In light of the controversies currently surrounding the work of Fr. Nicholas Gruner, I believe it is my obligation to speak of what I know concerning the mind of Fr. Gruner. All of what I write here was either told to me by Fr. Gruner himself on numerous occasions or told me by my dear friend John Vennari in private conversations, either over the phone or face to face. For all of those involved in the controversy, we must remember what Aristotle said when confronted with a fundamental disagreement with his teacher, mentor, and colleague Plato, "Truth is more important than friendship"; and what are we all about but truth.
First, when Fr. Gruner spoke about the Third Secret, information that he had gleaned from his many relevant sources --- whether the information given to Fr. Gruner was accurate or not I have no way of knowing, but I do know that he himself held the following to be true --- he indicated that the Third Secret included the following:
1) Our Lady's warning that there would be an "evil Council."
2) Our Lady's warning that the Mass was "not to be changed."
3) Our Lady's warning that "one third of the stars shall be swept from the heavens, by tail of the Devil": Fr. Gruner interpreted this as indicating that 1/3 of the priests and bishops would serve Satan directly.
4) The Apostasy in the Church "would come from the very top," in other words, from at least one or more men who were designated as being "the pope." Cardinal Ciappi --- who Fr. Gruner continually cited --- was famous for indicating that this was the Third Secret, which he had read himself.
In other words, Fr. Gruner saw the Third Secret as being a complete vindication of the traditionalist movement. Obviously, in Fr. Gruner's understanding, the Third Secret was a condemnation of Vatican II, the New Mass, many of the clergy of the post-conciliar Church, and an indication that a man or men designated as pope would be the ones actually pushing the apostasy in the Church. What was Our Lady warning us against? The New Doctrine, the New Mass, the New Priesthood, and the New Popes. How else can we possibly interpret what he said about the Third Secret? The whole purpose of the Third Secret was to warn people against the Novus Ordo religion. This is clearly what Fr. Gruner intended to convey to me.
With regard to the papacy, however, we must consider this. Fr. Gruner came to believe that Francis I was not a true pope, but that Josef Ratzinger/Benedict XVI had retained the office. So it would have to be Benedict that would consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart and not Francis. John Vennari told me this on two occasions in private after the death of Fr. Gruner. At the time I had not known that this was the case and was surprised. John also said that Father was making statements in this regard during his speeches at his conferences at least by late 2014. John was not pleased by this turn of events at all, not at all.
During one of the occasions in which John Vennari told me about this new view of Fr. Gruner on the claims of Francis, he also told me about Fr. Gruner's plans for the future of his organization. John had just found out about these plans and was not at all happy about these plans. According to John, who told me this almost exactly 2 years ago, Fr. Gruner had kept these plans from him, since he knew that John would not approve. Apparently Fr. Gruner had wanted Andrew Cesanek to be his successor, but only after Andy had gone over to Ireland to be trained as a priest by Fr. Paul Kramer and then ordained by Bishop Richard Williamson. John thought that this would be a disaster for the Fatima Center. There is no doubt however that John understood this to be Fr. Gruner's plan. The entire story totally surprised me since I had no idea that this was the case.
I hope that the truth of this situation can clarify things. I think that many might not like what I say here, but since Fr. Gruner and John have left us and this is the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of Fatima --- I thought that the truth must be told.