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Fr Nicholas Gruner

The Crossroads at 23rd Street


"For, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." (Romans 1:22)


Errors can be corrected and trends reversed if only our faith and determination does not fail us in our earnest quest for the truth.

Fatima Priest or Judas Priest?

Father Nicholas Gruner (1942-2015)

Joseph Natale held quarterly conferences at the Berlin, NJ, monastery; inviting guest speakers to come in and give lectures on various subjects; delving into secular and current day theological / ecclesiastical issues that he believed were, among other things, fulfilling biblical “end times” prophecies.

Joseph Natale ONLY invited these lecturers to come to his Most Holy Family Monastery and to speak to his parishioners because he held the same convictions, positions and belief-system as they did.


Father Nicholas Gruner (1942-2015) was a frequent guest lecturer, invited by Brother Joseph Natale, the founder of the Most Holy Family Monastery, to come and speak at the annual conferences and monthly retreats the MHFM promoted during the 1990s; when it was located at 261 Cross Keys Road, Berlin, New Jersey.

Father Gruner’s radical views on a myriad of subjects (ecclesiastic and political) made him a controversial figure in his day; especially donning the vestments of a traditional Roman Catholic priest. Father Gruner skirted the edges of sedevacantism and heresy with finesse when the circumstances necessitated it and warmly embraced the idea of continued communion with the Church of Rome when circumstances necessitated that. There is little doubt that he brilliantly / strategically “played both sides against the middle”. He was a master at the art of using the “skill of deceit” to one’s advantage.

Brother Joseph was profoundly impressed with and believed in Father Gruner; along with those in the audiences who flocked to attend the MHFM's conferences and retreats he came to speak at.

In chapter 4 of Michael W. Cuneo's 1999 book, "The Smoke of Satan", in the section on "Catholic Separatists", the author writes of his observations of Father Gruner at the MHFM’s 1994 annual conference:

It was almost midnight at the Holy Family Monastery in Berlin, New Jersey, but Fr. Nicholas Gruner was just hitting his stride. Slight and bespectacled, with just with just a hint of paunch under his ankle-length soutane, Gruner stood on a makeshift stage in the monastery’s main hall and addressed his audience in lisping monotone.

It was both his right and his responsibility to challenge the pope and the Vatican, Gruner said. No less in authority than the eminent sixteenth century theologian St. Robert Bellarmine taught that Catholics were entitled to use force against a pope or anyone who threatened their faith. And the current pope, Gruner argued, by virtue of his infidelity to the Virgin Mary and her Fatima messages, has put the faith of countless millions at risk. Indeed, Gruner continued, the Third Secret of Fatima warned that the Vatican would be overrun by communists, and this, in fact, is exactly the situation that exists today.

Several people in the audience gasped at the revelation, and about a dozen others nodded knowingly. But Gruner still had more conspiracy left to spin.

It wasn’t surprising, he said, that the current pope was suppressing the Third Secret of Fatima and its warnings of a communist takeover of the Church. More than thirty years ago, Pope John XXIII signed a blasphemous accord with Moscow, and ever since the Vatican has been strictly prohibited from speaking out against atheistic communism. Moreover, the Vatican-Moscow accord has been a critical factor behind John Paul II’s failure to fulfill the Virgin Mary’s most important request.

During her miraculous appearances at Fatima seventy-five years ago , Gruner said, the Virgin promised that a great reign of peace would be given the world if the Holy Father, in synchrony with every single bishop of the Church, publically consecrated Russia to her immaculate heart. Regardless of what powerful deceivers within the Church have tried to claim, Gruner said, this consecration has yet to take place according to the exact formula requested by the Virgin, and if it didn’t take place soon, the entire world faces a terrible, unthinkable, chastisement.

What’s more, Gruner went on, St John Bosco once prophesied the day that would come when the entire Church would be overcome with heresy, and also that a great cataclysm would strike the world during a month that has two moons. And March 1999 has two moons!

At this point, about twenty-five people in the audience gasped audibly, and four or five stood up and left the hall. Gruner decided to finish with a flourish.

Don’t be fooled! He said. Communism still exists in Russia and elsewhere. A leopard doesn’t simply change is spots overnight. Communism is alive and well, and more insidious than ever. And remember, Catholics have the right and obligation to defend their faith - with force if necessary. The faith is being undermined from within today - this is what the Third Secret of Fatima is all about - and loyal Catholics must rise to the occasion. Remember that Jesus once told Peter, “Get thee behind me Satan!” This tells Catholics that they should be loyal to the pope only as long as the pope remains loyal to God and Mary.

Fr. Gruner stepped down from the stage with a resounding applause, and within seconds he was engulfed by dozens of people looking for further news on the approaching chastisement. I slipped out of the main hall and introduced myself to a sixtyish woman named Mary who was standing behind a table stacked with back issues of Gruner’s quarterly magazine, "the Fatima Crusader". Mary had worked closely with Gruner for several years at his headquarters in Fort Erie, Ontario, and she was obviously star-struck.

I steered the conversation to the subject of E. Michael Jones, who has published a several scathing articles about Gruner and his Fatima ministry in "Fidelity".

“Fr. Gruner has filed suit against E. Michael Jones and his scummy magazine for defamation of character,” Mary told me. “Jones is a worm! And he’s one of THEM.”

“One of them?”

“He’s a Jew-Boy.”


“Well, you know they change their names. He’s a Marrano.”

The Holy Family Monastery, a rambling brick complex located on about ten acres of land in southeastern New Jersey, was built in the late sixties by a breakaway Benedictine monk named Brother Joseph Natale. For the past several years the monastery has hosted three-day conferences in early May on matters of interest to what may broadly be described as the extreme Catholic right.

Father Gruner's radical message won him a strong following among traditionalist Catholics but brought him increasingly into conflict with Church authorities.

In 1992, Father Gruner, who had built an international movement, was ordered to return to the Avellino diocese. When he failed to do so, he was suspended from priestly ministry in 1996. He appealed, but the Vatican upheld the suspension in 2001, and in later years, Church authorities repeatedly cautioned the faithful that his work did not have ecclesiastical approval.

On April 29, 2015 Father Gruner died at his office of an apparent heart attack, just short of his 73rd birthday.

Controversy still abounds around Father Nicholas Gruner.

Did this man do good works? The answer is … Absolutely.

Did he speak the truth about matters pertaining to the Gospel of Christ? The answer is … Absolutely.

But, did Father Nicholas Gruner use the messages that came from Our Lady of Fatima to create for himself a lucrative “business of religion”? The answer to that question is still up for grabs.

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