Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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Pope Francis would probably like CF

July 25th, 2013, Promulgated by Diane Harris

What a thing to say!  But, yes, just based on what we are hearing from Pope Francis in Rio, and his determination to restructure the Curia (much more on that in the coming months), I think Pope Francis would like Cleansing Fire!  I think he would see the need for a public voice exposing staff (local Curia) that closes churches and schools on apparent whim, ignores complaints of the laity and manipulates them, panders to female priest wannabe’s, creates non-canonical parish structures, questionably manages finances which carry fiduciary responsibilities, tolerates liturgical abuses, and even preaches on matters of prudential judgment (often personal opinion) but rarely against intrinsic evils — all to be valid targets of his exhortation to the youth in Rio:

Pope Francis in Rio“I want to tell you something. What is it that I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess. We knew that in Rio there would be great disorder, but I want trouble in the dioceses!” he said, speaking off the cuff in his native Spanish. “I want to see the church get closer to the people. I want to get rid of clericalism, the mundane, this closing ourselves off within ourselves, in our parishes, schools or structures. Because these need to get out!”  The news articles add:  “Apparently realizing the radicalness of his message, he apologized in advance to the bishops at home.”

It seems to be not only a clarion call to keep working for the good of Christ’s Church, in spite of the forces undermining that work, from inside and outside the Church, but also to involve the young even more in a most worthy fight, in THE most worthy fight — for souls.  What has happened here to so many parishes, and to so many souls, needs to be retold to a new set of ears, in a new day.  Isn’t this invitation of Pope Francis to the youth in Rio an invitation to all of us, not to settle for what we’ve received, but to re-emerge with what has been kept carefully in our hearts and memories?   Just because we had 30+ years of suffering and secrecy, and just because so much is still unaddressed nearly a year after Bishop Clark’s retirement, is no reason to abandon the story.  Most unanswered complaints need to be re-surfaced; that which is still undone needs to be revived.  A new bishop needs to receive it all.

Again, Pope Francis’ words fit.  News media report:  “Francis acknowledged that young people in particular have a sensitivity toward injustice.  ‘You are often disappointed by facts that speak of corruption on the part of people who put their own interests before the common good,’ Francis told the crowd. ‘To you and all, I repeat: Never yield to discouragement, do not lose trust, do not allow your hope to be extinguished.'” 

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32 Responses to “Pope Francis would probably like CF”

  1. avatar Dan Riley says:

    The City of Rochester’s web site is translated into the following languages:

    ???? English Français Deutsch Italiano ??? ??? Português Español

    Translation by WorldLingo

    It is time for Cleansing Fire web site to be translated for our Pope and the world to read the truth about the Diocese of Rochester.

  2. avatar Dan Riley says:

    Chinese and 2 other languages posted as question marks in my post.

  3. avatar annonymouse says:

    Funny that you should post this question, because I was just thinking about this very question while out driving yesterday and listening to the WYD events on EWTN (which we’re down on these days, as per the post below).

    I’m sure you’re not surprised, Diane, but I concluded that he would probably NOT like CF all that much. Oh, I don’t think he’d argue with the theology espoused here, or the advocacy of adherence to the Church’s teachings and Magisterium. What I think he wouldn’t like here is the lack of JOY that we as Christians are called to exhibit, all the time: “as we wait in JOYFUL HOPE for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ” (old translation)! I am as guilty as anyone here, grousing about this and grumbling about that, impugning bad motives to everyone who disagrees with my vision of what Christ’s Church should look like.

    But it seems to me that the Holy Father wouldn’t need to read very far on these pages before asking, “where’s the JOY? Don’t these people know that the Lord died and rose again, for THEM? Time is short – rather than squabble and grumble and complain about this, that and the next thing, how are these people spreading the faith by their joyful witness?”

  4. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    where’s the JOY? Don’t these people know that the Lord died and rose again, for THEM?

    for the umpteenth time, it is a logical fallacy to pretend that what you read here is an all encompassing view into the writers/readers spiritual lives. What you read here is a particular message that the author has taken time to write because it’s what you don’t hear elsewhere. As for joy – go to mass, read the Bible, read the spiritual classics, pray, pray, pray, volunteer your time, and spread the good news… absolutely do these things. We’re not going to try and duplicate all these things here just so we can claim we’re not Debbie Downers.

  5. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Dan,
    We’re one step ahead of you. On the home page, you’ll notice there’s a “Choose Your Language” widget in the right panel. Even if we didn’t have this, though, google (the site) chrome (the browser), and many other tools make it somewhat easy to read foreign language sites.

  6. avatar JLo says:

    Thank you, Ben, for explaining once again for those who need it that CF is not a primer on the Faith, nor a devotional. And thanks for the time CF staff take out of their personal, joy-filled Catholic lives to provide discussion points of interest and of necessity. There’s a Catholic community out here that greatly appreciates all of it, so thanks, also, to fellow travelers for sharing and discussing. Happy day and God bless everyone. +JMJ

  7. avatar Scott W. says:

    I was watching Cheers the other day when Woody’s parent’s demand he move back home because Boston is too dangerous and they think he is hanging out with an unwholesome element. So Diane decides to film the denizens of Cheers doing wholesome things and when she gets to Sam, he’s pretending to read the Bible and says, “Excuse me. I was just reading Paul’s letter to the Galatians. O those Galatians. When will they listen?”

    That made we wonder if after reading Paul’s rather blistering tongue-lashing in 4: 8-20 if there weren’t some Galatians going, “Aww gee whiz, where’s the JOY?” St. Paul the Debbie Downer? I don’t think so.

  8. avatar Diane Harris says:

    I’d be happy to learn more from you, Annonymouse. Please point out where the JOY is in your comment. Or, for that matter, in your last 5 comments. Thanks.

  9. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Just one thing Mouse,

    Jesus, when cleansing the temple from the money changers probably did not express “joy”, unless he was fulfilled in going about His Father’s business. He expressed Holy Rage.

    Many times people on this site express similar emotions when describing their experiences in the DOR or expressing anger over how many in positions of power have sold out to the enemy.

    Talk to an NFP couple talking about NFP. Speak with a disciple of the Courage movement explaining what their organization is about. I am sure you will find plenty of “joy” in their expressions.

  10. avatar Abaccio says:

    I never thought I’d say this…Annonymouse…you’re right. (sort of)

    The SINGLE BIGGEST PROBLEM the folks in Rochester have is a lack of joy. You’re right. You’re just pointing the finger a little too selectively. We need to define our terms properly. For more, a sermon that touches on the topic of Joy:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT3IUn41mfA

  11. avatar BigE says:

    I think annonymouse is pretty darn close and right on in her assessment. Except instead of “joy” I would substitute the words “love, foregiveness, and mercy” which of course, lead to joy.

  12. avatar Ron says:

    “At times we lose people because they don’t understand what we are saying, because we have forgotten the language of simplicity and import an intellectualism foreign to our people. Without the grammar of simplicity, the church loses the very conditions which make it possible to fish for God in the deep waters of his mystery. … Perhaps the church appeared too weak, perhaps too distant from their needs, perhaps too poor to respond to their concerns, perhaps too cold, perhaps too caught up with itself, perhaps a prisoner of its own rigid formulas.” – Pope Francis

  13. avatar BigE says:

    @Ron
    Amen to that.

  14. avatar Scott W. says:

    I think annonymouse is pretty darn close and right on in her assessment.

    Yes, and several us answered. Please interact with those answers or otherwise this is gratuitously lobbing “neener-neener” grenades into the combox and fleeing in a cowardly manner.

  15. avatar militia says:

    The manifestation of joy is not in mindless consensus of pew sitters to avoid dispute, nor in the guffaws of a Cardinal. It starts with an inner peace, and radiates from there. Those without peace have a hard time seeing it in others.

  16. avatar BigE says:

    @scott w.
    Apparently you ignored my second sentence which was to to nuance slightly what annonymouse said, bringing it in line with Pope Francis’ comment yesterday (which Ron was kind enough to point out…) Which means I WAS interacting. And no one is fleeing in a cowardly manner. I’m right here and have always been willing to talk to anyone who addresses me.

  17. avatar Scott W. says:

    Apparently you ignored my second sentence which was to to nuance slightly what annonymouse said, bringing it in line with Pope Francis’ comment yesterday (which Ron was kind enough to point out…)

    Here’s how it is:

    1. Anonymous expressed an concern that there is a lack of joy among CF members.
    2. Several of us gave him good answers of why this is not so.

    I’m interested in interaction with those answers given to Anonymous, not you just agreeing with him as if no one else had a response. If you can’t do that, I’ll take that as tacitly conceding that you have no cogent reply.

  18. avatar brother of penance says:

    Scott W, thank you for taking the time
    to point out in what interaction you are
    interested. Perhaps others, however, are not
    likewise interested. In fact, others have
    comments which might or might not follow the
    preceding comments.

    Frankly, Scott W. who cares whether or not
    you think someone has or hasn’t a cogent reply
    to what you consider the acceptable discussion
    to be followed as you see it well ordered? Why
    not give some space to those who don’t particularly
    see things as you do?

    Personally, it seems quite appropriate to quote
    what Pope Francis said regarding losing people.

    Would Pope Francis like CF?
    He probably would resonate with some
    and not with some. Kind of obvious.

    If CF is making disciples of Jesus, Pope Francis
    would like that.

    Annonymouse would be hard pressed to prove
    CF lacks joy. Repeating that CF lacks joy probably
    means Annonymouse is not perceiving the Lord Jesus
    in and through CF. Not a true or false, just a perception
    issue.

    May I offer a definition of joy?
    My definition is found in a no longer
    used mystery of faith acclamation.

    “Keep in mind that Jesus Christ
    Has died for us
    And is risen from the dead;
    He is our saving Lord,
    HE IS JOY FOR ALL AGES”

    Yes, Jesus is our Joy. As CF faithfully conveys
    Jesus, his truth and his Church’s Sacred
    Tradition, disciples will be made and Pope Francis
    would like that.

    Seems simple enough to me.

  19. avatar Scott W. says:

    Frankly, Scott W. who cares whether or not
    you think someone has or hasn’t a cogent reply
    to what you consider the acceptable discussion
    to be followed as you see it well ordered? Why
    not give some space to those who don’t particularly
    see things as you do?

    It’s quite simple. Saying that fellow Christians lack joy or charity, etc. is very serious charge to level. Serious charges need to be seriously substantiated, otherwise it’s rash judgement. And diving down the “perception” escape hatch simply will not do any more than someone saying, “Well I can’t prove your mother is a crack-smoking prostitute, but that is my perception, which is neither true or false, so you can’t punch me in the face for saying it.”

  20. avatar JLo says:

    I so like your comment, militia. Dead on. Joy is not necessarily jolly, but it’s always in a peaceful spirit. God bless. +JMJ

  21. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Ron quoting Pope Francis:

    “At times we lose people because they don’t understand what we are saying, because we have forgotten the language of simplicity and import an intellectualism foreign to our people. Without the grammar of simplicity…

    How is this for simplicity? Every organization has rules. To be a member of the organization, one ought to abide by those rules. If I want to play baseball, I must accept the fact that it’s 3 strikes and I’m out. If I want to play soccer, I must accept the fact that I can’t pick up the ball and throw it into the net. If I want to be a Catholic priest, I must accept the fact that there are certain infallible doctrines that cannot change and that I must follow the rubrics of the mass. If this is what qualifies as intellectualism these days then we have a much bigger problem than a renegade Catholic blog.

  22. avatar brother of penance says:

    Scott W., yours isn ‘t an apt analogy.

    It’s one thing to not perceive the presence
    of Jesus, whose presence denotes joy.
    It’s radically different to assert one perceives
    bad, illegal, unhealthy behavior.

    Look, Ben has shown that “it is a logical fallacy
    to pretend that what you read here is an all
    encompassing view into the writers/readers’
    spiritual lives”. To me it is obvious that one’s
    whole being can’t be appreciated in blog comments.

    For this reason at least, I had written annonymouse
    would be hard pressed to prove CF lacks joy.
    But, isn’t it possible that annonymouse hasn’t
    encountered or experienced the Lord Jesus
    through CF? And, isn’t it possible that
    particular lack of encounter / experience
    personally translates into a lack of joy?

    Again, not a true or false matter. It is a
    perception issue.

    Because for some the presence of Jesus is joy,
    not experiencing Jesus means not experiencing
    joy.

    What if annonymouse has mostly experienced
    a coldness and formula rigidity? If so, CF risks
    losing a Christian sibling. Pope Francis suggests
    recovering the grammar of simplicity.

    Let’s not arbitrarily discount annonymouse’s
    experience of CF.

  23. avatar Rich Leonardi says:

    What Ben said.

    ‘Blogs are like interactive forum pages* — they allow people to air a grievance or gather support to oppose an injustice. They are not the sum total of every aspect of the Faith.

    * Come to think of it, blogs have turned forum pages into interactive forum pages, as they’ve encouraged online newspaper op ed pages to add comment boxes, like buttons, permalinks, etc.

  24. avatar BigE says:

    @Ben
    You stated: “How is this for simplicity? Every organization has rules. To be a member of the organization…”

    Interesting that you would take the Pope’s comments and turn it into how one joins the Catholic faith rather than the indeed simple message of loving and being loved by God and bringing that love to the world.

    You may not like that brand of intellectualism, but it is certainly ringing true to people’s hearts. And I gotta think Jesus would prefer to move our hearts rather than our heads…..

  25. avatar Scott W. says:

    But, isn’t it possible that annonymouse hasn’t
    encountered or experienced the Lord Jesus
    through CF? And, isn’t it possible that
    particular lack of encounter / experience
    personally translates into a lack of joy?

    It translates into a broad-brushed passive-aggressive smear.

  26. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    @Ben

    Interesting that you would take the Pope’s comments …

    I wasn’t attempting to interpret the Holy Father’s words. I was defending against what seemed to be an interpretation of his words to say CF is doing it wrong. I’ll be perfectly honest that I think it is very unhealthy the way people are expending energy trying to interpret his every word.

    Interesting that you would take the Pope’s comments and turn it into how one joins the Catholic faith rather than the indeed simple message of loving and being loved by God and bringing that love to the world.

    This is a Catholic blog – everything revolves around the Catholic faith because it is true. The essence of Christian perfection is loving God and neighbor.

    You may not like that brand of intellectualism, but it is certainly ringing true to people’s hearts.

    I don’t remember saying I didn’t like a “brand of intellectualism”. Please explain.

    And I gotta think Jesus would prefer to move our hearts rather than our heads…..

    of course it’s both and I assume you’d agree.

  27. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    and just to be clear, the unhealthiness of dwelling on every word of the Holy Father’s wasn’t intended to refer to this post. I’m thinking of the recent comments about causing a mess. I don’t have any beef with anything he’s said, but everyone is either ecstatic or upset about many things he’s saying meanwhile there are a million different interpretations about what he actually means. All indications are that the current Pope is a Catholic in full unity with our Catholic Tradition. That’s good enough for me.

  28. avatar JLo says:

    It’s good enough for me, too, Ben, but it looks like the MSM and all the Catholicism bashers are all excited about perhaps this social justice minded pope maybe finally making the changes in the Catholic Church that all the heretical Christian churches have already succumbed to. He loves the poor and simplicity for sure. His tossing aside traditional living in the Vatican and constantly beating the drum about poverty and now his comments about not judging homosexuals really has the moderns clapping. They don’t understand that none of us would judge the person, but our Faith informs our judgment of actions and I’m sure the Holy Father would, given the opportunity, make it clear that while he doesn’t judge a homosexual person, he certainly judges living that life style the way the Church has stated, that it is disordered and unholy. This is all to say that you are dead on in it being very unhealthy to massage every sentence this pope is saying. People are having a great time twisting his words their own personal way. I pray it all stops, but it won’t until maybe he stops and catches his own breath, please God. +JMJ

  29. avatar Scott W. says:

    This is all to say that you are dead on in it being very unhealthy to massage every sentence this pope is saying.

    As I mentioned over at the CMAA forums, I am very wary of any reportage/translating of the Holy Father whether it comes from secular media/dissident Catholics or even traditionalists with whom I have sympathy. Pope Benedict was very careful and exact in his words and deeds and STILL his words and actions were distorted. Pope Francis is more off-the-cuff so to speak, so coupled with the language barrier there’s just too much wiggle-room for people with an agenda to take any second-hand information from them at face value.

  30. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Hello — I want to be sure to correct what could easily arise as a misperception from what is written here. The original post was NOT from the popular media, although the content was definitely reported there. Rather, the post is documented in Zenit, which is about as good as we can get to the vetting of the Holy Father’s words, without hearing them personally. No summarization of a talk is going to be 100%, but the faithful reporting of Pope Francis’ words is a first step, and I think Zenit has done it, and tries to do it. (EWTN I am less sure of, especially given the NCRegister article.)

    Now, for interpretation, we recognize everybody has a filter. Here is mine. The Church has long been split between what some see as the traditionalists and others see as the social action segment. There are various descriptions for both sides of this division, depending on the filter and personal experience. I see it as between emphasizing the Greatest Commandment and the one which is second but like to it.

    Any split is an uncecessary division, as merit for achievement of the second part must be based in the first. For example, it isn’t about giving a cup of cold water, but of giving it in Christ’s Name. So we have a Pope, it seems, who is 100% in both commandments, and is not prioritizing or ignoring, but being true to Christ’s words. This is a great and wondrous unifying approach, and my great hope (and belief) is that his approach of synthesizing ora and labora will trickle down to reuniting even at the diocesan and parish level. I don’t think Pope Francis can be fully understood by cherry-picking his comments, but we are human and have to go a step at a time, a paragraph at a time. IMO.

    That doesn’t mean there was anything wrong with Pope Benedict’s approach or that of Pope John Paul II. They laid the groundwork, and now the Holy Spirit has chosen whom He wants for this time and place. Praise God!

  31. avatar Rich Leonardi says:

    And I gotta think Jesus would prefer to move our hearts rather than our heads…

    I’m thinking that with Jesus being the source of wisdom and knowledge, He’s probably familiar with the logical fallacy of the false dichotomy.

  32. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Just after my defending Zenit as a fairly accurate source, they published the following correction on a different article but, at least, they admitted and corrected their mistake, unlike National Catholic Register.

    Zenit says:

    Error in Interview With Cardinal Burke
    ROME, August 01, 2013 (Zenit.org) – In an interview with ZENIT published July 25, we asked Cardinal Raymond Burke for his response to the view that the liturgy is mostly about aesthetics, and not as important as, say, good works done in faith. We misheard his reply and mistakenly reported him saying such a view was a “Communist misconception.” His Eminence would like to make clear that what he actually said was a “common misconception.” We apologize to His Eminence and to our readers for the misunderstanding.


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