About Cleansing Fire
So, what is Cleansing Fire?
Cleansing Fire was founded on June 10, 2009 by Gen, as a site whose mission would be to defend Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, New York. We made the explicit commitment to do so, not out of any selfish motivation or notion of greatness, but for the sake of souls and protection of our heritage of faith. As the psalmist wrote, “Lord, my heart is not exalted, nor are my eyes lofty. Neither have I walked in great matters, nor in wonderful things above me.”
No, this site began and continues to exist out of a love for orthodoxy and Tradition, two things integral to a thriving and beautiful Church. These also were two things we perceived as besieged by liberals in the Diocese of Rochester for many years. Often, Cleansing Fire seemed to be a lone voice. Today, under the leadership of Bishop Salvatore Matano for the last two years, these are also the same two things integral to the current episcopacy and in which the local church can exult.
The website is currently staffed by Catholics from various walks of life, and we invite guest posts as well. Staff writers contribute greatly to the site in varied and diverse ways. Through a precious combination of prayer, humor, news reporting, reflections, analysis, and portrayals of the sacred, Cleansing Fire nurtures a flame of faith and truth. Again, in the poignant words of the psalmist, “Through God we shall do mightily: and He will bring our enemies to nothing.”
As we look back on the fruits of our work, we see that a number of situations have changed in the last two years, for which we are a grateful people. To point out a few of the more obvious: abuses such as dancing in tutus in the aisles, preaching by the unauthorized, and the pastoral administrator structures headed by the unordained have been terminated, or at least are well on the way out. A closed Church, the magnificent St. Thomas the Apostle in Irondequoit, was reopened after nearly 4 years of closure, as the location for the Latin Mass Community, and has attracted the return of many previous parishioners. Once again priestly vocations are developing in numbers which encourage us, with solid resources for their formation. And we are seeing a stream of clarifications based on the Bible, Catechism and Canon Law which protect Tradition and call for orthodoxy and obedience.
Our defense of the truth and of our faith is not half hearted. Yes, we are militant, in the best understanding of Pope Pius XII’s words: “We belong to the Church Militant; and she is militant because on earth the powers of darkness are ever restless to encompass her destruction.” We now have the opportunity to look beyond just the local church community to a wider view of the U.S. situation, and even threats to our faith on a worldwide basis, persecution, undermining of Church Teaching, and division.
We are frequently contacted for advice or recommendations regarding local situations and resources, such as the desire of new arrivals to find a Catholic church which fits their needs. In that spirit we are especially happy to focus on true gems in our community, such as the beautiful and faithful celebration of Mass at Our Lady of Victory Church in Rochester, and the treasures of St. John Bosco School and the Chesterton Academy where teaching is in the Catholic tradition. We are also delighted to focus from time-to-time on events which build faith and care for souls.
We are able to share what we have learned in the past, assist and encourage others who are fighting battles in their own communities which we ourselves have waged, and to be more fully “Body of Christ.” We are able to more completely share with our brothers and sisters in the Faith in the manner anticipated by Canon 212. For these reasons, as the influence of Cleansing Fire covers a greater geographical and subject area, the reference to “DoR” (Diocese of Rochester) in our previous URL has changed simply to “CleansingFire.org” to be more geographically inclusive. In that same spirit, we have been delighted, for some time now, to have welcomed in joy the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter to participate fully on Cleansing Fire, just as they are truly and completely full members of our Roman Catholic Faith.
In the eyes of the Church, true charity, true “caritas,” rests in correcting the erring sheep, and reaching out to them by educating them in the ways of orthodoxy. The wording in one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy is “to instruct the ignorant.” At times it has been necessary to also include the Spiritual Works of Mercy “to admonish the sinner” and even “to counsel the doubtful.” That does not diminish any other work of mercy in our lives, but only helps to define better our commitment to our humble corner of the internet. Identifying the most relevant “Spiritual Works of Mercy” in this year of Mercy seems particularly appropriate to clarify on this Cleansing Fire site.
We shall remember, above all else, to trust in Jesus Christ, High Priest, King of Creation, Ruler of All, and Spouse of the Holy Mother Church. He is our defense, and a surer refuge no one has ever possessed. Our site graphic has changed to show the King of Kings, Our Lord in His Triumph of the Last Judgment – the extraordinary mosaic in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
And so, we welcome you to Cleansing Fire, which is read daily by about 1,000 Catholics from Rochester and across the globe. And we invite you to register so that you can comment with your thoughts, and strengthen each other.