Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘Spiritus Christi’

Change From Within

January 25th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

A reader has kindly directed our attention to an article that appeared in the February 3, 2000 issue of the Diocese of Rochester’s Catholic Courier. In an article about the establishment of a local Call to Action chapter, Fr. William Spilly admits that he and the CTA chapter meeting at his parish (note the “we”) are working within the institution toward the unacceptable platform of Jim Callan’s Corpus Christi/Spiritus Christi. For those who may have forgotten, Mr. Callan was relieved of duties at Corpus Christi in 1998 for blessing homosexual unions, permitting a female “associate pastor” to quasi-preside and don a half stole, and openly inviting non-Catholics and non-Christians to Holy Communion. He was excommunicated latae sententiae in 1999 upon joining the schismatic Spiritus Christi church.

spilly CTA

Click to enlarge

“Father Spilly added that CTA members were united in their concern that the “progressive” positions advocated by Corpus under Father Callan’s leadership were no longer being advanced.
“Maybe Corpus Christi went too fast, too soon, and we wanted to see these issues come about in the church by working in the church,” Father Spilly said.”
-Catholic Courier, 2/3/2000

There should be no confusion about what Father means when he promotes “equality” for gays and women in the Church.

In related news, the local chapter of Call to Action is still alive and kicking. The CTA group protested outside of the DoR’s diaconate ordination in June. Below are photographs of the protest found on their website:


Bp. Clark takes a picture with his seminarians while a disgruntled CTA member pushes her way into the shot.


She appears to be holding a photograph of the “Rev.” Mary Ramerman, former “associate pastor” of Corpus Christi.


An earth-shaking crowd of four.

A picture is worth a thousand words

October 17th, 2012, Promulgated by Dr. K

Below is a collage of photographs detailing the 33-year tenure of Bishop Matthew Clark, and the downward spiral of the Diocese of Rochester that took place during his reign. Have fun identifying the various events and personalities. To see the full size collage, click on the image below.

Click on the image to enlarge

Bishop Clark Retires : Where are we now and where are we headed?

September 21st, 2012, Promulgated by Dr. K

Bishop Cunningham and Bishop Clark at the press conference

On this day, September 21 in the year 2012, the Holy Father has accepted the resignation of Bishop Matthew Clark. As of today, Bp. Clark is no longer the Bishop of Rochester and he relinquishes any power and privilege that belongs to said position.  The bishop is given the honorary title of “bishop emeritus.” He is still a bishop, just not our shepherd any longer.

At a news conference that took place around 10 AM this morning, it was announced that Bp. Robert J. Cunningham of Syracuse will manage the Diocese of Rochester as Apostolic Administrator until a replacement has been named by Pope Benedict. Sadly, Fr. Joseph Hart will assist Bp. Cunningham in this administration. The diocese is presently sede vacante, meaning that we do not have a diocesan bishop. Our next bishop will be named in the coming months, so stay tuned.

Reflection on how we got here

I have to admit that when I woke up this morning I was shocked to hear that Bp. Clark had been replaced a mere two months after submitting his resignation. It’s a somewhat unprecedented move to have a bishop’s resignation be accepted so quickly, and it’s surely a repudiation of Bp. Clark’s tenure as Bishop of Rochester. Most of us expected a quicker than normal change, just not this quick! So why was the bishop’s resignation accepted after only two months? First of all, the bishop’s fruits have been rotten. Below is a table of figures comparing the state of the Diocese of Rochester when Bp. Clark arrived to when he departed:

Category 1979 2012
Active diocesan priests 341 90
Total priests 584 215
Priest ordinations 4 0
Religious sisters 1,047 443
Parishes 161 105*
Seminaries 2 0
Catholic high schools 9 5
Catholic elementary schools 78 25
Total Catholic school students 76,724 20,603
Infant baptisms 6,742 2,646
Marriages 3,919 1,009

Source: Official Catholic Directory, 1979 and 2012

Second, Bp. Clark has a lengthy and oft-tumultuous history with Pope Benedict; the two have butted heads on numerous occasions. In November of 1986, Cardinal Ratzinger forced Bp. Clark to remove his imprimatur from a sex book written by former Rochester (and now Buffalo) priest, Fr. Matthew Kawiak. The book condoned various immoral activities including masturbation and homosexual acts. Also in 1986, Cardinal Ratzinger banned Diocese of Rochester priest, Fr. Charles Curran, from teaching in Catholic institutions. Bp. Clark famously defended this priest to the bitter end despite Fr. Curran’s repeated dissent on human sexuality. In 1997, Clark received even more scrutiny from Vatican officials concerning his Rainbow Sash Masses for homosexuals at Sacred Heart Cathedral on March 1st and October 5th of that year. Perhaps the pinnacle of the disagreements between these two men came in October of 1998 when Ratzinger ordered the removal of James Callan from administrator of Corpus Christi church. As most readers already know, Corpus Christi had been blessing gay unions, offering non-Catholics and non-Christians Holy Communion, and elevated Pastoral Associate Mary Ramerman to the title of “Associate Pastor” while letting her wear a half-stole at the altar. After Callan’s removal, the parish split and a large number of parishioners formed the schismatic Spiritus Christi church, which now boasts a gaggle of priestesses offering invalid Masses. Mr. Callan commented later about how Bp. Clark held a protective umbrella over the community for many years. The blood of this schism, and the loss of 3,000 souls, rests on Bp. Clark’s hands. The Holy Father certainly recalled these various acts of dissent.

Basically what I’m getting at is, the speed with which this resignation has been accepted is no coincidence. Our cries have been heard, and our next bishop is at hand. Your letters to Rome have made a difference. God is good!

What will happen next

The process of selecting the next Bishop of Rochester is underway. Various priest and bishop candidates will be considered, and three names will be recommended to Pope Benedict to fill this vacancy. The Pope, and the Pope alone, will make the decision. However, the Holy Father will likely receive input from various prominent Catholics such as Card. Dolan, the Nuncio, and the Congregation for Bishops which is led by Card. Burke. It could take several months for our next bishop to be named. After he is selected, the person will be consecrated/ordained (if not already a bishop), and formally installed during an Installation Mass.

Bp. Cunningham will oversee the Diocese of Rochester, in addition to his duties in the Diocese of Syracuse, until our next bishop has been installed. It is highly probable that Cunningham will clear out the Rochester curia so that our new bishop will be able to make his own appointments. I imagine he’d ask for the resignations of all curia members sometime soon. Bp. Cunningham will also tie up any loose ends and prepare a smooth transition for our next bishop.

Remember that Bp. Cunningham is only a temporary administrator. Don’t expect a lot of significant changes in the coming months.


It’s anybody’s guess who will be the next Bishop of Rochester. The process is bound by secrecy, though information tends to get out. After all, the people involved are only human. One rumor which I am sure you have heard is the possibility that Bp. Joseph Perry will be our next bishop. The rumor was that Bp. Clark was offered Perry as a coadjutor early last year, but declined. If this is true, then it is highly probable that Perry will be named our next bishop at some point in the near future. You may be asking, “why not name Perry our bishop now if this is the case?” Good question. My guess is that Perry wasn’t named today because he is needed to assist in the transition in the Archdiocese of Chicago while Cardinal George battles cancer. If Perry is to be our next bishop, he may be appointed shortly after George’s successor is named.

There are a great number of potential bishop candidates. Below is a list I assembled of some of the most likely individuals to be named our next bishop.

Auxiliary bishop candidates:

1. Bishop Joseph Perry, 64, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago

Diocesan bishop candidates:

1. Bp. Alexander Sample, 51, Bishop of Marquette
2. Bp. Michael Jackels, 58, Bishop of Wichita
3. Bp. Robert McManus, 61, Bishop of Worcester
4. Bp. Leonard Blair, 63, Bishop of Toledo

This process isn’t going to be completed in a week or two. There are 15 dioceses in need of a bishop. Some dioceses, such as Tyler, have been vacant for 14 months. Others, such as Las Cruces, have a diocesan bishop serving 12 months past 75. Here are the lists of vacant dioceses and dioceses with bishops serving past 75:

1. Tyler [14]
2. Indianapolis [11]
3. El Paso [9]
4. Bridgeport [6]
5. Portland (Maine) [4]
6. Fargo [4]
7. Oakland [2]
8. Rochester [1]
9. Ft. Worth [1]

Bishops serving past 75
1. Bp. Ramirez, Las Cruces [12]
2. Card. George, Chicago [8]
3. Abp. Vlazny, Portland (Oregon) [7]
4. Bp. Pfeifer, San Angelo [4]
5. Bp. Hurley, Grand Rapids [4]
6. Bp. Kinney, St. Cloud [3]

So, my friends, here we are. We have waited 33 long years for change to come to Rochester and now the day has arrived. Bishop Clark is no longer the Bishop of Rochester, and soon his replacement will be named. Our next bishop will face the unenviable task of resurrecting a diocese in shambles. He will face a strong, ingrained, vocal progesssivism in the local priesthood and most area parish staffs. He will have difficult decisions to make about St. Bernard School of Theology, pastoral appointments, dissent, and a host of other local issues. This man is going to need our support and prayers. Please pray for our next bishop. May he be loving, strong, traditional, and orthodox in faith. Please pray for Bp. Clark. May he have a long, healthy and enjoyable retirement. May the very quick acceptance of his resignation not cause him any hurt or shame.

It’s time to move Forward in Hope. It’s time to Keep the Spirit Alive. Hope and change. Yes we can.

Hare-esy reigns supreme

June 1st, 2012, Promulgated by Abaccio

Or, Reason number 197,286 why July 15 cannot come fast enough.

The French Road Heresy Factory (aka St. Barnyard’s), as you all know, is home to a wide variety of Diocesan-sponsored dissent, from the President on down.  Here’s the latest bit:

Each summer, the Preaching Institute (previously noted by Mike here) hosts a workshop.  While the previous two presenters were priests who were fairly noted for such presentations, this year’s presenter is a bit…different. It’s layman Mark Hare

Yes, that Mark Hare.   The same Mark Hare that has spent years pushing against the Catholic teachings on sexuality in his columns, particularly in promoting homosexual so-called marriage.  The same Mark Hare that has written numerous positive articles about the schismatic Spiritus Christi Church.  The very same Mark Hare who works for Spiritus Christi while being a parishioner at the Cathedral.  Clearly, this is exactly the sort of fellow that ought to be able to explain homiletics.  Nothing like an aging liberal layperson teaching other aging liberal laypeople how to give an illicit homily…talk about the blind leading the blind!

On a more comical note, the summer workshop in 2010 featured “a sumptuous luncheon buffet,”  while in 2011, it simply included “lunch.”  This year, it has been cut to a half-day, with no meal included.

Bishop Clark on His Retirement

September 13th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

Earlier this month, Bishop Clark wrote an article which appeared in the Catholic Courier in which he spoke at length about the many questions surrounding his inevitable retirement. As a reader pointed out, it seems that the more that the faithful point out errors and demand their correcting, the more His Excellency reflects on his retirement. Some people will probably raise the objection that, “hey, you’re making the poor guy feel burdened and besieged.” Well, is it really so bad to make a Bishop of questionable orthodoxy squirm a little at the consideration that maybe, just maybe, he has made some unexplainable mistakes? When I went through the Catholic school system here, we were taught that we must all accept responsibility for our actions, and not shirk our duties but “carry them through conscientiously.” I can’t help but realize that there is very little accountability (in the here-and-now) for people who cause as much confusion on the part of their faithful, especially when the people in charge hide behind the same canons that they warp and use for their own devious purposes. As a very wise old dead Roman once said, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” “But who then shall guard the guards?”

This all being said, we need to realize that our Church has been developing organically for two thousand years, and has dealt with much bigger problems than our current Bishop. It survived the French Revolution. It aided in the downfall of Communism. It endured the process of Italian Unification. It stood as a silent witness to the fall of pagan Europe, and then humbly helped rebuild a new Europe in the shadowy uncertainty of the Dark Ages. So, no matter how bad we may have things in Rochester for the time being, and no matter how long the recovery takes, the Church goes on and is always victorious. Bishop Clark’s retirement isn’t going to be as dramatic as the beginning of the Renaissance, or as terribly awe-inspiring as the fall of the Roman Empire, but it serves to remind us that, no matter what, the Church as She is (and not as others would make Her) will go on through the ages. We have endured suffering, but nothing like what our brothers and sisters are enduring in places like China and the Middle East. We languish under the current administration, yes, but we know that it will have a definitive end. That is a blessing not all of the faithful can count on when facing their own calamities.

“A diocesan bishop who has completed his 75th year of age is requested to present his resignation from office to the Supreme Pontiff, who will make provisions after he has examined all the circumstances.”

These words from Canon 401 of our church’s Code of Canon Law are particularly meaningful for me, and for all the people of the Diocese of Rochester, as my 75th birthday is July 15, 2012. On that date, I will submit my letter of resignation to the Holy See after 33 years as your bishop.

On the personal side, I will do so with all the emotions you might expect: sadness that the privilege of serving you as bishop of this wonderful diocese must come to an end; hope that Christ will smile on the work we have done together (will He smile on “us” when “we” lost an entire parish to heresy, closed more than half of our schools, several dozen parishes, and sought to bring “new meaning” to His holy sacraments?); wonderment and anticipation about the journey God will take me on in the years to come; and the ways my ministry will continue. Yet I also will willingly submit my resignation and embrace this new phase of my life with a happy spirit. I am comfortable with the church’s wisdom that the bishop’s office is a demanding one in this day and age, that at age 75 our energies are not what they once were, and that more time for rest, prayer and contemplation is a blessing indeed.

I hope I also will be mindful then, as I am now, that this is not just about me by any means. This will be a significant time of transition for our diocese — for all of us. Quite naturally, we will all have questions, curiosity and interest in what the future will bring.

Already, as I travel around the diocese, people are asking me how the process of naming a replacement unfolds and speculating about the changes or adjustments we may be asked to make under new leadership.

Such questions and interests are the most natural thing in the world and emerge in every diocese at times like this. Reactions vary, of course. Some love change, finding it challenging and exciting; others find it onerous.

Then there is the more personal element. For people who have been pleased with my tenure, this time of transition means one thing; for those who will welcome a new approach in pastoral leadership, it means something quite different. (Recently, a parish staff member at a city church said that “we’ll ride this wave as far as we can” when someone pointed out that norms will actually have to be followed under a new Bishop.” Yes, change will mean something “quite different.” It means obedience.)

But no matter our general dispositions or personal opinions, change is coming. How we move through this time of transition as individuals and as a community of faith is, I believe, of great importance. If we approach it with lively and open faith in God and with prayer for all involved in the process, I am sure we will all be richly blessed. I do believe deeply that it will be a time of special grace and renewal for all of us. With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to offer a few of my own thoughts about this process and touch on some questions people have asked me about it.

First of all, I must tell you that I do not know who our new bishop will be, or precisely when he will be named. As indicated, my letter of resignation begins a process through which a successor is chosen. Recently, that process typically takes 10 months, although it is not unheard of that it can take 15 months or longer. Once the letter of resignation is sent, the process and its timing are solely in the hands of the Holy See, which, I can assure you, works prayerfully and carefully to provide good leadership for a given diocese.

Secondly, I pray that this period of transition will be a time of renewal for our diocese. It will be a privileged time for us to remember our story, to name our blessings, to consider how God calls us to further conversion, and to put in good order any matters that aren’t where they should be or where we’d like to have them.

Thirdly, it can be a time in which we can convert our questions, worries, hopes, longings and fears into constructive thought, prayer and dialogue about important themes of common interest that give rise to the questions: How do we understand the office of bishop? (Answer: a successor to the Apostles.) What can we legitimately expect from him, and he from us? (Answer: Obedience to Rome and to the richness we find in Scripture and Tradition.) What is the bishop’s relationship to his priests? (Answer: Priests? What are these “priests” which His Excellency speaks of? Might he mean “sacramental ministers?”) To parish communities? (Answer: Parish communities tend to function better when not prematurely closed or clustered.) How does he link communities together? (Answer: Not by closing churches and rennovating the cathedral at the same time. Not by replacing an altar with an organ. Not by sending heretics into our churches to run them and ruin them. Not by closing thriving schools and churches. Not by engaging in ecumenical prayer services when your own flock has unmet needs. Not by having a mistress-of-ceremonies whose words have stifled more vocations in this Diocese than we can possibly imagine.) Are there ways in which we can prepare ourselves so that when he arrives the new bishop will come to know a diocese actively engaged and not passively marking time until his arrival? (Answer: Yes. We can actually meet the Holy Father half-way and show him that, contrary to what our Ordinary does, we will follow him.)

Next month I hope to delve into some of these areas in more depth. Let it suffice for the moment to say that I think we will be well-served if we make this a time of peaceful and prayerful examination of ourselves, our parishes and other places of ministry. How are we doing? What ought to change? (98% of what we see in this Diocese ought to change.) What is God asking of us?

To that end I have set some priorities to which I want to devote time and energy in the time remaining:

* To leave our diocese in as stable and positive financial condition as we can manage. Just now I have been quietly raising funds working to strengthen our financial resources for the education of our seminarians and the support of our senior priests.

* To continue to work together daily in our common quest for a deeper spiritual life. One common goal here, I hope, will be our very best effort to receive and celebrate the new Roman Missal this coming Advent.

* To be responsible in meeting the challenges of the day and not leave to my successor difficult problems because they are too hard or too unpopular to take on.

* To keep working at the interfaith and ecumenical work we have undertaken and to encourage others to join us in this work.

* To maintain our tradition of supporting our sisters and brothers in need, through direct human service and advocacy.

* To work toward creating as honest, warm and hospitable an environment as we possibly can manage, as we welcome our new bishop.

A bishop is a successor to the apostles whether retired or not. Under the church’s traditions and laws, leaving office removes from an individual bishop his power and jurisdiction over a diocesan church, but he remains a bishop forever with bonds to the universal church and College of Bishops, and certainly with a special bond to the diocese of which he was shepherd and to those faithful who were once entrusted to his care. It is not retirement in the usual sense of the term.

So, as “bishop emeritus” — the title given bishops after leaving office — I intend to be as helpful as I possibly can to the church of Rochester and to the new bishop, in ways still to be discussed and determined.

I will relinquish the bishop’s quarters at Sacred Heart Cathedral to make it ready for the new bishop when that time comes, but it is my hope and intention to remain in the Greater Rochester area. I have not as yet settled on where that might be. Personally, I am hoping to continue ministering in the Diocese of Rochester visiting parishes, supporting our pastors and sharing in the Eucharist with our people. I would welcome opportunities such as confirming our young people; helping our ministry in our nursing homes and health-care facilities; and offering whatever spiritual counsel I can in retreats and spiritual-growth projects, a role I have come to enjoy every much.

One important task I already know that I can and will fulfill is to pray constantly for the concerns of each of you individually and of this wonderful diocese as a whole. It has been said that one of the most cherished activities of a bishop emeritus is a “ministry of intercession,” that the closest bond and most important responsibility before God that a bishop emeritus has toward those who were once entrusted to him and to whom he has devoted his life is that of prayer. I could not agree more.

I will write more about this theme over the next months as July 2012 approaches, and I will try to keep you as informed as I can about this transition time.

This will be an interesting and unsettling time, but I pray you will remember that we are guided in every journey by the Holy Spirit. As we enter this new journey together, pilgrims on a new venture for Christ, let us be radically open to the Spirit and to each other’s dreams for the future.


3 Kinds of Catholics?

July 25th, 2011, Promulgated by benanderson

This quote from Fr. Callan pretty much sums it up.  Just as Cleansing Fire can say things that priests who side with us can’t say without facing repercussions, Fr. Callan is the voice of the progressives in the Diocese of Rochester.  He articulates their own thoughts which they know they can’t blatantly come out with.  This is from pages 151-152 of “The Studentbaker Corporation”:

Everyone in the Corporation – except myself – either left or was thrown out of the seminary before ordination.  I stayed and became a priest, yet twenty-four years after ordination, I, too, was thrown out.  But all of us are still Catholic.  A rabbi once told me, “You Catholics need to learn from us Jews.  We have three branches – Orthodox, Conservative and Reform.  If you don’t fit in one, you can always join the other and still remain Jewish.”  But, in reality, there are three ways to be Catholic, too:  1) accepting the existing system with passivity (such as Opus Dei, Catholics United for the Faith, and Legionaries of Christ); [I don’t accept this wording. See first Chesterton quote below.] 2) working to build a more just and equal church within the instituation in the hopes of changing it (such as a Call to Action movement, FutureChurch, Priests for Equality, and Corpus Christi and Fortunate Families); and 3) creating alternative models of church that are less institutional (such as house churches, fellowships, small communities led by married priests, and churches such as Spiritus Christi).

I would put Bill Droel, Charlie DiSalvo, Jude Thines and Marty Palumbos (brother of Ed, I believe) in the #2 category above [and sadly many in our local hierarchy and parallel hierarchy].  They continue to attend church regularly, with a critical eye, and get involved with standard parish ministries such as folk groups, marriage preparation, lectoring and stewardship committees.  They work to stretch their churches to become more inclusive and more responsive to the needs of the poor [If this were only about the poor, it’d be hard to find real opposition.].  I would put John Erb and myself in the #3 category.  We are among the millions of Catholic communities, yet remain connected to the larger institution through a shared theology and occasional worship and collaboration.

The Catholic church at present is a Cadillac limousine with four flat tires.  It sits under a shade tree and is covered with bird droppings.  On the windshield is a big parking ticket for staying too long in the same place.  Rather than give up on the church, we need to breath of the Holy Spirit to pump up the tires and get the beautiful car moving again  The Holy Spirit needs to send it through the car wash – perhaps a bath of persecution – where it can be cleansed of the compromises that have soiled it [Did you hear that, God?  You’re not doing your job.].  The church needs to get back on the highway where it can serve people, rather than be struck by the side of the road under the shelter of a tree. [see second Chesterton quote below]

As a rebuttal, I’ll offer this Chesterton quote I stole from Saving Our Parish. This completely debunks the passivity of accepting orthodox Catholicism. For me, it was hardly passive – it was a complete upheaval.  I didn’t want it to be true.  On the face of it, my life would’ve been much easier had it not been true.  Fortunately for me, the Hound of Heaven was relentless.

This process, which may be called discovering the Catholic Church, is perhaps the most pleasant and straightforward part of the business, easier than joining the Catholic Church and much easier than trying to live the Catholic life. It is like discovering a new continent full of strange flowers and fantastic animals, which is at once wild and hospitable. To give anything like a full account of that process would simply be to discuss about half a hundred Catholic ideas and institutions in turn. I might remark that much of it consists of the act of translation; of discovering the real meaning of words, which the Church uses rightly and the world uses wrongly. For instance, the convert discovers that “scandal” does not mean “gossip”; and the sin of causing it does not mean that it is always wicked to set silly old women wagging their tongues. Scandal means scandal, what it originally meant in Greek and Latin: the tripping up of somebody else when he is trying to be good. Or he will discover that phrases like “counsel of perfection” or “venial sin,” which mean nothing at all in the newspapers, mean something quite intelligent and interesting in the manuals of moral theology. He begins to realise that it is the secular world that spoils the sense of words; and he catches an exciting glimpse of the real case for the iron immortality of the Latin Mass. It is not a question between a dead language and a living language, in the sense of an everlasting language. It is a question between a dead language and a dying language; an inevitably degenerating language. It is these numberless glimpses of great ideas, that have been hidden from the convert by the prejudices of his provincial culture, that constitute the adventurous and varied second stage of the conversion. (The Catholic Church and Conversion by G. K. Chesterton)

In as much as the Church consists of fallible human beings who constantly fail to live up to what the Gospel demands of her, I will agree with his assessment of the Church being covered with bird droppings.  However, it is not in her doctrines that she is flawed and needs cleansing.  To change her doctrines is to create a new religion altogether (not a branch of the same religion).  I will again turn to Mr. Chesterton to rebut Fr. Callan with an alternate view:

It is always easy to let the age have its head; the difficult thing is to keep one’s own. It is always easy to be a modernist; as it is easy to be a snob. To have fallen into any of those open traps of error and exaggeration which fashion after fashion and sect after sect set along the historic path of Christendom—that would indeed have been simple. It is always simple to fall; there are an infinity of angles at which one falls, only one at which one stands. To have fallen into any one of the fads from Gnosticism to Christian Science would indeed have been obvious and tame. But to have avoided them all has been one whirling adventure; and in my vision the heavenly chariot flies thundering through the ages, the dull heresies sprawling and prostrate, the wild truth reeling but erect.

As far as pretending that Catholics can legitimately fall into the three camps proposed by Fr. Callan, I’ll offer Mike’s comment on the Catholic Courier article “Is Catholic chasm growing?

Mr. Latona quotes from an article by the late Father John Hardon, S.J. I find it interesting that this article ends with the following words:

“The holder of the Petrine Office is the direct descendent of Peter to whom were handed the keys of the kingdom. His mandate is clear; our duty as Roman Catholics is to adhere to both the letter and the Spirit as the Holy Father delineates them for us, not pick and choose those aspects of Catholicism more to our liking. As 2 John 9 reminds us, anyone who ‘does not remain rooted in the teaching of Christ does not possess God, while anyone who remains rooted in the teaching possesses both Father and the Son.'”

I know of no local blogger who wants anything more – or less! – than this.

Early Warning Signs

July 13th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

There has been a lot of talk in recent days about the “protective umbrella” which Bishop Clark held over Jim Callan and Corpus Christi church while that parish was spiraling out of control. The author of the blog Public Vigil has revealed another piece in the puzzle. Fourteen years before the Spiritus Christi schism, in 1985, then-Father Jim Callan invited a priest from the Archdiocese of Boston to speak at his parish who made several disturbing statements about homosexuality and pedophilia. A Rochesterian who attended this talk wrote a letter to the priest’s ordinary in Boston, in addition to forwarding copies to Callan and Bishop Clark, about the inappropriate statements made by this priest.

Had only our bishop taken notice way back then and kept a closer eye on Corpus Christi.

Here are a few comments made by the visiting priest:

“When adults have sex with children, the children seduced them.”

“The Bible does not say that the homosexual lifestyle is wrong.”

“The Bible was written by ignorant men, then said inspired by the Holy Spirit.”

Click here to read the letter sent out to the bishops.

After SSM vote Sen. Alesi went to “mass” and “received communion”

July 13th, 2011, Promulgated by benanderson

Hat tip to American Papist (CatholicVote) for this video.

Paraphrasing just one bit of the nonsense spewed by Senator Alesi: “I went to mass… received communion… and my priest embraced me”. In Thomas Peters’ initial report, he missed the fact that Sen. Alesi was most likely referring to a worship service at Spiritus Christi and receiving communion from schismatic priest Fr. Jim Callan. Sen. Alesi doesn’t state whether he was referring to this schismatic church or not, so the public scandal continues. We know there are priests in good standing in the DOR who openly applaud Sen. Alesi’s vote, so it’s not far fetched to believe Sen. Alesi was referring to one of our Roman Catholic parishes. If Sen. Alesi is in fact referring to Spiritus Christi, it’s important to keep in mind Bishop Clark’s initial support for the vision of that schismatic church. In Fr. Callan’s own words:

Bishop Clark, too, showed his support by sending notes of encouragement for our ministry. Diocesan officials told us how supportive he was when he had to answer Vatican inquiries about the video tapes or church bulletins that spies had sent to Rome. As one reporter said, Bishop Clark held up a “protective umbrella” over us for years. Our people were very aware of his support. His visits to Corpus Christi were marked by standing ovations and expression of gratitude, for we knew we sometimes put him in awkward positions with the Vatican.

Keep in mind this “Catholic” church at the time had women playing priests, were blessing same-sex unions, encouraged all to receive communion (including protestants), etc. Bishop Clark endorsed that church until Ratzinger stepped in.

Another humdinger from the Alesi video:
“It doesn’t matter what religion you are”

Please Suspend This Priest, Bishop Clark

June 27th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

Below are a few photographs from this past Sunday’s “final Mass” of the retiring Fr. Bill Donnelly at St. Mary downtown. Fr. Donnelly has been serving as the “Sacramental Minister” under laywoman “pastoral administrator” Anne-Marie Brogan (in alb behind the priest), who will continue on in that role.


When I say that the newly-ordained Fr. Scott Caton is walking into the lion’s den, I mean it. St. Mary’s downtown requires immediate change, or they will become another schismatic church like Spiritus Christi.

This parish has long been a flagrant promoter of dissent relating to the role of the ordained priesthood, women’s ordination, liberal feminist theology, and homosexuality. St. Mary’s frequently invite children to stand around the altar and to elevate chalices and patens during the consecration. A reader and St. Mary parishioner has said that people also recite the Eucharistic prayer with the priest and that many members are from Corpus Christi who openly voice hostility with Rome.

The above images are very similar to something we have seen before in Rochester…

In the words of St. Thomas More, “silence gives consent.” Will Bishop Clark be silent once again? The bishop recently appointed Anne-Marie Brogan to continue running this parish, so you be the judge.

Some posts of interest on St. Mary downtown:

Four Women Playing Priest

June 5th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

Included is Rochester native and schismatic Spiritus Christi parishioner, Patti LaRossa.

The Role of Women in the Church

May 19th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

Fr. Christopher Smith shares his insights on this matter at the Chant Cafe. The entire article is very articulate, and certainly deserves your perusal. Here, though, is the closing paragraph.

When we look at the women in the New Testament, we get an idea of what women’s participation in the life of the Church and the liturgy should look like. As equal members of the Body of Christ, they had no need of ordination to worship God, or to do the amazing things that they did. And those things were often more remarkable, and had more staying power, than what the Twelve did. The constant close attention of the women in the Gospel to Christ and to others, serving them and in doing so, serving Christ. It is entirely correct to say that a woman’s place in the Church is one of subordination, just as all disciples freely subordinate themselves to love God and all people. A woman’s place in the Church is to follow Christ, lavish her love without cost upon Him, serve the needs of the poor and the defenseless: in other words, a subordination to the law of love. In doing so, women can find that they are not indeed slaves to an outmoded patriarchal system drunk on abuses of power and justice, but friends of Christ. And there can be no greater freedom and noble role in the Church and world than that!

Spiritus gets “whisper”ed, article in Cleveland Newspaper

April 3rd, 2011, Promulgated by Abaccio

Here I sat, ready to commence Part IV of a continuing series on the New Translation, briefly checking a few of my daily blog reads when I saw that Rocco Palmo, author of Whispers in the Loggia, a Vatican rumors blog, tweeted

Albeit in schism, “independent” Rochester parish said to be “flourishing”:

First off, I question the choice to encourage this sort of thing without a disclaimer.  The wording of the tweet conveys a certain view…that it’s no less a parish, simply because it’s in schism, or perhaps that, if they’re flourishing, there’s something to emulate.  Rocco could have construed this in a vastly different manner.  Instead, he seems to be encouraging it.  Perhaps I’m reading too far into a tweet, but you can make your own judgement. The article referenced follows, with my commentary and emphasis

Breakaway Catholic flock flourishing in New York

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — At Spiritus Christi Church, the choir at Saturday night Mass sings the lyrics of “Amazing Grace” to the tune of “House of the Rising Sun” — a song about a brothel. [Fitting, no?  After all, the concept of sexual morality is nonexistent at Spiritus.]
Surely, such a tune for a sacred service would never meet the approval of the Rochester Roman Catholic Diocese. [Don’t give them any ideas.]  In any case, it has nothing to do with the Diocese.  In 1903, Pope St Pius X wrote: “Still, since modern music has risen mainly to serve profane uses, care must be taken that musical compositions in this style admitted to the Church may contain nothing profane, be free from reminiscences of theatrical motives, and be not fashioned, even in their external forms, after the manner of profane pieces.” ]
Then again, nothing about Spiritus Christi meets the diocese’s approval. [Here we go again.  Let’s recall how Bishop Clark did NOTHING to stop the abuses when they started, and it took a Vatican intervention for something to be done.]
Spiritus Christi, like the Community of St. Peter in Cleveland, is a breakaway Catholic parish at odds with its bishop. [No, it is not Catholic in any way, and they are at odds with more than just the local Bishop.  They are at odds with the one Church Christ founded, and at odds with Him.]
The Rev. James Callan, 63, now assistant pastor of Spiritus Christi, has been fired from the Rochester diocese and excommunicated from the Roman rite. [Fired!  He excommunicated himself, and was told to stop before he was “FIRED”]
The Rev. Robert Marrone, 63, of St. Peter’s is awaiting “canonical action” after refusing Bishop Richard Lennon’s order in January to resign from his breakaway flock. [Incidentally, this arose due to inaction by another of Jadot’s Boys, Bishop Pilla]
Marrone and his parishioners began worshipping in a leased commercial building last August, four months after Lennon closed their church in downtown Cleveland as part of the diocese’s downsizing. [And, folks, this is why Corpus Christi/Our Lady of the Americas has remained open.  Imagine the PR nightmare if Fr. Callan was allowed to “win.”]
Callan and his followers rented space in a Protestant church 12 years ago after locking horns with the diocese over church teachings.
Some might say Spiritus Christi is not a real Catholic church [ding ding ding] because its pastor is a woman, it blesses gay unions and serves communion to anyone, regardless of their faith — three big sins in the eyes of the Holy See. [And, more importantly, God]
But don’t tell this rebel congregation it’s not real. [See what he did here?  ‘Not Catholic’ got turned into ‘Not Real’] According to Callan, it is the largest [not] Catholic church within Rochester’s city limits, with 1,500 members, 33 full- and part-time employees and an annual operating budget of $1.7 million.
“This is history in the making,” said parishioner Cindy McClurg, 53, attending a recent Sunday Mass in a packed, 880-seat concert hall downtown. “We’re still a Catholic-faith-based church. [A what, exactly?] People say, ‘You’re not going to make it.’ But we are making it. And we’ve been making it for 12 years.” [I’m sorry, but twelve years isn’t even the blink of an eye in the course of salvation history]
McClurg and hundreds of people filling the concert hall had been members of Rochester’s Corpus Christi Catholic Church, where Callan had been the pastor for more than 20 years.
In 1998, the year Callan was fired[!!!] by his bishop, Corpus Christi had nearly 3,000 parishioners, eight social service ministries, 70 employees and a $2.5 million annual budget. [Is this what really matters? A parish is not a business.]
But Callan had been raising eyebrows in the diocese for years. Beginning in 1988, he allowed a woman lay leader of the church — who today serves as its pastor — to stand with him at the altar and recite prayers only a priest is allowed to say. [It took over a DECADE for Bishop Clark to take action. ELEVEN YEARS!]
In 1993[a full 5 years before Clark was forced to take action…], he started performing marriage services for gays. Even before that, he had strayed from church teachings by inviting everyone in the pews to take communion, even non-Catholics.
“Everyone is welcome at God’s table,” he said. [This attitude removes the need for holiness.  The story of the rich young ruler shows that there are preconditions…]
But the diocese disagreed [notice how this is cast as a battle between the big bad diocese and the poor, well-meaning priest?] and ordered Callan to stop his “liturgical abuses” or face dismissal from Corpus Christi.
“I told them, ‘I’m not going to betray all those people I’ve stood with for years,’ ” said Callan. He was fired in August 1998. Callan says the diocese, which declined to discuss Callan and Spiritus Christi, took away his salary and health care but promised him he would get his pension when he retires. [These things normally happen when someone loses his job for insubordination after repeated warnings…]
Six months later — after Callan and 1,100 Corpus Christi members had broken away from the diocese, renamed their community Spiritus Christi and leased worship space in a historical Presbyterian church — he was excommunicated.
A front-page story in the city’s newspaper, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, quoted the diocese chancellor, the Rev. Kevin McKenna, saying, “By starting this new church, Father Callan is in schism . . . he has excommunicated himself from the Roman Catholic Church.”
The diocese said all his followers had excommunicated themselves as well.
But Callan said neither the diocese nor the Vatican presented the defectors with official excommunication documents. [Canon 1364 states, …an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication” latae sententiae penalty follows automatically, by force of the law itself, when the law is contravened.]
“The church says a person excommunicates himself,” said Callan. “That’s nonsense. That’s like driving through a stop sign and giving myself a ticket.”[Excommunication is a spiritual exclusion; the person excommunicated is not longer a Catholic and no longer receives any spiritual benefits from the prayers of the Church, especially the Mass.  You cut yourself off from God.  Nobody else can cut you off from Him.]
In an e-mail message responding to a request for an interview, a spokesman for the diocese said, “We are not in communion with Spiritus Christi Church and do not wish to comment.” [seems to have gotten it backwards…]
But interviews with Spiritus Christi members show the congregation is generally undaunted about its mass excommunication. Most shrug. Others call it a badge of honor. [Let us pray for them, shall we?]
“If we have the power to excommunicate ourselves, we certainly have the power to un-excommunicate ourselves,” said Sister Margie Henninger, 70, a St. Joseph nun who was ousted from her order for following the rebels. [Yes, this is true.  You can certainly come back to God by way of a good confession.]
Parishioner Margaret Wittman, 82, said, “God doesn’t excommunicate. The church excommunicates. The pope excommunicates. But God draws a bigger circle and keeps us in.” [Except when He punishes sin.  Adam and Eve disobeyed, and God’s ‘bigger circle’ involved kicking them out of paradise, allowing them to suffer and die, and the souls of their progeny were stained by their sin.  Bigger circle, indeed.]

The circle at Spiritus Christi includes Mary Ramerman, the woman who had joined Callan at the altar when she worked for the diocese as a lay minister at Corpus Christi. She had been a pastoral associate for 15 years until she was fired two months after Callan was let go. [Note here that Ramerman is the model for our female lay administrators, playing dress-up and pretending to serve a liturgical role.  We here at CF do not attack this unlawful role without just cause.]

“They said I could stay if I don’t go near the altar and I stop preaching,” said Ramerman. “They also told me I was a pastoral assistant, not a pastoral associate.

“By the time they fired me, I had already decided who I was, and I wasn’t going to let them shape me.” [Non Serviam! I will NOT serve! You can practically hear the prideful manner in which she emulates Lucifer, rather than Christ or his Blessed Mother.]

In November 2001, Ramerman, 55, who is married with three kids and holds a degree in theology, was [pretend] ordained by a bishop from California [a member of the 140 years schismatic “old catholics”]who administers outside the Roman rite. [And, more importantly, outside the Church.  The Maronite Patriach administers outside the Roman rite, but within the Church.  Catholicism is not just the Roman Rite of the Latin Church.] The [pretend] ordination ceremony was held in Rochester’s Eastman Theatre before 3,000 people.

The Rev. Ramerman, who committed a major “liturgical abuse” [actually, I’d call that an act of formal schism…] by being ordained in the Catholic faith, which forbids [is incapable of ordaining…]women priests, is now pastor of Spiritus Christi.

“They make a big deal out of liturgical abuses,” she said in a recent interview. “But not so much out of child abuses.” [zzzzzzing! Shall we have Red Herring for dinner?]

Callan, as assistant pastor, and Ramerman usually work together, saying Masses and performing baptisms, weddings and funerals. Callan still follows the traditions of the Catholic priesthood.

“I feel called to the celibate life,” he said.

But when he tried to buy a grave plot for himself in Holy Sepulcher [sic] Cemetery owned by the diocese, he was denied.

“I said, ‘What? I’m more dangerous dead than alive?’ ” he laughed.

Though Callan is not welcome into the gates of Holy Sepulcher [sic], his parishioners are.

“The diocese is making money on us,” said Callan, who buries about 40 people a year. “And they said that Mary and I led the people astray, so it’s not their fault.”

Callan said he bought a plot for himself at a city cemetery where Susan B. Anthony, a pioneer in women’s rights, and Frederick Douglass, an ex-slave and abolitionist, are buried. “I’ll be in good company there,” he said.

The funerals of Anthony (March 17, 1906) and Douglass (February 26, 1895) were held at Central Presbyterian Church, which is now Hochstein Memorial Music School, where Spiritus Christi holds one of its two Sunday Masses.

For other Masses — one every day — it uses nearby Downtown United Presbyterian Church and Immanuel Baptist Church.

“We’re roaming Catholics,” joked Callan, who, with Ramerman, drives every Sunday to a Spiritus Christi satellite church in Elmira, N.Y., 120 miles away, to celebrate Mass.

Callan holds no bitterness toward Rochester Bishop Mathew Clark. He said Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict VI, wrote a letter to Clark in July 1998, demanding that the bishop remove Callan from Corpus Christi. [And, finally, the truth comes out….watch what happens]

“It was very hard on him when all this happened,” said Callan, who still sends Christmas cards to Clark. “He’s a good bishop. He knew what was going on. He didn’t support us verbally, but he kept a protective umbrella over us.” [Yes, Bishop Clark willfully ignored heresy and dissent, which led to schism.  Let’s make sure everybody knows that.]

That umbrella is no longer needed, now that Spiritus Christi stands on its own. The breakaway church owns and operates three houses in the city for social-service programs — sheltering and counseling recovering substance abusers and people getting out of prison.

It is also preparing to build a 39-unit apartment building with a mix of market-rate and low-income units. [Again, the Church is not supposed to be a business conglomerate…]

The project is scheduled for construction on an empty lot that was once the site of a polling place. Susan B. Anthony was arrested there for voting in the presidential election of 1872, 48 years before women won the right to vote. [See how they connected this? This is an issue of women’s rights, of gay rights, of civil rights…They’re modern day prophets! Pride, pride, pride.]

The building will include a street-level caf with a Susan B. Anthony theme.

“Our church is centered on the poor and the marginalized,” said Callan, noting that his congregation gives 15 percent of its collections to charities and social justice programs. “Jesus made the poor his priority.”

Spiritus Christi is 85 percent white, two-thirds [schismatic] Catholic and one-third other denominations and faiths. About half of the congregation lives in the city.

On a recent Sunday, the stage in the historical music hall was accented with flowers, candles and crucifixes around a portable altar.

Upstage, a 25-member choir, accompanied by piano, guitars, saxophone and drums, filled the house with rafter-ringing harmonies.

Callan addressed the multitude: “Take a deep breath. Breathe in the Holy Spirit. As you breathe out, drop your shoulders and your worries.”

During Communion, sax player Bill Tiberio wailed a solo, while singer Myra Brown wrapped up the Mass with a gooseflesh-raising gospel tune, hitting some Aretha Franklin-style crescendos.

The sanctuary had the feel of an African-American church [filled with 85 percent white people…] as the faithful swayed and clapped their hands, pushing aside traditional Catholic ritual.

When I leave here, I feel I’ve got something,” parishioner Clarence Cibella, 51, said after the service. “I feel good.” [If you don’t feel God’s presence, He’s not there?  That seems to be his point]

Parishioner Richard Kaza, 60, said, “There’s no guilt here. Everybody’s smiling. In the old church, I was taught about the fear of God. This is about the love of God.” [It is those who do not feat God that ought to fear Him the most…]

When Callan was excommunicated 12 years ago, he was quoted in The New York Times as saying he believed that within 10 to 12 years the church establishment will catch up with the ideas of Spiritus Christi and embrace them. [And in 10 more years, 100 more years, 1000 more years, he will still be wrong.]

Today, he laughs at that notion. “I guess I should have tacked on another 20 years when I said that.”

Thriving. Eighty-five percent white, smaller than 15 years ago, and not a single member mentioned in this article was under 50 years of age.  The youth are all FLOCKING to Spiritus, alright!  If you know someone who attends Spiritus Christi, PRAY FOR THEM.  God knows they need it!

Oscar Romero Church’s Grand Opening

March 2nd, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

Chava Redonnent, one of the Spiritus Christi fake priestesses, will be holding a grand opening service for the Oscar Romero inclusive catholic church at the St. Joseph House of Hospitality.

It is long overdue that the Diocese of Rochester end its affiliation with this organization, whether this affiliation is official or not. Several diocesan priests continue to offer “ecumenical services” at the St. Joseph House.

Bishop Clark’s Protective Umbrella

February 18th, 2011, Promulgated by benanderson

Following up on Mike’s earlier post, I thought another snippet of the “The Studentbaker Corporation” would be appropriate. As a reminder, the author of this book is Fr. James Callan (one of the founders of Spiritus Christ)

Inspired by John the Baptist, we saw ourselves among those who were called to go ahead and prepare the way. We often knew we were pushing boundaries, but never realized we were in ultimate trouble [I find that hard to believe]. Much of the reason for squeezing by these crises was the support we received, first from bishop Hogan [earlier in the book you can read about Fr. Callan being denied ordination and then Bishop Hogan’s change of heart.], and then Bishop Clark. They were progressive leaders who desired to move the church ahead [note: this isn’t just about pastoral questions – these progressive leaders wish to change fundamental Catholic doctrines]. One time Bishop Hogan told me Corpus Christ was “my kind of parish.” He sent me some of his personal money to help our programs with the poor. Bishop Clark, too, showed his support by sending notes of encouragement for our ministry. Diocesan officials told us how supportive he was when he had to answer Vatican inquiries about the video tapes or church bulletins that spies had sent to Rome [hmm – is it really spying to record public services and pass along public publications like bulletins?  It’s not like these are secret meetings.].  As one reporter said, Bishop Clark held up a “protective umbrella” over us for years [this protective umbrella continues to this day for the 1/3 who chose to remain in the Church and fight to change it from within. In fact the people running this diocese agree with Spiritus Christi. They just aren’t quite as blatant because they prudently push the envelope as far as they can without drawing too much attention. It’s 7PM on Wednesday night – Do you know what your Faith Formation director is teaching your children?]. Our people were very aware of his support. His visits to Corpus Christi were marked by standing ovations and expression of gratitude, for we knew we sometimes put him in awkward positions with the Vatican.

But everything changed on August 13, 1998. Father Joseph Hart, who had become Vicar General the previous month, asked me to meet him for lunch at the Highland Diner. There he informed me that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger from the Vatican wrote Bishop Clark a communique, dated July 25, demanding that I be removed from Corpus Christi within two months and that a “trustworthy priest” be put in my place to bring things in line with Vatican policies [notice he’s trying to label unchangeable Catholic doctrines as “Vatican policies” – as if these issues are open for debate].

Then I heard God say to me “I have a great plan.” That’s all. I listened for more, but that was it. Those precious words were enough to sustain me during the stressful months that followed. “I have a great plan.” As everything crumbled around me, my faith assured me that things were not breaking down; they were breaking through. Something good was coming, even though I didn’t feel it at the moment. (A few months later I wrote to Bishop Clark, saying: “One day we’ll look back on this time and realize we helped God work out a ‘great plan’ for the church we both love so much. [see video below to see if this prediction came true])

I think the best way to describe Fr. Callan is with the words Archbishop Chaput used to describe Kennedy’s famous Houston speech: sincere, compelling, articulate – and wrong.

Bishop Clark’s Desires for the Church

February 17th, 2011, Promulgated by benanderson

Another gem from the “The Studentbaker Corporation” [my comments in red]:

At a 1990 diocesan Priest Convocation, Bishop Clark outlined three desires he had for the Catholic church:  That

1)  Rome give more autonomy and authority to the local church, [There are 194 dioceses in the United States.  Do we really want 194 different flavors of Catholicism?  How would that work?]

2) there be a greater commitment to women and the poor, [sure – that’s great, but doesn’t this lay at the feet of the bishop as it is?  If he wants to help poor people, there’s nothing standing in his way.  How does this require a “change” in the universal Catholic Church?  Doesn’t the Church speak of a great respect for women and the poor already?  Of course what he’s implying is the anti-Catholic notion that current Catholic doctrine discriminates against women; which I always chuckle at considering the great respect for a certain saint by the name of Mary. ]

3) there be a great willingness to live with unsettled questions [aka – allow for dissent on human sexuality and women priests.  To be fair the bishop’s statement here does predate Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.  However one could argue these “unsettled” issues were settled before then.]

Another Spiritus Offshoot

January 22nd, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

First, Rochester’s excommunicated Spiritus Christi church established churches in Elmira and Buffalo, then Denise Donato (a fake priestess of Spiritus) left Spiritus to create her own “Mary Magdalene church“, now Chava Redonnet (another Spiritus fake priestess) is jumping in the fun by starting her own church called the Oscar Romero church.

From the St. Joseph House of Hospitality website:

“All are welcome to attend Rev. Chava Redonnet’s [invalid] Mass every Sunday at 11 AM at Saint Joe’s House of Hospitality, 402 South Avenue. Experience first hand the new Oscar Romero Church, an inclusive church in the Catholic Tradition.”

The reason I’m posting this is not simply to report on the schismatics establishing yet another church that will draw a small handful of people (they are going for quantity over quality), but rather to point out once again how involved the Diocese of Rochester is in the St. Joseph House of Hospitality, which is largely run by the schismatics of Spiritus Christi. Ms. Redonnet is the chaplain at this organization.

If you go to the website for the house and click on the Religious Services link, you will be taken to a list of “ecumenical services” offered weekly at this organization. Sure enough, there are some schismatics in the list, including the excommunicated Jim Callan of Spiritus, as well as a few Protestant ministers. There are also, however, two active Roman Catholic priests in good standing with the Diocese of Rochester who offer “ecumenical services” at the St. Joseph House of Hospitality. These include Fr. Tracy (St. Frances Xavier Cabrini) and Fr. Donnelly (St. Mary downtown). There are also two religious sisters, though I am unsure of their present membership in the Church, or lack thereof.

Here is a screen shot:

Why are these Diocese of Rochester priests offering services and rubbing elbows with the leaders of a church who was excommunicated by Bishop Clark a little more than a decade ago? Is this sort of activity appropriate? Doesn’t it appear to legitimize the schismatics of Spiritus which include Callan, Redonnet, and co. to have Rochester priests offering services alongside them at the St. Joseph House? It is my opinion that the participation of Diocese of Rochester priests in these services should cease as soon as possible so as to end this source of scandal.

I Think Calling This “Illicit” Is Being Too Kind…

December 27th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

The Diocese of Rochester has witnessed far too many liturgical abuses during the tumultuous tenure of Bishop Matthew Clark. These abuses have ranged from the less serious, such as priests omitting “for us men” from the Creed or inviting a lay person to sprinkle holy water during the Aspereges ritual, to the more serious, such as lay people hearing Confessions and donning priestly vestments during Masses at Corpus Christi. The latest liturgical buffoonery to take place in our backward diocese I would most certainly rate in the “more serious” category.

St. Monica church in the city Southwest had a special children’s Christmas pageant that was scheduled to take place before their Christmas Eve Mass. Surely there is nothing wrong with that idea, though I personally would much prefer performances to be held in the parish hall rather than the church proper. “My house shall be a house of prayer” (Matthew 21:13). It’s what happened after this pageant that is completely mind-boggling. As captured in a series of images seen below, children who took part in the pageant then proceeded to perform the various hand gestures reserved for the ordained priest during the consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ at the Christmas Eve Mass. I don’t know how better to describe this unexplainable action than to show you the images below. More can be found on the parish’s Facebook page. [Update 12/30- The album has been taken down by the parish]

I first thought that perhaps it was just a child or two duplicating the actions of the priest in admiration, but then I saw the other images where every child participated in the same mimicking of priestly gestures. Then I thought, perhaps this is sign language because St. Monica is home to the diocese’s deaf community. But then I thought, why would the people need to participate in sign language for the consecration, since we don’t recite the consecration and extend our hands over the gifts in non-signed Masses.

Simply put, there is no acceptable explanation for what is seen in these images. How is what is seen above any different than when Mary Ramerman of the excommunicated Spiritus Christi church (then worshiping at Corpus Christi) used to play priest and extend her hands over the gifts and elevate the chalice? The same kind of mimicking of actions reserved for the priest is going on in these pictures above, and the children appear to have been invited to perform a sort of pseudo-concelebration with the celebrant.

My friends, for anybody to participate in the consecration aside from an ordained priest is a blatant liturgical abuse, and perhaps one of the most serious abuses when one considers that the consecration is the highest point of our Catholic Mass. I encourage you to write to our bishop in order to seek answers about this, and to see that it does not happen again in this parish or any other. Please do not leave threatening phone calls or write threatening letters to the priest, as reportedly happened when some complained about the “Passion Mime,” but do try to civilly report this incident to our shepherd so as to put a stop to these illicit and highly inappropriate activities.

The bishop can be reached here:

Bishop Matthew Clark

Pastoral Center

Diocese of Rochester

1150 Buffalo Road

Rochester, New York 14624

I hope that people will write so that we can avoid another one of these in this diocese:

First Newspapers, Then Books, Now Documentary Films?

December 13th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

Mary Ramerman, pretend priestess of the excommunicated Spiritus Christi church in Rochester, is featured in a documentary film entitled “Pink Smoke Over the Vatican.” This is just another in a long series of  spotlight grabbing stunts that the fame-hungry leaders of Spiritus Christi have taken part in. It’s a shame that the Gospel message that was supposed to be proclaimed at Corpus/Spiritus has become clouded over the years by the personalities surrounding their movement.

You can watch the trailer below:

The Spiritus cast appears around 1:00 in:

Rochester Priest Promotes “Call to Action” Conference

November 22nd, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

Fr. William Spilly, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Hamlin and very good friend of Jim Callan (read the Studentbaker Corporation for more on that), speaks about his recent attendance at the notoriously dissenting “Call to Action” conference. Below is what he wrote about the event:

Fr. Spilly endorsement of CTA

Perhaps Fr. Spilly, and some other Rochester priests, could use a little refresher on why Call to Action is an organization of dissidents that is not endorsed by the Catholic Church and forbidden to operate on church property is most dioceses.

From their web site:
Home page:

  • “Call To Action Part of New Pro-LGBT Catholic Coalition!”
  • “US Catholic Bishop Elections Signal Continued Targeting of Gay, Transgender People”

FAQ page:

  • “laity and clergy are to be consulted in the formulation of church doctrine and discipline, including human sexuality, academic freedom, roles of the laity and liturgical issues”
  • the priesthood is open to all people: single, married, women, men”
  • “the people of a diocese should be consulted in the selection of their bishops.”

JustChurch program page:

  • “An online petition, initiated by the Women’s Ordination Conference, and supported by Fr. Bourgeois and coalition partners Call To Action/USA and Roman Catholic Womenpriests is gathering the signatures and support of thousands of Catholics across the country. Click here to sign the petition, “Break the Silence on Women’s Ordination. Shatter the Stained Glass Ceiling.””
  • “Ask your bishop to stand with the California bishops and make a similar statement in support of women religious in the United States” (this is  because they perceive the Vatican investigation into the life of women religious in the U.S. as opression)
  • “A month after firing Ruth Kolpack over her thesis on inclusive language and church teaching, Madison’s Bishop Morlino met with 350 local Catholics who testified to Ruth’s vibrant ministry and the injustice of firing her.

    Don’t let our church be Ruth-less!If you live in the Madison Diocese, you are asked to send in the Bishop’s Annual Catholic Appeal without money and with the words “Reinstate Ruth” written on the envelope.”
  • “Ask him to urge Bishop Morlino to reinstate Ruth and create just workplace policies for lay ministers. There are more than 30,000 lay ministers in our country who can be fired at a priest or bishop’s whim without due process.”
  • “Fr. Marek Bozek, pastor at St. Stanislaus Kostka parish in St. Louis, has been notified by the Vatican that he has been “laicized” for his efforts to keep the parish lay-led and inclusive to those normally marginalized by the church.Call To Action’s JustChurch campaign leader in St. Louis, Megan Heeney of the CTA-affiliated Catholic Action Network, invites all Call To Action members and other supporters who live within driving distance to worship with St. Stanislaus on Sunday, March 15th to show your support for Marek and this inclusive Catholic community.”

Furthermore, read any one of their newsletters to get the full scope of their hatred for all things Roman Catholic.

As you can see, it is troubling that a Rochester priest would attend one of these conferences where dissenters meet to high-five each other. It is even more troubling that he would promote this event in his bulletin space (above) and on his parish web site (below).

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton link to “Call to Action”

As for his effort to compare the oppression of women in Islam to some perceived oppression of women in Catholicism… where do these people get off making such claims? Do they not realize that in some Muslim nations, women are required to be completely covered from head to toe (save for their eyes) and can even be stoned to death for sexual crimes? Just drive down Lyell Avenue in the city and you will see a mosque located not too far from Holy Apostles church that has a sign outside indicating that there are two different entrances for men and women. It’s atrocious that anyone would try to compare the status of women between these two religions!

More of the same in Rochester, folks. There are far to many Jim Callan loyalists hanging around, running our parishes. This support for dissent is going to continue until: a) Bishop Clark receives an awakening and decides to put a stop to this, b) 2012 comes and we get a bishop who will stand up to these priests, c) The Spirit of Vatican II era priests retire within the next 10 years. Until then, this undermining of the Catholic Church will continue.

For other posts about this pastor, read here, here, here, and here.

Benedict Versus… [Fr. Callan]

November 19th, 2010, Promulgated by benanderson

Inspired by the hit TV show Shaq Versus, I’ve decided to embark upon a similarly themed blog series entitled Benedict Versus. The first post (or couple) will put Benedict against Fr. Jim Callan of Spiritus Christi fame. Why Fr. Callan you ask? After all, he’s outside of the Church now, isn’t he? Well, sort of. A friend recently lent me Fr. Callan’s book The Studentbaker Corporation. I’m still in the first few chapters, but I can tell you it is quite eye opening. First of all, you’ll find a web of relationships between Fr. Callan and many people still active in our diocese. Second of all, many clergy (and psuedo-clergy) in our diocese espouse the same views he presents in this book. They just weren’t rock-star enough to get the kind of movement started that he did.

[Fr. Callan] “I’ve got a big decision to make. An ultimatum has just arrived from the bishop’s office. Either I sign a loyalty oath or I’m suspended from the priesthood.”

[Fr. Callan] laid out the dilemma:
A.) Make a compromise; sign the oath; stay in the system and work for change, or
B.) Give witness on behalf of women and others on the margin of the church; don’t sign the oath; lose a place for change inside the system.  [pp 1-2]

I give Fr. Callan credit for sticking to his principles and choosing option B). Many priests, priestesses, and lay-people here have chosen to go w/ option A). They choose to live a lie. Make no mistake, though, that they truly believe they are doing the will of God by working for change inside the “system”. This leaves us with the unfortunate situation of having to be skeptical of our own clergy. Sadly enough, one must almost assume guilty until proven innocent. Unless a clergyman or parish pledges allegiance to the Magisterium, you have to understand that they may very well be working for “change inside the system”. They have to be cryptic when doing so or they run the risk of being exposed and being faced with the above dilemma. This is why they shy from the light. Our bishop knows the game – he knows exactly how far he can go w/out explicitly endorsing views contrary to the Catholic Faith. Articles like his “All are beloved children of God” make it pretty clear where he stands.

Other interesting tidbits:

  • Fr. Callan dedicates the book to the late Bishop Hogan (bishop of the diocese of Rochester from ’69-’78).
  • Relevant to a somewhat recent post, “[Cesar] Chavez became a role model for us.” [p19]

Go buy the book, but not too many. We don’t want to fund Spiritus’ missions.  So I’ve rambled on enough for one post and you’re still wondering when Benedict is going to make his appearance.  Looks like we only have time for a brief warm-up here.

In this corner – Fr. Callan

They [Fr. Callan’s mentor priests] planted in me the idea that I could be a missionary right here in Rochester, rather than go to a foreign county.  I decided I would be like them.  Who needs the cassock and the clerical collar?  Who needed a fancy car?  Who needed a nice place to live?  I didn’t want anything to separate me from the people.  I wanted to be a person among other persons, building projects to serve the poor, reclaiming abandoned property, ministering to the people in the greatest need, reaching out to those who got ignored by society.  [p 22]

This all sounds peachy and his desire to help those less fortunate is quite commendable. The problem lies in the fact that he begins to worship the desire to make the world just according to his own views. He also is quite judgmental of those who don’t share his views.

and in this corner – Pope Benedict XVI (Jesus of Nazareth – Chapter Two: Temptations of Jesus)

Moral posturing is part and parcel of temptation. It does not invite us directly to do evil — no, that would be far too blatant. It pretends to show us a better way, where we finally abandon our illusions and throw ourselves into the work of actually making the world a better place. It claims, moreover, to speak for true realism: What’s real is what is right there in front of us — power and bread. By comparison, the things of God fade into unreality, into a secondary world that no one really needs. [pp 28-29]