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"Father Gruner Was Right" Update

Guerra Says He’ll Never Do It Again

by Christopher A. Ferrara

Back in October of 2003, Fr. Nicholas Gruner and the Fatima Center sounded the alarm about an "inter-religious" conference held at the Fatima Shrine in Portugal, hosted by the Shrine’s rector, Msgr. Luciano Guerra. Based on Guerra’s statements related to this conference, Fr. Gruner warned that the Shrine was being prepared for transformation into an "inter-religious" center.

Alarmism! Hysteria!, declared the Enlightened Ones  —  the same crowd (Fr. Fox, EWTN, et al) that has been celebrating the non-existent "consecration of Russia" in 1984, while it ignores the subjugation of the Russian people by Vladimir Putin and the ever-worsening moral and spiritual condition of Russian society.

And then  —  also at Guerra’s invitation  —  came the Hindu ceremony in the Little Chapel of the Apparitions on May 5, 2004, on the very spot where Our Lady of Fatima appeared in 1917. When Fr. Gruner led an international protest against this sacrilege, the Enlightened Ones leaped to Guerra’s defense: Exaggerations! Lies!, they declared. Nothing untoward had happened in the Little Chapel, they insisted. There was no Hindu ceremony, they claimed, just a harmless "prayer for peace."

But once again the Enlightened Ones have a great quantity of egg on their faces. On November 4, 2004 The Universe, the United Kingdom’s largest-circulation Catholic newspaper, reported that "Clergy at the Marian shrine of Fatima in Portugal may be under investigation by the Vatican after it was revealed that they allowed a Hindu ceremony to take place at the shrine’s altar." The article further reports that "Universe sources in Rome have discovered that the Vatican is considering, and indeed may already have sent, an apostolic visitor to Fatima, after expressing ‘a certain bewilderment’ about the recent interfaith events, which it described as ‘imprudent’."

In the face of this development, Guerra  —  who had defended his actions to the hilt  —  is suddenly very contrite. According to The Universe "Guerra … admitted that the recent inter-religious events at the shrine had ‘caused some discomfort in conservative Catholic sectors.’" And what is Guerra, then  —  a liberal Catholic? Of course he is. The Universe goes on to note that "the controversy first erupted last October when the Bishop of Fatima, Serafim Ferreira e Silva, and Monsignor Guerra hosted an ecumenical conference at the Shrine. The conference, which featured participants from diverse religious bodies, including Buddhists, Muslims and African animists, was followed by reports of a plan to transform the Fatima Shrine into an ‘interfaith facility.’"

Suddenly, Fr. Gruner’s "hysterical" claim is being taken seriously, as is his effort to protest the goings-on at Fatima: "The US-based Fatima Centre organised a series of mass protests, culminating in an open letter of protest to Pope John Paul II and the bishops of Portugal, which was published in a number of major Portuguese newspapers. Tens of thousands of signatures from outraged Catholics were also gathered via the internet."

Moreover, The Universe itself now reports the controversy this way: "Events took a further turn for the worse in May this year when Msgr. Guerra permitted a group of Hindu worshippers from Lisbon to perform a pagan ceremony on the altar of the chapel of Our Lady on the very spot where the Virgin Mary appeared between May and October 1917." What will the Enlightened Ones say about this reportage by The Universe, which accepts as fact the very claim Fr. Gruner made after the event took place? Is The Universe publishing lies and exaggerations?

And now the clincher: The Universe reports that after his press conference concerning the Vatican investigation of his actions, "Guerra admitted that the Hindu ceremony ‘was a little beyond his control’, and promised that he would never again permit a visit of the Hindu group ‘in the same manner’." So, folks, Guerra promises he’ll never do it again  —  even though the Enlightened Ones had insisted that Guerra had not done anything wrong in the first place.

Once again the Enlightened Ones are proven wrong. Once again, when all the evidence is in, we find that Father Gruner was right. Meanwhile, reports The Universe, "Several sources in Rome say that they believed that an apostolic visitor has already left Rome for Fatima." Let us hope and pray that Msgr. Guerra will soon be leaving Fatima for Rome, where he will receive a new assignment having nothing to do with the Fatima Shrine whose sacred ground he has defiled by his actions.