Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

St. John Bosco Schools 10th Anniversary – A Decade of Difference

February 14th, 2018, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

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Sheltering in Place: Part IV: “Get the Hell out”

February 11th, 2018, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Sheltering in Place:

  • Part I in this series began as we should begin, with the importance of our personal commitment to the Faith. Without that, how can we go any further?
  • Part II explained the importance of holding onto truth, and to the resources (many pre-Vatican II) which might someday soon cease to be available, or be distorted in their content. The emphasis was on reading materials since many electronic resources might be unavailable if the grid goes down, or if religious subjects are censored.
  • Part III was entitled “The indispensible priest” with much emphasis on the Sacrament of Confession, and the need for access to a priest who is faithful to the true Catholic faith, and to his responsibility to souls.

Part III actually set the foundation for this Part IV: “Get the Hell Out!”  This post is about getting rid of what we don’t need, what will injure us or those close to us, avoiding anything or anyone in authority who contradicts what the Church has always taught. Of course it means eliminating our own sin, as a primary responsibility, and as discussed in Part III. But it also means identifying who or what puts our own souls at risk and then getting those elements “the hell out” of our lives, so that we may hold deeply and strongly to the Faith. Just as those most necessary are priests (Part III), so too those with the potential for damaging influence over us are usually priests, by what they say and by what they refuse to say.

Sheltering in Place: Part IV: Get the Hell Out!

The first three parts of “Sheltering in Place” were written early in 2017. This fourth part needed more time to develop, and has come now to its own timing as a result of some outrageous developments over the past year. We have seen the deepening split in interpretation of Amoris Laetitia and the Pope’s refusal to answer the Dubia (and now two of those four Cardinals are deceased),  then we read the ridiculed but apparently sincere filial correction and, most recently, there is just silence and commencement of further split, one might say, de facto schism.

Meanwhile, in our time, the Vatican provides a venue and pulpit for pro-abortion population-control forces, and the destruction or tainting of the clear pro-life intent of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Its members were dismissed and its efforts diluted with prudential judgment issues of capital punishment, immigration and climate change! The Church now teeters on the brink of surrendering the Catholic Church in China to secular powers, the ones which force women to abort all but one child.  I would never have dreamt such a split could have occurred in the Church in my life time, or in anybody’s lifetime. She needs our prayers, earnestly. In addition to finding solid, holy, trustworthy priests, we must have the courage to turn away the wolves in our lives, especially those with any ability to touch our souls, whether we personally like them as people, or not. Each day that goes by, each news cycle, we see more and more divisions.With what has been happening at the global, macro level, it seems unreasonable to assume there are not splits right at the level of what is preached, even within dioceses and within parishes.

What is the source of this division?

One might say the answer is Christ Himself, or rather our reactions to His teaching. For some will hold onto the Sacred Word, the Deposit of Faith, the Catechism and the teachings of the Fathers, and others will be tepid, picking and choosing in cafeteria style, adapting to the times, even with a seemingly ‘good’ intention of making life easier for the ‘faithful.’  Others will disguise themselves as faithful, but are not. Christ said:  “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division; for henceforth in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against her mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”  Luke 12: 51-53

If we are to “hold on” to what Christ taught in its fullness, we risk much by trying to do so through priests who are not holding on themselves. Or holding on just so far and no further, writing their own rules, seducing with their own opinionated prudential judgments the very people they should be protecting with faithful commitment to and teaching of the unchangeable doctrine and dogma.

The errors of Gradualism and “NEW?” Revelation

Several Sundays ago I was approached by a friend saying she had been at a local church the prior week and the homily was given by a senior priest who has some recognition locally, who asserted the entire erroneous teaching about gradualism, and the need to embrace ‘new’ revelation by the Holy Spirit. She was shocked and so am I, of course. We mutually affirmed what we each have always been taught, including that gradualism and anything which allows deferring of repentance until we ‘feel ready’ (without foregoing Communion) is wrong. Understanding of our Faith may deepen, but it never contradicts what has gone before. This is neither an obscure, theoretical issue nor theological debate fodder. It is the smoke of Satan hovering in hallowed halls.

And it is not a surprise. It is the division Christ predicted between the faithful and those who are not. Today, it is particularly characterized by ‘shopping around’ for a priest who will agree with one’s own point of view. It is also what has given rise to over 40,000 different faith traditions among Protestant creeds and practices. The reward / punishment balance, perhaps, for a lifetime of shopping around for an ‘easy’ priest, is that one gets to have that priest hovering at one’s deathbed, and supplying what the soul needs at such a time with all the proper attention to detail, or not, as the case may be.




Even sheep know enough to be afraid of the wolves.

Even sheep know enough to be afraid of the wolves.


Sheltering in Place, Part IV

is very simply taking OUT of our lives

those priests who are not faithful to the Deposit of Faith,

who make their own interpretations of obedience,

and who are, deliberately or not,

misinformed and misquoting Church Teaching.

Wolves at the Gate

St. Paul said to the Ephesian elders: “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which He obtained with the blood of His own Son. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”   Acts 20: 28-32

What is occurring in the Church right now seems awesomely portended by those words of St. Paul. Note that the wolves break in, and then are ‘come among.’ It is hard to argue that is not the condition of the Church today. They are inside the very gate. What advice are we to take from St. Paul? His comments are even more directed to the hierarchy and magisterium. Yet we too need to be alert, and avoid those who are speaking perverse things. And we must pray, for them and for us, to receive the needed grace and protection. But we also cooperate by leaving no room for wolves in our midst.  And we remember that it is Christ we obey, above all. What about when a pope or bishop or priest teaches error? We hold onto Paul’s words in Galatians 1:8:  “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.”  And well-catechized laity may still be used by God to save souls.

Being Faithful

What about “good Catholics” caught in the web of being taught one thing by the wolves, and something quite different by a faithful priest?  If the lay member really didn’t know the true teaching, there would be some mitigation in which the wolf would bear even more responsibility. But if laity choose to be deliberately ignorant, there would be much less mitigation of guilt.  For those who really know the true Church teaching in their hearts, the obligation to obedience is inescapable, as martyrs know well. Where there truly is confusion that can’t be sorted out, one can always choose the harder path, at least until it IS sorted out. To be simplistic about the principle: we need only fast one hour before Communion; but there is no Church law that prevents our fasting in the pre-Vatican II practice from midnight, which even included fasting from water.  Yes it did. Many moral issues can be submitted to the “harder way” for the sake of “offering it up” or as a resolution to confusion. Rarely do we see any required practices becoming harder; they are almost always being “relaxed.” It often seems consistent with the secular mindset of having a ‘right’ to have things easy, which is similar to the arguments for abortion and euthanasia and contraception.  At least easier on this side, before the Judgment.

Priests matter, Parishes not-so-much

Ultimately, the faithfulness of the priests who are in our lives matters much. If we hope to attract good care for our souls, it helps to get rid of what is dissembling. The erosion of faith, disturbance of conscience, and confusion of soul caused by the wolves has no good purpose or outcome.  But how do we recognize them so that we can avoid their parishes, their pulpits, and their influence?  One has to notice the details, yet with kindness and generosity. No one is perfect, but that should never prevent us from striving to obey Christ’s command: “You, therefore, must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Matthew 5:48. Nor from expecting our priests to do the same.

But how do we know whom to trust?

If we just pay attention, we can’t help but notice a lot. Some priests who consistently arrive a minute before Mass (or later) may not have prepared or even looked at the readings;  however, I have come to believe some do stay away from certain intrusive traffic patterns in the sacristy before Mass, even preparing in the rectory or car. But a priest needs enough time to say the prayers of vesting before Mass, to check that everything is ready, and to “recollect” himself. Want a quick take on his obedience? Does he wear all the prescribed vestments? I have stopped going to some Masses because the priest only wears the alb and un-cinctured stole, no chasuble. Since the cincture symbolizes celibacy, continence and chastity, his commitment to sexual purity, one can only wonder what un-cinctured albs represent.  At the least it shows ignorance of the requirements, and perhaps at worst it is deliberate disobedience. About the missing chasuble?  “…the chasuble is the outer garment worn over the alb and stole.  Over the centuries, various styles of chasubles have emerged.  Derived from the Latin word ‘casula’ meaning “house,” … spiritually, the chasuble reminds the priest of the charity of Christ: ‘Over all these virtues put on love, which binds the rest together and makes them perfect’ (Colossians, 3:14).  The former vesting prayer was “O Lord, Who hast said, ‘My yoke is sweet and My burden light,’ grant that I may so carry it as to merit Thy grace.”  So, just what does it mean to celebrate Mass without wearing a chasuble? [Quote in italic is from ]

Another indicator of “recollection” comes right at the beginning of Mass, when the priest says aloud “In the name of the Father….etc.” Watch carefully how his words synchronize with the position of his fingers …. Out of sync? Distracted? Also I’ve noticed, but it’s harder to explain and quantify, how some clergy seem to shy away from using the Crucifix or referring to the Passion, but I have no explanation, just caution. St. Paul reminds us “… we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”  1 Corinthians 1:23-24. One priest who removed the Crucifix from the Sanctuary had a pseudo-uprising among his parishioners whom he called “divisive;” but, the diocese forced him to reinstall that Crucifix promptly. I have hear, now that we are in Lent, that the Crucifix has again disappeared from the Sanctuary!  Hopefully, the parishioners will again bring the matter to higher authority, and keep doing what is necessary.

We can listen carefully to the celebrant’s reading of the Gospel, for changes, tone, emphases in text. The homily is not the time to zone-out. Preaching distinguishes a priest’s communication to his people, how he is inspired by the Holy Spirit, how he chooses to serve the congregation.  Are the homilies mostly simplistic “God loves you. Be good. Send money. Don’t run with scissors” type homilies, or do they address difficult issues of needed catechesis, without violating the laity’s right to their own prudential judgments in those relevant issues? Does the priest’s homily show a sufficient grasp of the bible and the catechism?  Why would we want to have our confession heard by someone who is not totally conformed to Church Teaching? Much can be learned from a priest’s preaching, knowledge of context and scripture, insight and personal joy (or lack thereof).  Listen carefully for any personal, unauthorized revision of the words of the Canon. Some don’t like “dewfall” and sometimes “for all” is snuck in where the words “for the many” are proper.  Sometimes other names are inserted in the Canon where not appropriate. The Mass does not belong to any particular priest; it is given to the people of God who have a right to expect obedience, not “pastoral” creativity.

But I don’t want to leave the impression that the aforementioned “gradualism” or “new revelation” are the only errors being routinely preached today.  I offer some fairly recent examples, which give me pause. In most of these situations I offered input which was rejected. But sometimes it is necessary to persist, for the good of souls.  Here are some examples and warnings experienced in the last few years. All are priest’s words, as near as can be remembered:

  • At a weekday homily:  “If the pope said something was white and I could clearly see it was black, I would say it is white.” (Appalled at the decision to lie for anybody, I challenged the conclusion which remained the same. I spoke to a senior priest whom I trust. I asked if he would die for the pope and he quickly said “yes.” Then I asked “Would you lie for the pope” and just as quickly said “Never.”)
  • One priest said in a study group setting: “All sin is the same; not some big and other little sin.” 1 John 5:17 was pointed out to him and he got angry. “All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal.”
  • A priest said in a weekday homily that basically everyone at the Mass was also “in” the host.
  • In a group of about 20 lay people, a priest expressed the opinion that priests should be able to forgive in confession a divorce and remarriage without annulment, and readmit the ‘penitent’ to Communion without change in marital status. He also said he has no reluctance to attend “homosexual union” celebrations.
  • Several priests have made a point of saying they don’t know the bible very well, but said it dismissively as if it weren’t important. I don’t understand how they can not know the bible, or how Sacred Scripture can ever be unimportant.
  • I was approached by several people who had been at a Mass which I did not attend, complaining about what the presider said: “I wasn’t here to hear confessions before Mass [he never was; confessions weren’t scheduled before Mass in that parish] so, therefore, no matter what sins you have to confess, it is alright to come up for Communion, and just confess at another time.” I later asked the priest if he had actually said this and he acknowledged he had, and defended that he had, using Canons 961-2 as argument, which do not seem to support his actions.



I could go on with a list but the only point is to be very prudent and circumspect about those whom we allow into the circle closest to our souls, to encourage challenging that which we know to be untrue, not putting up with convenient revision of the Deposit of Faith or disrespect for Scripture, and basically protecting ourselves from the wolves inside the gate who are awarded pulpits from which to reign.


When Duty Demands a Response

February 5th, 2018, Promulgated by SamanthaGillenson

There are times in our lives when our civic and religious duty as Catholics come together in spectacular fashion, such as the recent failure to pass the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” in the US Senate. To make the summary brief, the bill failed to pass with 51 out of 97 Senators opposing the bill, including 14 Catholics. To witness 14 Catholics vote against the teachings of their faith was a scandal and a shock, and must be dealt with in an appropriate manner.

Thus comes the response portion of our posting today. This author decided to personally write to each of these disgraceful Senator’s Bishops and Cardinals, explaining the result of the vote and respectfully asking them to enforce Canon 915 of Canon Law in regard to these Senators in their Diocese. For those who are not familiar with Canon 915, here is a brief summary:

Can.  915 – Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after  the  imposition or declaration of the penalty and          others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.

ScreenShot914Provided above is the original form letter composed to the Bishops and Cardinals, with the contact information saved as a mail merge address book. You are all encouraged to use this letter to write your own letters, and all that would be necessary for you to do is to save the address file and letter to your computer, and then open Microsoft Word. Click on the “Mailings” tab, and then click “Start Mail Merge.” There will be an option for a mail merge wizard to walk you through the process. Or, if you aren’t familiar or comfortable with that option, you can use the good old Copy/Paste method that has served us so well in this age of technology.

ScreenShot913In this era where sin is written into the law of man and the law of God cast out, it is our duty as Catholics to inform our prelates when something as heinous as this occurs, and to respectfully ask them to do their duty and prevent sacrilege from taking place. Whether or not they will do so is sadly unknown, but we have to do our part and keep an involved correspondence with our clergymen. To fail to do so would be to fail in our God-given duty, and we would be held accountable to Him. When our time comes, and we stand before Him in Judgment, we can at least look Him in the eye and say “I did my part.”

If you have any questions, please comment below. I will do my best to answer them in a timely manner.


The following text can be copied and used in a mail merge to write to the prelates. Click on “Read the rest of this entry”



Read the rest of this entry »


Keep Watching….

February 4th, 2018, Promulgated by Administrator

Cleansing Fire has a new author on staff, about to make a debut.  So please keep watching for the next post here … and welcome our newest staffer: Samantha Gillenson!


Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – February 2018

February 1st, 2018, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

It’s time to print out your February2018 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 February:

Universal: Say “No” to Corruption

That those who have material, political or spiritual power may resist any lure of corruption.


Voice from Grave: Pope St. JP II on Humane Vitae

January 31st, 2018, Promulgated by Hopefull

Apparently this address has just been translated into English and is reprinted on the LifeSiteNews link tonight.


Pain-Capable, Indeed.

January 30th, 2018, Promulgated by Administrator


catholicvote | election 2016

Let this sink in: 14 Catholic Senators joined together yesterday to block a vote that would have prohibited abortions after 20 weeks. Cardinal Dolan explained that these abortions usually involve “brutally dismembering a defenseless unborn child, while also posing serious dangers to his or her mother.”

Their obstruction couldn’t be more extreme.

A total of 44 Senate Democrats and 2 Republicans blocked a vote yesterday on a bill that would have prohibited abortions after 20 weeks on children that feel pain in the womb. They did this despite a new poll which found that 63% of Americans favor restricting abortions after 20 weeks — including 56% of Democratic voters!




From: “Love Will End Abortion”

January 26th, 2018, Promulgated by Administrator
From: Jim Havens <>
Date: January 26, 2018 at 2:28:44 PM EST
To: Jim Havens <>
Subject: We Need to Speak Up Right Now!
On Monday, the United States Senate will vote on S.2311, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortion after 20 weeks. This life-saving legislation would ban abortions at the point when scientists agree pre-born children begin to feel pain in the womb (approximately 20 weeks).
Let’s love enough to take action!
I urge you to please contact your Senators right now and urge them to vote in favor of this S.2311 – the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
We believe every voice matters, so use yours now!
to quickly send an email via a template the March for Life has put together.
And/or call the offices of our NY Senators in Washington directly (these pro-abortion Senators need to hear our voices):
Schumer, Charles E. – (D – NY)
(202) 224-6542
Gillibrand, Kirsten E. – (D – NY)
(202) 224-4451
I did both both and truly it will not take more than five minutes of your day. 
Come, Holy Spirit!
Grace and peace,
Jim Havens
VP of Mission and Communication
The Station of the Cross Catholic Radio Network
(c) 585-690-9998

I$ the U$CCB $upporting Abortion?

January 23rd, 2018, Promulgated by Diane Harris

LifeSiteNews continues its persistent campaign to reveal the inconsistencies between the USCCB’s ‘teaching’ and its ‘lobbying’ for funds to support activities which oppose true Catholic Church teaching, based on the Deposit of Faith. Tonight LSN published an article by Lepanto Institute,  “Bishops ask US gov’t to ‘fully fund’ agency that gives millions to Planned Parenthood.”  As a matter of fact it isn’t only the US Bishops who self-contradict themselves. Every Catholic who throws a few dollars into the annual collection plate for Catholic Relief Services seems to be doing the same thing.

One thing which particularly bothered me in reading the Lepanto article is that it names the Bishop who authored the USCCB letter last month, sent to members of the Senate and the House, as Archbishop Broglio, head of Roman Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA .  Wanting to support caring for the faith of the members of the military, I thought it was a “safe” charity to which to donate. I am wrong. With Abp. Broglio at the helm, and given the letter he has written supporting grants to CRS, I’ve made my last donation to the Archdiocese for Military Services.

ScreenShot1018I don’t think the worst of this matter is the dollars which underwrite CRS’s support for abortion. I am more worried about the numerous positions by the USCCB, expressed to the US Government as being “Catholic” which are not, and which are prudential judgment issues with which we may well disagree. The government actions in the past year, in support Pro-Life, and in diminishing Planned Parenthood (more by far than in any previous presidency), are seriously undermined by the USCCB’s ingratitude, and its apparent financial and political disordered interests.

Perhaps Catholics in the pew need to have their own campaign to make sure the politicians are informed, and that we are not counted as automatically endorsing the opinions of the USCCB.  We might write:

  • “The USCCB does not speak for me as a Catholic on prudential judgment issues, such as ___(fill in the blank!)___________ .
  • As a Catholic, I am totally opposed to the US Government funding any organization which supports the following intrinsic evils “____________(fill in these blanks too!) __________”
  • Such organizations which I request NOT be funded by public funds include Catholic Relief Services and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and ____(fill in)______.
  • Thank you for all you are doing to reduce the scourge of Planned Parenthood and to protect life.”

The committee letter-writing by the USCCB seems to me to bypass the essence of national conference structure. One committee after another expresses its opinions to government, which opinions cannot help but be seen by most in secular circles as expressing a binding teaching of the Catholic Church.  Wrong!  As Cardinal Ratzinger confirmed in the Ratzinger Report (Ignatius Press 1985, p. 60) “No episcopal conference as such has a teaching mission; their documents have no weight of their own save that of the consent given to them by the individual bishops.” He explained: “It is a matter of safeguarding the very nature of the Catholic Church, which is based on an episcopal structure and not on a kind of federation of national churches.  … in each diocese there is only one shepherd and teacher of the faith ….”

In my opinion, the use of such committee letters to government figures only confuses the faithful, asserts an authority not held, and misleads those in government who are not cognizant of ecclesial dimensions. It also affects the full exercise of the rights of each shepherd.  Cardinal Ratzinger points out that some bishops “lack a sense of individual responsibility, and the delegation of his inalienable powers as shepherd and teacher to the structures of the local conference leads to letting what should remain very personal lapse into anonymity.”  


Letter from Sycamore Trust to N.D. President

January 19th, 2018, Promulgated by Administrator

Reprinted with permission from William H. Dempsey ’52,

President Sycamore Trust


For more information on the letter from the University Faculty for Life, go here:



FENCE Defense

January 12th, 2018, Promulgated by Diane Harris

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

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

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

One of USCCB’s statements can be found here:

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

Walls: Responsibility and Protection: Ezra and Nehemiah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The work accelerated due to the pressing need for protection.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

ScreenShot999 ScreenShot998



Faithful Cardinal

January 9th, 2018, Promulgated by Hopefull



Discussion of Unity and Diversity

January 5th, 2018, Promulgated by Diane Harris

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

from 1-5-18 Catholic Courier on -line

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


BOOK: Parents, Children, and the Facts of Life

December 27th, 2017, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

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



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

Excerpts from the Publisher’s Preface:

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

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

Excerpts from the Forward:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




December 26th, 2017, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Proclamation of Birth of Christ 2


Real Midnight Masses are Hard to Find

December 19th, 2017, Promulgated by Diane Harris

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

Our Lady of Victory, Rochester

Sacred Heart Cathedral, Rochester

St. Casimir, Elmira

St. James, Waverly

St. John the Evangelist, Spencerport

St. John the Evangelist, Clyde

St. Joseph, Penfield (Bp. Matano presiding)

St. Mary, Auburn

St. Mary, Canandaigua

St. Stanislaus Kostka, Rochester

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

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






More on Vestments

December 16th, 2017, Promulgated by Hopefull



New: Weekday Latin Mass!

December 9th, 2017, Promulgated by Diane Harris

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

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

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

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

Further Excerpts from St. John the Evangelist Bulletin:

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

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

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

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

God Bless, Fr. Peter Mottola


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


More information and links here:



Follow-up to “Ethical Issues in CUA Campaign”

December 5th, 2017, Promulgated by Diane Harris

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

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