Tuesday, August 14, 2012
The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has issued a final decision in the case of Rev. Mark Gruber, O.S.B. This case stems from the July 2009 discovery of pornographic images on the computer assigned to Rev. Gruber by virtue of his teaching assignment.
As required by civil law, because of the nature of the images, Saint Vincent officials reported the matter to civil authorities. Rev. Gruber was relieved of his teaching assignment and placed on leave from all exercise of public priestly ministry. As required by Church law, a detailed account of the matter was reported to the CDF in November 2009. The CDF is the Vatican office which has jurisdiction over cases involving grave offences against the Catholic faith, the sacraments, and serious moral offences. Rev. Gruber was afforded the opportunity to respond personally and through canon law advocates of his choosing.
The CDF reached a decision in the case on June 30, 2011. Recourse (appeal) was made against this decision. After considering all of the arguments made on appeal by Rev. Gruber and his canonical advocates, the CDF reached a final decision on June 27, 2012. The decision was approved by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on June 30, 2012.
This final decision of the CDF is set forth in a decree issued on July 2, 2012. It confirms that Rev. Gruber has been found guilty of the delicts (canonical crimes) of possession of child pornography; production of materials which gravely injury good morals; abuse of the Sacrament of Confession (but not a violation of the sacramental seal); and defamation of a legitimate superior. These delicts are defined according to the doctrine and norms of the Church.
Accordingly, the CDF rules that Rev. Gruber must live the remainder of his life in prayer and penance outside of St. Vincent Archabbey in a religious community to be determined by the CDF. He may not leave an assigned residence without prior authorization. He is permanently prohibited from exercising any public priestly ministry, including the celebration of the sacraments and teaching. Rev. Gruber is not to have any contact with minors under age 18, and he may not have access to any computer without strict supervision. Rev. Gruber is prohibited from presenting himself as a cleric in public.
No further recourse (appeal) may be made against this decision of the CDF. Failure to comply with the permanent restrictions imposed on Rev. Gruber by the CDF may result in further penalties.
The final decree in this case has been communicated to Rev. Gruber, to Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B., of St. Vincent Monastery in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and to Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt of the Diocese of Greensburg, Pennsylvania.
Because of widespread speculation and questions concerning the facts of this case, the final decision of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been disclosed in order to avoid any further misunderstanding.