Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

The Notre Dame Story

July 18th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

The NYTimes and the Narrowly Avoided Collapse of the Paris Cathedral


GO FUND ME Solemn High Latin Mass Vestments goal reached!

July 16th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

The following GO FUND ME site was successful. It raised the full amount requested and no further donations are being accepted. But for your interest in the need for vestments, and for support of the Traditional Mass, the following information remains:

A Solemn High Latin Mass was celebrated on June 22, 2019, the Feast of St. John Fisher, Patron Saint of the Diocese of Rochester, NY. The Mass was held at St. Francis of Assisi Church (St. Peter’s Parish) in Phelps, NY. More on that holy event can be viewed here:

The adjacent picture is from that Mass and shows proper vesting for a Solemn High Traditional Mass. One understands at a glance that the vestments for the celebrant, and for the priests serving as deacon and subdeacon of the Mass, are not inexpensive. And there is far more required than the eye can see. Visit the GO FUND ME link for more detail on the various and necessary items which have as their object obedience, service and worship of God. So the good news for the laity and for other supporters of the Traditional Mass in the Extraordinary Form is the opportunity to contribute to properly vesting our priests for their work of liturgy.

Please click the link created by Father Peter Mottola to understand better the need for the vestments and other items, and to offer your support:   



Giving thanks after Mass: Gathering ‘Other’ Fragments

July 12th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

“Eat and run” is a colloquialism from the early 1900’s, when it was used to imply violating the social mores of hospitality, a kind of rudeness toward the host or hostess, taking the food and work of preparation for granted, only accepting an invitation to consume what is offered, not to enjoy the company. Another version is “come late; leave early” and, later in the twentieth century, morphing into the expression “fast food.”  Various parts of the world have embraced the “fast food” ambiance at different rates, “turning the table” more quickly to accommodate more business, even using color combinations in restaurants to psychologically make people want to eat and leave.

But among the joys of international travel (and there are not as many these days) has been the culture or art of making dining timeless. The three hour dinner (and longer!) has much more purpose, even in business, than just eating. It requires the art of genuinely wanting to get to know the people at the table, and allowing oneself to be known. And it embraces the lost ability to disagree without being disagreeable, to be inquisitive without being nosy, to grow and value a relationship with sincerity and expectation.

The bible is replete with events related to consuming food, and 40 years of manna in the wilderness is a centerpiece in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the key food-related events are the miracles of the loaves and fish and, of course, confection of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. Food, and eating together as a group, have special emphasis in many other Teaching Moments of Christ. His first public miracle is at a wedding feast, where He protects the couple from being embarrassed (and perhaps provides even a wedding gift of excess wine for the larder of the bride and groom.) He criticizes those who take the best places at table; He chides a host who did not provide basic hospitality such as a kiss, and foot-washing. Christ raises a girl from the dead and tells her parents to give her something to eat. He helps Martha to put her food preparation in the right perspective to God’s Word and, above all, offers the gift of Himself in the Eucharist under the appearances of bread and wine. After the Resurrection, Christ arrives in His Risen Body, in the Upper Room, to show by consuming food that He is really alive  and, on another day, He prepares broiled fish at the seashore for some of His apostles. 

Mary Mother of the Eucharist

We know that gratitude was (and still is) important to Jesus, because He criticized the nine lepers who did not return to give thanks for being cured. But the crowning glory of His gifts is the Eucharist; the word means Thanksgiving. Giving Himself in this way, at the Last Supper and through 2000 years of Masses, demands a proper Thanksgiving. What does that mean? Certainly it is not caving into the “fast food” mindset. Instead of “Come late, leave early,” perhaps it is the opposite: “Come early” for preparation and recollection, and “Stay late” for a little bit of time for thanksgiving and gratitude. There are, of course, various prayers which include the St. Michael Prayer (so vital in these times but not prayed in many parishes, and actually forbidden by the pastor in one prominent local parish), and the classic “Anima Christi” (Soul of Christ) found in many missalettes.  I prefer the rhymed version which I learned in grammar school (rhyming makes it easier to remember):              

Another prayer after Communion is to the Blessed Mother:        

These are good, relevant prayers to keep us focused on the great gift we just received. But there is also another way — we learn from the Holy Spirit, Who reminds us of what Christ commanded, after those at the miracle of the loaves and fish had all eaten their fill, to collect the fragments. Surely one point to be made was how much greater volume there was of the fragments compared to the small amount from which the bread and fish were multiplied. That is because it is a miracle, not a slight of hand or marvelous oration. But there is also a concept in collecting the “fragments” after Mass which invites us to “revisit” the Mass in which we just participated, and realize that the fragments are much more than we initially realized we’d received. Can we remember the readings? No? Take a look at them again. Notice, that far too often the readings skip over verses in order perhaps to pack more into a reading, but we also lose what is dropped from the reading and we lose the sense of momentum in reading scripture. These fragments also can be collected, by reading the entirety of the reading in a bible, focusing on the  “missing verses”, so that nothing is lost. What about the homily or sermon? What key points most touched our hearts? or surprised us? In our Thanksgiving this is a wonderful time to talk such points over with the Lord, and not to be surprised if we then receive even more understanding. Did we pray for all the intentions we brought? Did we offer ourselves? Do we remember the hymns we sang? We can also read the unsung verses, some of which are even more beautiful than what we sing. We can rehear the words of consecration in our hearts, envision the care that the celebrant expresses in the consecration, in his receiving and distributing Communion, and in his cleansing the vessels, as we pray in adoration of the Son of God, the greatest gift of all. Even stretching out our personal conversation with Jesus for just a few minutes brings a richness and personal gift in those fragments we collect, that we don’t let fall to the ground, unnoticed.

It is odd, isn’t it, how so many people want to spend eternity with God, but not a few minutes after Mass! Sometimes people complain that they don’t know what else to say, except a quick “Thank you.” Hopefully, the image of collecting the fragments with reverence and sensitivity can enrich the experience of Thanksgiving.


Ticker Posts — July 2019

July 11th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

As we turned the corner into July (and the second half of 2019) there were a few Ticker Posts left from June which invite comment before being deleted.  Certainly the agenda for the Amazonian Synod continues to be of real concern. So too is the increasing split between faithful bishops and those who are not (especially in their LGBT Teaching), fueling fears of schism. But it also seems more bishops are being ‘called out’, which is needed to avoid future Mr. McCarricks. Here are comments on some of the July ticker stories, in reverse chron order:


Facebook Dark Ages:  The Lights go out again all over the world

So Facebook has descended further into the depths of ignorance and banned St. Augustine as ‘Hate Speech.’ No joke. Here is the paragraph which triggered the ban:

“Let us never assume that if we live good lives we will be without sin; our lives should be praised only when we continue to beg for pardon. But men are hopeless creatures, and the less they concentrate on their own sins, the more interested they become in the sins of others. They seek to criticize, not to correct. Unable to excuse themselves, they are ready to accuse others. ”  

Read here how FB reviewed the matter and upheld its decision. A pro-lifer, Dominic Bettinelli from MA, noticed that two priests were censored from using this passage and, when he tried to do the same on his ‘wall’, he too was banned. But FB still hasn’t explained the ‘why’ of the matter. It actually appears, strange as it might seem at first, that the FB reviewers are having trouble with the meaning of simple English. (We may need to process some things as Latin, in size 2 font, to avoid confusion). At first I thought it was the semi-colon, an arrogant punctuation which cries out “Hah! see what I know how to use, and you don’t!” I thought that the censoring might be to bring blame on those who use a semi-colon as being insensitive to the lack of punctuational capability in the reviewers. Then just an excerpt was posted: “But men are hopeless creatures.” It too was banned. Apparently, a failure to have included women among the hopeless creatures poses a dilemma! Soon those reviewers will need to address the use of only the masculine or neuter genders for Satan. Will the women’s rights contingent argue for using the feminine gender as well? Will the dark ages fully descend again, before they are reversed?

At times like this, I just play “When the Lights go on Again All over the World,”  the famous blackout music of World War II.  But those lights for which we wait are enlightened minds and hearts and souls committed to God. He turns on the lights for those who seek to read and study and live by His Light. 

The war, which ends in God’s triumph, is a spiritual war. It’s about time now for Christians to desert FB, and to stop playing chess with evil in the dark.  Hear the music! 

Meanwhile, here’s censorship from Google against the 10 Commandments:


Horror Story in Ft. Worth Diocese:  Problem of Bp. Olson

The background on the Bp. Olson abuse story can be found on Church Militant, here:

If this much is out in the open, can you imagine what we don’t know yet? Support investigation!


An Amazon Problem 

Amazon seems to be introducing a modern version of book-burning, by removing Conversion Therapy books. One Ticker post asks the question if bibles are next:

To avoid shopping for Christian items on Amazon, try especially for books.


God’s Intervention and Catholic Activism

LA Abp Gomez said: “… the bill … threatened the conscience of every American. If any legislature can force believers to reveal their innermost thoughts and feelings shared with God in confession, then truly there is no area of human life that is free or safe from government intrusion.” That doesn’t mean the issue won’t come up again, and again, and again.



Discussion of TLM and Novus Ordo

About 1 hour and 20 minutes into this discussion, there is the very exciting assertion that if someone had been baptized in the new rite, without the exorcisms, that they can still be added in a conditional baptism.  There is also interesting mention of extreme sin today, like transgenderism, being from lack of real exorcism in baptism!


When Prelates Teach Their Own Opinions

June 30th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

It was reported on June 13, 2019 that the USCCB had voted to revise the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) to change, in effect, the Church’s Teaching on the death penalty. An article can be found here (CAREFUL! the R in NCR is not for EWTN’s Register, but for the notorious R of the National Catholic Reporter):

Nevertheless, the statement is clear:

BALTIMORE — “The U.S. bishops voted June 13 to revise what the U.S. church teaches its adult members about the death penalty in a passage on the issue in the U.S. Catechism for Adults.

The full body of bishops approved the revised passage by a vote of 194 to 8 with three abstentions. It now will need the approval, or ‘recognitio,’ of the Vatican.” 

Since Pope Francis has explicitly avowed that the death penalty is “inadmissible,” there is no doubt the change will be approved by the Vatican (unless the Lord intervenes). And such a vote on June 13th! That is a remarkable date–the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua. Those bishops must have lost their minds, and even forgotten to ask St. Anthony’s help to find them.

The vote is outrageous. Less than 5% of the US Bishops could find the courage to uphold 2000 years of Catholic Teaching! And that, dear friends, is exactly where the buck stops on so much other failure of prelates in the Church — voting for what somebody else wants, caving in to liberal pressure, rather than with hearts fully embracing the Teaching of God, no matter how difficult it is. However, we must also allow that there is a remote possibility of failed teaching in the seminaries, of errors in their texts, of invincible ignorance on the part of 95% of the bishops, or that the 95% are masons or communists or under physical threat. Well, not a real   possibility, so I’ll cease making excuses for them. After all, every bishop but St. John Fisher caved to Henry the VIII rather than be hung, or drawn and quartered, or both. Standing up for God is not often painless. When you hug a Man wearing a Crown of Thorns, you are bound to get some scratches!

In writing the reflection I did on CF for “Sifting Simon” during Lent this year, I came across many criteria for righteous judgment on the part of the judges in Sanhedrin trials. It was interesting to note that a guilty verdict for a capital crime, such as murder, could not be carried out if all the votes were against the defendant. Such an overwhelming vote would indicate the defendant’s being unfairly prosecuted, or a hidden agenda. A vote of less than 5% of the US bishops to uphold millennia of Church Teaching indicates lack of thought, belief, or obedience, a dire prospect for the future of the Church in the US, and introduces more than a hint of voting without freedom or proper discretion.

Why? Because the Moral Teaching of the Church cannot be changed. It is the Pope’s responsibility to protect the Deposit of Faith, not to keep tweaking it. And that goes triple for the Amazonian cover afforded to clerics’ desire to be able to marry, women’s desiring to be deaconesses or priestesses, proposals which would invalidate the matter for the Eucharist, and much more (may we not be so naive as to believe we are hearing the full agenda!)

It is simply NOT POSSIBLE to revise the Deposit of Faith and 2000 years of Teaching to now make a sin what has never been a sin, and for which great and saintly scholars and theologians have provided outstanding defense and explanation. What it is possible to do is for the bishops, those who know their faith, to provide a “prudential judgement” that in each prelate’s own opinion we should try to reduce the use of the death penalty and seek other alternatives to protect the rights of innocent people. In other words, it should NOT be made a contradictory moral issue (nor can it be); but it is a matter of “prudential judgment” aka “carefully formed personal opinion.”

Perhaps they thought we wouldn’t care. After all, how many people must face a decision in such an area? More than one might think. The USCCB is reprehensible in aligning itself with the Democratic Party, the party of murdered babies, 98 genders and — watch for it soon — euthanasia. So alleging that eliminating the death penalty is a moral matter tips the scales again to the blue. Even promoting it as a prudential judgement, without giving the biblical basis and persistent teaching, tips the election scales. So, too, making the Wall an issue by only focusing on one side of the issue, and ignoring the Vatican Wall and Nehemiah’s following God’s Will to protect the returning exiled Jews from Babylon by building a wall, tilts the election playing field as well. And if we really read the articles about CRS and CCHD collections, just follow the money to see how it is rerouted to democratic programs.

But there is more involved than tipping elections. Such arrogant dismissal of long standing Church Teaching among the hierarchy inhibits those who have counter opinions from expressing them, thus giving rise to the perception that only one side is right. The laity (and clergy) most surely have the right and, as Canon 212 points out, “sometimes the duty” to exercise their rights, e.g. to express their opinions on prudential judgment matters. Keep in mind the greater injuries that changing a Church Teaching can do. Perhaps this is part of paving the way for the Amazonian changes seemingly coveted by the Vatican? There are also impacts on people who work in the judicial system. What about Catholic judges who must from time to time hand down a death sentence? It is one thing if the state forbids it; quite another when the Catholic Church attempts to bind the judges’ consciences with a “new teaching.” May they no longer judge? What about jurors? wardens? the willingness of witnesses to come forward? Eventually, many people will not know even how to find out the true Teaching. (See what God said to Noah in Genesis 9:6).  This change is not only disloyal to God’s Teaching, but it also makes second class citizens out of those prepared to live righteously under the unchangeable moral law of the Church.

The machinations (read Bp. Barron’s wimpy, waffling explanation in the link above) would be laughable if not so sad, when considered vs. the reluctance of the USCCB (and its predecessor) to fight strongly against abortion, commanding from the pulpit that Catholics NOT support a candidate who advocates legalizing abortion. “Oh, no, we’re not allowed to do that… (oh yes you are)….” But many bishops don’t even have the courage to deny the Eucharist to advocates of abortion, let alone confront the issue. And in that silence, abortion in the first trimester escalated to dismemberment and infanticide.  And a huge, dark evil cloak fell upon us. Rather than speak strongly and timely against the alleged multiplicity of genders, against the threat to the Seal of Confession when a priest tries to save souls from their sexual sins, and when those who refuse to yield to normalizing ‘two moms or two dads’ are severely punished by the courts, and ravaged by social attack, some prelates are marching instead in the parade.

Prior Statements on Cleansing Fire re: Death Penalty

This death penalty issue has been on the horizon for years. See the CF posting from Mar. 7, 2015 here:

and from: Oct. 12, 2017 here:

and from Aug 2, 2018 here:

and from Aug. 5, 2018:



The Body of Christ is Being Dis-membered too

June 29th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

The Body of Christ is being torn apart, dis-membered.

The apt (and most despicable) image is the tearing apart of the baby in the womb.

        For Christ is the LIFE.

                       And the TRUTH.

                                  And the (only) WAY.  

Let’s bring that image to a Holy Hour.



The Rest of the Homily

June 24th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

It is not unusual to get calls from friends who have heard something preached (or seen something done) in their parish, wondering sincerely if it is “right” or “wrong.” It is not difficult for any of us to answer that the priest should “say the black” and “do the red” from the text in the Missal which lies upon the altar. But regarding what was said in a homily, it usually takes a few separate inputs to understand what was said if one isn’t present to hear it. So, although I did not hear the homily to which I now react, I have heard enough similar homilies to at least offer an opinion.

No, I am not claiming any “teaching” office by doing so; rather, I am simply inputting as a child of God who loves the Holy Word. As daughter of the most High God, washed in the blood of the Lamb, and a Temple of the Holy Spirit, I have a right to do so (and so do you), providing we do not contradict what the Church teaches. In that spirit, I offer a reaction to what was preached in a well known DoR church this past Sunday, by a guest preacher, in the general sense that “I’ve heard it before.” And, on one occasion, my response to the speaker’s false assertions was clearly unwelcome, thus even all the more necessary. I sense that those who were uncomfortable with the recent words from the pulpit, knew already in their hearts that “This isn’t Church Teaching.” I would much prefer to laud the sermon I did hear, faithfully preached, but that is not what I need to do at this moment. So, the homiletic words came in what, for the moment, is an unnamed church with an unnamed guest preacher (which I suppose partly mitigates the offense since guest preachers are like a box of chocolates, right? One never knows what one is getting!)

Corpus Christi

This past Sunday was the great Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the celebration of the gift of the Body and Blood of Christ in His Eucharistic Presence, given in the Upper Room at the Last Supper, given also upon the Cross, and given to us at the Mass, every day, as the Holy Sacrament of the Altar: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. The Lectionary prescribes the Gospel this year for Corpus Christi to be from Luke, Chapter 9, verses 11b to 17. It is the story of Christ’s multiplication of the loaves and fish. This particular miracle (a “sign” as John the Evangelist calls it) is recounted in all four Gospels, a unique repetition. Moreover, if one closely studies the words, it is not difficult to conclude that Christ did such a miracle more than once, hence any variation among those Gospels is easily accounted as due to multiple occasions in which the itinerant preacher (Jesus) taught, even on opposite sides of the Sea of Galilee.

How could a guest preacher mess up this familiar Gospel? By undermining the very perception of miracle, in attributing the feeding to Christ’s preaching skills, getting the crowd to share with each other from their own alleged picnic baskets, and “opening their hearts” to each other, implied as even being a so-called greater miracle. The guest preacher set that in front of his Sunday Morning Innocents as a seemingly valid interpretation and for their own discernment, while asking the manipulative question which was the greater ‘miracle?’ In other words, the alternate interpretation is much like a Protestant Church on a Sunday morning, all preaching (some of which is very good; some very poor) but devoid of the bread, empty of the Eucharistic Presence. What is the greater miracle? Not the rhetoric, no matter how tilted the question, but the TRUTH, the absolute TRUTH, through 2000 years of consistent and persistent teaching.

Testimony to the TRUTH

We look at other texts, buried within the miracle of multiplying the loaves and fish, to affirm the TRUTH of the four-Gospel narrative.  Consider these words from that aforementioned Lectionary reading of Luke,

“Send the crowd away, to go into the villages and country round about, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a lonely place.”  Does this sound like 5000 people with full picnic baskets? (Luke 9:12). See also Mark 6:35-37 for similar language.

 “… Jesus said to Philip, ‘How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?’ This He said to test him, for He himself knew what He would do.”  (John 6:5b-6) Jesus knew what He, Jesus, would do.  Notice that Philip doesn’t reply that the people have plenty of food, rather he confirms that there is very little food present. And that, my friends, is the point, they didn’t have any food or Philip would not have pointed to the lack of food. If they didn’t have any food, how can a “scholar” argue that they “shared.”

Further, Andrew would not have said: “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?” (John 6:9).  Does this sound like a people with even half full picnic baskets?

Search the other Gospels to read the same kind of words in describing the miracle, yes miracle, of the loaves and fish: See Matthew Chapters 14 and 15. We especially note Matthew 15:32: “Then Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with Me now three days, and have nothing to eat; and I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”  How can anyone, much less a serious scholar, argue from this text that the people had plenty of food to share?

What else can we point to besides the words reflecting poverty of rations to reinforce that Jesus Himself worked an incredible miracle? We certainly have the words in the miracle text itself, that Christ commanded them to be in groups of 50 (a very “Pentecostal” reflection of the Holy Spirit) and we have Christ’s words to the Father, thus a Trinitarian presence. Are we prepared to say that Christ’s powerful prayer was ineffective? That it was staged to be something it wasn’t? To deliberately deceive? Do we dare to demean the work of Christ as play acting to mislead about His Powers? Absolutely not! It is far beneath the Inherent Dignity of the Godhead to mislead souls about the TRUTH. It is, moreover, insulting to try to sell such a story to faithful Christians.

More Testimony

And, wait, there is more testimony from Christ Himself. The people who have just been fed travel to Capernaum to find Jesus, and when they find Him, they ask “Rabbi, when did You come here?” Jesus goes right to the heart of the matter: Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on Him has God the Father set His seal.” Then they said to Him, what must we do, to be doing the works of God? Jesus answered them: “This is the work of God, to believe in Him Whom He has sent.” It is ironic, is it not, that instead of believing in the miracle of the loaves and fish which Christ worked, that some would rather believe in themselves and full picnic baskets than in Him whom the Father sent!  (John 6:25b-29.)

And, as if this were not enough, there is further testimony by Christ to His own miracle. In Mark 8:14-21 it is reinforced that collecting the fragments after the crowd had eaten to its satisfaction was indeed part of the proof of Divine Intervention.

“Now they had forgotten to bring bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And He cautioned them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” And they discussed it with one another, saying, ‘We have no bread.’ And being aware of it, Jesus said to them, “Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?’ They said to Him, ‘Twelve.’ ‘And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?’ And they said to Him, ‘Seven.’ And He said to them, ‘Do you not yet understand?’”

Quite frankly, anyone who buys into the idea that the people produced their own feeding, that Christ was only a lecturer, an effective preacher, bows to what Satan said to Eve in Genesis 3:5 about her eating the forbidden fruit: “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Those words are a warning about the weakness of humans to want to believe they’ve done it all themselves, that they too are ‘gods.’ Just so, the evil one sought to use loaves in the temptation of Christ in the desert: “And the tempter came and said to Him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’  But He answered, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’’” And here is a personal assertion: any scholar explaining away Christ’s miracles has already joined the foe, and is covered in foolishness, not in cleverness or insightfulness.

The loaves, in particular, are a key testimony to God’s care for His people. The manna was dropped in the wilderness to feed not 5000 for an evening but about a million people for 40 years and gives a true perspective of the magnitude of God’s protection of His people. The Holy loaves which David and his men ate (which only a priest could eat) is an incredible foreshadowing of eating what is holy for our own survival! Why, then, is the multiplication of the loaves such a target? Is it not because bread undergoes transubstantiation at the hands of the priest, to give us food for eternal life? The evil one must hate the very appearance of bread. For Christ words echo down through the millennia (John 6:50-51):

“This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

Shame on you, O Guest Preacher, for feasting on the uncertainty of souls.


Instrumentum Laboris for Amazon Synod

June 18th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

There have been what seem to be justifiable concerns about the Amazon Synod. After all, it is not as if we haven’t seen Synods gone awry in recent times, for which Edward Pentin has done an excellent work of reporting diligently. Now that the Instrumentum Laboris for the Amazon Synod has been published, we might perhaps consider if certain fears for this Synod seem to be warranted or not. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio chaired a meeting before his election as pope, which raised great concerns related to the environment (and which work was drawn on for Laudato Si.) One of the proposals from that summit was to propose taxing all nations for the oxygen they breathe, claimed to be provided by the Amazon forestation. Tax on the air we breathe? Really. 

But it is not always possible to determine what is really behind language which seems harmless, or even worthy, when we don’t really know what it means. But we do know that three major concerns of some faithful clergy and laity for this Synod are 1) dropping the requirement for priestly celibacy, 2) ordination  (of a sort) of women deacons and 3) changing the matter from which the Eucharist is confected to use more local starch products. Yikes x 3!

So here is the Instrumentum Laboris (click on “read rest of this entry” to read in its entirety.) See if you can find hidden among the generalizations where the threats lie. There must be threats or so many of the German bishops wouldn’t be so excited about the Synod. Or is the Instrumentum Laboris just so general that anything could be included, even if not disclosed?

For a thoughtful review, see LifeSite News article          here:

Instrumentum Laboris (for Amazon Synod)

Zenit Newsletter Page 1
Vatican Presents Instrumentum Laboris of
Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for
Pan-Amazon Region

The Vatican on June 17, 2019, presented the Instrumentum laboris of the Special
Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region, to be held from October
6-27, 2019 and entitled Amazonia, new paths for the Church and for an integral ecology.

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, H.E. Msgr. Fabio
Fabene, under-secretary of the same Synod, and the Rev. Fr. Humberto Miguel Yáñez,
S.J., titular professor of moral theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome
presented the document a press conference held in the Holy See Press Office.
The cardinal explained the preparatory phase of the Assembly, which began in January
last year with the meeting of the REPAM (Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network) with the
general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, followed by the constitution of the preSynodal
Council of the Secretariat.

“With the publication of the preparatory Document”, he observed, “there began the broad
consultation with the people of God in the Amazon on the theme of the Synod.

The questionnaire attached to the Document offered the opportunity for a rich debate within
the seven Episcopal Conferences involved in the Amazon region, which sent their
answers to the General Secretariat. … The material resulting from this extensive
consultation was the object of careful study and classification by the General Secretariat
of the Synod of Bishops which, with the help of qualified experts, proceeded to draw up a
draft working Document”.

He went on to explain the key features of the text of the Instrumentum Laboris, which is
divided into three sections, following the following three general themes:

The voice of Amazonia, intended as listening to the territory to achieve pastoral
conversion following Evangelii Gaudium. This part treats themes of great importance in
understanding the reality of the Pan-Amazon region.

“The first theme is that of life, given that the Amazon is a source of life, of life in
abundance, which is expressed in the desire of the Amazonian peoples to ‘live well’,
even though that life is often threatened and it is necessary to defend it against
exploitation in its various forms. The second theme refers to the territory, source of life
and of God’s revelation, where everything is connected, in which there co-exist situations
of extraordinary beauty with many forces that threaten to destroy the territory, though
there is no lack of an encouraging openness to hope. The third theme is time,
understood as kairos, time of grace, of inculturation and interculturality, time of
challenges and urgency, but also a time of hope. The fourth theme is that of dialogue
with the Amazonian peoples, conceived in a missionary sense”.

Integral ecology, the theme of the second Part, underlines the reality of the Amazon
territory for an ecological conversion in accordance with the encyclical Laudato si’.
“In this sense”, the cardinal noted, “highly significant issues of the Pan-Amazon reality
are taken into consideration, such as, for example: extractive destruction; threats to and
protection of indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation; the complex problem of migration,
with its causes and consequences; the ever-present and growing phenomenon of
urbanization; the social changes that affect the family and make it vulnerable; the
devastating problem of corruption, a true structural moral scourge; and the question of
integral health and integral education, conceived as encounter and conversion towards
an integral ecology”.

The third theme is “The challenges and hopes of the prophetic Church in Amazonia,
with an Amazonian and missionary face”.
The Church is thus “involved in processes of inculturation and interculturality, a church
that lives its faith through an inculturated liturgy, a church that carries out its life in the
indigenous worldview, whether within local communities or in openness to urban
evangelization, a church open to interreligious dialogue, a church that intends to use the
media at the service of integral human promotion and wants to assume more and more a
prophetic role in society “.

“Therefore”, concluded the cardinal, “the Special Assembly for the Pan-Amazonian
Region promises to be a pastoral reflection open to the recognition of diversity, listening
to the Amazonian reality with all its cultural and ecclesial aspects. The image of a Church
with an Amazonian face, courageous in its prophetic proclamation of the Gospel in
defense of Creation and of indigenous peoples, is the horizon towards which we walk
under Pope Francis’ guidance, to share an experience of fraternal communion,
collegiality, and synodality”

Fr. Humberto Miguel Yáñez S.J. focused on the topic of integral ecology and ecological
conversion, which requires “an integral conversion of the whole human being in his or
her networks of interpersonal relationships and with creation; a pastoral conversion of
the Church, called to take care of the common home as part of its evangelizing mission,
to teach its faithful after learning from the native peoples. In this way, he will be able to
fulfill his prophetic mission even with regard to the powerful of this world, many of whom
are not interested in respecting nature and the peoples that inhabit it, especially the poor,
but only in extracting as much wealth as possible, which usually ends up in the hands of
a few”.

Bishop Fabio Febene dedicated his intervention to the new ecclesial paths referred to in
the third part of the Instrumentum Laboris. “Paths that, without forgetting the great work
of the first evangelization and the pastoral work carried out so far”, he said, “must be
traveled in order to build a Church with an Amazonian and missionary countenance. A
Church that is an expression of the plurality of peoples, cultures, and ecosystems that
meet in this territory. It is precisely the human and environmental of the Amazon, where
there live indigenous peoples, ribeirinhos, Afrodescendents, and migrants who ask for
the uniqueness of the region to be highlighted in the unity of the Church.

“The new pathways are implemented through a process of inculturation, that is, the
incarnation of the Gospel in the plurality of human cultures, promoting dialogue among
them with a view to mutual enrichment. In this way, inculturation opens the way to




Solemn High Latin Mass June 22, 2019

June 17th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

In honor of

the Patron Saint of the Rochester Diocese, 

St. John Fisher, 

A Solemn High Latin Mass with Schola will be offered

 at 10:00 AM on Saturday, June 22, 2019

 at St. Francis of Assisi Church (St. Peter’s Parish)

 in Phelps, NY


 Celebrant:  Father Peter Van Lieshout

Deacon:  Father Anthony Amato

Sub-deacon:  Father Peter Mottola

(Additional priests In Choro.)

In addition to a beautiful Mass in the Extraordinary Form, honoring our glorious martyr St. John Fisher, there is another event in the Sanctuary, announced in the St. Peter’s Parish bulletin by the Pastor, Fr. Peter Van Lieshout:

“… several other priests and I will … publicly pledge ourselves as members of the
Confraternity of Priest Adorers of the Eucharistic Face of Jesus.
This Confraternity is connected with a relatively new monastery called
Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, Ireland. It is a way for Diocesan
priests—within their current assignments and parish work—to share
in the spiritual benefits of the monastery, as well as unite among
themselves in prayer and priestly fraternity.

The Confraternity requires that the Diocesan priests make one central commitment, namely, to spend one continuous hour every day in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (whether solemnly exposed in the monstrance or reserved in the Tabernacle). The rules of the Confraternity also encourage the priests to meet together once a month for an hour of adoration together (particularly in reparation for the sins of priests), as well as sharing a meal and some time of fellowship together.

If you are interested, you can read more about the Confraternity

At present, there will be five of us priests that make the pledge—four
priests from our Diocese of Rochester, and one priest from the
Diocese of Syracuse. For us it is a way of encouraging one another
as brother priests to live lives of persevering prayer, and to have
some fraternal accountability in our personal pursuit of holiness. It is
also, in a sense, some small way of trying to respond to the great
sadness of the continued priestly abuse crisis, which among other
things, has exposed a serious failure among priests to cultivate lives
of holiness and virtue. We know that it is far from a comprehensive
response to the ongoing crisis, but hopefully people will see in this
gesture a sign that we truly want to be good and holy priests for our
people—the best that we can be!”




Further Information on Priests’ Assignments: Fr. Ring

June 15th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Fr. Ring returns to Rochester

The following information appears on the June 16th front page of the bulletin for St. Louis Pittsford, written by temporary administrator Fr. Bob Kennedy. It has been appended to the original post on Priest Assignments for the sake of completeness there. It is also added here since it might otherwise be overlooked, as it isn’t in the diocesan summary.

“… another word on Father Bob Ring. He has been back in the diocese for a couple of weeks now, and is awaiting an assignment from Bishop Matano. In my conversations with him, he seems to have benefitted greatly from his time away, and is eager to return to ministry full-time. The prayers, cards and letters sent his way by many of you have gone far in helping his good spirits and the healing he is seeking. Thank you for continuing to minister to him. Christ’s peace to you, Father Bob Kennedy”


Ticker Posts — June 2019

June 15th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

First Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral since the fire

The Ticker story mentioning the first Mass since the fire can be found here:

Only 30 attendees, mostly priests and all in hardhats, were permitted at the Mass due to the danger. Much debris remains to be cleaned up, and pieces of the damaged roof are still apt to fall.






Planning Vacation with a Pro-Life Perspective

‘Tis the season to plan and enjoy vacation. If you’ve been annoyed at so many pro-abort entities using every pro-life move to banter their message on contrived “violations” of the pro-abort message, let’s consider using the same criteria for pro-life. One of the ticker posts this month is by a Hollywood mouth trying to influence where they will film movies, and it creates an excellent grid for the pro-lifer to choose just the opposite.

So we refer to the grid shown here:

and do just the opposite. We choose to support the states shown in red!  (NOT a political party designation.)

That means the states in red in the graphic (click the link to see) are the ones pro-lifers should patronize; and not only patronize but be vocal about why we patronize that state. Unfortunately not all are shown on the map, but the principle is the same. Among the 17 “good” states shown are, in alphabetical order:










North Dakota 



South Carolina  

South Dakota




(and of course any North Eastern states not mentioned specifically in the Ticker article as pro-life. Are there any?)

All the ratings aren’t just influenced by the abortion position which, of course, is key. But those who want boys in the girls locker room, or who hassle bakers to make ‘coming out’ cakes, or who pursue destroying the Seal of Confession are apparently welcome to join the pro-aborts green rating for advocating immoral behavior. But boycotts work in both directions: We can map trips through states which are pro-life; avoid conferences, sports events and products specific to pro-abort states, notice what the pro-aborts support and do the opposite! And be clear and verbal about our choices. Isn’t it the least we can do?


When a Catholic pastor quotes a heretic ….

June 7th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

A Catholic Church in the Rochester Diocese ran a bulletin front page last weekend (the very weekend when new priests were being ordained!) using the writings of the notorious Protestant heretic William Barclay. About two-thirds of the front page was presented as a direct quote from Barclay. If the reader wants to know more about this Barclay fellow, consider the following link:

Far more is available on-line, even very convincing sounding arguments for universalism, for example; i.e. the belief that everybody will be saved. It is not to say that Barclay doesn’t have some “brilliant” ways of presenting error. So does Satan.  Barclay doesn’t believe Christ is God, nor does he believe in the Virgin birth. Barclay is an excellent argument for why the Lord gave us a Church, a source of authority for our protection. Brilliant and prolific as Barclay is at arguing against many Teachings of the Church, it would be unfair to turn anyone loose on Google to read his work for themselves, since most of us, and I emphatically include myself, do not have sufficient training for adequate refutation. That is why we are told not to enter into dialogue with Satan. Eve did, and look where it got her (and the rest of us.)

The Catholic pastor in the DoR church who ran Barclay’s words set them forth as truth, as example for people to follow. He gave no cautions, not even to identify that Barclay is NOT a Catholic theologian. He gave no excuse for exposing his flock to Barclay’s words and, by quoting Barclay, he implicitly presents heresy to the Catholic in the pew.

I had to think about whether or not that makes my re-presenting those words here in this post as abetting spread of the error, or rather just warning souls that they are walking toward an open manhole. Considering the influence of the person who removed the manhole cover, and his ability to continue doing the same, I have opted to present the words he presented, but without dignifying them with counter-argument as my own presentation might be too weak to be effective. So, I urge the reader to simply beware the words. If one lives in that parish, which I am not yet identifying, then especially beware of the underlying theological error so blithely presented.  From that bulletin we read:


From the commentary of William Barclay:

“What was that unity for which Jesus prayed? It was not a unity of administration or organization; it was not in any sense an ecclesiastical unity. It was a unity of personal relationship. We have already seen that the union between Jesus and the Father was one of love and obedience. It was a unity of love for which Jesus prayed, a unity in which men loved each other because they loved him, a unity based entirely on the relationship between heart and heart.

Christians will never organize their Churches all in the same way. They will never worship God all in the same way. They will never even all believe precisely the same things. But Christian unity transcends all these differences and joins men together in love. The cause of Christian unity at the present time, and indeed all through history, has been injured and hindered, because men loved their own ecclesiastical organizations, their own creeds, their own ritual, more than they loved each other. If we really loved each other and really loved Christ, no Church would exclude any man who was Christ’s disciple. Only love implanted in men’s hearts by God can tear down the barriers which they have erected between each other and between their Churches.

Further, as Jesus saw it and prayed for it, it was to be precisely that unity which convinced the world of the truth of Christianity and of the place of Christ. It is more natural for men to be divided than to be united. It is more human for men to fly apart than to come together. Real unity between all Christians would be a “supernatural fact which would require a supernatural explanation.” It is the tragic fact that it is just that united front that the Church has never shown to men. Faced by the disunity of Christians, the world cannot see the supreme value of the Christian faith. It is our individual duty to demonstrate that unity of love with our fellow men which is the answer to Christ’s prayer.”


If you cannot see within those words the rejection of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church which Christ founded, and an antagonism to the absolute truth of our Creed, and an ‘argument’ to admit anyone to Holy Communion, and the rejection of the efficacy of the Sacraments, then please really do re-read it until you see those errors, and so much more, as attacking what Christ Himself established. Our own weaknesses and sinfulness do not mean (as the author presumes) that we need to take control through our own behavior change, but rather to yield control to God’s plan, knowing how little we can ever do on our own, and how much we need His supernatural help.

This post is not about challenging a priest or embarrassing anyone. It is about, and hopefully always is about, protection of souls. Please join in the dialogue. People in that parish will doubtless know which parish is involved, and the rest don’t need to know in order to contribute their thoughts and experience. Please pray for those being misled. Mother of priests, please guide all your sons.


New Syracuse Bishop Named

June 4th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Pope Francis Names Rev. Douglas Lucia as New Bishop of Syracuse;  Accepts Resignation of Bp. Robert Cunningham

June 4, 2019

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Robert J. Cunningham from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Syracuse and has named the Rev. Douglas Lucia to succeed him. Father Lucia is a priest of the Diocese of Ogdensburg.

The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington, June 4, 2019 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Father Douglas Lucia, 56, was born on March 17, 1963 in Plattsburgh, New York. He attended Wadhamns Hall Seminary College, followed by Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, New York. He then attended the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 20, 1989 for the Diocese of Ogdensbugh.

Assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar of St. Patrick’s Church in Watertown; parochial vicar of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Ogdensburg; administrator, St. Mary Canton; associate secretary to the tribunal and chaplain at Gouverneur Correctional Facility; secretary to the bishop, vocation director, director of seminarians; pastor of St. John Morristown; St. Peter, Hammond; and St. Patrick in Rossie; He has also served as episcopal vicar for worship and priestly formation. Father Lucia was most recently pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Waddington and St. John the Baptist in Madrid, New York as well as judicial vicar for the diocese.

Bishop Cunningham was ordained a priest in 1969. He was appointed the thirteenth bishop of Ogdensburg by Pope Saint John Paul II and has reached the retirement age for bishops of 75. Bishop Cunningham was appointed the tenth bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse on April 21, 2009.

The Diocese of Syracuse is comprised of 5,479 square miles in the state of New York and has a total population of 1,199,000 of which 231,621 or 19.3 percent, are Catholic.

News From Watertown Daily Times

      Father Douglas Lucia

OGDENSBURG — A long-time north country priest has been appointed to serve as the bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse.

The Rev. Douglas Lucia, former pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Canton, now serves as director of Vocations and Seminarians for the Diocese of Ogdensburg.

[He] will replace Bishop Robert Cunningham who has resigned from the Diocese of Syracuse. The date of his ordination and installation has not been finalized.

In a message sent to north country parishes, Ogdensburg Bishop Terry R. LaValley congratulated [Fr. Lucia.]

“You know that his ministry in a variety of positions in our Diocese has equipped him well to lead the Church of Syracuse,” Bishop LaValley said.

“Certainly, with his departure, he will be greatly missed as his tireless ministry to the North Country will soon come to an end,” he said.

“His friendship and pastoral leadership have touched deeply so many during his thirty years of priestly ministry among us.


Charles Lwanga and Companions

June 3rd, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

A post last month mentioned the Ugandan martyrs as possible intercessors for the Church and for victims of sexual abuse. To better see the connection between the issue of active homosexuality and the intrusion of clericalism, it seemed helpful to understand the situation of the Ugandan martyrs, Charles Lwanga and companions.

Discreet writings, appropriate to their times and situation, indicate that the private sin of the King, sins implicitly homosexual in nature, was frustrated by Lwanga’s shielding and counseling the young men to hold strong as Christians and to resist the king. Could any “clericalism” have the impact or trepidation associated with saying ‘no’ to an earthly and sadistic king with limitless power over life and death? Yes, and more, when it is destruction of the soul.

The resistance of the martyrs would not have been necessary if not for the private sexual sin of that king, and his willingness to abuse the young and vulnerable for his pleasure. 

Thus, clericalism in the Church would have no need to be faced and contradicted, were it not for the wanton sin of those in power. Yes, it is both the sin and the willfulness of the sinner.


Today, June 3, is the feast day of Charles Lwanga and his companions, a good time to pray for help in the current crisis of sexual abuse.

June 3rd is the day they were burned to death in 1886.

They are already patron saints for converts and for torture victims.

Their blood watered the seed of the current and growing Church in Africa.

May our prayer for their intercession help to guard the Church in her current trials, and to protect the victims.



A Diocese Abuses Catholics’ Free Will

May 30th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Since mid-May there has been a story on the Ticker entitled: “Does diocese abuse Catholics’  Free Will?” It sort of got lost among many other stories, including the conflagration at Notre Dame. This post is a re-titling of the story originally published by LifeSite News as “Diocese allows school religious vaccine exemption for only non-Catholic families.”  While we direct to the original story, sometimes (as in this case) the finer or more subtle point is the one we want for comment. Also, the Ticker length strains the patience of visitors to the site, and we try to shorten for that reason as well (or else we’d have to run fewer stories.)  All this is by way of pointing out that abuse of Catholics’ Free Will seems to be the missed point to which we now draw attention.  We’ll be deleting the reference soon from the Ticker, but the link is:

Cleansing Fire, for reference, has run a previous post on measles vaccinations here:

First, here are some high points from the LifeSite News story by author Martin Barillas:


JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri, May 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City has barred Catholic parents from exempting their schoolchildren from vaccines for “religious” reasons while making religious exemptions “still allowable for other Christian and religious groups.”

“Citing the mandatory state policy … which requires immunizations for all public and parochial school students, the Catholic School Office of the Jefferson City diocese …  affirmed that students are barred from the Catholic schools unless they are immunized or can provide a valid exemption from the rule. A medical exemption from the rule must be confirmed by a physician, while a religious exemption must be ‘confirmed by a statement from the family’s faith leader,’ it read. It noted, however, in a move that some critics see as an undermining of parental rights, that ‘religious exemptions for Catholic families will not be accepted.’”

“… The policy is being criticized for discriminating against Catholics by not allowing them an exemption for religious reasons.”

“They have decided that Catholics are the only people on planet Earth who may not receive a religious exemption to attend the Catholic schools in the Jefferson City Diocese. Why? ‘Well, because…. they are Catholic,’ commented one blogger.”

“There are many parents who refuse vaccines on religious grounds because of the vaccines’ connection to the abortion industry. Some vaccines are derived from cell lines obtained from aborted babies.”


Let’s stop right there and take a big step aside for a moment. The Jefferson City Diocese is doing the very thing that Catholics concerned about their civil rights have resisted.  The Progressives for at least a decade have been trying to get “religion” out of the public square, equating our right to worship between church walls on a Sunday morning as being the “free practice of religion”.  No it is not!  The free practice of religion includes making our beliefs known in the public square and, more importantly, living up to those beliefs unimpeded. (Especially unimpeded by our own Church.)

The error which the Jefferson City diocese is making is confusing a moral decision with a specific faith tenet. The victims say they are being discriminated against but, in reality, they are being suppressed regarding a key moral issue, which would still be true whether or not there were any non-Catholics in the school. Setting aside the scientific pros and cons about the autism connection (which I personally believe is a meaningful connection, or at least too ambiguous to have any certainty of not being connected ), we as Catholics cannot easily ignore the abortion connection.

The Jefferson City Diocese seems to conflate obedience to the tenets of the faith with a moral imposition which is not an infallibly promulgated teaching of the Church. In my earlier post on vaccinations, the point was made that the Pontifical Academy for Life is imposing its opinion that the cell lines from abortion are too distant in the past to be a meaningful deterrent to accepting vaccination. Since when does the elapse of time reduce moral culpability? Have they no Canon Lawyers in Jefferson City?

Read the rest of the Barillas article for finer dissection of the validity of parents’ objections.  What the Diocese of Jefferson City seems to have done is saddle parents with the opinion of a study group which lacks AUTHORITY to enforce their opinions. Catholic parents have an excellent opportunity to model their belief in not exploiting a life, any life, which has been aborted, and their diocese seems to be ordering them to cave in to civil pressure.

There is yet another reason to put on the brakes before blindly implementing an action which somebody else professes not to be a sin. And that factor is CONSCIENCE. When ‘conscience’ is called ‘religion’ there must be a lot of mental and spiritual confusion on the part of those doing so. The Church has a long standing respect for conscience, truly and fully formed conscience. For example, in a just war it is licit to serve in the armed forces. But if someone is ordered to do so, and in good conscience believes he cannot do so without sinning, he does not sin by refusing to serve. Yet, he must pay the civil penalty, such as a jail sentence to accommodate his conscience.

During ancient Roman persecutions, all the Christians had to do was drop one tiny grain of incense on the coals to acknowledge that Caesar was God, or at least ‘a god.’ Those Christians who refused often died horrific deaths and won their crowns of victory on the other side.  If they had been part of the Jefferson City diocese, one suspects they’d have been told not to make a civil fuss, it’s only a tiny grain, and the study group says to ‘go along to get along’, and maybe it was an old grain of incense anyway, which lacked aroma!  And that is how they show parents in Missouri how to be Catholic parents? Seemingly missing from all consideration in the diocesan ruling is the giving of scandal to others!

One of my most favorite passages in the Catholic bible (those poor Protestants for missing out on this one!) is 2 Maccabees Chapter 6, where Elea’zar is being forced to eat pork, against the Jewish Law. It is a beautiful story, which sometimes brings me to tears. Do read it!  The whole chapter! Some of his friends concoct a ruse to give him Kosher meat instead of the pork so that his life will be spared. But he refuses, saying these most holy words:  “‘Such pretense is not worthy of our time of life… lest many of the young should suppose that Elea’zar in his ninetieth year has gone over to an alien religion, and through my pretense, for the sake of living a brief moment longer, they should be led astray because of me, while I defile and disgrace my old age. For even if for the present I should avoid the punishment of men, yet whether I live or die I shall not escape the hands of the Almighty. Therefore, by manfully giving up my life now, I will show myself worthy of my old age and leave to the young a noble example of how to die a good death willingly and nobly for the revered and holy laws.’ When he had said this , he went at once to the rack.”

Elea’zar is the person from the Old Testament I would most like to hug, if we do hug in the next world! Meanwhile I’d like to give the parents of Catholic School students in Jefferson City a swift nudge, to remember what is integral to their Catholic Faith and to their consciences.


Priest Assignments 2019

May 22nd, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

NOTICE: The Diocese of Rochester has now published a list of the new pastoral assignments and Abaccio reports it can be found here:

We will now shut down further comments on this post ‘as is,’ and suggest those interested in more information can refer to the Diocesan link.

June 16 Bulletin:  Note: although we hadn’t expected to add further there is an item missing from the diocesan announcements, but which appeared only on June 16 in the St. Louis Bulletin. Temporary administrator Fr. Bob Kennedy has written:  “… another word on Father Bob Ring. He has been back in the diocese for a couple of weeks now, and is awaiting an assignment from Bishop Matano. In my conversations with him, he seems to have benefitted greatly from his time away, and is eager to return to ministry full-time. The prayers, cards and letters sent his way by many of you have gone far in helping his good spirits and the healing he is seeking. Thank you for continuing to minister to him.Christ’s peace to you, Father Bob Kennedy”

If you know of DoR Priest Assignments beginning July, 2019, please add a comment to the post. What we have so far is confirmation that Fr. Bob Kennedy is leaving St. Louis in Pittsford the week of June 25th, that Fr. Paul English will be leaving St. Kateri in Irondequoit at the end of June, that Fr. Tom Mull has been reappointed to a second 6-year term as pastor at Our Lady of Peace Parish in Geneva, and that Fr. John Gathenya will continue in his current assignment as pastor of Holy Family Parish in Auburn, and add also responsibility as pastor of  St. Alphonsus Parish  in Auburn, and Sacred Heart Parish in Auburn, and its mission of St. Ann in Owasco.

Fr. Lance Gonyo will go from St. Rita’s in Webster to St. Kateri Tekakwitha churches in Irondequoit. Fr. Dennis Bonsignore will remain as Chaplain of The Latin Mass Community at St. Thomas the Apostle, still part of St. Kateri Tekakwitha parish.

St. Louis in Pittsford will have a fascinating priestly leadership group with strong international flavor. The new pastor is Fr. Mitchell Zygadlo, a native of Poland, retired as Catholic chaplain after 20 years in the USAF.  (He has been serving as administrator of Blessed Trinity and St. Patrick’s in Owego). Fr. Hoan Din is named parochial vicar to St. Louis, after being pastor of St. Matthew Parish in Livonia and St. Mary’s in Honeoye. Fr. Juan Benitez  from Colombia will continue for another year as parochial vicar. Msgr. Krieg continues in residence and in great assistance. One oddity of the announcement was outgoing Fr. Bob Kennedy’s gloomy reflection on the continued shortage of priests (“… parishes will continue to cluster and close” he writes). One wonders about trust in the Holy Spirit! “What can you do?” he asks, and among his answers:More broadly, we can lobby for new models of parish administration (does it have to be a priest?), or we can ask about the qualifications of who can be ordained (does it have to be celibate males only?) or develop new and alternative forms of ministry.”  What an unfortunate parting swipe for  lay unrest! “[W]e can lobby….”  Yikes!

From a part-time parochial vicar role at Assumption in Fairport to Our Lady of Peace Parish in Geneva, NY, goes Fr. Carlos Sanchez as full-time parochial vicar at Francis de Sales  and St. Stephen’s Churches. The new full-time Parochial Vicar at Assumption will be Fr. Sriram Kumar Sadhanala. He is 35 years old, ordained 9 years, and currently lives in India. He is a member of a religious community of priests known as the Heralds of Good News (HGN).


Great Work by Abaccio ferreting out so much information on additional priest appointments. It is posted as a comment but, in order that it not be missed, it is also being added to this post:

Per the Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick Bulletin of 5/26, “Fr. Anthony Amato has received a new assignment. He will be the Parochial Vicar at Saint Maximilian Kolbe Parish, Ontario, NY and Saint Katharine Drexel Parish, Macedon, NY.” [Maxmilian Kolbe Parish currently includes St. Mary of the Lake, Epiphany in Sodus and Mission of St. Rose in Sodus Point and St. Katharine Drexel Parish includes two churches — St. Patrick in Macedon and St. Anne in Palmyra].

“We have learned that Fr. Jeffrey R. Galens will be the new Pastor of Blessed Trinity and Saint Patrick Parishes.” Google tells me that Father Galens is presently the pastor of St. Patrick in Armonk, NY. [And well thought of locally, as he also is a Rochester area native.]

Fr. Jeffrey Tunnicliff notes in the St. Michael, Newark bulletin of 5/26 that “As announced last weekend, we received official word from the diocese that we will be implementing the regional plan and become a cluster of three parishes along with St. Joseph the Worker (Lyons/Clyde/Savannah) and the Catholic Community of the Blessed Trinity (Wolcott/Red Creek/Fair Haven). The changes will be effective Tuesday, June 25th.” Blessed Trinity is presently served by Father Michael Upson, and St. Joseph is presently served by Fr. David Tedesche. 

Fr. Peter Mottola has been appointed to the office of pastor for a six year term at St. John the Evangelist in Spencerport. Fr. Peter Van Lieshout has been appointed to the office of pastor for a six year term at St. Peter Parish (Phelps, Clifton Springs, and Shortsville). Fr. Michael Costik has been appointed to the office of pastor for a six year term at St. Benedict (Canandaigua/Bloomfield). All three had been Pastoral Administrators at the same locations.

Incidentally, I [Abaccio] highly recommend Father Mottola’s bulletin articles each week.


Thank you to Interstate Catholic for two more assignments:

Fr. Tim Niven to Pastor, St. Rita in Webster.
Fr. Michael Upson to interim administrator of St. Christopher in Chili.


More News coming from various sources:

Fr. William Laird, Pastor of St. Katherine Drexel, will move to Livonia, NY as Pastor of St. Matthew, and St. Mary’s in Honeoye.

Father David Tedesche, currently pastor of St. Joseph the Worker [St. Michael in Lyons, St. John in Clyde, and St. Patrick in Savannah] will add responsibility for the Catholic Community of the Blessed Trinity [St. Jude Chapel in Fairhaven, St. Mary Magdalene in Wolcott, and St. Thomas the Apostle in Red Creek.]

Fr. Mike Mayer from St. Rita’s in Webster to St. Boniface / St. Mary’s (downtown).

Fr. Felician from St. Boniface / St. Mary’s downtown to Catholic chaplain at Strong Memorial, Highland and Unity Hospitals.


Where are the two new ordinands being assigned?

Expected to be ordained on June 1st are the transitional deacons Rev. Mr. Dan White and Rev. Mr. Matthew Walter.  The new “Father” White is being assigned to Blessed Trinity in Owego, where Father Amato has been since his ordination in 2017. The new “Father” Matthew Walter is expected to become the parochial vicar in Father David Tedesche’s expanded pastorship of six sites.


NOTE:  Although most of the pastor appointments are for the “standard” six years (the period associated with the canonical rights which are specific to a pastor) in some but not all cases ‘credit’ may be given for years already served. In practice, therefore, the actual term being conveyed may be six years minus ‘time already served’.

Please only comment with new information if you are sure, have spoken to the priest or read confirmation in a Church bulletin, or other reliable source. No speculation or rumors, please!


Bullying a dead man’s body NYC style

May 21st, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris



Bullying a dead man’s body NYC Style

There is another spiritual case of attempted body snatching of a holy figure, and angelic holiness won out.  The story is recounted in the Epistle of Jude, Chapter 1, verse 9, where the Archangel Michael intervened when Satan attempted to grab Moses’ body after death. Scripture states:

     “But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses,

     he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you.'”

It would seem that the answer is prayer, and not just prayer but a determined asking for the intercession of Archangel Michael. Many parishes have added the prayer at the end of Mass because of the difficulties we are experiencing in the Church, from sexual abuse to hierarchical confusion. It seems neither irrelevant nor irreverent to ask for St. Michael the Archangel’s protection of the Venerable Archbishop Sheen’s Body, and for a good outcome in God’s Holy Will. If you have a suitable prayer or would like to write one, please add as a comment. In the meantime, is there anything wrong with a simple: “St. Michael the Archangel, defend the body of the Venerable Fulton J. Sheen against the wickedness and snares of the devil.”



Ticker Posts — May, 2019

May 17th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

This post is provided for those who would like to comment on stories that run on the ticker during May, or suggest a whole new topic for discussion! Please make yourself ‘at home’ in the ticker post discussions. 

NEW:  From the National Catholic Register, May 21, 2019

                                                                                 Author: Edward Pentin


Posted 5/12; supplemented 5/16/19:


Pope Emeritus Benedict gave his views about the sexual abuse in the Church in a personal letter published in a German monthly sent to Bavarian clergy. Link is:

Then The Catholic Thing published excerpts from  Pope Emeritus Benedict’s letter which also appeared to answer all five Dubia questions, which Pope Francis had repeatedly refused to answer. See:  The answers apparently are: no, yes, yes, yes and yes. It would appear that the Pope Emeritus is breaking some new ground for Emeriti of the future — there comes a point (even for the laity) at which, no matter how obedient one strives to be, to say nothing would be neglectful of duty, and sometimes can even be a scandalous abstention.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s carefully worded text seems to delineate  that 1) he gave his “notes” to Pope Francis before the Sex Abuse Synod, 2) the notes were not used, and 3) on an extremely modest basis the notes were then published (for the record?) in a German monthly, an almost arcane periodical. But no matter how humble a Pope Emeritus is, he cannot help but be noticed.  It were almost  as if a starting “signal” had been given (whether intended or not) because 20 days later, i.e. 9 days after Easter Sunday, the 19 theologians’ heresy concerns were being read worldwide, as if those scholarly theologians were waiting, just waiting, for some sort of permission to rock the barque.

Added 5/17:

The loyalty to the Catholic Faith of the German-born Josef Ratzinger is in interesting and superior contrast to the German(ic) bishops’ agenda  which is focused consistently on taking extreme liberal positions. By German(ic), I mean not only from Germany but also from countries greatly influenced by the German Church; e.g. Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland etc. 

Two additional ‘ticker’ articles, just posted, highlight that comparison. Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer – the successor of Cardinal Gerhard Müller in Regensburg – has again opposed the decision of a majority of German bishops to start “synodal” discussion about the Church’s sexual morality and priestly celibacy. Bp. Voderholzer clearly sees the risk of devolving “Church” to voting on which doctrines are popular or not. That a majority of the German bishops would ever consider (let alone vote for) such action is a break from the Oneness to which we are called, and flaunts an unjust accommodation of the egos of the prelates. Christ then becomes just one more voice at the table, one extra vote in the decision making. Read ‘the rest of the story’ here:

Among other Germanic errors and inconsistencies is the bishops’ accommodation of women who think themselves ‘above’ the Church. In their most recent silliness is their pandering to the not-so-veiled exploitation of the sex abuse crisis to call attention to their demand for ordination of women. And the complicit hierarchy in Germany has permissively accepted the women’s boycotting Mass and even refusing to enter a Church for a week, including on Sunday, thus abetting those women in deliberately committing a mortal sin.  Clearly, the bishops don’t see what they can offer for healing, teaching, governing or sanctifying, especially through the Sacraments, as having any benefit for the alleged overaught Catholic women (which doesn’t say much for the value offered spiritually by the bishops). The story is here:

Aren’t the bishops worried about losing the Sunday collections? Of course not. In Germany the government collects the Church offerings (a mandatory contribution by members) and last year the collection on behalf of Churches amounted to 6 Billion Euros. Yes, you read that right! So why would the bishops care if Catholics come to Mass or not? Google “Bishop of Bling” to learn more about how a German bishop spent $43 million renovating his house/ While publicly chided, a year later he had a cushy job in the Vatican.

In my opinion, German(ic) Bishops have too much money, too much time on their hands, too little accountability and have lost their way completely. At every wild suggestion for change in the Church a German(ic) bishop, or two or three, can be found clogging communications, and self-aggrandizing themselves. (Remember Cardinal Kasper’s globe hopping to promote Catholic Communion for adulterous Lutherans!)

Can we even begin to imagine Cardinal Ratzinger’s condoning women’s boycotting Mass because of somebody else’s sins? or because their feelings are hurt that they can’t be priests? I don’t believe Cardinal Ratzinger would have handed out “get out of Mass free” cards to stop the pouting!  Even considering the possibility leads directly to what is not being said. The German Church leaders have been a thorn in Pope Benedict’s side for a long time. It is only partially attributable to genuine differences of opinion or brotherly jousting. Someday, I expect it will be unmasked as a deep and abiding envy that Cardinal Ratzinger (and not one of them) was  elevated to Vicar of Christ. And then — think of it– almost even the more insulting to the power mongers — that Pope Benedict was able to step down and away for the glamour and power of something for which, some at least, would have sold their souls! But it is not over yet. The Lord will not be mocked. 

The Impetus of Easter

There is ‘something’ about the Easter Season, and about necessarily accepting what must be done, successful or not, regardless of the odds. There is a time to go to the Cross. I am reminded of the Easter Rebellion for a free Ireland, called to arms on Easter Monday in 1916, with the call “The moon is rising tonight” (there is always a full moon around Easter.) On our own shores, Concord Bridge occurred three days after Easter on April 19, 1775. Was the Pope Emeritus’ missive which brought forward the first 19 theologians also a “Shot heard ’round the world?” Is it possible he is now to be a warrior in the battle? In his recent writing, the Pope Emeritus has picked up the superior weaponry of his high office — the two edged sword of the Word of God. One does not ‘sit out’ a spiritual war, whether kings or foot soldiers, without inviting worse to happen.

In that regard, we remember King David and how we are told twice in the bible of his having stayed home from war. In 2 Samuel 11:1 we read: “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.” 

We read similar text in 1 Chronicles 20:1. David stayed away from the battle and got into worse trouble by shirking his military duties, napping, and then ogling Bathsheba bathing on her roof. The result? Two deaths, estrangement from God, and punishment upon the people. If we believe that we are in a spiritual war, how can anything justify our ‘sitting it out’?


Is it about active homosexuality or about clericalism? Yes!

May 9th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

An Unfocused Synod?

The four day synod held at the Vatican in February 2019 is informally most often identified as the “Sex Abuse Synod,” eschewing the more official title which seemed to imply that only the abuse of young children (pedophilia) was of concern. Most striking to observers familiar with abuse of prepubescent / preadolescent victims, is the absence of language from the synod relating such abuse to homosexuality, as if the word “homosexual” hadn’t been invented yet!

But studies and analyses of prior known sexual abuse by clerics have indicated that fully three quarters of such abuse has been homosexual in nature. The stark refusal to include such defining language raises the question “Why?” If homosexual activity is the sin which some clergy refuse to call a sin, it is not because the bible and catechism lack clarity, but because of their own spiritual disorder.

From the highest level, i.e. Pope Francis, the issue has been framed as a matter of “clericalism,” that the victims were too intimidated by the priestly role of the perpetrator to resist or to inform on him. By extension, clericalism also becomes an excuse for others with clear reporting or oversight responsibility not to have formed proper resistance in a hierarchical organization.

For the matter isn’t either homosexuality or clericalism alone. To be drawn into such argument is a waste of time and effort — the issue is both! Nit-picking vocabulary should cease, and the hierarchy get on with the work of preventing all abuse, especially of those most vulnerable. Failure to have addressed both elements has earned the “help” of the government, for which all those responsible can have no valid excuse for neglect of duty.

Charles Lwanga’s Example

To better see the connection between the issue of active homosexuality and the intrusion of clericalism, it may be helpful to understand the situation of the Ugandan martyrs, Charles Lwanga and companions. Discreet writings appropriate to the times and situation indicate that the private sin of the King, implicitly homosexual in nature, was frustrated by Lwanga’s shielding and counseling the young men to hold strong as Christians and to resist the king. Could any “clericalism” have the impact or trepidation associated with saying ‘no’ to an earthly and sadistic king with limitless power over life and death?

But such resistance would not have been necessary if not for the private sexual sin of that king, and his willingness to abuse the young and vulnerable for his pleasure.  Thus, clericalism would have no need to be faced and contradicted, were it not for the wanton sin of those in power. Yes, it is both.


It seems that Pope Emeritus Benedict, in writing recently, saw that need to call out the sin which had been neglected to be mentioned. But that discussion is for the next post, and for your comments in the meantime. Perhaps Charles Lwanga and companions would be good intercessors to whom to pray for help in the current crisis of sexual abuse? Their feast day is June 3rd, the day they were burned to death in 1886. Their blood watered the seed of the current and growing Church in Africa.


Which LifeSiteNews headline tonight is most fearsome?

May 2nd, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

The following is just one block of news headlines (3 stories) tonight from LifeSiteNews. In your estimation, which headline is the most fearsome? Why do you pick that one? See links beneath the story panel to each headline.