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Chapter 5

Whose Hands Are Full Of Bribes

       The results of a mid 1960's survey run by the New York Times claimed that the three most boring words in the English language were ‘weather, budget and Canada’ but not necessarily in that order.

       Even the people of Canada were amused, demonstrating that at least the non-violent, non-revolutionary, non-strife ridden country north of the 49th parallel still had a sense of humor.

       By 1968, Canada would have another distinction. It would be the first country in North America to legitimize the murder of children in their mother's womb. A high price to pay to be interesting.

       If ever a country needed a soul-stirring, it was in those years leading up to the fatal act of entrenching judicial slaughter of innocent babies in the Canadian Constitution.

       In June, 1978, Father Gruner became the Vice-President and Executive Director of the National Committee for the National Pilgrim Virgin of Canada1 and shortly thereafter published the first issue of The Fatima Crusader. Immediately after, in this position, he launched the first of his nation-wide Rosary tours.

       During those early pilgrimage days of 1978, crisscrossing Canada with the statue of the Pilgrim Virgin, the true heart and soul of Marian devotion revealed itself to be very much alive in Canada. In the warm reception afforded the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, it was clear that the romance of Catholicism still remained in peoples' hearts, that same yearning that once prompted artisans to raise the great stones of Chartres above the plains of France.

       Those escorting the Pilgrim Virgin on the mid-Canada portion of the tour must surely have thought, from the evidence, that it was not too late for the world to return to God. There was the procession through the streets of half-English, half-French Hawkesbury, on the Quebec-Ontario border, recalling to mind the great Corpus Christi and Christ the King processions of now distant memory. Then, in Ottawa, a triduum at St. Mary's, with Father Whelan, the all-night First Friday, First Saturday vigil at St. Martin de Porres, with Father Heffernen.2 At St. James Church, in Oakville, Father Lima's parishioners lined up for one and one-half hours to venerate the statue. At Cobourg, the parishioners asked to accompany the statue's travels, in their own vehicles, to the next town of Port Hope.3

       The recollection of the Pilgrim Statue visit to the parish of St. Stephen the Martyr, in Dowling, Ontario, by the pastor, Father Marcel Nault, provides a close-up of Father Gruner's early priesthood days.4

       Father Nault recalled: “It was 1979. Father Gruner called me and said, ‘My name is Father Gruner and I have with me the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima. I go from church to church wherever I am travelling. Would you like me to come to your church?’

       “I asked why he wanted to. He answered, ‘Because people know you as a Marian priest’.

       “I could not help but smile when I saw him getting out of his van wearing a black cassock. I was not in the habit of seeing a priest in a cassock.

       “I helped him bring the statue of Our Lady inside, all his scapulars, everything. He had not yet celebrated his daily Mass and asked permission to say it there.

       “I invited him to say either the Mass on Saturday night or Sunday morning for the Parish. He said, ‘If you don't mind I prefer to say it by myself.’

       “I then said, ‘If you're not saying Mass, will you help me distribute Holy Communion?’ He said, ‘I'd rather not, if you don't mind.’ You see, he would not give Communion in the hand.

       “I thought, what kind of a priest is this? I found out the answer as I watched him say the Tridentine Mass, with his own chalice and his own traditional vestments, listening to him when he was praying the Rosary on his knees, teaching the message of Fatima, giving out the Brown Scapular to my parishioners, praying with his hands extended over the head of those being invested in it. All his prayers were in Latin.

       “I took note that he was very serious about everything he was doing, especially in teaching the message of Our Lady. He was outside of the new way of saying Mass. I was inspired not to condemn him because of that.

       “He asked permission to visit the two schools in the parish, one French and one English, to distribute hundreds of Brown Scapulars.

       “A year later, in 1980, he asked again to come back to my parish. This time, after his visit was finished, I shook hands with him and said, ‘Father Gruner, I have the feeling Our Lady of Fatima wants me to work for Her.’

       “Later, he invited me to preach in Montreal at a conference at the Sheraton Hotel. I talked on the Catholic dogma of hell and he printed it in his Fatima Crusader magazine.

       “When he asked, ‘Why don't you come and work with me?’ I decided to wait for a sign from the Lord. Then he invited me to go to Fatima and there I had the privilege of addressing Cardinals and bishops on the dogma of hell. I decided to work with him.”

       Father Nault was instrumental in establishing one of the most noticeable characteristics of Father Gruner's appearance. As Father Gruner recalls, “Father Nault assigned me the penance of wearing the miraculous medal outside of my cassock. I still wear the one he gave me to this day. Our Lady promised that those who wear the medal would get great graces. I began wearing the medal around the time I started to write on the issue of the Consecration of Russia. Is it because of these special graces, for wearing the miraculous medal publicly around my neck, that I have been able to concentrate on the consecration? Is that why I was selected to do this job? If so, I wish more priests would wear it, then more work on the consecration would get done.”

       On the tour of Western Canada, the statue arrived in the diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories, geographically the largest diocese in Canada, by way of a special courtesy, free air passage given on all jet flights for Our Lady's travels in the north.

       At Black Lake, people flew in from over 1000 miles away. Hundreds received the Sacraments during the visit. The parish priest, Father Mowka, O.M.I., kept saying it was like Christmas or Easter. Father Mowka heard confessions all day for three days. “I only saw him briefly during meals. He was always hearing confessions. I could not help because I didn't speak the Indian languages. When it came time for us to fly out to our next scheduled visit, the entire town came to see the seaplane off and to wave a final farewell.”5

       At Fort Norman, they gathered at the landing strip to greet its arrival, then walked back to the church in procession. Once inside, they individually chose to approach the Pilgrim Virgin statue on their knees, to pay homage and petition for favors. Official government meetings scheduled for the district had to be cancelled because of the great numbers who chose instead to go to the church to see the statue.6

       In Prince Albert, at the Cathedral, Bishop Morin crowned the Pilgrim Virgin and formally consecrated his Diocese to the Immaculate Heart. Forty parishes were visited by the Pilgrim Virgin when Edmonton hosted the tour in November.7

       She travelled 20,000 miles, as thirty-eight thousand Scapulars were given away, twenty-two thousand Rosaries, one hundred and seventy thousand leaflets, forty thousand pamphlets, ten thousand Fatima Crusaders, and thousands of Peace Plan booklets.8

       During stop-overs of the Pilgrim Virgin, the Blessed Sacrament would be exposed all day to the accompaniment of those ingredients of Catholic life that are, alas, now but a thing of memory — school processions, five-hour vigils, all-night vigils. At Holy Trinity, in Vancouver, the Stations of the Cross were said at 2:30 a.m. These are the things by which Catholic culture was once nourished.

       With such style were the signs of a vibrant traditional Catholicism made evident that in 1978, Bishop Remi De Roo of Victoria would give his “...wholehearted support for the further promulgation of the devotion to Our Lady through the practice of the Fatima Rosary.”9 My, how times would change! In a mere ten years, a marathon ‘people's synod’, lasting just slightly shorter than the Jurassic Period, would conclude that Remi De Roo and his Diocese of Victoria were on the cutting edge of a New Church, that Thing set up to replace the Church of Rome.

       “I am not a lackey for the Pope,” De Roo would repeatedly claim while blithely and heretically announcing that, “Transubstantiation was a thing of the past.” His diocese, the synod said, would no longer be needing input from Rome. Would no longer, in fact, have any need of the Pope. But that was still one pope away.

       The Pilgrim Statue was in downtown Vancouver when news flashed around the world that the newly-elected Pope, John Paul I, after reigning only thirty-three days, was dead.

§

       Meanwhile, back in Ottawa, the Trudeau government, who in legalizing homosexuality had declared that, ‘the government had no place in the bedrooms of the nation,’ had proposed omitting a clause in the long-awaited new Canadian Constitution. That omission in effect said not only did the government have a place in the wombs of the nation, but that once it got there, it could do whatever it darn well pleased to the unborn voter slumbering peacefully under her mother's heart.

       His 1968 Omnibus Bill had, as far as Trudeau was concerned, justified abortion. Before '68 it had been recognized in law for the crime that it was in fact. Trudeau decriminalized it and by 1981 was attempting to enshrine the murder of unborn babies in the Canadian Constitution by leaving out the necessary clause protecting the unborn.

       Canadians who recognized the omission for what it truly meant were traumatized and propelled into action. One of the most daring and, it turned out, most troublesome of all the obstacles thrown in the path of the government brought attention to Father Nicholas Gruner from people in rather high places.

       1981. Parliament was preparing to vote on the Constitution. With little time and a meager few hands to help, Father Gruner set about to make the Catholic Members of Parliament an offer they would not soon forget. In a twenty-five page letter informing Catholic Members of Parliament of the real meaning behind the constitutional terms, Father Gruner quoted Pius XI's Casti Connubii condemnation of abortion and made the point that it was a parliamentarian's moral obligation to defend the unborn. Failure to do so would make them guilty of the abortion death of Canadian babies through the sin of omission. With the help of an unnamed Member of Parliament, Gruner managed to place on the desk of every Catholic MP the reminder that if they voted for the proposed constitution, that was without protection for the unborn, they were going to be guilty of mortal sin and would end up in Hell, eventually, unless they truly repented.

       To succeed in positioning an outside paper on the desk of each MP was almost unheard of and the reaction from the Speaker of the House was swift. In his bruised and battered mini-office in downtown Ottawa, Father Gruner received a phone call from no less a personage than Jean Sauve, then Madame Speaker of the House, who demanded to know how he gained access.

       Jean Sauve was Catholic. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was Catholic. Cabinet Minister John Turner, later to be Prime Minister, was Catholic. Jean Chretien, another future Prime Minister, was also Catholic. All of them, together, were about to carve in stone a constitution that did not protect the unborn, in direct opposition to the requirements of their Faith. All of them proceeded to make it de facto legal to suffocate, burn and scissor a baby in half inside its mother's womb. The image of a cassock-wearing priest gaining access to the inner sanctum of Parliament to challenge the consciences of Catholic MPs was intolerable to them.

       After all, had not Archbishop Emmett Carter of Toronto, a spokesman for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, himself pulled back from challenging them by telling his brother bishops in Canada that they had no business interfering with government? Yet Father Nicholas Gruner had published, to the embarrassment of His Eminence, the fact that twenty-four Western bishops had condemned the lack of protection for the unborn.

       It is now part of Canadian history that Cardinal Carter, shortly after, was granted the highest honor in the land, the Order of Canada, by Trudeau, Sauve, Turner, Chretien et al. It can be truly said that the government of Canada never forgets a favor. Nor, for that matter, would they ever forget the cassock-wearing troublemaker who had almost upstaged them in their triumphant moment, and to whom possibly might go the blame for causing their critical vote to be delayed a few hours. Not to worry, it was passed into law anyway. And Canada was, at last, interesting.

       The errors of Russia, where legalized abortion had been enshrined for six decades, had seduced the quietest, most peaceful country on earth and lulled it into becoming the blood-spattered midwife of a soon-to-be eugenics industry. Hitler would have blushed.

       What the Parliamentarians of Ottawa had encountered in that month so crucial to the abortion holocaust in the West was the new reality of the Catholic Church. The defense of Roman Catholicism was now up to the man in the street, and to the priest with a sense of purpose.


Footnotes:

1.   Introducing the new Executive Director, The Fatima Crusader, Issue 1, Summer 1978, pg. 1.

2.   Recent Events, The Fatima Crusader, Issue 3, Summer 1979, pg. 3.

3. News Of The Apostolate, The Fatima Crusader, Issue 5, Spring & Summer 1980, pg. 3.

4.    Recent Events, The Fatima Crusader, Issue 3, Summer 1979, pg. 3.

5.   Recent Events,  The Fatima Crusader, Issue 2, Spring 1979, pg. 4.

6.   Ibid.

7.   Ibid, pg. 5.

8.    The Fatima Crusader, Issue 6, Christmas 1980, pg. 15; reprinted from The Catholic Register, an article written by Stan Koma.

9. Recent Events,  The Fatima Crusader, Issue 2, Spring 1979, pg. 4.

 

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