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THIS DOCUMENT IS WRITTEN WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO FATHER
GRUNER’S CIVIL, CANONICAL AND NATURAL RIGHTS

 

May 16, 2001

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS

II. FATHER GRUNER’S "CANONICAL SITUATION" IS ENTIRELY
     CONSISTENT WITH CHURCH LAW

III. NEW CHARGES ARE INTRODUCED WITHOUT DUE PROCESS

IV. FATHER GRUNER IS PERSECUTED BECAUSE HE POSES AN
     OBSTACLE TO A "NEW ORIENTATION" OF THE CHURCH

V. THE FAITHFUL CANNOT BE DECEIVED NOR THE TRUTH BURIED

VI. A PLEA FOR JUSTICE AND CHARITY

 

Notes

1 Moreover, Father Gruner took a canonical recourse from the threatened suspension, whose effect as an allegedly latae sententiae penalty was stayed pending the recourse, as envisioned in Can. 1353. ["An appeal or a recourse against . . . decrees which impose or declare a penalty, has a suspensive effect."]

2 We refer to the July 6, 2000 communiqué which you directed the papal nuncio to circulate to the Bishops of the Philippines. Your letter of February 16 implicitly concedes that your accusation of forgery was completely false. You now claim, instead, that Father Gruner is guilty of "tendentious interpretation" of authentic documents, yet you have failed to retract your original false allegation of criminal activity.

3 Not to the contrary is the recent case of the Sri Lankan theologian, Tissa Balasuriya, who was merely declared self-excommunicated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by reason of his own teaching against the faith. This heretical theologian was shortly "restored to communion" with the Church by his bishop, even though he refused to sign the profession of faith prepared by Cardinal Ratzinger to address his particular errors. Despite Balasuriya’s obstinate refusal specifically to repudiate his errors, the Vatican gave way and consented to the lifting of the excommunication. This one obscure theologian appears to be the only priest in the post-conciliar era who was subjected (however briefly) to an excommunication for heresy.

4 Cfr., London Times on line, February 6, 2001.

5 Id., March 8, 2001.

6 The details of this situation are provided in an Open Letter to the Holy See published by the Cardinal Kung Foundation in June of 2000. This letter is discussed further on in this reply. See address of website at n. 40.

7 Cfr. letter from Bishop of Avellino, dated May 29, 1989 in the acts of Father Gruner’s canonical proceedings.

8 Most of these communications were issued secretly and with no opportunity for Father Gruner to reply and defend himself. A number of the communications were only recently disclosed to Father Gruner by the promoter of justice in the course of the canonical recourses, including a letter from the nuncio to Canada which repeats the accusation of your Congregation that Father Gruner "extorted" the sacred priesthood—a calumny of the worst sort. You have ignored Father Gruner’s repeated requests for copies of these secret documents.

9 For example, the Secretariat of State dispatched a nuncio, who flew from New Delhi to Hyderabad in order to pressure the Archbishop of Hyderabad to revoke his incardination of Father Gruner.

10 Here you quote from a purported decree of the Apostolic Signatura, but the quoted language does not coincide with that of any document Father Gruner has ever received from that Tribunal.

11 For example, on September 23, 1992, Archbishop Sepe (then Secretary of your Congregation) wrote to the Bishop of Avellino, pressuring him to revoke "the authorization granted in your time to Reverend Gruner to reside outside the diocese . . . ." There is no reference to any requirement of prior acceptance by another bishop ad experimentum. On the contrary, the same letter from the Congregation instructs the Bishop to base revocation of the 1978 permission on "the fact that after fully 10 years and innumerable solicitations he has not yet found a benevolent bishop . . ." There is not the slightest suggestion that Father Gruner had been required to find a bishop before he took up residence in Canada. Of course, Father Gruner has since found three benevolent bishops to incardinate him, whose offers of incardination were all blocked by the Vatican Secretariat of State, employing your Congregation according to the scheme we have earlier described. This letter is one of many secret communications your Congregation has issued against Father Gruner behind his back. A copy was provided to Father Gruner only recently by a sympathetic third party.

12 Decree of Incardination, dated November 4, 1995.

13 It should also be noted that a bishop could even give one of his priests permission to reside outside the diocese and do absolutely nothing but pray, if the bishop deemed that an appropriate way for a particular priest to serve him.

14 An article in The Fatima Crusader magazine that year had criticized Cardinal Carter’s view that the proposed Canadian Charter of Rights was perfectly acceptable, even though it contained no protection for the life of the unborn. The article noted that at least ten Canadian bishops were on record as being opposed to the Charter unless it was amended to provide to protect life in the womb. Yet Cardinal Carter declared that the Catholic Church had no right to "interfere" in the political process of amending the Charter. The article pointed out that the Charter which Cardinal Carter supported was contrary to the teaching of Pius XI in Casti Connubii (not to mention John Paul II's own teaching) that legislators have a moral duty to protect the unborn. Soon after the article appeared, Father Gruner received the December 1981 "inquiry" from the papal nuncio to Canada. This would have to be regarded as a very early instance of Father Gruner and his apostolate coming under attack for speaking the truth and thereby exposing a failure of certain members of the hierarchy to defend it.

15 The Congregation did, however, publish a notice in L’Osservatore Romano on October 14, 1992 which states the falsehood that the apostolate’s Fatima conference in Fatima, Portugal was "without permission of ecclesiastical authority." This is a lie because the law of the Church itself gives permission for such conferences as expressions of the God-given natural right of the faithful (including priests and bishops) to associate with each other and exchange views and information on matters of concern in the Church. The law of the Church does not require any "permission of ecclesiastical authority" from local bishops for such gatherings. (Cfr. cann. 212, 215, 278, 297-299) Besides, the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima did give permission on October 7, 1992, the day before the conference began, in the presence of three Archbishops—from India, Brazil and the Philippines, respectively.

16 You also rely on hypertechnical objections to the form of Father Gruner’s letter of excardination from the Diocese of Avellino, which you claim was directed only to a particular bishop in Canada. These objections cannot obscure the substance of the truth: that the Bishop of Avellino wished to excardinate Father Gruner and at least three bishops wished to receive him, but their will in the matter was frustrated by the illicit interventions of the Vatican Secretariat of State, who had no moral or canonical right to use your Congregation to interfere in this matter.

17 We provide here some details on the matter: During a personal meeting with Father Gruner in Avellino on January 13, 1994, the Bishop admitted he had no grievance against Father Gruner nor any complaints against him in his files. He even stated that he would provide Father Gruner with another certificate of good standing to that effect, but his assistant (a priest of notorious communist affiliations) indicated disapproval of the idea. When Father Gruner asked the Bishop of Avellino what he should do, the Bishop told him to go back to Canada where Father Gruner had been residing with the Bishop’s permission for the previous 16 years. Yet only 18 days later the Bishop suddenly issued his decree of January 31, 1994, recalling Father Gruner to Avellino for the first time, but without imposing any additional penalty. This decree pretends that Father Gruner’s continued presence in Canada (where the Bishop had just sent him!) was improper, that Father Gruner was guilty of "scandals" (the existence of which the Bishop had just denied!), and that Father Gruner must return to Avellino because of his "disobedience" (after the Bishop had just told him to go back to Canada!). Obviously, the Bishop’s sudden reversal of everything he had said only days before was the product of coercion from "above"—that is, the Vatican Secretariat of State, acting through your Congregation under the false appearance of legality.

18 See the letter from the Bishop of Avellino to Father Nicholas Gruner, dated November 3, 1993.

19 "It [excardination] may not be refused unless grave reasons exist; it is lawful for a cleric who considers himself to be unfairly treated and who has found a Bishop to receive him, to have recourse against the decision."

20 For example, the Congregation’s decree of September 20, 1996 claims that "the intervention of the Bishop [of Avellino] seeks to achieve two objectives." In truth, the Bishop had no "objective" in mind and the "intervention" was not his, but that of the Secretariat of State, using the Congregation as its instrument. The pretense continues in the same decree with its reference to "the acts placed by the Bishop of Avellino" and "the precept given by the Bishop of Avellino." There is not the slightest suggestion that the Congregation (and the Secretariat of State) were compelling the actions of the Bishop, as was actually the case. Nor is there the faintest suggestion in this decree that the Congregation was directing the Bishop’s actions in the exercise of its alleged "vicariate papal authority."

21 A copy of this letter was providentially uncovered in the files of the Archbishop of Toronto during the litigation whose dismissal you now demand under threat of excommunication.

22 No one disputes that the Pope personally possesses ordinary, direct and immediate jurisdiction over each bishop and every other member of the Church. Nor is it denied that the Pope may delegate to his curia certain ministerial duties pertaining to Church governance, for otherwise, it would be impossible for the Pope to govern. However, we believe that when these delegated ministers claim they have acquired the ordinary and vicarious authority and jurisdiction of the Pope himself, so that they can act on their own initiative as if they were the Pope without any further specific commission from him, then papal authority itself is undermined, along with the divine constitution of the Church.

23 Here again you quote a purported document of the Signatura whose language does not coincide with any decree Father Gruner has ever received from that Tribunal.

24 Still another quotation from a purported document of the Signatura whose language does not coincide with any decree issued to Father Gruner.

25 See Reasons for Judgment, Court file no. 90-CQ-059032, issued March 10, 2000.

26 Your letter to Father Gruner of 8 August 2000, Prot. N. 20001327.

27 News report by Chris McGillion, Australian correspondent for The London Tablet.

28 See reference at note 39 to interview with Cardinal Casaroli concerning Paul VI’s moral doubts about Ostpolitik.

29Regarding Paul VI’s misgivings about Ostpolitik, see article referenced at footnote 39.

30 Quoted in Moscow and the Vatican, by Alexis Floridi, S.J. at p. 35.

31 Ibid.

32 L’Osservatore Romano, March 27, 1984, pp. 1, 6.

33 Avvenire, March 27, 1984, p. 11.

34 Inside the Vatican, Nov. 30, 2000.

35 The Daily Newspaper "Correio da Manha" of October 1999, p. 12; The Weekly Newspaper "Jornal de Leiria" of 14 October 1999, p. 24; The Weekly Newspaper "A Ordem" on 21 October 1999, p. 1; The Official Weekly of the Patriarchate of Lisbon "Voz da Verdade" on 31 October 1999, p. 6; article entitled "The Beatification of the Little Shepherds Definitely Will Be At Rome"; The Official Weekly of the Patriarchate of Lisbon "Voz da Verdade" on 5 December 1999, entitled "The Pope Will Return to Portugal; Fatima is the Place of the Beatification"; Article in "Euronoticias" on 24 March 2000, p. 8; entitled "Bishop of Leiria-Fatima" March 21 press conference. Weekly "Euronoticias" of 24 March 2000, p. 8; "Crisis: The Bishop of Leiria-Fatima Creates A Mystery Around the Visit of the Pope Without Telling the Patriarch What It Concerns, Will the Pope Reveal the Third Secret"?; "Euronoticias" of 24 March, an article on p. 9 entitled "Analysis: Persons Who Have Studied the Apparitions Say That the third Secret Could Concern the Sinking of the Faith. A Crisis in the Interior of the Church Would be the Third Premonition".

36 Zenit.org news report, March 23, 2001.

37 This is seen very clearly in the teaching of Pius XI in Divini Redemptoris, which warns the bishops not to allow any Catholic participation in seemingly benign social movements in which communists are involved. It is also seen in the penalty of excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See maintained by Pius XII for any collaboration with communism. As Pius XII observed in his Christmas Message of 1957, there can be no "dialogue" with communists because we have no common language with them, and their aims will always be antithetical to the aims of Holy Church.

38 The existence of this shameful agreement to silence the Council is an historical fact, attested to in all its details by Msgr. Roche, personal secretary to Cardinal Tisserant, who negotiated the agreement for the Vatican. See, e.g. Amerio, Romano. Iota Unum, p. 76, citing a letter of Msgr. Roche confirming the details of the agreement, which letter was published in Itinéraires, No. 285, p. 153. The letter states, among other things, that Tisserant received from the Vatican "explicit orders, both as to the signing of the accord and to ensuring that it was fully observed during the council."

39 "Paul VI had doubts about Ostpolitik," CWN news interview, Nov. 24, 1997 Interview of Cardinal Casaroli.

40 The Cardinal Kung Foundation has published an Open Letter on the Internet addressed to Cardinal Sodano and other Vatican officials. The Letter calls for an explanation of the Vatican’s refusal to do anything concretely to help the persecuted Chinese Catholics. The Open Letter also details the dismaying evidence that the Vatican is not only turning a blind eye to Chinese communist oppression of faithful "underground" Catholics, but actually lending support to and legitimating the communist schismatic PCA. See "An Open Letter to Vatican Officials" at http://www.cardinalKungfoundation.org/cpa/openletter.aspl and the other materials at that website.

41 30 Days magazine interview, No. 11-2000, p. 17.

42 Ep. 243, cited at pp. 459-60 of Cardinal John Henry Newman’s appendix to his history of the Arian heresy - "The Arians of the Fourth Century".

43 Graber, Rudolf. Athanasius and the Church of Our Time. Christian Book Club of America: Hawthorne, CA (1973), p. 23.

44 Ecclesia Dei Adflicta, n. 6(a).

45 Crossing the Threshold of Hope. Alfred A. Knopf. New York: 1994, pp. 178-181 and183.

46 For example, the letter claims that during his 1967 visit to Fatima Pope Paul VI consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, when in fact Pope Paul performed no consecration of any kind, as Sister Lucy herself certainly knew, since she was there for the papal visit.

47 Ratzinger’s commentary states as follows: "What remains [of the Message of Fatima] was already evident when we began our reflections on the text of the 'secret’: the exhortation to prayer as the path of 'salvation for souls’ (sic) and, likewise, the summons to penance and conversion."

48 Ratzinger’s commentary states as follows: "I would like finally to mention another key expression of the 'secret’ which has become justly famous: 'My Immaculate Heart will triumph.’ What does this mean? The heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of any kind. The fiat of Mary, the word of Her Heart, changed the history of the world, because it brought the Savior into the world—because, thanks to her Yes, God could become man in our world and remains so for all time." Thus, Cardinal Ratzinger severs the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart from the future conversion of Russia "in the end," as Our Lady said. Notice that Cardinal Ratzinger deletes the words "In the end" from Our Lady's statement "In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph."

49 Ratzinger’s commentary states as follows: "According to Matthew 5:8, the 'immaculate heart’ is a heart which, with God’s grace, has come to perfect interior unity and therefore 'sees God.’ To be 'devoted’ to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means therefore to embrace this attitude of heart, which makes the fiat—your will be done—the defining center of one’s whole life." Ratzinger clearly suggests that anyone who conforms himself to God’s will in this life will have an "immaculate" heart like Mary’s. This, of course, is false, since the one and only Immaculate Heart belongs to Mary, who (absolutely alone among all mere humans) was conceived without original sin. Notice also how the specifically Catholic devotion to the one Immaculate Heart of Mary throughout the world, which Our Lady announced at Fatima, is replaced by a mere exhortation that everyone should do God’s will so as to obtain an "immaculate" heart.

50 Council of Trent, quoted in Canon 2214 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law: Meminerint Episcopi aliique Ordinarii se pastores non percussores esse, atque ita praeesse, sibi subditis oportere, ut non in eis dominentur, ses illos tamquam filios et fratres diligant . . .