What would you do if you knew the Truth was being hidden; if your enemies wanted to destroy you and eliminate you from the scene?
Fatima Priest was first published in 1997 in a hard-cover edition of 10,000 copies and a soft-cover edition of 88,000 copies. This will be followed by a second printing of an updated, pocket-book edition of 50,000 copies in 1998. The book has now been distributed to virtually every Bishop in the world, and to over 2,000 priests. Many of these have now written to Fr. Gruner, expressing their concern about his treatment by the Vatican, and its implications for all other priests. The book has thus become an important vehicle for bringing Fr. Gruner's predicament to the attention of a steadily widening circle of concerned Catholics. As more people learn the facts of this case, their reactions may yet serve to give the story a happier ending than the one now in prospect.
As the book recounts, the Vatican's efforts to silence Fr. Gruner have never taken the form of challenging what he says. Instead, they have sought to discredit him personally, first by circulating unfounded accusations about his status as a priest, and later by an escalating campaign aimed at forcing him to abandon his Fatima apostolate. In the course of this campaign, officials of the Vatican Secretariat of State, the Congregation for the Clergy and the Apostolic Signatura have repeatedly participated in breaches of the Church's own rules protecting the right of priests to due process under canon law. As the book ends, Fr. Gruner appears to be approaching the final chapter in this saga, but the outcome remains unknown.
Many Catholics have expressed both surprise and dismay at the dark picture the book paints of a Vatican bureaucracy in which episcopal power is routinely abused to enforce "political correctness." Far from allowing all sincere believers a voice in the inner dialogue of the Church, these officials tolerate only views in accord with their own, and move quickly to curb those who stray beyond their guidelines. Within a Church hierarchy that subordinates priests to bishops by a vow of obedience, it is all too easy to make life difficult for targets of bureaucratic displeasureas Fr. Gruner has learned to his great cost.
Fr. Gruner's open search for answers to these questionsand the growing numbers of like-minded followers he attractedsoon caught the attention of Vatican officials with very different views on Fatima. Despite the fact that the present Pope has publicly pronounced himself a Fatima believer, these officials dismiss the apparitions as mere "private revelations," and want to hear no more of them. Ignoring the dire warnings Our Lady uttered at Fatima about the threat of world enslavement by atheistic Russia, these same officials crafted the notorious Vatican-Moscow agreement of 1962. This agreement imposed on the Church a controversial policy of soft-pedaling its criticism of communist regimes. The covert and later overt campaign mounted by these high-ranking prelates to undermine Fr. Gruner's Fatima movement and silence him personally forms the shocking core of the book.
At the heart of Fr. Gruner's dedication to Catholic traditions was his profound belief in the miracle of Fatima. In the messages Our Lady delivered to mankind through three Portuguese peasant children in 1917, Fr. Gruner saw a clear foretelling of the troubles now gripping the Church. He became increasingly concerned about the way the Church had reacted to the Fatima apparitions, first with enthusiastic acceptance, then later, with indifference and even hostility. In particular, Fr. Gruner focused on the so-called "third secret," the last message written down by the sole surviving Fatima seer, Sister Lucia. Why, he wondered, had the Church reneged on its promise to publish this message in 1960? What was in the message that made three successive Popes decide to keep it hidden? Did it predict, as some allege, the very crisis now rending the Church, a crisis reaching to the very highest levels in the Vatican?
Devotion to the old order was not a shrewd career move for a newly-ordained priest, and Fr. Gruner immediately began paying a price for his convictions. His refusal to say Mass in the vernacular or give Communion in the hand made him unwelcome in many parishes. But while some reformers shunned a cassock-wearing advocate of outmoded devotions such as the Rosary, others were drawn to a priest they saw as a defender of the true beliefs of the Catholic Church.
The book traces Fr. Gruner's extraordinary life of devotion back to his Catholic upbringing in Montreal in the late forties, and through the prosperous fifties. It was at this time, when the Catholic Church had yet to be rocked by waves of reform, that the foundations of Fr. Gruner's vocation were formed. But by the time he became a seminarian at the Angelicum in Rome, things were changing fast, and by the time he was ordained in Avellino in 1976, the Catholic Church of the fifties was gone, and the New Order had taken its place.
Fatima Priest by Francis Alban (Good Counsel Publications, Pound Ridge, New York) tells a tale many Catholics find puzzling and disturbing. In a Church led by a Pope most observers see as an unbending conservative himself, how can a priest get in trouble by upholding tradition? Fatima Priest provides the shocking answer. All it takes, it seems, is for that priest to uphold traditionsas well as underlying beliefsthat powerful officials within the Vatican would prefer to abandon or ignore.
The cover says it tells the story of "the most controversial priest in the Catholic Church today." One might expect such a book to be about a radical reformer, perhaps an advocate of new doctrines on such things as divorce, contraception or the ordination of women. Instead, this book is about the life's work of Fr. Nicholas Gruner, a stalwart upholder of traditional Catholic values, devotions and beliefs.
The Disturbing Story of a Warning the Vatican Refuses to Heed
- You've seen him on TV;
- You've read about him in the newspapers;
- You've heard about the cover-up of the Third Secret;
- You've listened to one side of the story your whole life.
NOW, THE PRIEST SPEAKS OUT!
If there is nothing to hide, why the cover-up? Why the lies?Isn't it time you learned the whole truth?
Read the entire story for yourself in Fatima Priest, the blockbuster biographical release of Father Nicholas Gruner by famed Catholic journalist Francis Alban.
Paper, ISBN 0-9663046-1-6, 342 pages, $9.97
Available from Our Lady's Book Service
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