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Against All Odds

A Brilliant Fatima Conference, Rome 2001

by John Vennari

Catholics from the world over arrived in Rome for the 5th International Fatima Peace Conference, held from October 7-13, 2001. Despite great odds, The Fatima Crusader now boasts another successful conference that gathered priests, religious, and laity to concentrate on the full Message of Fatima; to sit at the feet of Our Lady of Fatima and learn what God wants. She need not appear to us today to explain it further. She told us all we need to know through Her revelations to Jacinta, Francisco and Lucy. Our task is to hear what She asked, and obey.

This was the purpose of the Conference: to remind a turbulent world of Our Lady’s Plan for Peace, to reiterate Her requests for daily Rosaries and the Collegial Consecration of Russia, to prod those who are sluggish in carrying out Her directives, to defy the lie that Fatima now "belongs to the past", to defend Her against those who try to debunk Her words, to shout from the rooftops that the Message of Fatima is more urgent than ever if we wish to escape the annihilation of nations that Our Lady warned would befall us as punishment for sin.

The Conference Begins

The Conference roster originally featured 14 speakers, but after the September 11 tragedy, some of the speakers canceled, due to various complications. Also, after the 9-11 attacks, a number of delegates from the United States decided not to fly to Rome.

Nonetheless, seven speakers, a dedicated handful of delegates representing the US, Canada, England, Ireland, Italy, France, New Zealand, Switzerland, Romania, North Africa, other countries came, and the Conference proceeded without missing a beat.

Opening day was the Feast of the Holy Rosary, October 7, which commemorates the Battle of Lepanto. The Conference started at 3:30 p.m. Father Gruner delivered the first lecture, which was a summary of the story of Fatima, 1917.

I was the second speaker, and just as I ascended the podium, word came that the US had launched its military engagement in Afghanistan. I gather that the US news media immediately went frantic reporting government-issued travel advisories, warning of grave dangers to Americans abroad. It cautioned that Americans would be targets, that they should stay away from "American icons" in Rome such as McDonald’s and Blockbuster Video. Understandably, two of the Conference speakers from the US, who had not yet left for Italy, canceled their flights because of the non-stop alerts.

The Conference was held at the Ergife Hotel, which is about a fifteen-minute drive from the Vatican. Comically, a condescending Catholic World News reporter, in an attempt to disparage the event, wrote in his published report that the Peace Conference took place on the "outskirts of Rome". The average fourth-grader in Rome could easily correct his geography, as the Ergife, located on one of the most well-known roads, the Aurelia, is very much inside the city, not on the outskirts at all.

The speakers included Father Nicholas Gruner, Father Paul Kramer, Christopher Ferrara, Cornelia Ferreira, William Jasper, Gerry Matatics, and myself. The speeches were delivered in English, and the Conference provided simultaneous translation into Italian.

Topics included the Story of Fatima, the Five First Saturdays, the Request for the Consecration of Russia, a Chronology of a Coverup, the "Party Line" in Reference to Fatima, a Defense of Father Gruner, the United Nations as the Chief Instrument of Russia’s Errors, the dangers coming from the International Criminal Court, the Coming Cashless Society, Our Lady - Conqueror of All Heresies, the Woman Clothed with the Sun, the Tail of the Dragon in the Apocalypse, an Update on the Perestroika Deception, the Masonic Subversion of the Catholic Church, the Obligation of the Church to Believe and Obey the Fatima Message, the real Third Secret vs. the Cardinal Sodano interpretation, the June 26 Press Conference, and much more.

Fifteen decades of the Rosary were recited daily, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was made available in the morning and throughout the day from the good priests who attended. The speakers and delegates enjoyed each other’s company. For some, it was an occasion to renew old acquaintances. For all, it was an opportunity to make new friends of like mind.

Procession from the Vatican.

All of the lectures were recorded and available on audio cassette. Plans are also underway to publish the Rome speeches in book form. This way, in honor of Our Lady, and in spite of those who strive to stifle Her full Fatima Message, the Conference lives on.

Lying in Wait for Her Heel

And those who were trying to stifle Her Message were out in force against this Conference. As was expected, there were constant roadblocks thrown in front of the Fatima Center in its efforts to organize the 7-day event.

For example, not long after the Fatima Center announced the Conference, the Nuncios of the world sent letters to the bishops of their respective countries advising them to have nothing to do with the Fatima Conference. Most likely, this was done at the instigation of the Vatican Secretary of State, whose opposition to Fatima is well-established.

Then on September 12, 2001, the day after the worst terrorist attack in US history, the Vatican’s top priority was to issue a bogus decree "confirming" that Father Gruner is "suspended". On the Conference’s opening day, Christopher Ferrara delivered a defense of Father Gruner that was brilliant and bullet-proof. In his speech, in which he tore to rags the premise that Father Gruner is suspended, Mr. Ferrara spotlighted the glaring deficiencies of this "notification".

"To my knowledge," said Mr. Ferrara, "Father Gruner is the first priest in the entire history of the Roman Catholic Church to be denounced before the whole Church in a Vatican notification which A) gives no reason for the denunciation and B) is issued at the order of an anonymous person, namely the unknown ‘higher authority’."

Mr. Ferrara also stressed that Father Gruner has done nothing against Faith or morals, and that he is a priest in good standing, lawfully incardinated into the Diocese of Hyderabad. Ferrara contrasted the Vatican’s brutal treatment of Father Gruner with the vast number of wayward Catholic clergymen, the plague of our age, who commit real crimes against Faith and morals, but suffer no censure from Rome. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy, under Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, leaves these miscreants untouched.

Ferrara says, "Of all the priests in the Holy Catholic Church who are engaged in real crimes against the Body of Christ, from child molestation, to running off with women, to stealing money; of all the priests who have compromised the credibility of the Body of Christ in diocese after diocese throughout the Church in the world today, not one of them has been subjected to this kind of humiliation and this sort of embarrassment before the whole Church."

He rightly calls this "a scandal of historic proportions", and points out that the real opposition to Father Gruner, and to the Fatima Message, comes from Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State.

According to Malachi Martin (and others), the Vatican Secretary of State is one of the main forces behind the contemporary Church’s adaptation and compromise with the world, "justified" by the novelties of Vatican II, especially by the Council document Gaudiem et spes. Cardinal Villot was Secretary of State during the Paul VI years. As Father Linus Dragu Popian relates in his testimony (given at the New York Conference, see "Vatican says, 'You Must Not Become Catholic!'"), Cardinal Villot was the key agent blocking Father Popian’s conversion to Catholicism and ordination to the priesthood.

After young Popian had risked his life to escape Communist Romania and then presented himself to the Vatican, Cardinal Villot and other Vatican Cardinals told Popian that he must not flee Communism and must not become Catholic, because this would damage the Vatican’s relations with Communist Romania and the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Villot was followed as Secretary of State by Cardinal Casaroli, who was the prime architect of Ostpolitik which is the policy based on the Vatican-Moscow Agreement — also known as the "Metz Pact" — wherein the Vatican agreed not to condemn Communism so that Russian Orthodox observers could be present at Vatican II. Even Paul VI wondered if this agreement was not a betrayal of Christ. Sadly, Paul VI continued this policy, and under the present administration, it remains in force to this day.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano is now the successor of Cardinal Casaroli, and is of one mind-set with him. Malachi Martin points this out in Windswept House. (In that book, written in the literary style of Roman a clef, Cardinal Mastroianni is the name the author gives to Casaroli, and Cardinal Grasiani is the name given to Sodano.)

It is Cardinal Sodano who gave the ridiculous interpretation of the Third Secret (as being nothing more than a failed assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II) that even the Washington Post noted was ludicrous. Cardinal Sodano is the main force behind the persecution of Father Gruner. It is also Cardinal Sodano who welcomed the pro-abortion Mikhail Gorbachev to the Vatican on June 27, 2000, one day after the "release" of the Third Secret, where Fatima was consigned to the past. On that day, June 27, Gorbachev was the honored guest at a Vatican press conference to celebrate Cardinal Casaroli’s Memoirs, and no one from the press was allowed to ask any questions during this "Press Conference" (and I thought we went from the Church of "monologue" to the Church of "dialogue").

In fact, Gorbachev is much more than just "pro-abortion". His Gorbachev Foundation operates worldwide with the governments of the world to promote abortion, contraception and sterilization. It actively works to reduce the world’s population by about 4 billion, and to replace Christianity with a neo-pagan "Global Ethic".

Anatoliy Golitsyn, the ex-KGB agent who defected from Communism, writes in his book The Perestroika Deception that the post-Conciliar Vatican’s public reception of Communist leaders does wonders to boost the prestige and power of avowed Marxist-Leninists, like Gorbachev, whose hands are dripping with blood, especially the blood of the unborn. Welcome to the "Civilization of Love" where Vatican officials scorn Our Lady and fete Marxists.

Pope’s Personal Secretary Sends Letter of Encouragement to Father Gruner

Yet not everyone in the Vatican’s highest echelons regards Father Gruner as a naughty boy. One of the most remarkable events surrounding the Conference was the letter of support sent to Father Gruner by the Pope’s personal secretary, Bishop Stanislaw Dziwisz. Msgr. Dziwisz has been Karol Wojtyla’s secretary for decades, even before the Polish Cardinal became Pope John Paul II.

The letter reads:

Castel Gandolfo, 24 August 2001
"Reverend Father,

"In your letter of last July 10 you have invited me to participate in the fifth Conference for World Peace which will take place in Rome from the 7th to the 13th of October.

"I thank you warmly and up to now I have hopes that this meeting dealing with such an important topic as World Peace will be crowned with great success.

"I will not be able to be present at the event because at that time the Synod of Bishops will be in progress here in the Vatican.

"With cordial greetings and the wish that the Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima, grant to all every desired good.

+ Stanislaw Dziwisz

Christopher Ferrara observed, "This letter makes a mockery of the entire charade being conducted against this good priest by certain powerful prelates in the Vatican — makes a mockery of it! Now, the Pope’s personal secretary knows who Father Gruner is — they have even spoken with each other on the telephone. And the Pope’s personal secretary doesn’t send a letter like this, right in the midst of the Father Gruner controversy, without knowing that it’s going to be read and published in defense of Father Gruner."

Sorry, We’ve Torn up the Contract

Yet the bad press against Father Gruner had its effect. The Fatima Center had booked (and advertised) the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart as the place where the Conference would be held. The lease was signed by both parties, and the Fatima Center paid a large deposit to reserve the University’s impressive Conference center.

Further, at considerable cost, the Fatima Center placed large color posters promoting the Conference throughout Rome. It also mailed a beautiful conference package to its own supporters, to the world’s clergy and episcopacy, to world leaders and to the press, that advertised the conference location at Sacred Heart University.

But on September 18, six days after the "suspension" notice, Sacred Heart University suddenly broke its contract and refused to allow the Fatima Center to hold its Conference there. The university’s spokesperson(s) gave lame excuses from "security problems" to the "need to fix a leaky roof".

One of the Fatima Center’s contacts in Rome questioned a university spokesperson via telephone, trying to learn why this university — that vowed it "has never broken a contract" — suddenly, and for no clear reason, broke its contract.

The spokesperson let it slip, perhaps inadvertently, that the university had received "an ecclesiastical phone-call". Which means that some powerful Vatican official went out of his way to contact the university, ordering it to break the contract and prevent the Fatima Conference from being held. This cancellation took place only two weeks before the Conference was set to begin, and the Fatima Center scrambled, scrambled, to secure another location. Such is the opposition to the true Message of Fatima from those in the Church who should be its champions.

Some of us suffered a minor inconvenience because of the university’s cancellation. I was among those slated to stay at apartments about a mile from the university. After the Fatima Center was forced to switch its conference location, some of us billeted at these cost-efficient apartments anyway, but had to engage taxis for a 20-minute ride to the Ergife Hotel.

One of the benefits of staying in these apartments, located in a residential area of the city, was that one could get a reading of its citizens. One picks up on the streets of Rome that no one there seems to believe that the Vatican released the full Third Secret. We did not find one Italian who thinks all has been revealed. The average man-on-the-street, if asked, readily admits his belief that Vatican officials are holding something back. One night, a group of us visited a restaurant where we mentioned to the owner the subject of the Third Secret. It was one of those enchanting restaurants where the owner waits on you personally, and we told him our contention that the Vatican is being cagey with us and had not released all of the Secret. With a thrust of his arm and a laugh, the owner exclaimed in agreement, "Eet’s obvious!".

Sister Lucy Breaks Her Silence

During the Rome Conference, La Repubblica, a leading daily newspaper in Italy, ran a surprising article on its October 10 webpage entitled "The Mystery of Fatima is Back, the Pope’s Life is in Danger". It reported Sister Lucy’s words to Father Luigi Bianchi, longtime friend of the Carmelite nun. An English translation of the entire brief article follows:

"‘Sister Lucy is very worried for the Pope. She says that his life is endangered and she urges us to pray for him.’ This is the crux of the conversation that Father Luigi Bianchi, a priest from Como, Italy, a great expert on Fatima and a personal friend of the nun who received the revelation of the Madonna, had with Sister Lucy at Fatima in the course of these last few days.

"The priest posed to the nun some questions concerning events that have occurred since September 11, referring also to the American attacks on Afghanistan. ‘We also spoke about the Third Secret of Fatima,’ said don Luigi.

"‘We even remembered to mention the enigmatic sentence in the Secret which says that the Holy Father, with trembling and wavering steps, will be killed at the foot of the great cross,’ he revealed. And, in this regard, Sister Lucy, who shares our concern for Pope Wojtyla, broke her silence and stated clearly: ‘The situation is very serious, I am very worried for the Holy Father, his life is endangered. Let us be near to the Pope with our prayers, only in this manner can we be of help to him’."

"This, therefore, is the message that Sister Lucy wishes to make public through her priest friend, who continues to repeat: ‘When Cardinals Ratzinger and Sodano revealed the Third Secret of Fatima, they did it in a very watered-down fashion. But I think they did it so as to avoid creating panic. Also, Sister Lucy agrees with this explanation, and she invites the faithful to prayer and consecration,’ concluded don Luigi."

For what it’s worth, six weeks after the La Repubblica report, the November 22 Ananova News quoted ex-CIA chief Vince Cannistraro who said that the Pope is a prime target of Osama bin Laden because, says Cannistraro, "bin Laden sees His Holiness as a symbolic head of the Crusades."

And speaking of newspapers, the Rome Conference received an impressive amount of coverage in the Italian press. Most were brief, objective accounts. Many news agencies ran stories on the Conference including Il Tempo, Il Messaggero, La Repubblica, all of which are major Italian newspapers, on a par with the New York Times or the Chicago Tribune. Sometimes, the newspapers ran stories on our Fatima Conference on the same page as its reports of the Vatican Synod; the sight of which, I’m sure, spoiled Cardinal Sodano’s breakfast.

Against All Odds ... Our Lady of Fatima leads Father Gruner and members of the Rome Peace Conference to the center of focus and honor at the Papal audience.

The Synod and "Shadow Synod"

The Fatima Peace Conference ran simultaneously with the month-long Bishops Synod in Rome, attended by about 250 of the world’s bishops.

Bishops Synods are a new creation of Vatican II’s "collegiality". Ultimately, the Synod has been established in order to advance the implementation of Vatican II throughout the world. That is how it was explained to me in 1997 by Father Kenneth Boyak, who works with the US National Council of Catholic Bishops.

Likewise, Tad Szulc, in his biography of Pope John Paul II, explained that the Synod is a "permanent organ to implement the decisions of the Second Vatican Council".

"La mezzaluna" piece above is an article about the Fatima Conference that appeared in the October 10 Italian daily, Il Tempo. It was reported on the same page as the Vatican's Bishops Synod.

Thus, the purpose of the Synod is to keep the aggiornamento alive, to keep the accomodata renovatio in motion, in order to implement the Council on a global scale, through the collegial method. The Synod is an ever-present extension of Vatican II into the future.

The theme of this year’s Synod was the bishops’ role in the modern world. Not all Catholics greet these lengthy, expensive gatherings with enthusiasm. The October 11, 2001 New York Times noted "many conservatives see the conference (Synod) as a waste of time, as one prominent Catholic thinker put it, as a ‘kindergarten’ with no substance beyond show and tell".

According to the same report, a close friend of Pope John Paul suggested recently that even the Pope had his doubts about the cumbersome nature of the meeting, and that "in Synods past, the Pope, a longtime multitasker, had been known to read under the table during hour after hour of eight-minute presentations" by the bishops. (These "doubts" of the Pope were pooh-poohed by Cardinal Egan in the same New York Times story.)

This year, the Bishops Synod competed with something of a side show. Perhaps the better word is freak show. It was called the "Synod of the People of God", or "Shadow Synod," not far from the Vatican, organized independently by some of the most hard-left trendies of the Catholic Church.

The "Shadow Synod" comprised ‘Catholic’ groups such as the modernist We Are Church, The International Federation of Married Catholic Priests, the pro-abortion Catholics for a Free Choice, Women’s Ordination Worldwide, and other radical organizations.

In fact, on October 6, about 30 people from Women’s Ordination Worldwide staged a political-type protest near the Vatican demanding that women be admitted to the priesthood. According to reports, they hoisted a 30-foot banner with the words "Ordain Women" written in Latin, French, German, Polish and English.

The "Shadow Synod" issued a statement of what they consider to be much-needed changes in the Church. "No form of discrimination", they said, "should be tolerated in Church leadership. All offices, including the diaconate, the ministerial priesthood, the episcopate, and the papacy should be open to all baptized Catholics, male or female, married or single, gay or straight, young or old, those of all races, ethnic or linguistic groups." (Emphasis added)

The "Shadow Synod" also demands that the Church abolish the mandatory celibacy of clergy, and proclaims that "divorced and remarried should be able to receive communion, artificial contraception should be approved, and gay and lesbian people should be welcomed into the life of the Church."

Now, on May 23, 2001, the Associated Press reported the "Shadow Synod’s" public announcement to stage its "People of God" synod in Rome during the October Bishops’ Synod. This means the Vatican had more than four months’ advance notice of the event.

Yet there are no reports — none — that the Vatican issued "notifications" that the "Shadow Synod" "does not have ecclesiastical authorization", nor are there reports that the Vatican Secretary of State instructed the world’s Nuncios to issue letters to the world’s bishops, advising them to have nothing to do with the "Shadow Synod".

And a notification from the Vatican to the world’s bishops against the "Shadow Synod" would not be out of place, since the "Shadow Synod" claims to have many religious, priests and bishops backing them. This should surprise no one. I would bet my money on at least 10 United States bishops who agree with some of the most radical proposals of the "Shadow Synod". There are also hundreds, maybe thousands, of priests and religious in the US alone who support many of these heretical proposals. The first that comes to mind is "priest-in-good-standing" Father Richard McBrien of Notre Dame, who never met a dogma he didn’t denigrate. The names of many like-minded priests and religious could be listed, including the hundreds each year who attend the radical "Call to Action" conferences with impunity. Many such clergymen hold influential positions in seminaries and universities. And if I know the names of these bishops, priests and religious, I’m sure the Vatican does too.

Also, the "Shadow Synod" is merely bolstering the program of "priest-in-good-standing" Father Hans Kung. The same radical Hans Kung who denies the Divinity of Jesus. The same Hans Kung who was publicly praised in 1998 by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Sodano, the main prelate who leads the charge against the Fatima Message, and who is behind the persecution of Father Nicholas Gruner.

No! No warnings were issued against the "Shadow Synod", or against any of the modernist conferences throughout the Church whose number is legion. Only Father Gruner’s Fatima Apostolate, with its determination to promote the full Message of the Queen of Heaven, is singled out and throttled as a "great threat" to the Church. Yet Father Gruner is not the real issue. Their main enemy is Our Lady of Fatima.

Fatima vs. the New World View

I have written on previous occasions that Our Lady of Fatima is scorned because She stands in the way of the new Gaudium et spes world view to which most modern churchmen pledge first allegiance. It is a false, utopian dream born from Vatican II, which promises peace if the Catholic Church sheds its God ordained position as mother and teacher, mater et magister, of nations, and locks arms with non-Catholics and non-believers alike, for the "betterment of the human family." Conversion is replaced by co-operation. It is the brotherhood of man on man’s terms, not God’s.

This triumph of naturalism in the thought process of churchmen was nowhere better demonstrated than in the hoopla surrounding the Millennium Jubilee year.

Throughout the 1990s, our Church leaders assured us that the new millennium, as if by magic, would usher in a "new springtime" and a "civilization of love." How often did we hear, in the decade leading up to the new millennium, that with the Year 2000 — through ecumenism, religious liberty, pan-religious prayer gatherings and inter-religious dialogue (all of which stand condemned by 2000 years of Catholic teaching and practice) — the once-divided world religions will lovingly cooperate for the betterment of mankind. This, in turn, would forge a new "civilization of love" that will usher in a "new springtime."

Yet, as was pointed out at the Fatima Conference, there is only one way to overcome the much-lamented "Culture of Death". It is for the Pope to obey God’s command to consecrate Russia, specifically and by name, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in union with the world’s bishops.

Audience and Procession

The Conference program included a trip to the Vatican’s Wednesday papal audience. The Fatima Crusader brought its four-foot Pilgrim Virgin of Our Lady of Fatima to the outdoor session at St. Peter’s Square, amid strong police presence and tight security. I traveled separately, by metro, to the Wednesday event, and arrived after the others.

As soon as I stepped into St. Peter’s Square, swarming with thousands of people, I immediately spotted the Pilgrim Virgin Statue raised nobly above the multitude. I could not get to our group because of quartered-off areas dictated by heightened security.

I finally caught up with the delegates as they carried the Pilgrim Virgin Statue, with great reverence, in procession out of the Vatican and down the Via di Porta Angelica singing the Fatima Ave. It was edifying to see the number of tourists and Romans who stopped immediately and blessed themselves as Our Lady passed.

Final Resolutions: Marching Orders for Our Lady’s Army

The Conference closed with a series of Resolutions that urged Catholics to renew their resolve to fulfill Our Lady’s requests at Fatima, to petition the Holy Father for the Consecration of Russia, to call for the release of the Third Secret, for the publication of Father Alonso’s work on Fatima, kept under lock since the 1970s, for the end of the silencing of Sister Lucy, for a halt to the groundless mistreatment of Father Gruner, for a repudiation of the Vatican-Moscow Agreement, and among other points, urged national episcopacies to consecrate their nations to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as did the bishops of Portugal in May 1931.

As a result of the 1931 Consecration, Portugal experienced a rebirth of Catholic life, was spared the horrors of the Spanish Civil War that was raging next door, and was spared the horrors of the Second World War. This is detailed in the lecture, "Mary, Conqueror of All Heresies". Sister Lucy and Portugal’s Cardinal Cerejeira said that the miracle of peace granted to Portugal at this time was an example given by Our Lady of the period of peace that She will grant the whole world when the Pope finally consecrates Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

I urge Catholics to obtain the audio cassettes and literature from the Conference (Editor’s Note: see "Rome Fatima Peace Conference Audio Tapes" for a complete listing of conference speeches) and spread them to as many souls as possible. This way, along with your personal practice of fulfilling Our Lady’s Fatima requests, you can take an active part in the Peace Conference by becoming an Apostle of Her Message of warning, of love, of hope.

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