Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

End Times Perspective — Last Judgment — Part II

August 28th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

End Times Perspective — Last Judgment — Part II

By the end of Last Judgment — Part I we had noted that the corporal works test of Matthew Chapter 25 is addressed to “The Nations,” which term historically did not include Israel. We also noted that the Catholic has far greater obligations still; i.e. to Keep the Commandments, ALL the Commandments given by Christ and His Church. Perhaps we might view excelling in the Corporal Works of Mercy, without knowing anything about God, as an absolute minimum performance for a human being. For how can a soul love God if not one’s own brother? How can one love his brother without responding to his needs? But it would seem that for the Catholic Christian and the Jew, both in Covenantal relationships with God, that the corporal works test of Matthew Chapter 25 is necessary, but not sufficient, and is evidence of Faith but not an entry ticket to Faith, which is a gift.

We know little about Abram, son of Terah and descendant of Noah, being called out of Ur, but he likely was in a substantially polytheistic culture. Yet, there must have been something in Abraham’s life leading to God’s giving him a singular role in the salvation of mankind. Perhaps it was as straightforward as simply responding to God’s Call.

We can see the evidence of Abram’s character: his kindness in taking the fatherless Lot with him from Ur, his giving Lot a choice of territory, his hospitality to the three visitors, his intervention to try to save Sodom, his dedication to rescuing his nephew, his willingness and humility to tithe through one greater than himself, his dedication to providing a proper burial place for his wife and himself, his steadfast trust in God’s promises, and especially his obedience to God’s directive to sacrifice Isaac. These were not only tests but also strengthening of the Great Patriarch for his role, revealed slowly over his lifetime. But notice how the threads of corporal and spiritual works run through the story of Abraham. Notice his ‘heart.’

Lest we be tempted to give short shrift to Abraham’s accomplishments by saying “Aaahh! But he was talking to God directly,” let’s remember so are we, if we are praying. “But Abraham was in physical contact with God.” So are we, through receiving the Holy Eucharist. Moreover, God gave us a book in case we forget. He gave us redemption through the blood sacrifice of His only begotten Son, a Church to help us believe and obey, a priesthood to whom to confess and begin anew, and His Holy Spirit as Advocate to be with us until the end of time. Abraham and his generations awaited the Messiah; we await the Messiah’s return. AND, we know Who He is!

For Abraham, his adherence in many ways to what was not yet given to Moses, prefigures the Judaic Law, with the major emphasis on obedience to God, in a world permeated by the lure and culture of idolatry. It is not that love is absent under the Old Testament; rather, it is hidden to a large degree. Love of neighbor is expressed through Moses in the Ten Commandments in the negative sense of “Thou shalt not….” Demands of atonement for injury to a neighbor is a matter of law, not particularly of compassion. In the New Testament, love is revealed in the challenge of the Beatitudes. In the New Testament we are called to AND beyond obedience, to the fullness of love. Christ makes clear the proactive aspect of the Corporal Works of Mercy in the story of the Good Samaritan. In the Old Testament, God speaks of David as a man after His own heart. So we come full circle to the thoughts of Last Judgment — Part I  in which God’s Judgment is all about the heart.

Basilica Immaculate Conception, (Mosaic)
Washington DC

Why should there be a seemingly greater emphasis on compassion and love in the New Testament? Perhaps until the total self-sacrificing love of God for His people was exalted upon the Cross, mankind could not fully envision (as if we did now!) love —  the love of God for His people. For Christians, Christ’s words are a flowering of the seeds already given. He says: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Love is the test of faithfulness of the heart, a clear command, without ambiguity. The corporal works of mercy reflect the heart. That also helps us to understand how inappropriate it is to manipulate the work of the heart for political programs and purposes.


Which is the Greatest Commandment?

We read the answer in Matthew 22:34-40, a few chapters before the separation of the sheep and the goats:

“But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, to test Him. Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.’”

Notice that these are two commandments, not one. Occasionally we hear preaching which asserts that the second commandment (not to be confused with the numbering of the Ten Commandments) is the ‘same’ as the first, and that there is thus just one “Greatest” Commandment. But that ignores the fact that  the original Greek text uses the word ‘deutero,’ which clearly means ‘second’. Worship of God and care for neighbor simply cannot be equated. Yet the outpouring of love for neighbor is a gift and a fruit of loving God. We might learn this in modern times from Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who cared for the ill and dying with incredible diligence. Yet, for her order, it was mandatory that each member keep an hour of Eucharistic Adoration daily, as the highest priority of all.

The second of the two great commandments given by Christ is to love our neighbor as ourselves. Surely that manifests in the corporal as well as the spiritual works of mercy, and in the state of our hearts before the Judgment Seat of God.

When will Jesus Christ, Son of God, return?

Since the days of St. Paul, when his writings to the Thessalonians (1 Th 4-17) implied an imminent return of Christ, the world has been asking that very question: “When?” People have worked out complex numerical formulae, some visionaries purport to know or at least claim to have received clues. Let’s start by admitting that we don’t know, and that even Christ told us that only the Father knows the answer to that question. Unfortunately some have taken those words to mean we should not search for clues. If that were true, then Christ would not have given us any clues, would He? But he did!

Up until now, we’ve considered being ready for the end times, and in that mindset to approach discussion of end times. In the next post, Part III, we’ll look at some of the biblical clues which Christ has given, and the proximity of our times to fulfilling much of that prophecy. We’ll focus on Mark, Chapter 13, in particular.


My intent has been to share thoughts and to stimulate discussion. I claim no authority to teach; only the need to let some overflowing of ideas bubble into cyberspace. If I have erred, please correct me.


Discerning the Spirits in Australia

August 22nd, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Discerning the Spirits in Australia

We are not supposed to “judge;” that would mean acting in a role for which we hold no authority. God is the ultimate judge, with limited delegation to others to whom the office of judge has been validly entrusted.  But that does not make ordinary judges exempt from criticism. Their very performance, viewed against logic and truth, begs the need for discernment. Such is the case now, following the judicial rejection of Cardinal Pell’s appeal. Such was also the case following SCOTUS’ historic error in legalizing abortion. Judges make mistakes for all kinds of reasons. Their mistakes are also ignored for all kinds of reasons.

First, here is a disclaimer. I have not read any of the thousands of pages of trial transcripts, or the careful analysis of any lawyers and barristers and scholars of the law, who are fully independent of the British judicial system. Over the coming weeks, there should be plenty of such opportunities to read the analyses, including the arguments of the minority position. Rather, I take the approach that there are enough unanswered questions, odd disconnects and down-home defiance of logic to point out discrepancies in the handling of the entire process by the Australian Courts, not only about what we know but also about what we’ve been deliberately kept from knowing.

Therefore, and strictly as a matter of lay opinion and not of accusation, I go out on a limb to take the position that I find it difficult to believe Cardinal Pell is guilty as charged. Here are 7 reasons for my personal opinion:

  1. We don’t often speak of pedophilia (and many other sexual sins) as addictions; but they are addictions indeed. As in other addictions, like drugs and alcohol, the perpetrators seek more and more satisfaction and begin to take risks of detection as their ‘need’ increases. The description of the offense, were it to really have happened, would have been extremely risky, but there is no track record of prior abuse, no allegations of people trying to create a destructive character reference by claiming to have seen or encountered any such prior, more secret, but relevant behavior. If there were such genuine witnesses, surely they would have testified at trial. Hearsay testimony of a dead “victim’ (and one who had ‘withdrawn’ his claims to his own family member) is outrageous. How does one cross examine a dead witness? This antic impugns the entire Australian Judicial System.
  2. The mistrial which occurred in the trial prior to the trial under Judge Kidd, which set the conviction and sentence, should have been a warning sign, but it seems more likely it was a dry run to make sure that a conviction would be obtained in the Kidd trial.
  3. Cardinal Pell could not have been forced to return to Australia to face trial. He could have done a Cardinal Law type move to Vatican City and enjoyed a comfortable retirement.  His return to Australia makes no sense unless he is innocent and was confident there could be no conviction of something he’d never done. With that kind of mindset, one has to wonder “Was Cardinal Pell fully able to cooperate in his own defense?” Or is he saying: “Shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given Me?” John 18:11
  4. Trial attorneys know that the final summation is an important time to bring together the entire defense, but Cardinal Pell’s legal team was prevented from illustrating the impossibility of having everything happen to which the complainants testified. It isn’t clear if this was an error by the legal team (it was rejected as new information) or whether it was Judge Kidd’s personal thumb on the scales of justice. But it seems contradictory to seeking the truth. It is somewhat disturbing that comments from some other clerics mention their respecting the decision of the court; perhaps they are confused and think that infallibility extends to the Australian Judicial System?
  5. There were serious shenanigans during the trial under Kidd with his gag order. What it assured was that the media would focus on people in the streets with an axe to grind against the Catholic Church, rather than reporting which would hold up the legal machinations to full view. Secrecy is a bad omen for fairness and real justice. What was Judge Kidd so afraid would happen if the media reported on the trial? That Catholics might “defend” their Church or prelate? That public opinion would object to Kidd’s high-handed tactics? The live stream showed focus on the mob scene and placards; good Catholics seemed to be dramatically absent from giving response. What actually seemed to have happened is that the pedophilia and abuse in the Church was what was on trial. And following the “Cardinal” McCarrick decision, it became fair game for the most prestigious Cardinal in Australia to be the sacrifice.
  6. Pope Francis seemed almost to cooperate to the detriment of Cardinal Pell. One wonders where an ecclesiastical trial, if actually carried out, would end up? There has been some innuendo that Cardinal Pell’s position trying to clean up Vatican finances almost ensured he’d be removed from the Pope’s “Cabinet,” conveying the illusion of pre-judgment on some insider information, and making it harder for Cardinal Pell to get a fair trial. 
  7. Judge Kidd made a vile comment after the guilty verdict was rendered in the trial over which he presided. He alluded to the fact that because of the length of sentence, and because of Cardinal Pell’s age, that he might very well die in prison. Much has been made of his 23 hours per day in solitary confinement, and that will likely change for the rest of his sentence, which of course will make him accessible to those with a hatred for the Catholic Church, and hatred for clerics guilty or not. There is a hint here of his not being protected in the coming months and years. And, sadly, I would not be surprised if he is a martyr to the sins of priests and bishops, and a martyr to a society and judicial system that doesn’t know God.


We should each be innocent until proven guilty under any fair judicial system. I’m out here on this limb with my opinion and of course I hope I’m not wrong; but I’d rather be defending the guilty than convicting the innocent. God will do the rest.


Cardinal Pell loses appeal decision

August 20th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

LINKS to the live coverage:










Faces of Cardinal Pell’s Appeal Judges 


National Catholic Register: Perspective 8/20, just before appeal was rejected, and after the appeal decision:


LifeSite News:

Dissenting judge in Cdl. Pell’s appeal: Evidence should ‘lead inevitably to acquittal



Ticker Posts — August 2019

August 16th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

What do you think about the lawsuits against the Catholic Church?

Posted August 16, 2019

There is much to dread from the announcements (of the lawsuits) just made, and those expected in the coming months. I’m not going to enumerate the scandal, embarrassment, doubts, fears, anxiety, shame and so much more that is associated with this horrible but incredible moment in Church History. It can, and will, fill books. Instead, I want to say something about the historic perspective on suffering along with the Church, and as the people of God. And what our response might be.

Either those affected will deserve the suffering and participate in making atonement, or they will be given an opportunity to suffer with the — yes, still — One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. We begin with the truth that the Bride of Christ is still Holy, even when the leaders create and harbor huge personal sin. Thank God that is true, or we’d be fearful that everything from baptisms to marriage, and from holy orders to forgiveness of sins, would be invalid if every priest, bishop and even Pope in the ‘chain of command’ had to be free of serious sin. But that is not the way Christ founded His Church. In the very scripture in which Christ acknowledges Peter’s coming primacy (Matthew 16:18), He nevertheless calls him ‘Satan’ just a few verses later (Matthew 16:23). On the very night of the Resurrection, Christ conveys that most important power to the Church and to the individual apostles to forgive sins. The Lord seems to have had little expectation of sinlessness even among the hierarchy. But He did have an expectation of suffering: “But take heed to yourselves; for they will deliver you up to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them.” Mark 13:9

And because we are so connected to each other in the Body of Christ, there are times when the whole Body suffers because of one damaged part; perhaps this is just such a time. Not everyone who suffers can say they are without guilt. We read in Hebrews 12:4 “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” There is almost always a point (prior to martyrdom) where we each can say “I could have done more.” At the very least, that is an admission ticket into the suffering flock. We see even before the founding of the Church how the sins of the leaders of the Israelites are visited upon their children. Consider, for example, we read how God sent out a prince from each tribe to scout the land of Canaan, and 10 of the 12 did not trust in God’s ability to bring them victory, and so were condemned to wander in the desert for 40 years, until all those who were adults at the time of leaving Egypt (except the two scouts who supported God) had themselves perished. Was every single one of them guilty? Or did they each have to bear the sin of the Princes?

Consider too how God used even pagan kings to administer His discipline to a fallen away, disobedient people. The centuries of Assyrian exile resulted in many people in the Northern Kingdom losing their identity as Jews. Even the Southern Kingdom, with all the protections of the Messiah’s line, went into exile in Babylon for decades, as God used King Nebuchadnezzar to administer the discipline deserving to those “Chosen People.’ So, one explanation for what is happening as we all suffer to varying degrees (and even possibly the Chinese Catholics suffering is directed to these moments as well, as their being the most betrayed) is that God is purifying His Church. And it hurts.

Yet, one has to think that perhaps a reasonable response to the current situation, once we get past all the emotional response, is one of GRATITUDE. Really? Yes, gratitude that finally all is coming to light and leading to a cleansing.  Because the hierarchy of the Church did not impose the discipline of cleansing and purification of so many evils among those entrusted with the most, Christ has given the Body over to a civil cleansing, just as He gave the Southern Kingdom over to King Nebuchadnezzar. So, when I am asked, how do I feel or what do I think about what is happening, how can I not say “Grateful”?

To the extent that the civil authorities lack the ability to draw a bright line of guilty vs not guilty, we can expect some miscarriage of Justice in the process. Yet, who bears the guilt for an unevangelized and clueless civil authority? Isn’t it especially those charged with teaching all nations what Christ has commanded us? Decay in the public square has a wide net of guilt. But these times are not without opportunity for spiritual growth. And we are not ‘left alone,’ because the Holy Spirit has been promised to us as Advocate. Thus, being ‘grateful’ is not mere words, but necessary to receive all the inherent graces of our suffering. And NONE of us finds that easy to do.


Is Christ Missing from the Amazon Synod? 

Posted August 3, 2019 Read the rest of this entry »


The Rotten Fruit of LGBT Priests

August 16th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

LifeSite News has just published an article about the heroic plight of Father Kuforiji who was born and raised in Nigeria, and educated in the US. In his work to conform his parish to the real teaching of Christ, he has brought the smoke of Satan out of the walls of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Portland OR. He removed much of the display which senior parishioners had installed, virtually creating their own religion in support of LGBT.

Thank God for people like Fr. Kuforiji ! He has had the courage to stand up for the true teachings of the Catholic Church, which his rainbow-stoled predecessors sorely lacked.  The souls with the placards, crowding the pulpit and drowning out the good priest’s faithfulness are a sight to behold.  But they are only the obvious problem, undermining the holiness of Christ’s Teaching. What lurks in the pews, parish councils and parking lots of so many diocesan parishes is often hidden but nevertheless effective in destroying the faith of others. The progressive protesters are also the victims, and it may take a face-to-face with the Lord (for whom they surely have a gender-neutral salutation!) before they believe the damage they and their prior priest-preachers have done.

Pray for Fr. Kuforiji and other faithful priests that they are protected from such lies and works of the evil one. For those who dispute the Christian Teaching, see the Book of St. Paul to the Romans, Chapter 1, 18-32.

So, every sound tree bears good fruit,

but the bad tree bears evil fruit.

Matthew 7:17


Current list of defendants in DoR sexual abuse cases

August 14th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

The following is the current list of defendant priests, religious and others, and associated legal entities in the Rochester Diocese:

This list is posted as being what is ‘available’ and may contain errors. If we become aware of such errors, we will correct them. Meanwhile, comments have been shut off, maybe only temporarily, due to the nature of the subject matter. If a reader has a serious related issue, please write to and clearly identify the issue, but be aware that anonymous emails will not be read.

Additional Analysis:

Updates/Clarifications and Corrections:

WHEC on August 15:


Missing from first list:


What Christ says about clergy who abuse the flock….

August 14th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Mat 24:45-51

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?” [note the reference to ‘master’, often used by the apostles to speak to Jesus, and the reference to feeding, i.e. the true food being the Eucharist, and having a certain ‘time’ of appropriateness to give to the people, and which has to be given, as the flock cannot do it for themselves.]
Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with the drunken, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the hypocrites; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.”
  • Ir seems relevant that the seriousness of sexual abuse is analogous to the physical harm of a beating.
  • And it seems to fit that the current abusers must either believe Christ isn’t going to return or at least not in the current age, i.e. that He will come when He is not expected.
  • Drowning the abuser’s senses is drinking and drugs, and maybe pornography too, in the company and with the support of those similarly damaged. Such is essentially a support network for the abusers who look out for and cover up for each other, and heed not the cares of the Lord for His flock.
Come Lord Jesus!

End Times Perspective — Last Judgment — Part I

August 13th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Once upon a time, I used to wonder just how Christ will sort out the sheep from the goats (and the wheat from the weeds) at the Last Judgment. Of course, we immediately think of Matthew Chapter 25, from verse 31 to the chapter’s end; in particular we read verses 31-36:

Basilica Immaculate Conception, (Mosaic)
Washington DC

“When the Son of man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and He will place the sheep at His right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at His right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.”

For a long time, it never seemed clear to me if the implication was whether the text meant visiting the imprisoned at least once in a life-time, or whether it meant never missing the opportunity to visit the imprisoned. Or maybe it was weighting the two alternatives? Or, perhaps, this is where the inscrutable judgment and mercy of God prevails, so we can’t know exactly how Matthew 25 will be applied?


Reading Matthew more closely

Another point that is easy to miss in the reading is the audience to whom Matthew’s reading is addressed. It is to the “Nations.” In the Old Testament this would be all the nations of the earth except Israel. In the New Testament it seems likely that the “Nations” is a term which continues to exclude Israel, and perhaps also Catholicism, both of which were founded by God, and under different covenants with God, hence those members are not free of all those associated covenantal obligations just because they perform corporal works of mercy.

Said another way, there is no reason to think (what some Catholics and other Christians seem to think) that by performing extensive corporal works of mercy, Matthew 25 is describing a “pass” into the Kingdom of Heaven.  But corporal works cannot substitute for the obligation for Catholics, for example, to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, or the obligation to have one’s children baptized and raised in the Faith, or to observe the marriage laws of the Church. And there is much more required “to live as a Catholic.” Of course that does not exclude the corporal works of mercy either.

Last Judgment by
Michaelangelo Buonarroti
Sistine Chapel, Vatican

So, back to the opening question – how will the Son of God separate the sheep from the goats? Thinking about mankind over all the centuries, one can sense the complexity of the question. We can be grateful for being told to “Judge not,” as the work of such judging is too much for us to bear. Will judgment be determined by one, long forgotten, unconfessed serious sin? By one too many instances of deliberate ignorance? What about missing any one of those corporal works of mercy? Does the Lord grade on a curve? Is there a top 20% or top 80% constituting a ‘full number’ to enter the Kingdom? How are various sins weighted?

We already know that there are both mortal and venial sins, for 1 John 5:16-17 states: “If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal.” In this quote from John the Evangelist, we also see the need to care about all other souls. To refuse to confront a sinner in order to keep ‘peace’ in a family is just an additional sin. The peace that the world gives is deceptive, and of no value to us at the Last Judgment.

So, the question remains about how God will judge, because it seems very difficult to imagine even God’s drawing a precise and fine line between those on the up escalator, and those heading down. Maybe that is why an errant theologian may put forth the position that “nobody goes to hell.” Maybe because it is too difficult for a man to imagine the ‘how’ of God’s judgment, such a theologian fantasizes that it is too difficult for God too? That the Lord will have to say “Y’all come on in!” Not so. The errant theologian has much for which to answer, as he leads weak and damaged souls further astray.

Here is the problem with that kind of logic which claims there is nobody in hell, except maybe Judas and Hitler. Christ Himself, the final judge of all mankind, in the intimacy of the Godhead, already knows that there is a hell, and that it was created for Satan and his minions. But He Who is all Truth, tells us that although hell was not created for man, man is liable to such punishment. There are various words used, such as Hades, Hell, Gehenna, eternal flames, etc. but the point is the same – eternal punishment. Christ is Truth. He does not lie. It is beneath His dignity as Son of God to tell lies in order to scare people into behaving themselves. WE CANNOT HOPE that He really didn’t mean what He said. WE CANNOT HOPE that God will force heaven on those who do not choose to be with Him, to worship Him, to love Him and to love the rest of the family of mankind. He is God not only of mercy, but also of justice.


Key parameter of the Last Judgment

And that brings us back to the Last Judgment, in which God honors our free will in the choice we’ve made by not changing it or interfering with it. He gives us clues as to what is important and what He weighs in His Judgment. For example, He found Saul unworthy to be King of the Jews, and replaced him with David. The prophet Samuel tells Saul: “But now your kingdom shall not continue; the LORD has sought out a man after His own heart; and the LORD has appointed him to be prince over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”   1 Samuel 13:14.

In Proverbs 21:2 we read: “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.” This quote really points up the pride associated with not recognizing our own sins as sin. But it also gives us a clue about “how” the Lord as Judge will draw the line between sheep and goats. It would seem to be all about the heart, not as we identify our hearts but as God sees them. For us, it does need to be one sin after another, humbly recognized, faithfully confessed, diligently avoided even in its near occasions. But for God, He is able to weigh the heart. We cannot weigh the heart, and therefore we cannot judge.

There are over 600 references to “heart” in the bible, showing the importance of the state of our hearts. In Pharaoh we see the result of a hardened heart. So it is not a matter of alleging to ourselves that we have a good heart, because we are not the judge, and our own weaknesses impair us from seeing the truth. From this we conclude that Matthew 25 indicates that our performance of corporal works of mercy for others of God’s children manifests the state of our hearts, and the basis for God’s sorting out the sheep from the goats. But it is not a matter of accumulating scout merit badges for each corporal work.


The Self-Sorting by the sheep and goats

For quite some period of history, people were ashamed enough of their sins to keep them hidden, but that has changed. On the faces of many “marchers,” bragging about their sins, one can see outright hatred, read placards despising God and His Commandments, and deliberately scandalizing the souls of children in activities which should seemingly be as harmless as a reading hour at the library. Where hatred pours in, the love for all souls is hard to find. One conclusion we might draw from the legalizing of so much sin, and its overt publicity, is that the sheep and goats are deliberately sorting themselves into the two camps, and that it is becoming less difficult to recognize who is who. Thus, Christ may not need to draw a fine distinguishing line at all, but merely acknowledge what each soul has already chosen, by the way that soul has lived life; i.e. by way of his heart.

This is intended to be the first in a short series regarding some of the signs we are seeing of the end times.


Can we each do more to bring souls back to God?

August 11th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

                Thanks to “The Narrow Gate”
      for bringing this picture to our attention.




July 28th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris



More Updates Added August 6, 2019


What might happen?

Cardinal Zen recently called on the hidden Catholic Church of China to “FIGHT.” This is not a word we usually hear within the Church, but the escalation by the Vatican-facilitated Chinese government and the victimization of its underground church leave very few alternatives.

Now the work of a canonized Pope is being destroyed. And a man who commissioned an erotic orgy scene of himself has found a power base. There is little doubt that, had Pope Saint John Paul II been canonized or not,  he is deeply loved by faithful Catholics. We are much more in a ‘Communion of Saints’ kind of relationship to our beleaguered brothers and sisters in China than we are today to those who are working to belittle and undermine the work of Pope Saint John Paul II and to ‘remake’ the Catholic Church in someone else’s image and likeness.

It may seem to be an odd point at which to attack the Faith, given the laity’s loyalty to our former pontiff. But it is eminently logical. Unless the Teaching of JP II is destroyed, it will be a constant reminder of what has been and is being lost.  It will be fragmented, one piece at a time, until the fabric is rent completely. The holiness of Pope Saint John Paul II’s writings and teachings are a great bulwark against attacks by those with power to affect the Faith internally. Why would we not suspect a deep and abiding spiritual jealousy against his work, a measure of his papal influence?

Quite frankly, it does make sense that JP II is a likely point of attack since his position is so strong! And so fresh in people’s minds. And such a contrast! Why would he have been canonized at all, then? Because the fall then is much greater and decisive? To touch and destroy the holy is even more significant than to merely ignore it.

The seriousness of responding to despoilers is suggested in the mysterious words of Psalm 137:9, when the Edomites joined the Chaldaean besiegers of Jerusalem’s walls: “Happy shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!” Do we not see how so many have breached the walls of the Deposit of the Faith? And who has abetted them? Also, little ones need not only be children, for whom abuse has been clearly shown, and who stand as illumination to the abuse of power. “Little ones” may  also be seen in the broader sense of souls; in that way we are all little ones, growing in faith. We hear echoes of the abuse of children, and even of our own souls (remembering that we must become like children), in all three Synoptic Gospels, reading, essentially:  ” … but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matt. 18:6. These are admittedly difficult passages, with more than one interpretation, but perhaps do include understanding the need for defense against (or God’s retribution to) those who  despoil the faithful. Is it not also a call to “Fight?”

What does it mean?

What does this all mean and why is it happening now, when the faithful are reeling from so many horrific abuses? Perhaps it means that the unfaithful part of the Church now thinks it has enough strength to attack and/or now has so much to lose in its life of sexual depravity and hunger for power that it cannot afford NOT to breach the walls? Lepanto was just a skirmish compared to the war being unleashed on souls, and it is seeming that the most vulnerable and faithful are receiving the brunt.

If I were to indulge for a moment the fantasy of being a strategist for the JP II Institute, now virtually disbanded, with courses discontinued, all profs removed, with division among members by requiring reapplication one by one (with many cowering and cringing promises demanded, in order to be able to return to their students), I would think the only reasonable strategy would be to set up an new and faithful institute, replicating insofar as possible the loyalty and faithfulness to the vision of Pope Saint John Paul II, and to all the Church’s teachings, especially on moral issues and on the family, the points of Satan’s major attack.

It is actually a wonderful opportunity to turn over a significant part of a current major institute of higher education for the immediate work of keeping the student body and professors of the JP II Institute together and continuing to build on JP II’s base. The strength is in the togetherness of a united position against anything which contradicts Christ’s Teaching or the Deposit of Faith. The world desperately needs a model; so does the Catholic in the pew. Until martyrs are led to death, there is still much work to be done. In John 12:35: Jesus said to them, ‘The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, lest the darkness overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.'” As Cardinal Zen said, “Fight.”  Not in disobedience, and not in hopelessness, but in faith and truth.

In Luke 18:8 we read:  “… when the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth?” There is a reason that Christ asks us that question. Who among us can go to the ‘barricades’?



A Few Latin Mass Updates for your calendar

July 28th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

The following list is incomplete, mostly because we have not received notice about all the Latin Masses which are available in the Diocese of Rochester.  There are some celebrated on a regular basis like the Missa Cantata (Sung Mass) on First Saturdays at 9AM at St. John the Evangelist Church in Spencerport. There is also a Latin Mass every Friday morning at that same church, at 8AM.

The Pastor of St. John the Evangelist, Father Peter Mottola,will be celebrating a solemn high Latin Mass in Spencerport on the Feast of the Transfiguration, Tuesday August 6th, at 6:30 PM.  He will be assisted by two priests serving as Deacon and Sub-deacon. The special music will be provided by a schola, directed by Dr. Aaron James of the Toronto Oratory, i.e. the “Missa Sicut Lilium” by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, “considered by many to be the quintessential Catholic composer of the Renaissance.” 

There is also a Latin Mass each Sunday at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Irondequoit, at 11:15 AM, with confession before and after Mass. Please let us know of any other “regular” or “special” Latin Masses, so we can publish the information. Thank you.


In the Matter of Lay Discernment

July 22nd, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Last week it seemed that the prayer of the Collect at Mass had been building to a crescendo, begging a question and also attempting to answer it. It brought to focus so much that remains almost unspoken to us, and among us, in these times of confusion:


“O God, Who show the light of Your truth

to those who go astray,

so that they may return to the right path,

give all who for the faith they profess

are accounted Christians

the grace to reject whatever is contrary to

     the Name of Christ

and to strive after all that does it honor.

Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Your Son,

Who lives and reigns with You in the unity

     of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.”

This Collect text seems clearly applicable to the questions, concerns and risks of both laity and clergy since early 2013, regarding Pope Benedict XVI’s resigning the papacy, and the election of Pope Francis (Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina) to the Chair of St. Peter. The words which seem to “jump off the page” from the Collect and for these times are bolded above, i.e. our asking God for “the grace to reject whatever is contrary to the Name of Christ and to strive after all that does it honor.”

A basis for discernment?

This Collect would seem to be a very good basis on which to approach so much of the angst associated with more recent threats to the Deposit of Faith. And it would seem to be the basis of the heroic resistance of some princes of the Church in response to papal ‘liberties’ assumed. It would also seem to be foundational to the writings of the four Dubia cardinals, and to the forthrightness of some fearless bishops. But one cannot apply the guidance of this Collect without a measure of discernment. Unfortunately, even many Catholics, with a fairly solid grounding in Church Teaching, have received little training in the way of discernment, and we are breaking new ground together, generally  with little guidance. But if our motives are those described in the Collect, perhaps we are on solid enough ground, nevertheless.

The necessary work of the laity

The necessary work of the laity was anticipated in Bp. Fulton J. Sheen’s prophetic words: ”Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, and the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops act like bishops, and your religious act like religious.” – Fulton J. Sheen


In the beginning of Pope Francis’ reign it seemed that negative reactions were more like personal reactions, such as to the new Pope’s washing and kissing the feet of women and men (not necessarily Catholic) in a prison in Rome. Was the upset about changing a procedure or about a real threat to the Faith? Then there were reactions to comments aloft, which seemed not well thought out, potentially implying a tolerance toward a sinful lifestyle. “Who am I to judge?” asked the new pope, to which Catholics seemed to answer: “You are the Pope; you should be able to judge.” One noted Cardinal defended the Pope, treating the matter as a misunderstanding, and being very sure what Pope Francis must have meant, had to have meant. However, we later came to understand that he’d meant exactly what he said and didn’t want to be explained away. Were we reading signs of a future rift or even a potential schism? Or were we just witnessing cultural mis-communications?  As one issue after another became revealed, similar questions continued to arise – charges of rigging the Synod? A papal right, or a duplicitous machination?

To some of the laity, there was the matter of trying to understand why the new Pope seemed to be taking antagonistic views against the policies of the newly elected American President, who was the most anti-abortion POTUS ever! Why? Was it just papal politics? Or socialism?  The point is not to offer a complete list of Pope Francis’ stumbling blocks. Lifesite News has an excellent list here: . It is one thing to look back and see the “signs” we might even feel we missed; it is quite another to have been reined in by the obligations of discernment, right judgment and charity. But, subsequently, the catalog of problems grew over the years, into more serious accusations, documented with increasing Catholic media attention from sources already known for their accuracy and truthful reporting.

Concerns of the Laity

And, so, the offenses built up to a point where the laity’s ignoring what Bp. Sheen calls their “minds, eyes and ears” becomes a dereliction of duty. It is no pleasure for a Catholic to see a statue of Martin Luther in the Vatican. How does that do honor to the Name of Christ? Or to see a Pope questioned by Cardinals on matters of doctrine and find the Pope unwilling to reply. Or to see a threat to the Eucharist in giving Communion to the divorced and remarried? Different Catholics reach the point of decision at different times, based on how much we’ve prayed, how well informed we make ourselves, and where-in we might have any expertise. But it seems realistic to say that over the first few years of Pope Francis’ reign, the tilting point brought more people to a point of seeing a problem issue than were given relief from their early concerns. A number of friends have asked the question: “How can I pray for the Pope’s Intentions? I’m scared what he might do!”

Catholics in the pew have some experience with taking political or social action on matters such as abortion, for example. But we tend to have very little expertise in recognizing the error or corruption within the hierarchy of the Church, let alone organizing to take action in the context of Church. Would the sexual abuse of minors have gone as far as it did if we had our eyes open? And the seminarian recruits to the priesthood who were abused weren’t the ones who complained about their abusive superiors, lest they not be ordained. They were the ones who still went to the beach house and grabbed the single beds, letting the newbie contend for himself with Mr. McC. When does that reckoning come?

The issues are different for the laity, but not without concern. For those who are well informed in understanding what the Church has always taught, who accept the impossibility of change, and have a certain courage to examine the challenges and follow where the Spirit leads, it may not seem all that difficult. But disagreeing with a pope, resisting instruction one finds morally wrong, risking separation from the very source and summit of our lives is no light matter. And if we are caring for other souls at the same time, like raising children, it is even more challenging.

The sins so badly plaguing the world today

The sins so badly plaguing the world today did not originate out of obedience to any prior pope, let alone to the Word of God. We need only recognize the widespread sexual sins of illicit marriages, abortion, contraception, homosexual activism and lifestyle, gender confusion, sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults, pornography and – soon—euthanasia to realize that the Catholic world has long been out of sync with historic papal and scriptural teachings. It’s called sin. The ‘self-esteem’ of the blatant sinner is sometimes treated as a higher value than saving souls; there is a reason “pride” is linked to the visible proclamation of sin.

But what is also different now is the assessment in some quarters, fear in other quarters, that papal teaching itself may be out of sync (or creeping toward a position out of sync) with generations of teaching the Deposit of the Faith. We have a very different problem from prior centuries, when people couldn’t find the answers to their concerns and were principally limited to input and guidance from a single available priest, sometimes with a less than stellar education.  Today, we have (in a sense) too much information, too many sources, a plethora of media, and far too many people too willing to give their opinions as if they were doctrine, with credibility weighted sometimes toward the loudest voice or the fattest purse. Our ability to discern is diluted by the flood of information, and complicated by lack of proper training to discern and decide, and with the seeming reluctance of some pastors to actually address the issues out of confusion, fear, or even personal tolerance of the sin.

It’s about souls

In such an environment, especially with apparent contradiction of unchangeable tenets of the Faith, how do souls retain clarity, stay committed to the faith, help others who are confused, and still trust in the hierarchy to the extent necessary? For those who deny there is an issue, there’s not much to say. But for those who slowly and reluctantly came to realize the risk to the Deposit of Faith, they are now without excuse.

Thus, the question arises of how souls seeking to be (and continuing to be) good Catholics since March 2013, have dealt with discerning truth, in a confusion of media foment, contradictory statements, and fear of scandal. It is an important question, as it responds to the prophecy of Bp. Sheen, and to the separate movement of conscience within the laity.

Conversion on the Way to Damascus

It is quite difficult for each preacher to reach from his pulpit all souls and where they stand in an evolving awareness of their obligations, but they can be encouraged in “the grace to reject whatever is contrary to the Name of Christ and to strive after all that does it honor.” Recently we have been asking some Catholics the basic question: “When did you first know something was amiss?” and the follow-up is: “Are you doing anything about it?”

As in any conversion, there is often a moment, an occurrence, when the Truth can no longer be ignored, as in Caravaggio’s painting of St. Paul’s conversion, beneath the hooves of a horse which may or may not have been on the scene (Bible doesn’t say). When, and for what reason, did it first become thinkable to Catholics that there really was a disconnect of some sort between Pope Francis’ words, and those of prior popes? When did fears of speaking up change to sharing concepts and ideas with friends, and considering how to act further? Yes, it tells us a lot about the situation, but also a lot about ourselves.

So the question we ask now is “When did the unthinkable actually become thinkable for you?”


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