Father Gruner Appeals to the Pope:
"Stop the Persecution of Priests Faithful to the Laws Protecting the Blessed Sacrament"
January 2nd, 1985
His Holiness, Pope John Paul II,
In January of 1980, I wrote you a three page letter, copy of which is herewith enclosed, regarding Communion in the Hand and persecution that priests endure, who, for reasons of conscience, do not follow this practice. At that time, I asked for a public statement from Your Holiness, to allow priests to continue their Sacred Ministry and not be subjected to persecution by their superiors (Parish Priests and Bishops) for following their conscience regarding this matter.
In 1982, application was made to serve the Diocese of ..., by Father Gruner. The bishop, Bishop ..., would have welcomed my services but he imposed as a condition of my coming, that I give Communion in the Hand. I explained to him in person as well as by letter, that this was against the Law of God and of the Catholic Church, and, therefore, against my conscience. I also indicated that although an Indult had been given by the Vatican to go against the Letter of the Canon Law when certain conditions were met (which the Divine Law itself demand be fulfilled), these conditions, in fact, are not being met and both the Divine Law and Canon Law do not permit me to give Communion in the Hand without committing a sin. Enclosed is a copy of my letter to the bishop in question. As a result, the bishop did not accept my services, even though he had a shortage of priests. He did acknowledge by telephone that I truly had a problem of conscience.
A few years ago, the Archbishop of ... confided to me that Sacred Consecrated Hosts were found in his Cathedral after the Sunday Masses, because of the practice of Communion in the Hand. I believe he reported this to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, but he wondered if his report about this matter ever reached the Vatican. According to a report given to me, a priest who attended your Mass at Downsview, (Toronto, Ontario, September 1984) Father ..., reported to a cloistered Redemptoristine Nun, ..., that several people were engaged with the task of collecting the numerous Hosts left on the ground after the Papal Mass was over. As I understand it, the Hosts were gathered into garbage bags, and subsequently burned. These are but a few of the many sacrilegious incidents that are occurring as a result of the practice of Communion in the Hand. This shows, as well as by my own observation, that adequate Catechesis has not been given regarding Communion in the Hand. Giving Communion in the Hand without this adequate Catechesis is contrary to the Indult. A copy of our translation of this Indult is also enclosed. Furthermore, the adequate care to see that the Host is not dropped on the ground as is commanded by Divine Law, as well as by Rule No. 5 of the Indult, has not been followed, as seen by the report of the Archbishop of ..., Archbishop ..., now retired.
It is not my place to judge what other priests or bishops do, however, I am responsible to God first of all in my administration of the Most Holy Sacrament, and, therefore, I cannot, in conscience give Communion in the Hand. Nevertheless, there is still widespread ignorance on the part of bishops and other religious superiors that somehow or other, I am 'not Catholic' or 'not obedient', because I follow the Law of God and of the Catholic Church in this matter.
Now, in 1985, a few years later, since the confusion regarding what a simple priest's obligations and rights are concerning this matter, I appeal to you once more. This time, I would ask for a simple letter signed by Your Holiness, expressing that Father Gruner and any Catholic priest living and working in a country in which the Vatican has permitted the practice of Communion in the Hand, may, and indeed, must, if the terms of the Indult are not met, refuse to give Communion in the Hand, and that no religious superior may penalize Father Gruner or any other priest for following the dictates of his conscience and the Rule of the Church in this matter.
Thank you Holy Father, for giving this matter your kind consideration. I pray to Mary, Our Mother, that your reply will better enable me to fulfill Her requests at Fatima.
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Father Nicholas Gruner, S.T.L.
The above blanked out names and places were, however, made explicit to the Pope. The material which Father Gruner enclosed in this letter was published in The Fatima Crusader Issue No. 28.
The Pope Does Not Reply
At First the Following Acknowledgment of Father Gruner's Letter Was Sent
Secretariat of State
February 4, 1985
The Reverend Nicholas Gruner
Dear Father Gruner,
I am directed to acknowledge the letter of January 2, 1985 which you addressed to the Holy Father, and would inform you that it has been duly transmitted to the Congregation for the Clergy which is the competent office for attending to such matters.
Assuring you of my prayerful good wishes, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Monsignor G.B. Re
Saint Michael the Archangel
But the Persecution Continues ...
No other action has been taken other than calling a special Synod in 1985 which promised to correct the abuses following Vatican II but instead, in practice confirmed them and ...
The Persecution Continues.