You either love or you hate Fr. Nicholas Gruner, his Fatima Centre, and all that it stands for. For more than 35 years, the priest has relentlessly and audaciously called for the Pope, together with all his bishops, to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. However, this agenda is much more far-reaching than it may seem. Ultimately, it’s a call for the re-establishment of orthodox Catholicism throughout the Church and the resurrection of the Christian State, particularly in Russia. Fr. Gruner, without apologies, stands against the Church’s traditional enemies, especially Freemasonry and Communism. He openly criticizes Vatican bureaucrats and anyone or anything that stands opposed to Our Lady’s final victory. For all of this, some call him a saint and others call him a fanatical reactionary.
The first time I saw Fr. Gruner was on television about 20 years ago when I lived in Guelph, Ontario. Back then, I didn’t know that much about Catholicism or the Fatima apparitions. However, I became a regular viewer of Fatima: The Moment has Come. What struck me the most was the unorthodox views on history presented on the show. For instance, Fr. Gruner claimed that the Russian Revolution was financed by elite powers in Western nations. Nevertheless, I was intrigued and I ordered many books from the Fatima Centre.
Fr. Gruner’s organization holds regular conferences, often in Rome, and I have wanted to attend one for a long time. Finally, I attended the Fatima conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario, from September 8 to 13, 2013. Fatima: The Path to Peace featured many speakers who each spoke for about an hour. They were highly intelligent, well-educated, very knowledgeable about their subjects and openly critical of the political, economic and religious status quo. The conference took place amidst the uncertainty of the Syrian crisis. Would the U.S. decide to punish the Syrian government for allegedly using chemical weapons on its own people? Would this trigger a larger war, involving Russia and possibly China?
As a prelude to the conference on the afternoon Sunday September 8, several hundred of the faithful gathered outside of the Scotiabank Convention Centre to begin a procession in honour of Our Lady’s birthday. At the head of the procession, four young men carried a beautiful statue of Our Lady of Fatima on a pedestal. Fr. Gruner stood near the sidewalk as the long procession passed, greeting each person individually. The faithful prayed the Rosary as they walked along Stanley Avenue to the Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre.
On the grounds of the centre, the crowd gathered around the statue of Our Lady and continued to pray the Rosary. It was a bright, sunny day with only a few clouds in the sky, but I suddenly felt minute drops of water touch my face. I looked up at the sky, wondering if it was raining, but it did not seem to be. We were quite a distance from the falls, so I thought that it was unlikely that the water was coming from there. Was it a miraculous baptism from heaven in approval for the conference?
On Sunday evening, I attended my first Tridentine Mass. The main celebrant was Fr. Gruner, assisted by another priest. The Tridentine Mass was instituted by the Council of Trent in 1570 and finally “replaced” by the Novus Ordo Mass in the late 1960s. Most people think that the main difference between the “old” and “new” Mass is that the old Mass was celebrated in Latin and the new Mass is celebrated in the vernacular. However, I believe the main difference is that the old Mass much more richly presents the Eucharistic mystery.
The Fatima Centre has always been hampered by controversy and this convention was no exception. We soon learned that certain highly influential organizations were accusing Fr. Gruner of being an anti-Semite. This was enough to dissuade at least two of the scheduled speakers from attending the conference. While it’s true that Fr. Gruner has occasionally criticized the policies of Israel and the actions of certain Jews throughout history, he certainly does not hate the Jewish people. I believe that Fr. Gruner is being attacked simply because he represents a serious challenge to the status quo and to entrenched elite interests.
Each day featured six talks, beginning at 9 a.m., followed by a panel discussion, ending around 6:30 p.m. The speakers covered a wide variety of topics such as: “The Principal and Gross Injustice of Usury,” “The Financial Enslavement of the West,” “We Are Being Led to A One World Government and a One World Religion,” “Killing for Organs,” and “Abortion: 40 Years on the Battlefront.” Most people would dismiss this subject matter as “alarmist” and “conspiratorial.” My response would be that they haven’t studied these issues properly. I have spent about 20 years studying many of these subjects and can assure you that the conference speakers know what they are talking about. However, the picture they paint is a bleak one: Our world is gradually being enslaved by an emerging Satanic world government. Terrible war and persecution of the Church are on the horizon. The only solution, according to the Fatima Centre is the proper consecration of Russia.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Ron Paul who recently ran for president of the United States. Groups hostile to the Fatima Centre attempted to dissuade him from speaking at the conference, but he would not be intimidated. Dr. Paul spoke at length about his political philosophy that emphasizes individual freedom and limited government. Other conference speakers included Mario Borghezio, a member of the European Parliament, Joe Scheidler, a well known pro-life warrior, and John McManus of the John Birch Society.
For many years, I have been convinced that the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary has never been done exactly as our Lady requested. I am also convinced that the Pope and his bishops must do the consecration so that Russia will be converted to the true faith and a period of peace will be given to the world. (This is not the official position of Saint Gabriel’s Newsroom. I only speak for myself in this regard.) I invite you to learn more about the message of Fatima and to pray for the consecration of Russia.