Squelching Fr. Gruner's "Squawking Squire"

Written by I. Shawn McElhinney

It is inevitable that in the disputes over how Catholic Tradition is to be understood that you will find those who claim to be "the true believers" in essence. In today's climate, they often masquerade under the deceptive title of "traditionalists" and use this as a cloak to mask attitudes and approaches which are contrary to what the Catholic Church teaches.

Like all pseudo movements, false "traditionalism" attacks either (i) the divinely vested magisterial authority itself or (ii) those to whom the authority invests with authority by proxy. Of the latter affiliation, the Apostolic Signatura is an example of what is being referred to: an authority of the Holy See which governs by proxy. As such, the Apostolic Signatura functions as the Church's Supreme Tribunal in the name of the Holy Father and with his authority. As Pete Vere and this present writer noted in our article for The Wanderer on March 6, 2003, [t]he Signatura is the Church's highest court of appeal, short of the Holy Father himself. The case involving Fr. Nicholas Gruner is one where the authority of the Signatura is being impugned by those who again wrap themselves in the mantle of "tradition." (Or in the case of Fr. Gruner, who wrap themselves in the mantle of Blessed Mary the Mother of the Church.)

This writer's good friend Pete Vere wrote a short response to a recent screed from a certain "Mr. Esquire" which attempted to rebut the piece published back in the aforementioned issue. Pete's followup piece was published in the August 7, 2003 issue of The Wanderer and was recently posted to the web here. What you have before you will comprise a short response on the part of this writer to a few salient parts of the response to which Pete's piece was directed. Normally this writer would post the link to a piece he responds to if it is on the web. However, as only a portion of Mr. Esquire's rather long piece will be interacted with -and since there was no similar reciprocation by Mr. Esquire in his piece- the authors general norm will be dispensed with in the present response.

For it would take a rainforest to supply the paper needed to adequately rebut every error and exaggeration penned by the very loquacious Mr. Esquire over the years. The present author though due to time and space constraints will have to limit this response to two particular sections which constitute the backbone of the aforementioned attorney's sixteen page attempted defense of Fr. Gruner. (Along with a brief touching on the subject matter of previous sections in the thread.)

The subject headings to be covered in full from the aforementioned screed in this writing are titled (by Mr. Esquire) A Pharisaical Notion of 'Obedience' and The Right to Resist an Abuse of Power  while the supposed "impossibility", "non-offense", and "unjustness" of the commands in question will be touched on in a more summary manner. Before they are dealt with though, some errors that Mr. Esquire had in his piece about this writer need to be pointed out. To quote him:

Co-author McElhinney is described as "a part-time writer and Catholic evangelist" who operates a couple of websites promoting his own peculiar views under the banner: "So That No Thought of Mine, No Matter How Stupid, Should Ever Go Unpublished Again." McElhinney's contribution to Vere's article is certainly in keeping with that motto.
Obviously if Mr. Esquire had bothered to take a look at this writer's websites, he would have seen that the phrase attributed is nowhere in use. Nor has the author ever once utilized it. But as the reader will see, this kind of sloppy scholarship is not uncommon to Mr. Esquire who seems to want to make up for in quantity what he lacks in quality. He also tries in various ways to utilize subtle forms of character assassination. Witness the fact that Pete Vere in his response had to address the fact that the same Mr. Esquire could not leave it as a discussion on issues; instead he had to resort to making statements such as this:
The Wanderer presents Vere as 'a practicing canonist' with no mention of his own biography, which reveals that he was a former Catholic, a former occultist and socialist, a former Protestant Pentecostal, and a former Catholic traditionalist (affiliated with the Society of St. Pius X).
Mr. Esquire of course knows that the readership of The Wanderer is probably for the most part anti-socialist. (Hence the "nerve" of them to have a former socialist write for them.) But that was not his main reason for inclusion of this information. There is also the idea that his readers would immediately focus on the parts that read "former socialist", "former occultist",  "former Protestant Pentecostal", "former Catholic traditionalist", rather than on the merits of the arguments being advanced. For the key word here in all of these is "former." Pete has moved on in his life and the beautiful thing about Catholicism is that we can all put aside our past errors and walk anew in God's grace. Though of course with the pseudo-"traditionalists", there is no notion of forgiveness: Pete's past must be paraded about with trumpet fanfare. The reason for this of course is that Our Lord's many teachings along the lines of"forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors" (Matthew vi,12; cf. Luke xi,2) and "if you will not forgive, neither will your Father that is in heaven forgive you your sins" (Mark xi,26) unfortunately do not find much in the way of actual application in the circle of those who claim to be "the true believers."

Of course there is no shortage of irony in that Mr. Esquire has defended in print a certain "recent convert" to pseudo-"traditionalism" who was born Catholic but then spent eighteen years of his own jumping through a myriad of Protestant hoops of varying sizes and shapes before reverting to Catholicism again. (While "conveniently" never mentioning the aforementioned individual's biography.) So hypocrisy is obviously in no small shortage of supply here. But enough on those points as we have the promised sections to get to now. Mr. Esquire's words will be in Times New Roman bolded nine point font. (With sources quoted in italicized Times New Roman unbolded nine point font.) This writer's words will remain in regular twelve point font with sources blockquoted.

A Pharisaical Notion of "Obedience"

As we can see, the authors avoid any discussion of the patent lack of any real grounds for Father Gruner's alleged "suspension."

This point will be dealt with later on. At the moment, we will let Mr. Esquire babble a bit.

Instead, they rely on an empty legalism that exalts form over substance: a command was given, a decree was issued and nothing more can be said in Father Gruner's defense.

When the highest court in the Church (with the exception of the Holy Father himself) renders a ruling, there is no more room for debate. Instead, the ancient axiom "Roma locuta est, causa finita est" applies. The arguments advanced by Mr. Esquire are akin to those by Protestants who say that Catholics must "prove the existence of their oral traditions."

The problem with referring to "oral traditions" by Catholic apologists aside for a moment, it is doubtful that Mr. Esquire would accept this argument from Protestant controversialists. He would (presumably) take the position that the burden of proof is on the Protestants to justify their stance, not the Catholic Church. For it is the Protestants who espoused the novelty of "sola scriptura" and put the burden of proof on others to demonstrate that there were other mediums through which the Word of God was transmitted.

As the Protestants challenged the ancient Church with the presumption that their assertions were to be presumed correct a priori, Mr. Esquire in like manner begins his defense with the a priori presumption that the Church's highest court must somehow justify itself rather than his client: the guilty party on whom sentence was passed. In short, he has it completely backwards.

Furthermore, though it is beyond the scope of this response to adequately cover, the very suspicious overtones of Mr. Esquire's commentary are as far removed from the Catholic spiritual tradition as are his notions of what constitutes traditional obedience. This writing will touch on the latter; however it is possible in the future that a sequel piece will be done solely on the subject of rash judgment and suspicion. (Such as Mr. Esquire's many references to "the Sodano apparatus" or its equivalents.)

Having advocated this cold-blooded Pharisaical notion of Church law, the authors also propose an equally unreasonable notion of "obedience" in the Church. They assert that Father Gruner must accept his "suspension" in order to be "consistent with our Catholic tradition of obedience."

We claim that Fr. Gruner must accept the judgment of his ecclesiastical superiors whether he likes it or not. That is eminently Traditional. Let us consider one of the many sources we could refer to here: Thomas à Kempis' Imitation of Christ:


It is a very great thing to obey, to live under a superior and not to be one's own master, for it is much safer to be subject than it is to command. Many live in obedience more from necessity than from love. Such become discontented and dejected on the slightest pretext; they will never gain peace of mind unless they subject themselves wholeheartedly for the love of God.

Go where you may, you will find no rest except in humble obedience to the rule of authority. Dreams of happiness expected from change and different places have deceived many.

Everyone, it is true, wishes to do as he pleases and is attracted to those who agree with him. But if God be among us, we must at times give up our opinions for the blessings of peace.

Furthermore, who is so wise that he can have full knowledge of everything? Do not trust too much in your own opinions, but be willing to listen to those of others. If, though your own be good, you accept another's opinion for love of God, you will gain much more merit; for I have often heard that it is safer to listen to advice and take it  than to give it. It may happen, too, that while one's own opinion may be good, refusal to agree with others when reason and occasion demand it, is a sign of pride and obstinacy. [1]

If there is merit in accepting the opinions of others for love of God (and without being bound to do so), how much more merit is there in obeying those whom God placed on earth as rulers of His Church??? There cannot be any more reason and occasion to demand it than when the commands are issued by lawfully constituted ecclesiastical authority.

To support this claim, the authors cite the example of St. Gerard, an Eighteenth Century saint who remained silent in the face of a false accusation that he had engaged in fornication, and they suggest that Father Gruner should likewise suffer his "suspension" without objection. But what does remaining silent in the face of a false accusation have to do with "obedience" to an unjust, unfounded and impossible command of a superioró especially when the superior in question can no longer rightly claim authority because the priest in question has been incardinated by another bishop?

Notice that again that Mr. Esquire seeks to assert without proof that such a command was "impossible" in the case of Fr. Gruner returning to the dioceses of Avellino. Somehow we are supposed to believe that there is no finances in the Gruner apostolate to support such a trip. This writer read somewhere that Fr. Gruner's Fatima Crusader by the early 1990's had a circulation worldwide of over a quarter million. (Some have even said it was higher than four hundred thousand and that the apostolate generated approximately five million a year: and this was from a site which was very supportive of Fr. Gruner's apostolate.) Even if this figure is exaggerated, it is still beyond difficult to stomach the idea that this apostolate somehow is hurting for cash.

Remember, Fr. Gruner has been running fundraising campaigns for over fifteen years and he is very good at it. And those who believe that his message is as dire as he claims it is would hardly be skimping on the contributions. Therefore, the notion that Fr. Gruner would need "financial support" of the dioceses of Avellino to provide "substantial expense for...lifetime support and maintenance" as Mr. Esquire asserts is not just a little absurd.

As far as Italian immigration law goes, Mr. Esquire probably knows as much about the subject as he does about Catholic dogmatics. (In other words, not much.) Yet he brings up the subject without any documents to substantiate his assertions. (For those of us who are not inclined to uncritically accept his statements.) In short, this is pretty shoddy scholarship.

Now this writer admittedly no expert on Italian immigration law. However, after Mr. Esquire brought it up, some time was spent looking into this issue. The following is from a source based in Rome called the Studio Tributario Orlandi Contucci which deals with tax planning and immigration issues. Among the many services they have at their website is a PDF file on Italian immigration law. Surely the latter is far more accurate about Italian immigration law than what Mr. Esquire has deigned to give us. (Which is nothing but his assertions by the way.) So this examination will consider some of what it has to say on the matter at this time.

One of the treaties that governs Italian immigration policy is the Schengen Treaty. The countries who either participate or are associated to the treaty do not need permits to work or immigrate to Italy. The Schengen Treaty  covers the following fifteen member countries of the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. According to article five of the Schengen Treaty, any foreigners coming outside the Schengen space could enter only under the following conditions:

- entrance is gained through a border post;

This would not be difficult to accomplish.

 - the foreigner has a valid passport or another recognized immigration document;

Considering that the fatima.org site has a bunch fof pictures of Fr. Gruner at various India mission sites, surely he is not without a passport for travel. (Unless they are posting doctored photos which is not likely.) Before covering the next qualifications, it would help to remember that one of the General Norms of Interpretation for Canon Law is that "[w]hen the law of the Church remits some issue to the civil law, the latter is to be observed with the same effects in canon law, insofar as it is not contrary to divine law, and provided it is not otherwise stipulated in canon law" (Can. 22). So if there are other stipulations in canon law, the civil law requirements can be overrode. Having noted that, let us return to the stipulations under the Schengen Treaty for "any foreigners coming outside the Schengen space."

- the foreigner is granted appropriate documentation that justify the scope and conditions of the sojourn and may have the necessary financial means with reference to the nature and duration of the sojourn including eventual return expenses.
If Fr. Gruner would be going to his dioceses of incardination to live there, this would not apply. If he was only staying for a period of time and then returning to Canada, obviously there would have to be documentation indicating the length of the stay.
-The foreigner that demonstrates to be resident of one of theSchengen countries with a regular sojourn permit is waived to demonstrate the presence of appropriate financial means. However, this exception is not applicable for the case of foreigners going [to] work or to be trained in Italy;

The letter specifying the need to enter Italy to be incardinated in his dioceses of ordination would specify the reasons. As far as the financial angle goes, this was already covered above. But a few more points bear noting in brief.

For example, if Fr. Gruner's apostolate is as successful as his promoters would claim, then not only is it not hurting financially but it could sustain him without difficulty in Italy. (The cost of living there is not nearly as high as in North America and as a priest of modest means, he would survive just fine without any monetary difficulties.) However, if this apostolate was incapable of sustaining him -even under the most modest of means- then it would point out that perhaps this movement is not as successful as its advertising and word of mouth would indicate. For the record, neither Pete nor this writer believes for a minute that this is an unsuccessful apostolate from the standpoint of both being profitable and also possessing many devout followers willing to contribute to it.

 - the foreigner has been released an immigration or transit visa;

This appears to be a translation problem. It would seem that it is supposed to read "the foreigner has released an immigration or transit visa."  Nonetheless, this is a matter Fr. Gruner would handle with the Italian government, not with the Vatican or Vatican City. (Hence, even if there was an "intrigue" against him, the matter of an immigration visa would be handled by a party separate from the Holy See.)

Furthermore, according to the Consulate General of Italy stationed in New York, Canada is one of the countries where a visa is not needed for short stays. However, if Fr. Gruner was to remain long term in the dioceses of his incardination, it would take between two days and two weeks to get the required visa. Thus, the twenty-nine day period is more than ample to allow for obtaining an immigration visa to Italy.

- the foreigner shall not be considered dangerous for the public order.

Presumably we all can agree that Fr. Gruner is not dangerous to the public order in the manner of groups such as Muslim terrorists and the like.

Further still, the Canon Law is clear about what is required for incardination. Even if Mr. Esquire is correct and the Archbishop of Hyderabad did issue a decree of incardination, that alone does not insure proper incardination. To quote from the Code on the process, to be validly incardinated in another particular Church, "a cleric who is already incardinated must obtain a letter of excardination signed by the diocesan Bishop, and in the same way a letter of incardination signed by the diocesan Bishop of the particular Church in which he wishes to be incardinated" (Can. 267 §1). And as "[e]xcardination granted in this way does not take effect until incardination is obtained in the other particular Church" (Can. 267 §2) the mere fact that the Bishop of Avellino notified Fr. Gruner on May 16, 1996 about the impending suspension indicates that His Grace never issued a letter of excardination. And therefore, the Signatura in not recognizing the incardination of Fr. Gruner in Hyderabad was in fact going along with the Church's law and not contrary to it as Mr. Esquire asserted in his screed. (Ergo, his first "important development" can be consigned to the ash heap.)

With regards to financial support - or the second "important development" - the Code specifies under the subject of clerical "remunerations" that "[s]ince clerics dedicate themselves to the ecclesiastical ministry, they deserve the remuneration that befits their condition, taking into account both the nature of their office and the conditions of time and place. It is to be such that it provides for the necessities of their life and for the just remuneration of those whose services they need" (Can. 281 §1). The key word here is "need." Whatever the average priest may need is not applicable to a priest who heads an apostolate which brings in the kind of revenue that Fr. Gruner's apostolate does. The Code also specifies that "[s]uitable provision is likewise to be made for such social welfare as they may need in infirmity, sickness or old age" (Can. 281 §2). Again, the operating words are "as they may need."

Despite his advanced age, Fr. Gruner could very easily take a collection for his own support amongst those who have contributed no small amount to his apostolate. (In light of how highly esteemed he is in those circles, this would not be difficult at all particularly in light of Fr. Gruner's fundraising talents.) So for that reason, the appeals to the dioceses of Avellino for financial support are pretty feeble. And lest anyone think there would be something unseemly about this suggestion,  it is presumed out of charity that however much Fr. Gruner collected for this situation that it would not affect his living of a simple lifestyle. The Code after all declares that "[c]lerics are to follow a simple way of life and avoid anything which smacks of worldliness" (Can. 282 §1). And this writer sees no reason to presume that Fr. Gruner would in any way run afoul of it.

So with the procedural and financial objections of Mr. Esquire dealt with -and the "impossibility" defense swept away as the red herring that it was- let us deal in brief with the final claim that the command was "unjust." And for the latter claim, let us presume that Mr. Esquire is correct and that Fr. Nicholas Gruner was indeed given an "unjust" command. Does that mean that he is not required to follow it??? Certainly this assertion (commonly espoused in so-called "traditionalis" circles) is not congruent with Catholic teaching. Let us consider what St. Francis de Sales has claimed in his Introduction to the Devout Life on the subject of obedience:


LOVE alone leads to perfection, but the three chief means for acquiring it are obedience, chastity, and poverty. Obedience is a consecration of the heart, chastity of the body, and poverty of all worldly goods to the Love and Service of God. These are the three members of the Spiritual Cross, and all three must be raised upon the fourth, which is humility. I am not going here to speak of these three virtues as solemn vows, which only concern religious, nor even as ordinary vows, although when sought under the shelter of a vow all virtues receive an enhanced grace and merit; but it is not necessary for perfection that they should be undertaken as vows, so long as they are practised diligently. The three vows solemnly taken put a man into the state of perfection, whereas a diligent observance thereof brings him to perfection. For, observe, there is a great difference between the state of perfection and perfection itself, inasmuch as all prelates and religious are in the former, although unfortunately it is too obvious that by no means all attain to the latter. Let us then endeavour to practise these three virtues, according to our several vocations, for although we are not thereby called to a state of perfection, we may attain through them to perfection itself, and of a truth we are all bound to practise them, although not all after the same manner.

There are two kinds of obedience, one necessary, the other voluntary. The first includes a humble obedience to your ecclesiastical superiors, whether Pope, Bishop, Curate, or those commissioned by them. You are likewise bound to obey your civil superiors, king and magistrates; as also your domestic superiors, father, mother, master or mistress. Such obedience is called necessary, because no one can free himself from the duty of obeying these superiors, God having appointed them severally to bear rule over us. Therefore do you obey their commands as of right, but if you would be perfect, follow their counsels, and even their wishes as far as charity and prudence will allow...[2]

In short, greater perfection would come from following their counsels and their wishes as well to the extent that one could do so according to the dictates of charity and prudence. However, at the very least, it is necessary to obey their commands. There is no exemption from following their commands as there is in following non-commanded counsels and wishes. So Fr. Gruner, even if he is unjustly being pursued by curial members, he should approach this matter as his Lord and Saviour did. Or as God the Father was reputed to have said to St. Catherine of Siena OP:


The Supreme and Eternal Father, kindly turning the eye of His mercy and clemency towards her, replied: "Your holy desire and righteous request, oh! dearest daughter, have a right to be heard, and inasmuch as I am the Supreme Truth, I will keep My word, fulfilling the promise which I made to you, and satisfying your desire. And if you ask Me where obedience is to be found, and what is the cause of its loss, and the sign of its possession, I reply that you will find it in its completeness in the sweet and amorous Word, My only-begotten Son. So prompt in Him was this virtue, that, in order to fulfill it, He hastened to the shameful death of the Cross.

What destroys obedience? Look at the first man and you will see the cause which destroyed the obedience imposed on him by Me, the Eternal Father. It was pride, which was produced by self-love, and desire to please his companion. This was the cause that deprived him of the perfection of obedience, giving him instead disobedience, depriving him of the life of grace, and slaying his innocence, wherefore he fell into impurity and great misery, and not only he, but the whole human race, as I said to you. The sign that you have this virtue is patience, and impatience the sign that you have it not, and you will find that this is indeed so, when I speak to you further concerning this virtue.

But observe that obedience may be kept in two ways, of which one is more perfect than the other, not that they are on that account separated, but united as I explained to you of the precepts and counsels. The one way is the most perfect, the other is also good and perfect; for no one at all can reach eternal life if he be not obedient, for the door was unlocked by the key of obedience, which had been fastened by the disobedience of Adam. I, then, being constrained by My infinite goodness, since I saw that man whom I so much loved, did not return to Me, his End, took the keys of obedience and placed them in the hands of My sweet and amorous Word -- the Truth -- and He becoming the porter of that door, opened it, and no one can enter except by means of that door and that Porter.

Wherefore He said in the Holy Gospel that 'no one could come to Me, the Father, if not by Him.'When He returned to Me, rising to Heaven from the conversation of men at the Ascension, He left you this sweet key of obedience; for as you know He left His vicar, the Christ, on earth, whom you are all obliged to obey until death, and whoever is outside His obedience is in a state of damnation, as I have already told you in another place. Now I wish you to see and know this most excellent virtue in that humble and immaculate Lamb, and the source whence it proceeds.

What caused the great obedience of the Word? The love which He had for My honor and your salvation. Whence proceeded this love? From the clear vision with which His soul saw the divine essence and the eternal Trinity, thus always looking on Me, the eternal God. His fidelity obtained this vision most perfectly for Him, which vision you imperfectly enjoy by the light of holy faith. He was faithful to Me, His eternal Father, and therefore hastened as one enamored along the road of obedience, lit up with the light of glory. And inasmuch as love cannot be alone, but is accompanied by all the true and royal virtues, because all the virtues draw their life from love, He possessed them all, but in a different way from that in which you do. Among the others he possessed patience, which is the marrow of obedience, and a demonstrative sign, whether a soul be in a state of grace and truly love or not.

Wherefore charity, the mother of patience, has given her as a sister to obedience, and so closely united them together that one cannot be lost without the other. Either you have them both or you have neither. This virtue has a nurse who feeds her, that is, true humility; therefore a soul is obedient in proportion to her humility, and humble in proportion to her obedience. This humility is the foster-mother and nurse of charity, and with the same milk she feeds the virtue of obedience.

Her raiment given her by this nurse is self-contempt, and insult, desire to displease herself, and to please Me. Where does she find this? In sweet Christ Jesus, My only-begotten Son. For who abased Himself more than He did! He was sated with insults, jibes, and mockings. He caused pain to Himself in His bodily life, in order to please Me. And who was more patient than He? for His cry was never heard in murmuring, but He patiently embraced His injuries like one enamored, fulfilling the obedience imposed on Him by Me, His Eternal Father.

Wherefore in Him you will find obedience perfectly accomplished. He left you this rule and this doctrine, which gives you life, for it is the straight way, having first observed them Himself. He is the way, wherefore He said, 'He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life.' For he who travels by that way, travels in the light, and being enlightened cannot stumble, or be caused to fall, without perceiving it. For He has cast from Himself the darkness of self-love, by which he fell into disobedience; for as I spoke to you of a companion virtue proceeding from obedience and humility, so I tell you that disobedience comes from pride, which issues from self-love depriving the soul of humility.

The sister given by self-love to disobedience is impatience, and pride, her foster-mother, feeds her with the darkness of infidelity, so she hastens along the way of darkness, which leads her to eternal death. [3]

Hence the value that Catholics attuned to Tradition have always put on the virtue of obedience: because it was the fruit of the tree of the Second Adam. And this is also why those who makes excuses to justify disobedience are no different than the first man Adam - the fruit of whose tree was disobedience and death (cf. Romans v,12-19).

No one commanded St. Gerard to remain silent, and thus his case in no way involved the question whether Catholics ought to obey an unjust command and submit to an abuse of power by a superior.

Mr. Esquire's inability to understand traditional Catholic spiritual instruction is evident. St. Gerard was following the more perfect way illustrated above. As Fr. Gruner would claim to be a leader in a Church reform movement with his Fatima crusade, there should be some evidence that he has the kind of outstanding character as a St. Gerard. Thus far, he has been "weighed in the scales and found lacking" (Dan. v,27).

The authors' reference to the example of St. Gerard makes no sense at all.

Someone unfamiliar with the Catholic spiritual tradition -as Mr. Esquire has given not a little evidence of over the years- would of course not see the connection being made by Pete and this writer. Those who are familiar with this tradition would not have difficulty in making the connection.

Equally senseless is the authors' reference to the Virgin Mary's consent to become the Mother of God.

Pete and this writer were contrasting Fr. Gruner's disobedience to the obedience of the Blessed Virgin and Sister Lucia: two key players in the very apparitions that Fr. Gruner seeks to promote. Since obedience is the key to heaven, Fr. Gruner's manifested disobedience to the ecclesiastical authorities who are his superiors is instructive to those who have eyes to see.

What does this have to do with the right of the faithful under Church law not to be punished for "failing" to "obey" unjust and impossible commands?

The prevarication of the "impossibility" of this command has already been dealt with. As far as the nature of the command being "unjust" as an excuse for disobedience, Mr. Esquire shows his spiritual immaturity by failing to make the connection here. The obedience owed to a superior is not based on whether the command is or is not "unjust" according to the subjective opinion of others. And many are the heretics and schismatics throughout history who justified their crimes by claiming that the demands made of them were "unjust."

Equally unavailing is the authors' claim that Father Gruner should follow the example of Sister Lucy herself, who has lived her life "as a holy example of submission and obedience to legitimate authority." Again, the authors beg the question. Father Gruner has the perfect right under Church law not to be punished if he did nothing wrong, and Church law excuses one from any penalty if the act penalized was done out of necessity or to avoid grave inconvenience.

Church law also teaches in the General Norms that [l]aws are authentically interpreted by the legislator and by that person to whom the legislator entrusts the power of authentic interpretation (Can. 16 §1). Further still, "[a]n authentic interpretation which is presented by way of a law has the same force as the law itself, and must be promulgated" (Can 16 §2).

The highest court of appeal in the Church is the Signatura. And their interpretation of the law takes precedence over anything that Mr. Esquire might say one way or the other. They upheld the suspension of Fr. Gruner as declared by a lower court; ergo Fr. Gruner is suspended ad divinis. And all of Mr. Esquire's Johnny Cocherineisms will not change that fact. If, and only if, the Holy Father overturns the Signatura's ruling, will Fr. Gruner's stance be vindicated. But until that happens, the suspension is properly recognized as upheld.

[T]he authors fail to note that as the member of a religious order, Sister Lucy was  required to take a vow of holy obedience which is more demanding than the promise of ordinary due obedience taken by diocesan (secular) priests like Father Gruner, who live and work in the world. A diocesan priest has many rights that priests and nuns in religious orders do not have, including freedom of association and the right to found and operate associations of the faithful, such as Father Gruner's Fatima apostolate.

But the duty of obedience to ecclesiastical superiors is not waived simply because Fr. Gruner is not a member of a religious order. Fr. Gruner is still bound to the same general obedience as any other Catholic faithful to the Tradition is. And that general obedience is not contingent upon whether or not the individual feels that a particular command is or is not "unjust."

The Code of Canon Law provides a whole host of protections against unjust commands for priests in Father Gruner's position, including the protections and excuses from operation of penalties I have discussed here. Is Church law of no account?

Again, [l]aws are authentically interpreted by the legislator and by that person to whom the legislator entrusts the power of authentic interpretation (Can 16 §1). Church law like all other law has those who are (i) entrusted with its interpretation and (ii) whose interpretation of the law is binding.

Must a priest submit to any injustice imposed upon him, no matter what rights the law of the Church might guarantee? In that case, why have a Code of Canon Law at all? If "obedience" is the only law, why not repeal the Code and replace it with the dictum: "All commands of superiors, no matter how unjust, must be obeyed." That, essentially, is what the authors do.

Mr. Esquire is under the dilusion that the Code is open to viable interpretation by anyone or that all interpretations are of equal weight. This is of course not true. The principle he is espousing here with the Code is the same one he espouses with magisterial texts: at bottom it is a proto-Protestant hermeneutic which finds no sanction whatsoever in the Great Tradition. Instead, it is the same approach taken by the historical heretics and schismatics.

At any rate, as Father Gruner has pointed out many times, we are not dealing here with an injustice merely personal to him, as was the false accusation against St. Gerard. Father Gruner might well prefer to suffer the personal injustice of "returning" to Avellino and living a quiet life with his books, rather than undergoing the constant stress of defending his apostolate and his good name against constant attacks from every Tom, Dick and Harry that would like to take a potshot at him, including our two young authors.

If Fr. Gruner took this approach, it would reflect well upon him and provide a credibility to his movement that it currently lacks. For if he was truly being unjustly persecuted, he would be submitting to injustice as the spiritual masters of the Catholic tradition teach us to do: indeed as Our Lord and Master did on Calvary.

But the injustice against Father Gruner personally extends beyond him to threaten the very existence of an apostolate that is inarguably the world's most effective promoter of the Message of Fatima. If the apostolate's  position is correct i.e., that the failure to consecrate Russia will lead to the worldwide calamity Our Lady of Fatima described as the annihilation of various nations then millions of lives and the eternal fate of millions of souls are bound up in fulfillment of the Message. That being the case, the destruction of the apostolate would have significant consequences for the Church's common good.

If Fr. Gruner's apostolate seeks to promote the message of the Fatima apparitions (a laudable end in itself), it is illegitimate if the means used are not in keeping with Catholic moral teaching. For it is a truism in Catholic moral teaching that the end does not justify the means. And disobedience to lawful authority is an illegitimate means to promote any end however laudable it happens to be. This can perhaps best be illustrated by noting what  God the Father is reputed to have stated to St. Catherine of Siena OP in her Dialogues when speaking of disobedience:

Oh! blinder than the blind, for, having spoiled the key of obedience, you do not think of mending it! Do you think, forsooth, that the disobedience which closed the door of Heaven will open it? that the pride which fell can rise? Do you think to be admitted to the marriage feast in foul and disordered garments? Do you think that sitting down and binding yourself with the chain of mortal sin, you can walk? or that without a key you can open the door? Do not imagine that you can, for it is a fantastical delusion; you must be firm, you must leave mortal sin by a holy confession, contrition of heart, satisfaction, and purpose of amendment. Then you will throw off that hideous and defiled garment and, clothed in the shining nuptial robe, will hasten, the key of obedience in your hand, to open the door. [4]

This is why whatever value is in Fr. Gruner's apostolate, the fact that he approaches its promotion in a manner incongruent with the Catholic spiritual tradition tells us all we really need to know about whether or not to trust the value of this apostolate.

The Right to Resist an Abuse of Power

From here Mr. Esquire proceeds to marshall some apparently impressive sources to buttress his assertion that there is a right to resist. As the author demonstrated a few years ago with regards to Mr. Esquire's associate Atila Sinke Guimaraes' serial misuse of sources in his essay The Duty to Resist, the same will be done here in brief with Mr. Esquire's attempts to act in like manner.

This, then, is the primary reason Father Gruner has resisted the contrived and fraudulent "suspension" certain bureaucrats have tried to create out of nothing: he cannot in conscience allow canonical trickery and coercion to crush a Catholic work of substantial benefit to the common good of the Church.

If Fr. Gruner's work was approved by God, he would have no problem complying with the commands of his ecclesiastical superiors. Indeed Fr. Gruner would be secure in the knowledge that God is ultimately in charge and that his movement would be vindicated in the end. Failure to properly exercise the virtue of obedience though casts a very dark cloud on Fr. Gruner's apostolate.

To recall the words of the Archbishop of Hyderabad: "evil forces have conspired to destroy your work of love...bureaucratic forces cannot stifle God's work."

Of course much as he does earlier in the text, Mr. Esquire does not quote what is inconvenient to his case. Here is the full text courtesy of the fatima.org website.The text Mr. Esquire quoted will be underlined:

Evil forces have conspired to put an end to your work of love. But you go ahead trusting in the Lord. His love is steadfast and He will never fail, though you may be subject to many a trial and even persecution. God will also give you great comfort and consolation through innumerable friends and well-wishers. Bureaucratic forces cannot stifle God's work. It is my prayer that you continue in your God-given mission in spite of great opposition. [5]

Now obviously in quoting sources there has to be some room for ellipses - particularly when there are word limits to contend with. But it is significant that Mr. Esquire leaves out the very part that speaks of possibly suffering through trial and persecution. That is the part of the equation that it seems that many of those who call themselves "traditionalists" try to avoid as much as possible. Our Lord sweat blood in Gethsemane yet these "persecuted" people whine because in certain situations they have to submit their opinions to ecclesiastical authority. Pardon this writer if he finds the cries of martyrdom of these sorts to be less than convincing. The subject of obedience was already dealt with above. Here is some more food for meditation from St. Francis de Sales:

Obedience to lawful superiors is regulated by their official claims. Thus, in all public and legal matters, we are bound to obey our King; in ecclesiastical matters, our Bishop; in domestic matters, our father, master or husband; and in personal matters which concern the soul, our confessor or spiritual guide. [6]

Of course since the Signatura is one of the dicasteries of the Holy See, failing to obey the Signatura's judgment is to fail to show proper obedience to the Holy Father who delegated to the Signatura its competence in Church legal matters. However, that point aside for a moment, let us consider the import of the actual quote of the Archbishop of Hyderabad.

Indeed His Grace is correct in principle here - that "bureaucratic forces cannot stifle God's work."  That point should be reflected upon by Fr. Gruner and his supporters so that the full import of the statement can be grasped by them. For again, if Fr. Gruner is truly convinced that he is doing God's work, he would have no problem obeying his superiors in the process. St. Ignatius of Loyola was once asked how long he would lament the suppression of the Jesuits -if that ever were to happen. The great saint is reputed to have said "about fifteen minutes." In other words, he would not dwell long on it and instead accept the decision of his superiors as coming from God. For indeed the Church has ever taught that obedience to superiors is obedience to God:

When in fact, men obey their rulers it is not at all as men that they obey them, but through their obedience it is God, the provident Creator of all things, Whom they reverence, since He has decreed that men's dealings with one another should be regulated by an order which He Himself has established. Moreover, in showing this due reverence to God, men not only do not debase themselves but rather perfect and ennoble themselves. "For to serve God is to rule." {Cf. Encycl. Diuturnum illud of Leo XIIl, Acta Leonis XIII, II 1881, p. 278 and Encycl. Immortale Dei of Leo XIII, Acta Leonis XIII,  V, 1885, p.130} [7]

And of course even if the authority was wicked (as Mr. Esquire seems to think the so-called "Sodano apparatus" is), there is still the fact that the Roman Catechism points out that "Christ the lord commands obedience even to wicked pastors" (The Roman Catechism pg. 415, TAN Books ©1982). The Catechism at this point follows up its instruction by citing Our Lord's teaching from Matthew xxiii,3 that due to the authority of the Scribes and Pharisees that "[a]ll things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not. For they say, and do not" (Matthew xxiii,3).

The author of Hebrews likewise teaches "[o]bey your superiors, and be subject to them; for they watch as being to render an account of your souls" (Hebrews xiii,17). And the Apostle Paul in like manner teaches "[l]et everyone be subject to the higher authorities, for there exists no authority except from God, and those who exist have been appointed by God. Therefore, he who resists the authority resists the ordinance of God; and they that resist bring on themselves condemnation" (Romans xiii,1-2).

This is why Fr. Gruner's disobedience to the Signatura -which exercises its authority in the name of Pope John Paul II and with his authority- shows that he is not being obedient to God.

Indeed, a true example of Catholic virtue in the face of injustice is the Archbishop himself, who had the courage to stand up to high and mighty bureaucrats of the sort that have plagued Rome throughout the Church's long history. The Archbishop's own actions reflect the Catholic teaching, rooted in the natural law, that the faithful have a God-given right to resist a prelate's abuse of power, even if that prelate is the Pope himself.

This is quite a stretch by Mr. Esquire. A little deferential criticism of the dicasteries of the Holy See is not the same as "resist[ing] a prelate's abuse of power." Indeed, the Archbishop when we look at the whole statement  conveniently ellipsed out by Mr. Esquire- speaks of suffering and trials which Fr. Gruner may have to bear. As the comments from the Archbishop preceded the judgment of the Signatura by a few years, out of charity this writer will not presume that His Grace would speak so dismissively about the Church's highest court of law in light of its recent ruling. (Lest he be guilty of the very kind of rash judgment and suspicion of intrigues that Mr. Esquire indulges in -and of which the Catholic spiritual tradition unanimously condemns.)

The eminent 16th Century Catholic theologian Francisco Suarez explained the same principle as follows:

If [the Pope] gives an order contrary to right customs, he should not be obeyed; if he attempts to do something manifestly opposed to justice and the common good, it will be lawful to resist him; if he attacks by force, by force he can be repelled, with a moderation appropriate to a just defense.

Of course this citation did not refer to the Pope at all -as evidence by the fact that the words "the Pope" are in brackets. Based on Mr. Esquire's trackrecord of misciting sources, the author would guess without having access to the Suarez source that the subject of the above instruction was the civil authority. And if this presumption is correct, Mr. Esquire is misappropriating sources to defend his own untraditional notion of resistance to the Supreme Pontiff.

Likewise, St. Robert Bellarmine, a doctor of the Church, taught that:

Just as it is licit to resist the Pontiff that aggresses the body, it is also licit to resist the one who aggresses souls or who disturbs civil order, or, above all, who attempts to destroy the Church. I say that it is licit to resist him by not doing what he orders and by preventing his will from being executed; it is not licit, however, to judge, punish or depose him, since these acts are proper to a superior.

Now it is certain that Mr. Esquire is misusing his sources. For this present writer has access to the source Mr. Esquire is quoting above. As far the quote from Cardinal Bellarmine goes, the claim that His Eminence "taught" it is not just a little disingenuous. But rather than this author doing the refuting personally, let us see if we can find a fellow self-styled "traditionalist" to do it instead. And someone we bring to the stand to substantiate this (who fits this profile) is Pete's favourite sedevacantist Fr. Anthony Cekada who addresses this profound abuse of St. Bellarmine's work in the following manner:

In debates among traditional Catholics regarding the legitimacy of the post-Conciliar popes, the following quote from St. Robert Bellarmine has been repeatedly recycled:

Just as it is licit to resist the Pontiff who attacks the body, so also is it licit to resist him who attacks souls or destroys the civil order or above all, tries to destroy the Church. I say that it is licit to resist him by not doing what he orders and by impeding the execution of his will. It is not licit, however, to judge him, to punish him, or to depose him, for these are acts proper to a superior. (De Romano Pontifice, II.29.)

I have seen it employed this way no less that three times in the past four months-once in The Remnant (Edwin Faust, Signa Temporum,15 April 1994, 8), once in The Catholic (Michael Farrell, Letter to Editor, Simple Answer to the Sede-Vacantists, April 1994, 10), and once by a Society of St. Pius X priest.

Traditional Catholics who reject the New Mass and the post-Vatican II changes but still maintain that the post-Conciliar popes legitimately hold office -a group which includes the Society, Michael Davies, and many others- also see in this passage some sort of justification for recognizing someone as pope but rejecting his commands.

The quote has been cited over and over to support these positions, in complete good faith, no doubt. Alas, it has been taken out of context and completely misapplied. In its original context, Bellarmine's statement neither condemns the principle behind the sedevacantist position, nor justifies resisting laws promulgated by a validly-elected pope...

The passage cited is from a lengthy chapter Bellarmine devotes to refuting nine arguments advocating the position that the pope is subject to secular power (emperor, king, etc.) and an ecumenical council (the heresy of conciliarism). The general context, therefore, is a discussion of the power of the state vis-à-vis the pope...In its particular context, the oft-cited quote is part of Bellarmine's refutation of the following argument:

Argument 7. Any person is permitted to kill the pope if he is unjustly attacked by him. Therefore, even more so is it permitted for kings or a council to depose the pope if he disturbs the state, or if he tries to kill souls by his bad example.

Bellarmine answers:

I respond by denying the second part of the argument. For to resist an attacker and defend one's self, no authority is needed, nor is it necessary that he who is attacked be the judge and superior of him who attacks. Authority is required, however, to judge and punish.

It is only then that Bellarmine states:

Just as it is licit to resist the Pontiff who attacks the body, so also is it licit to resist him who attacks souls or destroys the civil order or above all, tries to destroy the Church. I say that it is licit to resist him by not doing what he orders and by impeding the execution of his will. It is not licit, however, to judge him, to punish him, or to depose him, for these are acts proper to a superior. (De Romano Pontifice, II.29.)

Bellarmine...is discussing the course of action which may legitimately be taken against a pope who  upsets the political order or "kills souls by his bad example." A king or a council may not depose such a pope, Bellarmine argues, because they are not his superior-but they may resist him.

Nor does this quote support those traditional Catholics who would recognize John Paul II as pope but reject his Mass and ignore his laws.

First, the passage justifies resistance by kings and councils. It does not say that individual bishops, priests and laymen on their own possess this right to resist the pope and ignore his commands-still less that they can set up places of worship in opposition to diocesan bishops a pope has lawfully appointed.

Second, note the precise causes for resistance in the case Bellarmine is discussing: disturbing the state or giving bad example. These, obviously, are not the same thing as papal liturgical legislation, disciplinary laws or doctrinal pronouncements which an individual might somehow deem harmful. Bellarmine would hardly approve of disregarding, carte blanche, for 30 years the directives of men one claims to recognize as legitimate occupants of the papal office and the vicars of Christ on earth...

Those who would recognize John Paul II as pope while disregarding all his commands, therefore, can take no consolation whatsoever in the passage from Bellarmine.  [8]

Now granted, Fr. Cekada is a sedevacantist. However, this writer has found that he does tend to quote his sources accurately. He also tends to recognize the general context of sources correctly -even though his arguments suffer in spots from unproven and arbitrary presuppositions. In light of how the overwhelming majority of so-called "traditonalists" do not reference sources with the care that they should, this writer challenges them to disprove Fr. Cekada's assertion viz the manifested intention of this passage. For as anyone who has read the context of the text can plainly see for themselves, Fr. Cekada's assertion is on the money as far as those who appropriate this passage in misrepresenting its true sense. (As Mr. Esquire so obviously does.)

From here Mr. Esquire goes to bring up the dispute between Bishop Polycrates and Pope St. Victor I. He interprets this in the same manner that he does the Bellarmine citation above and also as his associate Atila Sinke Guimaraes did in a very poorly written article that The Remnant  thought was so good they ran it three times in 2000 alone. What is ignored on this matter is that the resistance of the Asiatics to Pope Victor I involved (i) a matter of discipline (ii) the Roman See striving to do the very things that these so-called "traditionalists" think that the Council of Trent wisely decreed or called for, and (iii) the parties resisting were bishops and thus not a priest, deacon, or your average churchman. From here, Mr. Esquire makes the following statement further solidifying his disconnect from the Great Tradition:

[T]he notion of priestly "obedience" the authors advocate is more appropriate to Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia than the Catholic Church.

No, what Pete Vere and this present writer advocate is recognizing that sometimes the Lord allows us to be chastened by the judgment of our superiors and that by failing to render proper obedience, we will not cultivate spiritual growth. As St. John of the Cross noted in his Dark Night of the Soul:

As these beginners feel themselves to be very fervent and diligent in spiritual things and devout exercises, from this prosperity (although it is true that holy things of their own nature cause humility) there often comes to them, through their imperfections, a certain kind of secret pride, whence they come to have some degree of satisfaction with their works and with themselves. And hence there comes to them likewise a certain desire, which is somewhat vain, and at times very vain, to speak of spiritual things in the presence of others, and sometimes even to teach such things rather than to learn them. They condemn others in their heart when they see that they have not the kind of devotion which they themselves desire; and sometimes they even say this in words, herein resembling the Pharisee, who boasted of himself, praising God for his own good works and despising the publican. {St. Luke xviii, 11-12.}

In these persons the devil often increases the fervour that they have and the desire to perform these and other works more frequently, so that their pride and presumption may grow greater. For the devil knows quite well that all these works and virtues which they perform are not only valueless to them, but even become vices in them. And such a degree of evil are some of these persons wont to reach that they would have none appear good save themselves; and thus, in deed and word, whenever the opportunity occurs, they condemn them and slander them, beholding the mote in their brother's eye and not considering the beam which is in their own;{St. Matthew vii, 3.} they strain at another's gnat and themselves swallow a camel.{St. Matthew xxiii, 24.}

Sometimes, too, when their spiritual masters, such as confessors and superiors, do not approve of their spirit and behavior (for they are anxious that all they do shall be esteemed and praised), they consider that they do not understand them, or that, because they do not approve of this and comply with that, their confessors are themselves not spiritual. And so they immediately desire and contrive to find some one else who will fit in with their tastes; for as a rule they desire to speak of spiritual matters with those who they think will praise and esteem what they do, and they flee, as they would from death, from those who disabuse them in order to lead them into a safe road--sometimes they even harbour ill-will against them. [9]

But is it not this very notion of a false and blind obedience to every command that has reduced the post-Conciliar Church to a shambles?

It is a notion that obedience is contingent upon either the fittingness of a pronouncement, the "justness" of a pronouncement, the prudence of a pronouncement, or the individual's subjective notion of whether a particular pronouncement is "infallible". In short, it is the individuals setting themselves up as arbiters of what is and is not authoritative -and further what they will and will not follow- which has been the biggest problem in the Church. The so-called "progressivists" started the modern widespread manifestation of this with their dissent against Humanae Vitae and the so-called "traditionalists" joined the chorus starting with their dissent against Missale Romanum. In both cases -though the precise nature of each dissent differed- it was individuals placing themselves in a position of judging the Supreme Authority.

Are we not today witnessing a situation in which faithful priests are routinely punished for "disobedience" while true enemies of the Church are ignored or even rewarded for their acts of ecclesiastical treason? Do we not see precisely that condition of injustice lamented by Saint Basil the Great at the height of the Arian heresy?: "Only one offense is now vigorously punished, an accurate observance of our fathers' traditions."

And of course there is no "accurate observance of our fathers' traditions" by those who repudiate the Supreme Authority or those who make judgments with authority delegated to them by the Supreme Authority. All of this was prophesied in 1968 by Fr. Richard Ginder, a former columnist for The Wanderer. In his short book Thou Art the Rock, when referring to the separation of the "wheat and the tares" that took place between Luther igniting the revolt and the Treaty of Westphalia (1517-1648), Fr. Ginder noted the following:

It is the old story of the tares among the wheat. It took 131 years to make a separation once before but with the advance in communications media, we shall not have to wait so long this time. But we shall see it. It will come - very likely in the shape of a heretical sect attributing primacy of honour but refusing jurisdiction to the Holy Father, at the same time proclaiming themselves the only True Believers. [10]

And of course one such example of what Fr. Ginder refers to above about those who "refuse jurisdiction to the Holy Father [and] at the same time proclaiming themselves the only True Believers" are those who refuse to accept the sentence of the Apostolic Signatura who issues its judgments in the Pope's name and with his authority. More could be said - indeed for this essay the present author had to weed out some of the text in this sequence to conform to the word limits set for this response. (Something the loquacious Mr. Esquire has probably never had to contend with.) And it is clear to anyone who can approach these things with any reasonable degree of objectively that Mr. Esquire is woefully misinformed on not a few of these issues.

Yes Virginia, Fr. Nicholas is suspended as the Apostolic Signatura confirmed the sentence imposed by a lower court. (And no amount of ambulance-chasing legal rhetoric can change that fact.) By defending the dissent of Fr. Gruner from the judgment of the Signatura, it is very clear that Mr. Esquire and his allies do not comprenend the very simple and Traditional notion of Catholic obedience. This is why discussing more advanced subject matters with them is counterproductive. (And also why those of us who value our time, our sanity, and our spiritual health do not spend very much time responding to these kinds of dogmatically deficient screeds.)

In summary, there was ample time to apply for an immigrant visa in the twenty-nine days given and Fr. Gruner could have taken out from the apostolate an ample amount of money to live in a modest manner in Italy for five years. (And from there began to make arrangements for support from his dioceses of incardination after that period of time.) The command, even if it was unjust -a point this writer does not concede for a moment by the way- was issued by the competent authority whom the Holy Father delegates a share of his authority to in the governing of the Church. Attempting to justify dissent in order to further an otherwise laudable end is a violation of principles taught by the masters of the Catholic spiritual tradition. (And also the moral maxim that the end does not justify the means.) If Fr. Gruner's apostolate was really from God then it would survive in the process of what he has been commanded to do. But if not, it would diminish and one less false prophet would be on the scene contributing to the breakdown in obedience: the latter of which has been unquestionably the single biggest factor in the slow pace of the Church's renewal in recent decades.

Dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary on the Feast of Her Assumption


[1] Thomas à Kempis: The Imitation of Christ (c. 1418)

[2] St. Francis de Sales: Introduction to the Devout Life Ch. XI (c. ante 1622)

[3] St. Catherine of Siena OP: Treatise on Obedience from her Dialogues with God the Father (c. 1370)

[4] St. Catherine of Siena OP: Treatise on Obedience from her Dialogues with God the Father (c. 1370)

[5] Archbishop Saminini Arulappa of Hyderabad, India: Letter (November 4, 1995)

[6] St. Francis de Sales: Introduction to the Devout Life Ch. XI (c. ante 1622)

[7] Pope John XXIII: Encyclical Letter Pacem et Terris §50 (c. 1963)

[8] Rev. Anthony Cekada: Did Bellarmine Condemn Sedevacantism? (c. 1994)

[9] St. John of the Cross: Dark Night of the Soul  Book I, Chapter II (c. 1580)

[10] Fr. Richard Ginder: Thou Art the Rock pg. 107 (c. 1968)

Other Notes:

The citation from Thomas à Kempis "The Imitation of Christ" was obtained at the following link: http://ccel.org/pager.cgi?file=k/kempis/imitation/imitation-bod.html&up=k/kempis/imitation/imitation.html&from=RTFToC33

The citations from St. Francis de Sales' "Introduction to the Devout Life" were obtained at the following link: http://www.ccel.org/d/desales/devout_life/devout_life.html#176

The citations from St. Catherine of Siena OP's "Treatise on Obedience" from her Dialogues with God the Father were obtained at the following link: http://www.ccel.org/c/catherine/dialog/dialog1.0.html

The citation from Archbishop Saminini Arulappa of Hyderabad, India was obtained at the following link: http://www.fatima.org/tab4.html

Warning: Due to the nature of the above site being one of disobedience to the Supreme Pontiff - by virtue of refusing to obey those to whom the Holy Father has delegated some of his supreme authority, the present author cannot recommend it and posts this link for verification purposes only. (See the Catechism of the Catholic Church §817 on schism and the Code of Canon Law 751 which the section references.)

The citation from Pope John XXIII's Encyclical Letter "Pacem et Terris" was obtained at the following link: http://www.papalencyclicals.net/John23/j23pacem.htm

The citation from Rev. Anthony Cekada's essay "Did Bellarmine Condemn Sedevacantism?" was obtained at the following link: http://www.sedevacantist.org/cekada2.htm

Due to the nature of the above site being one that promotes the heresy of sedevacantism, the present author cannot recommend it and posts this link for verification purposes only.

The citation from St. John of the Cross' "Dark Night of the Soul" was obtained at the following link: http://www.ccel.org/j/john_of_the_cross/dark_night/dark_night_bod0.9.html#RTFToC45

The citation from Fr. Richard Ginder was obtained from the work "Thou Art the Rock", Catholic Laymen of America, Inc. Denver, Colorado (c. 1968)

The citations from the 1983 Code of Canon Law were obtained at the following link:

©2003, "Squelching Fr. Gruner's 'Squawking Squire'", written by I. Shawn McElhinney. This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author.