Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Diocese of Rochester Situation Receives National Attention

October 13th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

Jeff Ziegler, a writer for the Catholic news magazine The Catholic World Report, has finished an article concerning the poor state of vocations to the priesthood in the Northeastern United States. In his article, “The Barren Fig Tree,” Mr. Ziegler spends a good amount of time outlining the situation in the Diocese of Rochester, and exploring in depth why our diocese has the second worst seminarian-to-Catholic ratio in the country (behind only Las Vegas). A number of area Catholics were interviewed in preparation for writing the article, including diocesan employees, priests and administrators, and several lay faithful. Cleansing Fire also contributed information and documentation pertaining to Bishop Clark’s devotion to lay ecclesial ministry at the expense of promoting solid vocations to the priesthood. I encourage each and every one of our readers to purchase a copy of this magazine. You will find yourself nodding in agreement with the various details of the woes we experience in this diocese. Maybe this article will serve as a wake-up call for the diocese that they should get with the program, and abandon their efforts to create a parallel lay hierarchy while the priesthood in Rochester approaches extinction.

I will not print the entire article, so as to entice you to actually purchase the magazine and support this good writer (buy it now!), but I will quote some  interesting passages:

“No other northeastern diocese has faced greater challenges in recent years in attracting diocesan seminarians than has the Diocese of Rochester. According to statistics published in the Official Catholic Directory, the ratio of diocesan seminarians to Catholics in Rochester ranked the diocese 167th in 2003, with a steady decline to 175th in 2008.”

“The Diocese of Rochester is known throughout the nation as one of the most liberal and modernist dioceses, where there has been a collapse of authentic Catholic catechesis and a policy of deliberately devaluing the priesthood in favor of the feminization of the liturgy and promotion of lay ecclesial ministries,” says James Likoudis, who served as president of Catholics United for the Faith from 1988 to 1994.”

“Likoudis’ website ( includes doctrinal critiques of presentations by diocesan officials. The group of Catholics who write for Cleansing Fire (, a blog devoted to the diocese, also documents their concerns about catechesis and the liturgy, posting parish bulletin excerpts and audio clips.[Thanks for the plug!]

“A pastoral administrator who governs two parishes—Sister Joan Sobola—is lauded on the Women’s Ordination Conference website as a pioneer proponent of women’s ordination. (Sister Sobola did not respond to a request to comment for this article.)”

“When a priest becomes only a ‘sacramental minister’ and deacons or lay people do everything else, it makes the calling to the priesthood [appear to be] of little importance in the life of the Church,” adds another parishioner of a parish threatened with closure. “The priest isn’t a leader anymore. He’s only another cog in the wheel.”

“the administrator of the Cleansing Fire blog, is hopeful that priestly vocations will blossom again in Rochester. “We have faith, and we know that all things will be turned to the greater good, given enough time and prayer.”

As you can see, Mr. Ziegler has hit the nail on the head in describing the problems facing the Diocese of Rochester. I hope these passages above will tantalize your taste buds into purchasing the magazine and reading the entire article. Two of the four pages are devoted to the situation in Rochester. This is a must read for all Rochester Catholics, so get a copy today. But one for yourself, one for a friend, and one for your priest.

Subscriptions to CWR can be obtained here:

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13 Responses to “Diocese of Rochester Situation Receives National Attention”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Is there a store in the Rochester area that people can buy this magazine without actually subscribiing to it?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I subscribe to it. It is one of the finest Catholic publications. Every week, I can’t weait until it is delivered.

  3. Bernie says:

    And, yes, National World Report is a top-of-the-line Catholic news source but I think you have to subscribe. Check out its website. You can probably get a taste of the type of magazine it is by looking at that.

  4. Mary-Kathleen says:

    How do we get this issue? If the magazine is not available except by subscription, subscribing won’t necessarily bring this one. Subscriptions usually start with the next issue.

  5. Mike says:

    According to its web site, World Wide News on St. Paul St. downtown carries the Catholic World Report.

  6. According to its web site, World Wide News on St. Paul St. downtown carries the Catholic World Report.

    Isn’t that the place next door to OLV/SJ!?

    It’s a solid piece, though you really wouldn’t know it from the ‘blurb you guys posted (my $.02).

  7. benanderson says:

    @Rich – yes, WWN is the store adjacent to OLV.

  8. RochChaCha says:

    I called World Wide News during lunch and they stated that they are no longer carrying that title.

  9. Mike says:

    Adoremus Books in Omaha, Nebraska has the current edition of CWN for sale (see here). The cost, with shipping, is $11.90.

    I just placed my order after confirming with their customer service people that this is, indeed, the October, 2010 issue.

  10. Sr. Emily says:

    Call 1 800 353 2324. You can order October issue for $4.95. You can order a year subscription for $19.95. Subscrption will begin Nov 1st.If you want October you must purchase that seperately.

  11. Dr. K says:

    Any way to buy a copy in Rochester?

  12. SR. EMILY says:

    When i ordered my subscription and October issue I asked if they could tell me where in Rochester we could buy just the current issue and the woman told me they are not sold in book stores anymore. I was told if you order more than 10 copies the price goes way down.


  13. Anonymous says:

    Oddly, I do not subscribe to the magazine but the October issue just showed up in the mail. I was aware that our statistics were poor but not as grim as they actually are. Pray

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