Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

More Evidence: It Costs to Fight for God’s Church

January 26th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Your prayers PLEASE for the Matt family, especially for Michael and his continued faithfulness to the Remnant’s role in protecting Christ’s Church, and for Michael’s son, Walter, so seriously injured.

If you are so inclined, a possible combination of decades for meditation might be:

  1. John the Baptist’s acknowledgement that he is not worthy even to do the slave’s duty of untying the Master’s sandals.
  2. The penitent woman’s tears washing Christ’s feet, and drying them with her hair.
  3. Christ’s humility in washing the feet of His Apostles.
  4. The piercing of Christ’s feet with nails in the Crucifixion.
  5. Christ showing His hands and His feet to His Apostles after His Resurrection.

Pray. God is offering each soul a ‘choice’: sheep or goat?

January 24th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris





See time lapse video here:


Day of USCCB’s Reckoning Grows Closer

January 22nd, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris


Call it a hate crime!

January 18th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

It was shocking, for a variety of reasons, to hear about the ‘impeachment souvenir pens,’ with Pelosi’s signature, handed out to signatories of the impeachment papers against the American President. That the Democrats’ waiting for souvenirs held up delivery of legal papers, and that it wasn’t disclosed as the reason for delay, shows a deep lack of respect for even the impeachment process itself. The alleged price tag of $15,000 per pen, paid by the taxpayers,  was another shocking figure — more than a year’s salary for the President (who donates his salary anyway.)   [Other sources indicate $15,000 total worth of all 30 pens. When the final amount is clear, that figure will be adjusted here.]

What is even more shocking is the symbolism of using the image of a bullet as a key element of the pen design. What does it mean? It seems difficult to attribute any meaning to it, other than the message: “If an impeachment isn’t successful, the next step is assassination.” It is a frightening gesture of violence in a country where these very perpetrators claim to be against guns, but use the imagery of ammunition for their own political purposes and intimidation! And should we miss the analogy between delivering the bullet pens on a silver platter, and the biblical story of Herod’s ordering up John the Baptist’s head on a silver platter, at the behest of Herodias, another woman scorned?

Consider for a moment if the teenage Nicholas Sandmann, from Covington KY, had been wearing to the pro-life rally a tee-shirt with that bullet pen image, how that would have been played up by the media! He would have been seen as threatening; he’d have been accused of provoking fear; he’d have been denounced. As an instigator, he never would have been able to favorably settle his personal lawsuit for defamation against CNN and others.

This gesture against the President isn’t a cute publicity stunt. It is the graphic avowal of rejecting all that should underpin our country’s values. What seems appropriate to happen next is the bringing of hate crime charges at least against those who participated in such action. When bakers get convicted of hate crimes for refusing to bake a wedding cake (and they have), it is not right to let elected Congressional Representatives off the hook for poor judgment and sinister intent. It’s a hate crime; let’s call it what it is.

Cleansing Fire has generally not gone after strictly political issues. But political issues have gone after what most of the people on this site hold to be dear — the life of an unborn baby, the sanctity of marriage, and protection for the vulnerable at end of life. And some of the facts of this case are yet to be clarified. But we would be remiss now not to notice the situation, and call out a hate crime for what it seems to be.


What do the Wildfires mean? Part I

January 16th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

God’s Promise

In Genesis, after the flood, God told Noah that never again would He destroy the world with water. In Chapter 9:11 (yes, think 9-1-1) the text begins:

“I establish My covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will look upon it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is upon the earth.’”

Sometimes these words are misunderstood to mean ‘no more floods’ but that is not what God said. He promised not to destroy the entire earth with a flood, but there certainly continue to be floods, as well as other natural disasters. And the symbol of God’s promise, the rainbow, the covenant made on His own initiative, has certainly been profaned by its use to promote what God’s Word calls sin. The early days of rainbow politics had the ‘bow’ upside down to the way it naturally occurs, i.e. red is always on top of a natural rainbow. Red on the bottom is ‘unnatural.’ As a further distortion, the rainbow is universally recognized even in high school physics class as having seven visible colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. The political rainbow only has six, mirroring the six days of creation, without God’s Seventh Day role or recognition. What color is missing? Probably the violet, which leads into ultraviolet, i.e. beyond man’s ability to perceive. In movements directed by the evil one, he cannot help but reveal his presence through lies and distortions.

How will the earth be destroyed?

So we know that the destruction of the world will not be through water. How will the world be destroyed? There are a multiplicity of possibilities, and fire indeed has its place in the scenario, and even previews the Fires of Ghenna, perhaps to encourage repentance before the end. However, this in no way relates to the alleged “climate change.” God’s own statement against climate change comes when He says to Noah (Genesis 8:22): “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night , shall not cease.” 

Revelation 8:7 gives a hint about the role of fire in the destruction of the earth:

The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire,  mixed with blood, which fell on the earth; and a third of the earth was burnt up, and a third of the trees were burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.”

These words from Revelation show the beginning of the final days, and the potential of fire to be part of the tribulation and judgment. Let’s acknowledge that the reporting about the wildfires may be exaggerated, but even half accurate it is still an awesome and terrifying natural disaster, affecting not only mankind but, as Genesis says, “every living creature” as well. On January 3, 2020, Prof. Chris Dickinson, said to be an expert on Australian biodiversity at the University of Sydney, estimated 480 million animals had been killed by the bush fires.  Recently he raised that estimate to one billion. Now we examine a map of Australia, where a significant part of the earth and grasslands are affected. 

Map published of Australian Fires

















Although there are accusations of deliberate effort to set the fires, one still wonders why so many, and why now? There are some who attribute the fires as punishment for Australia’s recent decriminalization of abortion.            See:   As of October 2019, all states and territories except South Australia have fully decriminalized abortion, starting with Western Australia in 1998. There can be no doubt that such legal maneuvers will put many souls at risk.

See also how “Green Folly” made things much worse:    


Disclaimer Regarding Visionaries:

Below are a few excerpts from “visionaries” regarding matters in Australia. I neither endorse nor reject the possibility that truly some souls are favored by God with disclosures of His Will and Intent beyond what most of us receive. But that opinion doesn’t matter. Every single thing we need for our salvation has already been provided to us through Christ’s Redeeming Sacrifice, through His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, through the Deposit of Faith including Sacred Scripture and Tradition, and through the Sacraments and priestly guidance, regardless of the sinfulness of hierarchy, other humans, and ourselves.

So, I conclude, that there is no need to condemn claims of visionaries’ insights, unless they conflict with what God has already given us as His Truth, and no reason to pursue guidance beyond what has been already provided to us. If we needed more, He would have given us more. So, in that spirit, I will isolate a few statements of several different visionaries, without identifying the individual, who usually has a pseudonym anyway, not to add or subtract from their credibility but to illustrate what may well influence the perceptions of other.

Usually the words are not meant to be the visionaries’ own words, but reported as if they come from God:

  • “As you see in your country, dear son, Australia is being chastised through heat and sorrows. When will the people open their hearts to truth? With the suffering that has been given to the Australian people, how many have thanked God for their protection and Blessing? Very few, dear children and this is only the beginning – for the fires will continue and the dryness will continue, until our children raise their voices to My Throne. Pray, dear children.”  
  • “Pray, sweet children, because Australia will be chastised, because of the murderous act that has fallen on the ‘Innocent Ones’ in Abortions.”
  • “More fires are coming to warn people of Australia to change the Law that destroys children that are and will be aborted.”
  • “The fires, dear children, are only the beginning of a great chastisement that will come to Australia and to the rest of the world. I tell you most solemnly, that this is only the beginning of the trials of this country, for soon the enemy will let loose of souls that will harm this country in many ways. Terrorism will strike very soon in the cities.”
  • “Pray, dear children of Australia! The fires are only the beginning, because the enemy will use this matter to attack the people. Watch the bridge and major buildings and watch your water, because there is a plan to sabotage the water supply. Make yourselves ready and pray.”

What about Cardinal Pell?

Not only do the abortion law changes show a weakening in the ability of the Church to influence through her Teaching, but the Cardinal Pell prosecution and persecution, and the Vatican’s stepping away from direct involvement, also are worth considering as influencers. Where was the Church’s involvement in making the word of God clear during such a time of strife? A Prince of the Church has been convicted on the word of one secret person (sound familiar?) who did not testify. The evidence of defense, proving the allegations impossible, was suppressed. Cardinal Pell is being prevented from saying Mass even alone in his solitary cell; it is part of the torture he endures. Although he is being given ‘one more chance’ to defend himself, unless he is fully and openly permitted to do so, it is hard to envision acquittal because Australia now has a vested interest in proving they are “right.” His imprisonment has led inevitably to more evil overtaking the Church and the country, through his voice missing from the 2019 Abortion Law debate. The decision to allow the appeal (not credible as a real opportunity) came out Nov 11 -13 when a plethora of apparently spontaneous new fires was reported.  

Let’s consider the words of Isaiah relating to the sign of fires in the grasslands, and do pause for a moment on the poetry of his prophecy, for is not “their blossom” going up “like dust” the very destruction of their own offspring?

“Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.”  Isaiah 5:24


Coming in Part II:  the indigenous peoples of Brazil and Australia, and their “fire-stick farming,” and the idolatry in the Vatican Amazon Synod as offense to the Almighty God.



Clarification on celibacy book (archived)

January 14th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris


The following archives the key links for this story. Links from the Ticker are included. See Mary Kathleen’s link to the “back-story” — very credible. So too is Abp. Ganswein’s involvement as peacemaker.

Ignatius Press has refused to remove the authorship by Pope Benedict. The French original is now in print.

The English translation should be available from Ignatius Press by Feb. 20th. Order here:  for discounted price of $16.96.


The following are links from the Ticker. See also the comments section attached to this post.

FIRST REMARKS about the new book by Card. Sarah and Benedict XVI


Do ‘gun-rights’ apply in Church?

January 2nd, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Update: full mp4 on the church shooting event here:   Warning: graphic!      


Nearly 7 years ago, while studying the Gospel of Luke, I noticed for the first time how applicable were certain words of Christ in Chapter 22 against the modern day call for “gun control.” Those words seemed to me (and still do) to be fairly ignored in preaching and teaching.  I sought to ‘publish’ a brief commentary and hopefully precipitate discussion. What I found was the two most likely places to publish were actually the least likely. The NRA responded that it didn’t want to get into matters of religion (and risk alienating its own members) and Christian media feared precipitating a similar response from the soul in the pew!  I put the matter aside for the time being. But now, given the church shootings and Father Z’s weighing in (called to our attention by Mary-Kathleen), I think the time may be right to publish on CF. Note in the following that I’ve now also added  the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) in the blue text. For those who are not Catholic, or who may want only to concentrate on the bible arguments, the blue text is easily skipped in reading.

New Testament Basis for Gun Rights

Although much political muscle and media opinion favors “gun control,” that does not mean the loudest voices are on the side of morality or responsibility.  Rather, the dialogue should be broader, at least as much in moral terms as in consideration of constitutional rights.   On May 6, 2013, the VP of the United States (Joe Biden) asked clerics to preach gun control from the pulpit, taking for granted that religious leaders would be aligned with the Obama administration’s concept of gun control, and without seeming to understand that there is, indeed, a biblical basis for gun rights.  Even a cursory exegesis of New Testament Scripture leads to a deeper understanding of these issues. Luke, the only non-Jewish (Gentile) New Testament author, was a Greek physician, a man with close attention to detail and access to eyewitnesses.  His Gospel also helps to form conscience on the Second Amendment Rights.

Christ’s true teaching has often been watered down, even from the pulpit, to a “nice” modern, non-controversial, secularly popular interpretation. Issues of self-defense are barely mentioned.  Yet, Christ did not avoid controversy.  He drove buyers and sellers from the Temple with a whip of cords (#1).  He spoke clearly, and often at personal risk, accusing Scribes and Pharisees of being “whitewashed tombs … full of dead men’s bones… (#2), calling Herod the Tetrarch a “fox (#3), and laying out Truth for the Roman governor of Judea, Pilate, who didn’t know or care what Truth meant (#4).  There is no reason to believe, facing imminent death, that Christ would have spoken with diminished candor.

Elsewhere in Scripture, when Christ was misunderstood, He persisted and did not allow His apostles to abide in error.  For example, after He deliberately delayed responding to Lazarus’ impending death, He used the softer word that Lazarus had fallen “asleep.  The disciples misunderstood, but He set them straight:  “Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead….’” (#5)  Similarly, when a large group of disciples walked away from Jesus in John, Chapter 6, because they could not accept His Words about eating His flesh and drinking His blood, He let them go.  They did not misunderstand; so He didn’t soften the Truth for them, but reiterated it even more strongly.  So, it makes sense, just hours before His arrest and death, that Jesus would not say something He did not mean.  He did call for swords to be carried to Gethsemane.  But why?

Arming the Apostles:  All four Gospels mention Christ’s apostles carrying swords to the Garden of Gethsemane, where He was arrested.  Only Luke explains that Christ was the One Who directed His followers to carry those weapons!  Luke writes:  “[Christ] said to them … let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one.  For I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in Me, ‘And He was reckoned with transgressors;’ for what is written about Me has its fulfillment.”  “And they said, ‘Look, Lord, here are two swords.’  And He said to them, ‘It is enough.’” (#6)

Enough!  One comment should be made on Christ’s words: “It is enough,” lest misunderstanding be carried into the following discussion. The Greek word for “enough” is hikanos and has been inappropriately characterized in the Sacra Pagina regarding the Gospel of Luke to mean “exasperated termination of this discussion,” but that is not what the Greek implies.  “It is enough” seems best translated as “sufficient.”  Luke uses the word hikanos nine times in his Gospel, translated also into English as “worthy,” “many,” and “long,” and never with an almost snide modern meaning of “Enough already!”  The word has been used regarding John the Baptist’s not being worthy to untie Christ’s sandals, and about the centurion not being worthy that Christ should come under his roof. It is used for “many people,” “many swine,” and for a “long time.” Such eisegesis, reinterpreting hikanos 2000 years later with a gun control bias, does a great disservice to the Bible and to those who hold it sacred.

Protection: Christ’s words focus on protection, asserting that henceforth a sword would be needed even more than the mantle’s protection from cold and chill.  The mantle (or cloak) was so important that the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy (24:13) required, when it was given as a pledge, that it be returned by day’s end so that the wearer would not suffer in the nighttime chill.  One might also hear in Christ words His Own sense of obligation to protect those whose care had been entrusted to Him by the Father and even, since Peter had one of the swords, the continuation of such protection of the apostles through Peter.

CCC 2265: “Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others.  The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm.  For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.”

The Machaira:  The sword carried by Peter was likely a “machaira,” variously described as a large knife, a small sword, or a straight one-edged sword for thrusting.  Given the size of the machaira, it would be used in close quarters, against a near threat.  The word machaira occurs in fifteen Gospel verses.  Of these, eight are references to the apostles’ taking and using the weapon at Gethsemane, plus five refer to the crowds, to whom Christ said:  “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs….” (#7)


CCC 2264: “Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life.”

Why did Christ Call for WeaponsAs He faced His Crucifixion, Christ was concerned about the safety of His apostles.  He prayed for them, but He also called them to protect themselves.  Carrying weapons, they would have some protection, might make enemies hesitate to attack (i.e. deterrence), and perhaps even offer some self-confidence to control their fear.  Christ, about to die, would no longer be protecting them in an earthly sense.  His Priestly Prayer to the Father, just before His arrest, was: “While I was with them, I kept them in Thy Name, which Thou hast given Me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled.” (#8)  He said that He, their Shepherd, would be struck, and “the sheep will be scattered (#9).  He even told the apostles the reason they would be in danger; i.e., because He would be “reckoned with transgressors….”  It is logical to think His closest companions might be subject to harassment or attack for having been so long in the company of someone about to be crucified between two thieves, convicted of a capital crime.  Even the accusers presented Christ to Pilate as a transgressor:  “If this man were not an evildoer, we would not have handed Him over.” (#10)  The apostles’ risk further increased because they soon would preach Christ’s Own mission and work.

CCC 2269: “The moral law prohibits exposing someone to mortal danger without grave reason….”

Why was Peter Told to Put Away the Sword?  The machaira which Peter carried was not intended to protect Christ from fulfilling His own mission, but for the apostles’ self-defense. His response to the crowd which came to arrest Him was: I told you that I am He; so, if you seek Me, let these men go.” (#11) Clearly, Peter did not understand his own role and reacted in a most human way, attacking:  Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his right ear.  The slave’s name was Malchus.  Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given Me?’” (#12)  These words illustrate that their swords were not to protect Jesus, Who had already prayed to the Father: “… not My Will, but Thine, be done.” (#13)

CCC 2262: “He [Christ] did not defend himself and told Peter to leave his sword in its sheath.”  Matthew 26:52.

There is no evidence Christ wanted His apostles to do anything illegal either.  Apparently just carrying a sword for self-defense was not illegal, or Peter would not have been told to put it back into its sheath, but rather it would have been confiscated by the armed guard.  One should not suppose that arming the apostles meant that they were to initiate an attack.  Peter was told to put away the sword, not to throw away the sword; i.e. not to “disarm.”

In Matthew’s Gospel, Christ adds:  “… for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (#14), criticizing drawing a weapon against someone who is not attacking, or perhaps not even armed.  Although the crowd had swords, we are given no evidence that anyone had used a weapon against Christ or the apostles.  A few translations of Luke 22:51 (#15) have Christ say (when Peter draws his sword) “No!” or “Stop!” but the Greek does not support using either word.  The better translation of the Greek would seem to be in the King James Version: “Allow even this,” an expression of Christ’s willingness to go to the Cross.  Then Christ healed the servant’s ear, protecting Peter once again, this time from potential criminal charges of assault.

The Gospels say little about whether the apostles were again threatened that night or soon after by armed authorities, but there must have been fear, for one young man, who was about to be seized, ran away naked.  The only apostle to show up at the Cross was John.  Peter’s fear was manifested in his three denials around the charcoal fire in the High Priest’s Courtyard during Christ’s trial:  “One of the servants of the high priest, a kinsman of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, ‘Did I not see you in the garden with Him?’” (#16)  This accusation was immediately followed by Peter’s third denial of Christ.

The Choice to Defend Oneself:  Misunderstanding or misreading these texts causes them to be overlooked as approving righteously carrying a self-defense weapon.  The Bill of Rights enshrines our God-given rights, rights not originating from the state, which is charged to protect those rights.  The Gospels affirm the “right” of self-protection and, at times, the obligation to protect the vulnerable (as a father protecting his family) and, by extension, for the protection of self for the service of God, for the work of His Church, for the service of others, and for the good order of society.

CCC 2263: The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing.

Later, after being strengthened by the Resurrection and Pentecost, a disciple could freely choose not to protect himself further, when his own martyrdom, not a senseless death, became a higher calling. In other words, exercise of the right to bear arms was not mandated as an obligation for self-protection. Hence, even the willingness to give up one’s life in martyrdom, to drink of the cup one is given for the sake of soul over body, would not seem to violate the obligation to oneself:

CCC 2264 “Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality.… Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow….”

But there is nothing about guns in the Bible.  Of course not, nor about the Internet, space travel, chemotherapy, fission, cloning or fracking, e.g.  Yet the Gospel never becomes outdated.  Christ clearly authorized the right to self-defense.  The weapon in the biblical pre-gun society was the machaira, requiring close proximity for use.  But today, in a society with firearms, where an attacker has a clear tactical advantage, swords have no role.  The Bible does not fix the actual means of self-defense, but rather the right to self-defense, to use a weapon for protection.  If we are to hear about weapons from the pulpit, may it be God’s word, not politicians’ manipulations.

So, do gun-rights apply in Church? Well, Christ Himself called for weapons for the protection of His Own Apostles in the Holy Garden of Gethsemane. Doesn’t the answer seem clear?


References:  All Bible citations are from the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition unless otherwise noted:  (#1)  John 2:15, (#2)  Matthew 23:27, (#3)  Luke 13:32, (#4)  John 18: 37-38, (#5)  John 11:10-14, (#6)  Luke 22:36-38, (#7)  Matthew 26:55, Mark 14:48, Luke 22:52, (#8)  John 17:12, (#9)  Mark 14:27, (#10)  John  18:30,  (#11) John 18:8,  (#12) John 18:10-11, (#13) Luke 22:42, (#14)  Matthew 26:52, (#15)  Luke 22:51, (#16)  John 18:26


Diane C. Harris

June 2013


Latin Masses Scheduled

January 1st, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris


Regularly Scheduled Traditional Latin Masses: (Exceptions noted)


No Mass at St. John the Evangelist in Spencerport on Friday, January 24th

due to Pro-Life March in Washington, DC.

  • An 11:15 AM TLM is scheduled for each Sunday Morning at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Irondequoit (St. Paul Blvd), offered by Fr. Dennis Bonsignore.
  • On Friday mornings at 8:00 AM Fr. Peter Mottola celebrates a Traditional Latin Mass at St. John the Evangelist Church in Spencerport, NY. (See Jan. 24th exception above)
  • On First Saturdays, Fr. Mottola celebrates a Traditional Latin Mass at 9:00 AM at St. John’s in Spencerport.
  • On First Saturdays, Fr. Peter Van Lieshout celebrates a 10AM Latin Mass at St. Dominic Church in St. Peter’s Parish, in Shortsville, NY.

Do you know of any other Traditional Latin Masses being celebrated in the Diocese of Rochester either on a regular basis or specially scheduled? Please let us know so we can share the information more widely!





Another Church; Another Shooting

December 29th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Approximately two years ago I contacted a person from the USCCB regarding a relatively inexpensive method of providing a security alert for churches (and other sites) concerned about violence from an intruder. My letter was precipitated by the violence in Sutherland, Texas, in which 26 died, and 20 more were injured. Outrageous and unusual as was the event, it has turned out to be one among many. Today’s shooting in Fort Worth is one more, but with deaths fewer than might have been expected, due to competently armed parishioners stopping the gunman.

House of Worship Shootings Excerpted

Here is a selection of the most prominent “House of Worship” shootings from the AP since 2012 until Oct. 27, 2018. Some manipulative language is removed; only geographical abbreviations have been added.

  • Oct. 27, 2018: A gunman entered Tree of Life Congregation synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA and opened fire, killing 11 and wounding six, including four police officers.
  • Nov. 5, 2017: 26-year-old Devin Kelley opened fire at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, TX, killing 26 people and wounding about 20 others.
  • Sept 24, 2017: Emanuel Kidega Samson, 25, was charged with killing a woman and wounding six other people with gunshots at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Nashville, TN.
  • Aug. 13, 2016:  Imam Maulana Alauddin Akonjee and his Thara Uddin were fatally shot as they left a NYC  mosque. Oscar Morel, 35, was charged with second-degree murder.
  • June 17, 2015:  Nine black worshippers including a pastor were killed by Dylann Roof at historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, SC.

This morning’s shooting (Dec. 29, 2019) was at West Freeway Church of Christ near Fort Worth, TX.  The Star Telegram reported that Church members acted quickly to take down a gunman who opened fire  and fatally shot two people. He was killed by two members of the congregation’s security team who returned fire. The shooting appeared to happen during communion, according to a livestream video of the service obtained by the Star-Telegram.

See also:

While I am not against properly licensed citizens using firearms to protect lives, churches should not simply wait for something violent to happen before increasing protections. One gets the feeling that nothing is being done, except holding one’s breath to not be involved personally in the next violent event.

The following is streamlined content of the letter I intended for the USCCB to take action, to add deterrence and facilitate rapid response at a relatively low cost in a variety of locations. It seems that after the initial acknowledgement letter, that some actions might have been taken by now, two years and counting.


Today’s crime scene:




Excerpted and annotated letter sent to USCCB  contact in 2017:

“… as a consultant, sometimes I can’t help but think analytically about other people’s problems.  In that spirit I even imagine there might have been sidebar conversations at the recent convocation of the USCCB in which prelates might have expressed to each other their concerns about safety in their churches in this violent age. That question goes way beyond the usual meaning of “safe environment,” and beyond the liability policies for accidental falls or property damage claims. [And, so I assume, the USCCB should be interested in this matter.]

The issue in point is that the recent slaughter in Sutherland Springs, TX shows that it isn’t necessarily the most prominent church which draws such attacks, but any location is at risk which differs from the core values of the perpetrator.  With that understanding, even the smallest or most remote of parishes … has some measure of ‘terrorist’ risk, as do worship centers in any denomination.

My purpose in writing is not to promote or ‘sell’ anything, not even to convince you on a particular point.  Rather, I am just sharing ideas for what could be done that is already technologically feasible and at modest cost.

I will first set aside the gun question, not that I have any problem with lawful use of the Second Amendment.  I remember one pastor who celebrated noon Mass each weekday during Lent, and the police officer who attended in uniform. Before each Mass, he went to the sacristy and ‘checked’ his gun with that pastor under lock and key.  But one-of-a-kind solutions won’t work for all communities; something more useful is needed, beyond “being in the right place at the right time.”

What I am [suggesting] is the following proposal, which I am merely “sharing” with you at this time.  It would involve three aspects: 1) installation of a significant number of, say, flashing blue [or red/blue] lights on the exterior of a church, which would be turned on by a wireless command from within, both to signal police to the location for more rapid response, and even to call police or security if the church [also] uses a monitoring service, 2) a piercing alarm which would create a tumult within the church,  causing some perpetrators to instinctively run away, allowing people individually to decide whether to stay or run, and interfering with on-site communications between perpetrators and their methodical executions, 3) several people (some, but not all, in the sanctuary) with the training and ability to press the wireless command for #1 and #2. [The person pressing a button should be able to do so completely undetected.]

I am confident that ALL the technology is in place today to assemble such a system from off-the-shelf (or nearly off-the-shelf) components and parts. I also believe that such a system would be far less intrusive to those coming to church than many other proposals, including “security guards,” and such a system should be very inexpensive to maintain. Even the blue lights should rarely burn out as they’d hardly ever be used except for an occasional test. The main cost after installation would be a monthly monitoring fee if desired (but not absolutely needed.)

The most likely sources to assemble such a system are providers of private security systems today, with their economy of scale. Such a system would seem to have potential not only for all houses of worship, large and small, but also for other buildings at risk, like schools, theaters, public buildings. A wireless system has the advantage of an intruder’s not knowing who is carrying the wireless device, unlike pulling a fire alarm and hoping to be undetected. Even the thought that a particular target ‘may’ have a device, makes all targets a bit safer, and helps to answer the concern that it is ‘dangerous to go to church these days.’ [My intention here is to provoke discussion and planning, not to ‘lock-in’ any particular system. I would be pleased to brainstorm further with you or your representative, if you believe it would be helpful.]”

For the love of God’s people, let’s give some attention to this matter and not just to salting sidewalks, keeping flammable Christmas trees out of the sanctuary, and peanuts out of the chocolate chip cookies.


Isn’t this the Christmas Sermon we really needed to hear?

December 27th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

It’s a good thing that there are the 12 Days of Christmas. It gives us time to catch up with being a people of “Christmas Thinking.”  Check out Michael Matt and the Remnant here:

Listen to the joy, determination, understanding, courage and perception of just one member of the laity. Imagine what more we could be doing together! Where do we find outstanding lay leadership in “such a time as this?”

Do not misunderstand the posting of this Remnant segment as being political; it’s all about recovering the world for Jesus Christ. One need not agree with Matt on all his points or on his style. But the core truth of what is really happening should not be ignored. It is not the end of discussion; rather, it is the beginning.


“From The Editor’s Desk, Michael J. Matt offers a stirring Christmastime reflection on how resistance is NOT futile, how Francis’s revolution can be stopped, and how the situation inside the Vatican should make us all better Catholics and more committed soldiers of Jesus Christ.”

Quoting Abp. Vigano:



Proclamation of the Birth of Jesus Christ — Merry Christmas!

December 24th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris


For more information on the Proclamation:


To hear the actual chant:


Christmas Carols:


Christ WAS born on Dec. 25th:




On DoR Bankruptcy Proceedings

December 18th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

It’s been somewhat quiet on the outside since Bp. Matano’s letter to the Faithful, but apparently it hasn’t been so quiet on the inside.  An article in the Diocesan Courier for December (p. 4) brings into question again the vulnerability of parish corporations. One interpretation was that being separate corporations (separate from the Diocesan Corporation), and separate from other parish corporations, would protect most parish assets from being lost in a diocesan bankruptcy. While technically true, there is certainly no guarantee. That might have been truer before amalgamating individual parishes into larger legal entities. For example, if one parish had a priest or deacon or lay employee who abused children, amalgamating that parish into a structure with five other ‘clean’ parishes, could put all six at risk. One diocesan employee, moving for years among multiple parishes, could end up tainting dozens of parishes, when the tracks are ultimately followed.

Back to the December Diocesan Courier. Here are some ‘uncomfortable excerpts’  from the very public article regarding the Diocese of Rochester’s election of Chapter 11 bankruptcy:

  • “… the Continental Insurance Co. had filed an Oct. 29 motion for relief from the stay of litigation imposed by bankruptcy proceedings.”
  • “… on Nov. 14 the diocese lodged an adversary complaint … against Continental and 11 other insurance companies, asserting the insurers are attempting to limit their coverage liability.”
  • “[DoR’s attorney] Stephen A. Donato … argued for … settling via mediation the question of insurers’ responsibilities…”
  • “Bishop Matano   explained that the diocese would be unable to satisfy numerous claims that were filed after Aug. 14  … [previously ] barred by statutes of limitation.”
  • “According to Lisa Passero [CFO] the diocese has approximately $68 million in assets, but more than $100 million in liabilities….”
  • The bankruptcy judge “…  asked the parties to develop a plan for mediation by Jan. 14th.”

What seems obvious from the above points is that any expectation of exclusion of parish assets from the bankruptcy is an endangered species. At first it becomes an innocuous discussion about shuttering and selling a church for needed repairs, a school because there is falling attendance and higher tuition. Then there are sales of ancillary buildings which a parish is encouraged to admit it can do without. Then there is ‘repurposing’ of facilities (which needs very close scrutiny of ‘following the money’ as well as the plan and individuals involved and whether there is a true “arms length relationship” for necessary fiduciary purposes.)  Already asset discussions are in progress and even parishioners who have been involved in parish councils and finance councils have been cut out of communications.  There seems to be an expectation of parishes not being left unscathed even when there has been NO accusation of abuse in that parish to date. 

There should be a great sensitivity to risk.  Inexperienced pastors are not the people who should be making ‘deals.’  One can’t have it both ways. Either assets are needed for the perpetuation of the entity and basically exempt in bankruptcies, or they are not. But one should not expect that sales of assets will go anywhere except into mitigating the insurance companies’ exposure. It is the worst of times to liquidate parish assets, because the bankruptcy court will surely see cash on the table as fair game. Sales of assets means they are not needed, so they are fair game for the insurance companies to drag to the mediation table. 

The foregoing is just a personal opinion. I would dearly love to be wrong about the risk to our churches and church properties.


Is there yet a third ‘reason’ Sheen beatification is being delayed?

December 16th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Last week, when the news first broke that the Vatican was delaying the beatification of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (but not naming a new date), the reason cited was the potential for surprises in the legal paperwork regarding the sexual abuse lawsuits. Although it was affirmed that nothing had shown up in the files and investigations that would have been problematical to the beatification, it appears that anything is possible in accusing a dead man who can’t defend himself. Cdl. Dolan weighed in (having spent a million dollars to unsuccessfully hold onto Abp. Sheen’s body in NYC),  as the current metropolitan of the dioceses (NYC and Rochester, NY), in which the prelate Sheen had presided. And Cdl. Cupich similarly weighed in as the metropolitan for the diocese of Peoria, where Abp. Sheen was born, and which had prevailed against Cdl. Dolan for custody of the body, on behalf of the Sheen family. Thus, the date for beatification was cancelled, with allegations of sabotage by a Peoria Monsignor against the Diocese of Rochester, where Sheen had been bishop for 3 years after his incredible media success.

#1  Thus, the triumvirate of Bp. Matano, current bishop of Rochester, Cdls. Dolan and Cupich prevailed against the Dec 21, 2019 beatification, with the only reason offered related to what might be found in the “paperwork,” although the spectre of Cdl. Spellman of NY, who had been unsuccessful in pressuring Bp. Sheen for millions of dollars for free milk, is never far from his allegation of revenge from the grave.

My post last week wondered if the almost simultaneous ‘discovery’ of a TV lecture by Bp. Sheen against the practice of homosexuality might not have been the major issue for delay, resulting in shutting down the beatification. After all, how embarrassing would it be to  canonize a saint who supports thousands of years of Church Teaching on purity, while simultaneously the Church Hierarchy in various high positions downplays the seriousness of same-sex sin.  And how awkward would it be to see Archbishops like Charles Chaput faithfully averring the validity of Church Teaching against sodomy and related sins, while a “Fr” James Martin walks the halls as a favored guest at the Vatican, touting his same-sex agenda, and posing for photo ops with the Pope as freely as Satan wandered into heaven with Job as his target. And to add further to the offense of defending forbidden sin, it seems quite clear that the issue is not so much whether there is an accusation in the paperwork, which should be able to be reasonably defended, as much as it is now obvious that the abuse of children and teenagers sexually by priests and others in authority is not at all a matter of clericalism but is statistically clearly related to homosexuality among the clergy.

#2 The dilemma, then,  simply put, is how can the Church praise by beatification and canonization a very well-know and visible prelate as a saint, whose condemnation of homosexual activity flies directly in the face of many practitioners within the hierarchy today?

In the intervening week, with further reading and consideration, but dropping neither of the points above, there is a third reason implied why the beatification may not only be postponed, but which adds to the danger that it might never happen. While it is not fashionable today to see Communists behind every rock, and words like “socialism” may seem more real and threatening than a defunct USSR, nevertheless let us remember that Bishop Sheen’s lectures often point to the undermining of the Church in general, and of the priesthood in particular by Communist infiltration of the seminaries. Among those clerics who are most bold against traditional Church Teaching, there is a realization that only destruction of the Faith will allow Communism and Socialism to prevail. Liberation Theology, condemned by Pope Benedict XVI, has done its share to weaken teaching the faith, and substituted do-good activities for in-depth catechesis, and left damaged souls in its wake. The last conclave was acknowledged by recently deceased Cdl. Danneels, to have been manipulated in ways forbidden in choosing a Pope, which paved the way for more damage.  Communists in seminaries is a strategy to gain power, but what then is the strategy after gaining such power?  In my opinion, it is the implementation of “One World Religion” based around environmentalism, minimization or even elimination of a moral code of behavior, sliding down the slippery slope of institutionalized sin, whether abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, same-sex colonization, or legalized gender confusion. It is not just a matter of opening uncatechized parishioners to elimination of morality, but many forces outside the Church, wealthy and committed like a George Soros or the Clinton Foundation, will have a direct agenda in formation of One World Religion, And for that, Abp. Sheen is hardly a role model! Can you imagine what the good bishop would say about pachamama? Can he really be canonized in this environment or is his voice, so well documented in media and books, now to be cut off by the delay, lest he become a rallying point for rebirth?

#3 In this post, a third possibility is introduced; i.e. that Bp. Sheen’s strong stance against Communism (and by connection to Socialism) makes him an uncomfortable voice in a world which is renouncing morality and added its own wooden gods on the chessboard of idolatry. There may be no room for Abp. Sheen in a world bent on killing morality and forming an abomination as religion.


Is this what’s secretly behind the Sheen delay? (“Second Thoughts” added)

December 6th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

An archival video just surfaced? And it is in the heart of the problems in today’s church? Could this be the real cause of the delay?  Lifesitenews entitles their story:

Abp. Sheen condemns ‘false compassion’ for homosexuals in resurfaced video

And that headline says a lot. Why should all this ‘delay melee’ fall on Bishop Matano? It is the Pope who wants us to “accompany” sinners, and that has been a non-starter among the Faithful from the beginning. Cardinals Dolan and Cupich are the ones who tout accommodating the sins as well as the sinners, and there are plenty of quotes to that effect, whether in St. Francis Xavier Church applause for LGBT or in the St. Patrick’s day parade where the only ones banned were the pro-lifers. And let’s not forget that it was Cdl. Dolan who, by holding onto Abp. Sheen’s body, was able to prevent progress of his cause. One of his predecessors, Cdl. Spellman, must have been cheering from the crypt. What a politically incorrect and embarrassing turn of events:  A saint who refused a payoff demanded by Cdl. Spellman! A saint who believes sin is, well, SIN,  even when it’s a favorite sin among the hierarchy! A saint who believes in ALL the Deposit of Faith!  Truly embarrassing.

This ‘delay of beatification’ event all smells very wrong. Something really doesn’t fit. I certainly don’t agree with Bishop Matano on everything in the diocese, nor am I the right person to be a defender, but I do believe that he believes. He has no ax to grind about reversing any of Bp. Sheen’s actions as far as I can see, but Sheen’s earlier successors did. Bp. Matano is a convenience to the Cardinals; put him out in front of the call for delay, and stay in the shadows. How lucky that the State Attorney General is still working the list, as an excuse to hold things up!  And those lawsuits (e.g. “what else will we find out in testimony in the cases?) may then even serve as additional delay. The bankruptcy further diverts attention and makes excuse.  If I had to guess, the odds seem great that the delay is permanent. But why was there even such a delay in getting the delay?  Is it because of the ‘need’ seen after the video just found?

So after the ad limina visit to Rome, during the USCCB meeting, the Buffalo Bishop steps down, the Albany Bishop takes over, the Rochester Bishop is put out front to take the heat on delaying Sheen, Cardinal Dolan has yet another reason for a big guffaw, and Cdl. Cupich gets another pat on the head from the Pope. Let’s hold up before jumping to conclusions about Bp. Matano; to me he looks like cannon fodder in an administrative process, and as the one having the most to lose. And, like Christ  before Pilate, he is keeping his mouth shut — hence all inquiries are directed to Rome.

The old adage “Follow the money” is easily translated into “Who has the most to gain?” Clearly, it is anyone who does not want Bp. Sheen to be canonized. It is hard to find any reason for Bp. Matano to want to deep-six the beatification. In all good conscience, he could have relied on the due diligence of Peoria, even as a defense if some spurious complaint were found. As far as I know, Bp. Matano does not seem to have anything personal to be gained by being the one to “pull the plug” on such a popular cause. Moreover, the publicity associated with the delay may indeed give rise to more complaints, especially in the expectation of being “attached” publicly to some famous person. Said another way, quite simply, the very publicity due to the delay may give more people the idea to file claims in Rochester. And that will be costly to the diocese, for which Bp. Matano bears obligation for its patrimony. Why then would Bp. Matano take such a chance? I have no idea, other than obedience to priestly vows, if he had been ordered to do so. Where does Satan fit in all this? In driving a wedge between prelates, and between a bishop and his flock having trouble understanding and trusting in something which seems so divisive. And, perhaps, in feeding his hatred of a saint and weakening that saint’s teaching?

I make no claims that my view is the correct one but, from all that I can see, the conclusions drawn up to this time are not justified by public facts.

See also

Some Second Thoughts after the original posting

It appears that there are similarities in a variety of  quotes in different “Catholic” sources. Rather than “naming names” let the reader be invited to check out the articles which appeared almost immediately after the announcement that the beatification wasn’t going forward on December 21st. Here’s what is unique, or at least unusual:

  • All the sources used similar language (some much stronger than others) in clearly identifying Bp. Matano as the source of the complaint against proceeding with the beatification.
  • All agreed that Bp. Matano brought in the two Cardinals, who supported him to the Pope.
  • The appearance of text blaming Bp. Matano was unusually fast yet giving more personal detail than the Vatican usually gives out on internal machinations of a decision.
  • All raised the specter of NYS attorney general’s work, the concern that more would be found, yet stating nothing had been found of a suspicious nature;
  • All seemed to agree there was one priest in Rochester handled by Bp. Sheen but they were all careful to admit it wasn’t an issue (since Peoria had already vetted it.) Moreover, it was handled excellently by Bp. Sheen, but one might see only a grudging acknowledgement of the same.
  • All seemed to agree that Bp. Jenky hadn’t concurred, or at least it certainly wasn’t his initiative for the postponement. Whether he knew about Bp. Sheen’s video which mentioned homosexuality seems not to be known.
  • Most releases (maybe all) did not say anything about the Sheen family, and downplayed or ignored the $1 million spent by Cdl. Dolan to have fought and lost to the Sheen family.
  • All who mentioned the cardinals indicated that it was Bp. Matano who brought them into the matter. One might speculate that this also resulted from the ad limina visit, although none of the media seemed to mention that possibility.
  • Bp. Jenky was positioned as obeying (cooperating with) the command to “postpone”, but limited in response.
  • There were typos or misspellings of some names and titles, perhaps intended to make further searching difficult? (See Abaccio’s comment on this post.)
  • The teaching against permissiveness toward homosexuality, by Bp. Sheen, was treated as a separate matter in news stories from the beatification postponement. In what I read, there wasn’t even any denial that they could be related, both disclosures coming so close together. How can we not wonder?

Warning: the above are impressions from the readings of some (but not all) of the releases. To me, the rapidity of response and the same theme in each seems to indicate simultaneous releases to shape the Catholic Media response, aka “seeding the story.” We’ve learned a lot in the last few years about how fake news operates, and “seeding” the commentary is not an unusual strategy. The early commentators thus get credited with the truth, and then it is an uphill battle to bring forward other reasoned responses. Oh, yes, and often those most at the center of the storm can simply refer the media elsewhere, in this case to the Vatican! This means fewer quotes leading to contradictions among the players? And that is how ‘consistency’ in reporting can be managed, so they don’t contradict themselves or the organization.

BTW:  Do we really have trouble believing that the found video isn’t a prime cause of the postponement? I would imagine that the video, produced when homosexual lifestyle was not only a violation of God’s Law (as it still is), but was also a crime under NYS (and other states) laws, will jar some viewers. It reminds us of how far the current papal opinions on “accompanying” the sinner have gone, and makes true Bp. Sheen’s warnings. If the Church has trouble beatifying and canonizing Bp. Sheen for his comments against permissiveness toward homosexual sin, let us remember that virtually every canonized saint would be in the same situation, with what they wrote, taught or counseled. Are we ready to wipe clean the entire Roman martyrology and start over with exceptions for certain sins? Or is Bp. Sheen reminding us from the grave what he had warned us about?

Here is a short link which covers part of the talk, with a lot of backpedaling and explanation by Cardinal O’Malley for the modern moral theology view:


Ticker Posts — December 2019 (updated 12/11)

December 6th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

12/11 Cdl. Ouellet was not bothered by pachamama statues!  Even in his own titular church! 

These ‘end times’ are forcing us to take one side or the other. For God and obedience to the First Commandment, or not. A young Austrian man apparently has more common sense and more spiritual sense than a Cardinal of the Roman Curia. Cardinal Marc Ouellet (Quebec) is reported by LifesiteNews as saying “… the pagan Pachamama statues that were present during various synod activities ‘did not bother me,’ adding, ‘To say that there was adoration of idols is an exaggeration.’” What then does one call prostration in the Vatican Gardens in front of the idols? What then does one call contemplating (praying?) to the statues in a titular church with one’s back turned to the Holy Eucharist? What then does one call apology to a hunk of wood by the Pope, but not apology to the Most Blessed Sacrament? In Matthew 6:24 and in Luke 16:13 we read essentially the same message: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Cardinal Ouellet  serves as prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. What is even more outrageous, the worship of those statues also took place inside Cdl. Ouellet’s own titular church! (ok, I just used up my last exclamation point.) Read the rest here:


12/3  Bp. Malone Resignation News

Now it makes some sense why an ad limina visit by NYS bishops was scheduled during the USCCB National Meeting. Wonder what else happened there?

The use of “Fr” in titles

Some readers may have noticed the title in front of James Martin’s name on CF is starting to appear in quotes, in the ticker titles. Maybe the quote marks will show up soon in edits of recent posts as well. The intent is not to be disrespectful where respect is due. If it were, the Fr would be dropped completely. Rather it is for the sake of souls who might be confused by our referring to information which should be recognizable as opposing Church teaching, but sometimes isn’t obvious. The basis can be found in Luke 11:11-12: What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?”  Well, “Fr” Martin does worse. A soul asks for straight teaching and is directed to a sinful path. Doesn’t sound like a real Father to me.


Room in your heart for the Latin Mass?

December 5th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Looking for something special to do during Advent?

          Have the heart to add some Latin Mass attendance for the season?


Every Friday at 8AM a Latin Low Mass is celebrated by Fr. Peter Mottola at St. John the Evangelist Church in Spencerport, NY.

Fr. Anthony Amato will be celebrating a Latin Mass on First Friday, Dec. 6th, at 8:30 AM at St.  Patrick’s in Macedon (52 W Main St, Macedon).

On First Saturdays, Fr. Mottola also celebrates a 9AM Missa Cantata (sung Latin Mass). In Advent, this will be on Dec. 7th.

Fr. Anthony Amato will celebrate an 8:00 AM Latin Mass at St. Jerome in East Rochester (Rosary Devotions at 7:30AM) on Dec. 7th.

Also on First Saturday (Dec. 7th) Fr. Peter Van Lieshout will celebrate a 10AM Latin Low Mass at St. Dominic Church in Shortsville, NY (exit 43 on the Thruway) on Feast of St. Ambrose.

On Saturday, December 14th, at 10AM at St. Dominic Church in Shortsville, Fr. Peter Van Lieshout will celebrate an Advent Votive Mass of Our Lady. The Mass will be a Latin High Mass (with a schola from St. Mary Canandaigua providing the chant).

On each of the four Sundays of Advent there will be Latin Mass (as for all other Sundays of the year as well) at 11:15 AM, celebrated by Fr. Dennis Bonsignore at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Irondequoit, NY. The third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday) will be a High Mass.

A Solemn High Latin Mass will be offered at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Irondequoit on Saturday, Dec. 21st, at 10:00 AM, on the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle (as listed in the Roman Martyrology, prior to Vatican II change of Feast Day to July 3rd). Hospitality at Parish Center after Mass.



Here is some really special news! It is hard enough to find a true Christmas Midnight Mass anywhere in NY. So many Masses are hours earlier than midnight, actually on Christmas Eve, and just called ‘midnight.’ But now, as an incredible celebratory end to Advent-2019, there is a Christmas Mass which will not only begin at midnight, but will be a Latin High Mass! It will be celebrated by Father Peter Van Lieshout at St. Felix Church in St. Peter’s Parish, in Clifton Springs, NY.

           On Christmas Day, there will be a Latin High Mass celebrated by Fr. Dennis Bonsignore at 11:15AM at St. Thomas                 the Apostle Church in Irondequoit.


Is your parish (or any other you know of) offering a Latin Mass anytime during Advent or on Christmas

Please let us know and we’ll add to this post.


Bp. Matano requested delay of Sheen beatification

December 4th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Catholic News Agency: Rochester bishop requested Fulton Sheen beatification delay

By JD Flynn and Ed Condon


Excerpts from CNA release

Vatican City, Dec 4, 2019:  The beatification of Archbishop Fulton Sheen was delayed at the request of Bishop Salvatore Matano of Rochester, [NY] according to several sources close to the beatification process.

The bishop is reported to have requested the delay due to concerns that Sheen could be cited in the final report covering an ongoing state attorney general’s investigation into New York’s bishops and dioceses.

Sheen, Bishop of Rochester from 1966 to 1969, was a prolific author and television personality, and set to be beatified on Dec. 21, the last step before a person can be declared a saint. A “postponement” of the beatification was announced by the Peoria diocese on Dec. 3.

According to a source close to the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, Matano contacted the apostolic nuncio after the beatification date was set, to express concerns that Sheen could be named in a report by the attorney general, or accused of insufficiently handling allegations of abuse during his tenure as Rochester’s bishop.

There was apparently specific concern that such an allegation against Sheen could be timed to coincide with the beatification on Dec. 21, sources told CNA.

“A beatification is a celebration,” an official close to the Secretariat of State told CNA about the decision to postpone. “The purpose is to help the faith of the people, not to be an occasion for scandal and problems, nothing is lost by waiting and maybe some things are avoided.” U.S. bishops consulted reportedly reached consensus that it would be “imprudent” to proceed with the beatification plans until after the attorney general’s report has been released and the matter resolved. The Diocese of Rochester declined to answer questions from CNA, but did provide a statement: “The decision to postpone the beatification of Archbishop Sheen was solely the decision of the Holy See. Respecting the competency of the Holy See in this matter, the Diocese will decline further comment.” 

For full CNA article see:


Also see later release here from LifeSiteNews:

and see earlier release here:



Something I am thankful for on Thanksgiving Day 2019

November 28th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Maybe it sounds “crazy,” but I am actually grateful that our spiritual enemies are revealing themselves so clearly. Can you imagine having those foot soldiers in the army of Satan be invisible to us? with their same antagonisms to the Deposit of Faith and to the Church’s moral teaching? publicly giving idolatrous worship? deeply engaged in the raging sexual sin within the hierarchy? and, yet, not having been outed so we can defend ourselves?

We know this dissembling of the Church began years ago with Communist infiltration, incipient socialism, and slow destruction of the European bastion of faith. We need not look far to see the perpetuation of such injury to the universal Church, through serious damage to the Chinese Catholic Church, and by the unleashing of idolatrous worship under the disguised Amazonian evangelization. What has been accomplished against the Church should be obvious even to the spiritually blind.

But disclosing the identity of the perpetrators is a great mercy by God to the Faithful, priest and laity alike. Why is the enemy exposing itself?  Partly, one might say, because it can’t help itself. It is driven by pride, and by taking public credit for each and every offense against the people of God.  It was probably a disappointment to the army of Satan that it didn’t appear until Chapter 3 of Genesis. And Our Blessed Lord allows such bragging as a gift and warning to us.  If we were not wracked by the presence of such sin, we might never think to defend ourselves, especially through prayer. At the Last Judgment, very few will have an acceptable excuse that they didn’t and couldn’t have known the breadth of evil.

Should the Jews have recognized Christ as the promised Messiah and individually acted in their own consciences? Or should they have just taken the position to wait for the leaders to decide and give them directions? Before answering, consider Matthew 16:2-3: “…when it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather; for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.” Does it not sound like we are being called to take a position for God? Does it not sound like we must consider ALL that God is revealing to us?

Today, Thanksgiving Day, I am grateful that we know where the battle lines are drawn.


“A Time to Die” by Nicolas Diat

November 27th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

I had no plan to read this book. Actually, I had never even heard of it until I saw it for sale at the Carmelite Monastery in Rochester, NY. At first I was a bit put off by the title, “A Time to Die” (Ignatius Press, 2019.) and by the macabre cover art of St. Francis’ contemplating a human skull. The next thing I noticed was the author’s name, and remembered Nicolas Diat as the translator of Cardinal Sarah’s books. Diat’s book is dedicated to Cardinal Sarah, whose name also leads the back cover endorsements. His Eminence writes: “… death is the most important act of earthly existence.” All that, and the usual November focus on the ‘last things’ and end times, was enough. I left with “A Time to Die” in hand for my November reading.  

A Time to Die” is a collection of end-of-life stories about monks from various monasteries in France. One might expect that people of such highly advanced spirituality would have singular and inspiring passages from this life, but that is not always or necessarily true. Death is a great leveling force for which it is difficult to prepare. And the impact is also upon the healthy who remain in the community from which a fellow monk has passed.  While the entire book was interesting, for the purpose of review, and for the sake of simplicity, I focus below on excerpts related to just one element — which is usually ignored in contemporary writing – the implicit competition between the continuously evolving medical system and structures of this age, with the possibility of losing all meaning of death and its preparation and, yes, even suffering, and the societal pressures to hide and deny much of the death experience, especially pain. To make the point more sharply, the challenging decisions are not only between choosing medications leading to and maybe risking death, with the extraordinary rate of technological change associated with such treatments, but also the level of participation in the experience of death as the most important moment of life. Here are the related excerpts on a difficult subject, from “A Time to Die.” 

  • P41: “The Father Abbot of En-Calcat had always believed it was not right to struggle to keep a very elderly person alive: ‘If a monk allows himself to be dragged into this game, he loses the meaning of his religious profession, which consists in the knowledge that we owe our lives to Another.’ Dom David does not trust a system where medicine alone gives meaning to life. ‘Where is God in these complex mechanisms?’ He is afraid of this transfer from the divine to medical power.”
  • P42: “When a doctor calls to tell him that a monk is going to leave the hospital, it is not unusual for a monk to be almost in a coma. He has little time to accompany him toward death. Before the doctor comes to recognize that he can do nothing more, the monks have lost precious time…. The doctors have the power to delay the definitive meeting of a religious with his Creator…. The moment we call emergency services or an ambulance, we lose control over the patient.”
  • P52: “Father Patrice died two days later … The doctors had defeated the famous bacteria they had relentlessly pursued in his lungs. But the poor man had become a weak and emaciated little fledgling. He was so thin that his pacemaker was visible beneath his pale skin. The brothers wondered if the doctors had tried new medications without informing them… How does one resist the authority of a medical decision….? Is it even possible? The elderly are without defenses.”
  • P53: “By relentlessly repairing the living, like robots, we will end up in tatters. When we put a pacemaker in a brother with Alzheimer’s disease, we are caring for the heart in order to prolong the disease of the brain.”
  • P55: “…God allows doctors to shorten lives…. [Dom David said:] ‘Today the problem of sedation is serious. We have to fight against intolerable sufferings. But if we do not feel pain anymore, life goes away. Now, with the progress of analgesics, we no longer feel anything. We no longer feel life. We no longer feel humanity. We no longer feel God approaching…. The doctors induce artificial comas to be certain the patient does not suffer any more. Fear is a bad counselor. It is the ultimate antithesis of faith.”
  • p80: “…the tyranny of ever-increasing medications punctuated his days.”
  • p84: “At … All Saints Day, the Father Abbott … decided to bring him back for good [from the hospital to the monastery]…. On December 7 … a stroke carried him away. Outside, the church bells were ringing for Compline. The final attack had deformed his face. Then, a few moments after death, in an instant, he recovered the beauty of his youth. Brother Théophane became again forever a young man with a fair, fierce, passionate complexion.”

I was particularly struck by the unashamed beauty and timelessness of the rites administered on behalf of the deceased, from the  Subvenite sung immediately after death, to the rituals at the gravesite, ending with the gesture of prayer the Trappists call “prostration on our knuckles,” from Clunesian funeral traditions codified in the thirteenth century.

  • P91: “For the first time in my life, I had been confronted with a situation where painkillers could precipitate death. The line is blurred. Can I speak of disguised euthanasia? Without the help of a doctor, would I have understood the proposition that was made to me? The fight against pain can become a way of killing.”
  • P92-3 “Dom Patrick responded… “I am never so much aware of the presence of God as at the moment of the death of my brothers. There is a break, a before and an after.”
  • P127: “…the latest medical advances risk leading to the theft of death. The excess of painkillers plunges the sick into nebulous states that cut them off from the moment they are going to experience…. The response of the monks is simple: men of God do not want to hasten death. They prayed their whole life to live this moment fully…. Hospitals must remain places where we feel safe. Certainly medicine saves lives. But we have to watch out for ideological abuses.”
  • P129-30: “Dom Thevenin is amazed to see how little modern deaths resemble those of the past: ‘ The monks are men of their times and they are better cared for than their predecessors. Diseases that once rapidly led to death in our time willingly take on a chronic guise. What is especially new is the refusal to look death in the face. We would like to forget it and avoid all the sufferings and anxieties that go with it.’ For a monk death must be available. It is the last act of life and the first step in the adventure of eternity. The offering can only be conscious … Fontgombault considers continuous and heavy sedation … unacceptable and immoral….a deep and continuous sedation associated with the withholding of food and water … is a form of euthanasia that the artifice of wording cannot conceal.”

So, one can see in these writings not only the obvious need for guidance related to end of life medical and nutrition practices, but also the more difficult to assess idea of the ‘theft of death’ and loss of associated ‘soul preparation’ which monks may await more consciously and explicitly, but which is also at least implicitly intended as the goal by every Christian soul. What is particularly striking is the key role of prayer at a time when perhaps it is more difficult than ever to pray.


The Business Model Failure of the Catholic Church

November 20th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

When the Church is run like a business, one can expect business models to drive decisions, especially bad decisions. So we live in an era when the beauty of so many Catholic Churches has been torn apart interiorly, the Blessed Sacrament shelved on side altars, the Holy Mass of two millennia suppressed, language and prayers and devotions of worship changed, and many still wonder why the pews are so empty. There is a built-in bias against turning back, yet that is the very model of reconciliation. More tweaking is not the answer.

We live in an era when many Catholic Schools have been closed or reduced in grades, and the people bemoan the loss of morality among the young, made worse by the explosion of gender absurdities. At the very time when abuse of children is a key issue, even bankrupting dioceses, there is a large and significant social pressure toward child sexualization and even resultant sex-trafficking. The Catholic Church has given up such care models as orphanages, to receive government subsidies and its restrictions. Charity is no longer so much as ‘providing’ service as it is about ‘administering.’

We live in an era when Catholic Hospitals are sold to the highest bidder, and provision then made in those facilities for abortion and sterilization. We live in an era when previously Catholic Nursing care quietly moves away from preparation of souls for the next life, and into euthanasia through over-medication for pain relief (whether patient pain or family pain is unclear) and even cooperation with the organ harvesters by delaying the passing until the organ is harvested.

The point?  There was real human need for the Catholic facilities and services provided and supported by the faith of prior generations, a need which still exists but is now unfilled, and channeled into liquidation sales and “repurposing” of facilities. And, you might be surprised at who has equity positions in the “repurposing” such as “senior housing.” The next great scandal may well be a financial one, “following the money,” starting in Rome, and right down to the local parish level, some parts of which seem unlikely to withstand the scrutiny.

The business model analysis makes the point that “we can’t afford to provide such services any longer,” even when the average Catholic seems much better off financially than the grandparents’ generation. Are today’s Catholics being stingy? Or have they just come to believe that the Church is not being a good steward of what was given to its oversight so many years ago, and that bishops who support CRS and CCHD don’t deserve to be given more money to do more damage?  In the pews or outside the pews, some realize that bishops who defend idolatry, LGBT and open borders, and who minimize abortion as just ‘one more’ sin, are dangerous to souls?

One place in which the “business model” failed was the inability of leadership to realize what was (and is) important to those who are denigratingly called “pips;” i.e. “people in pews.” Pips is also a word for those playing cards which are too low to be important.  The first time I heard that use, I was appalled. One key failure in the business model applied to the Church was not recognizing what was important to the people in the pew 1) by Protestantizing so many elements, and 2) by giving up teaching authority in adopting secular models or by silence in those key matters, and 3) by growing socialism under the wings of a seamless (or unseemly) garment, severing what had long been foundational to American Catholics, who were committed to not being an arm of a foreign or socialistic government, but being loyal Americans, and elevating the true meaning of patriotism.

The business model error, then, was not recognizing what should have been an expected shrinkage in market share, and the violation of trust which makes reversing the damage so difficult. And that brings up a final but most key point — that a very significant failure in application of business models to the Church was leaving the Holy Spirit out of the equation. Once a drive begins to downsizing, it is difficult to stop the momentum into an increasingly smaller self-liquidating share. Actions taken around twenty-year forecasts of available priests simply underscore the lack of trust in the Holy Spirit.  But is hierarchical leadership ready to admit that depending on its own capabilities and business models has failed, and what is left is prayer, and casting ourselves on the Mercy of God? Hurry up, please. It’s time.