt to define my juridical position in a manner that has absolutely no basis in Law. You state that my juridical position "is that of a cleric who 'de facto' eludes the effective jurisdiction of both the Bishop 'a quo' and the Bishop 'ad quem'." Your "definition" of my juridical position is really quite false. That however is irrelevant, since, according to Canon Law, a cleric who "de facto" eludes the effective jurisdiction of both the Bishop "a quo" and the Bishop "ad quem", violates no law.
You accuse me of "stubbornly refusing to meet with the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio", when in fact the Pro-Nuncio stubbornly refuses to command me to come and see him. More than once I have asked the Pro-Nuncio if he is commanding me or if he is only inviting me to visit him. Both by letter and by telephone the Pro-Nuncio says that he is only asking me, only inviting me to visit him, and therefore he is not obliging me with a command.
For Declining an Invitation, Cardinal Innocenti Threatens "Suspension"
In spite of the fact that the Nuncio has never issued a command to me, you now write to me saying that for the reason that I refuse to meet with the Pro-Nuncio, "the Congregation for the Clergy is hereby expressing to you a solemn 'miramur' in the sense of a formal canonical admonition according to cann. 1339, 1347 s.1, 1371 2. If you would persevere in this attitude, we would be forced, against our will, to apply the canonical sanctions, not excluding the suspension from active priestly ministry." This is a most grievous and scandalously outrageous injustice that you inflict upon me. You abuse your authority and threaten to suspend me for declining an invitation! Am I not within my rights to decline the invitation of the Pro-Nuncio when he refuses to oblige me with a command? Yet you would even suspend me from the priestly ministry for so doing!
Mons. Palmas Longstanding Enemy of Father Gruner
How can I trust even an invitation from Mons. Palmas when he has made it his personal project to block my legitimate rights in finding a bishop? It is not stubbornness or disobedience to refuse an invitation, particularly an invitation under these circumstances but it is only prudence.
As for your order that I see the Nuncio within fifteen days of receipt of your letter: I have explained in my letter to Bishop Pierro that the Pro-Nuncio, Mons. Palmas, has clearly demonstrated that he is my enemy. In 1981 I wrote to my Bishop, Pasquale Venezia (a copy was given to your predecessor, Cardinal Oddi and should still be on file), and I went to Italy and visited the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy and Bishop Pasquale Venezia. Both the Sacred Congregation and Mons. Venezia made it clear to me that it was the Pro-Nuncio, Mons. Angelo Palmas, who was interfering with my efforts to find a benevolent Canadian bishop.
The official in charge of my file was Mons. Usai, and it was he who said that it was not the Sacred Congregation that wanted to intervene. I have already related this matter to you in my letter of March 6, 1989, wherein it is stated:
In the summer of 1981, I went personally to the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy in order to find out the reason why I was being harassed, and it was Mons. Usai who told me that the Sacred Congregation was really not interested in the matter, but that the Apostolic Nuncio to Canada had spoken personally with Cardinal Oddi about me. According to the information given to me at the time, it seems that Mons. Palmas told Cardinal Oddi that no Canadian bishop will have Father Gruner, and that Father Gruner should therefore be made to return to Italy. I was told that Mons. Palmas spoke personally with Cardinal Oddi concerning this matter.
I asked Bishop Venezia why he could not make a contract between me, himself and a benevolent Canadian bishop for a period of five years whereby I would work in Canada, under that Canadian bishop. Bishop Venezia said he could not do that. To which I asked why not. He replied, "The Nuncio," meaning the Pro-Nuncio to Canada, Mons. Palmas, "will not let me do that."
I went back to Rome and spoke to the Undersecretary of the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, Mons. Guglielmo Zannoni. He said to me: "The Pro-Nuncio cannot forbid your bishop to make a contract with you and another bishop — it is none of his business. It is strictly a matter for you and the two bishops concerned."
Nevertheless due to this illegal and unjustified pressure brought by Mons. Palmas against my bishop Pasquale Venezia, I was not allowed my legal rights from 1981 to 1989.
For many years Mons. Angelo Palmas has unlawfully persecuted me, attempting to prevent me from exercising my priestly ministry in Canada. After he resumed his long standing persecution against me early this year, I wrote to you, on March 6, 1989, complaining about the unjust actions that he has perpetrated against me. It is simply ludicrous and outrageously unjust that he should now be the one designated by you to help me find a benevolent Canadian bishop. I have said in the past that I would be disposed to meet with him if such a meeting were authorized by the lawful directives of the Holy See. There may indeed exist some reason that could justify the Holy See to authorize that I meet with Mons. Palmas, but it is entirely unjust that you ask Pro-Nuncio Palmas to get in touch with me "in order to find a benevolent bishop", when it is precisely he who for many years has labored to prevent me from finding a benevolent bishop in Canada.
Cardinal Innocenti Departs From Canon Law
Now that you are disregarding law and justice, I cannot be obliged to obey your order to see the Pro-Nuncio before I first appeal to the Pope. The Pro-Nuncio has lied about me in the past, and I do not intend to give him yet another opportunity to lie about me for the purpose of ruining my reputation. The Pro-Nuncio's actions have clearly demonstrated that the last thing that he would ever do for me would be to find a benevolent bishop in Canada, and therefore it is unreasonable and unjust that you order me to visit him for this purpose.
Your time limit of fifteen days is totally unreasonable since it takes me several days to reply to your false accusations. My appeal to the Pope against your unjust order will take more than 15 days to reach him and may even take past September 30, 1989 to reach him, but I nevertheless appeal to him against these unjust orders. I am taking under advisement whether I, in the meantime, should conform to your manifestly unjust command.
Cardinal Innocenti Delays Then Other Is Accused For His Own Delays
You say that you cannot tolerate any further delays, as though I were the one guilty of causing the delay, but it is you who have caused the delays. I wrote you on March 6, 1989 requesting to know whether the Sacred Congregation had authorized Mons. Palmas to contact me. I did this because it was the same Mons. Palmas who claimed to have such authorization in 1982 but when I wrote to the Sacred Congregation at that time for directions his letters to me concerning my "case" ceased immediately. Apparently you, unlike Cardinal Oddi and his helpers did not even consider my letter of March 6, 1989. I know that you received my letter because I sent it by registered mail. I wrote you again on April 18, 1989. Again you did not answer. So I telephoned you on May 24, 1989. You at least spoke to me on the phone briefly but still you did not answer my question about Mons. Palmas.
I further kept you informed by sending copies of my recent letters to the Pro-Nuncio as well as enclosing other appropriate documents especially my document giving me permission to be here.
For five months I have awaited your answer to a very simple question. It would have taken you one sentence to answer me. But for five months you did not answer. Finally you write to me on July 24, 1989 which was posted by your office to the wrong address on July 28, 1989 and received here finally in August 1989. You accuse me of delaying. It is you who delay. I waited five months for your answer and yet you accuse me of delaying.
Prejudice of Cardinal Innocenti
I ask you courteously for some guidance in a difficult situation. You reply that I am disobedient. You threaten sanctions on the basis of false accusations. You indeed have acted scandalously in this matter toward me, who am a Christian, a Catholic priest and one who by the Grace of God is doing some good. What do you do — you threaten, you falsely accuse and you insult.
Your prejudging of my case is not only obvious it is appalling. A pagan who speaks to a fellow pagan gives more respect than you have given to me. I certainly hope that you do better towards all other Catholic priests whom you are duty bound to protect, encourage and edify. It seems your letter to me may be typical of how you deal with the priests who are under your jurisdiction and therefore they should be forewarned now. I for my part appeal to the Pope against you and your Congregation.
Father Gruner Appeals to the Pope
Obviously there is no point in appealing to you for justice. You have already judged me without giving me the benefit of a hearing. You have demonstrated a total disregard for elementary justice and the due process of law. Therefore, I can only appeal to the Pope which is a right which may not be denied me.
For many years Mons. Palmas has pursued a course of persecution against me. I have the documents and the witnesses to prove that what I have said regarding the Pro-Nuncio Palmas is true. You are not interested in the evidence, but without hearing my case you hypocritically judge against me. I wrote to you complaining about his unlawful interventions against me, but you, without seeking my further primary evidence or considering the evidence already sent, respond by saying that it is I who make "pretexts and claims which are objectively contrary to the authority of the Representative of the Holy See."
What Is the Real Reason for This Unjust Persecution by Innocenti?
I should like to know the real reason why your Sacred Congregation is, as you say, following my "case". You say that my "case" arouses "serious preoccupation on the part of the Holy See and of the bishops directly involved in it". The Bishop of Avellino, Mons. Pierro, in his letter of May 29, 1989 (which was sent to an old address which I left four years ago and therefore took a month to reach me) vaguely insinuated to the effect that it is somehow "anomalous" for me to reside here.
I answered the Bishop of Avellino explaining: "Mons. Venezia authorized me to leave the diocese of Avellino. That permission has never been revoked. Bishop Fulton, the Ordinary of St. Catharines consented to my residing here in his diocese. That permission has never been revoked. Clearly therefore, when you say that I "work in dioceses that have not still received me according to the rule fixed by Canon Law," you state a falsehood.
I have fulfilled all that Canon Law requires of me in order to lawfully reside here. As I explained above, Bishop Fulton gave his consent for me to reside here when I first spoke to him and expressed to him my intention to move here. I explained to him what was the nature of the work that I intended to do here, and I told him that it was my intention to acquire property here. He consented, and made no objection. Bishop Fulton has never told me to leave his diocese, and I suspect that he has not told me to leave because he knows very well that it would violate my rights according to the Natural Law, if he, under the present circumstances, were to order me to leave the diocese of St. Catharines."
It Is Clear to All that Father Gruner is Within the Law
Since I wrote Mons. Pierro that letter of July 10th, in which I demonstrated that I reside here in Canada entirely within the provisions of Canon Law, I have not heard any more from him. He has not challenged the correctness of what I stated therein. You received a copy of that same letter on July 17, 1989 and you make obvious reference to that letter in your letter of July 24th to me, and you also have not challenged the correctness of the affirmation that I have stated therein, namely that I have fulfilled all that Canon Law requires of me in order to lawfully reside here in the diocese of St. Catharines.
In August of 1988 I spoke with Bishop Fulton. In the presence of a witness, a brother priest — Bishop Fulton admitted that there is nothing I have done that is contrary to Canon Law.
Cardinal Innocenti's Intervention is
Outside the Law
Neither your Congregation, nor my bishop in Avellino, nor the Bishop of St. Catharines is willing to straightforwardly specify any canonical grounds that would prohibit me from residing here in the diocese of St. Catharines, and therefore your intervention has no basis in law. You actultra vires when you so arbitrarily, unjustly and dictatorially declare that I must either be incardinated in Canada by September 30, 1989, or else I must return to the diocese of Avellino.
You are clearly departing from Canon Law and right reason when you unjustly, unlawfully and arbitrarily impose upon me the burden of obtaining incardination in Canada by September 30 as a condition for my continued residence in Canada, since, as I have already demonstrated in my letter to Bishop Pierro, that there is nothing in Canon Law that forbids me from residing in Canada without being incardinated there.
Until now the Bishop of Avellino has never ordered me to return to Avellino, and the Bishop of St. Catharines has never ordered me to leave the St. Catharines Diocese. Furthermore I have explained in my letter of July 10, 1989, to Mons. Pierro, that it would gravely violate my rights according to the Natural Law if I were to be presently commanded to leave the Diocese of St. Catharines within a short period of time. Neither you nor Mons. Pierro have disputed my claim in this regard, but rather you disdain to give any answer on this point. The course of action which you have elected to follow thereby demonstrates your callous disregard for my God-given rights. It is unlawful and immoral for you to do this to me.
You have asked my enemy, Mons. Palmas, to help me find a benevolent bishop. There are many priests working in Canada who are not incardinated here, yet that does not appear to arouse any "serious preoccupation on the part of the Holy See". Canon Law does not require that all priests be incardinated in the diocese where they reside, and therefore, I would like to know what is the reason why this extra-legal requirement is being imposed on me.
The Real Reason for This Persecution is Cardinal Casaroli
Mons. Pierro has already provided the answer to that question when he wrote to me saying that"From the State Secretary of the Holy Father and from the Congregation for the Clergy have arrived me some worried signals about your activity in Canada and in the U.S.A. as founder of 'National Committee for the National Pilgrim Virgin of Canada', activity that the Bishops of the dioceses you have visited do not like." It is most certainly not, as you say, that it is my "juridical position" which arouses such "serious preoccupation on the part of the Holy See", since there are so many priests who are in the same juridical position as I am, but the Holy See is not in the least preoccupied about them. My position is provided for according to Canon Law, and there is nothing wrong with it. It is, as Mons. Pierro says, my activity in the Apostolate of Our Lady of Fatima which displeases the Secretary of State, Cardinal Casaroli, and some bishops.
If the Secretary of State and some bishops are displeased with my activity in promoting the Message of Our Lady of Fatima, then the burden of proof is on them to prove any wrongdoing on my part. I have sent my magazine to every bishop in the world for years. I have sent my book,"World Enslavement or Peace, It's Up To The Pope" to all the bishops of the world. No Bishop, Cardinal, or any official of the Holy See has even suggested there is anything doctrinally wrong in anything that I have ever published.
Kangaroo Court "Sentence" is Passed Without a Hearing
In all the years that I have propagated the message of Our Lady of Fatima, no competent ecclesiastical authority has ever specified in concrete terms any charge against me regarding my activities in the Fatima Apostolate. It is for this reason that I say that you are not acting like a pastor but like a wolf; you are on a witch hunt, you have held a kangaroo court and passed sentence on me, without a hearing, or a chance for me to face my accuser and not even able to respond to a specific accusation against an alleged specific infringement of the law.
I am anonymously accused of vague unspecified infringements of non-existent laws before a judge who refuses to give me a hearing, but nevertheless condemns me to foreign exile without possibility of appeal. Is this justice Vatican-style?
It is to Silence The Fatima Crusader that This Persecution by Cardinal Casaroli and Cardinal Innocenti is Being Carried Out
Such injustice as you perpetrate against me is an obvious attempt to silence the only voice speaking out loudly and clearly the full message of Our Lady of Fatima, especially that part which clearly shows the obligation of the Pope and the Bishops to obey Our Lady of Fatima and consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart. It is to silence us from denouncing the Vatican-Moscow Agreement that you unlawfully inflict upon us this heinous and callous injustice. But you dare not accuse me of wrongdoing in these matters because you know I have the law of God and the law of the Church on my side. Since you refuse to follow the dictates of morality and due process of law in your dealing with me you have resorted to this unconscionable and lawless abuse of authority against me.
|Father Gruner prepares to spread Our Lady's Message to millions more souls onFatima: "The Moment Has Come", Our Lady's weekly Television Program.|
Father Gruner Forced to Defend
Our Lady of Fatima's Message
Since you are putting time constraints on me that leave me no room to appeal, and since you threaten to use the power and prestige of your high office to silence me, when I am only doing my duty to preach the truth for the good of souls, you leave me no option but to defend myself and my Apostolate against this unwarranted attack with the means that providence has entrusted to me to defend this Apostolate of Our Lady of Fatima.
Since you give me so little time, and you address me with such blind hostility, it is obvious and morally certain that you seek to silence me in spite of the fact that I have done nothing wrong. I can only cry out all the louder like the man in the Gospel who cried out all the louder: "Christ, Son of David Have Mercy", when they tried to silence him. I therefore appeal to the Vicar of Christ, the Pope.
Like him, I cry out the louder to the successor of Peter, John Paul II, the Vicar of Christ: "Have mercy on me, I am attacked for doing my duty! Save me from the unjust condemnation of bureaucrats whose actions would seek to effectively silence Christ's faithful priests: actions which display a total disregard for justice and morality".
The Pope Cannot Refuse To Hear
Father Gruner's Case
The Pope cannot refuse to hear my case as it is defined by two Councils. The Second Council of Lyon 1274 and the First Vatican Council, 1870, teach dogmatically that in matters pertaining to ecclesiastical jurisdiction, everyone has the right to appeal to the Pope.
With respect to your person and high office but at the same time under a very serious and totally unjustified attack from yourself I have written this letter in even stronger terms than I wrote you before because apparently you did not understand my previous letters to you and the other documents I forwarded to you. In the interests of charity and out of respect for your office I have refrained from saying all that I could say in justice.
As a result of my softening this letter you may think that some of the points I have made are an exaggeration. If you do so conclude then let me inform you there is more evidence and documentation that justice requires that you ask for and the voluminous nature of this file requires that you indicate precisely what it is that you think I have done wrong in your regard, before you proceed with any further judgments or actions against me.
Your Eminence: I have not stated all that I could in this letter. There are more facts, more documents, more observations that could be brought forward at this time in my defense. I have answered you sufficiently in this letter, and in the many documents I have forwarded to you. Since I first contacted you last March until the present time, your only reply to me has been to accuse falsely, to threaten unjustly and to attempt to unlawfully coerce me to obey your unjust commands: illegal commands which violate my rights according to the Natural Law.
Your own words in your recent letter to me have led me to believe that very soon you might summarily declare me to be "suspended" from the active priestly ministry in spite of the fact that I have committed no crime or fault worthy of censure. If you should persist in perpetrating any further illegal and unjust attacks against me, then be advised that I am prepared to defend myself and my Apostolate with all the necessary and morally upright means that are at my disposal.
In particular, if you declare me to be suspended, as you warned you would, for my non-compliance to your unlawful commands: I shall publish whatever documents and correspondence (documentation that goes back more than ten years) which are necessary to prove my innocence. I believe that a number of bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals will not be pleased with such an eventuality which will certainly take place if you should provoke me to defend myself in public by publishing the full documentation.
You leave me no choice, since the penalty that you threaten to inflict would be inflicted upon me without any canonical or moral offense having been committed on my part, and would therefore be null and void. Since the only real effect that such a censure can have is to discredit myself and my Apostolate, I would thereby find myself compelled, against my will, to defend myself in public in the manner specified in the preceding paragraph.
With no animosity but with hope and prayers that the cause of Our Lady of Fatima will be respected, upheld, advanced, and defended, I am,
Yours sincerely in Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Father Nicholas Gruner.