How do I find out of a priest is in good standing with the Church?


#1

Hey everyone. I am wanting to know how I can find out if a priest is in good standing with the Church. Do I contact his diocesan headquarters or what? I ask because I am researching a priest that maintains a newsletter about Fatima and according to EWTN he is not in good standing with the Church but the article was last updated in 2002 and so is very outdated. If anyone can help me, I'd appreciate it. I just want to know because I want to know if I can trust the newsletter I keep getting in the mail that he is associated with.


#2

Contact the chancery of the diocese or eparchy where he's incardinated, or the Order which he's a member of.

Which may mean asking him where he's incardinated. (If he's not, he isn't in good standing as a priest, tho' might be laicized and still in good standing otherwise, even employed.)

Remember: priests of the various orders (Fransiscan, Dominican, Cistercian, etc) are not incardinated into the local dioceses - they are incardinated by their order.

Note: in some cases, there are overlapping jurisdictions. The Eastern Churches in Union with Rome have separate bishops from the Roman Church, but their clergy are Catholic. Likewise, with the establishment of the Anglican Ordinariate, Anglican Use Catholic Priests are no longer always incardinated in the local Roman Rite Diocese. So there might be multiple chancery offices to check with.

For what it's worth, some dioceses list all their incardinated clergy on their websites.


#3

I don’t know if I found my answer or not. I went to the Diocese of the address on the envelope and looked up this priest’s name in the list of priests and his name was not listed.


#4

You’ve only gotten a partial answer. If the priest has letters after his name, then he could still be in good standing via a religious order or society.

Several are not religious orders/societies: STL STD JCL JCD MA MEd MS MTh DDiv EdD ThD PhD
Most of the combinations seen are, however.
SJ - Jesuits
OSB - Order of Benedic
OFM - Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans)
SFO - Secular Franciscan Order
OP - Order of Preachers (Dominicans)
(and about a half-hundred more)


#5

Well, I’m just going to cut through the bush and skip right to the point.

In all likelihood given the description you are talking about Fr. Gruner and his pet project. I have it on good word from a canonist that he is not in good standing with the Church, not does he possess faculties to celebrate Mass or hear confessions where he is located. If you really are itching to double check, contact the Diocese of St. Catharines (in Ontario), where Fr. Gruner is not incardinated (if he is in fact incardinated anywhere at all, because that has never been conclusively proven) and has been been running an unapproved ministry for many years. You will notice very quickly that he is not listed as a priest in that diocese, nor is his ministry listed.

EWTN in 2004 listed him as having been suspended.

The short history (as I remember it) was that he was studying for a diocese (in Canada?), and his bishop refused to ordain him (can’t remember why). He eventually was ordained by a bishop in Italy. Fr. Gruner then left that diocese without approval and came back to Canada (without approval). He has been summoned to go back a few times I believe, which he has ignored.

All in all, he’s a priest that should be avoided in all cases except if you are dying and he is the only priest there and you need confession. His propaganda (“newsletter”) should similarly be avoided.


#6

[quote="curlycool89, post:5, topic:302553"]
Well, I'm just going to cut through the bush and skip right to the point.

In all likelihood given the description you are talking about Fr. Gruner and his pet project. I have it on good word from a canonist that he is not in good standing with the Church, not does he possess faculties to celebrate Mass or hear confessions where he is located. If you really are itching to double check, contact the Diocese of St. Catharines (in Ontario), where Fr. Gruner is not incardinated (if he is in fact incardinated anywhere at all, because that has never been conclusively proven) and has been been running an unapproved ministry for many years. You will notice very quickly that he is not listed as a priest in that diocese, nor is his ministry listed.

EWTN in 2004 listed him as having been suspended.

The short history (as I remember it) was that he was studying for a diocese (in Canada?), and his bishop refused to ordain him (can't remember why). He eventually was ordained by a bishop in Italy. Fr. Gruner then left that diocese without approval and came back to Canada (without approval). He has been summoned to go back a few times I believe, which he has ignored.

All in all, he's a priest that should be avoided in all cases except if you are dying and he is the only priest there and you need confession. His propaganda ("newsletter") should similarly be avoided.

[/quote]

Thank you and yes, I was talking about Fr. Gruner. I just didn't want to mention him by name because I think there is a rule about talking about priests or something.


#7

[quote="Holly3278, post:6, topic:302553"]
Thank you and yes, I was talking about Fr. Gruner. I just didn't want to mention him by name because I think there is a rule about talking about priests or something.

[/quote]

Father Gruner is suspended. It is not necessary for the Church to speak up every year to confirm this. He is suspended until the Church says he is not.


#8

[quote="Holly3278, post:6, topic:302553"]
Thank you and yes, I was talking about Fr. Gruner. I just didn't want to mention him by name because I think there is a rule about talking about priests or something.

[/quote]

I just wanted to make sure I was clear because he seems to believe that there's quite a conspiracy theory against him.

In general, when it comes to a priest, check with the local diocese. If they don't know who he is, they might at least know who to direct you to (they might say "we don't know who he is but he might belong to community"). If they don't know anything you can try googling it (with a grain of salt regarding information you find on the internet).

I would say that if there's a priest running a mission the diocese doesn't know about then it's probably best to stay away. Anyone that ignores the ordinary (bishop) is probably not someone you want to get involved with.


#9

It’s important to keep in mind: neither religious orders in properly constituted houses, nor Anglican Ordinariat Priests, nor eastern church priests are answerable to the local ordinary when operating within their properly constituted houses/parishes.

Establishing the house, mission, parish, or apostolate initially requires permission of the local ordinary - outside of Ethiopia and a few odd places in the middle east, the Roman bishop - but later replacements are not subject to the local ordinary, and need not even present themselves. Their assignment by their ordinary to the house or mission or parish or apostolate grants them their faculties in full.

Generally, the chancery SHOULD be aware of, but especially for Anglican Ordinariate and Eastern Church parishes, individual names can slip by. I’ve had priests ask me about pastors who have been gone for years, and they didn’t know. I had a bishop ask me the name of the new pastor once… He’d not gotten told yet - The bishop got the letter of introduction as a CC in the mail the next day.

And I’ve seen Friars present in a local parish introduce themselves to the bishop over coffee after mass… because the Bishop had turned running it over to that order. The pastor hadn’t been transferred, but the assisting friars-presbyter had. And their incardination was good enough for the pastor to permit them exercise of their faculties.

It’s not like it used to be - the reactions of the church to the modern needs and speed of travel have resulted in overlapping jurisdictions.

There are huge issues with tracking “in good standing” - there are several levels…


#10

[quote="curlycool89, post:5, topic:302553"]

The short history (as I remember it) was that he was studying for a diocese (in Canada?), and his bishop refused to ordain him (can't remember why). He eventually was ordained by a bishop in Italy. Fr. Gruner then left that diocese without approval and came back to Canada (without approval). He has been summoned to go back a few times I believe, which he has ignored.

[/quote]

Interesting. Ordination takes years to go through, so I wonder why that Italian bishop didn't see any warning signs or check back with the Canadian bishop about why this guy was unfit.


#11

call the chancery of the diocese and ask them


#12

[quote="PazzoGrande, post:10, topic:302553"]
Interesting. Ordination takes years to go through, so I wonder why that Italian bishop didn't see any warning signs or check back with the Canadian bishop about why this guy was unfit.

[/quote]

If he'd completed the seminary, he'd likely already have been ordained a deacon. Getting a deacon ordained to the presbyterate is (unless he's married) pretty much the bishop's perogative... but would require transfer of incardination to the ordaining bishop's see or the bishop of the place of incardination to give permission for it to be licit.

Canon law requires a year of service as an instituted acolyte and then 6 months minimum as a deacon.


#13

[quote="Aramis, post:12, topic:302553"]
If he'd completed the seminary, he'd likely already have been ordained a deacon. Getting a deacon ordained to the presbyterate is (unless he's married) pretty much the bishop's perogative... but would require transfer of incardination to the ordaining bishop's see or the bishop of the place of incardination to give permission for it to be licit.

Canon law requires a year of service as an instituted acolyte and then 6 months minimum as a deacon.

[/quote]

Yep all together it takes years, including seminary. Still makes one wonder why the Italian Bishop ordained a man that the previous Bishop didn't want, which is a big red flag, I'd think.

To the OP, Wikipedia says he's incardinated into some Indian Archdiocese. Did you check with them?


#14

[quote="PazzoGrande, post:10, topic:302553"]
Interesting. Ordination takes years to go through, so I wonder why that Italian bishop didn't see any warning signs or check back with the Canadian bishop about why this guy was unfit.

[/quote]

He might have, we do not know.

For example, I know of one man who was admitted to the seminary, he was divorced and had received an annulment, so that is permitted (as the man was never validly married in the first place).

But, after several years in the seminary, there was a change of bishop for his diocese, and that bishop preferred not to ordain an annulled man. The man was eventually ordained for service in a neighboring diocese.


#15

[quote="Aramis, post:9, topic:302553"]
It's important to keep in mind: neither religious orders in properly constituted houses, nor Anglican Ordinariat Priests, nor eastern church priests are answerable to the local ordinary when operating within their properly constituted houses/parishes.

[/quote]

Yes, absolutely. But in this case, this priest is a secular Latin priest, and so is under the jurisdiction of the Latin hierarchy.

I guess my assumption would be that whichever particular Church you belong to, you need permission from them to operate in that jurisdiction (so Romans from Romans, Ukrainians from Ukrainians, etc).

[quote="Aramis, post:9, topic:302553"]
Establishing the house, mission, parish, or apostolate initially requires permission of the local ordinary - outside of Ethiopia and a few odd places in the middle east, the Roman bishop - but later replacements are not subject to the local ordinary, and need not even present themselves. Their assignment by their ordinary to the house or mission or parish or apostolate grants them their faculties in full.

[/quote]

Yes and No.

If they are there just to serve within the community then they can come and go as they please. But, if they are doing any sort of work within the diocese (part-time at a parish for example) then they will need faculties from the bishop. You can't go and minister to the bishop's flock without the bishop's permission (for religious, it's more of a formality I believe because the local superior likely just needs to make a request the bishop will probably just do it, but it still needs to be done).

[quote="PazzoGrande, post:13, topic:302553"]
To the OP, Wikipedia says he's incardinated into some Indian Archdiocese. Did you check with them?

[/quote]

I've heard that as a rumour before, but Wikipedia does not cite anything (some disciple of Fr. Gruner put it in no doubt).

In any case, to operate outside of your incardinated diocese and run a ministry in that receiving diocese requires permission of both his bishop (the alleged one in India) and the receiving bishop. We have a visiting priest in my diocese who's been here for quite a while, and he has permission from his bishop to be here and from my bishop to minister here (when he wanted a sabbatical, he got permission from both bishops).

You can't just go into any diocese and set up shop there without permission and do your own thing. An example I can think of is Fr. Z. He's studying in the US (I believe) while his diocese is in Rome (one of the surrounding ones). He doesn't need permission from the bishop in the US because he's not running a chapel or offering Mass or hearing confessions. Nor is he vocally contradicting the bishop of the diocese he's living in for a living (nor is he suspended. That one's important too).


#16

[quote="curlycool89, post:15, topic:302553"]
Yes, absolutely. But in this case, this priest is a secular Latin priest, and so is under the jurisdiction of the Latin hierarchy.

I guess my assumption would be that whichever particular Church you belong to, you need permission from them to operate in that jurisdiction (so Romans from Romans, Ukrainians from Ukrainians, etc).

[/quote]

Not quite so clear under Canon Law.

Not a few Roman Rite priests are in non-Latin Church dioceses (Eparchies)... including all of them incardinated in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Likewise, I know of Russian Greek Catholic priests incardinated in Roman dioceses... like, ALL of them! And several with biritual faculties have been incardinated into Eparchies that overlap Roman dioceses. (In the US, Canada, and Europe.)

Keep in mind also: it is permitted for clerics on pilgrimage or mission to exercise all granted faculties for the faithful sent with them, even without notice or permission from the local bishop... tho' either a portable altar is required, or permission of a local pastor is.

Likewise, it's not unheard of for a priest assigned as chaplain to some diplomat to go with them... and they retain their faculties for the diplomat and his staff...

I won't speak to the specific case. I'm not a JCD/JCL/JCB, and I'm not familiar with the specific case.


#17

If this is Father Gruner, he has been giving Lourdes water to people. The Buffalo daily newspaper, the Buffalo News, sent a bottle of his Lourdes water to a laboratory for testing and the laboratory determined that it is not Lourdes water, but quite like the water in that area of New York. I lived in Western New York for 40 years and was quite interested in his doings.


#18

[quote="mdgspencer, post:17, topic:302553"]
If this is Father Gruner, he has been giving Lourdes water to people. The Buffalo daily newspaper, the Buffalo News, sent a bottle of his Lourdes water to a laboratory for testing and the laboratory determined that it is not Lourdes water, but quite like the water in that area of New York. I lived in Western New York for 40 years and was quite interested in his doings.

[/quote]

Sadly, his "doings" are bad ones and his disobedience to Rome is what got him suspended. He is not a priest in good standing with the Church.


#19

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