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Father Nicholas Gruner, suspended priest who led Fatima Crusader, dead at 72

May 04, 2015

Father Nicholas Gruner, the controversial leader of the Fatima Center, died suddenly on April 29.

A Canadian native, Nicholas Gruner was ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Avellino, Italy, in 1976. He devoted himself tirelessly to promoting his own interpretation of the message of Our Lady of Fatima, which he advanced in the magazine, The Fatima Crusader. His radical message—including a claim that the Vatican had been subverted by the Soviet Union—won him a strong following among traditionalist Catholics but brought him increasingly into conflict with Church authorities.

In 1992, Father Gruner, who had built an international movement, was ordered to return to the Avellino diocese. When he failed to do so, he was suspended from priestly ministry in 1996. He appealed, but the Vatican upheld the suspension in 2001, and in later years, Church authorities repeatedly cautioned the faithful that his work did not have ecclesiastical approval.

Father Gruner died at his office of an apparent heart attack, just short of his 73rd birthday.


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  • Posted by: ILM - May. 06, 2015 8:47 PM ET USA

    I am sympathetic to St.John Neumann's point, but to represent Christ you must first be obedient to the Church as Saint Pio and many others have shown us.

  • Posted by: St.John Neumann - May. 04, 2015 7:45 PM ET USA

    There is no evidence, that I know of, that any of the Popes have actually consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the manner she asked. Obviously what she told Lucy has come true. The powers in the Vatican, now gone, believe they have put Fatima "to rest. I think not. Poor Father Gruner, regarded as a greater threat to the Faith than the favored biblical scholars who called into question the historicity of the Gospels. He has done his job.