Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Author Archive

Goodbye CleansingFire

February 22nd, 2019, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

I started blogging about a decade ago for 2 main purposes:

1) To expose and highlight the rampant heterodoxy I was encountering at the local level (following the protocol of canon 212). I’m not talking about minute theological nuances here. I’m talking about outright promotion of the homosexualist agenda, women priests, the use of artificial contraception, as well as liturgical abuses as blatant as women playing priest, using questionable matter for the Eucharist, and a total disregard for the sacredness of the Eucharist and the Mass in general.

2) To highlight and advertise the good things that were going on in the Diocese and the Catholic world in general. The world wasn’t nearly as connected back then (at least I wasn’t) and to many of us we didn’t realize that there *were* good things going on not that far away from us and that we could do more than simply bang our heads against the wall.

It was a different world then. Since that time, for us here in Rochester anyway, it’s almost like BXVI and Bishop Clark switched places. I have had no reason to post anything regarding purpose #1 since Bishop Matano came here – praise God for that! Also, pretty much every group in the Diocese has their own digital presence, so the need for #2 has pretty much gone away as well.

That leaves me with just a few potential purposes to continue contributing here:

3) Posting stories of my own interest as I continue to dig into Catholic tradition (at the speed of a tortoise these days). Even if I did have the time for this, CF probably isn’t the best venue for it anyway.

4) Offering links/quotes/comments as to what’s going on at the highest levels of the Church, but I just don’t see the benefit in doing so here myself. That’s not to say that others shouldn’t, but given the gravity of the situation, I’m very cautious to offer any of my own comments without spending considerably more time and energy than I have at this point in my life. It seems the path forward is getting narrower and I certainly don’t want to push others one way or another.

I would be amiss if I failed to remind you (and me) to devote time to (in no specific order) your duties in life, mental prayer, daily Mass, praying the Rosary, spiritual reading, praying the Breviary, reading the documents of the Church, and the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. You may even consider joining a lay fraternity of some flavor. To name a few local groups – there are Lay Franciscans, Lay Carmelites, Lay Dominicans, Opus Dei, and others. Feel free to add more in the comments.

With that said, I wish to say goodbye to the CleansingFire crew. I thank everyone who has contributed here (admins, posters, commenters*, etc) and to those who carry on the torch, my prayers will be with you.

* yes, even those who have vehemently disagreed w/ me 🙂

The Book Pope Francis wants Parents to Read

February 2nd, 2019, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

Our Holy Father stated in a recent in-flight presser:

We need to have sex education for children. The ideal is to start from home, with the parents. It is not always possible because there are so many different situations in families, and because they do not know how to do it.

Let’s make this ideal a reality and learn Fr Sattler’s book through and through. It is certainly time well spent. The rest of this post is copied from a previous post.


We recently wrapped up a book discussion group with parents and teachers from SJBS/CAR. This is a really good book that I think worth sharing. For those who aren’t currently raising children, it could make a good wedding or baptism present. I created a an outline (CliffNotes) as well as some notes regarding other resources shared in this google folder.

PARENTS, CHILDREN
AND
THE FACTS OF LIFE

A TEXT ON SEX EDUCATION FOR CHRISTIAN PARENTS
AND FOR THOSE
CONCERNED WITH HELPING PARENTS

FrSattlerBy Fr. Henry V Sattler, C.SS.R., Ph.D.

Excerpts from the Publisher’s Preface:

Fr. Henry V. Sattler’s Parents, Children and the Facts of Life will serve as an excellent and much-needed counterpoise to the Godless, public and grossly immodest “sex education” employed in the public schools—and, alas, in all too many Catholic schools. For it will give parents at once both the ammunition to show school authorities that the primary and essential obligation to instruct their own children in sexual matters belongs to THE PARENT and not the school, plus it will more than equip parents for their task.

One might think that the passage of forty years from the printing of the first edition of the book would have rendered it outmoded or grossly dated. But exactly the opposite is the case.

Excerpts from the Forward:

Parents may not entirely consign to others the task of providing for the moral and religious formation of their sons and daughters.

One of the most important phases in this parental duty of promoting the spiritual welfare of the young is sex education.

Most parents would readily admit, the proper fulfillment of this task is by no means easy.

The embarrassment that is likely to accompany the frank discussion of so delicate and personal a matter, the difficulty of choosing the right terms, and the fear that the child will ask questions which they may not be able to answer deter many parents from undertaking their duty, despite the unquestionable fact that in this age of blatant indecency and sexual license the proper sex education of adolescents is vitally necessary if their chastity is to be preserved.

Father Sattler has avoided two extremes which could easily spoil the instruction: on the one hand, vague and unsatisfying statements which are likely to arouse undue curiosity, and on the other hand, vivid and stimulating descriptions that may be a proximate occasion of sin to youthful hearers.

The benefit is greatly increased when a group of parents discuss these points frankly and honestly

It should likewise be noted that this book will also help teachers to discover and fulfill their function in chastity education as delegates and helpers in what is essentially a parental duty.

The book can be purchased on Amazon, Tan Books, AbeBooks.com, ($10 paperback / $6 kindle) and elsewhere.
Companion booklets – Listen, Son and Mother’s Little Helper (raw texts here and here)

 

Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – February 2019

February 1st, 2019, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

It’s time to print your February 2019 calendar. Thanks to the good folks at mprp-roc.org for providing these calendars freely available to all on the Internet.

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

Human Trafficking
For a generous welcome of the victims of human trafficking, of enforced prostitution, and of violence.

Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – January 2019

January 6th, 2019, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

It’s well past time to print your January 2019 calendar. Thanks to the good folks at mprp-roc.org for providing these calendars freely available to all on the Internet.

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

Young People and the Example of Mary
That young people, especially in Latin America, follow the example of Mary and respond to the call of the Lord to communicate the joy of the Gospel to the world.

Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – December 2018

December 1st, 2018, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

It’s time to print your December 2018 calendar. Thanks to the good folks at mprp-roc.org for providing these calendars freely available to all on the Internet.

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

Evangelization: In the Service of the Transmission of Faith
That people, who are involved in the service and transmission of faith, may find, in their
dialogue with culture, a language suited to the conditions of the present time.

Gomorrah in the 21st Century. The Appeal of a Cardinal and Church Historian

November 7th, 2018, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

Sandro Magister sums up a recent “extensive and detailed article” published by Cardinal Walter BrandmĂĽller. He links to the full article in German and Italian versions. I’d love to read the whole thing in English, but haven’t found it yet.

Gomorrah in the 21st Century. The Appeal of a Cardinal and Church Historian

the ones expressing the protest and demanding a purification of the Church are above all segments of the Catholic laity, especially in North America, in the footsteps of the “marvelous homage to the important role of the witness of the faithful in matters of doctrine” brought to light in the 19th century by Blessed John Henry Newman.

A German “dubia” cardinal lauds lay Catholics in North America for protesting and demanding a purification of the Church? I’d say that’s something.

Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – November 2018

November 6th, 2018, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

Sorry I’m so late this month. It’s time to print your November 2018 calendar. Thanks to the good folks at mprp-roc.org for providing these calendars freely available to all on the Internet.

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

Universal: In the Service of Peace
That the language of love and dialogue may always prevail over the language of conflict.

60 Minutes: Diocese of Buffalo, NY

October 29th, 2018, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

The segment from 60 minutes last night about our neighbors to the West can be streamed online:

Whistleblower says bishop knew of sexual abuse allegations, but did nothing

Catholic Courier’s Photos from the Feast of Our Lady of Victory’s 150th Anniversary Mass

October 15th, 2018, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

The restoration is truly breath-taking. The music, along with everything else, made this Mass a truly heavenly experience.

There are a few pictures on facebook.

And a few more on catholiccourier.com.

If you’ve never been to OLV or haven’t been in a while, do yourself a favor and check it out. There’s even more leg space now!

Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – October 2018

September 30th, 2018, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

It’s time to print your October 2018 calendar. Thanks to the good folks at mprp-roc.org for providing these calendars freely available to all on the Internet.

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

Evangelization: The Mission of Religious
That consecrated religious men and women may bestir themselves, and be present among the poor, the marginalized, and those who have no voice.

Governor Cuomo: Just Say No!

September 16th, 2018, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

Governor Cuomo: Just Say No! By Nelson Acquilano

Why would the government ever legalize another addictive drug? Maybe someone should ask – or rather challenge – this governor on that very issue. After all, it was not in his political platform when he ran for governor. So, why now? More importantly, how can we stop him?

LOTS OF GOOD INFO THAT YOU SHOULD READ BY CLICKING TO THROUGH TO THE FULL ARTICLE

Marijuana has destroyed the dreams and quality of life for countless youth and families. And one of the greatest dangers of marijuana is that it is underestimated as a powerful pharmacologic, psychoactive, mind-altering substance. In this regard marijuana is not fully appreciated for what it really is – a strong drug of addiction that will have devastating effects on families.

Drug use affects everyone: family, friends, neighbors and all of society. It is not a personal, singular event. The use of drugs does not happen in a vacuum. Tens of thousands of individuals and families have been left emotionally bankrupt, even for life.

Marijuana legalization is not simply another public policy issue like taxes. Once enacted, legalization will have far reaching and permanent repercussions for our families – and on our children, forever.

Two Possibilities for Getting out of this Mess

September 5th, 2018, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

Not to say there aren’t more (or better) ways than these, but here are a couple approaches for getting out of this mess…

1) Call on the Secular Government

Thomas Peters again – If the US Bishops Don’t Fear God, They Should Fear the Government

Those accused of these evil deeds, when they do speak, utter incoherence.

These men must not fear hell.

the Roman Curia, its cardinals and pope, will not self-convict. They won’t even self-investigate.

I have come to the difficult conclusion, along with Hugh Hewitt and others, that a government-led investigation into the Catholic hierarchy is probably the only means at our disposal to be an example for the universal church for how to uproot this network of corruption inside our church and yes, to get priests and bishops to begin speaking out and turning each other in, following the trail back to the loggia of Rome. 49 more state attorney generals and the Attorney General using every means at their disposal to discover which bishops and cardinals have endangered children by moving predator priests, have orchestrated cover ups to protect abusive priests and bishops and cardinals and have individually and collectively preyed upon young men and seminarians. Open up the files. Follow the paper trail. Deposition. Subpoena. Jail.

2) Perform the Numbers 5 Approach on all Bishops in Question

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:…

The man whose wife shall have gone astray,… but the adultery is secret, and cannot be proved by witnesses, because she was not found in the adultery:

He shall bring her to the priest…

And when the woman shall stand before the Lord, he shall uncover her head, … and he himself shall hold the most bitter waters, whereon he hath heaped curses with execration.

And he shall adjure her, and shall say: If another man hath not slept with thee, and if thou be not defiled by forsaking thy husband’s bed, these most bitter waters, on which I have heaped curses, shall not hurt thee.

But if thou hast gone aside from thy husband, and art defiled, and hast lain with another man:

These curses shall light upon thee: The Lord make thee a curse, and an example for all among his people: may he make thy thigh to rot, and may thy belly swell and burst asunder.

Let the cursed waters enter into thy belly, and may thy womb swell and thy thigh rot. And the woman shall answer, Amen, amen….

And he shall give them her to drink… And when she hath drunk them, if she be defiled, and having despised her husband be guilty of adultery, the malediction shall go through her, and her belly swelling, her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse, and an example to all the people.

But if she be not defiled, she shall not be hurt, and shall bear children.

Some Other Troubling Statements in Vigano’s Testimony

September 2nd, 2018, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

The full document can be found here:

TESTIMONY
by
His Excellency Carlo Maria Vigano?
Titular Archbishop of Ulpiana
Apostolic Nuncio

The entire document is very unsettling. I can’t say it’s all that surprising to anyone who has followed the inner workings of the Catholic Church over the years. While most of the commentary on Vigano’s testimony has focused on sexual sins and the cover-up thereof, which certainly deserves attention, in this post I want to highlight a couple of other excerpts which I think puts a reality check on what can reasonably be done to remedy the current corruption in the Church. Consider me a pessimist when it comes to hoping that this situation will somehow resolve itself short of a significant upheaval that I really can’t comprehend.


re: The Society of Jesus

These characters are closely associated with individuals belonging in particular to the deviated wing of the Society of Jesus, unfortunately today a majority, which had already been a cause of serious concern to Paul VI and subsequent pontiffs.

This is a major problem as the influence of the Jesuits in the Catholic Church is without rival. According to wikipedia, “the Jesuits… manage a number of institutions, including 380 secondary schools and 190 colleges and universities”.

They also publish America magazine, “the only Catholic weekly magazine in North America, and is considered the leading Catholic journal of opinion in the country”.


re: the conservative/liberal*1 debate in this country, Vigano attributes these words to Pope Francis:

the Bishops in the United States must not be ideologized, they must not be right-wing like the Archbishop of Philadelphia

and later

the Pope replaced Cardinal Burke with Wuerl and immediately appointed Cupich right after he was made a cardinal. With these appointments the Nunciature in Washington was now out of the picture in the appointment of bishops.

In short, give thanks to God for giving us Bishop Matano at the moment he did… and prepare yourself and your family for the day when our next bishop arrives.


re: calls that the Vatican ought to open an investigation into these issues… I wonder how exactly the accused is supposed to also act as an accuser? How does that work? Of all the great gifts provided to our country by our English patrimony, I must say that the adversarial system of law is among the best. I’m not in any way suggesting the Church ought to change her form of government. I’m just noting that what we’re familiar with here in this country as far as how a trial works does not apply to the Church, especially when the top-most person is accused.


Another train of thought I’ve had regarding the now accepted consensus that whistle-blowing in matters concerning sexual predators is better than the alternative, the culture of cover-up and secrecy. It now seems that most lay people and clerics alike agree that, in hind sight, it would’ve been better if more people spoke up sooner and more publicly rather than simply sweeping these issues under the rug. If this is true about sexual predators, I don’t see why it wouldn’t also be true about liturgical abuse, heretical teaching from the pulpit (as well as the complementary failure to transmit ALL of the teachings of the Church from the pulpit), unjust closing of schools and churches, financial corruption and mismanagement, etc. The principle ought to be the same for all of these issues as well. Matters should first be taken to the offender directly (depending on the crime), then to the person whose job it is to correct that person and take care of the issue, but if that person fails to act, then one is completely justified in going around them, going higher up the chain, as well as going public. This certainly doesn’t mean you can skip that first steps (NOTE: I haven’t posted one article about local abuse in the Diocese of Rochester since Bishop Matano was installed), but it does mean that those who say, “shut up – you’re doing more damage to the Church by speaking up” in all situations are unjustified. Prudential judgment certainly comes into play in all situations, but the “never speak up” attitude is completely without merit. I also happen to think it’s time for priests and bishops to stop playing the game of heaping praises on their heterodox brother bishops and priests. Let’s be real – THEY are the ones who have caused division, NOT the ones simply stating the facts that there IS a division.


I understand these revelations have shaken the faith of some good Catholics. I praise God that mine has not been. My faith in God and His Church has only increased since I’ve become Catholic. I look into my own heart and I see so much potential for evil. I thank him every day for bringing me into the fold of the Catholic Church, sustaining me with the Sacraments, entrusting me to the care of His Blessed Mother, and for showing me the example of so many holy people (historically in the Saints*2 and also presently in the faithful people and priests we have right here in Rochester.)

*1 conservative/liberal are obviously loaded terms. What I mean by a conservative here is someone who adheres to *all* of the Church’s teaching, while a liberal picks and chooses from Church teaching and assumes the parts they don’t like can/will change in the future.

*2 most of our favorite Saints lived amongst corruption as bad or worse than we’ve been exposed to. IOW – we have no excuse for not becoming as holy as God wills us to be.

Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – September 2018

September 1st, 2018, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

It’s time to print your September 2018 calendar. Thanks to the good folks at mprp-roc.org for providing these calendars freely available to all on the Internet.

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

Universal: Young People in Africa
That young people in Africa may have access to education and work in their own countries.

Thomas Peters: 7 Reasons Why I Believe Archbishop Vigano’s Accusations To Be Credible [Updated]

August 27th, 2018, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

Click this link to read it all: 7 Reasons Why I Believe Archbishop Vigano’s Accusations To Be Credible [Updated]

It really isn’t worth snipping any of it, but I have to just to fill out the post a bit.

Make no mistake, we are living through a historic moment in the Church’s life….

I think the next steps here are simple: the claims made in the letter must be thoroughly investigated both by the secular and Catholic press and by competent ecclesiastical authorities …

There is now a coordinated counter-effort underfoot to discredit Abp. Vigano and his accusations, both by progressive Catholics and the mainstream media (led, of course, by the New York Times). They are attempting to discredit the letter primarily by attacking Abp. Vigano….

Even if it turns out Pope Benedict is guilty, I will and must accept that truth….

In the days, weeks and months ahead, we must continue praying and fasting for our Church.

And if you are a bishop, what you say or don’t say, do or don’t do, is something you will have to account for before the face of God.

Because only the truth will set us free.

May Jesus have mercy on us all.

Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – August 2018

July 31st, 2018, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

It’s time to print your August 2018 calendar. Thanks to the good folks at mprp-roc.org for providing these calendars freely available to all on the Internet.

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

Universal: The treasure of Families
That any far-reaching decisions of economists and politicians may protect the family as one of the treasures of humanity.

Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – July 2018

July 2nd, 2018, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

It’s past time to print your July 2018 calendar. Thanks to the good folks at mprp-roc.org for providing these calendars freely available to all on the Internet.

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

Evangelization: Priests and their Pastoral Ministry
That priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests.

Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – June 2018

June 4th, 2018, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

It’s past time to print your June 2018 calendar. Thanks to the good folks at mprp-roc.org for providing these calendars freely available to all on the Internet.

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

Universal: Social Networks
That social networks may work towards that inclusiveness which respects others for their
differences.

Ed Feser: The Church permits criticism of popes under certain circumstances

May 21st, 2018, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

The Church permits criticism of popes under certain circumstances


The case of Pope Francis [CONCLUDING PARAS]

Pope Francis has made statements that at least appear to conflict with traditional Catholic teaching on Holy Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics and non-Catholics, contraception, capital punishment, the criteria for the validity of a marriage, and other topics. He has also studiously refused to respond even to polite requests for clarification and reaffirmation of traditional teaching on these subjects.

For these statements he has been respectfully criticized by many prominent Catholic churchmen, philosophers, and theologians with longstanding reputations for fidelity to the Magisterium, including Cardinal Raymond Burke, [see post for long list]. The list could easily be expanded….

For so many prominent faithful Catholics publicly to criticize a pope seems unprecedented, though perhaps the criticism Pope John XXII faced from the theologians of his day was somewhat similar. However, for a pope to make so many problematic statements while persistently ignoring repeated respectful requests for clarification is certainly unprecedented. Hence the criticism is not surprising. More to the present point, it is manifest from Donum Veritatis, canon law, and the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas and other approved theologians that the criticism is clearly within the bounds of what the Church permits. Those who accuse these critics of being “dissenters” or disloyal to the Holy Father are either being intellectually dishonest or simply don’t know what they are talking about.

Moreover, the legitimacy of this criticism is clear even from the teaching of Pope Francis himself. For one thing, the pope has explicitly said that some of his public remarks are open to legitimate criticism. For another, in his recent exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, Pope Francis asserts that “doctrine, or better, our understanding and expression of it, is not a closed system, devoid of the dynamic capacity to pose questions, doubts, inquiries.” Now, in my opinion this statement needs serious qualification. But if Pope Francis believes that a Catholic can legitimately “pose questions, doubts, inquiries” about doctrines that have for millennia been consistently taught by scripture, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and all previous popes, then he cannot consistently deny that it can be legitimate to “pose questions, doubts, inquiries” about statements of his own that seem inconsistent with those doctrines.

Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – May 2018

May 2nd, 2018, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

It’s past time to print your May 2018 calendar. Thanks to the good folks at mprp-roc.org for providing these calendars freely available to all on the Internet.

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

Evangelization: The Mission of the Laity

That the lay faithful may fulfil their specific mission, by responding with creativity to the challenges that face the world today.