A "Pro-Vatican-Moscow Agreement" Newspaper Attacks
The Fatima Crusader
The following is a complete text of Father Gruner's formal protest sent to various Directors and Officers of Our Sunday Visitor against the gross and unjust lies published by that newspaper.
As further proof that Father Sheedy lies about Father Gruner's status see also the letter from Father Gruner's Bishop in which he confirms that Father Gruner is a Catholic Priest in good standing.
These lies of OSV newspaper are yet another satanically inspired attack in the devil's devious plan to silence the full Message of Our Lady of Fatima.
April 27, 1990
Robert P. Lockwood
Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington, IN
In his column in your April 8, 1990, issue, Father Frank Sheedy made a series of remarks that can only be characterized as an unjust, undeserved and mean-spirited attack on me and my work. To my reckoning, this is the third (perhaps fourth) time that Father Sheedy has commented unfavorably about me in his column. Whereas I considered his prior remarks so ridiculous and unfounded as to be beneath comment, these most recent charges are so blatantly untrue and damaging that I am obliged to write and set the record straight for you and your readers.
First of all, I would like to note that I have never met nor spoken nor in any way been in contact with Father Sheedy. Thus I am particularly confused by the apparent malice in his attitude towards me, a brother priest, and especially distressed by his flagrant disregard of even the most basic codes of journalistic practice and etiquette.
In his April 8th column, Father Sheedy begins by claiming that "Father Gruner ... presently is in hot water with the Holy See and a number of bishops for his disobedience." This is absolutely false. I am and have always been, since the day of my ordination in 1976, a priest in good standing. There are no canonical sanctions or any juridical penalties against me. The simple fact that Father Sheedy or some other prelate or priest may dislike my position on certain issues does not, in my mind, constitute being in "hot water." As far as "disobedience" is concerned, I repeat that no formal charge nor infraction of any kind has ever been specified against me by any Cardinal, bishop or Church official.
Father Sheedy continues by stating unequivocally and without substantiation that I "have been ordered to return to Italy" and that the Vatican has declared me "a Vagus (fugitive)." This too is absolutely false and, more, a particularly offensive and libelous smear. I have never received an order to return to Italy from any official of the Holy See nor have I, as falsely claimed in the column, refused to do anything I was legitimately ordered to do.
While it is true that I (like many other priests living in North America and elsewhere) am not incardinated in a local diocese, I am nonetheless incardinated in the diocese of Avellino, Italy, and am residing here with the full knowledge and permission of my bishop.
If Father Sheedy (who portrays himself as an expert on me and my work) had merely taken the trouble to consult the last issue of The Fatima Crusader, he would have discovered that in January — in order to defend myself against unjust attacks of this very sort — I visited my bishop in Italy where, in the presence of his own vicar general and a brother priest, he again confirmed his permission for me to be here while I continue to seek incardination by another bishop.
Not content with attacking my priestly credentials, Father Sheedy also seriously misrepresents the magazine of which I am the publisher. He claims that "The Fatima Crusader ... has taken some strange positions, among them that Russia has never been consecrated to Our Lady ..." It is indeed our position that the Consecration has not been done, but there is nothing "strange" about it. It is a position firmly held by most informed Fatima experts and by millions of faithful, believing Catholics.
Father Sheedy's suggestion that Sister Lucia and the Holy Father have confirmed that the Consecration of Russia has been accomplished is absolutely false. While there is much hearsay and second-hand rumor on this issue (if not out-and-out deception), I defy Father Sheedy or anyone else to produce any evidence that will stand up in a court of law or under serious juridical scrutiny that the Consecration of Russia has been done as requested by Our Lady of Fatima.
Regarding Father Sheedy's final remarks concerning Catholic Family News and the Bishop of Ogdensburg's comments, I can only say in charity that Father Sheedy's understanding of Canon Law and use of the English language appear to be equally deficient. As I pointed out in person to His Excellency, the Bishop of Ogdensburg, several years ago, according to the New Code of Canon Law, my efforts to promote Our Lady's Fatima Message do not require his "permission." I have never sought nor asked for the bishop's "permission" to spread Our Lady's blessed Message of Fatima to millions in North America and around the world. I believe that this is not merely my right, but my solemn obligation as a priest and human being.
In his comments regarding Catholic Family News, Father Sheedy's peculiar writing style leaves the reader with the possible suggestion that I have somehow "recommended" a schismatic group. This too is absolutely false and without foundation. If indeed, Father Sheedy means to suggest that I have made such a "recommendation," I defy him to produce evidence to that effect and to permit me the simple right of defending myself before appropriate ecclesiastical authorities.
To my mind, it is truly scandalous that Father Sheedy's irresponsible accusations have forced me to write this letter and defend my reputation and honor as a priest. I consider his underhanded and unfair tactics in publishing charges against a brother priest without so much as the courtesy of calling and asking for a comment to be gravely unjust. Even in these days of Church crisis and confusion in the Faith, I find it both perplexing and very troubling that a publication such as Our Sunday Visitor would permit one of its columnists to viciously libel and defame an ordained Catholic priest.
In view of the untrue and extremely damaging comments made by Father Sheedy against me, I must, in strict justice, request a formal and full retraction of the remarks which appeared in his April 8th column to be published in all editions of the next Our Sunday Visitor. In addition, I must also ask that this letter be published unedited and in its entirety for the edification and information of your readers.
Furthermore, I invite your readers to call me at 1-800-263-8160 should they feel in need of further clarification on the issues raised in this letter or to write to Suite 111, 1102 Kensington Avenue, Buffalo, New York 14215 for information on the full Fatima Message and Our Lady's Apostolate.
Yours in Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Father Nicholas Gruner
Copies of this letter were sent to the following officers of the OSV newspaper: Most Reverend John M. D'Arcy, Chairman of the Board; Mr. Donald E. Scheiber, Chief Executive Officer; Richard G. E. Beemer, Managing Editor; Greg Erlandson, Editor; Father Owen F. Champion, Associate Publisher; Father Sheedy, Columnist.
24th of April, 1990
Very Reverend and Dear Father Gruner,
I write to thank you for all that you do for the Church and for continuing to spread the full Fatima message; in particular for insisting on the urgent need to have Russia Consecrated by all the Bishops of the Church in union with the Holy Father.
Be assured of my prayers and the prayers of the Ukrainian people for all that you are doing to save Russia.
I impart to you my Blessing
In conclusion I greet you with our traditional greeting: Christ is Risen, He is truly risen!
+ Myroslav I. Cardinal Lubachivsky
8 April, 1990
From the documents conserved in the archives of this Diocese, it is verified that REVEREND NICHOLAS GRUNER, born May 4, 1942, was ordained a priest on August 22, 1976, by His Excellency Bishop Pasquale Venezia, Bishop of Avellino, and is furnished with faculties inherent in the sacerdotal order, according to the norms of the sacred canons.
The present certificate has been issued at the request of Father Gruner.
(Signed by Gerardo Pierro — Bishop)