11 November 2002
To His Holiness John Paul II
At the urging of a monsignor who lives in Rome and has been attached to the Vatican apparatus in a high position, I am writing to Your Holiness about my situation.
On September 13, 2001 L'Osservatore Romano published a "Declaration" concerning me, signed by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos and his Secretary, Archbishop Csaba Ternyak, and dated September 12, 2001. This "declaration" states, quite falsely, that I have "received the censure of suspension a divinis and that the censure was confirmed by a definitive sentence of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura." The "declaration" further states that it was issued by "mandate of Higher Authority" the implication being that the mandate was by Your Holiness himself, although it was presumably a "mandate" of the Secretary of State, who has for many years expressed opposition to my Fatima apostolate.
In truth, (a) I have never received any "censure of suspension," as no such decree has ever been issued by any bishop or any other competent authority; (b) I cannot be "suspended" in any case, since I have committed no offense whatsoever, and a priest cannot be suspended if he has committed no offense, as the Code of Canon Law promulgated by Your Holiness himself makes clear (cf. can. 1321); (c) the "declaration" in LOsservatore Romano states no offense by me as the basis for the "censure of suspension," because no such offense exists; and (d) to this day, I have received no document stating who issued this so-called "censure of suspension," the grounds for this "censure," or the date I was supposedly subjected to this "censure."
I have made these and many other points clear in hundreds of pages of documents filed with the Congregation for the Clergy and the Signatura, all of which have been ignored. With no place to turn, I sent multiple written recourses to Your Holiness, to which there was no response. Friends and supporters have published in Il Messaggero (July 12, 1995 and April 2, 1998) two Open Letters to Your Holiness in my defense, the second having been signed by 27 archbishops and bishops, more than 1, 500 priests and religious and more than 15,000 members of the laity. Still, there has been no response.
Out of 405,000 priests in the Catholic Church, I am, to my knowledge, the only priest in the living memory of the Church who has been publicly declared "suspended" in LOsservatore Romano, and certainly the only priest treated in this manner even though he has committed no offense against faith, morals or the law of the Church. This injustice is all the more scandalous in view of the daily revelations of unspeakable sexual crimes by priests and even bishops throughout the Church, whose crimes were covered up for decades. Not one of these criminals has been made the subject of a "declaration" in LOsservatore Romano.
Since the phrase "Higher Authority" in the "declaration" suggests (to some) that Your Holiness is responsible for this injustice, I implore Your Holiness to intervene by issuing your own decree declaring (a) that I am, in fact, a priest in good standing, and (b) that Your Holiness never mandated that I be declared "suspended" without grounds. In the alternative, Your Holiness could order Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos and Archbishop Ternyak to publish in LOsservatore Romano a retraction of their false and defamatory "declaration."
I pray Your Holiness will do justice in my case. But, humanly speaking, I have little reason to hope that this letter will ever reach you, or that, even if it does, your "advisors" will permit you to intervene in my behalf. In any event, following the maxim of Catholic theology that "What is gratuitously affirmed can be gratuitously denied," I will continue to ignore the gratuitous and baseless "censure of suspension," and will continue to affirm that I am, as I always have been, a priest in good standing.
Respectfully yours in Christ,
Father Nicholas Gruner
Fr. Nicholas Gruner
452 Kraft Road,
Fort Erie, Ontario L2A 4M7 CANADA