Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Alan Keyes for Women’s Care Center

October 22nd, 2016, Promulgated by Hopefull

Support the Women’s Care Center:

If you have been following the developments from the (California) Ninth Circuit Court’s decision to require non-abortion care centers to refer for abortion, you know that there is a significant move to require such care centers to violate their own ethical standards, and a real threat to women’s care.  The very viable service is in great danger.


Please come hear Alan Keyes on October 27th, and support the Women’s Care Center of Rochester: 



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A Rooster Singing in the Valley of Death

October 12th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

A Letter from Haiti:  “A Rooster Singing in the Valley of Death”

Dear friends and family,

Saturday afternoon Fr Rick Frechette, Raphael, Gerald, Emile, Katil, Cesar and I made our attempt to go to Dame Marie and Apricot by land.  Not knowing what we would find and if we would be able to even reach the place, it was important to try after seeing the devastation by air in order to bring food and water as soon as possible. Communications are still impossible, and we don’t really know when they will be re-established.

haitiAs you already know, the hurricane destroyed houses and thousands of acres of lush vegetation and crops.  While normally the trip from Port-au-Prince to Dame Marie by land lasts 7 or 8 hours, this time it took 18!  The reason is because the road is full of trees, mud, rocks and debris, and we literally had to open the road as we traveled through the middle of the night, assisted by the Protection Civil.  Even the bridges were cut off, and we had to pass through rivers building a passage way with rocks with our bare hands to establish a way through them.haiti1

All this was done in the middle of the night, only with the lights of our cars and flashlights. How hard our men worked is just unbelievable.  It is truly unbelievable what they did.

Even as dawn came we could still barely see anything because of the fog.  As we looked around, it looked like a scene after a war or horror movie with barren trees and fields covered in the fog.  It was scary.  The only sound we could barely hear was every once in a while a rooster singing in the distance.  The singing of the rooster reminded me of the Gospel of the Passion when Peter has his conscience awakened after his denial of Jesus, and how in a disaster like this our consciences cannot remain asleep.

In front of shaiti12uch devastation, the question often is “Where is God?”  Probably the same question haunted Peter when he saw Jesus arrested and sentenced to death.  It’s easy in front of such tragedies to find refuge in the answer that God is not there.  Meanwhile, the truth is that in these moments God is really facing us, looking us in our eyes and questioning, “Where are you?”

An Italian journalist I spoke with earlier today told me during her interview that she couldn’t hear any word of desperation in what I was saying.  And my answer was, “How can I  be desperate when people who have lost everything at the question “How are you” answer, “I’m okay thank God.  I lost my house, but I’m alive, thank God.”

I think probably that the question of the absence of God, and the desperation that comes with it, belongs more to us who are spoiled than to those who have to fight everyday to survive

In fact during our journey, when we began to meet people wandering and walking through small towns on top of the mountain that looked likehaiti7 desert towns.  It was amazing to see how they were trying to return to an ordinary live, recuperating the iron sheets blown away from their houses, straightening them out, and nailing them back on their roofs.  A lady walking with a coconut shell holding some pieces of wood at the question, “How are you doing?” answered with such politeness and dignity, “I lost my house.  I lost my husband.  But I don’t have time to cry, because I have to go and cook for my child.”

haiti14As we journeyed on towards Dame Marie, we involved the locals that we would meet on the way, who helped with their machetes to cut away trees so there was space for our cars to pass through. Among them a sixty-six year old man who at my question, “Have you ever seen anything like this before?” said “I’ve seen many hurricanes, but nothing was ever like this since October 11, 1954.”

To arrive in Dame Marie we had one last river to cross, which was not easy at all because it was so wide. Raphael and Cesar walked barefoot in front of us in order to know the deepness of the river, and allow us to pass through safely behind them.

Once in Dame Marie we went again to visit the people, to check the St. Luke schools, and to monitor the distribution of the emergency kits that were made up with the donations that we had brought a few days prior by helicopter. They were being distributed as planned.haiti20

While walking in the streets we could hear the noise of iron sheets being dragged through the roads as people found and collected them. I thought of how the sound of the sheets dragging on the road was similar to how they must have sounded being blown away in the wind.  But now it wasn’t the sound of destruction, but the sound of rebuilding as the people were collecting the sheets from wherever they had blown to reconstruct.

Before noon we wanted at all cost to reach the St. Luke school in Abricot, but to reach it by land from Dame Marie was impossible. So, as other times in the past, we decided to go boat. Only two boats in the whole town survived, and we paid for one of the boats to bring us. Despite a rough sea, we took our chance to go. I’ve been other times to this place, and always contemplated the beauty of the sea and the sun, with green shores filled with coconut trees and fishermen in sailboats made of tree trunks. Now in the sea it was only us and the shores were empty. The fishermen villages were totally washed away and there were no more beautiful palm trees on the shores. Everything was now barren, deserted and dry.

haiti21Once we arrived in La Serengue, Fr. Rick and the others went up the hill to see the school, while I stayed down with the people of the fisherman village. Talking with the people I noticed that they were surviving until now drinking coconut water and eating the meat of the coconut. They have lost all of their livestock and have even been surviving on the meat and carcass of the dead animals. When I told them, “You have the sea, why don’t you fish?” they said, “We have lost our boats and our nets, we can’t even fish.”

While talking with them to see what steps to take in the immediate future, a little boy came to me with two coconuts for me to eat and drink. I accepted one, and gave one to him. And then a woman came willing to offer me something eat, but she had nothing, so she offered me three rocks: one red, one black and one green that are usually used by the people there to make necklaces. There was such a solidarity and sharing among them, and with me.

The immediate relief need is certainly for food and water. As I was there talking in the hot sun, I was looking for some shade, which no longer exists. I realized that the people without roofs over their heads or trees for shade cannot survive, and are so at risk to die dehydrated. It is like all of the sudden they are left in the desert unprepared.haiti10

The next steps also include giving them the means to raise livestock, to crops and to fish. If these things won’t happen, the next wave of the humanitarian disaster will certainly include displacement and a crisis of refugees.

Before leaving I heard again the rooster singing, probably the only rooster left that survived. And I thought: like that rooster, in our culture of death, I have to sing to wake you up to please help these poor brothers and sisters.


Fr. Enzo Del Brocco, St. Luke Foundation for Haiti and

Passionist Haiti Mission, Our Mother of Sorrows

Please send donations in care of

Father Patrick Daugherty
The Passionists
Our Lady of Florida Spiritual Center
1300 US Highway 1
North Palm Beach, Florida 33408

Or go to:

Choose a donation amount and a donation category (Haiti Hurricane Relief)

 Go to the donate button to make a donation. 


Cardinal Sarah: “The Power of Silence”

October 7th, 2016, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

Sandro Magister mentions Cardinal Sarah’s new book and includes an excerpt in this post (skip the juicy drama and scroll down to the title “The reform of the reform will happen, the future of the Church is at stake”).

Here are a few excerpts from that excerpt:

I refuse to waste time in opposing one liturgy to another, or the rite of Saint Pius V to that of Blessed Paul VI. What is needed is to enter into the great silence of the liturgy; one must allow oneself to be enriched by all the Latin or Eastern liturgical forms that favor silence. Without this contemplative silence, the liturgy will remain an occasion of hateful divisions and ideological confrontations instead of being the place of our unity and our communion in the Lord. It is high time to enter into this liturgical silence, facing the Lord, that the Council wanted to restore.

AMEN!!! If we are reduced to praying silently in our cars before or after Mass because our churches are too noisy, then something is seriously wrong.

And another:

In many western countries, we see the poor leaving the Catholic Church because it is under siege by ill-intentioned persons who style themselves intellectuals and despise the lowly and the poor. This is what the Holy Father must denounce loud and clear. Because a Church without the poor is no longer the Church, but a mere “club.” Today, in the West, how many temples are empty, closed, destroyed, or turned into profane structures in disdain of their sacredness and their original purpose. So I know how many priests and faithful there are who live their faith with extraordinary zeal and fight every day to preserve and enrich the dwellings of God.

What does this mean to you? To me it means we must do whatever it takes to keep the big, amazingly beautiful city Churches from being sold off.


Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – October 2016

October 3rd, 2016, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

It’s time to print out your October 2016 calendar. Thanks to the good folks at for providing these calendars freely available to all on the Internet.

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

Universal: Journalists

That journalists, in carrying out their work, may always be motivated by respect for truth and a strong sense of ethics.

Evangelization: World Mission Day

That World Mission Day may renew within all Christian communities the joy of the Gospel and the responsibility to announce it.


“Orthodoxy” — a quote from Chesterton

October 2nd, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Last week, the Chesterton Society held its annual conference in Rochester, and once again there was no disappointment. For me, one of the highlights was Dale Ahlquist’s reading from “Orthodoxy,” Chapter VI in particular.  He has supplied the text so that Cleansing Fire may share it with our friends, and he invites all to visit .  Dale Ahlquist is the President of the American Chesterton Society, and Co-Founder of the Chesterton Academy. Please support the Chesterton Society.

Excerpts from Orthodoxy, Chapter VI:  The Paradoxes of Christianity

screenshot323“He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine. No philosopher, I fancy, has ever expressed this romantic riddle with adequate lucidity, and I certainly have not done so. But Christianity has done more: it has marked the limits of it in the awful graves of the suicide and the hero, showing the distance between him who dies for the sake of living and him who dies for the sake of dying. And it has held up ever since above the European lances the banner of the mystery of chivalry: the Christian courage, which is a disdain of death; not the Chinese courage, which is a disdain of life.

And now I began to find that this duplex passion was the Christian key to ethics everywhere. Everywhere the creed made a moderation out of the still crash of two impetuous emotions….

It separated the two ideas and then exaggerated them both. In one way Man was to be haughtier than he had ever been before; in another way he was to be humbler than he had ever been before. In so far as I am Man I am the chief of creatures. In so far as I am a man I am the chief of sinners. All humility that had meant pessimism, that had meant man taking a vague or mean view of his whole destiny — all that was to go. We were to hear no more the wail of Ecclesiastes that humanity had no pre-eminence over the brute, or the awful cry of Homer that man was only the saddest of all the beasts of the field. Man was a statue of God walking about the garden. Man had pre-eminence over all the brutes; man was only sad because he was not a beast, but a broken god. The Greek had spoken of men creeping on the earth, as if clinging to it. Now Man was to tread on the earth as if to subdue it. Christianity thus held a thought of the dignity of man that could only be expressed in crowns rayed like the sun and fans of peacock plumage. Yet at the same time it could hold a thought about the abject smallness of man that could only be expressed in fasting and fantastic submission, in the gray ashes of St. Dominic and the white snows of St. Bernard. When one came to think of one’s self, there was vista and void enough for any amount of bleak abnegation and bitter truth. There the realistic gentleman could let himself go — as long as he let himself go at himself. There was an open playground for the happy pessimist. Let him say anything against himself short of blaspheming the original aim of his being; let him call himself a fool and even a damned fool (though that is Calvinistic); but he must not say that fools are not worth saving. He must not say that a man, qua man, can be valueless. Here, again in short, Christianity got over the difficulty of combining furious opposites, by keeping them both, and keeping them both furious. The Church was positive on both points. One can hardly think too little of one’s self. One can hardly think too much of one’s soul….

So it is also, of course, with the contradictory charges of the anti-Christians about submission and slaughter. It is true that the Church told some men to fight and others not to fight; and it is true that those who fought were like thunderbolts and those who did not fight were like statues. All this simply means that the Church preferred to use its Supermen and to use its Tolstoyans. There must be some good in the life of battle, for so many good men have enjoyed being soldiers. There must be some good in the idea of non-resistance, for so many good men seem to enjoy being Quakers. All that the Church did (so far as that goes) was to prevent either of these good things from ousting the other. They existed side by side. The Tolstoyans, having all the scruples of monks, simply became monks. The Quakers became a club instead of becoming a sect. Monks said all that Tolstoy says; they poured out lucid lamentations about the cruelty of battles and the vanity of revenge. But the Tolstoyans are not quite right enough to run the whole world; and in the ages of faith they were not allowed to run it. The world did not lose the last charge of Sir James Douglas or the banner of Joan the Maid. And sometimes this pure gentleness and this pure fierceness met and justified their juncture; the paradox of all the prophets was fulfilled, and, in the soul of St. Louis, the lion lay down with the lamb. But remember that this text is too lightly interpreted. It is constantly assured, especially in our Tolstoyan tendencies, that when the lion lies down with the lamb the lion becomes lamb-like. But that is brutal annexation and imperialism on the part of the lamb. That is simply the lamb absorbing the lion instead of the lion eating the lamb. The real problem is — Can the lion lie down with the lamb and still retain his royal ferocity? That is the problem the Church attempted; that is the miracle she achieved.

This was the big fact about Christian ethics; the discovery of the new balance. Paganism had been like a pillar of marble, upright because proportioned with symmetry. Christianity was like a huge and ragged and romantic rock, which, though it sways on its pedestal at a touch, yet, because its exaggerated excrescences exactly balance each other, is enthroned there for a thousand years. In a Gothic cathedral the columns were all different, but they were all necessary. Every support seemed an accidental and fantastic support; every buttress was a flying buttress. So in Christendom apparent accidents balanced. Becket wore a hair shirt under his gold and crimson, and there is much to be said for the combination; for Becket got the benefit of the hair shirt while the people in the street got the benefit of the crimson and gold. It is at least better than the manner of the modern millionaire, who has the black and the drab outwardly for others, and the gold next his heart. But the balance was not always in one man’s body as in Becket’s; the balance was often distributed over the whole body of Christendom. Because a man prayed and fasted on the Northern snows, flowers could be flung at his festival in the Southern cities; and because fanatics drank water on the sands of Syria, men could still drink cider in the orchards of England. This is what makes Christendom at once so much more perplexing and so much more interesting than the Pagan empire; just as Amiens Cathedral is not better but more interesting than the Parthenon. If any one wants a modern proof of all this, let him consider the curious fact that, under Christianity, Europe (while remaining a unity) has broken up into individual nations. Patriotism is a perfect example of this deliberate balancing of one emphasis against another emphasis. The instinct of the Pagan empire would have said, “You shall all be Roman citizens, and grow alike; let the German grow less slow and reverent; the Frenchmen less experimental and swift.” But the instinct of Christian Europe says, “Let the German remain slow and reverent, that the Frenchman may the more safely be swift and experimental. We will make an equipoise out of these excesses. The absurdity called Germany shall correct the insanity called France.”

Last and most important, it is exactly this which explains what is so inexplicable to all the modern critics of the history of Christianity. I mean the monstrous wars about small points of theology, the earthquakes of emotion about a gesture or a word. It was only a matter of an inch; but an inch is everything when you are balancing. The Church could not afford to swerve a hair’s breadth on some things if she was to continue her great and daring experiment of the irregular equilibrium. Once let one idea become less powerful and some other idea would become too powerful. It was no flock of sheep the Christian shepherd was leading, but a herd of bulls and tigers, of terrible ideals and devouring doctrines, each one of them strong enough to turn to a false religion and lay waste the world. Remember that the Church went in specifically for dangerous ideas; she was a lion tamer. The idea of birth through a Holy Spirit, of the death of a divine being, of the forgiveness of sins, or the fulfilment of prophecies, are ideas which, any one can see, need but a touch to turn them into something blasphemous or ferocious. The smallest link was let drop by the artificers of the Mediterranean, and the lion of ancestral pessimism burst his chain in the forgotten forests of the north. Of these theological equalisations I have to speak afterwards. Here it is enough to notice that if some small mistake were made in doctrine, huge blunders might be made in human happiness. A sentence phrased wrong about the nature of symbolism would have broken all the best statues in Europe. A slip in the definitions might stop all the dances; might wither all the Christmas trees or break all the Easter eggs. Doctrines had to be defined within strict limits, even in order that man might enjoy general human liberties. The Church had to be careful, if only that the world might be careless.

This is the thrilling romance of Orthodoxy. People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum, and safe. There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy. It was sanity: and to be sane is more dramatic than to be mad. It was the equilibrium of a man behind madly rushing horses, seeming to stoop this way and to sway that, yet in every attitude having the grace of statuary and the accuracy of arithmetic. The Church in its early days went fierce and fast with any warhorse; yet it is utterly unhistoric to say that she merely went mad along one idea, like a vulgar fanaticism. She swerved to left and right, so exactly as to avoid enormous obstacles. She left on one hand the huge bulk of Arianism, buttressed by all the worldly powers to make Christianity too worldly. The next instant she was swerving to avoid an orientalism, which would have made it too unworldly. The orthodox Church never took the tame course or accepted the conventions; the orthodox Church was never respectable. It would have been easier to have accepted the earthly power of the Arians. It would have been easy, in the Calvinistic seventeenth century, to fall into the bottomless pit of predestination. It is easy to be a madman: it is easy to be a heretic. It is always easy to let the age have its head; the difficult thing is to keep one’s own. It is always easy to be a modernist; as it is easy to be a snob. To have fallen into any of those open traps of error and exaggeration which fashion after fashion and sect after sect set along the historic path of Christendom — that would indeed have been simple. It is always simple to fall; there are an infinity of angles at which one falls, only one at which one stands. To have fallen into any one of the fads from Gnosticism to Christian Science would indeed have been obvious and tame. But to have avoided them all has been one whirling adventure; and in my vision the heavenly chariot flies thundering through the ages, the dull heresies sprawling and prostrate, the wild truth reeling but erect.”

Thanks to Dale Ahlquist and the Chesterton Society for letting us excerpt from their copy.  Visit:  


Failed Leadership

September 25th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

I wrote  the following in 2009 soon after US Air Flight 1549 landed in the Hudson River.  And I wrote it about what was happening in the parish I was in at that time. Given the current threats to the Church, I have been urged by friends to offer it again. Here it is, only minimally emended:

“Everyone involved in the Flight 1549 situation has been lauded, and justifiably so, and we rightfully give praise to such a Good and Gracious and Generous God who still does miracles, and allows us to learn from them. But there was one failure of leadership ‘in the air’ that has not generally been noticed; do you know what it was?  Well, the failed leadership was in the stubbornness of sticking to a flight plan when disaster loomed.  It was in the refusal to change course, to revisit assumptions, to ask for advice from others.  And it was in the failure of those who might have taken action instead of blindly ‘following the leader’.  Yes, the failed leadership was that of the lead goose, who took the flock to its destruction, sucked into the turbines and losing their own lives and putting many others at risk.  Did no member of the flock see what was ahead?  Had they no authority to depart from the plan, to act on their own initiative?  Did they squawk advice that was unheeded, or were they just silent?” Just what can or should a member of the flock do when he or she sees what is coming?”

Just what should we each be doing today, as a member of the flock, as we see the turbines up ahead?  Your thoughts and comments are most welcome!


What Really happened

                       What Really Happened ….


“A bizarre papal move” by Robert Royal

September 16th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

A friend called my attention to a column a few days ago in “The Catholic Thing,” to a recent article by Robert Royal.  Under a new policy, there will not be reply comments on that site (but such do remain on Facebook).  I appreciate the difficulty of tracking, editing, approving or not the reply comments given the large readership of “The Catholic Thing,” and the necessity to make that change.

It has been a dilemma for Cleansing Fire, too, to promote truth and discussion of what is most important in our lives, yet remain within the boundaries Christ expects of us. Different people will draw the line in different places.  Serious discussion is always welcome; uncharitable and ad hominem attacks are not.  One might argue for a little more laxness on enforcement when the matter is weighty and new ground is being broken, and perhaps less so when the reply is merely sniping. Again, we may each draw those lines differently.

The right to be able to discuss with each other those issues of most concern is provided to us under Canon Law. There becomes a point at which failure to exercise those rights, i.e. to ignore matters of great concern, becomes a greater failing that discussing, learning and deciding matters of conscience and perhaps risking offense to someone in the process.  It is all about motive and intent. But in the Body of Christ we do not have to stand alone.

For some matters, it reached that point for me, where to discuss is less offensive than silence, and I’ve hinted at that a bit recently.  Moreover, the book I wrote last December, debating matters with respect to the Pope’s Encyclical Laudato Si, was driven by a similar concern in the environmental arena.

Now Robert Royal boldly raises issues which I cannot help but bring to the attention of the Cleansing Fire audience if we are to have balanced views, share our thinking, and exhort each other to Truth and to what the Church has always taught. We must remain faithful, always. We are under crisis in the political environment, but also in the Church. Holy Mother Church has weathered many of these storms in the past. The Holy Spirit’s protection will prevail, but there is nothing in trusting in that protection which requires us to keep silence. Or not to pray.

The referenced article is entitled “A bizarre papal move.”  I think we can safely say that over the last three years concerns have been growing.  I am not saying I agree with everything he says, but I hope Cleansing Fire commenters will also reference articles they recommend — on both sides of the issue, and not simply hide out during the turmoil, or be fearful.  Christ clearly told us not to fear.  He also said “Be not anxious.”  Christ says this in 8 places in the New Testament … these exact words. And I think that is the spirit in which to seek information, discuss with brothers and sisters in the faith, and in which to pray. Eight references sounds more to me like a command than just a helpful suggestion.

My testimony and comment in reply to Royal’s article would be the following:  “We the Faithful (laity and clergy) have not been stupid for 2000 years, and we are not stupid today. Those who gave up so much for their faith, including their lives were not stupid either. We honor them too when we live the Gospel life.”  What do you think?


I intend to continue to embrace the words of St. Paul to the Galatians (Chapter 1; verses 6-12).  There is a reason that St. Paul, under the wings of the Holy Spirit, gave us these important words:


Gal 1:6     I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you

in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel–

Gal 1:7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you

and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.

Gal 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.

Gal 1:9 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..


Gal 1:11

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.

Gal 1:12 For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through

a revelation of Jesus Christ.


The Annual CCHD Collection vs Conscience

September 11th, 2016, Promulgated by Administrator

Time to start thinking about the collection next weekend — the Annual Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD)  in many of our Parishes. Personally, it gives me conscience problems to contribute to the notorious CCHD in any form. Would my donation  be part of the solution or part of the problem?  There seems to be little evidence that CCHD has cleaned up its act from what has been previously reported on Cleansing Fire and in a variety of other media.  So, I may just print out one or more of the following articles and drop it in the collection envelope.

If you want even more up-to-date information, try  It has the following text suitable for printing and dropping in the collection:

CCHD: 2016 It’s That Time of Year Again

ProLifeCorner-1-13-2016 – by Frank Munda

There is no denying that the Catholic Church in America is very generous with its financial support for the needy all throughout the world… and all across this country parishes will have their annual financial campaign for charity. Depending on the diocese, the names of these campaigns will vary. Sadly the one common denominator is many of these campaigns will include money for the Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). Often The CCHD supports some organizations that are less than Christian and many of its tenets are to the point of being anti-Christian i.e. pro-abortion etc.  Unfortunately, to my knowledge many of the parishes continue to support CCHD and other radical groups.

Good people tell me “well everything that these campaigns support are not bad”, for example in one campaign they have a pension fund for retired priests. The problem is there is no way of separating the money that you donate. It goes into a general fund and then is distributed according to the amounts that have been previously awarded to each participant in the campaign.

We are not suggesting that you support or not support such a campaign.  However, we are suggesting that you study the issue, get all of the facts and then pray.  Ask for the Holy Spirit to guide you to a proper decision. St. John Paul II said “you cannot do good with one hand and evil with the other.“ Whether you are a Cardinal, Bishop, priest, deacon, religious or a layman, know this: You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.

Meanwhile, here are a few articles from the Cleansing Fire archives, with associated comments:


USCCB pushes CCHD this weekend

Thursday, September 17th, 2015


More Deceit and Coverup from CCHD

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

 No Comments

CCHD – It’s worse than we thought

Friday, November 20th, 2009


A “Put Up or Shut Up Moment” CCHD Boycott

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009


Catholic Relief Services

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013


Following the Money

Sunday, July 7th, 2013


News re: Ad Orientem practice

September 9th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris


Don’t miss LifeSiteNews today:  Second USA bishop to adopt ‘ad orientem’ ….

Here are some excerpts to whet the appetite!

MADISON, Wis., September 7, 2016 … “Bishop Robert Morlino told parishioners at St. Patrick Church during his homily on Sunday that he would begin in October to offer Novus Ordo Masses facing the altar when he is town….”

Bishop Morlino

Bishop Morlino

“The local ordinary is one of the first bishops in the Church to respond after a call by Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect for the Congregation for the Divine Worship in Rome, for Masses celebrated in the ancient tradition of facing toward God …. That form of worship had been the “common orientation” in Catholic liturgy for more than 1,500 years until the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, when many priests took it upon themselves to turn around to face the people.”

“The bishop’s announcement at the Cathedral Parish was well received by the congregation there (his intended audience),” diocesan spokesman Brent King told LifeSiteNews …. we have received numerous notes of encouragement both from within and outside the diocese.”

“Bishop Morlino interjected humor into his homily … saying he knew the parishioners in attendance would be supportive, but ‘I say this a few other places I’ll  have to take both my hats off and duck’ referring to other churches in his own diocese…. But that will not stop him from encouraging the priests of his diocese to consider an ad orientem posture….”

“Bishop Morlino already requires seminarians in formation in his diocese to learn to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.  In January, he ordered all of the diocese’s parishes to put the tabernacle back in the center of the Church, affecting nearly half of the parishes that had moved it to a side altar or separate room.”

“Please lead your priests and people towards the Lord in this way,” Cardinal Sarah asked. “Please form your seminarians in the reality that we are not called to the priesthood to be at the center of liturgical worship ourselves but to lead Christ’s faithful to him as fellow worshippers.  Please facilitate this simple but profound reform in your dioceses, your cathedrals, your parishes and your seminaries.”

“Cardinal Sarah and Cardinal (Raymond) Burke for years, and Pope Benedict XVI have made the point over and over again that according to God’s mind that His plan is that at the end of history He will come from the East like the rising sun, as we see in the Magnificat, as we see in the Psalms, as we see in the scriptures,” Bishop Morlino said in his homily. “… when the priest stands together with the congregation, not with his back toward them, that’s not the point. The point is that the priest stands together with the congregation and he faces symbolically at least the East. We become a mighty army marching toward the place of the rising sun to meet the Lord lead by the priest.  That’s who we really are.”

A Personal Reflection

Only in the last few months have I had the opportunity to attend an ‘ad orientem’ Novus Ordo Mass. I went more because I was curious than an advocate.  I already attend the EF Mass every Sunday (the Latin Mass Community at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Irondequoit NY), which I greatly love, especially the awareness of immersing in what has been so many centuries of practice in Catholicism.  I expected the Novus Ordo ad Orientem to be like a halfway point between the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms, but was very surprised by what I experienced.

There is nothing “halfway” about the ad orientem Novus Ordo Mass. Rather, there is a sense of the priest standing before God on our behalf, like a highly respected military officer leading the troops forward, ready to take the first blow if lightning should strike.  He leads the way and we follow — in contrition, praise, sacrifice, thanksgiving.  There is a sense of being ever more respectful of the degrees of God’s privacy in the Mass (think about that one!) And there is an unexpected sense of community, all together, not as individuals watching, listening, reacting. I know — it can’t be explained; it has to be experienced.  I hope we’ll have many more opportunities for such experience.

Finally, I was surprised at first that Pope Francis seemed to step away from Cardinal Sarah’s worldwide invitation to the ad orientem Novus Ordo, and even a disclaimer of changes expected in Advent.  But I am seeing a heroism in Cardinal Sarah’s exhortation which will free those priests and bishops who just needed a little extra nudge.  The Holy Spirit continues to do His Work!!!

And for the naysayers who try to pit Pope Francis against Cardinal Sarah (and against Pope Benedict by implication) I offer the following picture of Pope Francis celebrating Mass ad orientem earlier this year:



Pro-Life Event

September 7th, 2016, Promulgated by Hopefull



This is one thing that keeps me Catholic.

September 4th, 2016, Promulgated by Bernie

web LMC FinalOne of the things that keeps me Catholic is the Church’s understanding and living out of the doctrine of the Incarnation: that God condescended to become man so that man might become God. This refers to the transforming effect of divine grace, the indwelling spirit of God, and the transforming affect of the atonement of Christ. It literally means that God becoming flesh transformed flesh to become more divine, more like God, or to take on a divine nature. At the moment of the Incarnation all flesh –indeed, the entire physical universe– was objectively made holy and capable of transmitting God’s grace and life.

By the Incarnation, humankind was really changed and not left as a pile of sin, as Luther, in his extreme teaching, taught.

People and their actions –as well as things like bread and wine, water, oil and other material things– became capable of communicating God’s graces, became capable of completing in one aspect what was “lacking” in the redemption wrought by Jesus Christ.

Catholic art expresses well the doctrine of the Incarnation. It often depicts transcendence by rich colors and details and patterns, serene expressions, or, the opposite– explosive exuberance. In worship, Catholicism employs smells like incense, sounds like the ringing of bells, heavenly chanting, kissing, bowing, processing, standing, kneeling –all aspects of being physically alive. It’s the material universe celebrating its redeemed status.

This is considerably different from some core Protestant teachings and practices which are suspicious of anything human or physical that could be seen as even having the potential for competing with God. In such teaching humankind is not changed by the Incarnation in any objective way. Some Protestant Churches that hold the “extrinsic justification” teaching dearly are often devoid of visual art and ritual, smells and bells. (Music and preaching, however, are sometimes exalted in such Churches.) Most mainstream Protestant Churches can be found somewhere in between the Catholic and more puritan versions of Christianity. The Orthodox, of course, are more with the Catholics concerning the impact of the Incarnation and we can see that in their emphasis on art and sensual liturgies.

In the end it is the Catholic understanding of the impact of the doctrine of the Incarnation that keeps me Catholic. Indeed, as local Catholic parishes divorce themselves from sacred art, chanting, incense and ritual, the more they push me into Orthodoxy.


Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – September 2016

September 4th, 2016, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

Apologies for posting this 4 days in…
It’s time to print out your September 2016 calendar. Thanks to the good folks at for providing these calendars freely available to all on the Internet.

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

Universal: Centrality of the Human Person

That each may contribute to the common good and to the building of a society that places the human person at the center.

Evangelization: Mission to Evangelize

That by participating in the Sacraments and meditating on Scripture, Christians may become more aware of their mission to evangelize.


From Catholic University — New Wars of Religion

August 24th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris


Dr. Garvey

      Dr. Garvey

Please note the presentation by John Garvey, Esq.

President of The Catholic University of America,

on Thursday, September 15th

at 6:30 PM at Sacred Heart Cathedral.






Given Dr. Garvey’s stellar reputation,ScreenShot305 Program

it will surely be

an insightful and riveting evening.


As an alum, I especially look forward

to hearing his views on

“The New Wars of Religion”,

and hopefully to continue

 the discussion on this site,

with those who are interested.


Vatican Sex Ed–World Youth Day–child abuse?

August 9th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

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

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

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


The Clarity of Cardinal Sarah’s Words — Part V

August 4th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

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

Priestly Pedophilia

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

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

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

After Vatican II

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

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

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

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

Does hell exist? (interviewer question). Purgatory?

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

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

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

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

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

Evangelization, Christian Joy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

The Synod Issue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Africa Part II

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Mark 13:14a ?

August 4th, 2016, Promulgated by Administrator

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



Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – August 2016

July 31st, 2016, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

It’s time to print out your August 2016 calendar. Thanks to the good folks at for providing these calendars freely available to all on the Internet.

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

Universal: Sports

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

Evangelization: Living the Gospel

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


The Clarity of Cardinal Sarah’s Words — Part IV

July 29th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Humanism and Philosophy

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

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

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

Is democracy an invention of Christianity?

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

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

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

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

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

Living in a secularized world

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

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

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

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

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

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

Faith, Hope, Love, Prayer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




July 27th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

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

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



July 15th, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris



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

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

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


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

And, here it is: