Father Nicholas Nightingale Gruner, Publisher of "The Fatima Crusader" Magazine and Director of an Apostolate entitled: "The International Fatima Rosary Crusade" portrays himself as a persecuted victim of the bureaucracy of Rome, and pretends to his listeners that his case is still being reviewed by the Pope, himself. This claim leaves his readers to believe that he is still a priest with faculties to offer the Mass and the Sacraments. The purpose of this article is to show the truth about Father Gruner, and to use this as an example of how easy it is for people to be fooled by fancy words surrounded with orthodox stories and beautiful icons.
Gruner first spent time in a seminary in the United States and then moved to Avellino, Italy where he was ordained a diocesan priest by His Excellency Pasquale Venezia in 1976. Gruner refused to serve as a diocesan priest in Avellino and left for Canada without the bishop's approval. Two years later on June 5, 1978 Bishop Venezia sent Gruner a letter of approval to stay in Canada provided he could get a local bishop to give him a written decree of incardination. Gruner took up the Apostolate of the National Pilgrim Virgin of Canada, but never even asked the local bishop of St. Catherine's diocese of Ontario, Canada for permission or faculties (incardination). Father Gruner claims that he could not get faculties from any bishop of Canada because of his stand against communion in the hand, but the truth is that we cannot find any bishop that he ever even approached for this permission. Since then Gruner found financial support from Mafia wives, who live away from their Mafia husbands in Canada raising their families in Catholic Schools and safe communities. Is from the money of these women that Gruner is able to send out over 100,000 free "Fatima Crusader" high quality magazines all over the world. I have never asked for one, never paid for one, do not read them, and yet have received every copy since the beginning.
The Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
On May 13th 1981 (the feast of Fatima) the Pope was shot. In the hospital his nurse said that Our Lady of Fatima had saved his life. He did not know a lot about Fatima so in the hospital he read every book he could get. In 1981 the National conference of Catholic Bishops of the US sent a letter to the Holy Father requesting the Consecration. On May 13, 1982 he consecrated the world to IHM. Lucia said it was not correctly done according to the wishes of the Holy Mother. So the Holy Father sent his Secretary of State to Fatima. Lucia and Meccias Coelho, the editor of "Mensagem de Fatima, sat with him for six hours explaining exactly how the consecration had to be done. On March 25, 1984 Pope John Paul and the bishops throughout the world consecrated Russia and the world to the IHM. Even Russian Orthodox Bishops entered in (Lucia said it was finally done correctly). This was exactly 100 years after the Vision of Pope Leo XIII. When Satan was granted 100 years to try and destroy Godís Church.
But Gruner did not believe this. He disliked bishops and his entire Apostolate was based on the consecration. He believed (without logical reason) that this would bring in the era of peace through the conversion of Russia. He had made it the heart and soul of his magazine that Russia would be converted to the Catholic Faith in a miracle right after the consecration. Since this did not happen he began to maliciously attack the Pope, himself. He said that Lucia was a prisoner of the Pope and that she could not have said such a thing. He even went so far as to say that she would lie for the Pope. This became his entire Apostolate for many years.
In the mean time, his bishop in Avellino, Italy, Bishop Gerardo Pierro ordered him back to his diocese. Gruner did not answer the letter. Cardinal Innocenti, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, wrote to him and ordered him to return to Italy and his bishop. Gruner refused. Bishop Pierro again sent Gruner a letter in 1989 ordering him to return or find another bishop in 30 days. Gruner went to Avellino in 1990 and met with Bishop Pierro and convinced him to again let him find the time to find a decree of encardination from some other bishop. Two years later he still had not found a bishop and Cardinal Sanchez and Archbishop Sepe stated in L'Osservatore Romano that Gruner and his Apostolate had not been approved by the competent ecclesiastical authorities (October 14, 1992).
In 1994 the new bishop of Avellino issued a decree declaring Gruner a vagus priest. A bishop in Brazil offered him incardination until Cardinal Sepe of Rome informed him that he had no authority to do so unless Gruner lived in Brazil. To understand this and in turn all other priests without faculties like the Traditionalists, the Knights of St. John and the Medjugorje priests, you must go back to the First Council of Nicea and Canon XV:
"... neither bishop, priest nor deacon shall pass from city to city. And if any one, after this decree of the holy Synod, shall attempt any such thing, or continue in any such course, his proceedings shall be utterly void, and he shall be restored to the Church for which he was ordained bishop or priest."
In the next Canon, Canon XVI it states that if they will not return to their diocese, they must be excommunicated.
Canon 966 of the present Code of Canon Law states:
"For the valid absolution of sins it is required that, besides the power received through sacred ordination, the minister must possess the faculty to exercise that power over the faithful to whom he imparts absolution."
Faculties are required for preaching and to say the Mass. Preaching is not just verbal but includes writing Newsletters or Magazines like the "Fatima Crusader". I believe Gruner is already excommunicated - ipso facto, but even if he is not, he is in the fifth and last step to that end. He has written to the Holy Father, himself, and uses his own letter to make his followers think the case is still open. As long as the Holy Father does not answer him, and he will not, Gruner will argue with his followers that the case is still open. It is not.
Why any priest, who can bring down the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity to this earth and give it to souls would give this up for any reason is beyond my ability to understand. Gruner would rather be known by people than to have the greatest gift in the world ó to be in the place of Christ and bring Him to the world. But Gruner is not without sin, as you will see. He will do anything to promote Gruner, not Fatima. If Gruner was truly treated wrongly as in the cases of Padre Pio or Father Marx, he still should have done that same as they did - obey. These are saints, and saints believe in the chain of command and the beauty of obedience.
Fatima Call to Bishops
In 1992 the Bishop of Fatima, organized an "International Symposium" and invited many bishops to attend Mass on October 13th in Fatima. Vatican Perfect His Eminence Cardinal Hose T. Sanchez attended along with many other bishops and thousands of the faithful.
Gruner Call to Bishops
Not to be outdone and to take advantage of this already organized gathering, Gruner invited hundreds of bishops and Archbishops from all over the world to attend his conference at Fatima (The international Fatima Rosary Crusade" and even paid all their travel expenses. When the local bishop of Fatima heard about this, he informed Gruner that he did not have faculties in Fatima (called a Celebret) and could not conduct any conference or crusade there. After arriving in Fatima, the bishops of Gruner's crusade were informed by the Apostolic Nunciature and the local bishop that the Conference had not been approved by the ecclesiastic authorities and was a counter position against an officially sanctioned Symposium. Vatican Perfect Cardinal Hose Sanchez issued an official statement informing everyone that Fr. Gruner was there without faculties to minister in the Diocese of Leiria-Fatima.
Gruner refused to obey the bishop of Fatima, the Nuncio, and the Prefect of Rome. He tried to organize a Rosary March in the Cova without approval. Security police ordered him to leave. He refused. They took him by force and he resisted being scratched and bruised.
Two Hours With Sr. Lucia
Cardinal Antony Padiyare, the Highest Church prelate present at the Bishop's Conference decided to visit Sister Lucia to find out the truth about Gruner's statements and pass this information on to the other bishops at the conference. The Cardinal did not speak Portuguese, so he took with him a devoted follower of Gruner, Carlos Evaristo, who had worked side by side with Gruner in Canada as a travel consultant and was fluent in Portuguese and English. At the meeting with Sister Lucia, were Antony Cardinal Padiyare of Ernaculam, India, Bishop Rancis Michaelappa of Mysore, India, Carlos Everisto, Mother Prioress, and Father Francisco Pacheco of Brasil. At 12:00 noon on October 11, 1992 this group met with Sister Lucia.
After many cordial greetings and social formalities, the Cardinal asked if the consecration was done properly. SL = Sister Lucia
SL: "Yes, Yes, Yes. The consecration was already partially done. Pope Pius XII made it in 1942, On October 31st ... but it lacked the union with all of the Bishops of the world, which Pope John Paul II, finally managed to unite in 1984."
Again and again she repeated that the consecration was done.
CE: "But did not Russia have
to be specifically mentioned, and did not Our Lady say that?"
SL: "The Pope's intention was Russia, when he said: 'Those People ... ' in the text of the 1984 Consecration."
Again and again she repeated this for new questions on the same subject of the word "Russia"
CE: "Has the conversion of
Russia then taken place?"
SL: "Yes. The news speaks for itself."
CE: "But is not the conversion of Russia not interpreted as the conversion of the Russian People to Catholicism?"
SL: "Our Lady never said that. There are many misinterpretations around. The fact is that in Russia, the communist, atheist power, prevented the people from carrying out their faith. People now have an individual choice to remain as they are or to convert. This they are now free to do, and many conversions are, in fact, taking place; and that man in Russia, unknowingly was an instrument of God in the conversion..."
CE: "That Man? Gorbachev?"
SL: "Yes; and when he visited the Holy Father in Rome, he knelt at his feet and asked pardon for all the crimes he had committed in his life."
After this were many questions and answers regarding the Third Secrete of Fatima but I will reserve for another time. One thing should be said about this meeting though is:
CE: "Is there any connection
between Garabandal and Fatima?"
SL: "There is no connection between Garabandal and Fatima."
CE: "Did Our Lady ever say at Fatima in the last apparition: 'Farewell until St. Sebastian de Garabandal.' Because there are people who attest to having read it in an old book in Brazil."
SL: "Our Lady never said this and, if they read it, it was false."
CE: "Speaking of letters. There are letters going around typewritten which are being attributed to you."
SL: "Yes. I wrote them."
CE: "You know which letters I am referring to? Letters like the one to Sister Maria Belem, your niece, saying that the Consecration is done?"
SL: "Yes, I know the letters that you mean. Some people have gone so far as to say that they are forgeries. Yes I wrote those letters. No one answers my mail for me. .... No one tampers with my mail, answers it or signs for me. If they say otherwise, it is not true."
Asked if she was still seeing Our Lady, she would not answer but said that if she did see Her again she would mention the Cardinal's special intention. Sister Lucia told the Cardinal to preach Hell.
To me (Rick Salbato) and my Apostolate (Unity Publishing) to expose those on the left and those on the far right, I love this statement by Sister Lucia the most:
CE: "What is the message you
have for this confused world today"
SL: "He that is not with the Pope is not with God, and he that wants to be with God, has to be with the Pope."
Did you hear that, Traditionalists, Knights of St. John, Sedevacantists, etc.
Asking about Father Gruner, Sister Lucia said that she had heard of him and that he did not believe that she had said that the Consecration was done and that he had printed many misinterpretations in his magazine, including that she did not write the alleged letters in type print.
SL: "Tell Father that he must humble himself to accept that the Consecration was done and that he is asking too much... "
The Cardinal asked if Sister Lucia would talk to Father Gruner, and she said she would if the Cardinal would sponsor his visit as only Cardinals can see her without the Holy Father's approval. Mother Prioress objected as she remembered when Father Gruner took a group of pilgrims to the convent and took photographs of the Sisters holding up one of his banners (which they could not read) and then published that the sisters agreed with him that the Consecration was not done." After she (the Mother Prioress) wrote to him to retract that statement, he did not. Nonetheless, Sister agreed to meet with Father Gruner the next day and the only time available was at 10 AM just before the visit of Corazon Aquino of the Philippines at 11 AM.
Cardinal informed Father Gruner, who agreed to meet with Sister Lucia. The following morning Cardinal Padiyara and Bishop Michaeilappa waited for Father Gruner in a taxi from early morning. When Father Gruner came out of his room it was already past the time for the scheduled meeting with Sister Lucia.
What Cardinal Padiyare and Bishop Michaeilappa did not know is that Father Gruner called many other bishops and pilgrims and told them that Sister Lucia was going to see all of them that morning and to wait there for him. When they arrived at the convent it was too late to see Sister Lucia, as she was about to see Corazon Aquino. Gruner protested loudly telling all of the bishops present that they were going to meet Sister Lucia and leading them all in an invasion of the cloister through the main door. Dr. Miguel Barata, personal Physician of Sister Lucia, Monsignor Duarte De Almeida, Convent Chaplain, and an Extern Sister blocked the door. Carlos Evaristo told the bishops and crowd to go home and they did.
Carlos Everisto Attacked
Carlos was dedicated to Father Gruner before this visit with Sister Lucia. He and his wife and children made their living working for Father Gruner as a travel consultant arranging all their pilgrimages. Now he knew the truth about Father Gruner and he was stuck far away in Fatima, without money, not having been paid, and holding many bills of travel from Gruner's Crusade. "I have not been paid for my services since November. Several phenomenal bills in the thousands of dollars have been left unpaid by The Fatima Crusader. Telephone bills, faxes, lawyer's fees, taxi, hotel payments, some of these still left from Fr. Gruner's October Peace Conference."
In March of 1993 Mrs. Sedore and Mrs. Clarke came to Fatima attempting to make Carlos change the truth of what Sister Lucia had said to Cardinal Padiyara and to stop the distribution of the same Transcript. For two weeks these two women (working for Gruner) tried to make Carlos lie, offering to pay what was owed him if he issued statements or signed papers against this truth of what Sister Lucia said about the Consecration.
Coralie Graham who is listed as editor of The Fatima Crusader, issued a report stating that is was an impostor sister who had met with the Cardinal. She is the same woman who stood outside the convent with Carlos Everisto and said, "If Sister Lucia is really interested in speaking with Father Gruner she can wait."
I would like to end this article by telling Father Gruner and all other so-called Traditionalist Priests (not leaving out those liberal bishops, Call To Action, and Amchurch), that : "He that is not with the Pope is not with God, and he that wants to be with God, has to be with the Pope."
Copyright © 2006 Unity Publishing
For Further Study
Fatima, Russia and Pope John Paul II
by Timothy Tindal-Robertson
CD - Living the Message of Fatima by Fr. Shannon Collins