Vatican Reminder on Suspended Priest
VATICAN, Sep 12, 01 (CWNews.com) - The Vatican Congregation for the Clergy has published a reminder that Father Nicholas Gruner, the self-styled leader of the International Fatima Rosary Crusade, has been suspended from priestly ministry and does not have ecclesiastical approval of his activities.
The notification from the Vatican comes in response to reports that Father Gruner is planning an international conference, to be held in Rome in October, on the message of the Virgin Mary at Fatima.
The Canadian priest has organized such conferences in the past, often attracting priests and bishops who have apparently been unaware of the conflicts between the International Fatima Rosary Crusade and other Marian groups. In 1992 these conflicts came to a head when Father Gruner was physically assaulted at the Fatima shrine itself during a conference he had planned there in defiance of the shrine's custodians.
Father Gruner has been in conflict with Church authorities for over 20 years because of his insistence that the Fatima message has gone unheeded. He has rejected the assurances of both Pope John Paul II and Sister Lucia, the surviving Fatima seer, that the directive of the Virgin Mary has been fulfilled, and Russia has been consecrated to her Immaculate Heart.
In 1996 the renegade cleric was suspended from his priestly functions by the Bishop of Avellino, Italy-- the diocese in which he had been ordained. Although he appealed the suspension, the appeal was unsuccessful. The Congregation for the Clergy, in its September 12 message, recalls that Father Gruner's suspension was "confirmed by a definitive sentence of the supreme tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura."
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