October 11, 1992
My name is Father Nicholas Gruner. l have written to all the bishops of the Catholic world twice this past summer inviting them to attend the "Fatima Peace Conference" sponsored by The Fatima Crusader magazine. Over 110 bishops accepted our invitation and the airplane tickets which we purchased for them. The majority of them are also staying in lodging which we have paid for them in Fatima.
Our Peace Conference is being held from October 8 to 12. The Bishop of Fatima, Bishop Alberto Cosme do Amaral and his co-adjutor Bishop Serafim have insisted that the bishops who are attending our conference must partake in the major public ceremonies at the sanctuary on these days.
In order to accommodate these requests I have changed our conference schedule and have personally accompanied the more than forty bishops who continue to attend our conference, to the sanctuary and to the sacristy of the North Colonnade where the bishops vested before Mass on October 9 and October 10. And I personally accompanied them after Mass on October 9 and October 10 back to the sacristy at the same place.
I particularly assisted Anthony Cardinal Padiyara of Ernakulam, Kerala, India, because my secretary, Mary Sedore said he may need help. On both days walking back from the sacristy I walked beside him. At times I held his arm to assist him as he walked.
|Father Gruner, showing some of the bruises and cuts sustained as a result of the sacrilegious attack on him in the Sacristy of the Fatima Shrine in Portugal. lt is reported that, so far, the sanctuary at Fatima has had several different official explanations of the attack on Father Gruner. The first explanation was that it didn't take place. When they heard the attack was witnessed, they dropped that story quickly to replace it by saying that Father Gruner staged it for publicity but no injuries were sustained. This photo and the examination by the doctor disproves this second story of the Fatima officials. Several more contradictory official explanations have followed. In order to bring the perpetrators of this sacrilegious attack to justice, a Portuguese lawyer must be privately hired. Only one so far has expressed interest in it but he wants $250.00 U.S. per hour. See “Fatima Officials Decide Brawn More Effective Than Brains”.|
On October 10, after Mass was over in the Capelinha, I walked beside Cardinal Padiyara and was about to enter the sacristy when a lay person, with no signs, arm bands or other signs of being any authority blocked my way. I then entered the glass doors into the sacristy. I moved quickly inside but had to slow down again because some of the bishops were in front of me, waiting their turn to go up the few stairs and the narrow passageway into the large room inside. So in the meantime the lay person, who speaks Portuguese came running from outside and blocked the passageway before the stairway on the left side (as you leave your back to the glass entrance doors). He even momentarily blocked the way of one of the bishops who was about to take those stairs.
At the same time my secretary, Mary Sedore, also entered into the little room where we were, to assist me and stand in front of me to stop any one who was threatening to use physical violence against me. I, by this time, had dropped my sandals off my feet in the confusion and stepped on top of a few chairs to be safe and to better view what was going on.
I saw Bishop Alberto Cosme do Amaral and I called out to him. I asked him if this is how he treated me. The bishop did not respond, even though he was less than 15 feet from me and could clearly see me standing on the chairs. The bishop then proceeded to walk 5 or so steps and then to go up the stairs on the right side.
Maronite Archbishop Chucrallah Harb of Jounieh, Lebanon, who had been about to go up the stairs on the left side before the passageway was blocked by my assailant, turned to him and spoke to that man.
At a certain point, while he was talking to the aggressor, I stepped off the chairs, put my sandals back on, and as the passageway was clear of bishops and attackers, I ran to go up the stairs on the right side. I reached the first stair when I was violently pulled back by my attacker and thrown back, away from the stairs. My left arm has several bruises which I had subsequently treated at the hospital in Ourem by Doctor Olinda Moura Almeida. My cassock I could hear being torn by the violent action of this young man. As I stood there considering what I should do next in the light of this attack, a second person it would seem, grabbed me by the right arm and threw me against the wall. At the same time, Mary Sedore ran between me and my attacker and cried out for help. Some of the people in the sacristy heard her I was told afterwards.
By now I was standing alone. I turned to go towards the stairs on the right side and the same man who the Archbishop of Lebanon had talked to and who had blocked my passage on the left stairs, now was standing on the right stairs and blocking my way. As I looked further, the Archbishop of Recife, Brazil — His Grace Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, O.C. — and Father Francesco Pacheco, also of Brazil, were a few feet further back in the passageway at the top of the stairs. They started to ask him in English what was going on. I said "Falar Portuguese," he speaks Portuguese. So they talked to him and by now Cardinal Padiyara came out and I left with him, holding his arm as we went back to the bus.
I did see Carlos Evaristo with his video camera taking pictures of the procession as he stood near the entrance to the sacristy.
I never met the man, (men) who attacked me before and I do not at 1:10 p.m. October 11 know his name. Carlos Evaristo, of Fatima, Portugal, told me that he had seen previously one of the men who attacked me on October 7 in the residence in Leiria of Bishop Alberto Amaral and that he heard this man strongly suggest that physical violence should he used against me. Father Pacheco also told me that he spoke to the man immediately after the incident and this man admitted to him that it was Msgr. Luciano Guerra, rector of the Shrine, who directed him to make this attack.
Father Nicholas Gruner