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"Schism and the Common Good"
An Interview with Father Nicholas Gruner


In this article, the introduction is by Francis Alban. Questions and comments by Francis Alban are in italic print. Responses by Father Gruner are in regular print. Sub-titles were added by the editor.

Ten years of serving Our Lady of Fatima had made Father Nicholas Gruner a household word around the world by the mid ’80’s. His Fatima Crusader now had a readership of over one million souls. He had logged months touring with the Pilgrim Virgin Statue. Hundreds of thousands of rosaries, scapulars and devotional booklets were in the hands of the needy, and the poor were having the Gospel preached to them through these instruments his work had generated. But the shadows of Church and State politics that had been deepening all round his Apostolate seemed suddenly ever more charged and dark. Yet nothing in the Apostolate’s history so far even suggested that a rest or a lull in its agenda was in the offing. What would the trajectory of the Apostolate be in the next few years?

Recently, on a May 13th anniversary of the first Fatima apparition, Father Gruner sat in the living room of his modest quarters in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada, and looked back over those crucial years. To best underscore the reason and the need for his Apostolate’s continued drive, he verbally scanned the state of the Church in our day. With the comforting rays of a classical Canadian sunset warming the library titles, he addressed the issue at the heart of the consecration dilemma — the question of the actual influence John Paul II has on his bishops.

“If the Pope needs to order the bishops to consecrate Russia with him on the same day in their own cathedrals around the world, what kind of motivation is he going to provide them? What kind of co-operation will he receive from some of his bureaucrats in the Vatican?

Father Gruner examined the quandary through the prism of salvation history.

“Before original sin Adam had perfect control of his faculties. One can say Adam was not tempted to over-eat because his appetite was so subject to his reason. It was obedient to his reason, as were all his faculties. Thus, after he ate enough, the appetite simply turned off until it was needed again. If he needed sleep, he didn’t say wait, I’ve got to do this last job and stay up three more hours. His every faculty was so obedient that it was not a question of his members saying but I want to go this direction, I want to go that direction.

“Today, after original sin, without grace and without mortification, none of us would have any control.

“We see the case of people who drink too much, who are not faithful to their wives or husbands, not because they don’t realize there’s something wrong, but because of original sin their appetites have not been reined in by their reason. But Adam initially did not have that struggle.  What happened after original sin? He no longer obeyed his reason. His eyes wanted to see what they should not see,  his ears to hear what they should not hear, and his  wife did not want to obey him either. Her own faculties did not want to obey her. These are the effects of original sin.

“Sickness comes about because of disorder, because the agent of sickness does not obey the higher faculty. Ultimately, this is what is happening in the Church. The disobedient bureaucrats have not obeyed God, so they are reaping the reward.

“They tell God, ‘This is our church now. You’re up in Heaven, we’re going to do things our way. We’re not going to listen to the voice of prophecy, we’re not going to reveal the Third Secret, we’re not going to consecrate Russia, we’re just going to do our own thing.’ At the same time, they say to their inferiors, ‘you down there, you must obey me.’

Diabolical Disorientation

“Since Our Lady’s message, which is obligatory to obey, has been largely ignored by those in authority, the Church is suffering diabolical disorientation. People may do their best resisting the disorientation but they don’t have the specifics, they’re not canonists, they’re not theologians, they simply intuit that something is wrong.

“Let me share with you a key to understanding much of the disunity and division that has invaded the Church since 1960. I was in the seminary in Montreal when I made one of my biggest discoveries during my theological training.

“In January of 1967, the Vicar General of the diocese of Montreal put out a statement in which the basic impression created in the mind of the reader was that priests and lay people were forbidden to promote the message of Garabandal.”

Nicholas Gruner, like thousands of other people, read that letter and understood that it was his obligation under obedience to not promote Garabandal in the diocese. Then he read it a second time.

“I realized that no order was contained in it whatsoever. In my thorough Germanic nature, I went to the Vice Chancellor of the diocese of Montreal and I said, ‘Do I understand this letter correctly or not?’ I told him it appears to give an order, but upon careful reading it is clear that no order is given. His answer was extremely enlightening. He said, ‘Yes, we wrote it that way on purpose.’

“It took me some time to think about it but I finally realized the implication of such a diabolical technique. I realized I was not bound to obey such an order ‘not given’. In Canon Law a person in authority has to give an order and not simply imply he has given one. Second, the person giving an order has to take personal responsibility for giving the order. In this case it was obvious, by the Msgr.’s own admission, that they had purposely written the letter in such a way as to give the appearance of an order, without having actually given it, so when proven wrong they can state they never forebade its promotion.”

Subversion

The library interior altered as the sunset darkened. Father Gruner thought aloud about the whole nature of subversion.

“Jesus tells us in St. John’s gospel that the shepherd is the one that comes through the gate, but the thief climbs up another way.(1)

“In Isaias, God, speaking to the prophet says, ‘I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth.’ In other words, God, and those who act authoritatively in God’s stead, must be willing to publicly take responsibility for what they say and do.(2)

“Whereas a subversive, whether in the Church or the State, such as Masons, do not give their orders in the open and they do not take personal responsibility for the orders they give.

“To this day, some bureaucrats, even in the Vatican, craft a document to give the impression of issuing an order without any order actually being given. This is not an accident or sloppiness but it is a subversive technique. It doesn’t look like it at first. The technique is diabolical. This is also a schismatic practice. Schism in Greek means ‘to tear apart’. Today it means to tear apart the unity of the Church. When authority gives such non-orders, the faithful are divided. Those faithful who think they must be obedient to the ‘non-order’ frequently misjudge the other faithful who are astute enough to not fall for the ‘non-order’. Thus many good priests and faithful in the Church are forced to work against faithful who, out of misguided loyalty to the ‘non-order’, put obstacles in their way. The same technique was used regarding the Novus Ordo.

“In 1969, the New Mass was ‘promulgated’ in such a way as to give the impression that the New Mass was what priests must now say and that the old Mass was forbidden.

“But look closely and you will find that there was no order given, that no law was passed and that it is not binding.

“Nevertheless, you now have people saying, ‘I will not attend the Tridentine Mass’, and they say to those on the other side, ‘You are disobedient.  How can you call yourself Catholic and disobey the order of the Pope?’ The confusion was deliberately caused.”

One week after making this statement, Father Gruner’s opinion regarding the legality of the old Mass received forceful support from a high-profile Vatican official. On May 20, 1995, Alfons Cardinal  Stickler, speaking before several hundred lay people, canon lawyers and priests at Fort Lee, New Jersey, confirmed that in 1986, a papal commission of nine Cardinals appointed by Pope John Paul II found that the Tridentine Mass was perfectly legal and in force and that no Pope or any other competent authority had forbidden it from being said by any Catholic priest.

“The technique is diabolical,” Father Gruner continued, “and has set up within the Body of the Church, two opposing factions. There is a battle within the Body of the Church because of the technique. The members of the Mystical Body are warring against one another because of it.  You cannot give two contradictory orders and expect the body politic to live in peace as God intended them to. Let me explain:

“If a father tells his two oldest sons to paint the living room green and then outside their hearing tells the next two sons to paint it red and then hides himself so that neither the first sons nor the second sons can find him, you have massive confusion.

“Both sets go off and paint the same living room, each one fights against the other because each is being obedient to the father. But the father gave contradictory orders which causes in turn the sons to fight, to break up, to tear apart unity which should be in the family. The father’s orders would be causing a schism in the family. Such orders are wrong. If done deliberately by the father, they are sinful. It is clearly an abuse of authority.

“You still get the same result if, instead of giving directly contradictory orders, he spoke in such a way as to deliberately mislead his sons into thinking he gave orders binding them to do a certain thing, but some sons were astute enough to realize he had not actually given an order and these sons were actually able to realize that the ‘implied’ order was sinfully imprudent and were able to realize that their father did not have authority for such orders, and that is why he spoke that way, whereas, on the other side, there were other sons who were not so astute and felt bound to obey this ‘implied’ order. Then the sons would still be at loggerheads. Still a schism is caused by the deliberately schismatic command and the father would be guilty of sin for doing such a thing to his children. This is what is happening in the Church today. Let me give an example to illustrate what is happening:

“My mother judged me for years as not being obedient because I ignored that bogus Chancery letter in Montreal. She did not tell me of her judgment but held it against me for several years. It only came up when we were discussing something else and I explained that I was truly not disobedient because the Chancery never gave a binding order as I explained above. She became angry with the Chancery officials for having perpetrated this lie upon her.”

Schism

Gradually the weight of the chaos in the Church seemed to bear down on the darkening evening itself, as it had on the very Faith through heresy, apostasy, schism.

“Schism,” Father Gruner explained “means to tear apart and usually schism is understood that someone does not recognize legitimate Church authority. But authority can also be guilty of schism by giving orders that are illegal or given in such a way as to cause division among the faithful, as I explained before. St. Augustine says, ‘In essentials we must have unity, in non-essentials  we have liberty, and in all things have charity.’ Garabandal is not an essential. I had the right to promote it and my mother had the right not to do so if she chose. This deceiving letter caused a division between a son and his mother. This technique is immoral, yet it is too widely used by some Churchmen in authority.

Abuse of Authority

“Who’s at fault?  God does not contradict in dogma. He cannot contradict a truth, neither can God contradict in orders. God is not at fault in this but those who abuse their positions of authority clearly are at fault.

“God the Sanctifier does not contradict God the Creator.  There is only one God. God is the author of nature and grace. This is the basis of the theological principle ‘grace builds on nature.’

“The true Church cannot give contradictory orders. This technique has been used to destroy the Church from within. The individuals who have been employing this technique consider themselves more intelligent than the average guy. But they are working for the devil. The Church is not the bureaucrats’ plaything. These bureaucrats have caused a virtual schism. They are tearing apart the Body of the Church by this technique of giving the impression of issuing an order but not issuing it.

Church Law Must be Properly Promulgated

“God, the Creator, God, the Sanctifier, created the Church. He did not make the laws of the Church in contradiction to the natural law. All public authority in Church or State in promulgating law must respect the natural law governing men. Grace builds on nature, as St. Thomas teaches.

“It is a principle of natural law that no Catholic philosopher, no Catholic Theologian would deny—that for a law, any kind of a law, to be truly law it must be promulgated; if a law is not promulgated(3) then it does not bind in conscience, and we need not obey it.

“Thus, in the example given above about the Montreal chancery, I was totally not bound by that ‘non-order’. I was free to disobey. Similarly, I am not bound by the non-command which passes for a law — to not say the Tridentine Mass.

“Such orders are clearly causing division in the body of the faithful. Such divisions are obviously and clearly against the common good and it is clearly the abuse of authority by those in authority which is causing these divisions.

“Our Lord said, ‘Let your words be yes for yes and no for no, anything else comes from the evil one.’ (Cf. Matt 5:37, James 5:12)

“This is particularly true in the office of a public authority whether it be the pope or the governor or a judge or a legislator. This seems to be a terrible persecution for the Church, this double talk that’s going on. With this persecution of the Church, you are being persecuted, I am being persecuted.”

Thirty years after Vatican II ended, one of its most vital decisions was shaping the possible destiny of this Fatima Apostolate.

"When Vatican II refused to invoke its authority to teach infallibly, it was not being fully magisterial, plain and simple. In short, it was not accepting full responsibility. As a result, there are people in the Church who feel Vatican II is the only definitive Council despite the fact that the Council Fathers themselves clearly pointed out that it is not infallible in many things. As a matter of fact, some Vatican II interpretations are clearly heretical. Post-Vatican II Catholics, because of their own ignorance of the facts, erroneously think that the Catholic faithful who hold closely to the infallible definitions of Trent and Vatican I are somehow 'outside the Church' and accuse them of being against the Pope. They even go so far as to 'self-righteously' punish those Catholics who are faithful to the infallible Magisterium. All this would not be taking place had the teaching authority of Vatican II taken full responsibility and taught only those things it was certain of, in clear language, and invoked its infallible authority.

Vatican-Moscow Agreement is Against the Common Good

"The Vatican-Moscow Agreement, concocted in secret, is another example of them refusing to take public responsibility. Part of the Agreement is not to talk about it. What government has the authority to make something binding on the members of an institution without it being public? This secret Agreement, which attempts to bind the Church into silence before grave moral evil, is clearly against the Common Good, the Natural Law, and the Divine Positive Law.

"What is missing is the responsibility to the Common Good. Even a Pope, if he were to give an order contradicting the Common Good of the Church, then that order would not be binding. St. Paul makes it clear. No Pope has the right to be silent or to command silence in face of apostasy, schism or heresy against God, Christ and the Church.4

"A good Catholic philosopher could prove by the light of reason alone that each of us is obliged to help the Common Good, or the Common Wealth as it is sometimes called, by our work, actions, and words and by avoiding anything that would harm it.

Our Duty to the Common Good

"First, it should be obvious that each member of a city, a family, a country, should not do anything that will harm the Common Good.

"Second, he should also do all he can to help the Common Good to the extent his other duties to God and neighbor allow.

"To prove this, at least in part, what would happen to our society if people were allowed to act in such a way as to harm public good -- so long as their lying or cheating did not harm identifiable individuals alone, but only a group?

"If God made individuals, He also made society. Man is meant to live in society. God did not want us to live all alone. Society, to survive, needs certain rules to be obeyed by all, even when they are sometimes inconvenient, even costly, to some individuals who practice them.

"Society cannot exist if all members only look out for their own interests, and take advantage of all the rest of the members of society.

"Such an attitude cannot be justified on the grounds of taking care of a family, or an exclusive group of friends, when it causes the rest of society to lose their wealth, their freedom, their lives, and most important, their souls.

"We are our brother's keeper. We must respect his freedom and independence but we must also look out for his interests if Providence puts events, people or things in our path that impact on our neighbor's good.

"It is not only true for my neighbor whom I know or meet occasionaly, but for all my fellow men in my community, country, world, and especially, as St. Paul admonishes, for all who belong to the household of the Faith.5

"By the light of revelation, we know that God the Father appointed God the Son, Redeemer of all mankind, as "King of kings and Lord of lords."6 Thus all presidents, kings, lords, judges, legislators, officials and bureaucrats must obey the King of kings, Christ the Lord, in Church matters and in civil matters, upholding the right to property, life, and freedom in general, and also in particular instances.

Thy Kingdom Come

"Thus the common citizen must vote for those legislators and presidents and Prime Ministers that uphold the law of God and vote against those that would attack the law of God.

"It is what we pray for every day when we say the Rosary. Every day we say, 'Thy Kingdom come.' If we really mean this, that we pray for the coming of Christ's Kingdom on earth, we must work and speak and pray for the Common Good.

"We are not only praying for the coming of mankind into Christ's kingdom in Heaven. We are also praying for His kingdom here on earth, because Jesus taught us to pray 'Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.'

"On the contrary, a subversive group attacks the very basis of authority. The very nature of a secret society is you don't know who the authority is, what doctrine it is upholding. In the Natural Law, which God has instilled into the very fabric of society, authority, responsibility and accountability go together. A person can't have authority without responsibility. That's in the Natural Law. This is how God created public authority to operate both in the Church and in the State.

By 'giving orders without giving them', in the short term, the public authority seems to get the benefit of giving an order without taking responsibility for it. In the long term, such governance is destructive of authority and divides members of the Church. 'A house divided against itself cannot stand.'...Jesus said.

"Our duty is to build up the House of the Faith, not tear it down. Our duty is to build up the welfare of society as well. The directives of Our Lady of Fatima are the most perfect means of doing both.

The Common Good

"In continuing to promote the full Message of Fatima, I am only fulfilling my obligation to the Common Good. Yet I am not the only one who has this duty. Everyone is bound to contribute to the Common Good. If this was more generally understood, then many more people would promote the Fatima Message, perhaps not to the extent that I am, but in whatever capacity they were able.

"The issue of the Common Good is a vital subject that is much neglected these days. It needs to be more widely known in order to correct a multitude of false ideas that work toward the detriment of public welfare, the de-Christianization of society, and prevent Our Lady's requests from being fulfilled.

"This is not just a particular fancy of mine. The Common Good is of such significance that it actually is a vital component to what makes a just law. So it is necessary to address the issue of the Common Good first in regard to law, our obligation to it, and especially how it relates to Fatima.

"Catholic moral theology of all time teaches that there are four components to a just law.

"A just law is:

1) an ordination of reason,

2) for the Common Good,

3) which is promulgated,

4) by the person who has care of the community.7

"If any one of these four 'ingredients' is missing, then there is no true law and we are free to disregard it.

"So we can see how important is the Common Good. Any act of legislation that is not for the Common Good is not a genuine law. So as I mentioned before, even if a Pope were to give an order which went against the Common Good of the Church, then that order would not be binding.

"So then, not only is the Common Good a constitutive part of law and society, but it is something to which everyone must contribute, be they those who govern, or those who are governed.

Each Person and the Common Good

"Our obligation to the Common Good is twofold. Not only may we not do anything that hinders the Common Good, but we must do all we can to advance the Common Good.

"Of course, in order to keep our balance, we must point out that there is a hierarchy of personal responsibility which includes the Common Good. One has one's duty to God first of all; duty to one's soul second of all; duty to one's own personal well-being and after one's soul and the soul of one's neighbor, particularly one's family and friends. Finally, there is the duty to the Common Good.8

"The Common Good actively involves our neighbor, those men or women and children who in some way or other God puts on our path, whether they live next door to us, whether they work at the same job as we do, or whether we sit on the same bus with them going to work, or whether we see them at church on Sunday. Somewhere or other we are in contact with them; somehow or other because of physical location or because of the kind of work we do, some specific person is a neighbor to us. Most important, our duty to the Common Good not only involves the neighbor whom we meet, but the neighbor whom we shall never meet.

"For example, if I am preparing to vote in an election, I cannot vote for a pro-abortionist. A certain pro-abortionist may have a great plan for saving employment, but I cannot vote for a pro-abortionist because he is doing something that is intrinsically evil, i.e., using the position of legislator to do evil to thousands of babies. My obligation to the Common Good requires that my co-worker, my brother, sister, aunt or cousin might be puzzled by my choice in voting, I still am bound to do the right thing in the fear of God for the sake of the natural and supernatural welfare of individuals and society.

"It does not matter that I probably will never meet the children I save by voting pro-life. I am still responsible before God to protect them by whatever actions I take, however small, in the public domain.

Not Just for Those in Authority

"Most of us fail in our obligation to the Common Good of both the Church and the State because we falsely believe that public welfare is solely a matter for the authorities. In the State, there is the notion that only rulers and politicians are responsible for the Common Good. In the Church, there is the idea that only the Pope, Cardinals, bishops and priests are responsible for the Common Good. In both cases, the average layman operates on the premise that because he cannot do a lot, therefore he may do nothing. Sometimes this incorrect notion is the result of misinformation, sometimes it is due to disinformation (that is the deliberate efforts of enemies to spread falsehood under the guise of information). Whatever its cause, this false mind-set must be fought against. In the case of Fatima, it has disastrous consequences.

"Of course, more is expected of those who have wealth, power, influence, prestige, to uphold the Common Good. But because we may not be in positions of authority, power or influence, that does not mean we can do nothing. It does not mean we have nothing to contribute. We are never excused from working toward the Common Good.

"Moreover, this duty does not only extend to our peers and those over whom we have authority, but we must even rebuke our superiors if necessary, if our superiors are acting to the detriment of the Common Good, providing it is done with due regard for persons and positions. St. Paul had to rebuke St. Peter, the first Pope, when he 'walked not in truth'.9 And Saint Thomas Aquinas teaches that it is sometimes the duty of the inferior to either disobey or correct the superior10 if the Common Good calls for it.

"St. Robert Bellarmine says that we must positively resist those policies of people in authority which go against the Common Good.11

Charity and Truth

"All this, of course, must be done in charity, since knowledge and action without charity is destructive.

"On the other hand, charity, to be effective, must be based on truth. Without the truth in the mind of the charitable person, his efforts to build up the Church are often doomed to failure because of his lack of knowledge. Much destruction has come to the Church and world because of 'misdirected charity', i.e., the toleration of behaviors and principles that are destructive to the Church and society. Often, this misdirected charity is the fruit of ignorance. Does not Scripture teach 'My people perish for lack of knowledge'?12

"Now, charity and truth must be lived out. Charity and truth impose certain duties upon us, and sometimes these duties are difficult.

"Therefore, we must not stand by idly when a lie is told that affects the Common Good or even the good of a smaller segment of society. Also, if we know the truth that will significantly help our fellow man, we must proclaim it, because by our silence, the good may be lost.

"This is especially true for Catholics living in the 20th Century since we now have the spiritual weapons God has given us that will infallibly bring about His kingdom on earth.

Because in our time, God has revealed in a public, prophetic revelation His plan for world peace and the establishment of His kingdom on earth. This plan was established from all eternity, but was made clearer in our day through the Message of Fatima.

"Never before in history, I think, has an apparition of Our Lady been so identified with Sacred Scripture. Pope Paul VI clearly indicated his thought that Our Lady's appearance and message of Fatima is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy, namely Apocalypse, Chapter 12. He believed that Our Lady of Fatima is what Saint John the Apostle saw in a prophetic vision 2000 years ago.13 Sister Lucy tells us the Third Secret is in the Apocalypse, Chapters 7 to 13.14 Cardinal Ratzinger tells us he has read the Third Secret and that it refers to the last times and that it is contained in Sacred Scripture.15

"Clearly, if the Message of Fatima is part of Biblical prophecy it is not simply a private revelation that can be ignored without sin."

In his book "World Enslavement or Peace...It's Up to the Pope", Father Gruner spent 50 pages demonstrating that even if Fatima is not contained in Sacred Scripture, we are still bound under pain of sin to listen to and obey Our Lady of Fatima's message and requests. This obligation, he explained, extends to all of us: layperson, religious, priests, bishops and even the Pope.

FOOTNOTES:
[1]
 St. John 10:1-3;
[2]
Isaias 45:19;
[3] St. Thomas Aquinas, Treatise on Law, Summa Theologica, I-II Q 90, Art. 4

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