Schism And The Common Good
with Father Gruner being interviewed by Francis Alban
Taken from the 2nd Edition of "Fatima Priest"
We continue here with the interview of Father Gruner by Francis Alban. In the first installment published in Issue No. 57, Father Gruner had spoken about how the abuse of public authority within the Church can cause schism. This segment opens with a brief comment by Francis Alban. Questions and comments by Francis Alban are in italic print. Responses by Father Gruner are in regular print. Sub-titles were added by the editor of The Fatima Crusader.
Thirty years after Vatican II ended, one of its most vital decisions was shaping the possible destiny of this Fatima Apostolate.
"When Vatican II refused to invoke its authority to teach infallibly, it was not being fully magisterial, plain and simple. In short, it was not accepting full responsibility. As a result, there are people in the Church who feel Vatican II is the only definitive Council despite the fact that the Council Fathers themselves clearly pointed out that it is not infallible in many things. As a matter of fact, some Vatican II interpretations are clearly heretical. Post-Vatican II Catholics, because of their own ignorance of the facts, erroneously think that the Catholic faithful who hold closely to the infallible definitions of Trent and Vatican I are somehow 'outside the Church' and accuse them of being against the Pope. They even go so far as to 'self-righteously' punish those Catholics who are faithful to the infallible Magisterium. All this would not be taking place had the teaching authority of Vatican II taken full responsibility and taught only those things it was certain of, in clear language, and invoked its infallible authority.
is Against the Common Good
"The Vatican-Moscow Agreement, concocted in secret, is another example of them refusing to take public responsibility. Part of the Agreement is not to talk about it. What government has the authority to make something binding on the members of an institution without it being public? This secret Agreement, which attempts to bind the Church into silence before grave moral evil, is clearly against the Common Good, the Natural Law, and the Divine Positive Law.
"What is missing is the responsibility to the Common Good. Even a Pope, if he were to give an order contradicting the Common Good of the Church, then that order would not be binding. St. Paul makes it clear. No Pope has the right to be silent or to command silence in face of apostasy, schism or heresy against God, Christ and the Church.4
"A good Catholic philosopher could prove by the light of reason alone that each of us is obliged to help the Common Good, or the Common Wealth as it is sometimes called, by our work, actions, and words and by avoiding anything that would harm it.
Our Duty to the Common Good
"First, it should be obvious that each member of a city, a family, a country, should not do anything that will harm the Common Good.
"Second, he should also do all he can to help the Common Good to the extent his other duties to God and neighbor allow.
"To prove this, at least in part, what would happen to our society if people were allowed to act in such a way as to harm public good — so long as their lying or cheating did not harm identifiable individuals alone, but only a group?
"If God made individuals, He also made society. Man is meant to live in society. God did not want us to live all alone. Society, to survive, needs certain rules to be obeyed by all, even when they are sometimes inconvenient, even costly, to some individuals who practice them.
"Society cannot exist if all members only look out for their own interests, and take advantage of all the rest of the members of society.
"Such an attitude cannot be justified on the grounds of taking care of a family, or an exclusive group of friends, when it causes the rest of society to lose their wealth, their freedom, their lives, and most important, their souls.
"We are our brother's keeper. We must respect his freedom and independence but we must also look out for his interests if Providence puts events, people or things in our path that impact on our neighbor's good.
"It is not only true for my neighbor whom I know or meet occasionally, but for all my fellow men in my community, country, world, and especially, as St. Paul admonishes, for all who belong to the household of the Faith.5
"By the light of revelation, we know that God the Father appointed God the Son, Redeemer of all mankind, as "King of kings and Lord of lords."6 Thus all presidents, kings, lords, judges, legislators, officials and bureaucrats must obey the King of kings, Christ the Lord, in Church matters and in civil matters, upholding the right to property, life, and freedom in general, and also in particular instances.
Thy Kingdom Come
"Thus the common citizen must vote for those legislators and presidents and Prime Ministers that uphold the law of God and vote against those that would attack the law of God.
"It is what we pray for every day when we say the Rosary. Every day we say, 'Thy Kingdom come.' If we really mean this, that we pray for the coming of Christ's Kingdom on earth, we must work and speak and pray for the Common Good.
"We are not only praying for the coming of mankind into Christ's kingdom in Heaven. We are also praying for His kingdom here on earth, because Jesus taught us to pray 'Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.'
"On the contrary, a subversive group attacks the very basis of authority. The very nature of a secret society is you don't know who the authority is, what doctrine it is upholding. In the Natural Law, which God has instilled into the very fabric of society, authority, responsibility and accountability go together. A person can't have authority without responsibility. That's in the Natural Law. This is how God created public authority to operate both in the Church and in the State.
By 'giving orders without giving them', in the short term, the public authority seems to get the benefit of giving an order without taking responsibility for it. In the long term, such governance is destructive of authority and divides members of the Church. 'A house divided against itself cannot stand.'...Jesus said.
"Our duty is to build up the House of the Faith, not tear it down. Our duty is to build up the welfare of society as well. The directives of Our Lady of Fatima are the most perfect means of doing both.
The Common Good
"In continuing to promote the full Message of Fatima, I am only fulfilling my obligation to the Common Good. Yet I am not the only one who has this duty. Everyone is bound to contribute to the Common Good. If this was more generally understood, then many more people would promote the Fatima Message, perhaps not to the extent that I am, but in whatever capacity they were able.
"The issue of the Common Good is a vital subject that is much neglected these days. It needs to be more widely known in order to correct a multitude of false ideas that work toward the detriment of public welfare, the de-Christianization of society, and prevent Our Lady's requests from being fulfilled.
"This is not just a particular fancy of mine. The Common Good is of such significance that it actually is a vital component to what makes a just law. So it is necessary to address the issue of the Common Good first in regard to law, our obligation to it, and especially how it relates to Fatima.
"Catholic moral theology of all time teaches that there are four components to a just law.
"A just law is:
1) an ordination of reason,
2) for the Common Good,
3) which is promulgated,
4) by the person who has care of the community.7
"If any one of these four 'ingredients' is missing, then there is no true law and we are free to disregard it.
"So we can see how important is the Common Good. Any act of legislation that is not for the Common Good is not a genuine law. So as I mentioned before, even if a Pope were to give an order which went against the Common Good of the Church, then that order would not be binding.
"So then, not only is the Common Good a constitutive part of law and society, but it is something to which everyone must contribute, be they those who govern, or those who are governed.
Each Person and the Common Good
"Our obligation to the Common Good is twofold. Not only may we not do anything that hinders the Common Good, but we must do all we can to advance the Common Good.
"Of course, in order to keep our balance, we must point out that there is a hierarchy of personal responsibility which includes the Common Good. One has one's duty to God first of all; duty to one's soul second of all; duty to one's own personal well-being and after one's soul and the soul of one's neighbor, particularly one's family and friends. Finally, there is the duty to the Common Good.8
"The Common Good actively involves our neighbor, those men or women and children who in some way or other God puts on our path, whether they live next door to us, whether they work at the same job as we do, or whether we sit on the same bus with them going to work, or whether we see them at church on Sunday. Somewhere or other we are in contact with them; somehow or other because of physical location or because of the kind of work we do, some specific person is a neighbor to us. Most important, our duty to the Common Good not only involves the neighbor whom we meet, but the neighbor whom we shall never meet.
"For example, if I am preparing to vote in an election, I cannot vote for a pro-abortionist. A certain pro-abortionist may have a great plan for saving employment, but I cannot vote for a pro-abortionist because he is doing something that is intrinsically evil, i.e., using the position of legislator to do evil to thousands of babies. My obligation to the Common Good requires that my co-worker, my brother, sister, aunt or cousin might be puzzled by my choice in voting, I still am bound to do the right thing in the fear of God for the sake of the natural and supernatural welfare of individuals and society.
"It does not matter that I probably will never meet the children I save by voting pro-life. I am still responsible before God to protect them by whatever actions I take, however small, in the public domain.
Not Just for Those in Authority
"Most of us fail in our obligation to the Common Good of both the Church and the State because we falsely believe that public welfare is solely a matter for the authorities. In the State, there is the notion that only rulers and politicians are responsible for the Common Good. In the Church, there is the idea that only the Pope, Cardinals, bishops and priests are responsible for the Common Good. In both cases, the average layman operates on the premise that because he cannot do a lot, therefore he may do nothing. Sometimes this incorrect notion is the result of misinformation, sometimes it is due to disinformation (that is the deliberate efforts of enemies to spread falsehood under the guise of information). Whatever its cause, this false mind-set must be fought against. In the case of Fatima, it has disastrous consequences.
"Of course, more is expected of those who have wealth, power, influence, prestige, to uphold the Common Good. But because we may not be in positions of authority, power or influence, that does not mean we can do nothing. It does not mean we have nothing to contribute. We are never excused from working toward the Common Good.
"Moreover, this duty does not only extend to our peers and those over whom we have authority, but we must even rebuke our superiors if necessary, if our superiors are acting to the detriment of the Common Good, providing it is done with due regard for persons and positions. St. Paul had to rebuke St. Peter, the first Pope, when he 'walked not in truth'.9 And Saint Thomas Aquinas teaches that it is sometimes the duty of the inferior to either disobey or correct the superior10 if the Common Good calls for it.
"St. Robert Bellarmine says that we must positively resist those policies of people in authority which go against the Common Good.11
Charity and Truth
"All this, of course, must be done in charity, since knowledge and action without charity is destructive.
"On the other hand, charity, to be effective, must be based on truth. Without the truth in the mind of the charitable person, his efforts to build up the Church are often doomed to failure because of his lack of knowledge. Much destruction has come to the Church and world because of 'misdirected charity', i.e., the toleration of behaviors and principles that are destructive to the Church and society. Often, this misdirected charity is the fruit of ignorance. Does not Scripture teach 'My people perish for lack of knowledge'?12
"Now, charity and truth must be lived out. Charity and truth impose certain duties upon us, and sometimes these duties are difficult.
"Therefore, we must not stand by idly when a lie is told that affects the Common Good or even the good of a smaller segment of society. Also, if we know the truth that will significantly help our fellow man, we must proclaim it, because by our silence, the good may be lost.
"This is especially true for Catholics living in the 20th Century since we now have the spiritual weapons God has given us that will infallibly bring about His kingdom on earth.
Because in our time, God has revealed in a public, prophetic revelation His plan for world peace and the establishment of His kingdom on earth. This plan was established from all eternity, but was made clearer in our day through the Message of Fatima.
"Never before in history, I think, has an apparition of Our Lady been so identified with Sacred Scripture. Pope Paul VI clearly indicated his thought that Our Lady's appearance and message of Fatima is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy, namely Apocalypse, Chapter 12. He believed that Our Lady of Fatima is what Saint John the Apostle saw in a prophetic vision 2000 years ago.13 Sister Lucy tells us the Third Secret is in the Apocalypse, Chapters 7 to 13.14 Cardinal Ratzinger tells us he has read the Third Secret and that it refers to the last times and that it is contained in Sacred Scripture.15
"Clearly, if the Message of Fatima is part of Biblical prophecy it is not simply a private revelation that can be ignored without sin."
In his book "World Enslavement or Peace...It's Up to the Pope", Father Gruner spent 50 pages demonstrating that even if Fatima is not contained in Sacred Scripture, we are still bound under pain of sin to listen to and obey Our Lady of Fatima's message and requests. This obligation, he explained, extends to all of us: layperson, religious, priests, bishops and even the Pope.
Footnotes 1, 2, 3 are for that part of this interview published in Issue No. 57.
4. Galatians 2:11-14.
5. Galatians 6:10.
6. Apoc. 19:16; 1 Tim. 6:14-15.
7. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I-II, Q 90, also, John A. McHugh, OP and Charles J. Callan, OP, Moral Theology, John F. Wagner Inc., New York City 1929, Vol. 1, pp. 90-91.
8. John A. McHugh, OP and Charles J. Callan, OP, Moral Theology, Vol. 1, pp. 467-470.
9. Galatians 2:14.
10. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, II-II, Q 33, Art. 4.
11. St. Robert Bellarmine, Tome IV, Proposition XVI.
12. Osea 4:6, Confraternity Edition.
13. Pope Paul VI, Encyclical Letter, Signum Magnum, May 12, 1967.
14. Frère François de Marie des Anges, Fatima: Tragedy and Triumph,p. 279.
15.The Jesus magazine published in Rome, Italy, in its November 11, 1984, issue quoted at length Cardinal Ratzinger on the Third Secret of Fatima and these remarks by Cardinal Ratzinger are analyzed and commented on by Father Joseph de Ste. Marie in The Fatima Crusader, Issue 18, Oct.-Dec. 1985, p. S-4.