Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Rocco Palmo goes all out with liberal spin

March 3rd, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

Those who have followed Rocco Palmo’s “Whispers in the Loggia” site to get news on Church happenings over the years will have noticed an increasing liberal bent over the last year or so. I’m not sure if it’s always been there or if it’s just become stronger more recently, but it certainly has been thick as of late.

Case in point is his latest article on San Diego’s new appointment, SF Auxiliary Bishop McElroy, where he states:

Already a familiar figure in the pages of the Jesuit-run America magazine while still a parish priest – including a 2005 piece where he memorably shredded the then-nascent movement to bar Catholic office-holders from receiving the Eucharist over their support for legal abortion.

Shredded, huh? Pretty strong words. I was curious, so I read then-Msgr. McElroy’s article, “Prudence and Eucharistic Sanctions“. Upon reading it, I must say that canon 915 remains anything but shredded. This is an argument that I haven’t followed all that closely as I find canon 915 to be rather obvious (sort of like communion for re-”married” Catholics). However, I recalled John-Henry Westen’s recent article, “Cardinal Wuerl calls Cardinal Burke a ‘dissenter’: pot calls the kettle black” where he states:

In 2004, Pope John Paul II had the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith intervene in the US Bishops deliberation over the question of Communion for pro-abortion politicians. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later to become Pope Benedict XVI, wrote in his letter titled “Worthiness to receive Holy Communion,” that a Catholic politician who would vote for “permissive abortion and euthanasia laws” after being duly instructed and warned, “must” be denied Communion.

Well, that rather sharply contradicts what I just read in America Magazine. It’s always best to go to the sources, so I googled “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion” and found the document a few places, one of which is on EWTN’s site (have you thanked God yet today for Mother Angelica?)

For anyone interested, I’d suggest comparing then-Msgr. McElroy’s article with Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter and decide for yourself which one does the shredding.

And of course, it’s no surprise that Bishop McElroy follows Cardinal Kasper’s proposal, which along with ignoring canon 915, completely lacks coherence and instead puts “mercy” and the “pastoral” at odds with doctrine and reason.

As the final document of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family declared, “People need to be accepted in the concrete circumstances of life,” he said. This means, for example, re-examining whether divorced and remarried Catholics can receive Communion. Why can a murderer confess and be allowed to receive Communion while a divorced Catholic in a faithful second marriage cannot? McElroy asked.

Recite the Act of Contrition. The answer lies therein.

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Cardinal Burke — A Light upon the Lampstand

March 1st, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris


This is an absurdly long post.  I know it.  But I’ve chosen to go ahead with it for three reasons:  1) Cardinal Burke deserves the best tribute to his righteousness that I can muster, and to do less would be unjust 2) This is more of a documentary post than a blog post and, lest the information and links be lost, it seemed convenient to put it all together in one place.  There are many subtleties which, if left out, destroy the tenuous fabric of the picture, and 3) while of a length better to submit for publication elsewhere, the delays, re-writing or red tape to pursue that outlet would needlessly delay what needs to be timely said.  However, if it does become possible to publish elsewhere, I will take down this post, if necessary.

OK, so what is the reader’s defense?

Scroll through to the conclusions at the end and decide if you want to read any of the analysis.  That makes sense to me, and I hope makes sense to those who just want to know the conclusions.  This subject isn’t going away. It is going to gain even more import as the agenda for Synod 2015 shapes up for next October.


This post attempts to go deeper on two prior Cleansing Fire posts:   Cardinal Burke quoted: “I will resist….” and its follow-up post: “Resisting”, Canon 212, and Galatians .  Clearly, Cardinal Burke’s reply, that he would “resist” a “change” to Church doctrine that would allow the validly married / divorced / ‘remarried’ to receive Holy Communion, has stirred much reflection and opinion.  Since it was a theoretical question, why would he answer it, something rarely done in high pressured interviews?  There may be three possibilities, any or all of which might be true, or not.  First, perhaps Cardinal Burke knows that it is not really a ‘theoretical’ question, but rather a likely happening, which is unfolding before his eyes.  Second, if the Pope is implicated in the orchestrating of the Synod toward the reported change, as some fear (and which Cardinal Kasper claims), Cardinal Burke will have pre-empted any subsequent order of obedience to the contrary.  Third, perhaps the Cardinal is preparing us for what we must do if even an angel were to try to preach another gospel to us.   In that case, he himself is modeling what we have a right to do if even a Pope attempts to change Doctrine.

Another reason for this post is that Annonymouse commented, asking “whether Cardinal Burke should be so outspoken, or whether he would be more effective to advance his arguments privately to the Holy Father”?  It is a good question, and deserves an answer, beyond yes or no.  The question prompted my looking carefully into some of the developments over the last year and a half, involving a number of different pieces of input, and peering into Vatican politics, making this a long, detailed post, but hopefully not without value.  Further, the more I looked into this matter, the more Cardinal Burke seems deserving of our gratitude, for his serving well the people of God.

The following observations and opinions are offered to advance our dialogue; good people can certainly disagree on the conclusions.  But the facts of what was reported in the media are unchanged and, to the best of my knowledge, accurate.  But I don’t have any special  insight into the situation, although  I do have one private communication from Cardinal Burke, sent during the Synod (!), in reply to my mailing last September to Cardinals and Bishops.  From small clues in public statements, from relatively unchallenged media rumor, from news reports, and from a certain momentum which has built up among the laity– all  shed further light, as from a Lampstand, on the role Cardinal Burke has manifested, and the sacrifice he has made to do so.   

Also considered in this analysis are the character and words of those who stand with Cardinal Burke, and the questionable reputations of some who sided against him; e.g. an article was recently published in which Cardinal Wuerl (who gives communion to flagrantly pro-abortion politicians!) criticized Cardinal Burke as a ‘dissenter’, reported by LifeSiteNews in an article “…pot calls the kettle black.”  

Background on Cardinal Burke in the Vatican

 Cardinal Burke 2  Let us begin, for perspective, by considering the role of Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke in the Vatican .    On June 27, 2008, Cardinal Burke was named by Pope Benedict XVI to be Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the first non-European to hold a position which is one of the most powerful in the Catholic Church, and includes oversight of the Roman Rota, which receives appeals regarding decrees of nullity from litigants in various Marriage Tribunals.  Abp. Burke was elevated to Cardinal in November, 2010, and was one of the Cardinal-electors who participated in the 2013 Conclave which elected Pope Francis.  Cardinal Burke clearly was deeply trusted by Pope Emeritus Benedict, who is one of the people who has stood by Cardinal Burke, most recently publicly praising his service after Pope Francis terminated him as a member of the Curia. 

Staffing changes in such powerful positions are not unexpected when a new Pope arrives, but “how” changes are made, even the slightest nuances, can project admiration or contempt for the person replaced.   The manner in which Pope Francis (and his “PR office” aka Vatican Press Office of Frs. Lombardi and Rosica) left rumors “hanging” for weeks,  and that he moved the 66 year old (relatively young) Cardinal from being head of the Vatican’s highest court into a largely ceremonial, relatively powerless position, has deeply concerned many faithful Catholics.  They see in the “way” it was handled, a “slap in the face” or  “punishment” for Cardinal Burke’s outspokenly traditional views expressed at the 2014 session of the Extraordinary Synod.  That may well be true, and it may even be that he himself was on trial (under pressure or threat) during the Synod before a final decision to remove him was announced three weeks later.   But it was a longer and deeper journey, in my opinion, than just the Synod, and one which needs to be told in order to answer Annonymouse’s question on behalf of many who might wonder why the matter couldn’t have been handled in an alternative, more interpersonal way.  By the end of this detailed post, one might even be wondering if Cardinal Burke himself welcomed reassignment and even provoked it.

Consistory Warning Bells

Pope Francis announced on October 8, 2013, 209 days after his election as Pope, the calling of  an Extraordinary Synod to be scheduled one year later.  In retrospect, one might be surprised at the rush to convene a Synod, although the immediacy was largely unremarked in the media.  In preparation for that Synod, there was  a consistory held in February 21-24, 2014.  By then, the somewhat ambiguous agenda for the Synod had morphed into the German Walter Cardinal Kasper’s own agenda (which that Cardinal would later claim had been overtly the Pope’s agenda, an allegation which Pope Francis has apparently neither acknowledged nor denied.) However, at least part of Pope Francis’s Synod agenda was prescribed in his own words in Zenit  on September 17, 2013 (before the Synod was announced) regarding the divorced, and remarried, and their receiving the Eucharist.  In a meeting with the priests of Rome, he said:  “It is a serious problem regarding the Church’s responsibility towards families living in this situation. The Church must now do something to solve the problem of marriage annulment”.  

These last 7 words very clearly separate Pope Francis’s view from that of Cardinal Burke.  The Cardinal sees that a couple is either married or not.  The annulment follows reality.  It is not a “problem” but an opportunity to establish the Truth, and there is a “right” to have the Truth established.  The Pope’s words, on the other hand, seem more oriented to the annulment being a facilitator of dissolution, rather than a finding of Truth.  What IS the “problem” of marriage annulment to which the Pope refers?   Is there really a “problem”?  Is an inconvenience to the obstinate sinner a problem?  Or is being out of step with secular government  a “problem”?  Or is holding the line on Christ’s teaching when other churches don’t do so a “problem?” Rather,  these might be seen as “glories” of the Church and of those who serve the Church.  (From St. Irenaeus in Against the Heresies:  ”This is man’s glory–to remain steadfast in the service of God.”)

Pope Francis gave Cardinal Kasper extraordinary latitude  to dust off his writings from 20-30 years earlier (which apparently were never supported by Cardinal Ratzinger when he was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), or by Pope Saint John Paul II.)  Cardinal Mueller, now Prefect of the CDF, has vehemently opposed Cardinal Kasper’s so-called “pastoral” proposals, including his pressing to allow validly married, then divorced and ‘remarried’ persons to be able to receive the Eucharist (clearly against Church Teaching). Christ taught that such persons are adulterers. Therefore, those persons are in serious sin and cannot worthily approach the Eucharist.

With such free rein, Cardinal Kasper’s consistory speeches (prevented from dissemination, but parts are leaking out) primed the pump as early as February 2014, to prelates preparing an agenda for the Synod, effectively spotlighting who would likely be the supporters of Cardinal Kasper’s position, and who would not.  A majority of those invitation-only attendees of the first Synod session, in October 2014, voted ‘yes’ on three separate matters of controversy, although a necessary 2/3 majority vote was not achieved.  To complicate matters further, the three items rejected should have been left out of the final “Relatio” that was issued, but it was (questionably) attributed to Pope Francis that it should be left in, but with a mention that it had not passed the 2/3 vote.  Apparently that footnote is lost in some translations, and by the time the delayed English translation was available, marriage was no longer being described as just between a man and a woman, text on which the delegates had voted, adding further to the impression of a high level of manipulation in the document that is supposed to become a working document for the 2015 Synod session.  It is no wonder that faithful Cardinals, bishops and priests, as well as the laity, have a high level of concern and skepticism.

Duel of the Authors — not a level playing field

The February 2014 consistory meeting, in which Cardinal Kasper trumpeted his so-called “pastoral practice,” inevitably led to the realization that it would only undermine doctrine as well as true pastoral care,  if implemented. But, by then, the content was already in the Synod plans.  Such error was the real wake-up call for many traditional and faithful prelates, especially Cardinal Burke.  Many of the laity didn’t “get it” until the two Relatios were released during the eventual Synod.  Then the Catholic media and blogosphere were outraged, and the full import of the Kasper solution and its divisiveness in the Church was understood.

But Cardinal Burke did “get it”, at least as early as the consistory, if not earlier. ScreenShot238Over the next 6 months, in cooperation with Cardinal Mueller of the CDF and other noted theologians and experts, a book was produced, Remaining in the Truth of Christ. It was an extraordinary effort that must have been especially blessed by the Holy Spirit to have been completed and readied in such a short time, a noble effort to educate the prelates who would be attending and voting in the Synod.  Cardinal Burke addressed head-on why there is no “annulment problem” in his chapter: “The Canonical Nullity of the Marriage Process.”
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Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – March 2015

March 1st, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

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

And the Holy Father’s prayer intentions for March:

That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.

That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Guest Post by Pam Tette: The Mass

February 28th, 2015, Promulgated by Administrator

Many years ago, while on vacation in Reno, NV, I had the pleasure of attending Sunday Mass at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church.   Reno, being a tourist location for Northern California  and Las Vegas, the church was packed. Before starting his sermon, the priest welcomed all visitors. The part of his sermon that has remained with me was this one point: “No matter where Catholics attend Mass, they can be sure that it is the same all over the world.”

That comforted me for many years, until I relocated to the Rochester area.  I have attended Mass in many parish churches. In large part, the Consecration seems to me to be one of the few, recognizable, contiguous and conforming aspects of the liturgy that resembles the ordinary Catholic rite. I have recognized Methodist, Lutheran,  and Nazarene influences.  I am confused. I am far from a Catholic historian, but since the Eucharist  was given to us by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper, how can it be changed so much?  It seems as if the liturgy has been distorted and capitulated to the Protestant off shoots when our rites are changed.

I may not be well-spoken about my religion, but I do know that a cheerleader, what’s-up-dude religion doesn’t attract new priests and religious. I had the opportunity to attend a Latin Mass steeped with solemnity and ritual.  The beauty of the music and the formality truly conveyed the presence of God. Isn’t that the sense of worship Catholics should want to leave Mass with? I hope so.

Obviously, I haven’t visited every church in the area. There must be parishes within the Diocese that still recognize the solemnity and dignity of worship, parishes that convey their commitment to our immortal souls.  I hope those parishes are made known and better recognized.

We have entered the Lenten season. To me, this season should be dedicated to the awareness of Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross for us, for our souls. Our churches are just that:  OUR churches. We should make our feelings and intentions known to the parish priest that we desire a more meaningful presentation of the Mass, and not just a social gathering filled with back slapping or glad handing participants.

In closing, I would like to thank Bishop Matano for his attention to our needs. His restorations, while gradual, convey to me recognition that Catholicism is experiencing a renewed attention to what the Roman Catholic beliefs really are:  the saving of souls and not feel good entertainment.


An Icon of the Coptic New Martyrs of Libya

February 28th, 2015, Promulgated by Bernie

From the New Liturgical Movement website


Coptic Martyrs“I am sure that all of our readers are aware of the recent massacre in Libya of a group of Egyptian Copts, who were killed for their faith by Islamic terrorists. The Patriarch of Alexandria, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, has officially recognized them as martyrs, and ordered that their commemoration be inserted into the Synaxarium; their feast will be… ”   (Read More Here)

Click on the image to see the entire icon. The writer of the icon is Tony Rezk.


Renovation of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Verona, NY

February 27th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

From the skt-lmc bulletin this past week:

FATHER EDMUND CASTRONOVO, priest of the Syracuse Diocese, is known and loved by many of us. He is the pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel, a small village church in Verona, NY. His parish has recently completed an elegant, traditional-styled re-decoration of the church’s sanctuary. Because, like us, Father uses both forms of the Roman Rite, the new altar arrangement is so planned as to facilitate the celebration of Holy Mass “facing East” and “facing the people”, and the tabernacle is enshrined in the center. Have a look at his website and see photos of the “renovation”. Congratulations to Father and the parish! Your project has truly been guided by Our Lady’s good counsel!

Here’s a direct link to the gallery.


After fire, St. Pius Tenth will build a new church

February 27th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

Amy Kotlarz/Catholic Courier: After fire, St. Pius Tenth will build a new church

“My desire is that the church building will express the deep faith of the eucharistic Lord, to whom they come to present their needs and concerns in worship, prayer and gratitude,” Father Bonacci said.

It’s a short, informative read – click the link above to read it all. Please pray for Father Bonacci, the parishioners of SPX, and all those involved.


What is going on re: Basilians, Fr. Rosica, $ and the Synod?

February 25th, 2015, Promulgated by Hopefull

Please see Church Militant : regarding a very disrespectful response to  Cardinal Burke by a Basilian priest, Fr. Timothy Scott, in Canada.  That Basilian has now been relieved of his duties as spokesman for the Basilians, but many questions remain, including about finances and whether or not there is pressure to adversely affect the outcome of the Synod later this year by trying to silence Cardinal Burke and his heroic defense of Church Teaching.  More information can be found here:

There ought to be far more transparency about financial matters in the Church than many parishes and dioceses seem willing to do. Adding to the mix is Fr. Rosica’s threatened lawsuit against a Canadian blogger, which also looks like an attempt to silence criticism.  Read more here:  One of the laity’s Canon Law rights allows us to express our opinions to each other.  Lawsuits against those who do express their opinions seem oriented to stopping the lay discussion, and preventing communications.  The defendant in this case has seemed to imply that the first he knew of a lawsuit was when he opened the envelope. But why is Fr. Rosica threatening a lawsuit?  Hasn’t he read Matthew 18: 15-17?

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.  If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.  But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”  

 What about what St. Paul  says in 1 Corinthians 6: 1-8?

“When one of you has a grievance against a brother, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?  And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?  Do you not know that we are to judge angels?  How much more, matters pertaining to this life.  If then you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who are least esteemed by the church? I say this to your shame.  Can it be that there is no man among; you wise enough to decide between members of the brotherhood, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?  To have lawsuits at all with one another is defeat for you.  Why not rather suffer wrong?  Why not rather be defrauded?  But you yourselves wrong and defraud, and that even your own brethren.”   

For someone of Fr. Rosica’s stature in Rome, it is surprising that he would risk so much to go after one Catholic blogger, and set this kind of example to the wider Church.

Salt and Light TV Network in Canada, owned or run by Fr. Rosica, seems to have taken a particularly bitter attitude toward Cardinal Burke.  You can read more of the attach here:

 And please keep praying for Cardinal Burke.  


The Appeal of Pope Francis

February 25th, 2015, Promulgated by Dominick Anthony Zarcone

The Democrat & Chronicle recently reported that during Lent  a series of presentations would be hosted at the Cathedral each Sunday (February 22nd to March 22nd) which explore the vision of Pope Francis.  For a number of reasons I do not find this series personally appealing.

My concern with the series of presentations, of course, has nothing to do with Pope Francis himself.  Personally, Pope Francis is appealing; not because he says what I want to hear said or because he does what I want to see done or because he writes what I want to read.  Because Francis is the Holy Father, the Supreme Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ, the Servant of the Servants of God, the Pope is personally appealing.  Because of his teaching office, the charism of infallibility, apostolic succession and his authority, Pope Francis is personally appealing.

Although the events are free and open to the public, my first problem with the series is the time of day: Sunday morning Holy Mass at 9:15 AM followed by a breakfast discussion from 10:30 to 11:30 AM.  That is close to the time on Sunday when devout Catholics gather with beloved faith communities at Holy Mass for worship, fellowship and service ministries. We are called to “stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another….” (Compare Hebrews 10: 24, 25).  To attend the events at the Cathedral on Sunday mornings during Lent would take me away from the celebration of Jesus Christ within my family parish and would take me away from the holy responsibilities I have been given for service.  And yet, there are other concerns which make these events less appealing.

“Jesuit Spirituality: Source of Hope and Joy” sounds very interesting, but would I be unnecessarily distracted by remembering that the Jesuit presenter allowed two male teenagers to attend a dance together as partners?

“A Church That Finds New Roads” is a title that startles me.  Biblical exhortations that have influenced my heart for spiritual good include what Jeremiah wrote: “Thus says the LORD, ‘Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it and find rest for your souls.’”  The Lord Jesus Himself is quoted saying, “Enter by the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

The title which is most appealing for me is “The Church of Mercy”.  Alas, I will not attend because of the call to experience the Mercy of God in Jesus Christ at my family’s home parish where we will celebrate and experience the Grace of God in both the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Will those who present and will those who attend the series of events hosted at the Cathedral this Lenten season find an agenda for which they have advocated for years?   That some cardinal would surface leading them to the progressive papacy and dissident Catholicism to which the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI, Pope Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI refused to go?  I certainly hope not!

May each discover in Pope Francis the Catholic Sacred Tradition which he preserves and by which he pastors universally.  If this is their discovery, they will discover in the Holy Father, Pope Francis, the Catholic faith, the Catholic morality and Catholic mission all through which shines the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, the only Savior of the world.

We have a Pope.  Long live the Pope.


Pope Francis firmly opposes homosexual “marriage”

February 25th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

Dr. Paul Kengor, professor of political science at Grove City College (my alma mater), wrote over at CrisisMagazine: Is the Left’s Honeymoon with Pope Francis Finally Over?

Okay, here we go. We finally have maybe the moment we’ve been waiting for. A major national case of gay marriage, specifically in the country of Slovakia, has prompted Pope Francis to come out firmly and actively against redefining traditional marriage as the Roman Catholic Church has long understood it. In so doing, progressives/liberals who were gung-ho for Francis as their first Gay Marriage Pope are feeling betrayed. They believe they’ve been lied to, or at least cruelly misled.

The whole thing is a good read for those progressives with big expectations regarding Pope Francis and the homosexual agenda as well as for those faithful Catholics bewildered at what has been going on in Rome.


TWCNews’ Headline of “Unprecedented Move By The Vatican” is False Reporting

February 23rd, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

TWCNews Rochester reports: “Catholics React to Unprecedented Move By The Vatican”

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Local Catholics are reacting after the Vatican made an unprecedented move on Wednesday. According to the Associated Press, it gave a group of gay and lesbian Catholics from the United States VIP seats during Pope Francis’ weekly general audience.

Bishop Emeritus Matthew Clark said that really didn’t come as a surprise.

“It’s consistent with what he’s been proclaiming as part of his mission,” Clark said. “He’s very clear. All are invited. All are welcome.

However, as Andrea Gagliarducci of MondayVatican reports here:“Pope Francis: An Agenda Behind his Back?”

The private audience they asked for was not granted. Nor did the group even gain access to the “baciamano” following the general audience to which they did secure tickets. But, Sr. Grammick, who led the 50 members of the pilgrimage group, was able to get tickets for the so called “reparto speciale” (special section) in St. Peter’s Square. Hence, her group was placed not far from ecclesiastical authorities, who had the closest seats, but it was not given VIP treatment. Nevertheless Sr. Grammick claimed that they had been given VIP treatment, that her group was welcomed with full honors in the Vatican, and that whereas this could never have happened under the two previous popes, it was possible now because of the new spirit brought into the Church by Pope Francis.

Too bad that – according a press aide of the Holy See Press Office – the group had not been admitted to the ‘baciamano’, that they had not been granted special tickets as “New Ways Ministry,” but instead as a group of American pilgrims accompanied by “a Sister of Loretto.” But, the Press Office insisted, even if they had presented themselves with their real name, they would not have been denied tickets, because papal audiences are free and accessible to everyone.


The Fellowship of St. Alban Mass with Guest Celebrant this Saturday

February 23rd, 2015, Promulgated by Ludwig

The Fellowship of St. Alban – our local group of Catholics under the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter – will be celebrating mass this Saturday at 5pm at Good Shephered in Henrietta.

From the Fellowship’s website:

Vigil for the second Sunday in Lent
Good Shepherd church
Mass in the Ordinariate Use, Fr. Catania guest celebrant
Followed by Adult Ed talk by Fr. Catania, title TBA

We are doubly blessed to have Fr. Jason Catania spend the day with us, as well as having our visiting choir sing the mass setting as well as a Motet.

Following mass, there will be refreshments and an “adult education talk” from Fr. Catania.

Since the retirement of their former pastor, John Cornelius, the Fellowship has not had the opportunity to celebrate mass in the Ordinariate Use.

All are welcome to attend.

By way of reminder, the Ordinariate Use is in full communion with Rome and fulfills a Catholic’s Sunday obligation.


Site Dedicated to Memory of St. Philip Neri Fire

February 20th, 2015, Promulgated by Dr. K

This is Ben re-posting on the anniversary of the St. Philip Neri fire.

Most Rochesterians are probably familiar with the heroic story relating to the fire that destroyed the old St. Philip Neri church on Clifford Avenue. For those unfamiliar, a priest and nun sacrificed their lives in order to save the Blessed Sacrament from destruction by a fire that was consuming their church. A special website has been created to keep alive the memory of these two servants of Christ.

The website can be accessed here:

Below is a video collage:


Churches That Look Like Churches

February 18th, 2015, Promulgated by Bernie

Link to Duncan G. Stroik Gallery of Church Architecture Projects

15869201408_d79e97218c_oClick on the above link to view the several church projects designed by architect Duncan G. Stroik. He is, in my humble opinion, one of the very best architects of Catholic churches today. If you have been following my series on “Church Architecture Styles” you will have no trouble identifying Stroik’s interest in certain styles from our Catholic tradition.

Duncan Stroik is also the author of  –again, in my humble opinion– the excellent  “The Church Building as a Sacred Place – Beauty, Transcendence, and the Eternal”

71S00sMbJDL“This retrospective and forward-looking collection of 23 essays by Duncan Stroik shows the development and consistency of his architectural vision over the last eighteen years. The essays cover church modernism and modernity, renaissance and renewal, principles of church design, and a critique of modern iconoclasm. The appendices feature: a list of canonical documents pertaining to church architecture, a useful chart showing the comparative size of well known churches and comparative sizes of baldacchinos in Rome. Packed with informative essays and over 170 photographs, this collection will help priests, bishops, liturgical consultants, lay commissions and parishioners understand the Church s architectural tradition. Duncan Stroik’s architectural practice and career have helped lead the evolution of the international classical movement, and over the past decade his work has been instrumental in the new renaissance of sacred architecture. He is an internationally noted classical designer and heavily involved in promoting the new renaissance in Catholic architecture. He combines a passion for an architecture of durability, beauty, and function, with an intimate knowledge of Catholic liturgy.” –From the book jacket.



Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form with Bishop Scharfenberger of Albany

February 17th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

From a reader:

Dear Ben,
Appreciate your website very much! If you are wondering how your friends in the Albany diocese are faring under our new bishop, take heart! Bishop Scharfenberger will celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Liturgy on Saturday, March 14th at 10:30 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany. This will be the first time in decades that this has occurred at the Cathedral. We are very blessed to have this wonderful man, who regularly shows up at pro-life gatherings, and who, months ago, as one of his first public acts as bishop, organized and led a rosary march of 1,000 people around the State Capital building in Albany. If you decide to note this on your website, I prefer to be anonymous, just a reader from the Albany diocese. We are so blessed!

For more info see the event “Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form with Bishop Scharfenberger” posted by the facebook community “The Extraordinary Form in the Albany Diocese”


“Resisting”, Canon 212, and Galatians

February 16th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Rather than imposing a VERY long comment on the thread regarding Cardinal Burke’s “I will resist,” it seemed better to begin a new post, focused more toward the sphere in which we can and sometimes must resist. Such discussion is perhaps one reason why St. Paul says we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, in Philippians 2:12

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling….”

While we begin with, and always embrace, the Assent of Faith, nevertheless we work out our salvation one step at a time. There are limitations on our obedience to hierarchy when such obedience would contravene the moral law, for example.  We would not steal in order to keep a parish community solvent, would we?  Even if commanded to do so? What parent would send his or her child to a Religious Education class with a known or even suspected sexual predator in order that the child might be admitted to Holy Communion?

One thing that we learned from the sexual abuse scandal was that members of the Church hierarchy are also human, sinners who are working out their own salvation “with fear and trembling.”  We rightfully castigate leadership that covered up sexual crimes, moved predators from parish to parish, and did not protect the flock. Actually, the laity has been very “light” in the criticism of brother priests of those predators, who knew or suspected and remained silent. And they were ‘light’ on a number of prelates on whose watch the abuse occurred, without even asking what might have been done earlier to ferret out the abuse?  Only God will know who failed and how much.  And only God will know how much the priest sexual abuse scandal has been (or will be) turned to effecting the good of more involvement in matters which endanger the faith of the laity; i.e. resisting revision of Doctrine, no matter who promulgates the changes.  Did God work, to the good, even the great scandal of the 20th century to prepare us for one that could be imminent?

Cardinal Burke 5Why is Cardinal Burke’s involvement now so important?  If prelates of high rank and influence had gone public years earlier in the sexual abuse matter, even in a general way, would much suffering have been avoided? Would the image of the Church now be more able to influence  today’s secular world for the good?  Is the threatened abandonment of Doctrine (through the mechanism of a Synod, e.g.) such an approaching wolf, that one shepherd, at least, must get lay attention by crying out, at his own risk: “I will resist”?  Will his own fear and trembling be echoed in our own fear and trembling as we don’t run or hide, but rather engage in our own prudent response, given sufficient warning?

The best defense is, of course, always prayer and discernment of what we are called to do.  We pray that we are not called to enter into ‘the test.’  Everyone can pray; not everyone will have the clarity and courage to undertake a prominent resistance, whatever that will mean.  But all are called to resist sin, in whatever form it appears.   Another key element of our own protection is being well-catechized, and continuing to deepen in the Faith.  The support as well as the correction by our brothers and sisters in the Faith is key to our own endurance.  Hence, even discussing these matters together, as we are doing here, is vital to working out our own role “in fear and trembling.”

The following is Canon 212, copied from the website of The St. Joseph Foundation, Code of Canon Law Book Covera not-for-profit foundation which vindicates the rights of Catholics under the Law of the Church. The term “Christian Faithful” includes clergy as well as laity. Thus, Cardinal Burke would also seem to have rights herein.  Moreover, one might ask if it were not better for him to have publicly verbalized his concerns now, before he is possibly forbidden to do so and conflicted with demands of obedience, and encounters an even more difficult decision. Without limiting current discussion only to this Canon, it is also appropriate to mention that the person who should most know what Canon Law permits or prohibits is Cardinal Burke, having served for years as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura.   Moreover, departure from his prior practice of more silence simply serves to elevate the importance with which he views what he is saying to us.

Canon 212

§1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.

§2. The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.

§3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

Note in particular that “opinion” in section 3 is modified by the requirement that the person expressing the opinion express it “according to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess.”  It does not convey a willy-nilly right to insist on our own ill-formed opinions, for example, or to create dissent for the sake of dissent. It assumes a certain level of catechesis, as well as good will.  But also note that it does not require only a one-on-one ‘up the ladder’ communication.  Some of our prior experience from years gone by would indicate much of such input was simply disregarded anyway.  Partly, that is because Canon 212 is missing the corresponding obligation on the part of hierarchy to respond; however, rights aren’t given without some expectation of response.  Nevertheless, there also is no obligation to express concerns just one time and let it go.  (St. Catherine of Siena didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer in asking the Pope to return to Rome, did she?) Moreover, section 3 is specific that we can make our opinions known “to the rest of the Christian Faithful”, as we do on this blog, e.g.  So too, apparently, can Cardinal Burke!


I have been particularly concerned about Cardinal Kasper’s hijacking of the word “Gospel” in his arguments regarding the “Gospel of the Family,”  and even more concerned about the repeated use of this term in the Relatios from the Synod.  While even Saint Pope John Paul II may have used the term as understandably illustrative, he never used it to introduce a departure from Gospel Teaching.  In one sense, there is no “Gospel of the Family” or ” Good News of the Family.”  The Relatios catalog more problems than good news.

We must be clear.  There are four Gospels that comprise Sacred Scripture, attested as divinely inspired: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  There is no other Gospel, and the not-so-subtle “language” by which Cardinal Kasper tries to legitimize his desperation is transparently in error, as evidenced by the attempt to permit those living in what Christ called “adultery” to commit the sacrilege of receiving Holy Communion.  We should be grateful that the error is so clear, flagrant, and easy to oppose with strong voice.  What I have most held onto during this period is St. Paul to the Galatians 1: 6-12.  It is worth memorizing:

“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.”

Is it not ironic that at least part of the motivation to be more like the world, more like the Churches which do homage to the world, is indeed “pleasing men?”  St. Paul nailed it, giving us fair warning.


Valentine’s Day Card

February 14th, 2015, Promulgated by Bernie

From the New Liturgical Movement website

Click Here

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The Valuable Service of the Cardinal Newman Society

February 13th, 2015, Promulgated by Hopefull

If we really want to know what is happening on Catholic Campuses — either in defense of the Faith or in its abuse — keep in touch with the Cardinal Newman Society’s reporting, and consider supporting their efforts.  The latest newsletter  carries the following key stories reported from the Catholic Education Daily AND many more!


Good News

Celebration Honoring CUA-Grad Archbishop Sheen to Draw Students Closer to the Saints

Oakland Bishop Issues Updated Contracts; Teachers Must Act in Accord with Catholic Teachings

Archbishop Cordileone a ‘True Shepherd of Catholic Schools’

Canadian Christian Law School Wins Crucial Religious Freedom Victory, But Opposition Remains

Christendom College Building ‘True Community’ with First Friday Adoration

CUA, Washington Archdiocese Join USCCB Urging Congress to Protect Religious Freedom


Bad News

Students Encouraged to Bring Same-Sex Dates to ‘Rainbow Prom’ at Santa Clara University

Hypnotism Poses Real Dangers, despite Popularity on College Campuses

Exemption from HHS Mandate Reversed for Christian College, Catholic Dioceses

Most Catholic Colleges Hosting ‘V-Monologues’ in 2015 are Jesuit Institutions


Good or Bad?  Depends on the Results

Catholic Colleges Must Motivate Alumni to Stand for Religious Freedom

Saint Louis University Dialogues with Students Opposed to Pro-Traditional Marriage Event



Candlemas in East Bloomfield

February 9th, 2015, Promulgated by Bernie

collage_edited-1Here is a link to a video of portions of the Candlemas celebrated in Saint Bridget Church of Saint Benedict Parish, in East Bloomfield, the evening of February 2. The blessing of the candles was followed by a Mass in Extraordinary Form (Traditional Latin Mass). The Mass setting was William Byrd’s Mass for Five Voices. (See related post here.)

Follow this link to the video.


Cardinal Burke quoted: “I will resist….”

February 9th, 2015, Promulgated by Hopefull

I hardly know what to think on this matter.  Nothing I received in my Catholic education prepares me for such a scenario.  I greatly admire Cardinal Burke, and I am very concerned about the path being taken by Cardinal Kasper, the Synod, and what seems to be Pope Francis’s concurrence.  But, what is the guideline for how we are to act?  Where is the line between sin and conscience?  Looking for input and discussion.