Against the Wolves in Sheeps' Clothing
by Father Paul Leonard
Once again I am compelled, in the interest of the truth,
justice and the message of Fatima, to denounce and deplore the deliberate and
despicable attempts of various depraved individuals who, having falsified Our
Lady's Message, have abandoned all restraint in their malicious and slanderous
campaign against Father Gruner. Those wretched disseminators of falsehood have
stepped up their immoral campaign of lies, distortions and slander as a means
of retaliation against Father Gruner and The Fatima Crusader, whose only
"crime" has been to tell the whole truth about Fatima without distortion or
The campaign to falsify Our Lady of Fatima's Message has already
been well demonstrated in The Fatima Crusader (Issue 20, 22). In Issue
No. 20, it was demonstrated that the "interview with Sister Lucy", which John
Haffert published in Soul Magazine was a hoax and a fraud. Haffert has never
denied the charge. In April-May 1987 (Issue No. 22), it was pointed out that
Haffert had not retracted the bogus interview, and it was further proved that
"Mr. Haffert is guilty of a deliberately perpetrated fraud."
The response that appeared in the July-August 1987 issue of Soul
is a tacit admission of guilt, since they could do no better than to evasively
skirt the issue saying that it is not their intention to "respond directly to
the criticisms". This is a morally unacceptable response, since the accusation
concerns a very grave public misconduct: an attempt to deceive the public and
to publicly misrepresent Sister Lucy. Two years have passed, and John Haffert
still refuses to deny that he has perpetrated this public act of criminal
The fact, however, that the editors of Soul do not "respond
directly" to the charges, does not mean that they have not made any response.
They have answered in a manner which, for them, is already very predictable:
more lies and smears against Father Gruner and The Fatima Crusader.
It is important to recall that Sister Lucy issued her official
and public statement to the Apostolic Nuncio on March 19, 1983, saying that the
Consecration of Russia has not been made as Our Lady has demanded. In spite of
this, Soul Magazine has continued to deliberately misrepresent Sister Lucy.
Father Peter Leoni S.J., in a cold-blooded and naked act of deliberate
deception, stated in Soul (July-Aug. 1987), that the consecration of the
world (May 13, 1982), along with the consecration of the world
done on March 25, 1984, were done by "the Holy Father and the bishops of the
world in answer to Our Lady of Fatima's request to have Russia and the whole
world consecrated to Her Immaculate Heart." This statement is a compound lie
which contains several falsehoods:
1) all the bishops of the world did not participate,
2) Our Lady of Fatima never asked for the consecration of the
3) the consecration of the world performed by John Paul
II was not done in answer to Our Lady's request for the consecration of
Russia. The Holy Father himself twice acknowledged this fact on March 25,
In an attempt to deliberately deceive his readers, Father Leoni
appeals to what he fraudulently claims to be "Sister Lucy's opinion" when he
refers to the bogus Soul interview which has already been exposed as a hoax.
Father Leoni claims to have met with the alleged interviewer,
who still remains anonymous. According to Father Leoni, the alleged anonymous
interviewer thinks that Sister Lucy was satisfied with the Holy Father's
consecration at Fatima. It is important to consider the fact that Leoni does
not produce any quotations of Sister Lucy to this effect, but only cites the
anonymous individual's opinion. The reader is supposed to believe that Sister
Lucy is satisfied with the 1982 consecration because some unidentified person
thinks that Sister Lucy is satisfied with that consecration!
It is abundantly evident that Father Leoni is attempting to
deceive the readers of Soul. Father Leoni and the editors of Soul know very
well that it is an indisputably proven fact that Sister Lucy stated to the
Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Portalupi: "the Consecration of Russia has not
been made as Our Lady has demanded."
Nevertheless, Father Leoni would attempt to have us believe that
Sister Lucy is "quite satisfied" with that consecration because some
unidentified man, who claims to have spoken with Sister Lucy, thinks that she
is satisfied with it.
It is also worthy of note to recall the fact that at
approximately the same time as the alleged Blue Army anonymous interview,
Bishop Pavol Hnilica spoke with Sister Lucy and she told Bishop Hnilica that
the Consecration of Russia requested by Our Lady has not yet been done.
Father Leoni has attempted to defend the preposterous claims of
the Blue Army leadership, not by telling the truth or presenting a rational
argument, but by slandering The Fatima Crusader. Father Leoni accuses
The Fatima Crusader of having a "fanatic spirit", and he attempts to
substantiate this defamatory charge by falsely and slanderously stating that
The Fatima Crusader has "the audacity of reproaching him (the Holy
Father) for weakness." The Fatima Crusader has never reproached the Holy
Father and has never accused him of weakness.
It is also noteworthy to consider that Father Leoni's malicious
and reckless criticism of Father Gruner appears to rest on a principle of
doubtful orthodoxy: the statement, "the audacity of reproaching the Holy
Father" strongly suggests that it is a sinful act of presumption whenever
anyone criticizes or corrects the Pope. This proposition is contrary to
Catholic moral doctrine. St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that "even prelates must be
corrected", . . . fraternal correction which is an act of charity, is within
the competency of everyone in respect of any person . . . provided there be
something in that person which requires correction." (Summa Theol. II-II 33.4)
St. Thomas goes on to say that "if the faith were endangered, a
subject must rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence Paul, who was Peter's
subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger of scandal
concerning faith, and, as the gloss of Augustine says in Gal. 2:11, Peter gave
an example to superiors, that if at any time they should happen to stray away
from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their
The leaders of the Blue Army continue to brazenly and
deliberately falsify Our Lady of Fatima's Message. I have already demonstrated
this in previous articles of The Fatima Crusader, and notably in Issue
No. 22, (April-May 1987), there appeared the article entitled: The Blue Army
Leadership has Followed a Deliberate Policy of Falsifying the Fatima Message.
Now this is a very serious accusation, and the contents of that
article proved that the charge is true, but did the Blue Army leaders ever deny
it? NO. To date they refuse to deny or answer the charge. They refuse to
give any direct answer to specifically enumerated charges while they continue
to demonstrate their intention to obstinately persist in the practice of
publishing falsehoods and distortions about Fatima.
For five years Father Gruner and The Fatima Crusader have
attempted to correct the leaders of the Blue Army from their wicked practice of
falsifying the Fatima Message: first in private, and then publicly but without
naming the Blue Army and its leaders in public, for the sake of charity.
However, charitable and fraternal attempts to correct that group of
cold-blooded and calculating deceivers proved to be futile.
After four years of such attempts, it became manifestly evident
that the Blue Army leaders were deliberately and obstinately misleading that
portion of the faithful who read their publications. Charity and justice
demand, for the sake of the common good, both spiritual and temporal, that the
practice of falsification and deception be exposed.
In order to protect the reading public from the deception
practiced by this gang of very adept professional liars who hypocritically
masquerade as apostles of Our Lady, The Fatima Crusader has published
such articles as The Plot to Silence Our Lady, and similar articles.
To date, the Blue Army leaders have not demonstrated the
slightest compunction or remorse for their having deliberately published lies,
distortion and slander. Quite to the contrary, and oblivious to all correction,
it is "business as usual" for the leaders of the Blue Army, who continue to
unabatedly spew forth lies, and distortions.
In the July-August 1987 issue of Soul, John Haffert says: "A
change in Russia now comes too late to turn back the tide of evil . . ."
Haffert is saying that we can no longer believe what Our Lady of Fatima
promised. Our Lady promised that when the Pope and the bishops will have
consecrated Russia to Her Immaculate Heart, then by the means of that
consecration, Russia will be converted and a period of peace will be given to
Haffert, however, says that this is not the case: it is too late
- consecration or no consecration, it's too late to turn back the tide of evil.
By making this statement, Haffert has clearly demonstrated that he no longer
has any faith in Our Lady's word. John Haffert remains obstinately and
impenitently 'semper infidelis'.
It is a foolish lie, a cruel insult and a gesture of betrayal to
all the victims of Russian Communist tyranny to say that the conversion of
Russia is already taking place. The Catholic Church remains fiercely and
fiendishly persecuted in the Soviet Union and in Soviet occupied lands. On June
12, 1930, Sister Lucy wrote "the persecution in Russia will end if the
Holy Father will himself make a solemn public act of reparation and
consecration of Russia . . . and order all the Catholic Bishops to do the same
. . ."
John Haffert does not believe Our good Lord's promise: "a change
in Russia", says Haffert, "comes too late to turn back the tide of evil and
hatred . . ." In spite of this, out of the other side of his mouth, Haffert
announces that the conversion of Russia is already taking place! Not only has
Soul Magazine (under Haffert's leadership) been publishing this preposterous
claim for some time, but we see the same drivel repeated in the May-June 1988
issue of Soul.
The headline reads: "It is Really Happening in Russia". However,
despite the inferences of the article to the effect that the conversion of
Russia is already taking place, what is really described in the article is not
the conversion of Russia, but an account of how the faithful in Russia continue
to be threatened by Communist persecution. We must, for the sake of
truth, insist that the conversion of Russia has not and is not even now taking
place. Russia is in a state of rebellion, of apostasy against God. It continues
to persecute the Church.
The conversion of Russia will take place when the godless
government of Russia will have turned to God in faith and ceased to be
apostates who persecute the faithful. In LA QUESTION DU MESSIE ET LE COUNCIL DU
VATICAN (P. 101) the Fathers Lemann explain that "Before God a nation has
apostatized when its government has posited an act of apostasy, though
many members of that nation may have remained faithful."
The mere fact that some individual Russian citizens may be
returning to God does not at all mean that the conversion of the Communist
government of Russia from its national apostasy is taking place. For that to
take place, the government must cease to be officially atheistic.
The conversion of Russia will consist in that act by which the
rulers of Russia will officially and publicly abolish state atheism and declare
Russia to be a Christian nation. Our Lady of Fatima has promised
unconditionally that when the Pope and bishops will have consecrated
Russia to Her Immaculate Heart, the conversion of Russia will take place
and a period of peace will be given to the world.
It is Our Lady and Our Lord who promise these things. Those
faithless fools who falsify and oppose this message have set themselves in
opposition to Jesus and Mary.
It is inexcusable that Haffert and the editors of Soul refuse to
answer the serious charges against them regarding their published falsehood,
distortions and slander. While it is understandable that Haffert does not
dignify with an answer the personal slurs of such ruthless and amoral smear
merchants as James Donovan, it, nevertheless remains morally untenable for
Haffert and the Soul editors to refuse to account for their criminal behavior.
Now, regarding James Donovan and E. Michael Jones: having
written and published allegations that are false and slanderous, these hard
core hypocrites are guilty of perpetrating a most despicable crime of
defamation against Father Gruner. These infamous scoundrels have lost all sense
of justice and decency in their blatant and utterly malicious display of
calumny and slander. Donovan is so bold as to make the false public accusation
that Father Gruner is a liar: Donovan the sleaze-monger says "Father Gruner
lies about his credentials."
Now Father Gruner published a statement wherein he said that he
is a fully ordained priest with full priestly faculties in the diocese of St.
Catharines. Saying this, Father Gruner made an entirely truthful and correct
1) Father Gruner is a fully ordained Roman Catholic
Priest. I was personally present at Father Gruner's ordination in Frigento,
Italy in the diocese of Avelino. Donovan himself cites Bishop Fulton's
statement to the effect that Father Gruner was ordained and is incardinated in
Avelino, Italy, and was released by his bishop a decade ago to work in another
2) Father Gruner has never claimed to be incardinated in
any other place than Avelino. He never hinted or suggested that he was
incardinated in Canada, and it is perfectly licit and quite common for priests
to be incardinated in one place while working in another.
3) It should be mentioned here that although Father
Gruner's faculties have been given periods of 1 month, 3 months or 6 months he
has had faculties in Canada continuously from April 1981 till June 1988 (this
being written in June 1988).
4) "With full priestly faculties in the diocese of St.
Catharines" Father Gruner made this statement in his letter of Ash Wednesday,
February 17, 1988. Bishop Fulton's letter of January 14, 1988 proves that this
statement is correct. In that letter Bishop Fulton says: "By this letter I wish
to extend the faculties which I have granted you to March 1, 1988...." This
clearly demonstrates that Donovan's quotation of Bishop Fulton is a false and
Donovan says, "Father Gruner lies about his credentials in his
magazine." This statement is a clear example of a criminally libelous charge
which is deliberately defamatory and slanderous.
Father Gruner said that he is incardinated in Avelino and Bishop
Fulton confirmed that fact.
Father Gruner said that he had full priestly faculties in the
diocese of St. Catharines, and Bishop Fulton's letter proves that this is also
correct. These were temporary faculties but they were without any restriction
and therefore full faculties. Quite obviously it is not Father Gruner but James
Donovan who is lying.
Donovan makes another malicious and slanderous defamation
directed against the person of Father Gruner when he states that " Father
Gruner used the statue for financial gain by misleading the readers of his
magazine that this statue was blessed by Pope John Paul II." Father Gruner has
never stated that the statue was blessed by any other Pope than Paul VI. He has
published in over 600,000 copies of Our Lady's Urgent Appeal that it was
blessed by Paul VI.
The inference to the contrary imagined by Donovan is not only
irrational but is an entirely malicious and dishonest deduction.
Donovan reveals himself to be a totally unscrupulous character
assassin of boundless iniquity when he accuses Father Gruner of exercising his
Marian apostolate for the purpose of personal financial gain. It is in this
criminally sacrilegious gesture that Mr. Donovan displays within himself what
appears to be the soul of a materialist.
It seems that Mr. Donovan is incapable of understanding how a
priest of God could be exercising his ministry for the holy and honorable
purpose of making Our Lady and Her most urgent Fatima Message known and loved.
It is the same sacrilegious and demonic spirit which prompts Mr.
Donovan to say that Father Gruner is fighting for "the Fatima Market" and
"we're going to see more and more aggressive marketing on Gruner's part as he
tries to increase his share of the Fatima market."
Donovan makes another vile and slanderous charge when he says
that "the statue Gruner had was blessed by Paul VI in 1967, but even that
statue doesn't exist any more. Sources told me that the statue was destroyed in
a car accident more than three years ago, yet Father Gruner carries it with
him, gruesomely enough, in a metal casket while on speaking engagements. No one
has asked Father Gruner to open up the casket." The statue was indeed blessed
in 1967 by Pope Paul VI, but everything else that is stated in that passage is
absolutely false - it is a malicious and slanderous fabrication.
The beautiful pilgrim Virgin statue of Our Lady of Fatima has
been in the custody of Father Gruner since 1978 and has never been destroyed.
While on speaking engagements, Father Gruner not only opens the case but
displays the statue so as to be seen and venerated by all present.
My first inclination was to attribute this totally ludicrous and
absolutely incredible fabrication to the imagination of Anne Cillis, since she
hysterically maintains that the statue is still in her custody and control.
However, Cillis told directors of the National Committee for the National
Pilgrim Virgin of Canada (from which board she was previously expelled by all
members present at the meeting in November 1977, this took place before Father
Gruner was even elected Director) that she is not the source of this
bizarre tale. Therefore it seems reasonable to me, to surmise that the story
was hatched in James Donovan's criminal mind.
Donovan lies when he says that he made a call to Father
Gruner. The Fatima Crusader has no record whatsoever of any such
attempt. Contrary to all accepted journalistic practice, Mr. Donovan at no time
spoke to Father Gruner nor to any other Director or Officer of this Fatima
Apostolate. Father Gruner did however telephone Mr. Jones, protesting that the
"Broken statue in a casket" story is a complete fabrication.
Now it is important to bear in mind that Father Gruner
personally telephoned E. Michael Jones (publisher of Donovan's slanderous
lies), and explained to him that the broken statue story was false. In addition
to that, several members of Mr. Jones' board of advisors themselves saw the
Pilgrim Virgin Statue as recently as April 16, 1988 at the Roman Forum.
It was on the podium for more than five hours. In spite of all
this, Mr. Jones had the reckless and ruthless audacity to publish in May 1988,
Mr. Donovan's slanderous and irreverent comment that "a closed casket of a
statue that is broken is gruesome in that it shows a morbid preoccupation with
religious objects." These facts demonstrate Jones' deliberate intent to
criminally and sacrilegiously defame Father Gruner.
May God save the clergy from such misguided hypocrites who fancy
themselves to be defenders of the faith. To what depths of iniquity these vile
wretches have sunk in their fanatical devotion to falsehood and their
sacrilegious passion to destroy priestly reputations.
Under the hypocritical pretense of Catholic journalism, Jones
and Donovan have perpetrated public crimes of slander and sacrilege. Crimes
which make them public sinners and enemies of the Church. Such crimes as these
require public reparation since the injustice is public.
If they refuse to do this, then by their refusal they would
thereby demonstrate themselves to be public enemies of the Church.
Ut inimilos sanctae ecclesiae humiliare digneris, Te rogamus
audi nos. That You would deign to humble the enemies of Holy Mother Church, we
beseech You to hear us.
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