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Appendix VI

The ongoing, high level maneuvers of some Vatican bureaucrats engaged in keeping the full Fatima Message from the Catholic Bishops of the world is shown forth by this recent letter.

February 26, 1997

His Eminence Bernadin Cardinal Gantin, Prefect
Congregation For Bishops,

Palazzo delle Congregazione
Piazza Pio XII 10
Roma 00193

Re: Prot. 349/93, dated 26 October 1996


Your Eminence:

According to the attached letter from the Apostolic Nuncio of Australia, this Congregation recently circulated to the world’s bishops a notice under Prot. No. 349/93, stating that they should not attend a conference sponsored by this organization in Rome Nov. 18-23, 1996, entitled “World Peace and the Immaculate Heart of Mary”. The only reason you gave for this advice is that our conference was “absolutely without approval of ecclesiastical authority.”

It seems reasonable to presume that this Sacred Congregation is familiar with the 1983 Code of Canon Law promulgated by the Holy Father. Thus, we presume that when you sent your notice about our Rome conference to the world’s bishops, you knew that under Church law private associations of the faithful like ours do not require “approval of ecclesiastical authority” to hold conferences to which bishops are invited.

On the contrary, as you know, Church law guarantees the positive natural right of all Christ’s faithful to hold meetings on Church affairs, and to form and conduct private associations for various apostolic works on their own initiative without any ecclesiastical “approval” whatsoever. Obviously, these rights apply to bishops, who are perfectly free to attend private congresses on Church matters. And we, as members of the laity, are free under Church law to communicate our concerns to the sacred pastors and to invite them to our conferences. [1983 Code of Canon Law, cann. 212, 215, 216, 278, 299 and, generally, 208-223]

Indeed, precisely because our apostolate is perfectly within the law of the Church, it has received expressions of support from over 1,500 bishops and more than 60 cardinals and patriarchs. A number of these prelates attended our Rome conference despite your de facto interdiction of our apostolate without due process of canon law.

  • As a matter of justice, therefore, we must respectfully address to you the following questions:
  • Why did you tell the world's bishops not to attend our conference because it is “absolutely without approval of ecclesiastical authority”, when no such approval is required by the law of the Church?
  • Why did you tell the worlds bishops a half-truth—that our conference did not have “approval of ecclesiastical authority”—without telling them the whole truth: that no approval was necessary?
  • Why did you tell the worlds bishops that “Father Gruner has convened” our conference, when in truth it was organized, paid for and conducted entirely by this organization of many members, of which Father Gruner is only one?
  • By what right did this Congregation advise every bishop in the world not to attend a perfectly permissible conference devoted to world peace and the Immaculate Heart of Mary?
  • By what right did this Congregation pass judgment upon a private association of lay faithful whose lawful activities are not even within your competence or jurisdiction?
  • By what right did this Congregation inflict severe damage upon the legitimate apostolic work of over 100 faithful lay Catholics, who labored for months to organize our conference in Rome and to secure the attendance of many benevolent bishops who support our work?
  • Can you point to any activity or publication of this organization, or Father Nicholas Gruner, which in any way offends faith or morals, so as to justify the extraordinary measure of a notice from this Congregation to all the world’s bishops?
  • And most important:
  • Why does this Congregation busy itself with sending every bishop in the world misleading announcements about a modest Fatima apostolate and a morally upright priest like Father Gruner, while heretical organizations and unspeakable scandals multiply in the Church without any condemnation by this Congregation?

We eagerly await your answers to these pressing questions. Meanwhile, we are directing a copy of this letter to the world’s bishops to rectify the false impression this Congregation has created regarding our legitimate activities in the Church.

We hope to receive your reply soon. If none is forthcoming, we hope the world's bishops will draw the proper conclusions from your silence.

Respectfully yours in Christ,

National Committee for the National Pilgrim
Virgin of Canada

By: Coralie Graham, Executive Director

Note: This letter was sent to Cardinal Gantin by registered mail over three months ago. As of June 3, 1997, he had not replied to the above respectful questions.


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