In a recent “Fatima Perspectives” column, Christopher Ferrara challenged Karl Keating to give credit where credit is due; offering readers what looks like a passionate defense of Fr. Nicholas Gruner’s legacy.
On some level it is a defense of Fr. Gruner, and on many points Mr. Ferrara argues his case, as usual, rather effectively.
This particular article also, however, has every appearance of being a furtive attempt to distance the Fatima Center of today from those well-formed opinions of Fr. Gruner that neo-conservatives, like Karl Keating & Company, are unwilling to even consider.
Mr. Ferrara writes:
Finally, no traditionalist I would consider a colleague has ever declared that Francis is an anti-Pope (in the sense that he was not validly elected, although he acts like one), that the See of Peter is vacant, or that Benedict is still the Pope. These are straw men.
These comments are both disturbing and revealing.
Surely Mr. Ferrara knows that Fr. Gruner had publicly made known his belief that Benedict is still the Pope; stating very plainly, “Whatever he was doing [with the Declaratio given on 10 February 2013], he was not resigning the papacy.”
As such, it is clear that Fr. Gruner believed that Francis “was not validly elected [pope], although he acts like one;” i.e., that he is an anti-pope in precisely the sense described by Mr. Ferrara.
Furthermore, Mr. Ferrara must know that the “Fatima priest” continued to pray for “Benedict, our Pope” during the celebration of Holy Mass; even well after Jorge Mario Bergoglio assumed the name Francis and started acting like he is pope.
All of this is made perfectly plain in the following video excerpt taken from an address given by Fr. Gruner in November of 2014. (This took place at a conference in Illinois where both Mr. Ferrara and I appeared as speakers.)
In light of the public comments recorded in the video above, one can safely assume that Fr. Gruner also shared these very same opinions with Mr. Ferrara privately, and all the more passionately at that.
Let me be very clear:
I’m not calling on Christopher Ferrara or anyone else at the new Fatima Center to embrace every opinion that Fr. Gruner ever put forth; I’m simply calling on them to be plainspoken and honest.
Each one of us – in particular those who work in an apostolate dedicated to defending Catholic tradition and the message of Our Lady of Fatima – must be willing to relentlessly pursue the truth and to address it head-on once it is found.
Like it or not, folks, here’s the truth: Fr. Gruner considered questions concerning the validity of Francis’ claims to the papacy entirely relevant to the message of Fatima and, therefore, to the core mission of the Fatima Center.
That’s not my opinion, or Fr. Paul Kramer’s opinion, or Cornelia Ferreira’s opinion, or Dr. Peter Chojnowski’s opinion, or the opinion of anyone else in the new Fatima Center’s crosshairs; it’s an undeniable fact concerning what Fr. Nicholas Gruner actually believed.
So why is Christopher Ferrara, on behalf of the new Fatima Center, leading readers to believe otherwise?
Readers of these pages may recall that the brain trust at the new Fatima Center, in what can only be described as a hostile takeover, leveled the following accusation at those who simply agreed with Fr. Gruner on the abovementioned points:
Increasingly, they have pushed the Fatima Center to change direction and become more radical in its orientation. They want to involve us in several controversial issues about which Catholics of goodwill can disagree. Fr. Gruner would not have agreed with a change to the mission of the Fatima Center and neither do we.
Yes, Catholics of goodwill can disagree on such controversial issues as those concerning the validity of Benedict’s resignation and the claims of Jorge Bergoglio to the Chair of St. Peter.
What no one of goodwill is justified in doing, however, is to twist what Fr. Nicholas Gruner actually thought about such issues and their relevance to the mission of the apostolate that he founded and served so very well.
The allegations above were leveled specifically against the U.S. board of the Fatima Center in a calumnious letter that had no other purpose than to intercept donations from longtime supporters of Fr. Gruner living in the United States.
What they were at pains to paint as a “change to the mission” as Fr. Gruner understood it was, as the video above makes entirely plain, nothing of the sort.
Now we find Christopher Ferrara slyly pushing the same false idea, albeit with a subtle hand that presumably few will notice.
Is it too much to expect plainspoken honesty from an apostolate dedicated to the Mother of Truth incarnate?
Such an approach on the part of Mr. Ferrara and the new Fatima Center would look something like this:
As you may know, Fr. Nicholas Gruner believed that Benedict XVI did not resign the papacy; that he continued as pope even after 28 February 2013, and more importantly, that he remained pope even after 13 March of that same year when Jorge Mario Bergoglio was presented to the world as Francis.
Our venerable founder believed that Francis is, therefore, an anti-pope in the sense that he was not validly elected, but simply acts as though he is the Roman Pontiff.
As such, Fr. Gruner continued to pray for “Benedict, our Pope” in the Roman Canon of the Traditional Latin Mass that he offered daily.
Furthermore, we know from his public statements that Fr. Gruner considered this issue to be entirely relevant to the mission of the Fatima Center.
We, the current Board of Directors of the Fatima Center in Canada, do not share Fr. Gruner’s opinions on these points.
It is our belief that Fr. Gruner made an error in judgment. We believe that controversial issues such as these are a distraction from our mission.
We have decided, therefore, to sever ties with those who think as Fr. Gruner thought on this matter; most notably the U.S. based Servants of Jesus and Mary.
Please send all future donations to….
Now, you tell me…
How do you think Fr. Gruner’s longtime financial supporters based in the U.S. would have responded to such an honest and straightforward letter?
I suppose we cannot know for certain, but I can tell you from firsthand experience that addressing the truth head-on often leads to a loss of friends and benefactors. (Didn’t Our Lord warn us about this?)
Is this why the new Fatima Center chose to go, and is persisting in taking, another route?
I cannot say one way or the other, but I do know this:
An apostolate that is anything other than plainspoken and honest – in spite of any past accomplishments – is undeserving of our support, and for the simple reason that twisting the truth is an offense against Christ.
Act on the information in this post as you will, dear reader.
If that means rethinking your support of akaCatholic, so be it. We’d rather be broke and unpopular than flourishing and fallacious any day.
A most blessed 2018 to you and yours.