Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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Advice for a new bishop

September 13th, 2011, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

hat tip to Rich Leonardi for sharing this link: Advice for a new bishop. Seriously, click that link.  It might be the best link I’ve ever shared here.

I have printed the article, sealed it in an envelope, and am anxiously awaiting the name of our next bishop so I can mail it to him.

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53 Responses to “Advice for a new bishop”

  1. avatar Dr. K says:

    A lot of good ideas in there.

    One that jumps out at me as an idea to avoid is closing any more parishes or schools. It’s never a good thing, even if you’re trying to combat progressive Catholicism. The better alternative is to send in an orthodox yet friendly priest to these problem parishes. He should be told by the bishop to slowly bring the parish into line over a five year period.

  2. avatar JBCatholic says:

    Absolutely fantastic. Thanks Ben!

  3. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    That is material for Sainthood. I only hope the new bishop will be as militantly orhtodox as this post has suggested.

  4. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Great plan! I agree with Dr. K – closing schools is not a good idea. New leadership in the schools means change. A new Bishop means a renewed faith in the people, and the people will demand change in the schools, too.

    Other things jumped out at me. Like this – a plausible explanation for the strange DoR cronyism:

    *The diocese probably has a network of gay priests, maybe very small, maybe extensive, and maybe very, very extensive…

    “Very, very” would not surprise me. It would explain A LOT. Also these suggestions go without saying:

    *Upon arrival, get rid of all paper shredders at the chancery and insist that no work be taken home in briefcases. Make friends with the maintenance man and the wash lady.

    *Immediately obtain a backup copy of the computer network and secure it for any future audit. Change the locks. Secure the bank accounts. Check stock….

    *Hire an outside firm to do a thorough financial audit, and be sure to have a closed-door chat with the on-the-ground auditors to find out what they found…

    However, I think that the DoR is very adept at keeping secrets, and that the DoR finances are rife with well-kept secrets and are overseen by at least one skilled financial secret-keeper. So they have already been shredding and hiding. There will be just big cavernous holes when the new bishop arrives. Although swift legal action against those DoR-funded financial secret-keepers and paper shredders would be a judicious start…

    I like this frank cost-cutting justification:

    *You’ll probably have a 6-to 12-month grace period in which you can justify almost any cost-cutting by saying, “Sorry. We have to pay the sodomy bill.”

    An excellent suggestion, below!!!:

    *Think seriously about shutting down the diocesan newspaper; it certainly loses money and it’s probably a waste. If you decide to keep it going, hire your own editor, give him lots of leeway, but tell him the paper has to support itself.

    And finally, the following suggestions will make the new bishop stand out in stark contrast to what we have become so accustomed to in the Episcopate. In stunning dissimilarity, the demonstration of true Christlike humility by a bishop will be a powerful unspoken tool of Evangelization:

    *Insist on being treated with respect, but whenever people start flattering you, interrupt. Don’t let them start. Make it part of your examination of conscience: Have I done anything to encourage flattery today?

    *Having informed him of your wishes on the matter, dock the diocesan paper editor a day’s pay every time your photo appears. The diocese is not about YOU.

    *Find out when Eucharistic adoration is being held at schools and colleges and make it a point of sliding in unexpectedly and joining the students in adoration—not taking center stage, perhaps not even saying a word, but just being shoulder to shoulder at prayer with them.

  5. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Isn’t the courier given free to every registered catholic and funded by the parishes? If so, that would be gone!

  6. avatar Bernie says:

    Wow! Excellent.
    When we find out who it will be, we should send this to him!

  7. avatar Scott W. says:

    Phil should expand on that and turn it into a pamphlet with a nihil obstat and imprimatur from the Holy Father who hands any new American bishop a copy and says, “consider it your standing orders.” Dare to dream eh?

    I would only add one thing:

    –Make every diocesan employee, volunteer, or anyone who could be associated as working with the Church sign a Personal Affirmation of Faith similar to what Bishop Vasa did. Fire anyone who won’t sign.

  8. avatar Nerina says:

    I second Scott’s suggestion!

  9. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    Dr K

    I think you mean orthodox and friendly instead of orthodox yet friendly!!! LOL

  10. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    The usual advice given to a bishop concerning his first year in a new diocese is that the only thing he should change is his socks and underwear!!

  11. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    Scott:

    Would that mean that we could only hire Catholics???

  12. avatar Ink says:

    Raymond, I’m pretty sure that a struggling Catholic diocese needs real strong Catholics to run it. Therefore it goes to follow that anyone hired by the diocese should be Catholic. Then they (should) know what we believe. Anyone else may not.

  13. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Raymond, that’s for usual dioceses! We’re desperate!

  14. avatar JBCatholic says:

    I think we should send this out to every Catholic in the Diocese with a note attached that says, “Read this letter, find out where you it applies to you and do it now just in case we don’t get a bishop who will do these things.” 🙂

  15. avatar annonymouse says:

    Phil Lawler apparently knows nothing about canon law, little about civil law, and seriously overstates the power a bishop possesses. As an example, he states that the pastors at the two or three largest well-to-do, liberal parishes should immediately be replaced by Nigerians. A bishop cannot replace a pastor without following due process under canon law, and it must be for cause, as defined. Pastors are appointed for canonical terms in office; bishops are bound by the law.

    But more important than canon law, it is vital to realize that converting an entire diocese to orthodoxy is something that takes time and is not something that can be forced down peoples’ throats. It must be done with Christian charity, an attribute starkly missing from Lawler’s suggestions. The bishop is, after all, the shepherd of the sheep, and a true shepherd is not content if he loses any of his sheep.

    I think Archbishop Dolan’s advice is much more sensible – for the first year, do nothing. Learn and listen.

    Posters on this site seem hell-bent on revenge for thirty-two years of evil. Hell-bent on victory after thirty-two years of defeat. There are no winners and losers, except on judgment day.

  16. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Who needs to listen for a year? Only a dimwit. The message for the last decades has been the same, same, same. There is no complexity to it. Certainly not a years worth!

    I think the DoR elitist cronies know their days are very numbered (yes, we’re counting!) and there is a lot of New-Age-style hope that their demise can be delayed if they only “imagine!” – then they can “manifest!” it. Meanwhile they can “count” on delays.. Bishop Clark submits his resignation only when he has to, his birthday. Then there’s hope the Vatican will drag its feet for 15 months or maybe even much LONGER before remembering “Oh, yeah, Rochester needs a new bishop”… then maybe the new bishop will do what he “ought” and do NOTHING AT ALL for a WHOLE YEAR [except change his socks and underwear!] …and then after that, the new bishop will only slowly rouse himself to begin to think of implementing any changes [or maybe none at all! He will realize what really nice people the DoR employees are, and he will have become persuaded by their superior vision!].

    I think its pure rainbow-unicorn fantasy, though.

    I am hoping, too. I don’t expect to manifest anything but I do have hope God knows our troubles and is going to act! And I can dream, too. Maybe the Vatican is gearing up with a particular new Bishop in mind already, whom the have already arranged with. Its actually not hard to find a principled Catholic man who will keep this to himself. Maybe he is already in the wings, reading the piles of complaints sent to the Vatican, and reading “Forward in Hope” so he knows what he’s getting into…

  17. avatar Dr. K says:

    “A bishop cannot replace a pastor without following due process under canon law, and it must be for cause, as defined. Pastors are appointed for canonical terms in office; bishops are bound by the law.”

    I wonder if it is specified how long or short a pastor’s term should be? Can a bishop stick it to his successor by appointing a progressive priest as pastor of a large parish for something like a 10 year term? I don’t know, maybe not. Then again, maybe he can.

    Of course what our next bishop could do, and what Bishop Clark has done on more than one occasion, is refuse to appoint a particular priest to a pastorate. The bishop could claim that he does not believe the priest has the aptitude to serve in this role. Instead, assign these priests as parochial vicars under the watchful eye of an orthodox pastor. Alternatively, these progressives could be assigned as administrators (not pastors) of small rural parishes until they reach retirement age. This would limit the damage they could do and allow the bishop to move the priest again if he desires.

  18. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    Someone mentioned in the past that Francis de Sales converted whole cantons in Switzerland from protestantism back to Catholicism. Isn’t he also the saint who said you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar?? LOL

  19. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    God forbid that we have protestant/volunteers spinning gaming wheels at our summer festivals!!!!

  20. avatar Scott W. says:

    I actually agree with the “change nothing but your socks” advice with the caveat that it applies to a reasonably healthy diocese. For one overrun with corruption, heterodoxy, abuse both liturgical and sexual and cronyism, one needs to swing the hammer quickly to tell the remanent faithful who have been waiting prayerfully and patiently that there is a new day dawning.

    As far as hiring only Catholics, my advice could be distilled to “do what Bishop Vasa did” as I am not sure how he handled non-Catholics (and my guess is there was some accomodation there.)

    Also, I think Lawler’s piece has some snark and tongue-in-cheek in it, so bringing up knowledge of canon law seems unnecessarily cranky and argumentitive.

  21. avatar annonymouse says:

    Eliza – why the hate?

    This transition ought not be “we” versus “they” but, it seems to me, really needs to be about “we” – and a true shepherd will try to find good in the diocese and build on it.

    The bull-in-the-china-shop approach has been tried and it doesn’t work (see Scranton). Especially given the Metropolitan’s influence (Abp. Dolan) I doubt very much that our new bishop will be the sort of reactionary that you and others are pining for. Orthodox, yes, to be sure. But a vengeful reactionary, hell-bent on destroying every last vestige of liberalism in a fortnight? I very much doubt it.

  22. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    As a matter of fact, St Francic DeSales was rescued by I think it was a wolf by a protestant.

    But you are right Ray. People who proclaim the truth have to be firm but very compassionate.

  23. avatar annonymouse says:

    Scott – I must have missed Lawler’s snark and tongue-in-cheek-iness. Maybe I’m out of touch, but I think he was serious. It was re-posted here in all seriousness, with a promise to be delivered to our new bishop.

    Also, what is the scandal (financial or otherwise) that you alude and others alude to? The DoR financial statements are audited annually and posted on the website. Hate to be their apologist, but it APPEARS, at least, that they’re making a valiant attempt to be transparent.

  24. avatar annonymouse says:

    Dr K, unless I’m mistaken (always a possibility), I think appointing pastors for a specified term (as is done in the DoR) is relatively rare. Pastors usually are appointed for unspecified terms, I believe. The six-year term used by Bp. Clark allows him to move priests around relatively regularly. The procedures for removing a pastor are spelled out in the CCL, and a quick google search yielded a canon lawyer’s article on topic.

    It should be noted that the Bishop may ASK a pastor to relinquish his pastorate and move to a new parish, as I believe was done with Father Stan’s move from Webster to OLOL. There’s not much a bishop can do to FORCE such a move under canon law, however, even though the priest promises obedience to the bishop and his successors.

  25. avatar Scott W. says:

    Scott – I must have missed Lawler’s snark and tongue-in-cheek-iness. Maybe I’m out of touch, but I think he was serious. It was re-posted here in all seriousness, with a promise to be delivered to our new bishop.

    For instance, his advice to throw out one of the smaller religious orders as a warning to the others. As stated, it seems like Lawler is advocating a bishop do this on a whim and a complete disregard for whether it is warranted or not. I don’t believe Lawler thinks that a bishop should arbitrarily toss out a smaller religious order just to make an example of them as a warning to others (frankly, I don’t think you think Lawler thinks that either). But that’s enough explaining the joke. If you don’t get it, I can’t explain it.

    Also, what is the scandal (financial or otherwise) that you alude and others alude to?

    I was speaking generally to the saw of “change nothing but your socks”. In short, in ANY Diocese where there is an outrage, a bishop cannot seriously entertain sitting on his hands.

  26. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Scott wrote: “I actually agree with the “change nothing but your socks” advice with the caveat that it applies to a reasonably healthy diocese. For one overrun with corruption, heterodoxy, abuse both liturgical and sexual and cronyism, one needs to swing the hammer quickly to tell the remnant faithful who have been waiting prayerfully and patiently that there is a new day dawning.”

    Well said!

  27. avatar Bernie says:

    Well, I don’t think anyone here REALLY thinks “Advice for a new bishop” is a realistic strategy. I took it as a “start straightening things out sooner rather than later” concept with a list of possible problem areas from which to choose a starting point. And yes, I think I personally have a certain level of resentment of liberals that has built-up over the last 40+ years, to a point where I willingly nuture a dream of an aggressive turn around. I will be lucky to have another 10 years left, much less 40, to experience a return to orthodoxy.

  28. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    Bernie: Ultimately you are responsible for your own personal orthodoxy on how you believed and how you acted. This will be the basis for God’s judgement on you. And the Divine Mercy has given us all a parachute in case we need it.

  29. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Annonymouse wrote: “Eliza – why the hate?”
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    Please don’t assume that anger means hate. That’s judging the heart. Only God knows the heart. [unlike public actions).

    Perhaps you mistake anger – which is not forbidden by God! – for “hate”. There are just reasons to be angry. Damage inflicted on this Diocese, damage to the faithful make me angry. I am angry that those called to the sacred responsibility to shepherd the flock savor honor and squander their position on lesser, other, opposite agendas. I’m angry that our Church has precious teachings needed in these difficult times but our Bishop keeps those Church teachings a SECRET from the people. I can’t wait till there is a Bishop man enough to teach what the Church teaches! I don’t know why our Bishop isn’t man enough. I don’t hate him. I hate what he shirks, and for him, I only feel sorrow and pity. How lost he must be.

    Maybe you don’t get it annonymouse. Things may see just fine to you in the DoR. And the numbers and vocations – well, maybe you buy the DoR’s mind-bending explanations for that! But if you don’t understand, realize there just might be something you don’t understand. Entertain the idea that its possible I have honest reason to be angry – please don’t do the DoR elitist thing and just dismiss me and all those like-minded as “haters” or people “afraid of change”. That’s being VERY closed, narrow minded, and NOT open to dialogue. And stupid.

  30. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Bernie wrote: “Well, I don’t think anyone here REALLY thinks “Advice for a New Bishop” is a realistic strategy. I took it as a “start straightening things out sooner rather than later” concept with a list of possible problem areas from which to choose a starting point…”

    I agree – no one thinks its a blueprint for the whole. However I don’t see how a Bishop who understands the situation – – which shouldn’t take long, if he is not already apprised at the start [after all, we have a reputation around the country as being THAT awful Diocese!] – – would not do SOME things much like whats on that list, and right off.

    And, “… And yes, I think I personally have a certain level of resentment of liberals that has built-up over the last 40+ years, to a point where I willingly nurture a dream of an aggressive turn around….”

    Resentment, anger – we all have it, and its justifiable! Not “hating”! Not “fear of different”! Aren’t we all sick of THOSE labels, that handy way the DoR discounts and invalidates the voice of the flock so it can forge ahead with its private, dissident agenda?

    “…I will be lucky to have another 10 years left, much less 40, to experience a return to orthodoxy.”

    True, Bernie, and if God didn’t have a hand in converting hearts, it would reasonably take that long. But God’s ways aren’t our ways. I think the great-untaught here will respond to the Catholic Truth which has been kept such a secret from them, and those once-taught (decades ago) will remember quickly when their longing hearts are awakened. And when hearts convert, change rushes in, fast.

    Because truth is so powerful. And we, the Catholic Church, are rich in it! Overflowing! And we ourselves – and our leadership – do not need to convert, we only need to say what God says, and teach what the Church teaches, and thereby be vessels of His Grace. The Word itself will convert in great ways! And the truth will set the people FREE! We have no blueprint for how that happens. We act as conduits – and God’s plan unfolds.

    Really, I think the most effective thing our new Bishop will do is unleash.

  31. avatar annonymouse says:

    Eliza – perhaps I don’t think I’m worthy to sit in judgment. If I were named bishop tomorrow (an impossibility), would I do things differently? Yes. But am I going to question the Holy Spirit who guides the decisions of who shepherds us? No more so now than next July. I trust that God is in charge, and that Jesus is Lord whom alone we must adore.

    And that same Holy Spirit, I am convinced, calls us to love, in Christian charity, all men, even those with whom we disagree or hold different beliefs.

    My only hope for the new bishop is that he proclaims the truth with clarity and charity (thought of this while listening to the radio today).

  32. avatar annonymouse says:

    “And we ourselves – and our leadership – do not need to convert, we only need to say what God says, and teach what the Church teaches, and thereby be vessels of His Grace.”

    I could not possibly disagree with this statement more vehemently. No matter how holy we may deem ourselves to be, we are always and everywhere called to continual conversion, to walking more closely and loving more deeply Our Blessed Lord and His people. We are all sinners, we are all burdened with sinful pride, we are all in need of repentence and conversion.

    God will look more kindly on the poor sinner in the back of the Church averting his or her eyes and saying “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

  33. avatar Diane Harris says:

    I posted this elsewhere, but thought I’d put it here too:

    If you wish to send input to Rome on the desirable (or undesirable) qualities in our next bishop, it should be addressed to:

    Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect
    CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS
    Dicastery of the Roman Curia

    Palazzo della Congregazioni
    Piazza Pio XII, 10, 00193
    Roma, Italy

    If you send directly, don’t expect an answer. That doesn’t mean it isn’t read. If you want a receipt, then send through the office of the Papal Nuncio in Washington, DC. In either case there is no guarantee that your letter or a copy won’t be sent to Bishop Clark.

  34. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    I wonder if the reason the bishop moves priests around so rapidly is to prevent bonding from occurring between the laity and the priests. Except if the priest is as heretetical as the bishop. Then, bonding will be allowed to occur because there is a good chance the people will buy into the heresy.

  35. avatar Eliza10 says:

    annonymouse wrote this [I will comment below it]: ““And we ourselves – and our leadership – do not need to convert, we only need to say what God says, and teach what the Church teaches, and thereby be vessels of His Grace.”

    I could not possibly disagree with this statement more vehemently. No matter how holy we may deem ourselves to be, we are always and everywhere called to continual conversion, to walking more closely and loving more deeply Our Blessed Lord and His people. We are all sinners, we are all burdened with sinful pride, we are all in need of repentance and conversion.

    God will look more kindly on the poor sinner in the back of the Church averting his or her eyes and saying “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
    ___________________________________________________________________________________

    Annonymouse, I do not think we disagree – I think you are just misunderstanding (completely) what I said. Perhaps its not clear for others, either? I’ll clarify.

    What I am saying is we don’t need to be special to impart God’s words. The fruit doesn’t depend on us; we don’t need to be on a mission to convert! Humble-poor-sinner is just fine for the job! It does not depend out our greatness, holiness, personal accomplishment or special gifts.

    As I said elsewhere, IMO we don’t need a great exceptional man to take over as bishop, he does not need to be a giant, a “personality!”, OR a talented change-maker. (But notable PIETY would help a LOT! And that’s not a special gift – holiness is available to us all – if we want – through the sacraments of the Church). I say: just being a REGULAR CATHOLIC can work wonders!

    All true what you said, annonymouse – we are sinners who need to repent and convert, continually. May the new bishop embrace that “regular Catholic truth” wholeheartedly! And he will, if he’s “regular”. And we will know he’s a regular Catholic who believes this regular Catholic truth when he does all he uses his regular office to make sure the DoR priests are preaching about the need for us to repent from sin (and what sin is – he’ll need go unleash that secret in the DoR!) and about the most important role of the Sacrament of Confession in each of our lives, and he has our priests to make sure that confession is widely and regularly available for all. And it will naturally become well-attended, if the importance of regular Sacramental confession – an ordinary teaching of our Church – is unleashed and is NO LONGER a highly-guarded secret, withheld from the faithful by the DoR!

    So you see I am NOT talking about the need for any bull-in-the-china-shop, or “reactionary” as you misunderstand ME and some mysterious others to desire. Not me. I keep calling for a REGULAR Catholic.

    When we regular lay people and the new (or renewed) regular DoR leadership simply teach what the church teaches — no personality cult need for this! No ideologues (how refreshing!)! No specialness! — when we simply simply teach from the vast richness of Catholic truth, its the truth that will change lives, not us, or any special new bishop. You say, “teach truth in charity” and yes, that’s key particularly when confronting someone. But I am not talking about confrontation. I am talking about actually teaching the truths of the church in the normal ordinary teaching context of the church – in the homilies, in CCD classes, in RCIA classes, etc. Yes, even at St. Bernards! You know: all those places that have been systematically devoid of select and essential precious life-changing Catholic truths for decades now.

    IMO, this will have far more impact than anything on the “Advice for a New Bishop” link here – although, some of those things surely are most wise actions, under our circumstances.

    A few years back my son was playing with a neighbor boy, and I stopped by to pick my son up to go to confession with me, telling his friend we’d return quickly. This boy – very intelligent, too – asked, with genuine curiosity: “What’s confession”? I was in shock. His mother – in spite of his very busy schedule – had faithfully taken him to weekly CCD classes! This poor innocent soul, left in the care of Bishop Clark’s DoR! Like countless others! For decades! I was, at that time, debating fitting these classes into my son’s busy schedule – but this incident, and a gander at the book they used (like all DoR CCD books, it was extremely “lite” on ANY Catholic truth) confirmed what a big waste of his time that would be.

    So this is an incidence where regular teaching in the ordinary circumstance would have blessed this boy and his family greatly. Instead, he, like countless other in the DoR for decades, was deprived of what is his due – Catholic teaching. SO I am simply saying, put truth back in the regular places where it belongs, and its the truth that will change lives, not the truth-bearers. We are just the conduits of grace.

    I hope that clarifies it.

  36. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Richard wrote: “I wonder if the reason the bishop moves priests around so rapidly is to prevent bonding from occurring between the laity and the priests. Except if the priest is as heretical as the bishop. Then, bonding will be allowed to occur because there is a good chance the people will buy into the heresy.”

    That must be a part of it. From the first I heard of this crazy policy I thought the goal was to divide and conquer the faithful. Getting rid of this stupid (to put it mildly) policy is a change the new bishop can implement on the first day.

  37. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Annonymouse wrote: “Also, what is the scandal (financial or otherwise) that you alude and others alude to? The DoR financial statements are audited annually and posted on the website. Hate to be their apologist, but it APPEARS, at least, that they’re making a valiant attempt to be transparent.”

    Seriously? You really think that because the DoR “publishes a statement” of what they want you to see, that means everything is transparent?

    If you really are wondering about specific irregularities, you could start with reading Diane’s S$hepherds S$hearing S$heep series, or her series on Fr. Ring and St. Januarius.

  38. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    I believe the actions of this bishop are diabolical. The new bishop better keep the current bishop on a VERY VERY short liech. VERY SHORT.

  39. avatar Eliza10 says:

    I regret to say that your word for many of Bishop Clark’s policies and actions fits better than mine…

  40. avatar annonymouse says:

    Eliza – thanks very much for the helpful clarification. What you’ve written and what Mr. Lawler is recommending (tongue-in-cheek or not) seem to me to be far different.

    With respect to the financial statement, the diocese submits to a full financial audit (at great expense I am sure) every year. I suppose one can question the thoroughness of that audit, but it’s not hidden – it’s out there for all to see. With respect to OLOL, I doubt that individual parish finances are included in the diocese audit, so I suppose all of which Diane writes might escape scrutiny.

  41. avatar JLo says:

    I obviously come to this discussion quite late, having just signed on to read it and all the comments. I have a need to comment to Annonymouse and all the other “annonymouses” out there:

    You may hate to sound like the DOR’s apologist, Annonymouse, but that’s exactly who you appear to be. You believe some people are too rough and the new bishop should not be reactionary (as you put it)? Catholics should be brought along slowly, you say. You obviously come from someplace other than the center, as you think the new bishop should bring people to orthodoxy slowly. Really!? Good grief. OTHER than orthodoxy is NOT Catholicism!

    We must stand at the center with the Holy Father and with a copy of the CCC handy… THAT is orthodoxy. All else is just being progressive at worst and PC pliable at best, and all such are fodder the devil just loves to pick up and mold his way… easily. He’s been given such fodder for many years here and has made great strides in separating Catholics from Catholicism, even right within our churches!

    A new bishop walking along the lines Phil Lawler speaks about may seem reactionary and too rough to you; however, such a bishop would appear Catholic to me and to all who love the Faith and seek its FULL truth always; not the PC version, but the REAL thing. Do I agree in total with Phil Lawler on everything? I remember him suggesting that seeing the movie “The Passion of the Christ” was something he could not recommend and he did not see it, because he did not want another’s version of those scenes implanted in his head where he had his very own walk with Christ already playing out as his heart wrote the pictures. I disagreed… I rushed to see the movie. He does have his own opinions, and I may disagree with some, but the man is Catholic, true and blue Catholic, to the bone when he speaks on other than opinion areas where we all may decide for ourselves.

    And regarding hiring in the diocese… why would non-Catholics be hired for Catholic endeavors? Are there not enough of us? It’s hard enough in this diocese after 32 years of bogus Catholic leading to find Catholics following the Faith we find set forth in the CCC. Why should/would we want other than Catholics leading Catholics? So they can bring other non-Catholic STUFF into our Holy Masses, like holding hands and orans postures in the pews and even from deacons on the altar?! That’s not Catholic; that’s touchy-feely stuff with no place in our sacred liturgies. However, a majority of Catholics in the DOR do not know that, as they grab at each other during the Our Father, raising arms, and then follow that display by running around shaking hands and hugging and kissing for many minutes during the so-called sign of peace time, totally losing the sacred flow into the Agnus Dei and Communion with the Lord as a people together. No one has bothered to teach them the Catholic way; and sadly, most obviously see no reason to look up the proper way to attend at Holy Mass.

    Such PC attitudes are exactly what are so destructive, even the silly ones… Satan loves all of it. Phil Lawler is speaking in his article as a Catholic to Catholics about Catholicism. Why do you insist that he be apologetic about a strident walk?! What other walk did Jesus expect?! Did he leave a list of things we could shave or adapt or dump altogether? Orthodoxy is required reactionary process in places that have slipped the lovely bonds of orthodoxy and tradition for a bogus, watered-down thing they still call Catholicism.

    Our new bishop needs to be joyful in his priesthood, courageous in his shepherding, and energetic unto death. That’s what I pray for, PC be damned for what it is… bogus.

    +JMJ

  42. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Jlo, You made good points to Annonymouse. Its true, even a regular bishop is obliged to shake things up when he gets here. Say you were ill for a couple years, and returned home to find the children’s sitter gave them no guidance, and had them smoking pot and drinking vodka-laced Kool-aid to mellow then out after school every day. But, your kids were happy! Hmm, should you change nothing but your socks and underwear for the first year? Get in touch with the dealer and stop by at the liquor store on the way home so you can ever-so-slowly wean them of the very habits that made them happy, which they had acquired through no fault of their own?

    Yes – all of Lawler’s ideas at once can seem like a frightening scenario for those afraid of change (Ha! 😀 Back at ya!) but we can assume we are not going to get a fool here and he will find his way to change what must be changed immediately ( A LOT!) and other things may require some pastoral patience and care to remedy — such as, perhaps folks who enjoy the orans position and folks who look forward to the glad-handing meet-n’-greet at the sign of peace (but he can start by insisting all “shaking” stop before the Agnus Dei!), and most especially, IMO, holding hands during the Our Father (Hey, for some woman its the only time they get to hold their husband’s hands!). How best for the new Bishop to handle the parade of EMHC’s who gather at the altar for a private party before communion is another pastoral question. There is no reason to think the new bishop won’t be a pastoral shepherd in these sensitive matters; no reason to expect he will be like the current one, who teaches the flock to ignore, pigeon-hole and deprecate those of his sheep who aren’t on board with his agenda.

  43. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Richard Thomas wrote: “The new bishop better keep the current bishop on a VERY VERY short leash. VERY SHORT.”

    Yes, Bishop Clark made me a bit queasy when I read that he hopes “as ‘bishop emertis'” “…[to offer] whatever spiritual counsel I can in retreats and spiritual-growth projects, a role I have come to enjoy every much.”

    Sigh. Can’t he start a dog-grooming business instead? Does he like dogs?

    Is a “bishop ermitus” some kind of free-ranging person, or is he accountable to anyone?? It seems he’s not too used to accountability; he’s been kind of free-range for years! Will he be accountable to the new bishop??

  44. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    mouse said:

    Posters on this site seem hell-bent on revenge for thirty-two years of evil. Hell-bent on victory after thirty-two years of defeat. There are no winners and losers, except on judgment day.

    youch! With such a charge, can you please provide some examples? I’ll be the first to say this isn’t about winning OUR case – it’s about saving souls and as Catholics we believe that is done by living out (and proposing to others) the Gospel message of Our Lord as presented by the Magisterium and by Sacred Tradition. I think that’s what we try to do here.

    mouse also said:

    The DoR financial statements are audited annually and posted on the website.

    can you provide links, please?

  45. avatar JLo says:

    I want the whole deal, Eliza10; all of it, as set forth in the greatest systematic compilation of belief ever put to paper, our own CCC. But I also want the pragmatic as set forth in the GIRM (which I obviously also should have referred to earlier). Because, yes, the important, the things that surreptitiously like snakes challenge dogma and Tradition, should be addressed firstly by our new bishop, but the “small ball” stuff cannot be ignored for long either.

    And the “small ball” stuff doesn’t have to be addressed head-on by a bishop anyway, not if that bishop advises his sons the priests of the importance of Holy Mass being celebrated the SAME in all our churches, the “same” being the way Holy Mother Church has established. The bishop can charge his sons to teach their flocks the way to attend Holy Mass. And I don’t care if holding hands at the Our Father is the only time a couple gets to hold hands, as you suggest…it has no place at our Masses!

    If priests gifted their people with the truth of what we have at Holy Mass, the people would once again focus on that Sacrifice we are privileged to attend and stop looking for the touchy-feely social community things they’ve been wrongly focused on for years. Yes, community is what we are called to be; but in being led to what Holy Mass offers us, they would know that it is not about smiling at each other; but rather, about Jesus smiling on us, and he wants us to be one.

    Holy Mass celebrated beautifully by a faithful priest and attended by people who know the who, what, why, where, when of the event is amazing, out-of-this-world amazing. Once one experiences such a blessing, all the cheap stuff brought into it is seen as the neon-lit plastic it is. But when people have never been TOLD what not to do as well as what they should do, they are made fools by doing what they see others doing and are made to feel foolish if they do not adopt the same. And so the mess is made and perpetuated and expanded.

    I am so tired of all the nonsense, because it only keeps happening and growing because our priests (and deacons, actually, whose charge it is to instruct where necessary) are not teaching! I am tired of having to keep my eyes closed or I know I will be taken away from the Sacrifice, my attention diverted to what makes me sad or angry or disgusted or whatever, depending on the wherever my spirit can be pushed on whatever day.

    I so pray that the new wording coming at us in November will take away some of the mess, that priests will actually say what’s in black and do what’s in red, and so actually TEACH their people! Can you imagine all the miracles of the early Church when people all knew what was happening at the altar and what their own personal responsibilities in attending were? All of one mind and heart and body… there must have been so many miracles each and every time Holy Mass was celebrated! Now we have songs of Jesus singing to us instead of we singing worshipfully to him! And we have people counting the hugs and the number of people they know and doing all manner of gestures that have no place in that place at that particular time.

    You talk about holding hands and say “Hey, for some woman it’s the only time they get to hold their husband’s hands!” Good grief; that’s just not a consideration. The truth is that we are all the same to each other during that time, with no one especially more so than another, all children of God and so brothers and sisters; and so if you, for instance, kiss the person next to you, you should kiss every single person in the church! THAT is why Holy Mother Church in the GIRM tells us that if we must have that peace sign, to just nod to the person on either side of us… just a decorous nod, and then move back into the Holy Mass. I have been to Holy Masses said by priests, and more than a couple whose names everyone would recognize internationally, and they do not even DO the sign of peace but move immediately into the Agnus Dei. They do that when they fear that those in the pews do not know how to proceed quietly in and out of that sign. And they skip it, too, when they know those in the pews know exactly where community peace is really achieved and so don’t need that signing.

    Looks like I’ve racked up even more words that you, Eliza10! ? Forgive my wordiness and my going on and on. I’m just tired of all the stuff that doesn’t belong. Every morning at daily I’m “treated” to people shouting out their personal “requests” during general intercessions, like there was band playing their songs up there! It shouldn’t be done, and yet it is, and I’d be off on another whole paragraph so we don’t need to enlarge on the why of that, but I say it only to make clear that MUCH has been injected into Holy Mass that never had any place there, and it’s time to stop it; and because of how huge the array of stuff brought in by laity and clergy as well, only a shepherd can provide the remedy because he can do it by personal example and by charging his priests with the task.

    I’ll repeat what I said in my prior post here: Our new bishop needs to be joyful in his priesthood, courageous in his shepherding, and energetic unto death. That’s what I pray for, PC be damned for what it is… bogus.

    +JMJ

  46. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    To the new Bishop of Rochester, I would like you to do the following things when you report to the diocese (not saying they are not done now with Bishop Clark):

    1. Begin and end each day with a half an hour with the Blessed Sacrament.

    2. Never forget to say your breviary every day.

    4. Say the Rosary every day for the intentions of the people in your diocese.

    5. Within the first 2 years, try to visit every parish in your diocese.

    6. Every week invite a priest for dinner with you and an overnight stay at the Cathedral rectory. Include him in your holy Half-hour that night.

    &. Have a good library and a/v source available to the people in the diocese.

    7. Regularly visit one of our local missions to the poor.

    8. Support religious youth programs and take part in them yourself.

    9. Write to the parishes every month and tell them what they need to know.

    10. Every five years, invite all the religious orders you can find to come to the DOR to talk about vocations, maybe at a large convocation.

    11. Require each parish to have a parish retreat EVERY year.

    12. Teach your priests how to preach and have as many sermons as you do homilies.

    13. Invite the Franciscans of the Renewal to come to Rochester or Elmira to administer a city parish and to the poor. ( They will more than adequately cover the right to life issues and youth religious development as part of their ministry.)

    14. If you are not an order priest, at least consider making a private vow of poverty.

    15. Make your yearly retreat in a country other than the USA so you will get other perspectives on the news/situations of the world.

    16. Take care of your health and be sure to let God be responsible for making people perfect and not you.

    17. Ask your people to pray for you at times outside the Mass.

    18. Add to this list as you go through your episcopacy.

    19. Remember every day that you are called to be a saint and provide us with a good example. Focus on what you are to “be” and your “doing” will take care of itself.

  47. avatar Scott W. says:

    I’ll repeat what I said in my prior post here: Our new bishop needs to be joyful in his priesthood, courageous in his shepherding, and energetic unto death. That’s what I pray for, PC be damned for what it is… bogus.

    Amen. People are going through Lawler’s piece with a fine-toothed comb just looking for something to carp at while message the basic thrust: “New bishops, don’t be confrontation-phobic politicians and shepherd your flock!”

  48. avatar Eliza10 says:

    JLo wrote: “…Looks like I’ve racked up even more words that you, Eliza10! ”

    –ROFL! Even more words than ME?! Omigosh, that’s just way too much! But no need to forgive your wordiness! Vent, please vent! Its needed! Its a reflection of the widespread DoR frustration of being officially silenced for so long, and officially minimized, like a broken record, as “people who are afraid of change!”.

    Well! We certainly don’t have to worry about DoR leadership not rolling with WHATEVER the new Bishop imposes! They have extolled the virtue of embracing change for thirty years! So forget about them – they LOVE change! They’ve droned that mantra continuously …surely its manifested by now? There! So the new Bishop can concern himself instead with compassionately shepherding the people that the DoR leadership steamrolled into accepting and becoming accustomed to THEIR imposed change.

    JLO wrote: “…Because, yes, the important, the things that surreptitiously like snakes challenge dogma and Tradition, should be addressed firstly by our new bishop, but the “small ball” stuff cannot be ignored for long either…”

    —Well put! Yes, I agree you can’t ignore the small stuff for long. However, just get the people a chance to breathe a little pure air (real Catholic teaching they NEVER HEARD before) and in my confident opinion, people will move toward change all by themselves; they will DESIRE it — it will not need to be imposed as a strange new idea! Because God converts. His Word – which we Catholics know is not only the Bible but also the dogma and doctrine of the Church – will not go out with bearing fruit, without changing lives. So I agree, start with killing the snakes (St. Patrick will help!!) and much of the small stuff will be effortless, or demanded by the people (who finally will get their opinions sought and heard!).

    JLO wrote: “…and the “small ball” stuff doesn’t have to be addressed head-on by a bishop anyway, not if that bishop advises his sons the priests of the importance of Holy Mass being celebrated the SAME in all our churches,…”

    –I agree that is the right way, and he should take that approach. But also there will be an obstacle to overcome here – the formidable cronyism in the DoR. Its one of those big, fat, long and slithery snakes, sent by and tended to by the evil one. How do you take that on? Its a spiritual battle – we fight not against flesh and blood. So our new bishop needs to be faithful and pious and filled with the Holy Spirit.

    I wonder if there wont be a few DoR priests exiting (with blaming, disparaging public statements) after too much exposure to Truth — those that are committed to that particular cronyism, and who were NOT EVER ever committed to the Catholic Faith (since the DoR in the last thirty years would make a comfortable haven for those), who do not want personal conversion to the Lord. When the Word is taught instead of hid, they (whoever they are – I have no one in mind!) may scurry like cockroaches when the light turns on…

    I hope I am wrong.

    JLO wrote: “…the touchy-feely social community things they’ve been wrongly focused on for years…it is not about smiling at each other; but rather, about Jesus smiling on us… …” and,”…And I don’t care if holding hands at the Our Father is the only time a couple gets to hold hands, as you suggest…it has no place at our Masses!…” and “… Good grief; that’s just not a consideration.”

    –I am with you 100%! Of course holding your husband’s hand is not the point – but I really think for some it is. There are a lot of hurting people, like those in sad marriages, so care must be taken. I think when Truth is taught, sadness will lift and be replaced with hope, and joy, and the Peace of God that passes all understanding, the Peace that thrives even in difficult life circumstances. And the heart will thirst for more truth. And this can happen pretty fast!

    I also relate to what you said about always diverting your eyes so you won’t be distracted by so much so wrong! IMO, its a useful tool, a right one in this situation. I think to look away from errors people have been TAUGHT to do by their shepherd and just pray for the souls is best. The new Bishop will lead the way in setting things straight. And we must not get weary in doing what is right.

    JLO wrote: “Our new bishop needs to be joyful in his priesthood, courageous in his shepherding, and energetic unto death.”

    —Well said. He can be this, when his strength comes from the Lord. We should pray not only for this current bishop, but also for our next one, whoever he is, wherever he is right now, that he can strengthened and he can prepare for this calling.

  49. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    Rest assured, the new bishop will probably not be from the diocese of Rochester because virtually all of the eligible age candidates from Rochester were taught by Charlie Curran.

  50. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Raymond – “6. Every week invite a priest for dinner with you and an overnight stay at the Cathedral rectory. Include him in your holy Half-hour that night.”

    A weekly sleepover? … trying to think what you are you thinking here? …

  51. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    If a lot of priests leave active ministry, it implies they are embedde4d in the heresy. They have to be prayed after this for because their souls are in serious jepardy.

  52. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    Eliza 10: Suggestion #6

    I was thinking that there might be priests traveling from Ithaca, Sayre,Elmira , any number of places a long drive from home to visit the bishop AND IT WOULD BE EASIER TO STAY OVERNIGHT. Sometimes, later at night, conversations can be very meaningful and rewarding and prove to be a special time between the bishop and his minister. HAVE YOU NOT HAD AN OVERNIGHT GUEST AND IN THE EVENING THINGS TURN TO POINTS OF REAL INTEREST AND CONCERN??Nothing more and nothing less.

    Eliza: WHAT WERE “YOU” THINKING?????????

  53. avatar Eliza10 says:

    I have a lot of sleepovers here – teens – and its not relaxing!

    But it makes more sense when you explain it.


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