The Church's Obligation to Believe
and Obey Our Lady of Fatima: Part 3

by Father Nicholas Gruner, S.T.L, S.T.D [Can.]

            Do Not Call Evil Good

    This is not to pass judgment on anybody, because I am not anyone's judge-----except if someone comes to me in Confession, then I have to fulfill my role as minister of the Sacrament and judge the penitent. So I'm not here to judge anybody, but it would not be right for me to simply say "Since I'm not your judge, I cannot affirm certain truths." It's one thing to say "I don't know if somebody's guilty or not." It's quite another thing to say "I don't know if this is a sin or not."

   It says in Sacred Scripture, do not call evil good and do not call good evil. ["Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness" (Isaias 5: 20).] And, therefore, in my capacity as a publisher of the Message of Fatima, in my capacity as a Catholic priest, I cannot call the refusal to obey Our Lady of Fatima good. I have to call it a sin. Am I therefore saying that Cardinal X, or Bishop Y, or who- ever, is guilty of sin? No, I'm not saying that. I am not their judge. But I am saying in the objective moral order that it is a sin. There's no other explanation for it, and if I had to defend this in a theological debate, I could do so.

Our Duty

    We who know Fatima better also have the obligation to listen. Just as theologians have an obligation to believe more articles of the Faith, we who know Fatima have a greater obligation to believe it, to obey it.

   When Sister Lucy asked Our Lord in 1936, "Why will You not convert Russia without the Pope making that consecration," Jesus answered by saying: "Because I want My whole Church to recognize that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that later on My Church will extend Her veneration and put the devotion to this Immaculate Heart beside the devotion to My Sacred Heart." And Sister Lucy, upon receiving this reply, said "But, My God, the Holy Father probably won't believe me unless You, Yourself move him with a special inspiration." And Our Lord's answer was: "Pray a great deal for the Holy Father. He will do it but it will be late." [NOTE 9] And so it is up to us to pray for the Holy Father.

Speak Up For Fatima

    I think it comes down to this: Either people do not know the Message of Fatima or they really don't believe it. Refusing belief is a sin; and refusing to obey is also a sin. Is someone guilty of sin? God knows, I don't. But do we have an obligation ourselves? Yes, knowing what we do of Fatima, we certainly must pray for the Holy Father, and we must certainly not maintain silence. This is what the enemies of Our Lady want.

The Marvelous Example of Three Children

    Recall that all the mayor of Ourem wanted from the three Fatima children was for them to stop talking about seeing Our Lady, and they refused to do that. He threatened them with death.
   Let us remember that these three children were alone, abandoned and imprisoned. Recall that neither the anger of the Mayor and his threats of extreme violence, nor his position of power, prestige and apparent limitless authority did not deter them. They would not obey the order to be silent about Our Lady of Fatima and Her Message.

   They withstood all the power of the State as it bore down on them, and they resisted the insinuations of the parish priest who said it might be of the devil. They knew the truth, and with it, together with the grace of God, they resisted the fury of hell. They would rather die than be unfaithful to God and Our Lady of Fatima and Her Message.

   They had prepared their souls in a short time, for this battle by their lives of prayer and sacrifice, by their invoking the prayers and merits of Jesus and Mary. They sought to obey in their own lives, all Our Lady wanted them to do. Our Lady returned the favor by strengthening them for this battle.

   They didn't start running printing presses, but they would not deny seeing Our Lady. They would not falsify Her message, and they would rather have died than do that. They were put to the ultimate test, being carried out one at a time, to be boiled in oil, so they believed, until they were dead. We also should, at least in some way, imitate them by refusing to be silent about the Message of Fatima.
   Even though most of us have limited means to make the Message known, we all have some means. Remember that the 5,000 people who came in July came as a result of the 50 people who were there in June. And the 15,000 people who came in August were a result of the 5,000 July witnesses telling their friends and neighbors in between July 13 and August 13. And the 30,000 who came in September were the result of the 15,000 people talking to their friends, and so too the 70,000 who came in October. And there would have been a lot more had it not been for the opposition of the government forces and opposition from some Catholic clergy at the time.

   Each of us can do our little bit, and I believe we are bound to do what we can. Because as the Bishop of Regensburg, Bishop Graber, said


"Knowing that the world can be utterly destroyed by the terrible weapons of mass destruction today and knowing too that this can be averted by prayer and penance as the Most Holy Virgin reminded us at Fatima, it is my sacred obligation to utilize these twin means of salvation, prayer and penance. Neglecting them I incur guilt in the destruction of the peoples. The omission of prayer and penance-----I say this in all seriousness-----is a crime against humanity." [NOTE 10]

   And I would say that knowing as I do that the nations can be annihilated and the whole world enslaved unless the Holy Father performs the consecration of Russia, I would be guilty of a crime against humanity for not at least passing on the truth of this. And so let us do our part to make the Message of Fatima known, understood, appreciated and obeyed. And at the same time, let us not accept the false argument that the Message of Fatima is only a private revelation and carries no obligation whatsoever.

Obligation to Speak Up to Priests, Bishops, Cardinals and the Pope

     And I might add one further thing. The argument is given that we must not disturb the Holy Father, after all he is only one individual and he's tired of hearing about petitions. And this has been said, I believe among others, by the Bishop of Fatima, from the pulpit, and so forth, years ago, at least.
    I'd like to point out that the pastor of a parish church, when he accepts his commission to be a pastor, accepts it willingly. When he accepts willingly, he also accepts not only the honor, the role, the stipend, but he accepts the responsibility, the duties that go with it. And if he's told at midnight one night "Your parishioner, Mr. Smith, is dying and he wants the last Sacraments", he can't really say "Well, I'll do that tomorrow." He has the obligation before God, as pastor, to go to that man and to administer the Sacraments to that parishioner as long as he's worthy of them.

    Even St. Alphonsus points out that the parish priest has the obligation, even at risk to his own life, to give the Sacraments to his parishioners. That is his obligation as pastor.

    But that doesn't just apply to parish priests. That also applies to bishops. Bishops, when they become in charge of a diocese, take that responsibility on willingly. And also it goes for the Pope himself. [NOTE 11] He has accepted to become Pope. He takes on the role as pastor of all souls. And part of that pastoring requires responding to Our Lady of Fatima's Message. So while it may be inconvenient for our bishops-----or it may be inconvenient for the Cardinals and the Pope, although I don't think it is very much-----the Message of Fatima imposes an obligation on the Church and the members of the hierarchy.

   It was Pope John Paul II himself who said that the Message of Fatima imposes an obligation on the Church. [NOTE 12]

   He said that publicly in his sermon at Fatima on May 13, 1982.

   And so it's important for us to not be deterred by the well-intentioned remarks of people who say don't sign a petition, or don't ask the Pope for the consecration. They may be well-intentioned, but it is our duty, it is our right. As the Second Council of Lyons has defined-----and the First Vatican Council has defined-----it is our right to seek a ruling in matters pertaining to ecclesiastical jurisdiction. [First Vatican Council (1870), Dz. 1830, D.S. 3063; Second Council of Lyons (1274), Dz. 466.]

It's important then for us to remember that Fatima imposes an obligation on the Church, all the members of the Church, including the Pope and the bishops. And we have been told the consequences of ignoring it: "If My requests are granted, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world raising up wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated." There is no other choice. We must speak up, we must petition and we must pray for the Consecration of Russia. We must insist that even the Pope is bound before God to obey because the Consecration of Russia is essential.

NOTE 9. Letter dated May 18, 1936, in Memórias e Carras da Irma Lucia, (Porto, Portugal, 1973, edited by Father Antonio Maria Martins) pp. 414-415.

NOTE 10. Father Nicholas Gruner, "World Peace Depends on the Catholic Bishops and You", The Fatima Crusader, Issue 11-12, May-July1983, p. 4; also on the web at
www. pg03.html.

NOTE 11. On these points, see Father Gruner's article "By This Means", Parts I-II, The Fatima Crusader, Issue 23, September-October 1987, pp. 2ff, 9ff; or on the web at
www.fatima. org/iibrary/cr23pg02.html and www.

NOTE 12.  Pope John Paul II said, "The appeal of the Lady of the Message of Fatima is so deeply rooted in the Gospel and the whole of Tradition that the Church feels that the Message imposes a commitment on Her." L'Osservatore Romano  (English Edition), May 17, 1982, p. 3. See also "13 May: Pope John Paul's Homily at Mass in Fatima", The Fatima Crusader, Issue 9-10, October-December 1982, p. 7; or on the web at cr09pg05.html.