Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

God or Nothing

April 22nd, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

God or Nothing coverThe title is a statement, not a question.  Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, knows exactly the choice and is able to lead us deeply in faith.  The endorsements on the back cover could hardly be more credible or more promising: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Raymond Cardinal Burke, Walter Cardinal Brandmüller, Most Reverend Carlo Maria Viganò (retiring Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S.) et al.

My copy arrived this morning and I am delighted to have the opportunity to read, absorb and share.  The only thing better would be to explore the thoughts and conclusions with others who are also interested.  So, if you want to participate in some on-line discussion here on Cleansing Fire about thoughts and reactions on reading “God or Nothing”, make a comment or send me an email on the staff contact link.  To give others a chance to order the book and to begin reading, I am thinking of beginning on or right after Pentecost, and asking the Holy Spirit for enlightenment in our reading.  What do you think?

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Happy Birthday, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

April 16th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

ScreenShot217When I received an email

from a friend

noting that today is

Pope Emeritus

Benedict’s 89th birthday,

I just knew I

had to share the pictures with

Cleansing Fire readers.

May God bless him and protect him.









Saint Mary’s Church, Dansville, NY

April 13th, 2016, Promulgated by Bernie

Dansville, New York, has a beautiful church that has avoided ruin through “Spirit of Vatican II” activism.

web 01bae5e57efea590ab7f6be82aaf955e110c7f55a5_edited-1Saint Mary’s in Dansville is a mix of styles. I would call it Romanesque but it has a Renaissance/Baroque main entrance, Gothic Revival coins at the corners and a prominent pediment, and touches of Byzantine in a domed cupola and stone/brick banding toward the top of the tower.

web 01f23438a9bcb34ca34acc4936d10c22ceb3a99c10_edited-1The church is in the style of an early Christian basilica and includes an open timbered ceiling, characteristic of the earliest of Christian churches. There is a large nave and two side aisles but no side chapels. The apse houses a gorgeous classical Renaissance altar designed to appear to have a baldachin or ciborium. The tabernacle was never moved after the Second Vatican Council and so is in the center of the cancel, on the altar. The vaulted ceiling is  coffered with rosettes.

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Appropriately, the back and side walls of the apse are painted in a rich, gold pattern reminiscence of a king’s throne room.

The draped opening between the columns of the altar cries out for a painting but we are offered an aesthetically underwhelming (to me) suspended sculpture of the risen Lord. I’m wondering if a painting was once there or was at least planned for that space.

web 01d6a58bd89dcbcc95e6b8ac98d69b2c006c25f0c6_edited-2Unfortunately, banners have been hung on some of the sides of the piers (square columns). They are at least well designed but, alas, they are banners and I dislike banners. In this case I think they distract from the Stations of the Cross. The piers were designed to be unadorned except for the Stations. Thankfully, the colors of the banners harmonize with the architecture and they are in good proportion to the sides of the piers.

web 01db2453d20195dda066a1a05767c9c2c69bb836ab_edited-1The Stations of the Cross are outstanding in Saint Mary’s. Renaissance in style, each has a touch of Byzantine in the gold mosaic-like skies.


Yet another style appears to us in the spandrels between the piers (those triangular spaces over the piers). A heavenly host of angels rendered in the Art Nouveau style look down on us and announce that we are in sacred space –the throne room of the King, the temple of the Lord. (Yes, yes, I know, in the New Covenant the people are the Temple.)

web three windows

Like nearly everything else in this church, the stained glass windows are beautiful. Rich in detail and outstanding in rendering they each invite study and reflection.

web 01e00df7767c17fa51f22ea19b6ea8e78071a45f0b_edited-1 Look at the wonderful elaboration of the main entrance. Something important happens here. This isn’t just any building.

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More Information about Saint Mary’s


Countdown to Tsunami or to a False Alarm?

April 7th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Postponed at least 3x, co-opted by the death and funeral of the iconic and revered EWTN foundress, and now with announced participants of shaky theology and shakier intentions, eyes turn to Rome in less than a day for the presentation of conclusions and results from the Extraordinary Synod. Where do you stand in your expectations between tsunami and false alarm? How quiet the wires have fallen on clear church teaching (Cardinal Brandmuller and Cardinal Sarah being significant exceptions).  How risky can it be to teach church doctrine on the eve of a Synod report?

Cardinal Brandmuller’s clarity

‘Deviation’ only word to describe gender theory and homosexual ‘marriage’: Cardinal Sarah

Africans will not accept Western push for gay ‘marriage’: cardinal

Pope picks leading progressive to present family exhortation April 8


So- strengthen the brethren:

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry.”  2 Timothy 4:1-5

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel–not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed. Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ. For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Galatians 6-12.


Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – April 2016

March 31st, 2016, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

It’s time to print out your April 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 April:

Universal: Small Farmers
That small farmers may receive a just reward for their precious labor.

Evangelization: African Christians
That Christians in Africa may give witness to love and faith in Jesus Christ amid political-religious conflicts.


The Drones Have Arrived!

March 31st, 2016, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

Drones in Catholic Churches!!! This is a pretty awesome story. I hope they can find a way to share the footage – St. Michael’s and St. Stan’s are 2 of the most beautiful churches around.

Drone technology aids local parishes By Annette Jiménez/Catholic Courier

ROCHESTER — Watching a drone glide through the skies is still not an everyday occurrence, but seeing one flying through a church is even more rare.

On March 11, Chris Dominicos guided a drone down the center aisle of St. Michael Church, a worship site of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish. Equipped with a camera, the drone captured video and photographs of the church’s ornate stained-glass windows. The windows were designed in the late 1800s and are worth millions of dollars, according to Father Mickey McGrath, the parish’s copastor.

A four-story hydraulic lift operated by Mike McBride was being used to supplement the drone’s photographs of the windows’ details, which have not been seen close up since the church was built in 1890, McBride and Father McGrath said.



Eternal Rest Grant unto Mother Angelica, O Lord…

March 27th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris


Divine Mercy Novena Begins

March 25th, 2016, Promulgated by Hopefull


Good Friday 2016

March 25th, 2016, Promulgated by Bernie

Grave crucifixes from a French cemetery.

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Holy Week at the Carmelite Monastery

March 18th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

For those seeking a special place to attend Holy Week Liturgies, or whose own church may not be having all the days covered, think about spending all or part of Holy Week worship at the Carmelite Monastery, 1931 Jefferson Rd. in Pittsford.

Here is the schedule:                            ScreenShot189

Palm Sunday: 8:00 AM Mass

Holy Thursday: 5:00 PM Mass

Good Friday: 3:00 PM Liturgy

Holy Saturday: 8:30 PM                                        Easter Vigil

Easter Sunday: 8:00 AM Mass

Profession and Veiling

Yesterday I posted that there would be a “profession” of one of the Carmelites this morning, and I was fortunate to be able to attend.  Bishop Matano presided with Father White and 4 other priests in attendance who celebrate Masses at the Carmel on a regular basis. I would estimate about 100 people in attendance, plus the nuns behind the grill.  It was an absolutely beautiful ceremony, which I am grateful to have been able to attend, as I have been to ordinations of priests and deacons, but never to a profession of vows by a religious.

Sister Joseph Maria of the Trinity, O.C.D., in the presence of her parents and family and many third order Carmelites, was wearing a white veil when she entered, and answered in strong voice the Bishop’s questions.  The first was: “My dear Sister, what do you ask of God and His Holy Church?”  She replied:  “The mercy of God, the poverty of the Order, and the companionship of the Sisters in this Monastery of Our Lady and St. Joseph, Rochester, New York, of the Discalced Nuns of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel.” We all replied “Thanks be to God.”

The Bishop then asked 5 questions of “examination” as to her resolution, to which she replied to each “I am.” Sister Joseph Maria of the Trinity then prostrated herself before the altar during a beautiful rendition of the Litany of the Saints, before proceeding to kneel before her Reverend Mother Prioress, professing her vows and promising obedience, chastity and poverty according to the Rule of the Order, until death. Signing her “formula of profession,” she left  it on the altar, and Bishop Matano gave her the Solemn Blessing of the Professed.   Then the prioress laid the black veil upon Sister Joseph Maria’s head, an “Insignia of Profession.”  It was all quite beautiful and moving, as was Bishop Matano’s homily on the importance of prayer and, of course, his celebration of the Mass.


2 DOR Priests on the Priesthood

March 18th, 2016, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

From the DOR’s youtube channel

What priesthood has meant to my life: Fr. Tony Mugavero

When did you first sense God might be calling you to be a priest? Fr. Peter Van Lieshout


Should Sacred Space Ever Be Used for a Secular Purpose?

March 16th, 2016, Promulgated by Bernie

Have you seen the post (link to a National Catholic Register article) on the custodian who was arrested for the way in which he protested a movie themed flower show in the Omaha Cathedral? Do take a minute and peruse the post HERE.

The Church has rules concerning acceptable use of the sacred space of a church. I don’t know, specifically, what those are so I hope some readers who know can inform us of the rules in the comment box.

Regardless of the official rules, however, I pose the question as to whether you think it is ever proper to use a church for secular events or displays? (Let’s keep in mind that, unlike the middle ages, there are plenty of secular venues available for large gatherings.)

A few years ago I ran into a very beautiful art installation in the Abbey Church of Melk, Austria. From an aesthetic point of view it was a stunning play on the colors of the interior of the church and the rounded architectural forms of the dome and arches. Curtains of (what appeared to be) flowers added an ethereal or transcendental feeling. Certainly we could not object to this use of a church as much as we might to the Omaha installation that featured costumed manikins depicting movie scenes. But, should even the Melk Abbey church installation have been allowed?

(Click on each photograph)

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Custodian Arrested

March 15th, 2016, Promulgated by Bernie

From The National Catholic Register

…when Kenney walked into the Cathedral on Jan. 29, he couldn’t believe his eyes. There, hanging in the nave of the cathedral, was a life-sized and fully detailed…

Read more HERE.

Be sure to take a look at some pictures of the displays HERE.


Stations of the Cross at Church of the Good Shepherd

March 11th, 2016, Promulgated by Bernie

Traditional Stations of the Cross was prayed at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Henrietta, tonight, led by Father Peter Adu Boahen Nkansah.


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Very brief video clip HERE


Coming up from the Whine Cellar

March 10th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Whoops! Did we just slip into a time warp?  Not at all.  It is just voices of the past coming up from the Whine Cellar.

The March 10, 2016 issue of the National Catholic Reporter has an article entitled: Lay preachers in Rochester diocese want to be at the pulpit again,   by Peter Feuerherd.  Soon after the headline, it becomes clear that the generic “lay” actually means “women.”  Back to the gender agenda.

So let’s try to be clear, shall we, ladies?

  1. You got away with disobeying Canon Law for about 30 years, and now you want to use that disobedience as an argument to keep doing it (It is NOT ‘custom;’ that takes 100 years to validate.) You are criticizing the bishop who, himself, has acted obediently to Canon Law, and stands between you and your adding more sins of disobedience to your soul.  Perhaps, someday, you will be grateful for that intervention.  In the meantime you should recognize who gave you those permissions to “preach” and led you into such an untenable situation.
  2. Canon Law is not some dry set of “rules.” Rather, it is there for protection of all the Faithful.  The rules against lay preaching (by men or women) isn’t about insulting you, but to protect us from you!  Among the pro-preach names in the NCR article we see one who supported naming a Notre Dame HS soccer field after an acknowledged lesbian, one with ties to Fortunate Families which has not been reluctant to criticize Church and Pope to promote its own LGBT programs, one who supports the Women’s Ordination Conference, plus a priest commenter with a long list of bad judgment affiliations (search for “Spilly” on the Cleansing Fire website .)  Yes, the Faithful do need to be protected, from you and your agenda.
  3. Speaking for myself, and for many women whom I know, we do not want to hear from you behind the pulpit at Mass — at all.  You don’t have the charisms of the ordained, no matter how much you try to wage the battle on a ‘skills’ level.  We don’t want to hear preaching from people who can’t even be obedient to the law of the church or supportive of their own bishop.  There are plenty of opportunities for street corner evangelization which you could pursue; not the families at Sunday Mass.  They are required under Church Law to attend Sunday Mass, not to listen to you.  You are not required to preach.  Or even allowed to preach at Mass.
  4. The Rochester Diocese is ‘loaded’ with deacons, compared to other dioceses. Their numbers imply that they could easily handle any real preaching needs, and it makes sense to have them do so where necessary.  There is no need for your services. There never was.  We don’t need to hear “a woman’s perspective” in preaching.  We need to hear God’s perspective.
  5. Get over it. Stop whining. Begin figuring out how to make a real contribution. It is unbecoming, annoying, and degrades both women and respect for the priesthood.  Your ‘getting your way’ with preaching can’t possibly lead to more priestly vocations.  It is not about YOU; it is about serving Christ.  Come up from the Whine Cellar.

On the other hand:

It is only fair to make one comment in support of some of the women affected by this situation.  You were encouraged from very high levels to pursue as much as you could pursue for as long as you could pursue it, in education and in employment.  The high-level agenda was clearly to brute force the access for women to the priesthood, to get those in the pews used to seeing women in the Sanctuary.  Laying down such a path strongly opposed what was taught by Pope St. John Paul II and by Pope Benedict XVI.  IMO, if you could really see, with clarity, you would see that you were used.  Badly.  Now, so many years later, the training you took with career intentions is nearly worthless.  (That is not to say that anybody who wants to learn for their own edification shouldn’t be able to do so. But urging people to invest time and money in education for a career that is not possible is dead-end wrong.)  You may have given up jobs to pursue a church path that could never have come to fruition. IMO, it is just plain wrong to lead people to invest in training for what they are not allowed to fulfill, to build up false hopes, and to allow them to become increasingly narrow in specialization and so increasingly unmarketable.  It would have been far better to have directed those skills into teaching, and to the catechetical needs of the next generation. IMO, you are not angry with the right person.



Caution: when you find the words that laity can preach in Church, note that is true, but not during Mass.  For example, if a retreat were being held in the church, a lay person could recount a personal testimony during that retreat, even from the ambo/pulpit. Some confusion has been caused by that wording. 


Three New Classical Schools to Open Using Chesterton Academy’s Catholic Curriculum

March 5th, 2016, Promulgated by Ben Anderson


Three New Classical Schools to Open Using Chesterton Academy’s Catholic Curriculum

The classical curriculum of Chesterton Academy — a 2014 School of Excellence on The Cardinal Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll — has captivated the attention of parents and educators, leading to an influx of new schools adopting the curriculum across the country. This fall, the Chesterton Academy model will be implemented at three new locations in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

“The classical model is appealing for the simple reason that truth, beauty and goodness are appealing, and these three things are missing from too many schools today,” Dale Ahlquist, president of the American Chesterton Society and co-founder of Chesterton Academy, told the Newman Society. “Our formula is an integrated classical curriculum infused with the Catholic faith and a very pro-family philosophy.”

“This is a grassroots, bottom-up movement, and not something inflicted from above,” said Ahlquist. “In every case, they came to us: a core group of families who were drawn to our model and our curriculum.”

Five schools across the United States and one school in Italy are members of the Chesterton Schools Network: Chesterton Academy of Buffalo in N.Y., Chesterton Academy of the Holy Family in Downer’s Grove, Ill., Chesterton Academy of Omaha in Neb., Chesterton Academy of Rochester at St. John Bosco Schools in N.Y., St. Thomas Aquinas School in Warren, Mass., and Scuola Libera Gilbert Keith Chesterton in San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy.

The three new locations set to open are: Iron Mountain Academy in Iron Mountain, Mich., Chesterton Academy of Milwaukee in Brookfield, Wis., and Regina Chesterton Academy of Cardinal O’Hara High School in Philadelphia.



Blessed Sacrament Front and Center

March 4th, 2016, Promulgated by Bernie

From the National Catholic Register

Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison Wisconsin discusses diocesan deadline for suitable tabernacle placement.

Read more here.


Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – March 2016

February 29th, 2016, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

It’s time to print out your March 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 March:

Universal: Families in Difficulty
That families in need may receive the necessary support and that children may grow up in healthy and peaceful environments.

Evangelization: Persecuted Christians
That those Christians who, on account of their faith, are discriminated against or are being persecuted, may remain strong and faithful to the Gospel, thanks to the incessant prayer of the Church.


A Priest Forever: The Life and Times of Father Robert F. McNamara

February 22nd, 2016, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

The January 4, 2016mcnamara email edition of the Catholic Courier contained a banner advertisement to a book that immediately caught my attention – “A Priest Forever: The Life and Times of Father Robert F. McNamara”. I was excited to read it as I have copies of his history on “The Diocese of Rochester in America” 1868-1968 and then a subsequent edition covering up to 1993.  They make for quite interesting reading.

I found Fr. McNamara’s life to be very encouraging and a great example to us all. It’s hard to comprehend how much of an impact this man had on the Diocese and American Catholicism in general given the length of his tenure and the amount of writing he left behind. A good portion of this book contains some of his writings including meditations on the Rosary. I also recall that Rich Leonardi has linked to his Saints’ Alive series hosted by the St. Kateri parish website.

He died just less than 7 years ago (May ’09) so perhaps some of our readers knew him.  Feel free to share an uplifting story in the comments section.  I don’t have time to give a more thorough review, but if you click the “Read the rest of this entry” link below, you can see some of the snippets that I highlighted as I went through the book.  I give no context to the snippets, so you’ll have to buy the book yourself and read it.

Read the rest of this entry »


Who am I to judge? again?

February 18th, 2016, Promulgated by Hopefull

What are we to think? How are we to explain to non-Catholic friends? As if we didn’t have enough hostility in the Presidential Campaign, now there seems to be more gasoline on the fire, which even could be called interference by a head of state in the elections of another sovereign nation.  Here’s a link:;_ylt=A0LEV1qRNcZW8FkA2opXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTExZzQ0YmY1BGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDVUlDMV8xBHNlYwNzYw–