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Christopher Ferrara's Response to a Bishop Regarding Father Gruner's Alleged "Suspension"

Christopher Ferrara's Response to a Bishop
Regarding Father Gruner's Alleged "Suspension"

(A recent reponse to the Archdiocese of Milan)

Apparently, someone informed you that Father Gruner is under some sort of penalty imposed upon him by “the Vatican.” That is simply not the case. This appears to be a reference to outdated canonical proceedings engineered by the same Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Sodano, who covered up the scandal of Father Maciel for decades until he was overruled and then removed from office by Pope Benedict.

In order to silence Father Gruner’s Fatima apostolate in the 1990s, Sodano attempted to force Father's return to the Diocese of Avelino, where he was ordained in the 1970s, by having the Bishop of Avellino demand that Father be incardinated in another diocese by a bishop friendly to his work or else return to Avellino after his long and fully approved residence in Canada to conduct the apostolate. (Any return to Italy would have been precluded by Italian immigration law, in any event.)

Sodano then tried to prevent Father Gruner's incardination in any other diocese, so that the Bishop of Avvelino could then “suspend” him for “disobedience” to the very command Sodano was preventing Father from obeying. But Sodano’s plan failed when the Archbishop of Hyderabad incardinated Father Gruner in 1995 with a decree protesting that “evil forces [i.e. Sodano] cannot destroy your work of love,” and the Archbishop later affirmed his decree despite Vatican pressure to rescind it. Copies of these documents have been published to the world by Father Gruner.

The canonical proceedings to which the Archdiocese of Milan seems to be referring, which related entirely to Father Gruner’s non-existent “failure” to be incardinated by another bishop, were rendered moot by the incardination in Hyderabad. The Vatican itself has never imposed any penalty of any kind on Father Gruner, but rather the proceedings point only to the Bishop of Avellino’s order (instigated by Sodano) that Father Gruner be incardinated elsewhere, which order Father Gruner obeyed despite Sodano’s attempt to prevent him from obeying it. The Bishop of Avellino was advised of the new incardination and thereafter never took any action against Father Gruner. Nor did he ever “suspend” Father (having merely threatened to do so in a letter that, like the canonical proceedings as a whole, became moot when Father Gruner was incardinated in Hyderabad).

I know these things because I am intimately familiar with the acts of the canonical proceedings and have written numerous documents which are part of those proceedings and can be found in the Vatican archives.

The question you should address to the Archdiocese of Milan is simply this: “What offense is Father Gruner said to have committed?” You will find that the answer is none at all. The entire “case” of Father Gruner reduces to Cardinal Sodano's attempt to prevent him from being incardinated so that he could be “suspended” for not being incardinated. The attempt failed, Father Gruner is incardinated, and today he is under no suspension or penalty of any kind. If you wish to discuss this matter with me, I am available.

Respectfully yours,
Christopher A. Ferrara President and Chief Counsel
American Catholic Lawyers Association, Inc.

More Defense of Father Gruner -
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