May 28, 2004
Linda L. Hughes
Irvine, CA 92620
Father Mitch Pacwa, S.J.
5817 Old Leeds Rd.
Irondale, AL 35210-2164
Dear Fr. Pacwa,
I am writing this letter for two reasons. The first is to thank-you for the great programs and guests that you have on EWTN Live. I have thoroughly enjoyed them all except one, and that is where my second reason comes in. During the week of April 22, 2004, you had Fr. Robert Fox as a guest with you. During the show, you asked him if it was true that the new Fatima Church being built was to be used for inter-faith worship where all religions can worship according to their particular tradition. Fr. Fox replied no which was fine, because the Vatican has not affirmed that as a goal of the new church. However, what disheartened me was that Fr. Fox proceeded to unashamedly drag a brother priest through the mud leaving viewers with the idea that the priest in question is nothing but a scam artist starting this Fatima "rumor" as a means to make money off his unsuspecting victims. Fr. Fox continued his accusations by stating that this priest is not permitted to say Mass at the Shrine and furthermore, has been "suspended". Amazingly, he stated all this without one fact or any evidence to back up such slanderous remarks!
But, the seed was planted...
This priests mean-spirited remarks were quite disturbing to me and since then have been gnawing at my conscious. After much consideration and prayer and one discarded letter, I find I must respond, at least, to those attacks with which I am familiar. You see, Fr. Mitch, I am a volunteer for Our Lady of Fatima Apostolate which is served by Fr. Nicholas Gruner, the "suspended" priest of whom Fr. Fox was speaking. I am also an active member of the Legion of Mary. As you probably know, the Legion of Mary is dedicated to the Spiritual Works of Mercy and among them are door-to-door visitations. The goal to make Mary better known so that She may make Christ better known to the world. We leave rosaries, miraculous medals, scapulars and all types of Catholic literature including holy cards to those we visit, according to their needs. The majority of all these items are furnished to us through Fr. Gruners Apostolate. When I call and request these items, they are sent immediately. Of course, our Praesidium sends a donation for these sacramentals but we have never been asked to do so. It has never even been suggested. We are not exclusive in taking advantage of this great service; in only the months of January and February of this year, volunteers of Our Lady of Fatima Apostolate have distributed 136,422 pieces of Catholic literature and 45,679 sacramentals. He also sends out a quarterly magazine at no cost to anyone. It is packed full of up to date information along with totally Catholic writings by and about the saints.
These are just a couple of the many services Fr. Gruner so lovingly does in the name of Our Lady of Fatima. In addition to the experiences with Our Lady of Fatima Apostolate that I have offered, I have included a copy of the facts surrounding the "suspension" of Fr. Gruner as sent to the Vatican. You may have seen them already, I dont know, but if not, I respectfully ask you to take a few minutes to read them.
In addition, regretfully, I must tell you that before the ink dried on my original letter in early May, a stunning development occurred which came to my attention. It is this that finally prompted me to send this letter. I was shocked to learn that on May 5, 2004, Msgr. Guerra gave permission (always needed for use of the Capelinha or Little Chapel of Apparitions) to a Hindu "priest" to conduct a pagan ritual in the Capelinha at Fatima! This ceremony was televised on Portugals SIC channel and included Msgr. Guerra providing approving comments on the Hindus use of the chapel for their pagan idolatry! This is the very spot where Our Lady of Fatima appeared in the Cova! Is this not blasphemy?
It saddens me deeply to hear such vicious attacks from a Catholic Priest towards anyone, especially another Priest. Surely existing disagreements on issues, i.e., the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart and the revealed (or unrevealed) Third Secret of Fatima (of which Mother Angelica even said that she didnt think the 2000 revelation was complete.) would not explain such unprovoked hostility on Fr. Foxs part. A personal apology to Fr. Gruner from Fr. Fox would be appropriate as we now know the tree by its fruits. I can assure you that I will keep him in my prayers as I do Fr. Gruner.
In conclusion, please accept my sincere thank you for your respectful approach in handling Fr. Foxs less than charitable remarks. You closed the subject quickly and moved forward without adding any further negativity to either side. Thank you for preserving the high standards set by Mother Angelica for EWTN. I will keep you in my prayers daily so that the exceptional job you do continues.
Thank you again for your time and patience in listening to a concerned Catholic. May God bless and keep you.
Respectfully yours in Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Linda L Hughes