Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Beatification Today: Oscar Romero

May 23rd, 2015, Promulgated by Hopefull

(Beatification is being live-streamed at noon today.)


Meditation of Archbishop Oscar Romero


Martyred on March 24, 1980 in San Salvador, while saying Mass, Archbishop Romero had spoken out for all those suffering oppression, at a great risk to himself.  He had completed a radio address the day before, exhorting the people to follow their consciences rather than “orders.”  He knew the risk but said “I am bound as a pastor by divine command, to give my life for those whom I love…”  He died as he lived.  But he left us a meditation which is very helpful whenever we think something depends only on us, or that we have the only vision, or that our contribution really doesn’t matter.  It is an inspiring way to look at the work God gives us to do.


It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction

Of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.

Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying

That the kingdom of God always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith.

No confession brings perfection.

No pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.

No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.

We plant seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted,

Knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.

We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our abilities.

We cannot do everything,

And realizing that gives us a sense of liberation.

This enables us to do something and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete but it is a beginning, a step along the way,

An opportunity for God’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results,

But that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders,

Ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.



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The Francis Effect: by Fr. Linus Clovis

May 22nd, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris
Fr. Linus Clovis, St. Lucia

Fr. Linus Clovis, St. Lucia

Fr. Linus Clovis, a priest of St. Lucia, delivered an amazing and outstanding address on May 9th to the Rome Life Forum on “The Francis Effect.”  I just emailed the link from LifeSiteNews tonight to almost everyone on my mailing list who has some interest in a perspective on what is happening in the Church and what might be expected regarding the Synod.  I included a number of non-Catholic friends as well, who have expressed their confusion to me.  If anything can be called a “must read” on the subject, the text of Fr. Clovis’s speech would be it.  Please help others to be aware of this clear, cohesive and (just maybe?) inspired insight.


Not Good, But Not a Gamechanger

May 22nd, 2015, Promulgated by Ludwig

Like many of you, I was distressed to learn of the appointment of Father Timothy Radcliffe to an advisory role on the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Also among the distressed was Al Kresta – revert to the faith and host of Kresta in the Afternoon on Ave Maria Radio.

Since discovering Kresta just a few months ago, I’ve been absolutely hooked. He provides a truly informed perspective on current events that I don’t find anywhere else on radio.

Since his local affiliate only carries the first hour of his program, most CF readers may have missed this segment from the second hour of his Monday, May 18 showKresta Comments: Pope Francis Appoints Pro-Gay Marriage Dominican to Pontifical Academy…What Are We to Think?

For context, Kresta spends the preceding segment recapping Radcliffe’s scandalous statements, with particular focus and criticism on this quote:

How does all of this bear on the question of gay sexuality? We cannot begin with the question of whether it is permitted or forbidden! We must ask what it means, and how far it is Eucharistic. Certainly it can be generous, vulnerable, tender, mutual and non-violent. So in many ways, I would think that it can be expressive of Christ’s self-gift.

Listen to Kresta’s response to the appointment below:

00:00 Introduction
00:58 Bad appointments aren’t new: Bishop Kenneth Untener and The Rainbow Bishop
03:16 What is the role of a consultor?
06:05 Further critique of Radcliffe’s statements and their logical conclusion
08:30 Problems with the appointment: The dialog turns to internal matters
09:32 Pray for Pope Francis: Remembering the admonition to sin no more
11:24 Stray afterthought on speculative theologians


Priest [Father Edison Tayag] recalls Nepal quake

May 20th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

Priest recalls Nepal quake By Jennifer Burke/Catholic Courier

The priest, who is pastor of Catholic Community of the Blessed Trinity in Wolcott, Red Creek and Fair Haven, had departed Rochester April 16, bound for an adventure-filled vacation in Nepal. An avid backpacker, Father Tayag had arranged to trek from the town of Lukla to Mount Everest Base Camp, but when he landed in Lukla April 17, he had no idea just how much adventure he was about to experience.

“Although we could hear what might be happening in the mountains, we really couldn’t see whether there was something coming down to us. Instinctively we ran, not knowing if we were running to find safe ground or running to meet our death,” he said. “Fortunately there were no avalanches where we were.”


A Truly Disgusting Appointment

May 19th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Tonight’s LifeSiteNews reports that Pope Francis has appointed the “radically liberal, pro-homosexual” dissident Dominican Father Timothy Radcliffe as a consultor for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.  It was another “weekend” appointment that sometimes falls below the radar screen for a few days.

download (1)This is indeed really disappointing news, and it is difficult to plead any reasonable level of ignorance. Father Radcliffe’s deep-seated opposition to Catholic Church teaching has long been well-known.  In January, 2010, when Father Timothy Niven brought Radcliffe to St. Patrick’s in Victor as a speaker to unsuspecting Catholics in the pew, I wrote a column on Fr. Radcliffe’s proclivities in a newsletter (It Really Matters, Vol. 5, #1) which I was publishing at that time.  Thus, at least perhaps a few hundred souls were warned.

The following is what I wrote at that time, and I know of no reason to recant or change any of what I said.  [Any needed clarification is shown in square brackets.] The context is that my former parish, St. Mary Rushville, had been closed several months earlier, and 75% of the people had moved to St. Mary Canandaigua, where they were among the target audience for this “retreat.”  Who would have suspected at that time that the problem, left untreated, would metastasize from Victor, NY to a Vatican Pontifical Council?

Concerns about NW Ontario Retreat [Jan. 2010]

We might indeed wonder “What in the world is Fr. Niven thinking?” by his hosting a person seen as a noted advocate for ordaining homosexual men to the priesthood, to allow him to give four ‘retreat’ presentations (8 HOURS!) at St. Patrick in Victor!  Since announcement of this event was in the Canandaigua [St. Mary’s] Bulletin, and since 75% of our people from St. Mary Parish in Rushville now go there, it is indeed a case of being a brother’s (or sister’s) keeper to inform each other of occasions of sin or scandal of which we may not be aware.

The speaker, Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, is a Dominican who spent 10 years as the Master General of the Order and has surprisingly impressive credentials, but that should not influence souls, as God is impressed with the heart, not with worldly accomplishments, even in the church order.  Rather, we should especially be on guard against those who come in sheep’s clothing of honorary doctorates, and glossy titles like “Provincial of the English Province”, and “President of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors”.  Fr. Radcliffe, as an itinerant preacher, has his next stop in Victor, NY.  Faithful Catholics and those trying to sincerely understand and follow the Church’s teaching on homosexuality or “same sex attraction” especially as it applies to the Catholic Clergy, should either avoid Fr. Radcliffe’s talk or be especially on guard to his message. One needs to be careful in expressing opinion in the Church not to deviate from the Church’s legitimate teaching.  And, we might say, that laity in choosing which retreats or seminars or other spiritual events to attend should be particularly careful to avoid speakers who do not adhere to the Church’s own guidelines.

Canon Law 752: “Although not an assent of faith, a religious submission of the intellect and will must be given to a doctrine which the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops declares concerning faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim it by definitive act; therefore, the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it.”  

The rest of this newsletter article can be found here:


[ ] What I wrote in January 2010, about what has been allowed to grow and fester within the Church for five additional years, reaching now even highest levels of influence.  Disobedience, dissent, evil do not change on their own.  Tolerated, these weeds eventually take over the entire garden.  It is a tragic and disgusting development.

LifeSiteNews article this evening can be found here:


When Bad News Might be “Good News”

May 16th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Good is never bad.  Bad is never good.  That is true even in this deformed world in which some people do call good “bad” and bad “good,” as Isaiah prophesied.  But this particular post “When Bad NEWS Might be Good NEWS”  is not a matter of something bad being brought to a good result, when and if God chooses to do so; aka “He can write straight with crooked lines.”  Rather, the following is about how evil when unleashed (by fiat or by neglect) implodes on itself.  It unmasks itself.

The rapid acceleration of evil in many forms has within itself the seeds of its own destruction.

Those who demand a license to pursue evil may, by its excessive manifestation, eventually lead others to sense the horror of what is unfolding.  For example, it has taken the gruesome-ness of dismemberment during abortion to lead some people to say “enough!”  and maybe, too, for Congress to finally pass its recent legislation, grossly imperfect as it is.  It is a start.  Another example is how some who misunderstood “same-sex unions” to be civil rights issues now can see (especially in Canada) the mind-control policies being foisted on kindergartners to shape sexual immorality.  Again, it shows how dangerous it is to give evil any quarter, any compromise.  Evil is never satisfied with its gain; it always wants more, like any addict.  Gluttony, greed, avarice, drugs, porn, power — drives itself forward to want more, and more.  Hell knows no such thing as satisfaction; thus it is “hell,” the ultimate, unquenched hunger.

imagesThe instant case in point is a significant number of the German Bishops, and their recent pronouncement that they are going forward (not that they weren’t already floating trial balloons in an “exception” mindset) with giving Communion to the remarried divorced and to those in “same-sex unions” under the guise of labor law accommodation.  To any faithful Catholic, that is “bad news” because it puts even more souls at risk by institutionalizing disordered lifestyles.  But it is also an exhibition of how evil seeks to gain momentum.  The waffling in last year’s Synod, the isolation of and even retribution against champions of faithfulness,  the seeming reluctance to take matters off the table which ought never to have been on the table (to paraphrase the call of some important shepherds in the Church) has only encouraged evil itself to stretch further, to gain more ground, in bitter arrogance.

When those German bishops had given themselves over to their first bit of disobedience, it was almost inevitable that, without repentance. they would be led deeper into a sinful morass.

Whatever the mix is of the desire to be prime movers of heresy, or just jumping the gun to a position they believe the Church will eventually embrace, is an irrelevant quibble of motive.  At heart is evil’s relentless racing to gain ground, and its inevitable drama of writing its own prideful billboard of success against souls.  The faithful of Germany are in a quandary similar to those in Canada after Humanae Vitae was issued, when so many Canadian bishops attacked Pope Paul VI and his teaching against contraception.  (At another time, let’s explore how those Canadian bishops may also have laid the groundwork for the current destruction of faith and acceleration of evil in Canada, a prelude to the same modus operandi in the U.S.)

For now, we can question the real driver behind what the German bishops are doing: hijacking the purpose of the Synod and flaunting disrespect for their brother bishops around the world (“don’t bother to come to the Synod; we’ve already decided for you”).   So, evil pushes them further down the slippery slope, making retreat ever more difficult, and vision ever more fogged.  But, in those very actions, evil (not compassion or mercy) unmasks itself as the driver leading dissent from Church teaching.  These bishops have not even bothered to nail their theses to the Cathedral door as Martin Luther did nearby at Württemberg Cathedral nearly 500 years ago; just reissued a worn-out theory from an old (82) cardinal dancing with heresy (and hypocrisy, as if the financial impact were not an important part of their decision-making.)  It is easy to believe that many German bishops and Cardinals have already left the Church, but are trying to change what they’ve left behind.

Where is the “good news?”

The acceleration of disobedience to Church Teaching should prove to those genuinely trying to consider all viewpoints, to be merciful, to pray for guidance and insight that, indeed, they have received such insight from these actions of the German bishops, proof of the evil which seeks to destroy millennia of doctrine and to weaken the faith of good Catholics.  Such unilateral action, and such disrespect, is the hallmark of evil, not of good.  Of dissent, not of faithfulness.  Of indulgence, not of discipline.  The apparent “good news” is that these German bishops have revealed themselves and the evil with which they are aligned.  They have succumbed to the predictable and relentless drive of evil to reveal itself as perpetrator, to glorify its accomplishments. It is “good” to recognize the real enemy.  It is also “good” that the rest of the Church will be able to witness where the explosive changes being played with by some prelates will naturally lead, and hopefully avoid lighting the fuse.

Pope Benedict — Pray for us!


Ref:  LifeSiteNews May 6, 2015:  “Germany’s bishops vote to allow Church employees to publicly defy Catholic teaching.”  (While positioned as related to labor law, the matter is clearly a stealth attack on Catholic Doctrine.  And we should not forget that the German Labour Front was also key to the entrenchment of Nazism and to suppression of the Church in Hitler’s Germany.)

Read more from the noted and dependable Edward Pentin (who last fall blew open Cardinal Kasper’s disrespect for the African bishops):  “If the German Church goes ahead with its proposed adaptation to labor law, it will be just the latest in a series of efforts on the part of the German Church to accommodate the Church’s teaching to secularist trends. […] “They’re trying to change doctrine through these subtle means,” a source in the German Church said.  

More from Edward Pentin on lay / clerical divide in Germany


Doing God’s Will seems to be Invigorating

May 12th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Cardinal Burke looks about 10 years younger in some of his recent photos.  Leaving the Apostolic Signatura and taking charge of the Order of Malta seems not only to have created a world-wide presence and responsibility, but also an effective  pulpit from which the Cardinal’s faith is shown in both words and actions.  He has taken on a number of initiatives, with pro-life very deep in his heart, and is reported to be the only Cardinal who joined in the March for life this past weekend in Rome! Extraordinary!  And yet, it seems to be that very activity which is putting a special joy into his demeanor.

IMG_8886LifeSiteNews reported about the May 10 march:  “Many participants gathered in St. Peter’s Square prior to the march, to hear Pope Francis deliver the traditional Sunday recitation of the Regina Coeli at noon. After a meditation on the day’s gospel, the pope briefly greeted the participants in the march, saying that it is “important to collaborate together to defend and promote life.”  

“Participants then gathered just steps away from the Vatican, on Via della Conciliazione, where they heard testimonies from men and women whose lives had been affected by abortion, before marching through central Rome, finishing at the Piazzale of Bocca della Verità (the mouth of truth).”

In addition, the march drew attention to the very important subject of the risk to children as targets of gender ideology.

Cardinal Burke’s presence drew widespread attention and acclaim.  His activism is a model for all Catholics.  It is particularly striking how much more joyous he appears in recent pictures.  Read more.

See also FOTO Gallery at

Closer to home, revisit the Cleansing Fire coverage of Bishop Matano at the 2015 March for Life in Washington DC here.


St. Bernard’s Garden Parties

May 9th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

Yesterday I found this flyer in my inbox. I did a quick search to find the event online, but I couldn’t find it. Note the first “party” features adoration and preaching by Fr. Daniel White.



Farewell mass for Fr. Mottola: Ss. Philip and James

May 9th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

reposting from St. Alban’s: Farewell mass for Fr. Mottola: Ss. Philip and James

On Monday, May 11th, at 6pm, Fr Peter Mottola will celebrate a High Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St Bridget’s Church (15 Church St. in Bloomfield), for the feast of SS Philip and James. This will also double as a Mass of thanksgiving for Fr Mottola’s ministry at St Benedict parish; he will be leaving the area later this week to begin full-time graduate studies in canon law in Washington.

Read the rest here.


Becket Hall is Closing

May 6th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

Catholic Courier: Becket Hall will undergo changes By Mike Latona/Catholic Courier

As Becket Hall observes its 50th anniversary this year, some changes lie ahead for the diocesan pre-theology program.

Details of the restructuring are outlined in a new document issued by Bishop Salvatore R. Matano: Fostering Vocations: Walking With Those Who are Discerning the Call to Priesthood With the Diocese of Rochester. The document was released to diocesan priests May 1.

Although the diocese will continue its many efforts to assist discerners, Fostering Vocations states that the local residence for men working on their pre-theology requirement is being dissolved.

Bishop Matano noted in Fostering Vocations that “a stable number of residents” is necessary for a conducive community atmosphere, as stipulated by No. 258 in Program of Priestly Formation, fifth edition. That document, issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is “the normative guide to be observed in seminaries and dioceses,” Bishop Matano wrote.

I love how Bishop Matano relies on the documents of the Church to guide his decisions. May we all do the same.


St. Bernard’s Commencement Speaker

May 6th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

D&C: Higher ed here honors more than 17,000

St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry
Date: May 8.
Degrees and certificates: 26.
Place and time: Sacred Heart Cathedral, 4:30 p.m.
Commencement speaker: The Most Rev. Edward Scharfenberger, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.


Vigil Mass for Easter V

May 2nd, 2015, Promulgated by Bernie

Vigil Mass for the 5th week of Easter was celebrated by the Fellowship of St. Alban at the Henrietta Catholic Church of the Good Shepherd. Father Jason Catania was the guest celebrant and Jacob Kasak was the guest organist. The intention for the Mass was the repose of the soul of Helen Scott, a member of the Fellowship (Roman Catholic Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter.)


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Bishop Matano is my bishop. Period.

May 1st, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Something disturbing has been happening for months and, frankly, it seems time to discuss the matter and to welcome knowledgeable input.  When Bishop Matano was installed as Bishop of Rochester, in January 2014, the liturgical words in the Canon of the Mass recognized the change immediately, mentioning “Salvatore” as “our Bishop”.  The only slight variation for a while seemed to be a few priests trying to decide if the “e” at the end is silent or not, and that was resolved quickly.

The Canon of the Mass refers to both our Pope and local ordinary.  When the Anglican Ordinariate was formed, adding the Pope and their ordinary was part of the requirement to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  In the Roman rite, in the Novus Ordo, any one of the four Eucharistic Prayers may be offered, depending on certain factors of appropriateness. Mention of Pope and Bishop all have similar wordings:

Eucharistic Prayer I refers to “…together with your servant Francis, our Pope, and Salvatore, our Bishop, and all those who, holding to the truth, hand on the catholic and apostolic faith.”

Eucharistic Prayer II mentions “…together with Francis, our Pope, and Salvatore, our Bishop and all the clergy.”

Eucharistic Prayer III says “with your servant Francis, our Pope, and Salvatore our Bishop, the Order of Bishops, all the clergy…etc.”

Eucharistic Prayer IV states: “…especially your servant Francis, our Pope, Salvatore, our Bishop, and the whole Order of Bishops, all the clergy, etc….”

Only Eucharistic Prayer I names the Pope and the local Bishop before the consecration.  The other three mention the Pope and local ordinary after the Consecration.  As an aside, among some Rochester clergy there seems to be a distinct avoidance of Eucharistic Prayer I (maybe I only notice because it is my favorite, giving such a sense of heritage back to the early Church.)  In any case, the following commentary does not seem to be related to which Eucharistic Prayer is used, except I haven’t noticed it in the use of Eucharistic Prayer I.

At least six months ago, perhaps longer, it became obvious that a number of Rochester diocesan priests were (and still are) adding Bishop Emeritus Matthew Clark to the recital in the Eucharistic Prayers. At first it was “…our Bishop, Salvatore, and Bishop Emeritus Matthew…” now it has progressed to “our bishops, Salvatore and Matthew.”  The trend seems more noticeable among priests who have their own favorite tweaks of the liturgy, which really has no place anyway in faithful celebration of the Mass.

Perhaps I am wrong to be disturbed by this, so I welcome comments and correction. It is not that praying for someone / anyone isn’t a meritorious thing to do, but should the Canon of the Mass be prayed this way?  (Mention at the intercessions seems a very different matter.)  If it is allowed, and even encouraged, why aren’t we praying for “our Pope Francis, and Pope Emeritus Benedict”?  One might suspect that it is because we have ONE Pope, a sign of the Church’s oneness. However, we also have one Bishop, and I’m not confused about that fact.  Bishop Matano is my bishop (for which I am most grateful) and it seems like a slight to him to have “Bishop Matthew” added back in (with such use INCREASING,) and especially to indicate an equal stature by saying “our bishops Salvatore and Matthew.”  Why is this happening? What can be done about it?

In discussion with a few others, I learned that Bp. Matano himself has mentioned Bishop Clark during a concelebration, but that is an entirely different situation from DoR priests using “Bishops” in the plural, or adding Bishop Matthew back into the recital after his retirement.

An acquaintance with whom I was discussing the matter sent me the following link. Be sure to read the last sentence:

Whatever this addition by some DoR priests means, we know that “A man cannot serve two masters.”  My bishop is Bishop Matano.  Period.


Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – May 2015

May 1st, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

It’s time to print out your May 2015 calendar. Thanks to the good folks at for providing these calendars freely available to all on the Internet.

And the Holy Father’s prayer intentions for May :

That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbors who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.

That Mary’s intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be open to proclaiming Jesus.


Exult Rochester: 1st Annual Catholic Men’s Conference

April 28th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

From (facebook page here)

1st Annual Catholic Men’s Conference

Saturday May 16th, 2015
8 am to 5 pm
St John Fisher College
3690 East Ave
Rochester NY 14618

Please help us double our registrations this coming weekend!

Share the link to with any man that you know, and encourage him to attend.

Encourage your priests to spread the word. Pray for the success of the conference!

Thank you
RCMC Planning Committee


“The Little French (Romanesque, Baroque, Italianate) Church”

April 28th, 2015, Promulgated by Bernie

Our Lady of Victory RochesterJust down the street about a block from the remains of Saint Joseph Church is one of the architecturally unique churches of the Rochester Diocese, Our Lady of Victory/Saint Joseph Church, designed by noted Rochester architect Andrew Jackson Warner.

Like the German Saint Joseph Church down the street, Our Lady of Victory had an ethnic beginning. Immigrants from Canada established a French chapel on the site in 1848. I do not know what the ancestry of these first immigrants was but the chapel was later established as a parish to serve the needs of Belgian immigrants. Were the original immigrants from French speaking Belgium, coming to the United States via French Canada (Quebec)? Maybe someone reading this knows and can inform us.

The architecture of the exterior of Our Lady of Victory strikes me as Italianate in style but is listed as Early Romanesque Revival on authoritative sites. Indeed, the architect, Andrew Jackson Warner designed several buildings in the Romanesque style. The Mansard roofs atop the slender square towers, however, are actually French, the basic form of which was popularized by Francois Mansart (1598-1666). Mansart was a successful architect of the French Baroque period. Mansard roofs were also popular in Victorian architecture. But, the combination of the Mansard roofs with the slender towers creates a rather picturesque building. Indeed, we have in the architecture here eclectic elements. The upward curves of the façade “roof” lines, similar to what we saw in the façade of Saint Joseph’s, are 295925_163703637057698_1990723907_ncapped by an opposing curved pediment with an interrupted (or “broken”) cornice characteristic of the Baroque style. But, aspects of the Baroque style such as the sweeping roof lines were also part of the Italianate style. I don’t think of them as Romanesque. There are other elements that are Romanesque.  The façade has some architectural detailing suggestive of Romanesque Lombard banding over the porch windows, in the blind niches under the cornices of the towers, and above the center window (below the bottom of the pediment). The prominent porch is a Romanesque characteristic and it’s heavy looking as Romanesque usually is.

An Italianate feeling is conveyed to me by the pronounced eaves supported by corbels topping off Italian campanile-like (towers). Italianate roofs, however, are usually rather flat whereas these on the towers are steep and curved. The windows and blind niches are also tall and slender and topped off with round arches, characteristics of the Italianate style. Short, wider windows I associate with the Romanesque. Brick was a favorite Italianate building material but it was a favorite of the Romanesque Revival, as well.

Stepping inside (by way of an old photograph), we can see –as we saw in Saint Joseph’s Church– a Baroque-like interior. This is a rather small church and so we see no columns or nave arcades separating the nave from side aisles. Instead we see what I call “dripping arches” (hanging arches?) which are suspended from the ceiling where a nave arcade would ordinarily be located; no columns support these arches which repeat, somewhat, the Lombard banding theme that we see on web double altarthe front façade. Notice that those ceiling arches align with the right and left ends of the apse and, considered with the side altars, suggests a nave/side aisles basilica plan.[1] The wooden reredos of the altar almost suggests the façade of a Baroque church. The interesting scrolls on either side of the tall fastigium visually transitions the vertically of the fastigium to the bottom horizontal temple-like structure (or, the other way around, leading the eyes upward). Scroll buttresses are a characteristically Baroque element but they are not unknown in other styles. These, however, are rather elaborate which makes them Baroque. The interior looks French Baroque: white painted wooden structures with gold color on mostly floral or organic detailing. I associate it with small or rural churches in French Quebec.

Regrettably, the mural originally on the back wall of the chancel, is now gone. In the photo we can see that a prominent balustrade appeared in the painting. Actual and painted balustrades are a common feature of the Baroque style.

web IMG_3550The left side chapel that we see in the old photograph was dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. It was constructed to appear as the actual grotto in Lourdes where the apparition took place. This kind of dramatic and emotional tableau-like feature was common in many Baroque style churches. Unfortunately (in my opinion), the tableaux was eliminated during later renovations.

When Saint Joseph’s Church burned down, the parish merged with Our Lady of Victory parish forming Our Lady of Victory/Saint Joseph Church. You can see in more recent photos that the interior lost much of its original decoration and detailing during renovations.

Our Lady of Victory is, architecturally, a baffling style to pigeon hole –as least for me. Maybe we should call it “eclectic”. Are there any architects out there who can set me straight?

Practical information about the church and parish:

Should you wish to visit OLV/SJ [2] be aware that the parking lot to the right of the church is open only on weekends for Mass times. It’s gated, but the arms will go up for you (arriving and departing) on weekends. There is a security guard on duty in the parking lot on weekends.

On weekdays, you will need to park on the street at the meters ($.25 per 15 minutes?) or in the ramp garage ($2?) on the corner of Clinton Avenue and Pleasant Street, down towards Saint Joseph Park (church). It’s not far from the church. Don’t park anywhere other than at a meter on the street or in the parking garage on weekdays. Anywhere else and your car will be ticketed or, worse, towed! You can bet on it.

Masses at 4:30 pm Saturdays, 9 and 11 am Sundays. Confessions (11:30) are every weekday and Saturday before the 12:10 Mass. The church is only open for Masses. It is not open on Thursdays at all –no Mass or confessions on Thursdays.

The OLV/SJ church bulletin can be viewed HERE.


[1] OLV/SJ is actually a hall basilica plan; there is just a nave –no side aisles.

[2] the church has a beautiful set of painted Stations of the Cross, and lovely stained glass windows.

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Congratulations to for News Leadership

April 27th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

ScreenShot432A week of watching the rollout of the new format has only confirmed my first impression — that it is a brilliant stroke of combining the animation and energy of video, with the ability to revisit content, excerpt and study further the transcript or news text, with the dynamic of blog-type responses, as stories develop.  (I expect a shakeout of the blog-type comments, however, as it has already drawn many who seem to just have a personal vendetta against Michael Voris, and are using the Church Militant comments to dilute or warp the issue.  Many of the comments just attack, rather than add to dialogue).  Kudos to Michael Voris and his whole team.

Today begins a new series, defending Catholic doctrine by disputing the feel-good theory that Judas didn’t really go to hell, so fundamental to much pulpit diatribe that implies God is just too “nice” to send anyone to hell.

What Church Militant has just done is to leverage the credibility it has built up over years into ScreenShot433 true  leadership in Catholic Media.  For some time now, I have been shifting my attention within the Catholic Media outlets.  I used to read Zenit every day, at least the headlines, during the Papacy of Benedict XVI.  During that period, Zenit seemed to be more NEWS oriented.  Now, in my opinion, it reads more like Pope Francis’s daily diary and, with some of the ambiguity attached to his public comments and opinions, it has become less rather than more.  Similarly, when EWTN took over the National Catholic Register I had great hopes for its being at the forefront of Truth in the Church, clearly communicating to the laity.  I was totally turned off when they not only mis-used the word “murder” against George Zimmerman, who had been found not guilty in a legitimate court, but when over 100 commenters brought the error to NCRegister’s attention, the words on the blogsite were changed, but without really acknowledging the inappropriateness of what they had done.  To me, NCRegister (like Catholic News Service, to some extent) seems now to excel more at spin-meistering for Catholic PR, than at propagating Truth, no matter how difficult.  It is but a slippery slope down to the level of CathNewsUSA, of LCWR and Nuns on a Bus advocacy.

ScreenShot436In such an atmosphere, it is perhaps not too surprising that a leadership void had been opening.  Church Militant has seized the moment, not seemingly for their own aggrandizement, but rather for the sake of the laity’s right to know, i.e. for Truth. LifeSiteNews continues to impress also, as they are on top of many emerging stories, although this past week Church Militant scooped them by a few hours on the CRS VP who is in a same-sex, so-called marriage.  But I do see a basic compatibility between LSN and Church Militant in their thirst for Truth, and fearless reporting.  And both should be congratulated for staying on top of the scandal surrounding CRS (Catholic Relief Services, who collects money IN OUR CHURCHES!).  I also like the publications of the Cardinal Newman Society in the niche of Catholic Education, which it serves well.


I hope that with Church Militant’s leadership now, across a breadth of Catholic issues, in what was becoming a ready-to-pop news bubble, there might be even more opportunity to keep media pressure on Synod threats, rather than on just reporting the results after the fact as alleged Catholic Media were wont to do in the last session.

I know there are CF readers who will disagree, or who just don’t like Church Militant and Michael Voris.  I am reminded, however, of Christ’s words that He’d rather have us hot or cold, than lukewarm to be vomited from His Mouth.


Sacred Sculptures at the Vatican

April 24th, 2015, Promulgated by Bernie

From The New Liturgical Movement website

by Gregory DiPippo

A show of reliquaries and other liturgical objects currently going on at St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

vatican sculpture exhibit“The Basilica of St Peter is hosting an especially interesting show of sacred sculptures in gold, silver and bronze, from now until June 30; the objects displayed include reliquaries of various kinds, as well as chalices, pax bredes and processional crosses, from several different periods. As I was visiting the show yesterday, I had the good fortune to overhear one of the curators, Dr Benedetta Montevecchi, talking about some of the items to her colleagues, and I had to interrupt her briefly to express my appreciation of her work, which is accompanied by a some very useful didactic material. She explained to me that most of the objects have been brought to Rome from small towns in the province of Lazio which are rarely if ever visited by tourists; the show provides a unique opportunity to see a good number of very beautiful pieces which otherwise could only be seen with a fair amount of travel and the good will of friendly clerics and sacristans. In particular, many of the reliquaries are… “ READ MORE

See more photos HERE and HERE


Newly Appointed Bishop of Spokane, Washington Talks Vocations

April 22nd, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

CWR: Bishop Daly prepares to take the helm in Spokane by Jim Graves

(I hate chopping up interviews like this.  It is worth reading the whole thing, but the talk of vocations jumped out at me.)

Last month Pope Francis appointed Bishop Thomas Daly, 54, an auxiliary bishop with the Diocese of San Jose, California, as the seventh bishop of Spokane, Washington. Daly will be installed in his new position at Spokane’s Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes on May 20. He succeeds Archbishop Blase Cupich, who was installed as archbishop of Chicago last November.

[now to the interview]

CWR: What are the most pressing issues you think you’ll face when you become bishop of Spokane?

… [talks about the bankruptcy] …

Bishop Daly: I’ll also have to focus on vocations to the priesthood. I’ll ordain two men to the priesthood this year, but there are only three or four seminarians for the entire diocese. [YIKES! – I hope things go better for Archbishop Cupich in Chicago].

CWR: Does this low number concern you?

Bishop Daly: Yes. When I was first named vocations director in San Francisco, we had seven or eight seminarians for the archdiocese. Over the next nine years, we got it up to 21. Our focus was on “homegrown” vocations, rather than bringing in priests from outside the archdiocese.

CWR: And how did you achieve this success?

Bishop Daly: It’s not so much about programs, but prayer. I asked people in our parishes to pray for vocations, and stressed the need for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I like to stress Eucharistic adoration; God will not give us the priests we need if we don’t put the Eucharist in the center of our lives.

CWR: What’s the best way for the faithful to support our bishops?

Bishop Daly: Please pray for us. Offer a decade of the Rosary for us. I’m reminded of the story in the Scriptures in which Jesus, after the Transfiguration, casts a demon out of a boy. The disciples then asked Him why they were not able to cast the demon out. Jesus responded that the demon could only be cast out by prayer and fasting. Keep us in your prayers, and we’ll pray for you.

Also, in your private conversations, we’d ask you to speak the truth in pastoral charity.

Also, if you haven’t yet signed lifesite’s “Open letter to Pope Francis: thank you for Archbishop Cordileone! (petition)” make sure you do so right now.


Saint Joseph’s Church, Downtown Rochester

April 20th, 2015, Promulgated by Bernie

Saint JOseph's Rochester“St. Joseph’s was Rochester’s oldest Catholic church and a longtime landmark when it went up in flames nearly 40 years ago.

“Known as “the mother church” for all local German Catholics, St. Joseph’s was built on Franklin Street in the 1840s, just a few years after Rochester was established as a city. Downtown Rochester grew up around St. Joseph’s, which became a so-called ‘oasis of grace’ amid the hustle-bustle of… “ READ MORE (Alan Morrell 7:16 a.m. EDT June 14, 2014, Democrat and Chronicle)

Saint Joseph’s, in downtown Rochester (NY), was an architectural gem of the Rochester Roman Catholic Diocese. Only the facade and some walls remain, the whole campus turned into a park.

If you have been following my series on “Church Architecture Styles” you will recognize Saint Joseph’s as an example of the ‘baroque’ style. It’s called “Greek Revival” on several internet sites but I suppose they mean, “Neoclassical”. Either way I think those sites are wrong. There is no emphasis on Greek columns or on a Greek temple porch. Both are major aspects of Neoclassicism.

The building does have certain classical features: the Roman triumphal arch theme of the portals in the front facade, the division of the facade into roughly square units by horizontal and vertical lines, and  a concern for classical proportion. But, the downward sweeping roof lines to the right and left of the bell tower suggest the baroque style. In addition, the upper tower is obviously more sculptural and elaborate than the lower facade. The cupola at the very top is in the Renaissance style, also commonly employed in the baroque style.


If there is any doubt about the architectural style, however, we merely need to examine the interior to confirm my judgement. An old photo of what the interior looked like removes any doubt. The reredos is sculptural, an elliptical space is part of the plan, and the space is elaborately decorated. A prominent cornice tops off the walls but a curved surface transitions to the center of the ceiling. The emphasis is on an overall impression of unity with all elements working together to create a dramatic, emotional atmosphere.

I think I worshiped in Saint Joseph’s once –my wife tells me I did. I have a vague memory of sitting on the right side of the nave. We lost an architectural gem when it was consumed by fire. We now can see only a shell of  Saint Joseph’s former glory. Thankfully some civic leaders and preservationists made sure that we could have at least that!