Father Fox Continues
to Defend the Indefensible
by Christopher A. Ferrara
This article is written to respond to three items posted on the “Fatima Family Apostolate” website operated by Fr. Robert J. Fox. These three items — a “clarification” by the rector of the Fatima Shrine, an article by a so-called “scholar of Fatima,” and a letter from the Vatican nuncio in Washington — were posted by Fr. Fox in an apparent effort to stem mounting criticism of his dogged defense of the recent “interreligious” activities at the Fatima Shrine, which have provoked protests by concerned Catholics around the world.
|On an April 25 EWTN program, Father Robert J. Fox ridiculed those Catholics resisting the new interfaith program at Fatima. He said all reports of interfaith activity at Fatima were mere “fabrications”, and that Shrine Rector Guerra would never allow such things to take place. Less than two weeks later, a Hindu ritual was performed at Fatima with Rector Guerra’s approval. Now, Father Fox suddenly defends Rector Guerra permitting pagan worship at a Catholic altar, and he again attacks those Catholics who protest the pagan outrage at Our Lady’s Shrine.|
Readers of Catholic Family News and The Fatima Crusader are well aware of the leading role those publications have played in covering the major story that first emerged in October 2003, when the Fatima Shrine’s rector, Fr. Luciano Guerra, hosted an unprecedented “interreligious congress” at the Shrine. The congress was attended by John Vennari, Editor of Catholic Family News, who witnessed and tape recorded the lectures, and who reported the details of the Congress in late 2003.1
In describing the congress, Guerra declared:
“The future of Fatima, or the adoration of God and His Mother at this Holy Shrine, must pass through the creation of a shrine where different religions can mingle. The interreligious dialogue in Portugal, and in the Catholic Church, is still in an embryonic phase, but the Shrine of Fatima is not indifferent to this fact and is alre`ady open to being a universalistic place of vocation.”2
Readers will also recall that during Guerra’s congress — attended by a motley crowd of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Anglicans, as well as Catholics — the participants applauded Father Arul Irudayam, rector of a major Marian Shrine in Vailankanni, India, when he rejoiced that Hindus are now permitted to perform their religious rituals at his shrine. To leave no doubt about the “theme” of this conference, Guerra’s keynote speaker was none other than Father Jacques Dupuis, who was recently disciplined (however mildly) by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith because of the religious indifferentism of his writings, which present all religions as means of salvation.
Dupuis declared that the purpose of the “interreligious dialogue” that was introduced into the Church after Vatican II is not to convert non-Catholics to the true religion, but rather to help “the Christian to become a better Christian, and the Hindu a better Hindu.” Dupuis further declared that the world’s false religions are not only tolerated but “positively willed” by God as ways of salvation, and that “the religion of the future will be a general converging of religions in a universal Christ that will satisfy all.”
Clearly unbowed by his mild Vatican censure, Dupuis even dared to denounce as “that horrible text” the infallible teaching of the Council of Florence that the Catholic Church “firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Catholic Church before the end of their lives.”
When Catholic Family News and The Fatima Crusader blew the whistle on the outrageous doings at the Fatima Shrine, Guerra erected a public relations barricade from behind which he and his various neo-modernist defenders have been lobbing one desperate grenade after another at The Fatima Crusader’s publisher, Father Nicholas Gruner, and at CFN’s John Vennari.
One of Guerra’s chief bomb-throwers has been Father Fox, whose Immaculate Heart Messenger magazine has been anything but immaculate in its nearly hysterical attacks on Father Gruner: “Father Gruner — A Suspended Catholic Priest” screams one of the headlines Fox has published in an effort to divert the public’s attention from what is going on at the Shrine.
As this publication has demonstrated time and again, Father Gruner is not “suspended”.3 But, in any event, that is not the issue. Father Fox’s “argument” in defense of Guerra is nothing but a lame ad hominem attack even a child can see is illogical: Father Gruner is “suspended,” therefore nothing is amiss at the Fatima Shrine.
In addition to these illogical attacks on Father Gruner’s person, Fox and the others behind Guerra’s barricade have issued a series of “denials” which actually deny nothing, but rather only confirm the enormity of Guerra’s deeds. For example, Guerra’ response to Father Gruner’s whistle-blowing was to publish his first “clarification” (two months after his scandalous Congress) on the official web site of the Fatima Shrine which contains the following statement:
“And when it seems to us to be opportune, after what is happening in many other sacred places, this new basilica would be able to receive brothers from other faiths, who may want, in a brotherly manner, to know how we pray.”4
|Father Guerra said, “The Hindu priest and a translator that he brought with him, went up to the image of Our Lady, while the rest of the group stayed down below.” This is an outright deception. First of all, the Hindu priest did not simply go up to the “image of Our Lady”. After he did this, he positioned himself at the altar that stands in front of the statue of Our Lady. The Hindu priest then used that altar, which he faced, as the place for intonation of his prayer to Vishnu for Shanti, standing in precisely the spot a Catholic priest would stand when celebrating the Novus Ordo Mass. Furthermore, the rest of the group did not “stay down below,” but rather three Hindu women went into the sanctuary, up past the altar, and proceeded to the statue to make their puja (offering of flowers) to “the Most Holy Mother” a/k/a Devi.|
This “denial” was nothing but a barely disguised admission that Guerra had something big planned for the Fatima Shrine “when it seems to us to be opportune.” What he had planned was obviously far more than mere visits to the Shrine by individual members of other religions, which has always been permitted. Obviously, what Guerra intends — “when it seems to us to be opportune” — is to open the Fatima Shrine to the worship of other religions, whose adherents will come there on “pilgrimages” of various kinds. As we will see shortly, that is exactly what is now happening.
A later “denial” by Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, almost comically hinted at what was coming. On January 1, 2004 Fitzgerald told Zenit News: “As far as I know, there are no plans that the building is specifically designed for interfaith purposes. We recognize that Fatima is a place of pilgrimage for many religions [since when?] ... (T)he Shrine nonetheless retains [!] its Catholic identity.”
A Wall Street litigator could not have crafted a more lawyerly statement than Fitzgerald’s loophole-riddled “denial”: As far as he knows the new Basilica is not designed specifically for inter-faith purposes, but Fatima is a place of pilgrimage for many religions (notice how Fitzgerald slipped that amazing bit of news into his remark) although the new structure will “retain” its “Catholic identity”. That a Vatican prelate assures us that the world’s foremost Marian shrine will “retain” its “Catholic identity” is reason enough for alarm. Retain? This is like saying that St. Peter’s Basilica will “retain” its Catholic identity! What a strange thing to say — but how very revealing it is — about a place that could only be Catholic and nothing but Catholic in the first place. No, something was clearly up, but Guerra and his friends weren’t quite prepared to reveal what it was.
Under mounting public pressure to issue an unequivocal denial that the Fatima Shrine will not be opened to interreligious activity, Guerra told Spirit Daily in January 2004 that “We are very far from having Hindus or any Muslims pray in Fatima, except if they do it in private — not in public liturgies or other services.” Yet another denial that only provoked suspicion. To say that “we are very far” from allowing something is to suggest that at some point it will be allowed. Well, just how far was “very far”? It didn’t take long for us to learn the answer: “very far” meant four months from the time of the Spirit Daily interview!
On May 5, 2004 a busload of Hindus, with Guerra’s express permission, arrived at the Cova da Iria, proceeded to the little Chapel of the Apparitions — built on the very spot where Our Lady appeared — and conducted a Hindu prayer service in this Catholic sanctuary. As the coverage by Portugal’s SIC television network showed on camera, a Hindu priest, wearing the vestments of a Hindu priest, went up to the altar in the Capelinha — an altar consecrated for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass — stood at that altar, and proceeded to intone the Shanti Pa, the Hindu “Prayer for Peace,” for several minutes while the Hindu “pilgrims” sat in the “congregation”.
The ceremony included a procession by three Hindu women into the sanctuary to make an offering of flowers to the statue of Our Lady, whom the Hindus described as “the Holy Mother” — the Hindu term of endearment for the goddess Devi, as SIC reported. The offering of flowers, which was placed at the base of the statue, is an element of puja, or Hindu prayer, to a deity. Puja “is the act of showing reverence to a god, a spirit, or another aspect of the divine through invocations, prayers, songs, and rituals.” During puja “an image or other symbol of the god serves as a means of gaining access to the divine.”5 The offering of flowers to the deity is known as ala or Pushpam — an “offering of garlands of flowers or just flowers.”6
When the Hindu ceremony was over, the Hindu priest was received by Guerra, who allowed himself to be decked out in a prayer shawl covered with verses from the Bhagavad Gita, Hinduism’s “sacred book,” which teaches that all of life is an illusion. As Vennari noted in his report:
“This book contains a story which illustrates a central tenet of Hinduism. Arjuna, a warrior, is on the eve of a great battle. He dreads the next day, because he knows he will have to kill his friends, relatives, teachers. Arjuna’s charioteer, who turns out to be the god Krishna in disguise, tells Arjuna not to fear the coming battle because none of it is real. No one is going to die. All of it, and all of life, is illusion. Arjuna then thrusts himself into the bloody conflict believing it to be his Dharma, his given path, to hack his friends and relatives to pieces. It is all illusion anyway. No one really dies. This is Hinduism in a nutshell. You are god, everything else is illusion.”7
A few words about the Shanti Pa. Among the many false gods Hindus worship are “the Big Three” — Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.8 Brahma is supposed to have made the world, while Vishnu sustains and protects it, and Shiva will eventually destroy it, “after which Brahma again creates the world, and so on” in an endless cycle of creation and destruction.9 The Shanti Pa is a prayer to Vishnu, who is “the deity of Shanti, the peaceful mood.” Vishnu “is often represented resting on the coiled serpent Shesha, with Vishnu’s consort Lakshmi massaging his feet.”10 The Shanti Pa goes something like this —
Oh god lead us from the unreal to the real.
Oh god lead us from darkness to light.
Oh god lead us from death to immortality.
Shanti Shanti Shanti to all ... etc.
— with the “god” in question being Vishnu, “the deity of Shanti.” Vishnu, by the way, has had at least ten incarnations, according to the Hindus. Incarnation #9 was Buddha.
Now a few words about “the Holy Mother.” According to SIC, the very day on which the Hindus went to Fatima was “the day dedicated to the greatest of all female deities. She is called the Most Holy Mother, the goddess Devi, the deity of nature who many Portuguese Hindus also find in Fatima.” And who is Devi? As Smithsonian Magazine explains, Devi is the all-purpose, multi-faceted feminine goddess of Hinduism:
“She has a thousand names and faces — and countless tasks and talents. Even as a fierce warrior heroically slaying the most vicious demons, she retains her composure and radiant beauty. Westerners accustomed to a ‘Heavenly Father,’ and to seeing virginal, subdued images of the Madonna, might find Devi and her wildly vigorous feminine power quite startling. For many Hindus, however, Devi’s greatest strength is that she embodies all aspects of womanhood. In the vast pantheon, she is in the top tier, as powerful as the male gods Vishnu and Shiva. Mother goddess of India and local protector for innumerable villages, she can be quiet and nurturing. But she is also a cosmic force, addressing the creation and destruction of worlds. On occasion she is voluptuous and alluring — a playful temptress, a passionate lover. Before exams, Hindu pupils pray to her, incarnated as Sarasvati, the goddess of music and learning. Devi blesses her devotees with fortune and success.”
Devi is worshiped “during the Vasanta Navaratri. This occurs during the spring.”11 The Hindus at the Capelinha, then, chose a nice spring day for their offering of flowers to Devi.
So, to sum up, the Rector of the Fatima Shrine allowed a group of Hindus, led by their Hindu priest, to offer prayers to Vishnu and a puja to their voluptuous goddess Devi in a Catholic sanctuary at a consecrated Catholic altar — on the very spot where the Virgin Mother of the true God came to call for the conversion of the world to the true religion. After this sacrilege had been committed, Guerra, a Catholic priest, allowed a Hindu “priest” to invest him with a Hindu prayer shawl, covered with the verses of a degenerate pagan “bible” whose myths, superstitions and errors could not be further removed from the Gospel. All of this was accurately reported by John Vennari in Catholic Family News and Father Gruner in The Fatima Crusader.
In short, Guerra — who assured us that this sort of thing was not going to happen — has been exposed as a liar. And, once again, Father Fox is only too happy to assist Guerra in his continuing attempt to conceal the truth about what Guerra is doing. This brings me to the first item on Fr. Fox’s “Fatima Family Apostolate” website: the latest “clarification” from Fr. Guerra.
Fr. Guerra’s Latest “Clarification”
Like the “denial” of Archbishop Fitzgerald discussed above, Guerra’s “clarification” could have been drafted by a Wall Street lawyer — or at least one from Lisbon. Here is my analysis of Guerra’s attempt to explain away what happened in May:
“The Hindu priest and a translator that he brought with him, went up to the image of Our Lady, while the rest of the group stayed down below.”
This is an outright deception. First of all, the Hindu priest did not simply go up to the “image of Our Lady”. After he did this, he positioned himself at thealtar that stands in front of the statue of Our Lady. The Hindu priest then used that altar, which he faced, as the place for intonation of his prayer to Vishnu for Shanti, standing in precisely the spot a Catholic priest would stand when celebrating the Novus Ordo Mass. Furthermore, the rest of the group did not “stay down below,” but rather three Hindu women went into the sanctuary, up past the altar, and proceeded to the statue to make their puja (offering of flowers) to “the Most Holy Mother” a/k/a Devi. Tellingly, Guerra had ordered the removal of the locked, bulletproof glass enclosure around the statue (which sits on the precise spot of Our Lady’s apparitions) so that the Hindus could have special access to it. This is done only for high-ranking dignitaries.
|On May 5, the Hindus worshiped their false gods in their temple in the morning, and conducted a Hindu prayer service at the Catholic altar in Fatima in the afternoon. Father Fox now defends this desecration of the Fatima Shrine, and attacks those who oppose it. Christopher Ferrara writes: “It is time for Father Fox to stop the cowardly shin-kicking of his fellow priest and confront this issue like a man. Will he, or will he not, defend the sacred ground of Cova da Iria against profanation by pagans, heretics and schismatics? If he will not, then it is time for Father Fox to close down his ‘Fatima Family Apostolate’ and stop holding himself out as a faithful exponent of the Message of Fatima.”|
Guerra deceivingly omits all these facts in order to create the false impression that no altar or sanctuary was involved in this Hindu ceremony, and that only the Hindu priest (and his “translator”) invaded the sanctuary. By the way, the Hindu priest needed a translator because he is from India, and is not a native Portuguese Hindu (of which there are very few, nearly all of them immigrants from Goa). Even on the SIC broadcast, the Hindu priest spoke Hindi and the network provided Portuguese subtitles.
“The priest sang a prayer which lasted a few minutes. No gesture was made, no rite performed, on or off the altar. The translator explained that he had asked ‘the Most Holy Mother’ that she would give wisdom and discernment to those who govern nations, so that the world could have peace, peace, peace.”
For anyone who has seen the SIC videotape, this explanation is ridiculous on its face. When a Hindu priest stands at a Catholic altar and intones a prayer to Vishnu “which lasted a few minutes,” along with an offering of flowers to Devi, and when he does this for the benefit of a group of Hindu “pilgrims” who have come to sit in his congregation, he is performing a Hindu ritual — and he is doing it in a Catholic sanctuary. Guerra’s quibbling over whether some hand gesture was made during this ceremony is an insult to our intelligence. Further, in yet another act of concealment, Guerra omits any reference to the elements of Hindu ritual involved in the offering of flowers to Devi by the three Hindu women who entered the sanctuary. Guerra hides this from the public, and Father Fox assists in the hiding.
It must also be noted that, as John Vennari pointed out in his reporting on this incident, the Hindu priest told SIC that he came to the Shrine to take advantage of its “spiritual vibrations.” This is nothing but pagan mystical nonsense which makes a mockery of the Mother of God’s appearance at Fatima to call upon the nations of the world to submit to the Reign of Christ the King and practice devotion to Her Immaculate Heart. For the Rector to allow the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, to be reduced to the status of yet another Hindu icon, and the place of Her apparitions to be treated as a source of “spiritual vibrations” for Hindus, is an outrage that demands rectification — not to mention re-consecration of the sanctuary and altar which Guerra allowed to be defiled in this way. Does Guerra no longer consider himself bound by the Commandment “Thou shalt not have strange gods before Me”?
It seems the more Guerra tries to deny what he is perpetrating at the Fatima Shrine, the more he convicts himself. In the next paragraph of his “clarification” he reveals the following interesting information:
“We note that this intention of peace, being universal, is the same intention that, in our opinion, has brought to the shrine other personalities who are not Catholic, such as for instance, the Dalai Lama, the President of the Republic of India, and also the wives of President Clinton and President Arafat. Groups of non-Catholic Christians also come with the intention of asking for Church unity although not with great frequency, some high representatives of the Orthodox Churches have been welcomed in the Shrine. Recently, some 10 Anglican priests, accompanied by their bishop, held a spiritual retreat in one of the houses of the Shrine.”
It is simply unbelievable that Guerra thinks this is a defense of his actions. What it really shows is that under Guerra’s stewardship the Fatima Shrine has become a tourist attraction for the elites of the New World Order, who are treated as visiting dignitaries. Worse, Guerra now reveals that while Hindus are using the sanctuary and altar for prayer services, the Anglicans are being allowed to conduct spiritual “retreats” for non-Catholic laymen posing as priests and bishops of the Anglican “Church”. Does Guerra think God Almighty is pleased when he turns the sacred ground on which His Virgin Mother appeared over to Anglican pseudo-clerics, who spit in Our Lord’s face and re-Crucify Him innumerable times by daring to preach in His name a “Gospel” that condones abortion, contraception, divorce and remarriage, the “ordination” of practicing homosexuals, and various other heresies against His revealed truth? And if the decrepit Anglican “Church” is now allowed to conduct “retreats” at Fatima, who will be next? Will we see Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim “retreats”? Given what has happened at Fatima over the last eight months should anyone believe Guerra if he denied that he has this very thing in mind?
Continuing with his “clarification” Guerra states:
“After making their prayer at the Capelinha or Little Chapel of the Apparitions, the Hindu pilgrims were received in a room by the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima and by the Rector of the Shrine, to whom they said they had come out of devotion towards ‘Most Holy Mother.’ They did not speak about a similarity or transference between this name and any entity of their religion. Little credit, therefore, should be given to the comparisons mentioned by the media, whom we were unable to prepare, because it was late when we found out about their presence.”
Notice that in the very act of denying that any sort of Hindu ritual took place in the Capelinha, Guerra admits that it was Hindu “pilgrims” who went to the Capelinha with their Hindu priest. That is, the Hindus made a spiritual pilgrimage to a Catholic shrine where they were permitted to offer prayers of the Hindu religion to their Hindu gods, led by their Hindu priest, standing at the Catholic altar — whose use in the ritual Guerra once again conveniently fails to mention. It is hardly surprising that Guerra consistently fails to mention this abuse of a Catholic altar, for the message it sends is loud and clear: that altars consecrated to the worship of the true God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass are no longer to be considered sacrosanct, but rather, as a sign of “interreligious” harmony, are to be made available to the adherents of false religions, even at the Fatima Shrine.
Guerra craftily argues that the “Hindu pilgrims” he and the Bishop of Fatima received after their “pilgrimage” to the Little Chapel of the Apparitions “did not speak of a similarity or transference between this name (Most Holy Mother) and any entity of their religion.” He does not say that there was no such transference, but only that the Hindus did not speak of it — to him. But they obviously spoke of it in great detail to SIC, which reported what is discussed above: that this was a day for honoring Devi the Hindu goddess. This, no doubt, is why Guerra hedges by adding that “little credit, therefore, should be given to the comparisons mentioned by the media whom we were unable to prepare.” (By “unable to prepare” Guerra obviously means unable to control, so that SIC would not report what the Hindus actually said.) Guerra is being quite careful when he says “little credit” should be given to SIC’s account of the objects of the Hindu worship in the Capelinha, for he knows that SIC was only reporting the Hindus’ own statements. Indeed, how would Guerra know that ‘little credit’ should be given to SIC’s account of the objects of this Hindu worship at Fatima if, as he says in the same “clarification,” the Hindus did not speak to him about which god they were worshiping in the Capelinha?
Thus Guerra dishonestly suggests the SIC report was misleading, even though he has no evidence to demonstrate this, and even though the only evidence on this score is what the Hindus actually said to SIC’s reporter. As shown on the broadcast, a young Hindu woman, standing in front of statues of the Hindu gods at the Hindu temple, said to the SIC reporter: “This is god Shiva and his wife Parvati. In the center we can see god Rama, to our right his wife Sita and to our left, his brother and companion Lakshmama. Now we can see Krishna Bhagwan and his consort Radha. The deities are always accompanied by their respective consorts or wives. As a rule, when we address the deities or want to ask for their graces, we address the feminine deity, who is very important to us.”
So, Our Lady of Fatima is seen as a “feminine deity” in the Hindu pantheon of false gods. It was this “feminine deity” the Hindus went to “address” in the Catholic Sanctuary of Fatima. This deity, as SIC reported, is Devi. Now, as the Hindu woman told SIC, the feminine deities of Hinduism are always hooked up with male consorts. Devi, so the fable goes, is the consort of Shiva, the god of destruction.12 Such is the pagan idolatry Fr. Guerra welcomed into the Fatima Sanctuary.
The next paragraph of Guerra’s “clarification” is a true gem of slippery equivocation:
“As far as the Church of the Most Holy Trinity (the new Fatima Basilica now under construction) is concerned, which they [Catholics who protest Guerra’s actions] persist on calling an ecumenical ‘temple’, we can state that this description, although susceptible of a Catholic interpretation, does not originate from the Shrine. We do not intend — and we have never intended — to hold any celebrations in the church which are not in accordance with the directives prescribed by the Catholic Church. The Shrine strives to be faithful to the message which God has entrusted to it and cannot help noticing the distinctly catholic (sic) character which the message inculcates, both in the apparitions of the Angel, which inspired us to choose the title for the future church, and in the apparitions of Our Lady, which contain dramatic references to the mediating role of the Pope and the Bishops, regarding the unity of the Church and for the peace of the world.”
This text is rife with hints of more outrages to come. Guerra tells us that the phrase “ecumenical temple” is “susceptible of a catholic (sic) interpretation”. Is that so? What precisely is the “catholic interpretation” of an “ecumenical temple”? When in the entire history of the Catholic Church has the Church constructed “ecumenical temples”? We can only imagine what activities Guerra has planned for his “ecumenical temple” which is “susceptible of a catholic interpretation”. If the past several months are any indication, Guerra and his collaborators are just getting warmed up.
Guerra says “we do not intend — and have never intended — to hold any celebrations in the church which is being built, that are not in accordance with the directives prescribed by the Catholic Church.” This is not quite the same — is it, now? — as saying there will be no interreligious activities or pagan prayer services at the Shrine. Rather, it is to say that there will be such activities, so long as they are in keeping with unspecified “directives”. Since these same “directives” do not seem to prohibit the interreligious worship services that are occurring all over the world at places as diverse as Assisi, Italy; Glasgow, Scotland; Montreal, Canada and Grand Rapids, Michigan,13 what Guerra is really saying is: there will be more of the same at Fatima.
Nor can Catholics take any comfort from Guerra’s statement that the Shrine authorities “cannot help noticing the distinctly Catholic character which the message (of Fatima) inculcates …” That is like saying that Guerra cannot help noticing that the Catholic Church is distinctly Catholic. Guerra is sending the none-too-subtle signal that while he “cannot help noticing” that Fatima is “distinctly Catholic,” this does not mean that Fatima will remain exclusively Catholic — indeed, he has already shown that it won’t, if he continues to be in charge of the Shrine. As far as Guerra is concerned, the Shrine is already open to Hindu pilgrimages, Anglican retreats and whatever else strikes his interreligious or ecumenical fancy. And, as Guerra has already made clear, the practitioners of non-Catholic and even pagan religions can have use of the altar and sanctuary if it pleases them.
But there is one group of believers who under no circumstances will be allowed in the Capelinha for their prayers: traditionalist Catholics who wish to assist in the traditional Latin Mass. Hindus, yes. Traditional Catholics, no. This is the upside-down, Through the Looking Glass world of the Novus Ordo Church. The only word for this insane state of affairs is apostasy.
The final paragraph of Guerra’s “clarification” is yet another confirmation — as if we needed one — that Guerra intends to press ahead with his plans for an interreligious shrine at Fatima:
“In the hope that all brothers understand that we desire and pray for the union which is possible between all Christians, all believers and all men, we also raise our prayer to Our Lady of Fatima that She may strengthen our will for unity and deliver us from all spirit of dissension and controversy.”
In other words, Guerra intends to make the Fatima Shrine a demonstration project for “the union which is possible between all Christians, all believers, and all men.” And what is this “union” of which Guerra speaks? It is certainly not the true and lasting union of men that arises when they convert and become members of the one true Church founded by God Incarnate to make disciples of all nations. As St. Pius X taught, this union of men in the Mystical Body of Christ is the only basis for a society that is truly peaceful and just:
“[T]he City cannot be built otherwise than as God has built it; society cannot be set up unless the Church lays the foundations and supervises the work; no, civilization is not something yet to be found, nor is the New City to be built on hazy notions; it has been in existence and still is: it is Christian civilization, it is the Catholic City. It has only to be set up and restored continually against the unremitting attacks of insane dreamers, rebels and miscreants. OMNIA INSTAURARE IN CHRISTO.”14
Guerra is one of the insane dreamers, rebels and miscreants described by this sainted Pope. Guerra’s notion of “union” is the insane dream of the Masons — a “union” that allows a Catholic altar and sanctuary to be used for the pilgrimages and prayers of unconverted Hindus, as if the First Commandment did not exist. Guerra promotes the very essence of the Masonic ideal of a pan-religious “brotherhood” in which Catholics put aside their insistence on the Truth revealed by God through Jesus Christ and His Church, stop seeking the conversion of non-Catholics to save their souls, and ultimately succumb to utter indifferentism. Guerra’s notion of “union” is based on the very error condemned by Pius XI in Mortalium animos, namely —
“that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy … Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion.”15
That there is only one true religion and one true Church, outside of which no one can be saved, is precisely why the Council of Florence infallibly declared and defined as a dogma of our religion that “not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Catholic Church before the end of their lives.” Guerra’s entire interreligious project, including the address of Fr. Jacques Dupuis denouncing this infallible dogmatic teaching of the Council of Florence as “horrible,” constitutes a public rejection of that dogma. Still worse, Guerra’s turning over of a Catholic sanctuary and altar to the public worship of false gods can only be seen as nothing less than an “abomination of desolation” in the holy place prophesied by Our Lord as a harbinger of the end times. How else can one describe it?
Guerra’s own words and deeds convict him. To recall the words of Pius XI addressed to far less egregious offenders, Guerra is guilty of “altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion.” Guerra thus gives scandal and corrupts the faith of many — including those, such as Fr. Fox, who out of human respect persist in defending Guerra at the cost of their own Catholic integrity. Justice, the common good of the Church, and the salvation of souls demand that Guerra be removed as rector of the Fatima Shrine.
Timothy Tindal Who?
And now to the next item on Fr. Fox’s website. Father Fox is so desperate to defend Fr. Guerra’s transformation of the Fatima Shrine into an interreligious tourist attraction that he has also put up on his website a link to an article by one Timothy Tindal-Robertson, whom Fox identifies only as “a well-known author and scholar of Fatima,” but without mentioning his name (which does not appear until the very end of the linked article).
I have very little knowledge of Tindal-Robertson. It seems that at one time (back in the 1970s or 1980s) he produced some traditionalist literature. Apparently, he has since decided that Hindus in the Capelinha is the way to go. While I don’t really know who the man is, one thing he manifestly is not is a “scholar of Fatima.”
Tindal-Robertson takes John Vennari to task for the simple act of reporting what clearly happened at the Fatima Shrine on May 5. But while Tindal-Robertson indulges in a great deal of harrumphing about Vennari’s report, he fails to rebut its basic allegation: that Fr. Guerra allowed access to the Capelinha to a Hindu priest, who offered prayers to Vishnu at the altar, while three women offered flowers to the goddess Devi.
Clutching at straws, Tindal-Robertson suggests that Vennari’s report is unreliable because he did not personally travel six thousand miles to Portugal to request a personal interview with Father Guerra or the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima. As a matter of fact, Guerra refused an interview with a representative of CFN who traveled to Portugal to obtain the SIC videotapes.16
CFN’s representative was also refused an interview with the Hindu priest, who said he could not speak without Guerra’s permission. Does anyone smell a cover-up? At any rate, only two sentences later Tindal-Robertson concedes that Guerra’s entire version of the event is set forth in the “clarification” we have just discussed. Vennari had the tapes. Vennari had Guerra’s side of the story from Guerra’s own website. What need was there for an interview?
Confronted by the videotaped evidence SIC had provided directly to CFN’s representative, Tindal-Robertson offers the absurd objection that the tape “would need to be verified before it could be accepted as a correct record of the event.” Verified? Was Vennari supposed to subject the tape to forensic testing before he relied upon it? Equally absurd is Tindal-Robertson’s suggestion that CFN’s translation of the Portuguese soundtrack of the video might not be accurate. CFN assigned two translators to the task, and Tindal-Robertson fails to indicate any inaccuracies in the translation or in the video recording. Enough said.
Concerning the particulars of the event itself, Tindal-Robertson actually denies nothing. Rather, like Guerra, he tries to put his own spin on the undisputed facts, suggesting (but not explicitly claiming) that “the Holy Mother” worshiped by the Hindus could be, just might be, should be assumed to be, the Virgin Mary, when there is no evidence whatsoever to support this conclusion, but rather abundant evidence on the videotape to contradict it, including the Hindus’ direct statements to camera on their worship of multiple deities. So let us have no more of this nonsense. The Hindus came to the Capelinha as Hindus and they left as Hindus. They did not convert on the spot, become Catholics, and offer legitimate Catholic petitions to the Mother of God. They came to worship a god or a goddess or both. Tindal-Robertson cannot deny that the Hindus did what they did and said what they said to SIC. John Vennari simply reported what happened and drew the inescapable conclusions. Tindal-Robertson knows it, and so does Guerra.
Regarding the 2003 interreligious Fatima Congress, Tindal-Robertson says that Vennari made “a number of unfounded and gravely erroneous assertions about the event.” John Vennari responds: “It is amazing that Tindal-Robertson claims I did not accurately report the events at the October 2003 Fatima Congress. He was not at the conference, so he can have no basis for determining whether I reported it truthfully or not. Further, those who were at the Congress never said that my report was inaccurate in any respect. Shrine Rector Guerra, the Bishop of Fatima, the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, the Apostolic Delegate of Portugal — all who attended the Congress, in short — have had every opportunity to note any inaccuracies in my report, and they have noted none whatsoever.
“Nor could they. I tape-recorded the entire Congress and simply reported what was said, including the scandalous statements of Father Jacques Dupuis, and of the Shrine Rector of Vailankanni, India who rejoiced that Hindus now perform their rituals in the Marian Shrine at Vailankanni. These two priests, as well as Archbishop Fitzgerald, spoke in English. I have the tapes and will soon release an audio copy of these portions of them, along with commentary.17 In short, Tindal-Robertson has made reckless accusations concerning a matter of which he knows practically nothing.”
Tindal-Robertson accuses Vennari of making “gravely misleading and erroneous assertions”. How so, Mr. Tindal-Robertson? It seems he cannot tell us. In fact, it is Mr. Tindal-Robertson who is misleading us when he attempts to pass off Hindu prayers to Vishnu and Vedi as acceptably Catholic petitions to the Mother of God for peace in the world. If Mr. Tindal-Robertson — whoever he is — is prepared to defend this sacrilege then he will defend anything. Therefore, it is the writings of Tindal-Robertson, not the reporting of John Vennari, which (to use Tindal-Robertson’s own words) “should be treated with extreme caution.”
Fr. Fox’s Friend in Washington
Now for the third and final item on Fox’s website. With “denials” and “clarifications” like Guerra’s, and “explanations” like Tindal-Robertson’s, Father Gruner, The Fatima Crusader, John Vennari and Catholic Family News did not have to do any heavy lifting to make their case. All they had to do was report what Guerra said and did and then watch him and his apologists twist themselves into pretzels trying to defend the indefensible. But no matter how hard he tries to cover up for his neo-modernist collaborator at the Fatima Shrine, Fr. Fox only succeeds in providing further proof of what Guerra is up to. At this point, with his “Fatima Family Apostolate” no doubt being barraged with criticism by its own supporters, it appears Father Fox views yet another ad hominem attack on Father Gruner as the best way to salvage his own waning reputation as a staunchly orthodox devotee of Fatima.
But Fr. Fox has a problem. In defense of his good name against Fox’s attacks, Father Gruner has produced no fewer than three unsolicited personal letters of recent date from the Pope’s secretary, praising and encouraging Father Gruner and his apostolate.18 Since Fox obviously can’t get the Pope to help him trash Father Gruner, what was Fox to do? He did what he always does: he contacted one of his many friends in the thriving ecclesial bureaucracy that has presided over the disaster of the past forty years. Fr. Fox has managed to scrounge up a letter from the Vatican nuncio to the United States in Washington, DC, which contains the following useless statement:
“Concerning your inquiry please be advised that Reverend Nicholas Gruner is not a priest in good standing with the Roman Catholic Church.”
As one 13-year-old observer of Father Fox’s behavior has remarked: “Why is he writing to the Apostolic Nuncio in the United States about a priest who lives in Canada?” Out of the mouths of babes. In any case, the gratuitous opinion of the nuncio in Washington that Father Gruner is “not a priest in good standing” is based upon absolutely nothing by way of documentation, or even an explanation of what “not a priest in good standing” is supposed to mean.
And, once again, whether Father Gruner is “a priest in good standing” is hardly the issue here — is it? The issue is whether Fr. Guerra and his neo-modernist collaborators, Fr. Fox included, are attempting to cover up the transformation of the world’s most important Marian Shrine into an interreligious center where one sacrilege after another will be committed on sacred ground. As one of Father Gruner’s supporters has put it: “I don’t care if Father Gruner is a layman. The fact is, what he says is true.”
It is time for Father Fox to stop the cowardly shin-kicking of his fellow priest and confront this issue like a man. Will he, or will he not, defend the sacred ground of Cova da Iria against profanation by pagans, heretics and schismatics? If he will not, then it is time for Father Fox to close down his “Fatima Family Apostolate” and stop holding himself out as a faithful exponent of the Message of Fatima. For if he will not, then Fr. Fox has sold out to the neo-modernist insurgency that has relentlessly compromised the human element of the Church since Vatican II. He has ceased to be “a priest in good standing” in the only sense that matters: not good connections with the current ecclesial bureaucracy, but fidelity to the Roman Catholic religion — the faith of our fathers.
1. See “Fatima to Become an Interfaith Shrine? An Account From One Who Was There”, Catholic Family News, December, 2003. On the web at: http://www.fatima.org/news/newsviews/sprep111303.asp
2. Portugal News Online Edition. November 1, 2003. It should be noted that Notícias de Fátima, Fatima’s local newspaper on friendly terms with the Fatima Shrine, ran the headline: “Shrine for Various Creeds” on the front page of its October 24, 2003 edition. The bottom of the front page read, “The future of Fatima must pass through the creation of a Shrine where different religions can mingle.” Page 8 of the same issue ran the headline, “Sanctuary Opens Itself to Religious Pluralism” followed by the subheading: “The Shrine of Fatima Assumes a Universalist and Welcoming Vocation Towards Different Religions”. Notícias de Fátima then quoted Shrine Rector Msgr. Guerra’s interfaith aims: “This proposal of coexistence — also in Fatima — of a religious pluralism is still embryonic,” said Msgr. Guerra, “It’s the first step. We are like the engineers in Portugal who begin by examining the structures of the bridges to see if we can trust them in the future.”
3. See “Fatima Priest Not Suspended”, Catholic Family News, November 2001. See also “Actually, Virginia, Father Gruner is Not Suspended” at: http://www.fatima.org/apostolate/defense/notsusvir.asp
4. Communiqué from Guerra. December 28, 2003.
7. “Pictures of a Desecration”, Catholic Family News, June, 2004. http://www.fatima.org/news/newsviews/0704desec.asp
8. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the World’s Religions, p. 127.
12. Devi is the Divine Mother of the Hindu culture … Devi is the consort (wife) of Shiva which is Parvati. Shiva is the god of generation and destruction. http://www.pantheon.org/articles/d/devi.html
13. See “The Pagan Invasion of the Catholic Church”, Catholic Family News, August, 2004.
14. Pope Saint Pius X, “Our Apostolic Mandate”, August 25, 1910.
15. Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, “On Fostering True Religious Unity”, January 6, 1928.
16. This was done in conjunction with The Fatima Crusader.
17. As we go to press, this recording is now being finished. It is called the “Desecration of Fatima” and is available on cassette or CD for a low price of $3.00 US post-paid. Order from: Oltyn Library Services, 2316 Delaware Ave., PMB 325, Buffalo, NY 14216.
18. For photographic reproduction of these letters, see “Father Fox’s Modernist Assault on Fatima”, Special Supplement in this issue of Catholic Family News (see center insert). Also on the web at http://www.fatima.org/news/newsviews/062504frfox1.asp
Reprinted from the October 2004 edition of
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