Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Synod: First Reports from 4 English Circles

October 9th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris has just published highlights of each of the 4 English Circles of discussion, as well as an intervention from Abp. Kurtz (head of the USCCB).  All these news items can be found at Zenit.

Here are the individual links:

[ZE151009] The world seen from Rome:

  • Archbishop Kurtz’s Intervention at Family Synod
    “Just as the local church invests years of effort into future priests’ education and preparation for ministry, so, too, must we offer intentional and ongoing formation so that the family can truly live its missionary identity”
  • Synod15: Report From Small Circle English ‘D’
    “Most of our group felt the Instrumentum Laboris should begin with hope rather than failures because a great many people already do successfully live the Gospel’s good news about marriage”
  • Synod15: Report From Small Circle English ‘C’
    “Part of the newness, we felt, needs to be a less negative reading of history, culture and the situation of the family at this time. True, there are negative forces at work at this time in history and in the various cultures of the world; but that is far from the full story”
  • Synod15: Report From Small Circle English ‘B’
    “Despite the challenges that the family faces in every culture, families with the assistance of divine grace do find within them the strength to carry out their vocation to love”
  • Synod15: Report From Small Circle English ‘A’
    “A great concern relates to the overly bleak description of the contemporary scene. More attention needs to be given to theological reflection on the faithful, loving married couple and family, who, so often heroically, live an authentic witness to the grace of the family”
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Heroes of the Synod: Archbishop Charles Chaput

October 7th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson – Marriage as a witness to hope

Archbishop Charles Chaput delivered the following speech, termed an intervention, Oct. 7 in Rome at the Synod of Bishops on the Family. Pope Francis is leading selected bishops from around the world this month to discuss pastoral issues concerning marriage and family.


The Instrumentum seemed to present us with two conflicting views: pastoral despair or a decision to hope. When Jesus experienced the pastoral despair of his Apostles, he reminded them that for man a thing may seem impossible, but for God all things are possible.


Laudato Si — Where is the Church? — Part XV

October 5th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

After reading Laudato Si cover to cover, and making numerous notes, it became obvious, for the sake of coherent commenting, that the disparate material had to be collected and discussed under major headings: truth, pantheism, syncretism, sustainability, subsidiarity, collectivism, actions and prayers.

Even after writing the preceding chapters, something still lurked between the lines as unrecognized, unsaid.  So I carefully re-read the entire Encyclical, as both a check on previous impressions as well as to determine if anything else should be added.   During that re-reading there came a certain clarity that, indeed, it is the Church’s role in both the problem and in the proposed solutions that had barely been touched.  In the end, this became the most disturbing insight of all.  Where is the Church in the causes, the actions, and the potential cures? (If, indeed, these matters merit Church action.)

Causes of concern

What Laudato Si calls “an ecological crisis” (#15) is blamed variously on corporate greed, government corruption and inaction, and rampant consumerism, among other causes.  Where the Encyclical is mysteriously silent is regarding any significant role that the Church should have (or could have) exercised in preventing the current environmental decay — not in the sense of recycling or not sponsoring a pit mine — but in consistently pursuing her God-given role to teach, to govern and to sanctify.   Are not greed, corruption, sloth, and serving mammon instead of God among the many sins and disturbances of soul which are subject to the Church’s evangelization and preaching?   In good times and in bad?  In season and out of season?

Why, then, have we heard so little to this point?  Without denying any relevant preaching, teaching or ‘speeching’ which might have taken place, anywhere in the world, it is hard to argue that the Church has had a foremost role as key champion during the alleged demise of the world environment.  If there is such importance as now attached, where was the active involvement in prior decades?  The very absence of such advocacy cannot be dismissed as having had no impact.  What is not avidly pursued, what is not spoken of from the pulpit urgently and consistently, will not have much attention in the minds and hearts of those in the pews.  (If this sounds too farfetched, consider just in the U.S.A., over decades even up to the present day, the obvious absence of pulpit preaching against contraception, abortion, fornication, euthanasia and same sex unions, to understand why a majority of self-identified Catholics today disagree with the Church on at least one issue.  They may often see no difference between having an ‘opinion’ vs. a rightly formed conscience, if indeed the concept of “rightly formed conscience” is even a rightly formed thought!

We need look no further than paragraph #57 of Laudato Si, which words are aimed against

“powerful financial interests [which] prove most resistant… and political planning [which] tends to lack breadth of vision.”  (#57)

Laudato Si asks an almost rhetorical question about the responsibility of highly powerful organizations; yet, cannot the same question be asked, regarding the leading moral issues of our day, of the most powerful organization in the world, the one which holds the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven?  The Encyclical reads:

“What would induce anyone, at this stage, to hold on to power only to be remembered for their inability to take action when it was urgent and necessary to do so?”  (#57)

Action (or not) Read the rest of this entry »


Update: Fellowship of St. Alban

October 5th, 2015, Promulgated by Ludwig

Starting this month (October, 2015) the Fellowship of St. Alban is changing its schedule.

Rather than meeting on the last Saturday of every month, they will try to meet more frequently, as Father Jason Catania’s availability will allow.

As indicated on their website, their next two masses will be:

  • Saturday, October 10
  • Saturday, November 7

Both masses will be held their usual location:

Good Shepherd church (the older church near the front of the property).
3302 E Henrietta Rd, Henrietta, NY 14467
Henrietta, NY

As always, the usual reminder that the Ordinariate Use is in full communion with Rome and that these Saturday vigil masses fulfill any Catholic’s Sunday obligation.


Seminarian reflects on ‘wonderful’ Holy Land visit

October 4th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson – Seminarian reflects on ‘wonderful’ Holy Land visit

GREECE — Thanks to the trip of a lifetime, Tony Amato will no longer lean on his imagination nearly so often when reflecting on events and places in the Bible.

Amato, 28, a diocesan seminarian, made his first-ever journey to the Holy Land July 12-27. During the pilgrimage he toured and prayed at numerous locales around Israel mentioned in the Old and New Testaments, particularly those representing moments in Jesus’ life and ministry.



Light a Candle for the Synod

October 3rd, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris
Torchlight Procession in Lourdes

Torchlight Procession in Lourdes

We haven’t had a ‘Light a Candle’ blogpost in a while, but the opening of the Synod is certainly a good time to do so.  It is opening with prelates like Cardinals Daneels, Kasper, and Marx lurking in the shadows and threatening Catholic doctrine.  With clergy like that inside the Church, faithful Catholics are likely to be more attuned this time to what is really going on.  But even if the tricks of the prior Synod session aren’t used again, we might still expect new, non-transparent moves by the father of lies, who doesn’t give up easily.  As always, we pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and calling to mind crucial and relevant Scripture is a solid foundation upon which to rest our prayers:

“He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’  Simon Peter said in reply, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus said to him in reply, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’”  Matthew 16:15-19 (NAB)

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”  John 14:26 (RSV)

“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.'”  Matthew 28: 18-20 (RSV)

The next step is to keep as informed, as promptly, as possible.  Nobody can stay on top of it all, so sharing what we find is important.  Please add comments as we go through these next few weeks!  Now here are some of the recent stories which may be relevant and useful background:

Swiss bishops confirm existence of Cardinal Daneels’ ‘mafia’ against Benedict XVI:

Why we fear the Ordinary Synod on the Family is being manipulated:

Vatican Fires Gay Priest on Eve of the Synod:

Polish Bishops say 2014 Synod Trivialized essential Church Teachings; hope to avoid repeat

German bishops release new book about the controversial ‘Shadow Council’ in Rome:

Softening Christ’s Teaching on Marriage is Heresy, African Cardinal tells World Meeting of Families

Catholic doctrine on homosexuality tantamount to ‘societal heresy’ Cardinal Pell says: but it must be proclaimed:

Status Report Day 2


Pope’s Homily Day 3


Day 4: What is level of trust in Fr. Rosica?


Day 5: ‘Flawed, Inadequate’: Synod Bishops Skewer Working Document


Mercy to the Repentant!

No New Patches on Old Wineskins!


Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – October 2015

September 30th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

It’s time to print out your October 2015 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: That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.

Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


Michael Gerson: The Pope Francis Moment

September 29th, 2015, Promulgated by Mike

Pope Francis is a pope of many “firsts”: the first Jesuit, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere, and the first non-European since the Byzantine Empire. Like the earlier Saint of Assisi, Francis leads by serving “the least of these.”

Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson is an Evangelical Christian. This past spring he gave a brief talk describing the pope as a bridge between the theological left and right. Hear what he thinks every Christian can learn from Pope Francis’ Christ-like humility.


Transcripts from Pope Francis’ US trip

September 28th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Forget the popular press spin, and read Pope Francis’ own words at www.News.VA

For example, here is the link to the Pope’s remarks on Freedom of Religion:

The future of the Church requires more active participation by the laity:

Transcript/translation of Pope Francis’ address to the UN:


Roman Catholic, Anglican Use

September 23rd, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris




Father Catania had created a beautiful bulletin for this weekend’s Mass at Good Shepherd Church.

See full bulletin and order of service 



Chesterton Conference 2015

September 21st, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Chesterton Conference 1 of 2 2015
















Chesterton Conference 2 of 2 2015




St Matthew the Evangelist from the Lindisfarne Gospels

September 21st, 2015, Promulgated by Bernie

by David Clayton

From The New Liturgical Movement website

Matthew.Lindisfarne…There are profound lessons here for those who wish to pray, and for those who wish to paint…or both. This simple painting, which is over 1200 years old and was created by an obscure monk working on a bleak island of the northeast coast of England in the North Sea, can tell us so much. It reveals truths about…

Read More Here


USCCB pushes CCHD this weekend

September 17th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Will You be Giving?  Decide in Advance!

ScreenShot062About 10 months ago, Michael Voris on Church Militant TV provided a very short overview of CCHD (Catholic Campaign for Human Development) in which he related that it continues to be, in his estimation and in the links he provides, “a scam.” LifeSiteNews has stories back into 2010-13 with similar allegations.  But the USCCB has apparently launched in 2015 a nationwide appeal again for CCHD and will go local (at least at some churches) this coming weekend: Sept. 19-20th.  The campaign is somewhat earlier than usual.

The USCCB site has the annoying habit of not dating information (and making it hard to research).  Here is a link in defense of CCHD in which 2010 is one date mentioned. Here is a 2013 link regarding the collection itself.

LifeSiteNews has followed the CCHD story for a number of years.  Check out “Community Organizing Group Lying to U.S. Bishops to Retain Grants?”  and also from Jan 23, 2014 LifeSiteNews gave an award for the CCHD investigation, saying:

“In relay races, runners pass a baton. In the Olympics, they pass a torch. But … a key leader of the pro-life movement handed off a nail – specifically, a Crucifixion nail.

On Tuesday the recipient of the inaugural Law of Life Achievement Award, John-Henry Westen of, handed the honor to Michael Hichborn of the American Life League.  Hichborn was responsible for performing the research that found that Catholic charities, such as the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) and Catholic Relief Services, had given grants to organizations that support “family planning” and mainstream homosexual activity, and that fund Planned Parenthood in defiance of the dogmatic views of the Roman Catholic Church. His revelations have met with substantial resistance.  The award – a replica of a Crucifixion nail – “is an award that speaks of suffering endured,” Westen said. “When you go out to do the right thing, it is most painful when [persecution] comes from those who should normally be on your side. When a stab comes in the back is when it’s most painful.”  Westen said that Hichborn’s investigations have “enabled activists like us to pursue the truth, to insist upon it, and to act upon it.”

So is “CCHD” fixed now?  Even if it is (where is the proof?) should we now support it when there are so many other worthy organizations? Time to decide is before dropping even a dollar into the basket.


Diocese names new director of the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis

September 15th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

This sounds promising. Diocese names new director of the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis

Welcome to Rochester, Noëlle M. Hiester!


Bishop Matano Hopes Pope’s Visit Will Help Country Become Unified Society

September 13th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

From Time Warner Cable News: Bishop Matano Hopes Pope’s Visit Will Help Country Become Unified Society


Heroes of the Synod: Ed Pentin

September 13th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

h/t Fr. Z… Ed Pentin, the reporter whose interview caught Cardinal Kasper denigrating Africans, has published a book entitled, “The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? An Excerpt”. You can read an excerpt of it here.


Dr. Kwasniewski’s Lecture at Steubenville: “The Old Mass and the New Evangelization: Beyond the Long Winter of Rationalism”

September 12th, 2015, Promulgated by Bernie

From Rorate Caeli

The Old Mass and the New Evangelization:
Beyond the Long Winter of Rationalism

Peter A. Kwasniewski

Gentile Gallery of the J. C. Williams Center

The Franciscan University of Steubenville

September 7, 2015

Read the text of the talk Here.


On the Camino de Santiago

September 11th, 2015, Promulgated by Bernie

Matthew Alderman on the Camino de Santiago

From The New Liturgical Movement

Photos from along the way by Matthew Alderman

Read and See More Here


Book Review: “The Way of Beauty”

September 9th, 2015, Promulgated by Bernie

From the New Liturgical Movement website

Book Review: David Clayton’s The Way of Beauty: Liturgy, Education, and Inspiration for Family, School, and College


IMG_9804Clayton’s remarkable compendium, The Way of Beauty: Liturgy, Education, and Inspiration for Family, School, and College, was published this summer by Angelico Press. The book and its subtitle tell you a great deal: this book indeed covers “the way of beauty” in so many rich ways, tying together not only the several fine arts themselves (in detailed assessments of how works of art actually function educationally and liturgically), but also the larger cultural context in which…

Read the whole review, here.


Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus (changes to the annulment process)

September 9th, 2015, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

No doubt you’ve heard the news. Below are some links quoting a couple canonists. Feel free to add more in the comments.

wapo: Pope Francis announces biggest changes to annulment process in centuries

Kurt Martens, a professor of canon law at Catholic University, said the expedited process would apply to Catholic couples facing certain conditions, including those who have an abortion, a grave contagious disease, children from a previous relationship or imprisonment. Essentially, Martens said, the church is providing a path that looks like the Catholic version of no-fault divorce.

“If I were a bishop, I would be upset,” Martens said. “It’s a bit strange and even a sign of contradiction that a pope who is big on consultation and collegiality seems to forget that on something like this. It’s highly unusual for legislation like this to get through that way.”

Dr. Ed Peters': A second look at Mitis, especially at the new fast-track annulment process

First, and most importantly, the vacatio legis (a delay period before new laws go into effect per Canon 8) indicated for Mitis should be extended from this December until well into next year at the very least. If, as some assert, Francis’ annulment reforms are the most significant in the last three hundred years, a considerably longer period than three months is needed to prepare for them. If necessary, a request for an extension could be proposed by the upcoming Synod of Bishops.

Second, a much wider consultation about annulment reform should be conducted, a consultation that would involve, at a minimum, many identified diocesan bishops (identified precisely so observers could forward remarks to them) and canonists from several countries, especially from countries with extensive tribunal operational experience.

I repeat, some aspects of Mitis are sound. The elimination of mandatory appeal, for example, can be put into effect with minimal delay. But other aspects of Mitis, especially the fast-track annulment option, need, I suggest, considerably more study. I only hope sufficient time is accorded the wider Church to make such studies feasible.

Dr. Peters again: The pope’s niece might be on to something