The Most Grave Obligation
Father Gruner, does God oblige the Pope and the bishops to obey Our Lady of Fatima?
Are you aware that not many theologians say what you have just said?
“I very well know that to say such a thing is not popular, nor is it prudent if you wish to live in peace. Obviously, I am attacked by powerful Vatican bureaucrats and have been for years. You notice, however, they never argue with me or point out in open discussion where I am wrong in my dogmatic or moral theology. Nor where I am wrong in this theological conclusion, arrived at after many years of prayer, reflection and study.”
Are you saying then, despite the fact that what you say is uncommon, that it is nevertheless certain that the Pope and the bishops are bound under pain of sin to obey the solemn command to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in the manner specified by Our Lady of Fatima?
“To be very exact, I say that in the objective moral order, to disobey, to not fulfill this command of the Queen of Heaven, in such a most serious matter, where the salvation of millions, if not billions of souls, hangs in the balance, where the very existence of various entire nations hangs in the balance, where many other disasters of grave magnitude in the temporal order (such as the enslavement of the whole world under atheistic rulers, widespread famine, open persecution of the Church spread over many more nations of the earth, etc.) then how can anyone not agree that the Pope and the bishops are bound, under pain of mortal sin, to do their duty and obey. This has to be so since only they can deliver us by using the power and authority they have from God.
Are you saying, then, that the Pope is now in a state of mortal sin because he has not obeyed Our Lady?
“I most certainly am not. Please notice that I insist on the phrase ‘in the objective moral order’ . In other words, in the subjective moral order—that is, is the Pope, are the bishops, actually guilty of sin by not obeying Our Lady of Fatima’s most solemn command, given explicitly in the name of God? To that question, I must reply, I do not know. I am not their confessor so I cannot determine if in their own minds and hearts they realize this command binds them under pain of mortal sin.
“As you know, in the subjective moral order, all theologians and the Church herself teaches that for a subject, a person, to commit a mortal sin, three conditions are necessary:
1) It must be a serious matter, or at least be considered a serious matter.
2) There must be sufficient reflection by the person who commits this act, (or omission) in
3) The person committing the act (or the omission) must fully consent to this act.
“Since I am not in the position to know the state of mind and will of the Pope and bishops, of course I cannot say they are subjectively guilty of sin.”
Father Gruner, St. Augustine says that God does not command the impossible. Hence, it is privately said that Pope John Paul II knows that he as Pope is obliged to obey, but he finds it impossible at the present time, thus the Pope holds that for him he is not obliged to obey. What do you reply to this moral teaching?
“Of course I agree with St. Augustine; God does not command the impossible. If He did, we would fall into the blasphemous and monstrous teaching of some of the Protestant leaders of the 16th Century, that God positively wills the damnation of souls. Because if God commanded the impossible under pain of mortal sin, then it would be impossible for those so commanded to avoid going to hell. Such an idea is blasphemous and totally against the love of Christ Who died on the cross for love of each and every human being, in order to deliver them from sin and hell.
“Nevertheless, I must insist that in the objective moral order, under pain of mortal sin, the Pope and the bishops are bound to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
“If the Pope, today cannot obey Our Lady’s command that does not exclude him from doing what he can to bring about conditions whereby tomorrow he can do the consecration in the exact proper manner. What is needed above all is a widespread public campaign for the Rosary.
“The Council of Trent, commenting on St. Augustine’s statement ‘God does not command the impossible’ tells us to do by our own strength what we can, and to draw upon the power of God by asking for His help through prayer. Certainly, by himself, the Pope cannot do it. Jesus said, ‘Without Me you can do nothing, with Me you can do all things.’
“So by prayer, what the Pope cannot do on his own, he can do, if he and we pray. Jesus tells us in the Fatima message, ‘Pray a great deal for the Holy Father, he will do it (the consecration of Russia in the manner specified) but it will be late.’
“Besides prayer, which the Holy Father could foster by writing Rosary encyclicals like Leo XIII did at the end of the 19th Century; Leo XIII wrote 17 Rosary Encyclicals encouraging the Faithful to pray the Rosary every day. Today we need the Rosary more than ever. Every Pope of the 20th Century up to the time of Vatican II and beyond, wrote encyclicals on the Rosary. Pope Paul VI and Pope John XXIII also exhorted the faithful to pray the Rosary. It seems to me, today we hardly hear about the Rosary from the Vatican.
“Besides calling for millions of Rosaries and other supernatural acts of prayer and reparation by the faithful the world over, the Pope can do many things to set the stage for his eventual obedience of Our Lady’s command to consecrate Russia together with all the Catholic Bishops.
“If I am strictly obliged under pain of mortal sin, to go to the next city 100 miles away, to fulfill some act of justice or charity, I cannot simply say: ‘I am not an angel, I cannot this instant be in that next city; therefore I am not obliged to do anything.’ On the contrary, I am still obliged to be there, but that also implies I am obliged to take the means necessary to get there. So I must take a car or get a ride, or take a bus or start walking. Just because I cannot fulfill my obligation in one instant, does not take away my obligation to fulfill my duty.
“Similarly, just because the Pope at this instant cannot fulfill his obligation to command all the Catholic Bishops to join him in consecrating Russia does not mean he is not obliged. He is most definitely obliged to take the means necessary to fulfill this obligation. And if he cannot do it in his lifetime he at least must work towards making it possible for his successor to fulfill this most solemn obligation.
“One of the means the Pope, in the objective moral order must take, is to properly inform himself about this question. He cannot plead ignorance of what is going on in the Church. He is the supreme shepherd and he personally must be informed about the most important item in the Church’s agenda. He cannot rely on dubious information or gossip.
“There is nothing more important for the Church or the world, for peace, for solidarity, for fostering true religious unity, for any and all good things that all men, women and children hold to be of value in this world, and for the salvation of millions of souls in the next world, than the consecration of Russia. He personally is commanded by Jesus and Mary, to do this act. It is not something he can delegate to another. He personally must be informed of the actual situation and the prevailing conditions in the world and the Church preventing him.
“Up to now, without any merit of my own, I and the Apostolate I lead is by far the largest worldwide Apostolate promoting this aspect of the Fatima message. We have written to all the bishops of the world 35 times and almost every time we have spoken about the solemn request and command of Jesus and Mary to consecrate Russia. We are perhaps the best informed of anyone in the world about the actual, real support the Pope has from the bishops to obey today.
“I mention this point because it is often said that the Pope wants to obey but he feels he does not have the support of the bishops. I think the Pope has certainly been told this by his advisors but he needs to inform himself on this crucial point by asking others outside the Vatican bureaucracy. It is clear that the vast majority, over 80% of the bishops who write us, positively support our endeavors. We have had over 1700 bishops write to us. The slight opposition among the bishops to the consecration is less than 2%. The militant opposition is less than 1/2 of 1%.
“But I have never been able to inform the Pope directly. I have never been asked to inform him. Yet, of all individuals on this planet, I perhaps have more information on this point that the Pope needs to know to be accurately informed. At the very least, he needs to obtain this information which will contradict the misinformation his advisors are feeding him so as to at least have a better perspective of where the truth lies.
“Besides informing himself, the Pope must, (again in the objective moral order) exercise his authority and powerfully rebuke those bureaucrats, including Cardinal Sanchez and Archbishop Sepe, who are abusing their authority by preventing the bishops from hearing the truth about the obligation to consecrate Russia.
“Pope John Paul II has received, from the hands of two bishops and from the hands of a layman (see photo section) formal canonical complaints (Libelli) against the above-mentioned Vatican bureaucrats who have grievously broken Canon Law in their ongoing continual operations to impede the truth about Fatima from reaching the Catholic Bishops of the world.
“It seems to me that as long as Pope John Paul II tolerates these illegal and gravely immoral acts by his own Vatican bureaucrats, he cannot, in the objective moral order, claim that he has done all he can to bring about conditions whereby he or his successor could finally do the consecration.
“About the only excuse the Pope might have for the present state of affairs of allowing his bureaucrats to rule in his name but against his will, is that he is so ill with Parkinson’s disease, that he is physically incapable of asserting his papal will. In the Old Testament, King David, in his old age, while still on the throne, actually had one of his sons usurp his royal prerogatives.
“So I wish to be perfectly clear. First of all, you asked me if the Pope and the bishops are obliged under pain of mortal sin to obey this command to consecrate Russia. I answered that in the objective moral order, ‘Yes they are.’ But this does not mean I am hereby judging the Pope. Only God, the Pope and his confessor can do that. I am not the confessor of the Pope so I cannot judge his subjective state of guilt or innocence. I have confined my answers to what the Pope is bound to do in the objective moral order.”
Then Father Gruner, why do you say such things, when you know they might be published? Are you not then guilty of the charge you are against the Pope? Should you not maintain silence in face of these questions?
“No, I am not guilty. No, I should not remain silent. I think I have already distinguished between scandal of the little ones and pharisaical scandal. Because the truth needs to be known, because telling the truth will bring about a great deal of good; world peace and salvation of millions of souls, then I cannot omit to do the good. I must let the truth be known. I must proclaim that the Fatima consecration binds under pain of mortal sin. I do this even if I must stand alone, because there seems to be no one else who will. I owe it to the Common Good to do what I can to ensure this most important truth is known.
“St. Alphonsus teaches that we must make known moral obligations, even to people who will not accept our teaching, if our silence would scandalize the rest of the flock or if an injustice were about to be inflicted or has been inflicted on a third party.
“In other words, if leaving a parishioner in ignorance about his duty only causes the parishioner/penitent to harm himself and no one else, then a confessor or a pastor of souls could choose to leave the person in ignorance if he prudently foresaw that the offered correction would be rejected thereby making that person guilty of sin by knowingly refusing to do his duty in a serious matter.
“But if the ignorant person, performing some act or omitting some act, not only hurt himself by committing a sin in the objective moral order, but also harmed another person in his rights, then the confessor, the pastor of souls could not in good conscience leave the ignorant person in his ignorance, even if he prudently foresees that that person will refuse the correction and not amend his ways.
“That is because the confessor, the pastor of souls owes it to the Common Good of all men, or simply to the good of this other person(s) wronged by the ignorant person’s objective sins.
“So, even if the Pope or the Pope’s confessor were not to accept the clear teaching of the Natural Law and Divine Revelation as applied to this moral obligation to obey Our Lady of Fatima under pain of mortal sin, I am still bound to proclaim it, lest I myself become guilty of sin in the objective moral order by my silence.
“The Pope’s confessor has a strict obligation to bring this matter to the Pope’s attention. Just as the bishops’ confessors have this strict obligation before God. We are not allowed to leave our penitent in ignorance about this matter, no matter how inconvenient we find it to bring it up, explain it and insist upon it.
“I am not the Pope’s confessor but if I were, knowing all I know about this consecration of Russia request, I would be duty bound to insist with the Pope that he do all he can to bring it about. Of course, I would have to listen to whatever difficulties he perceives in doing this, but unless there is some really new significant factor I do not know, then I would still have to insist on his serious moral obligation to solemnly undertake to do what he could to obey Our Lady of Fatima’s command that the Pope consecrate Russia.
You are very strong on this point. Are you saying that you would be duty bound before God to insist with the Pope?
“Yes, and so is anyone else who knows Fatima like I do. Let me explain. You know that the Pope, the bishops and parish priests have received a canonical mission to save the souls entrusted to their care. Each pastor of souls, (each cleric noted above, pastor, Pope, Bishop-Ordinary) then has a solemn obligation to feed his flock the Sacraments and do his other duties to those souls which are necessary for salvation of his flock’s souls, even at the risk of losing his life.
“For example, if a pastor of the parish has a parishioner who has been partially buried alive, but who can still speak and confess his sins, the pastor is bound to go down to hear his confession if the entrapped man asks for him, even if there is proximate danger that the pastor would be buried alive by a second collapse of the ground above. Even though it is perilous, the pastor must go down in that dangerous spot if he physically is able to, and give the parishioner the last sacraments in order to save his soul.”
I didn’t know that.
“Yes. Each and every pastor receives from God Himself a most serious charge, the salvation of the souls entrusted into his care. The pastor, for the eternal life of each and every member of his flock, must be willing to actually risk his life to bring the last sacraments to a soul entrusted to his personal care.
“Similarly, a confessor must inform his penitent of his serious duty to fulfill even if the penitent will not accept the correction or the information. For example, if a penitent is using contraceptives in his marriage, the confessor must tell him he must stop. Because the Common Good of the Church is involved, a confessor of any soul has to answer to God for each soul whose confession he hears. He cannot leave a penitent in ignorance of his duty or leave the penitent in omission of his duty when the confessor knows the penitent is offending justice toward third parties.
“According to St. Alphonsus, the confessor would go to hell unless he repented, for not telling the penitent his duty. The confessor cannot leave the penitent in ignorance of his grave duty to third parties.
“The Pope’s confessor is also held to this law of God. Not even the Pope can dispense the confessor from this obligation of telling the hard truth to his penitent, even if the penitent is the Pope himself. Just as the pastor of souls noted in the above example would commit a mortal sin for not trying (even at risk to his own life) to save that soul of his congregation, so too, the confessor would commit a mortal sin for not telling his penitent his grave obligation, even if the penitent does not want to hear it.
“So it would be at the risk of my own soul, as the Pope’s confessor, if I did not insist with the Pope that he do the consecration or at least do all he could do (and there is much the Pope could do to bring it about) to eventually have the consecration done.
“So to repeat my answer, yes, I must insist and any confessor of the Pope who knows what I know is also bound to insist.”
What if the Pope refused to make such a solemn undertaking after you insisted?
“Well, unless there was a significant new factor (and I cannot foresee there being one; I have so far answered every objection that any Cardinal, bishop, priest or layperson ever raised. After 15 years, there are not many reasons or factors I have not heard about) then I would have to tell him he would be bound before God to make such an undertaking and tell him that he was in danger of losing his soul in Hell if he didn’t make such an undertaking.”
And if the Pope still persisted, while offering no weighty, significant reason for his refusal. What then?
“I am afraid that my moral training would force me to tell the Pope that I could not help him in his refusal, for to do so would make me guilty of mortal sin. So, unless some more learned student of St. Alphonsus’s Moral Theology could show me otherwise, I am afraid I would have to refuse the Pope absolution!”
Refuse the Pope absolution, did you say?
“Yes. It seems astounding but it is nevertheless true. The Pope is most seriously bound to obey Our Lady of Fatima, even under pain of mortal sin. And his confessor if he knows Fatima like I do is bound to come to that conclusion and to refuse absolution as I would be as I explained above. I can see no other conclusion for his confessor or for that matter the confessor of each and every bishop, but the onus is on the Pope as the highest authority of the Church on earth, to set the date, to command the bishops. After the Pope gives the command and sets the date, then the onus would be on each bishop to obey, under pain of mortal sin. And each bishop’s confessor would have to tell his penitent to obey or risk the loss of his soul in Hell for all eternity.”
Then Father Gruner, this obligation of the Pope to consecrate Russia in the manner requested by Our Lady of Fatima is indeed most grave, is it not?
“Yes. Most certainly. Obedience to this request is necessary for world peace, the very existence of various (entire) nations and the salvation of millions of souls. To not bring peace to the world when we can do it, is a grave sin of omission. To not stop the annihilation of nations when I can, is indeed a grave sin against God and to use the phrase of a Catholic bishop regarding the annihilation of nations, ‘a crime against humanity’. To not lift our hands in this necessary effort to save millions of souls would make me (and others who can) guilty of a grave crime against God and man.”
Your enemies suggest you insist on this consecration out of some sort of animosity to the Holy Father and the bishops. But Father Gruner, it seems, from what you have just said, that you are insisting in public on this out of a sense of obligation to the Church and the Holy Father.
“Yes, that is true. It is because ‘the Charity of Christ presses us’ that we cry out. Believe me, I would love to be able to retire in peace, to say my prayers, to read my library of books and have a very quiet life far away from all the battles that the enemies of Our Lady of Fatima insist on imposing on me in their profound ignorance of this full Fatima message.
“I estimate that many of us will be slaughtered in the certain, and soon to be, enslavement of the world if this request of Our Lady is not heard and obeyed in time. Besides, the moral law commits me to protect and support the Common Good of the whole Church by proclaiming Our Lady’s full Fatima Message. Even against incomprehension, misunderstanding or outright malice of some powerful people.
“Despite my poor health, my distaste for much of this work, which pays me less than most priests in North America get, I continue, not because I am some sort of heroic person but only because I realize that the Church, and more particularly the Pope and the bishops, have no other real viable alternative.
“I hope it is plain to see in all this that I am certainly not against the Pope. I am perhaps one of his most loyal supporters. I am trying to save his neck in this life certainly and quite possibly in the next too.
“You see, it is Jesus Himself Who tells us to make these truths known to His ministers. That is, it is especially to those ministers, to the Pope and the bishops; those who are directly charged with this personal obligation to consecrate Russia, that Jesus directs us to inform when He says, ‘Make it known to My ministers, given they follow the example of the King of France, in delaying the execution of My command, like him they will follow him into misfortune.’
“I, too, as His minister, would have this warning addressed to me personally if I refused to point out the truth of the serious moral obligation the Pope and the bishops have in the objective moral order. I, at least can say on this point, I have not hidden this fact from the Pope and the bishops out of false loyalty or party politics. On judgment day, they all will agree I told them plainly what their duty was.
“Not only are the Pope and the bishops likely to undergo some sort of persecution and even violent death because they delay the consecration but even more serious is the danger of hellfire they face for all eternity if they knowingly, deliberately, with full knowledge and consent do not do their duty to bring about the consecration of Russia.
“For bringing this possibility to their attention, I am indeed their best friend and loyal supporter. I am not looking for acknowledgment or thanks, but I must insist I am their best friend in order to counteract all my (and their) enemies who chant day in and day out in the corridors of power, in the Vatican and chancery offices in various parts of the world, that I am against the Pope.
“As Hitler said, ‘Tell a lie often enough and it will stick.’ No doubt, the powerful bureaucrats who either are unthinking, or power hungry, or working explicitly for the devil, and who pass on this lie, not only hurt the Pope and the bishops but also seriously hurt themselves. To these ministers of Jesus, the warning also applies. They too, may see the same fate that befell the King of France fall on their own personal neck.”
But Father, why do you say this so publicly? Why not just say it privately?
Father Nicholas Gruner looked at the picture of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, paused for a moment, and then said, “I am glad you asked that question. Apart from the fact that I do not have access to the Pope, there are other good reasons for saying this in public.
“I did have a personal appointment with the Pope. The time and date was set and I flew to Rome with Josyp Terelya. I paid his passage to Rome and obtained his travel documents for him, even paying for his English language interpreter to come too. But 24 hours or so before the appointment, it was cancelled. Subsequently I sought another appointment; I have gone to the Pope’s personal friend from Poland, Cardinal Deskur but he couldn’t or wouldn’t help me see the Pope either.
“So, on July 12, 1995, we published an ‘Open Letter to the Pope’ which cost over $100,000. U.S. and asked the Pope to intervene against those who illegally and immorally tried to stop our bishops conferences. He read the letter but didn’t do anything we can see or get in touch with us. I am certainly known to the Pope.
“There are many channels he could use to get in touch with me discreetly if he wants to; priest and bishop friends of mine see him but are loath to carry this message to him. It is obvious to me that I cannot get in to see him so I have no other means of reaching him except in the public forum. Although I cannot possibly anticipate here his every objection or question he has to what I perceive is his absolute, grave moral obligation to consecrate Russia, I, at least, can outline it in public sufficiently for him or his successor so that he will know his duty or at least be aware that he should look further into the crucial importance of the consecration before he rejects this one solution to all his problems.
“When the enslavement of Europe, the Americas and the rest of the world is in full swing, at least then maybe someone in authority, or in a position of influence, will remember the one and only solution offered to this world.
“I may not survive all the attacks on me and on my reputation. I am growing weary of resisting all the lies, the incomprehensions, the outright malice by the very ones who should be helping not so much me, but this cause of Heaven itself. But at least I should have a clear record for posterity, so that finally someone in the future will recognize the great gift of God that Our Lady is offering us in the full Fatima Message and the loving command that the Pope and the bishops together, on the same day, same hour, in a public, solemn way consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
“Besides not having access to the Pope and those in power, besides having almost all my efforts I make to have the bishops gather in meetings to hear the full Fatima Message being frustrated by a few loose cannon bureaucrats that up to now have not been reined in by the Pope, there are also other reasons for going public:
Not out of spite.
Not to prove I am superior in any way.
Not to embarrass the Vatican or the bishops.
Not to get even.
“These and similar motives would be wrong. But there are occasions when God Himself demands we go public, even to rebuke or to appear to rebuke our superiors. This is clearly taught by Sacred Scripture and also by the Doctors of the Church. There are examples in Church history which uphold this teaching in practice.
“To mention just a few examples, we have St. Paul rebuking St. Peter to his face in public when the faith was in danger because ‘Peter was not standing in the truth’. (Gal.2:11) Did this mean St. Paul was against the first Pope, St. Peter? No. Was St. Paul within his right to correct a Pope? Yes. Was he wrong to do it publicly? No.
“We have Pope, Paschal II in the year 1111, being rebuked by bishops for his immoral and imprudent intention to appoint all bishops according to the will of the Emperor. Pope Pascal II, in 1116 agreed that his bishops were right and he was wrong.
“Theologians publicly rebuked Pope John XXII in 1333 A.D. for preaching heresy which was corrected with a solemn definition by the Pope in 1336. The Pope was wrong and the correction given in public by his inferiors was vindicated three years later by the Pope.
“St. Robert Bellarmine has written extensively on this point. St. Robert is a Doctor of the Church and a very staunch defender of the papacy, yet he clearly teaches there are times when even the Pope must be rebuked1 in public by well informed inferiors.
“St. Thomas Aquinas, the greatest Doctor of the Church, also teaches the same thing. They both agree that if the Common Good of the Church is in danger, or if the Catholic Faith is in danger by a Pope’s words or actions, then the Pope should be rebuked even in public by their subjects. Of course, if it applies to the Pope, the same holds true for rebuking bishops and in public as well.
“Today, the Church is in grave danger. The faith is in grave danger. The Pope has spoken about this crisis and the battle between the Gospel and the anti-Gospel, between Christ and Antichrist and that it is especially heightened in our time. Sister Lucy, in her last authentic public interview before she was silenced (See Appendix III) told Father Fuentes that we are presently in a decisive battle between the devil and the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is the time of a final battle when one side wins and one side loses definitively.
“As I said before, we are at the crossroads of history. The danger to the Common Good of the Church and the Common Good of all temporal society is indeed most grave, even if, as Pope John Paul II said in 1976, most of our contemporaries do not see it fully.
“The faith is in danger around the world, as Cardinal Ratzinger said in his book The Ratzinger Report. Since the definitive solution to these grave crises is in the hands of the Pope and the bishops, because only they directly can fulfill Our Lady of Fatima’s command to consecrate Russia, then certainly the conditions laid down for speaking out publicly even if it appears to be a rebuke, are certainly present for me to rise up and insist publicly on the grave duty the Pope and the bishops have of obeying.
“The Pope himself said that ‘the Message of Fatima imposes an obligation on the Church.’ Indeed, it imposes a grave obligation, and there are grave consequences for ignoring such obligations.”
1. St. Robert Bellarmine, Tom IV, Proposition XVI, pg. 470, Tom II, de Romano Pontifice, Chapter 29, pg. 417 ff.; also, St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologia, I-II, Q 33, Art. 4.