Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

From Catholic University — New Wars of Religion

August 24th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris


Dr. Garvey

      Dr. Garvey

Please note the presentation by John Garvey, Esq.

President of The Catholic University of America,

on Thursday, September 15th

at 6:30 PM at Sacred Heart Cathedral.






Given Dr. Garvey’s stellar reputation,ScreenShot305 Program

it will surely be

an insightful and riveting evening.


As an alum, I especially look forward

to hearing his views on

“The New Wars of Religion”,

and hopefully to continue

 the discussion on this site,

with those who are interested.

Share this article

Was there child abuse at World Youth Day?

August 9th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Two separate incidents have been brought to light by LifeSiteNews regarding what is difficult not to call “child abuse.” And one might go so far as to clarify the occurrences more specifically as “Sexual Abuse of Children.”  Here are the two incidents:

I’m not going to dissect the articles and make the obvious argument. I think with straightforward reading anyone should be able to see the intended seduction of young consciences, and interference in parents’ rights. Beyond these souls, these actions are, IMO, a direct attack on parenting, church teaching and the tradition of World Youth Day.  Once parents can no longer trust a WYD agenda or ‘safe environment’ the whole WYD structure will fall apart.

If this were to continue, Zika virus may be the least of the risks in Panama.


The Clarity of Cardinal Sarah’s Words — Part V

August 4th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

This post is the final and fifth installment in the series from Cardinal Sarah’s book: “God or Nothing.”  Many of his points could be expanded, and would make excellent homilies / sermons.  

Priestly Pedophilia

“Pedophilia is one of the most abominable moral deviations.”

“I am quite aware of the fact that respect for the office of the priest may also have played a role in establishing a culture of silence…. The bishops who transferred pedophile priests from parish to parish to conceal their attacks behaved despicably.”

“A pedophile priest who says Mass commits a sacrilege … the priestly bond that attaches him to Christ is gone… Christ gave him all the means to carry out his priesthood, but he preferred to make a pact with the forces of darkness.”

After Vatican II

“…it was thought that after the Council a day of sunshine would dawn for the history of the Church.  What dawned instead was a day of clouds and storms, of darkness, of searching and uncertainties…. There has been an intervention of an adverse power.”

“Faith gives us certitude, assurance , when it is based on the Word of God … and … in conformity without reason and our human soul.”

“… yesterday’s sins have become virtues. The devil is finally celebrating because he is making substantial gains.  We must not have any doubt, however, because the definitive victory will be for God alone.”

“Unfortunately, the number of those who do not know Christ and do not belong to the Church is growing continually. It has almost doubled since the end of the Council.”

Does hell exist? (interviewer question). Purgatory?

“… hell exists through an unshakable will to cut oneself off from God.”

“… in the West, we have insolently dismissed the question of hell. But in Africa, we believe in the harmfulness of the forces of evil.”

Quoting Leon Bloy: “Anyone who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil.”

Quoting Catherine of Siena: “If miserable men had any idea of what purgatory and hell are, they would prefer to die ten times than to endure such tortures for a single day.”

“Augustine … emphasizes that this trial that necessarily leads to paradise must not be imagined as an easy salvation, because it is very formidable.”

Evangelization, Christian Joy

“…whenever the joy of evangelization is not the heart of Christian life, we can only deplore a worrisome symptom of spiritual dryness.”

“Christian doubt is not a moment of despair but another declaration of love.”

“The only authentic Christian flourishing lies in the offering and gift of self for the cause of the Gospel.”

“If we do not clearly establish the basis for the missionary mandate in the Trinity, there is a risk of reducing the missions to multiple activities of  social nature … one fatal error would be to emphasize social, economic, or, worse, political work to the detriment of evangelization.”

“Evangelization takes place in obedience to the missionary mandate of Jesus….”

“Man is not born to manage his bank account; he is born to find God and to love his neighbor.”

“Acedia [sloth, apathy] is a sickness of the soul that is expressed in boredom, distaste for prayer, slackening or abandoning one’s penitential practices, neglecting the heart, and indifference toward the sacraments…. Acedia can also lead to genuine spiritual torpor. In moral theology, acedia is one of the seven capital sins.”

“A priest who is stingy with the time he spends on his flock is going through a real spiritual storm…. Fear, feverish activity, and vanity remain the fierce enemies of men who have given their lives to God.”

“When the Church becomes less worldly, her missionary witness shines more brightly.”

“The witness of the people is beautiful because it … expresses outwardly an intense interior life. Popular piety publicly manifests what Christ accomplishes in the secret depths of their hearts…. Popular piety is central to an authentic process of evangelization.”

“The first thing to do when laborers are lacking is not to apply our intelligence to restructuring a diocese, to reorganize the parishes by consolidating them…. Instead, it is necessary to pray that God will raise up many holy vocations to the priestly ministry and the consecrated life.”

“The suffering that can sometimes accompany missionary work is transformed into victory by intercessory prayer.”


“God is truth; through his Son, he intends to draw us toward this truth. Attachment to and love of the truth are the most authentic, the most righteous, and the noblest attitude that a man could ever want on this earth. Conversely , the absence of truth is man’s real poverty, for the rejection of the truth paralyzes and falsifies his activity.  Thus the man who is not in the truth of God finds himself a prisoner of his own ego….”

“Reverence for the truth is the true spiritual worship that we must render to God…. By building his life on the truth,… becomes a rock, because God is love and truth. He never disappoints.”

“… no one, not even the pope, can destroy or change Christ’s teaching. No one, not even the pope , can set pastoral ministry in opposition to doctrine. That would be to rebel against Jesus Christ and his teaching.”

“…people are increasingly becoming immersed in a virtual dimension because of the audio-visual messages that accompany their life from morning to night. [They] seem to want to fill every empty moment with music and images, out of fear of feeling its very emptiness…. it has reached a level such as to give rise to talk about anthropological mutation. Some people are no longer ale to remain for long periods in silence and solitude.”

The Synod Issue

Cardinal Sarah sets forth his refutation of the 2014-15 Synod discussion regarding the effort by some bishops to change Church teaching in order to allow the divorce/remarried (without annulment) to receive Communion, and he makes clear:

“It is not possible to recognize a new union as valid if the first marriage was [valid]”

“It is … an action that deliberately draws others into sin.”

“The grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of the Cross of Christ.”

“We observe more and more that man seeks to take the place of God…. If Eucharistic celebrations turn into human celebrations of ourselves and places where we apply our pastoral ideologies and partisan political preferences, which have nothing to do with spiritual worship that is to be celebrated as God wills, the danger is immense. For then God disappears.”

“…the question of “Catholics who are divorced or divorced and civilly remarried is not an urgent challenge for the Church of Africa or Asia. On the contrary, this is an obsession of some Western Churches that want to impose so-called “theologically responsible and pastorally appropriate [ref: Reinhard Cardinal Marx, president of the German Bishops’ Conference] solutions that radically contradict the teaching of Jesus and of the Church’s Magisterium…. Christ’s disciples must assert the demands of faith in Christ without reticence and without compromise, in theory and in practice, because they are the demands and precepts of God.”

“…it is not possible to imagine any conflict or tension whatsoever between magisterial teaching and pastoral practice. The idea of putting magisterial teaching in a beautiful display case while separating it from pastoral practice, which then could evolve along with circumstances, fashions, and passions, is a sort of heresy, a dangerous schizophrenic pathology.”

“I therefore solemnly state that the Church in Africa is staunchly opposed to any rebellion against the teaching of Jesus and of the Magisterium.”

“The martyrs are the sign that God is alive and always present among us.”…”While Christians are dying for their faith and their fidelity to Jesus, in the West, men of the Church are trying to reduce the requirements of the Gospel to a minimum.”… “While hundreds of thousands of Christians are living each day filled with fear, some are trying to keep the divorced and remarried from suffering: they would feel discriminated against if they were excluded from sacramental communion.”

“Despite their ongoing state of adultery, despite their state of life that testifies to a refusal to abide by the Word that raises up those who are sacramentally married to be the revelatory sign of Christ’s Paschal Mystery, some theologians want to grant admission to Eucharistic Communion to the divorced and remarried [who] took it upon themselves to transgress Christ’s command….”

“For a baptized person to say that a de facto union, concubinage, or merely civil marriage can objectively be positive elements leading toward sacramental fullness is to try to rewrite the history of salvation backward!”(quoting Aline Lizotte, theologian, director of Karol Wojtyla Institute).

“How is it comprehensible that Catholic pastors should put doctrine to a vote: the law of God and the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, on divorce and remarriage, as though from now on the Word of God and the Magisterium had to be sanctioned and approved by majority vote?”  Men who devise and elaborate strategies to kill God, to destroy the centuries-old doctrine and teaching of the Church, will themselves be swallowed up, carried off by their own earthly victory into the eternal fires of Gehenna.”

“…the real scandal is … the confusion between good and evil caused by Catholic shepherds. If men who are consecrated to God are no longer capable of understanding the radical nature of the Gospel message and seek to anesthetize it, we will be going the wrong way. For that is the real failure of mercy.”

“I think that we should stop discussing this question like disrespectful intellectuals, giving the impression of disputing the teaching of Jesus and the Church.  Some Western governments, with great disdain for God and nature, are passing insane laws about marriage, family, and human life. For her part, the Church cannot behave frivolously in God’s sight.”

Africa Part II

“The soul of Africa always opens toward God … this continent has a fundamentally theocentric vision. Material concerns are always secondary… the African knows that he is only a sojourner.”

“If my land continues to suffer, it is because its springtime is continuing according to the divine plan.”

“…God often sends beautiful messages to those who truly love him.”

“The West urgently needs to set its sights on God and the Crucified Lord, to look on Him whom they have pierced”, to rediscover their trust in and their fidelity to the Gospel, to overcome its weariness, and to stop refusing to hear “what the Spirit says t the Churches”, even if they are African….”

In conclusion, let us end with a beautiful observation/prayer from Cardinal Sarah:

“In observing the poor, I too have learned to say, in poverty: ‘My God, I am glad about all the trials I have experienced, and I thank you in advance for all the ones yet to come. I hope they will help to bandage the wounds of the world.'”


“Holiness consists of living exactly as God wants us to live….”


Mark 13:14a ?

August 4th, 2016, Promulgated by Administrator

A friend of Cleansing Fire sent us the following link …. what do you think?



Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – August 2016

July 31st, 2016, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

It’s time to print out your August 2016 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 August:

Universal: Sports

That sports may be an opportunity for friendly encounters between peoples and may contribute to peace in the world.

Evangelization: Living the Gospel

That Christians may live the Gospel, giving witness to faith, honesty, and love of neighbor.


The Clarity of Cardinal Sarah’s Words — Part IV

July 29th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris


“God’s Law, promulgated by Moses, contains the major principles, the absolutely necessary conditions for the spiritual survival of men.  All the prohibitions that it contains are a safeguard to prevent man from falling over the brink of evil into the abyss of sin and death.”

“This relentless campaign against life is a new, definitive stage in the relentless campaign against God’s plan. Nevertheless, in all my travels, I notice a reawakening of consciences.”

“The atheistic orientation of a life is almost always a decision by the will.  Man no longer wishes to reflect on his relationship to God because he himself intends to become God ….  strategy of appropriating God instead of adoring him.”

“The individualist universe comes to be centered solely on the person, who no longer tolerates any constraint…. Atheism is thus a decision to ignore reason…. Material well-being and immediate satisfaction become the only reason for living.”

“…atheism always leads to the same consequences. Man is treated as an object, cut off from his spiritual roots and blinded by the artificial lights of material goods or achievements….all atheism seeks to change the very nature of man….”

“Reversing the movement of insidious atheism that has carried off practically all of Western Europe, Orthodoxy has allowed the Russian nation to avoid the traps, so that now it is a country that makes significant room for God and Faith.”

“…Christians allow themselves to be influenced by this pervasive individualism…. Many expect, as something normal, that God should pour out his mercy on them while they remain in sin….”

“…the very fact of not believing is already the declaration of a repressed faith.”

Humanism and Philosophy

“…the moment God is no longer creator, man is debased…. Humanism that tries to ignore Christ empties out its own substance and becomes merely materialism…. Without a true humanism founded on Christ, man no longer understands himself.”

“The encounter between Greek philosophy and Christianity was a unique moment in the history of mankind…. Greek philosophy receives Christian baptism and is purified so as to become within the Church the servant of theology.”

“Greek wisdom cannot explain evil or suffering or redemption or hope.  Nevertheless, this thirst for divine friendship is still a marvelous attempt and a preparation for revelation, for the Logos.”

Is democracy an invention of Christianity?

“Indisputably…. But if democracy excludes religion, explicitly or not, it is no longer a good for the people, hence the constitutional State no longer is, either…. As always, the eclipse of what is divine means the debasement of what is human.”

“We are building a dictatorship of  relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.”

“Truth and love coincide in Christ…. Today relativism appears to be the philosophical basis for Western democracies that refuse to consider that Christian truth might be superior to any other.”

“…relativism drives man to create his own religion, populated by multiple more or less pathetic deities, which are born and die in response to impulses, in a world that is somewhat reminiscent of the ancient pagan religions. In this totalitarian yoke, the Church loses her absolute character, her dogmas, her teaching, and her sacraments are practically prohibited or else diminished in their rigor and their demands. The Bride of the Son of God is marginalized, in a disdain that engenders hatred of Christianity, because it is a permanent obstacle.”

“Relativism is a widespread evil … it arbitrarily serves as a sort of charter for a way of communal life. Relativism attempts to complete the process of the social disappearance of God.  It guides mankind with an attractive logic that proves to be a perverse totalitarian system. The Church continues today the battle of Benedict XVI against the liquidation of God.  And this is a battle on behalf of mankind.”

Living in a secularized world

“Liberty without truth is deceitful; the absence of a moral connection between liberty and truth can only produce a form of anarchy.”

“Baptized persons have the duty to believe not only with their heart but also with their intellect.”

“A Godless society, which considers any spiritual questions a dead letter, masks the emptiness of its materialism by killing time so as better to forget eternity…. the more man forgets God, the more he observes himself…. Then, to delude himself, he puts on his make-up…. Without God, man builds his hell on earth.”

“According to the philosopher, since men could not remedy death, misery, and ignorance, they decided that it would make them happy not to think about them at all…. the search for different pleasures is connected to the abandonment of God…. Today we are confronted with one of the last stages of the civilization of diversion.”

“The search for power without God generates a greater susceptibility to the thirst for liberating illusions…. Christians will never succeed in overcoming the challenges of the world by appealing to political tools, human rights or respect for religious liberty….The violence against Christians is not just physical; it is also political, ideological, and cultural….”

“Now the refinements of evil are becoming ever more insidious.  A man who falls asleep for a moment must take care not to fall into a trap that is so pleasant that it is all the more formidable.”

Faith, Hope, Love, Prayer

“Hope is nothing other than Christian optimism…. Faith is the foundation of hope…. A distinguishing mark of Christians [is] …   they have a future … their life will not end in emptiness.”

“Without prayer there is no true joy…. Prayer is the source of our joy and serenity because it unites us to God, who is our strength…. Someone who relies on his own strength is always saddened when it declines…. a believer cannot be in sorrow because his joy comes from God alone. But spiritual joy depends on the Cross.”

“If God truly possesses us, if Christ abides in us, joy always returns.”

“…mercy demands truth, justice, and repentance. In God, mercy will become ‘forgiveness.'”

“God… casts his Heart upon our misery…. God rejoices to forgive us.”

“True prayer leads to a sort of disappearance of our personal clutter.”

“…for a long time I have thought that prayer can take shape only in the night.  In  darkness, we are illumined only by God…. it is important to learn to pray in the middle of the night, while all creation is seeking sleep. Prayer at night plunges us back into the darkness of the death of Jesus Christ…. Through prayer we resemble Christ, who loved to be recollected all night.”

“… contemplation is actually an intimate conversation with God in silence and solitude…. Christ’s sacred humanity is always the way by which to arrive at God: to allow him to speak in the silence, before the Blessed Sacrament, looking at a crucifix ….”

“The man who contemplates and encounters his Creator will never be the same again … part of his soul has already arrived in heaven.”




July 27th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

If I do not speak out, my silence will be a lie.

(A message to someone special who just doesn’t understand.)



July 15th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris



Sometimes an argument is so totally off-base that one must wonder if indeed it is a joke.

Sometimes blindness descends under such heavy veils that one wonders if Light can ever penetrate.

Sometimes it’s hard to even know where to start.  At those moments, Aaarrrgghh! has to suffice.


If you have any stomach at all for the rightly shunned Huff-Post (I don’t) one article will cure the fatal attraction, and at the same time clarify what is really wrong in the world.

And, here it is:


On Second Thought….

July 8th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Stated as simply as possible, I am disappointed in today’s Church Militant which I received shortly before noon.  Fortunately, the transcript is very helpful to make sure the words are exact, eliminating the need for a lot of replaying and transcribing.  But I am disappointed in the approach which Michael Voris takes in: “Rome Be Damned.”

I have been a St. Michael Media donor and a Michael Voris supporter for years, cutting them both a lot of slack because of the new and difficult ground they have broken, for timely news stories and for generally pursuing the truth.  For example, I thought their Synod coverage was excellent; it is always most difficult to be first in risky ventures, and I respect their effort.  I have sometimes defended a questionable tone as being needed in order to make a strong and clear point. Has Church Militant been charitable enough?  I can’t judge, but I haven’t heard Michael call any groups “a brood of vipers” or “whitened sepulchers.”  And I have even written to Michael a few times to thank him for being an inspiration.  In that spirit, I find the following difficult to say, but necessary.

Today’s show concludes: Attacking the Pope is the easy way out. The carpet bombing of Rome deflects form [sic] the real issue. It’s the disobedient bishops.”  Well, Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio, a bishop not so long ago, was elected Bishop of Rome by other bishops (Cardinals), most of whom still hold office. One cannot isolate the Pope from the collective work of his bishops, especially after three years, and it is unclear why Church Militant seems to be making an effort to do so.

There is no reason why disobedient or faithless or heretic bishops should surprise us.  From Paul’s words in ACTS 20:29 (” I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; ….”) to the oft-repeated allegation of Pope Paul VI that the smoke of Satan has entered the Church, the attack on the Body of Christ continues. Further, we had a reality show demonstration during both sessions of the Synod, with many bishops and cardinals openly advocating violation of Catholic Doctrine to brother bishops and to the Pope himself.  They were given the podium from which to speak; they had no need to seize it, or nail theses to the doors of St. Peter’s Basilica.  It is no news that such division will continue to the end times. Yet, the Holy Spirit has not abandoned the Church and will turn evil to good.   (More about that on another day.)

The Right of the Laity to speak up for their Faith

Voris admits that Pope Francis has made “ill advised comments” but calls the Catholic response “bellyaching.”  No, Michael, they are exercising their rights and duties in Canon Law. They are doing what you yourself did not that long ago.  Michael may be right that [some of] the bishops are the main problem, but Pope Francis was and is a bishop too, but he is the only one who has authority to bind and loose.  Admittedly, having authority and knowing how to use it effectively are two different things.  But even lack of effectiveness is no excuse for abandoning duty, on the part of the lay person or on the part of a Pope.  For the laity to say nothing and to do nothing in defense of the Faith, in support of brave prelates like Cardinal Burke, Archbishop Athanasius Schneider and, this past week, Archbishop Chaput, among a number of others, is to cower at the task to which we are called. I personally do not see anything inappropriate in 1) opposition by Catholic moms’ being analogized to ‘rabbits,’ 2) concern about the abandonment of discernment in the words “Who am I to judge?” 3) push-back against “apologizing” to any sinners, including those pursuing a ‘gay’ lifestyle (the Faithful are the ones owed an apology) or 4) resistance to any proposed tolerance for reception of the Eucharist by persons in a state of adultery, and much more.  The laity absolutely has the right to defend their Faith, and it should NOT be demeaned as “bellyaching.”

Michael states as argument: “… this is just one danger: The notion forms in people’s minds that everything in the Church that is wrong can be solved by the Pope, any Pope just ordering it to be fixed.”  That is quite a strawman.  A non-sequitur at best. The argument then quickly devolves to the laity’s saying nothing because a Pope can’t achieve anything. Personally I don’t think that is what Christ had in mind when he named Peter “Rocky.”

Voris states: “There is a rebellion in the ranks of the bishops against the traditional faith.”  That hardly becomes a reason to do nothing.   Instead it becomes a solid reason for prayer, exhortation and papal action. Not the opposite. Voris says: “A Pope cannot simply sack thousands of bishops around the globe. This problem has become institutionalized, metastasized into a horrible illness over the past hundred-plus years.”    But the Pope is not without power; he can change Canon Law ‘for St. Pete’s Sake’: he is the Executive, Legislative and Judicial head of all three Vatican powers. He can subdivide dioceses to provide better leadership, he can change retirement ages, he can change judicial process to bring cases to a conclusion he wants.  Just ask the Bishop of Bling.  But if Pope Francis really wanted to implement change by reforming bishops, would he have Cardinal Wuerl and now Archbishop Cupich controlling nominations for new bishops in the U.S.?

But it isn’t about Pope Francis

This post isn’t about Pope Francis, but rather about Church Militant’s seeming to step back from the front lines, and criticizing those who remain in the skirmish.  I’m not going to reiterate the accusations one-by-one in today’s Vortex, and there are many. I’ll just choose one, close to home. Michael states: “…for the so-called traditional blogs out there that fancy themselves the saviors of the Church, get real. All your incessant bile creates is worse conditions for any future cleaning of the Church because you have now created and inculcated a culture of suspicion surrounding whoever the next Pope will be.”  Unfortunately, Michael does not extend the generosity toward motive that has been so often extended to him, even by some writers whom he inspired and others with whom he had disagreed.  He continues: But writing articles on some obscure bishop in some B- or C-level diocese who punishes his priests who want to say the Novus Ordo Mass facing East won’t get you nearly the clicks that a headline like “Anti-Christ Pope Still a Heretic.”  Out of curiosity, I Googled that very headline to see who had said it.  The only reference I got was to Church Militant.

Michael also presents a theoretical ‘action plan’ and asks if it were ordered by the Pope Do you really think your local bishop in your local diocese, …  would give it the slightest attention?” My answer, if it is completely faithful to Church Teaching, is that in Rochester, with a faithful bishop in Bishop Matano, yes I really do believe he would give it attention. I note all the reforms His Excellency has already, quietly but persistently, made.  I would be far more skeptical of the USCCB.  I remember reading the criticism of national conferences for their lack of courage in the Ratzinger Report. Individuals have courage, not organizations.

Unfortunately, taken in its entirety, the Church Militant presentation “Rome Be Damned” seems to me to cause far more discouragement in the laity, limiting their role in the Church to silence in the status quo, rather than much of what Michael Voris has offered for years.  Pushed to its logical conclusion, such suppression of interest and involvement through lay commitment, and the belief in ‘making a difference,’ will virtually eliminate the role of the laity in evangelization, even though I don’t believe this result is intended. Yet, it seems an inevitable excuse.  I can’t know what is behind this shift in Church Militant, but only that we need to remind ourselves and our brothers and sisters in the Faith, that we are not called to be successful, but to be Faithful. Courage is a virtue, not fear. Perseverance is a virtue, not sloth. Many bloggers sincerely care about the Church, and offer their time and efforts for free, to do work in which they believe. It is difficult to imagine any benefit that could be achieved by being in competition with each other, rather than all just acting out of love for Holy Mother Church.

(minor revisions made: July 9, 2016)


Celebrate Ad Orientem; Kneel for Communion

July 5th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Read LifeSiteNews on Cardinal Sarah’s address at a conference on liturgy:


“One such abuse he mentioned was when priests “step aside to allow extraordinary ministers distribute Holy Communion” which for many priests was thought to be a way of allowing lay people to participate in the Mass in a substantial way.  Rather, said Cardinal Sarah, “This is wrong, it is a denial of the priestly ministry as well as a clericalisation of the laity.”

“And so, dear Fathers, I ask you to implement this practice wherever possible, with prudence and with the necessary catechesis, certainly, but also with a pastor’s confidence that this is something good for the Church, something good for our people.  Your own pastoral judgement will determine how and when this is possible, but perhaps beginning this on the first Sunday of Advent this year… may be a very good time to do this. Dear Fathers, we should listen again to the lament of God proclaimed by the prophet Jeremiah: “they have turned their back to me” (2:27). Let us turn again towards the Lord!”


Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – July 2016

June 30th, 2016, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

It’s time to print out your July 2016 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 July:

Universal: Indigenous Peoples

That indigenous peoples, whose identity and very existence are threatened, will be shown due respect.

Evangelization: Latin America and the Caribbean

That the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean, by means of her mission to the continent, may announce the Gospel with renewed vigor and enthusiasm.


Well said! May it also be well done!

June 26th, 2016, Promulgated by Hopefull

Today’s NCRegister on line had an article which I have not come to expect in the Register, but I was delighted to see it:

The article is a book review entitled: “US Churches Revive Respect for Rituals” by Joseph Pronechen:

Here are a few highlight sentences to whet the appetite:  

“In his recent book Signs of the Holy One: Liturgy, Ritual and expression of the Sacred (Ignatius), Father Uwe Michael Lang says that the post-Vatican II tendency is primarily to focus on the revision of the texts with “insufficient regard for the complexity of the ritual.”

“…Father Lang points out that changes, especially abrupt ones, can signal that observing them “was not so important after all.” As evidence, he points to how many churches moved their tabernacles from a “central position at the high altar of the church to a peripheral place in the sanctuary or even to a side chapel” — or even out of sight. “The message was conveyed that it had become less important for the worship and life of the people.”

“Unfortunately, often in the post-conciliar period, beautiful churches — magnificent edifices built with nickels and dimes of the poor and enhanced with beautiful colors — were “done over in white, and sometimes there was more design in a McDonald’s restaurant than in these after renovation,” Father Philipps said.”

Read more:



Saint Pius Tenth Rebuild Design is Catholic

June 25th, 2016, Promulgated by Bernie


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Plans and drawings for a new church have been created and presented to Saint Pius Tenth parishioners (see the official “Rebuild” page HERE).

In Summary:

  1. The exterior looks like a church.
    1. It looks like a Catholic church.
      1. It employs a traditional hall-basilica plan with clerestory windows.
      2. It makes use of a figurative “rose window” in the front facade, reminiscent of Gothic churches from our Catholic tradition.
      3. A covered walkway across the exterior of the front suggests a medieval Romanesque cloister, an aspect of our Catholic monastic heritage.
  2. It is clearly orthodox in its arrangement.
    1. The altar is the focus of the entire interior space. It does not share equally with a pulpit and it is in the center of the chancel, not off center as some Rochester churches have located it.
  3. It is orthodox in its imagery. The meaning and understanding of the Mass as the sacrifice of Calvary made present is clearly communicated by appropriate imagery.
    1. A large prominent crucifix is suspended above the altar.
    2. The altar looks like an altar of sacrifice and not just another table (it is solid with appropriate imagery)
    3. The mural-like Last Supper scene reminds us of the institution of the Eucharist (the Last Supper as “making present” beforehand the sacrifice that was to follow on Good Friday).
    4. The “sky” above the Last Supper scene is filled with angels suggesting the simultaneous celebration of the heavenly hosts.
  4. It is Catholic.
    1. The tabernacle is situated in a central and prominent location.
    2. There is an abundance of prominent orthodox imagery that predisposes worshipers to receive the graces of the sacraments.
    3. the altar looks like an altar and not just a table.
    4. There is at least some sense of hierarchy: the chancel is raised higher than the nave by the traditional 3 steps. The celebrant’s chair and tabernacle are further raised another step higher.
    5. It would appear from the drawings that the figures and scenes will be rendered in a natural manner: not grossly distorted/abstracted or overly realistic. A sense of redeemed or “divinized” nature will be communicated by way of the rendering of the figures. If the “mural” will be on etched glass the impression of transcendence will be further enhanced.

I wish there was a ciborium or baldacchino over the altar.

It is interesting, I think to compare the Saint Pius Tenth plans with the ones for the proposed chapel at Saint John Fisher College that I reviewed, HERE.



NYS Exposed Education: More options for sending kids to private schools

June 24th, 2016, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

From Channel 10 News – NYS Exposed Education: More options for sending kids to private schools

Some might think the governor’s “parental choice in education act” is just to help rich people send their kids to exclusive schools. However, the education investment tax credits are targeted at low-income and middle-income families and to donors who specifically want their money to help disadvantaged kids get the education every child deserves.

Mary and Ben Anderson are raising five children. They picked a house in Fairport so they could send them to the public schools there, but things changed when St. John Bosco School opened in East Rochester.

Hats off to Rebecca Leclair for covering this story and for dealing with unruly interviewees. For more on the bill see


Latin Mass for SS Peter & Paul – 6/29 @6:30PM – Pittsford, NY

June 22nd, 2016, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

via facebook:

Wednesday, June 29 at 6:30 PM – 8 PM

St. Louis Church, 64 S Main St., Pittsford NY

Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (the “Latin Mass”) for the Solemnity of SS Peter & Paul! A schola will sing Palestrina’s Missa Papae Marcelli. If you’ve never been to a Sung Latin Mass, you can expect three things: Music that beautifully praises God for his great glory, Ritual that gives outward expression the truths of our faith as well as the interior movements of our hearts, and Silence in which one can have an intimate encounter with Christ who offers himself up for us as the perfect sacrifice pleasing to God the Father. All are welcome!



SenecaCherub — and a Rant!

June 22nd, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Today’s rant is about lectoring.  The laity is blessed to be permitted to lector at Mass. The rant is about those who seem to do nothing to prepare.  It is like coming to the feast without a wedding garment.  We could all cite examples, and hopefully some of you will.  For perspective, I am not criticizing someone who ‘steps in’ at the last minute because the scheduled lector didn’t show up; rather it is more about a lackadaisical attitude toward the awesome permission to proclaim God’s Word. And those in the pews know there is going to be big trouble when the reader looks down at the lectionary with a start, a deer-in-the-headlights look.

The latest offense, just yesterday, prompted this post.  The first reading began with the words “Sennacherib, king of Assyria….”  This is an exciting reading.  It’s not like God slays 185,000 people in one night with any frequency, to protect His Faithful. Sennacherib is not SenecaCherub (said 4x), and not sin-ache-rib (no matter how the lector might strive to find English words to help with the pronunciation.) And if the priest is going to speak about the reading during his homily, his choice is to propagate the error, or pronounce it correctly and hurt the lector’s feelings, or to preach around the issue by using a title or other descriptor, ad nauseum.  I even heard one priest “correct” a lector to a wrong pronunciation.  Yet she was right.

Sometimes, though, the homily helps when those in the pews have absolutely no idea what was said.  At one late afternoon Mass, the lector several times mentioned the OY-FREIGHTS and there was not sufficient context to identify otherwise unless (as I was) following along in a missal.  The priest deftly recovered without direct criticism by working into his homily the location — the Euphrates River.

What is the solution? I think it must begin with a holy respect for the Word.  The lectors should be reading the Bible themselves, at least a bit every day, else there is a disconnected sense.  At one Mass, a lector who painfully worked his way through at least 10 complicated names, declared “The Word of the Lord.” The response of course was “Thanks be to God,” to which he then chimed in “Yeah!  Thanks be to God.”  One solution at one church was to give each lector (a small group) a pronunciation dictionary.  Other churches keep such a dictionary in the Sacristy (works OK if the lector knows there is a problem, arrives early enough to get to the reference material, and the sacristy is unlocked.

A better solution and a quick solution (as when preparing the night before at home) is to use the USCCB website: and there is a calendar on the first page. Click on the date of the liturgy, and text for the readings will come up. Then under the calendar is a link to audio readings.  The lector can thus hear the reading and the pronunciation which is usually (but unfortunately not always) the preferred version. At least, if one falls short, there is a source to refer to, and to have made the effort.

Of course mistakes will still happen.  At one church I attend there is a lector who has mispronounced the same 4-letter word for years.  Now it is very awkward for anyone to correct her.  At another church, there is an elderly gentleman who gets prostate and prostrate mixed up more often than not. I think he is also the one who has trouble with the burning braziers.

Even when we know the mistakes and we’re prepared, human mistakes will still happen.  No matter how much I try, prophecy and prophesy still trip me up …. and to paraphrase St. Paul, ‘the good I want to do, I do not do’; the mistakes I want to avoid I do again and again. But at least we can try.

Hint on long Greek words: the accent is often on the 3rd syllable from the end, like Acropolis. It pertains to Philadelphia too, believe it or not, but Americans often say Phil-a-del-phua and that would make it seem to be on the second syllable from the end. But if we pronounce that Greek word correctly, the ending ‘phia’ is 2 syllables. Thus Phil-a-del-fee-ah is also pronounced with accent on the third syllable from the end.  Now for more illustration, here is a pronunciation link for Paul’s speech at the Areopagus*: and


*Areopagus, or Mars Hill, where Paul preached:

Areopagus with tablet showing P:aul's speech

Tablet shows Paul’s speech



The Clarity of Cardinal Sarah’s Words — Part III

June 19th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Continuing in the review of Cardinal Sarah’s Book “God or Nothing,” this Part III covers his observations regarding several popes, liturgy and prayer.  Robert Cardinal Sarah has known every pope personally since Pope Paul VI, and has up-close impressions of the men, as well as their effects in the Church. Cardinal Sarah is unafraid to speak out on contemporary threats within and outside the Church.

Comments on recent Popes

Pope Paul VI —  is the pope who named Cardinal Sarah as Bishop of Conakry, which directly put his life at risk under the dictatorship then in power in Guinea. (How he escaped execution is a powerful read on Divine Providence!)

“Paul VI had to cope with extraordinarily difficult upheavals.  The world was changing very quickly, and the Council did not bring the much-awaited in-depth understanding.  The progressive hermeneutic was even leading the  faithful into dead ends. Many priests left the priesthood. Convents emptied out, and many nuns started to put aside their habits.  Little by little, the spirit of the age caused the disappearance of the signs indicating that God’s hand had been placed on those who had devoted their lives to the Lord.  There was a widespread impression that, even among consecrated persons, the presence of God was forbidden!  For the pope, this meant terrible suffering.”

  • “The pope [Paul VI] was a prophet.” “[He] intended to preserve the deposit of revelation from the reformist or revolutionary aberrations of the ideologues in attendance.  He did all he could to fend off very violent attacks.” 
  • “Despite the challenges [regarding Humanae Vitae], the pope never intended to get involved in a debate that was distorted by libertarian thinking.  Paul VI published his document, then he remained silent, bearing with all the difficulties in prayer.  Until his death, on August 6, 1978, he never wrote another encyclical.”

Pope Saint John Paul II — when the newly elected John Paul II met Bishop Sarah, and learned that he was the youngest bishop in the entire Church, he called him a “baby bishop.”

  • “The Polish Pope showed there is no pastoral success without sharing in Christ’s sufferings.” … “I think his last moments on earth were a sort of unwritten encyclical.  The pope was carrying the Gospel in his broken body…. He had entered into the silence of God.”
  • “And despite so many sufferings … the mystery of the apostolic tenacity of John Paul II and of his serene death reminds of this remark by Saint Bernard: ‘The faithful soldier does not feel his wounds when he lovingly contemplates the wounds of his King.'”
  • “The relation of trust that he had with Cardinal Ratzinger was immense, while at the same time these two giants remained disarmingly humble….we walked with a saint who is now a protector of the Church in heaven.”

Pope Benedict XVI –due to the incapacity of his superior, Bishop Sarah was attending meetings with Pope Benedict, and developed a deep respect for His Holiness.

  • “Quarere deum, to search for God, is the true synthesis of the pontificate of Benedict XVI.”
  • “Joseph Ratzinger did not change after his election. He remained a very sensitive, modest, and reserved man …. This pope was incapable of an authoritarian or preemptory act.”
  • “If we are seeking the truth, Benedict XVI is an exceptional guide.  If we prefer lies, silence, and omissions, Benedict XVI becomes an unacceptable problem….”
  • “Benedict wrote in Caritas in veritate: ‘Without God man neither knows which way to go, nor even understands who he is….'”

Search for Church

“We have seen all sorts of ‘creative’ liturgical planners who sought to find tricks to make the liturgy attractive, more communicative, by involving more and more people, but all the while forgetting that the liturgy is made for God.  If you make God the Great Absent One, then all sorts of downward spirals are possible, from the most trivial to the most contemptible.”… “Benedict XVI often recalled that the liturgy is not supposed to be a work of personal creativity. If we make the liturgy for ourselves, it moves away from the divine; it becomes a ridiculous, vulgar, boring theatrical game.”

The elimination of God within Western cultures is a tragedy with unsuspected consequences. … The lack of a connection with God has remained the major concern of all the popes since John XXIII, an abyss that continues to yawn ever deeper.” … “Joseph Ratzinger saw at the root of the crisis of faith a defective understanding of the idea of Church …. The crises in the Church always have their origins in a crisis of the priesthood.”

“The Council’s (Vatican II) intentionnot the ‘spirit’ of those who misinterpret it — was to give back to God all his primacy.” .. .”The Church must radiate Christ exclusively, his glory and his hope.

“Today how can anyone deny the fact that some men of the Church are in a state of moral ruin? Clerical narcissism is not just a literary theme.  The sickness can be deep-seated.” … “I could mention many examples of priests who seem to forget that their life is centered solely on God. They devote only a little time to him during the day because they are swamped in what I would call the ‘heresy of activism.’ … Christians themselves. on many occasions, have settled down to a silent apostasy.”

Regarding contemporary issues

“…we would commit a grave sin against the unity of the Body of Christ and of the doctrine of the Church by giving episcopal conferences any authority or decision-making ability concerning doctrinal, disciplinary, or moral questions.”

“…the current difficulty is threefold and one at the same time: the lack of priests, gaps in the formation of the clergy, and an often erroneous idea about the meaning of mission…. There is a missionary trend that emphasizes political involvement or struggle and socio-economic development; this approach offers a diluted interpretation f the Gospel and of the proclamation of Jesus.”

“I sometimes have the sense that seminarians and priests are not doing enough to nourish their interior life by founding it on the Word of God, the example of the saints, on a life of prayer and contemplation, all rooted in God alone. There is a form of impoverishment or aridity that comes right from the interior of the Lord’s ministers.”

“Nowadays the unity of the Church is threatened at the level of revealed doctrine, for there are many who consider their own opinion to be the real doctrine!”

“God did not ask us to create personal projects but to transmit the faith …. Men of God are conveyors, not interpreters; they are faithful messengers and stewards of the Christian mysteries…. God alone should be our point of reference…. Too often we are opposed, each one enclosed in his little chapel.”

Prayer is essential

“One of the major difficulties at present is found in ambiguities or personal statements about important doctrinal points, which can lead to erroneous and dangerous opinions…. Confusion about the right direction to take is the worst malady of our era…. The variety of opinions in a society that is flooded with news ought not to make us forget the centuries-old tradition of the Church.  The best way to understand and transmit it is the interior life in God.”

“Silence is the path to close personal encounter with the silent but living presence of God within us.”

“True prayer requires us to cultivate and preserve a certain virginity of the heart….”

“We must not fall into the trap that tries to reduce the liturgy to a simple place of fraternal conviviality.”

“We live now in an era that is intensely seeking what is sacred but because of a sort of dictatorship of subjectivism, man would like to confine the sacred to the realm of the profane.”

“God is still calling as many men as in the past; it is the men whose hearing is not what it used to be.… there are many to hear the good news, there are only a few to preach it.” … “We need priests who are men of the interior life, ‘God’s Watchmen’ and pastors passionately committed to the evangelization of the world, and not social workers or politicians.” … “What matters most is the quality of a priest’s heart, the strength of his faith, and the substance of his interior life.”

“… the worst thing is the behavior of unfaithful priests … The ideological spirit is the opposite of the Gospel spirit. That is why priests who choose to follow or to propagate political ideas are necessarily on the wrong path, since they make sacred something that is not supposed to be.”

“…the Church will always have to confront ideological lies. Today, she must address gender ideology… gender, the product of reflection by American structuralists, is a deformed child of Marxist thinking…. Gender ideology conveys a crude lie, since the reality of the human being as man and woman is denied.  The lobbies and the feminist movements promote it with violence… it is interested above all in the deconstruction of the social order … to abolish Christian civilization and construct a new world.”

“The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned.”

“Reform, therefore, is this interior work that everyone must accomplish, at both the personal and the ecclesial level …. Only the contagion of sanctity can transform the Church from within.”

“… our world is going through an unprecedented moral crisis … The great challenge lies in this unquenchable thirst for the beyond.”

“… both the clergy and the laity today are in urgent need of conversion.”

More to come………..



4 from Dr. Peters in 1 Day

June 17th, 2016, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

The great majority of Christian marriages are valid

Instruction, not insults

The missing middle term

A few notes on journalistic points made today


Loretto Head Summoned to Rome for a Discussion (or, maybe, a “talking to”?)

June 17th, 2016, Promulgated by Bernie

From the Nation Catholic Register

The president of the Sisters of Loretto has expressed surprise that she has been summoned to the Vatican to discuss several “areas of concern” regarding her order.

This summons was contained in a letter from the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL) to Sister Pearl McGivney, the president of the Loretto Sisters. She informed the order’s members about the summons in a June 1 letter that was leaked to the National Catholic Reporter

Read the whole post HERE


“Yes, but”… Versus Populum vs. Ad Orientem

June 16th, 2016, Promulgated by Bernie

From the blog Dominus mihi adjutor

by Fr Hugh Somerville-Knapman OSB

…It (an excerpt from a 1966 Catholic Herald newspaper article) refers to the then 18-month-old permission given to parishes in England and Wales to celebrate Mass versus populum, facing the people. It notes that only 10% of parishes had taken up this permission; at those 10% of parishes the change was said to be very popular with the people. Mmmm.

My first thought was to wonder if anyone would be so precipitate as to use this as an argument against the mounting desire for a return to ad orientem

Read the entire post HERE