Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

FENCE Defense

January 12th, 2018, Promulgated by Diane Harris

It appears that the majority of the organizational criticism against building a southern border wall or fence for the U. S. comes from the Catholic hierarchy (all the way to Rome) and from the Democratic Party. There’s no point in commenting on the politics of the situation, since CF should not per se be a political site, but I will comment regarding the alleged perception that walls and border fences are somehow “un-Christian.”

If walls really are un-Christian, i.e. offensive to God, what would He say about locking churches to protect the patrimony of the Church? As a member of a small Catholic Community in Rushville, NY, I was surprised to find St. Mary’s was only open about two hours on a Sunday morning. The Blessed Sacrament remained in the Tabernacle, un-visited except perhaps for a few of the ‘elected’ with keys, for basically 166 hours per week. It was a very sad situation, reflecting doubt more than belief in the Real Presence. Why would locking up a church be seen as acceptable, in order to protect what is within, but a border wall to protect the lives of citizens be seen as wrong or even sinful? It seems doubtful that those who rail against border walls would leave their homes or cars unlocked, or their computers not pass-worded.

It is always distressing when churchmen (and women religious) express their own personal opinions; i.e. “prudential judgments” under the banner “Catholic.” What is “Catholic” is the Deposit of Faith and 2000 years of consistent Teaching.  When the USCCB and clergy claim something is “Catholic” when it isn’t, they assail the rights of the individual to his or her own “prudential judgments” and discernment, confusing the Faithful, and causing division.  In other words, when an authoritative individual or organization claims something is Catholic which isn’t, haven’t they de facto created a wall of their own – keeping out dispute, communication and even truth?  The Deposit of Faith deserves the wall for its protection, not individual opinions. Walls have had a place through history, and even involved God’s Will, to implement His Protection. Similarly, destruction of a Wall sometimes indicates the withdrawal of His Protection.

One of USCCB’s statements can be found here:

It is worth a read, not only for its parading as a Catholic teaching, but for its implicit ad hominem attacks on the President of the United States, 4 days after his swearing-in.

Walls: Responsibility and Protection: Ezra and Nehemiah

We don’t have to go all the way to the Great Wall of China, visible even from spacecraft, to understand that government, charged with the protection of the people, has a responsibility, just as a parent does to make sure the front door is locked at home.

Sometimes, such responsibility is expected, or even demanded by God.  For anyone who has not read the biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah, it would be a worthwhile exercise in discerning the purpose and justification of walls and protection. That scene unfolds as the Chosen people of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin (Southern Kingdom) return from their Babylonian Captivity to Jerusalem and to the total ruins of Solomon’s Temple.

Ezra 1:1-3 “In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, … the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: ‘Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has charged me to build Him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all His people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel–He is the God who is in Jerusalem….’”

And Cyrus, a Gentile king, moved by the Spirit of the Living God, provided financially for the work in Jerusalem as well.

Ezra 4:4-5  “Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah, and made them afraid to build, and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.”

The people who had been in the land did all they could to undermine the building and it stopped for an extended period of time.  (In chapter 8, 9 and 10, one might even view the expulsion and exile of certain people who had intermarried with the Jewish population, as being related in some ways to today’s DACA issues and discussions. Fascinating!)

In the following  book, Nehemiah, re-building the wall is a central theme:

Neh 1:3, 2:13, 2:17-18:  … the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.” …. “I went out by night by the Valley Gate to the Jackal’s Well and to the Dung Gate, and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which had been destroyed by fire.” … “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer disgrace.” … “And I told them of the hand of my God which had been upon me for good, and also of the words which the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work.”

And much of the remainder of Nehemiah details the extensive work of building the walls, the form and figure of which continued to stand even to today:


The work accelerated due to the pressing need for protection.

Neh 4:6: “So we built the wall; and all the wall was joined together to half its height. For the people had a mind to work.”

Neh 4:16-18:  “From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail; and the leaders stood behind all the house of Judah, who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were laden in such a way that each with one hand labored on the work and with the other held his weapon. And each of the builders had his sword girded at his side while he built..”

Neh 5:16:  “I [Nehemiah] also held to the work on this wall, and acquired no land; and all my servants were gathered there for the work.”

Neh 6:1:  “I had built the wall and that there was no breach left in it (although up to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates.”

Neh 6:15-16:  “So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations round about us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem; for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.”


In the Psalter for the Liturgy of the Hours, one of the frequently prayed psalms is #50, written by David nearly a thousand years before Christ. Verse 18 reads (RSV):

“Do good to Zion in Thy good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,…”

The rebuilt walls of Jerusalem withstood the 1948 artillery attacks. That’s effectiveness.

Cosmetics is a different story. Today much of the focus is on the West Bank barrier, where it becomes clear that appearance and protection are indeed two different matters:

ScreenShot999 ScreenShot998


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Faithful Cardinal

January 9th, 2018, Promulgated by Hopefull



Discussion of Unity and Diversity

January 5th, 2018, Promulgated by Diane Harris

I am posting the following announcement from tonight’s on-line Catholic Courier before actually writing a full response to the premise of the Speaker’s title. At this point, it isn’t about content, as that isn’t disclosed, nor is it about intention, which also is not disclosed. So it’s only possible to deal with the title, and its implications, especially for Catholics.

from 1-5-18 Catholic Courier on -line

—————above blue text is from 1-5-18  Catholic Courier on-line—————

The very subject of unity has been in the front of my thinking and in some rough drafts written over the past few weeks. I see the premise of the subject title as a sign that it is time to bring forth the counterpoint, ready or not. What is the point? “Unity is NOT created out of diversity.”

Please don’t take this as any criticism or rejection of St. Paul’s beautiful words in First Corinthians, which we should cherish. But diversity does NOT create unity. Diversity challenges unity. St. Paul’s words show that the One Body is Christ Himself, and He is complete ONENESS. That ONENESS is the very mark of the Church which He founded: One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  It is NOT the diversity of the parts within His Church which creates unity; no, rather it is Christ as cause and as effect of ONENESS, of His uniting the parts. It is from God that each soul receives its gifts and its work, not from the community of believers, albeit sometimes those gifts may be used through such community.

In His High Priestly prayer the night before He died, Christ chose to focus on one concern in particular — that we would be ONE as He and the Father are ONE. Of all the concerns about which He might have taught, or exhorted in His “Farewell Address to the Troops”, ONENESS was His message. It was to be a great challenge to the apostles, all the way down to us today. Read the Gospel of John, Chapter 17 to understand that ONENESS cannot possibly come from diversity.  If it could, would we have over 40,000 different denominations spawned from within the heart of the true Church? Unity around any of the myriad issues which encompass a diverse population is meaningless where there is no unity in faith, in doctrine and dogma as Christ taught it. Unity which is built around ‘neighboring’ can bear no real fruit unless connected to the True Vine.

The great threat that the Catholic Church is facing today (greatest since the Arian heresy) is lack of ONENESS, and I believe it is quite likely that the period we are in will be someday seen as, in effect, a schism. To have bishops in Argentina, Malta and Germany teaching differently on doctrinal issues from bishops in Kazakhstan, Poland and Philadelphia hardly exhibits ONENESS.  To have ambiguity in documents stirring souls to confusion, fear, concern and division is antithetical to the very nature of the mark of ONENESS and to the Peace of the Holy Spirit. What is not needed is a human answer to what only divine intervention can cure. What is not needed is more diverse opinion on matters which cannot be subject to change. What is not needed is a ‘feel-good’ gathering of diverse activities acting as a social action committee.

But it is necessary to speak out because the Catholic Church is very vulnerable right now, and that is why “human” answers are so dangerous. They mask the really difficult work that needs to be done within the Church and within each soul. And no Catholic Church needs to give a de facto pulpit to anyone to argue that unity can be created from diversity.

I am asking regarding this matter, and this post, very specifically for input from the CF readers, and others who want to join in. It is hardly a time to wait. I have more to share on this topic, but will try to wait a bit to sense the response and interest of others. So, if you are interested in exploring this topic further, please weigh-in.

No, I do not plan to attend on Tuesday. I don’t see any reason for any Catholic to entertain the premise. I will leave the podium to Assumption’s guest speaker, and stick to what I’m called to do, which is write, hopefully always for the good of souls. God bless!


BOOK: Parents, Children, and the Facts of Life

December 27th, 2017, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

We recently wrapped up a book discussion group with parents and teachers from my kids’ school. This is a really good book that I think worth sharing. For those who aren’t currently raising children, it could make a good wedding or baptism present. I created a thorough outline as well as some notes regarding other resources shared in this google folder.



FrSattlerBy Fr. Henry V Sattler, C.SS.R., Ph.D.

Excerpts from the Publisher’s Preface:

Fr. Henry V. Sattler’s Parents, Children and the Facts of Life will serve as an excellent and much-needed counterpoise to the Godless, public and grossly immodest “sex education” employed in the public schools—and, alas, in all too many Catholic schools. For it will give parents at once both the ammunition to show school authorities that the primary and essential obligation to instruct their own children in sexual matters belongs to THE PARENT and not the school, plus it will more than equip parents for their task.

One might think that the passage of forty years from the printing of the first edition of the book would have rendered it outmoded or grossly dated. But exactly the opposite is the case.

Excerpts from the Forward:

Parents may not entirely consign to others the task of providing for the moral and religious formation of their sons and daughters.

One of the most important phases in this parental duty of promoting the spiritual welfare of the young is sex education.

Most parents would readily admit, the proper fulfillment of this task is by no means easy.

The embarrassment that is likely to accompany the frank discussion of so delicate and personal a matter, the difficulty of choosing the right terms, and the fear that the child will ask questions which they may not be able to answer deter many parents from undertaking their duty, despite the unquestionable fact that in this age of blatant indecency and sexual license the proper sex education of adolescents is vitally necessary if their chastity is to be preserved.

Father Sattler has avoided two extremes which could easily spoil the instruction: on the one hand, vague and unsatisfying statements which are likely to arouse undue curiosity, and on the other hand, vivid and stimulating descriptions that may be a proximate occasion of sin to youthful hearers.

The benefit is greatly increased when a group of parents discuss these points frankly and honestly

It should likewise be noted that this book will also help teachers to discover and fulfill their function in chastity education as delegates and helpers in what is essentially a parental duty.

The book can be purchased on Amazon, Tan Books, ($10 paperback / $6 kindle) and elsewhere.




December 26th, 2017, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Proclamation of Birth of Christ 2


Real Midnight Masses are Hard to Find

December 19th, 2017, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Real Midnight Masses on Christmas are getting harder than ever to find. Slowly over the years, the time has crept back to 11PM, 10PM and even to 8PM!  So it is probably a short-list, but let’s try to at least list something helpful for those with a longing for the tradition of Midnight Mass. Here’s ten we’ve got so far; in alphabetical order by Church name, not necessarily by parish. Add any we are missing:

Our Lady of Victory, Rochester

Sacred Heart Cathedral, Rochester

St. Casimir, Elmira

St. James, Waverly

St. John the Evangelist, Spencerport

St. John the Evangelist, Clyde

St. Joseph, Penfield (Bp. Matano presiding)

St. Mary, Auburn

St. Mary, Canandaigua

St. Stanislaus Kostka, Rochester

Midnight Mass, Christmas Night in Bertincourt, Champagne, 1900, Armand Guéry

   Midnight Mass, Christmas Night in Bertincourt, Champagne, 1900,                                Armand Guéry






More on Vestments

December 16th, 2017, Promulgated by Hopefull



New: Weekday Latin Mass!

December 9th, 2017, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Recently, in the bulletin for St. John the Evangelist Parish in Spencerport, Father Peter Mottola announced he was starting a Latin Mass on Fridays, at 8:00 AM.  He quoted from Canon 276 of Canon Law:

“In leading their lives, clerics are bound in a special way to pursue holiness […]

therefore, priests are earnestly invited to offer the Eucharistic sacrifice daily.”

Father Mottola stated: “My greatest joy as a priest is to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In keeping with the law of the Church cited above, I have endeavored to do so every day. Given that there is now only one priest in residence in the parish, and that there would otherwise be no opportunity to assist at Mass in our beautiful church on Fridays, I will offer Mass each week on Friday morning at eight o’clock.” He continued: “In keeping with what has been my weekly custom, this Mass will be a Traditional Latin Mass.”

Further Excerpts from St. John the Evangelist Bulletin:

“Because I know this form of the Mass will be unfamiliar to many, I want to say a word about what you can expect in this ancient form of the Roman Rite. The thing that most strikes people about the Latin Mass is the quantity of silence. For instance, the entire Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer) is whispered by the priest at the altar—an experience quite different from the constant noise of the rest of our day! …  silence … actually fosters a more profound silence within our heart that allows us to transcend for a time our daily cares and thus enter more deeply into prayer as we rest in God. If we are not used to spending prolonged periods of time in silent prayer, this can actually be quite uncomfortable at first, but as we accustom our hearts to silence, God fills us with that peace that passes all understanding.”

St. John the Evangelist 55 Martha St. (@ Amity) Spencerport, NY 14559

St. John the Evangelist Church
55 Martha St. (@ Amity St.)
Spencerport, NY 14559

“I love the Latin Mass because it taught me how to pray. When I first began assisting at daily Mass, I loved it not only because of the opportunity to receive the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion each day, but also because the Scriptures or the preaching or the prayers always gave me something to pray about. But when I came to frequent the Latin Mass, I realized that I had begun to pray the Mass—rather than using my experience of Mass as a kind of fuel for later private prayer, the Mass itself became the time when I would grow closer to God and decide to live in a way more pleasing to Him. … I do believe that this form of the Mass, developed over many centuries, is the crown jewel of the cultural and religious expression of western civilization. … And don’t let the language fool you into thinking you don’t know what’s going on—as a priest once told me when I went to Mass in Japan and got flustered trying to follow the prayers in a foreign language: ‘You know the Mass in your heart!’  May God give us the blessing of truly knowing the Mass in our hearts, so that we may come to more perfectly know, love, and serve Him.”

God Bless, Fr. Peter Mottola


To Cleansing Fire readers: if you know of another DoR Church with weekday Latin Mass, please comment so others will be aware. A regular Sunday Latin Mass is held at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Irondequoit at 11:15 AM each Sunday.


“Thou hast revealed [these things] to babes ….”

December 7th, 2017, Promulgated by Diane Harris
“At that time Jesus declared, “I thank Thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; …”  Matthew 11:25

Police remove young people praying the rosary at Reformation event in Catholic Church

LYON, France, December 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — For the fourth time in recent months, a group of youth singing the rosary interrupted an ecumenical service at a Catholic church. Young Catholics gathered last Friday as faithful witnesses to pray at St. Irénée Church in Lyon during an interfaith service attended by the local Archbishop, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin.

A video capturing a brief portion of the incident shows the young men kneeling and singing as armed policemen assemble to remove them from the church. The ecumenical service was the conclusion of commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The Catholic Youth Movement of France and France Jeunesse Civitas conducted the disruption to “publicly repair this offense to God and His Church.”

“Catholic activists could not let this scandal go unpunished,” a translated post on the Civitas website said. “So we gathered in this church to denounce this sacrilegious meeting and pray to the rosary saint.” “What a sad fact,” they said, “the religious authorities have abandoned almost all Catholic doctrine and let error invade our sacred places.”

ScreenShot936  The group’s post said all of the ecumenical participants had left before the rosary concluded, attributing this to the strength of the prayer. The report said some members of the group distributed an explanatory flyer while most sang the rosary on their knees, enduring “insults and mockery.”

“In 2017, when French Catholics pray in a church,” they said, “the police are sent on the spot to expel them with HKG36 machine guns.” The La Croix article called the young people “nationalist and traditionalist Catholic youths” and reported that they had “shaved heads and black clothes” and “were shouting ‘Hail Mary’ loudly and repeatedly.”


More information and links here:



Follow-up to “Ethical Issues in CUA Campaign”

December 5th, 2017, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Please go to original post and comment #4 to read about the resolution of this matter.

Any additional comments should be left as comments to that post.


Rosary Border Crusade December 12th, and …

December 2nd, 2017, Promulgated by Hopefull

Inspired by the million Poles who turned out to pray the Rosary in defense of their borders last October, a grass-roots effort has risen to do something similar in the US on December 12th, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Information can be found here.

The following two pictures are from the event in Poland. The story of that event can be found here.



Another Scheduled Local Appearance by Our Lady of Guadalupe



Read the rest of this entry »


Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – December 2017

December 1st, 2017, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

It’s time to print out your December 2017 calendar. Thanks to the good folks at for providing these calendars freely available to all on the Internet.

Also, here are the Holy Father’s prayer intentions for December:

The Elderly.

That the elderly, sustained by families and Christian communities, may apply their wisdom and experience to spreading the faith and forming the new generations.


Ethical issues in the CUA campaign?

November 26th, 2017, Promulgated by Diane Harris

A number of parishes announced in their bulletins today (Nov. 26th) that next Sunday, Dec. 3rd, the First Sunday of Advent, there will be a Second Collection for the annual fund-raising campaign for The Catholic University of America (CUA). This long-standing collection was established by the U.S. Bishops when the University was founded.

I was shocked in reading through several church bulletins this weekend to find the wording changed regarding next weekend’s collection for The Catholic University of America.  The USCCB on its website makes clear that the collection for Catholic University “provides funding for academic scholarships at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC in response to the commitment made by the bishops at its foundation in 1887.” It is still represented by the USCCB that “It is the only U.S. university with Pontifical faculties. Students are enrolled from all 50 states and almost 100 countries in 12 schools.”  Further, the USCCB represents that 100%  [of the collection goes] to Catholic University of America. Go here to find the following USCCB text:





Thus, I was surprised in reading several church bulletins to find a description of the collection for Catholic University being “For Catholic University and other American Catholic Higher Education Institutions.”  This information in bulletins is either untrue, or what is posted on the USCCB site is untrue; it can’t be both ways.

Moreover, it isn’t simply a matter of accuracy, misrepresentation or fraud.  What is of far greater concern is that MANY allegedly “Catholic” Universities fund or otherwise facilitate contraception (e.g. waffling 3x by Notre Dame in its coverage), pressure Catholic students to downplay teachings of the Catholic Church (e.g. defunding pro-marriage group at Georgetown) or host gender disordered events (e.g. “Sex Week” at Xavier University). The main sources for such claims are LifeSiteNews and the Cardinal Newman Society.  If indeed, funds collected as donations to The Catholic University of America were to be diverted to other universities, one wonders who would have the discernment and the courage to decide how much would go to which university. The USCCB, is its serious and persistent lack of criticizing or disciplining wayward Catholic universities, seems unable or unwilling to wisely distinguish.

I am not sure at this point how many dioceses in the U.S. are collecting for The Catholic University of America next weekend AND other universities, and I am not sure what the source is for mentioning “other” universities receiving any of the funds raised.  If anyone intends to give to The Catholic University of America, as the founding bishops intended, donations may be sent to the University at the following address (also shown above) to avoid diversion of funds in unknown proportions to undisclosed universities:

c/o Mr. John H. Garvey, President

620 Michigan Ave. NE

Washington DC 20064


The list of collection dates and dioceses permitted to collect may be found here:


The following are examples of what has been appearing in local bulletins:



























The standardization of language seems to imply that there is a single source for addition of “Other American Catholic Higher Education Institutions.”  One wonders from where it came.


Advent Retreat with Latin Mass

November 22nd, 2017, Promulgated by Hopefull


Advent Retreat with Latin Mass




First Anniversary of Publishing the Dubia

November 14th, 2017, Promulgated by Diane Harris

ScreenShot888Excerpt of Cardinal Burke’s interview from LifeSiteNews, which is excerpted from the National Catholic Register.

“The decisive criterion for admission to the sacraments has always been the coherence of a person’s way of life with the teachings of Jesus. If instead the decisive criterion were now to become the absence of a person’s subjective culpability – as some interpreters of Amoris Laetitia have suggested – would this not change the very nature of the sacraments?”  


All Saints Day Solemn Mass at St. Alban’s Fellowship

November 7th, 2017, Promulgated by Diane Harris

A Solemn High Mass was held at St. Alban’s Fellowship in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in celebration of All Saints Day, November 1st.  Fully Catholic, the Anglican use Mass was celebrated by the new pastor, Fr. Evan Symington, and Father Peter Mottola acted as deacon and homilist.  Bernie Dick has provided a 12 minute video. 

ScreenShot853   ScreenShot854




Tasting the Fruit of the USCCB

November 3rd, 2017, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Priests and laity slam US bishops conference for sacking theologian critical of Pope

The full text of Father Weinandy’s letter to Pope Francis (just released)




July 31, 2017
Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Your Holiness,

I write this letter with love for the Church and sincere respect for your office.  You are the Vicar of Christ on earth, the shepherd of his flock, the successor to St. Peter and so the rock upon which Christ will build his Church.  All Catholics, clergy and laity alike, are to look to you with filial loyalty and obedience grounded in truth.  The Church turns to you in a spirit of faith, with the hope that you will guide her in love.

Yet, Your Holiness, a chronic confusion seems to mark your pontificate.  The light of faith, hope, and love is not absent, but too often it is obscured by the ambiguity of your words and actions.  This fosters within the faithful a growing unease.  It compromises their capacity for love, joy and peace.  Allow me to offer a few brief examples.

First there is the disputed Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia.  I need not share my own concerns about its content.  Others, not only theologians, but also cardinals and bishops, have already done that.  The main source of concern is the manner of your teaching.  In Amoris Laetitia, your guidance at times seems intentionally ambiguous, thus inviting both a traditional interpretation of Catholic teaching on marriage and divorce as well as one that might imply a change in that teaching.  As you wisely note, pastors should accompany and encourage persons in irregular marriages; but ambiguity persists about what that “accompaniment” actually means.  To teach with such a seemingly intentional lack of clarity inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth.  The Holy Spirit is given to the Church, and particularly to yourself, to dispel error, not to foster it.  Moreover, only where there is truth can there be authentic love, for truth is the light that sets women and men free from the blindness of sin, a darkness that kills the life of the soul.  Yet you seem to censor and even mock those who interpret Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia in accord with Church tradition as Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism.   This kind of calumny is alien to the nature of the Petrine ministry.  Some of your advisors regrettably seem to engage in similar actions.  Such behavior gives the impression that your views cannot survive theological scrutiny, and so must be sustained by ad hominemarguments.

Second, too often your manner seems to demean the importance of Church doctrine.  Again and again you portray doctrine as dead and bookish, and far from the pastoral concerns of everyday life.  Your critics have been accused, in your own words, of making doctrine an ideology.  But it is precisely Christian doctrine – including the fine distinctions made with regard to central beliefs like the Trinitarian nature of God; the nature and purpose of the Church; the Incarnation; the Redemption; and the sacraments – that frees people from worldly ideologies and assures that they are actually preaching and teaching the authentic, life-giving Gospel.  Those who devalue the doctrines of the Church separate themselves from Jesus, the author of truth.  What they then possess, and can only possess, is an ideology – one that conforms to the world of sin and death.

Third, faithful Catholics can only be disconcerted by your choice of some bishops, men who seem not merely open to those who hold views counter to Christian belief but who support and even defend them.  What scandalizes believers, and even some fellow bishops, is not only your having appointed such men to be shepherds of the Church, but that you also seem silent in the face of their teaching and pastoral practice.  This weakens the zeal of the many women and men who have championed authentic Catholic teaching over long periods of time, often at the risk of their own reputations and well-being.  As a result, many of the faithful, who embody the sensus fidelium, are losing confidence in their supreme shepherd.

Fourth, the Church is one body, the Mystical Body of Christ, and you are commissioned by the Lord himself to promote and strengthen her unity.  But your actions and words too often seem intent on doing the opposite.  Encouraging a form of “synodality” that allows and promotes various doctrinal and moral options within the Church can only lead to more theological and pastoral confusion.  Such synodality is unwise and, in practice, works against collegial unity among bishops.

Holy Father, this brings me to my final concern.  You have often spoken about the need for transparency within the Church.  You have frequently encouraged, particularly during the two past synods, all persons, especially bishops, to speak their mind and not be fearful of what the pope may think.  But have you noticed that the majority of bishops throughout the world are remarkably silent?  Why is this?  Bishops are quick learners, and what many have learned from your pontificate is not that you are open to criticism, but that you resent it.  Many bishops are silent because they desire to be loyal to you, and so they do not express – at least publicly; privately is another matter – the concerns that your pontificate raises.  Many fear that if they speak their mind, they will be marginalized or worse.

I have often asked myself: “Why has Jesus let all of this happen?”   The only answer that comes to mind is that Jesus wants to manifest just how weak is the faith of many within the Church, even among too many of her bishops.  Ironically, your pontificate has given those who hold harmful theological and pastoral views the license and confidence to come into the light and expose their previously hidden darkness.  In recognizing this darkness, the Church will humbly need to renew herself, and so continue to grow in holiness.

Holy Father, I pray for you constantly and will continue to do so.  May the Holy Spirit lead you to the light of truth and the life of love so that you can dispel the darkness that now hides the beauty of Jesus’ Church.

Sincerely in Christ,

Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap.


Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – November 2017

November 2nd, 2017, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

It’s time to print out your November 2017 calendar. Thanks to the good folks at for providing these calendars freely available to all on the Internet.

Also, here are the Holy Father’s prayer intentions for November:

Christians in Asia.

That Christians in Asia, bearing witness to the Gospel in word and deed, may promote dialogue, peace, and mutual understanding, especially with those of other religions.


Solemn High Latin Mass for All Souls Day

October 28th, 2017, Promulgated by Administrator



A new experience awaits those who love Mass in the Extraordinary Form!  There will be a Solemn High Requiem Mass on the evening of All Souls Day, Thursday November 2nd. One part of the unique experience is the site of celebration — in the All Souls Chapel at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery! The Celebrant will be Father Peter Van Lieshout, the Deacon will be Father Anthony Amato, and the Sub-deacon will be Father Peter Mottola.

The Requiem Mass will be offered for the souls of all deceased priests who served in the Diocese of Rochester. A schola under the direction of John Morabito will sing the Requiem by Morales.

Inside All Souls Chapel

   Inside All Souls Chapel

Thursday, November 2, 2017 – 7:00 PM
All Souls Day Latin Requiem Mass
All Souls Chapel, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery
Reception with light refreshments to follow in the Cemetery Gatehouse.

To RSVP (optional; for approximate headcount), please call (585) 458-4110 or email:


Information about All Souls Chapel

20171013_083109All Souls Chapel has become the centerpiece of Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. It was designed by Andrew Jackson Warner, one of Rochester’s most outstanding architects, and constructed of mottled Medina sandstone from a local quarry. Early English Gothic in architecture, the chapel is an irreplaceable work of art, with its steep slate roof, hammer beams, intricately painted ceilings and stained glass windows produced in Holland. In 1876, the cornerstone was laid and construction was completed over a 10-year period.

The Chapel is located on the east side of Lake Avenue, nearly opposite the Lake Avenue entrance to the Cemetery.



“It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought

to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.”

II Maccabees 12:46



Rorate Caeli gets it right …

October 27th, 2017, Promulgated by Diane Harris