Schism and the Common Good
– Taken from “Fatima Priest”*
*In this article, the introduction is by Francis Alban. Questions and comments by Francis Alban are in italic print. Responses by Father Gruner are in regular print. Subtitles were added by the editor of The Fatima Crusader.
Ten years of serving Our Lady of Fatima had made Father Nicholas Gruner a household word around the world by the mid ’80’s. His Fatima Crusader now had a readership of over one million souls. He had logged months touring with the Pilgrim Virgin Statue. Hundreds of thousands of rosaries, scapulars and devotional booklets were in the hands of the needy, and the poor were having the Gospel preached to them through these instruments his work had generated. But the shadows of Church and State politics that had been deepening all round his Apostolate seemed suddenly ever more charged and dark. Yet nothing in the Apostolate’s history so far even suggested that a rest or a lull in its agenda was in the offing. What would the trajectory of the Apostolate be in the next few years?
Recently, on a May 13th anniversary of the first Fatima apparition, Father Gruner sat in the living room of his modest quarters in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada, and looked back over those crucial years. To best underscore the reason and the need for his Apostolate’s continued drive, he verbally scanned the state of the Church in our day. With the comforting rays of a classical Canadian sunset warming the library titles, he addressed the issue at the heart of the consecration dilemma — the question of the actual influence John Paul II has on his bishops.
“If the Pope needs to order the bishops to consecrate Russia with him on the same day in their own cathedrals around the world, what kind of motivation is he going to provide them? What kind of co-operation will he receive from some of his bureaucrats in the Vatican?”
Father Gruner examined the quandary through the prism of salvation history.
“Before original sin Adam had perfect control of his faculties. One can say Adam was not tempted to over eat because his appetite was so subject to his reason. It was obedient to his reason, as were all his faculties. Thus, after he ate enough, the appetite simply turned off until it was needed again. If he needed sleep, he didn’t say wait, I’ve got to do this last job and stay up three more hours. His every faculty was so obedient that it was not a question of his members saying but I want to go this direction, I want to go that direction.
“Today, after original sin, without grace and without mortification, none of us would have any control.
“We see the case of people who drink too much, who are not faithful to their wives or husbands, not because they don’t realize there’s something wrong, but because of original sin their appetites have not been reined in by their reason. But Adam initially did not have that struggle. What happened after original sin? He no longer obeyed his reason. His eyes wanted to see what they should not see, his ears to hear what they should not hear, and his wife did not want to obey him either. Her own faculties did not want to obey her. These are the effects of original sin.
“Sickness comes about because of disorder, because the agent of sickness does not obey the higher faculty. Ultimately, this is what is happening in the Church. The disobedient bureaucrats have not obeyed God, so they are reaping the reward.
“They tell God, ‘This is our church now. You’re up in Heaven, we’re going to do things our way. We’re not going to listen to the voice of prophecy, we’re not going to reveal the Third Secret, we’re not going to consecrate Russia, we’re just going to do our own thing.’ At the same time, they say to their inferiors, ‘you down there, you must obey me.’
“Since Our Lady’s message, which is obligatory to obey, has been largely ignored by those in authority, the Church is suffering diabolical disorientation. People may do their best resisting the disorientation but they don’t have the specifics, they’re not canonists, they’re not theologians, they simply intuit that something is wrong.
“Let me share with you a key to understanding much of the disunity and division that has invaded the Church since 1960. I was in the seminary in Montreal when I made one of my biggest discoveries during my theological training.
“In January of 1967, the Vicar General of the diocese of Montreal put out a statement in which the basic impression created in the mind of the reader was that priests and lay people were forbidden to promote the message of Garabandal.”
Nicholas Gruner, like thousands of other people, read that letter and understood that it was his obligation under obedience to not promote Garabandal in the diocese. Then he read it a second time.
“I realized that no order was contained in it whatsoever. In my thorough Germanic nature, I went to the Vice Chancellor of the diocese of Montreal and I said, ‘Do I understand this letter correctly or not?’ I told him it appears to give an order, but upon careful reading it is clear that no order is given. His answer was extremely enlightening. He said, ‘Yes, we wrote it that way on purpose.’
“It took me some time to think about it but I finally realized the implication of such a diabolical technique. I realized I was not bound to obey such an order ‘not given’. In Canon Law a person in authority has to give an order and not simply imply he has given one. Second, the person giving an order has to take personal responsibility for giving the order. In this case it was obvious, by the Msgr.’s own admission, that they had purposely written the letter in such a way as to give the appearance of an order, without having actually given it, so when proven wrong they can state they never forbade its promotion.”
The library interior altered as the sunset darkened. Father Gruner thought aloud about the whole nature of subversion.
“Jesus tells us in St. John’s gospel that the shepherd is the one that comes through the gate, but the thief climbs up another way.1
“In Isaias, God, speaking to the prophet says, ‘I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth.’ In other words, God, and those who act authoritatively in God’s stead, must be willing to publicly take responsibility for what they say and do.2
“Whereas a subversive, whether in the Church or the State, such as Masons, do not give their orders in the open and they do not take personal responsibility for the orders they give.
“To this day, some bureaucrats, even in the Vatican, craft a document to give the impression of issuing an order without any order actually being given. This is not an accident or sloppiness but it is a subversive technique. It doesn’t look like it at first. The technique is diabolical. This is also a schismatic practice. Schism in Greek means ‘to tear apart’. Today it means to tear apart the unity of the Church. When authority gives such non-orders, the faithful are divided. Those faithful who think they must be obedient to the ‘non-order’ frequently misjudge the other faithful who are astute enough to not fall for the ‘non-order’. Thus many good priests and faithful in the Church are forced to work against faithful who, out of misguided loyalty to the ‘non-order’, put obstacles in their way. The same technique was used regarding the Novus Ordo.
“In 1969, the New Mass was ‘promulgated’ in such a way as to give the impression that the New Mass was what priests must now say and that the old Mass was forbidden.
“But look closely and you will find that there was no order given, that no law was passed and that it is not binding.
“Nevertheless, you now have people saying, ‘I will not attend the Tridentine Mass’, and they say to those on the other side, ‘You are disobedient. How can you call yourself Catholic and disobey the order of the Pope?’ The confusion was deliberately caused.”
One week after making this statement, Father Gruner’s opinion regarding the legality of the old Mass received forceful support from a high-profile Vatican official. On May 20, 1995, Alfons Cardinal Stickler, speaking before several hundred lay people, canon lawyers and priests at Fort Lee, New Jersey, confirmed that in 1986, a papal commission of nine Cardinals appointed by Pope John Paul II found that the Tridentine Mass was perfectly legal and in force and that no Pope or any other competent authority had forbidden it from being said by any Catholic priest.
“The technique is diabolical,” Father Gruner continued, “and has set up within the Body of the Church, two opposing factions. There is a battle within the Body of the Church because of the technique. The members of the Mystical Body are warring against one another because of it. You cannot give two contradictory orders and expect the body politic to live in peace as God intended them to. Let me explain:
“If a father tells his two oldest sons to paint the living room green and then outside their hearing tells the next two sons to paint it red and then hides himself so that neither the first sons nor the second sons can find him, you have massive confusion.
“Both sets go off and paint the same living room, each one fights against the other because each is being obedient to the father. But the father gave contradictory orders which causes in turn the sons to fight, to break up, to tear apart unity which should be in the family. The father’s orders would be causing a schism in the family. Such orders are wrong. If done deliberately by the father, they are sinful. It is clearly an abuse of authority.
“You still get the same result if, instead of giving directly contradictory orders, he spoke in such a way as to deliberately mislead his sons into thinking he gave orders binding them to do a certain thing, but some sons were astute enough to realize he had not actually given an order and these sons were actually able to realize that the ‘implied’ order was sinfully imprudent and were able to realize that their father did not have authority for such orders, and that is why he spoke that way, whereas, on the other side, there were other sons who were not so astute and felt bound to obey this ‘implied’ order. Then the sons would still be at loggerheads. Still a schism is caused by the deliberately schismatic command and the father would be guilty of sin for doing such a thing to his children. This is what is happening in the Church today. Let me give an example to illustrate what is happening:
“My mother judged me for years as not being obedient because I ignored that bogus Chancery letter in Montreal. She did not tell me of her judgment but held it against me for several years. It only came up when we were discussing something else and I explained that I was truly not disobedient because the Chancery never gave a binding order as I explained above. She became angry with the Chancery officials for having perpetrated this lie upon her.”
Gradually the weight of the chaos in the Church seemed to bear down on the darkening evening itself, as it had on the very Faith through heresy, apostasy, schism.
“Schism,” Father Gruner explained “means to tear apart and usually schism is understood that someone does not recognize legitimate Church authority. But authority can also be guilty of schism by giving orders that are illegal or given in such a way as to cause division among the faithful, as I explained before. St. Augustine says, ‘In essentials we must have unity, in non-essentials we have liberty, and in all things have charity.’ Garabandal is not an essential. I had the right to promote it and my mother had the right not to do so if she chose. This deceiving letter caused a division between a son and his mother. This technique is immoral, yet it is too widely used by some Churchmen in authority.
Abuse of Authority
“Who’s at fault? God does not contradict in dogma. He cannot contradict a truth, neither can God contradict in orders. God is not at fault in this but those who abuse their positions of authority clearly are at fault.
“God the Sanctifier does not contradict God the Creator. There is only one God. God is the author of nature and grace. This is the basis of the theological principle ‘grace builds on nature.’
“The true Church cannot give contradictory orders. This technique has been used to destroy the Church from within. The individuals who have been employing this technique consider themselves more intelligent than the average guy. But they are working for the devil. The Church is not the bureaucrats’ plaything. These bureaucrats have caused a virtual schism. They are tearing apart the Body of the Church by this technique of giving the impression of issuing an order but not issuing it.
Church Law Must be Properly Promulgated
“God, the Creator, God, the Sanctifier, created the Church. He did not make the laws of the Church in contradiction to the natural law. All public authority in Church or State in promulgating law must respect the natural law governing men. Grace builds on nature, as St. Thomas teaches.
“It is a principle of natural law that no Catholic philosopher, no Catholic Theologian would deny—that for a law, any kind of a law, to be truly law it must be promulgated; if a law is not promulgated 3 then it does not bind in conscience, and we need not obey it.
“Thus, in the example given above about the Montreal chancery, I was totally not bound by that ‘non-order’. I was free to disobey. Similarly, I am not bound by the non-command which passes for a law — to not say the Tridentine Mass.
“Such orders are clearly causing division in the body of the faithful. Such divisions are obviously and clearly against the common good and it is clearly the abuse of authority by those in authority which is causing these divisions.
“Our Lord said, ‘Let your words be yes for yes and no for no, anything else comes from the evil one.’ (Cf. Matt 5:37, James 5:12)
“This is particularly true in the office of a public authority whether it be the pope or the governor or a judge or a legislator. This seems to be a terrible persecution for the Church, this double talk that’s going on. With this persecution of the Church, you are being persecuted, I am being persecuted.”
FOOTNOTES:  St. John 10:1-3;  Isaias 45:19;  St. Thomas Aquinas, Treatise on Law, Summa Theologica, I-II Q 90, Art. 4
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