Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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Help: In Need of Good References/Resources

March 27th, 2011, Promulgated by benanderson

Dear Reader,

I’ve gotten a few especially annoying charges recently that Cleansing Fire is un-Christian.  This is nothing new and nothing unexpected as our culture labels any challenges to the status-quo of tolerance and acceptance as being unkind.  Instead of having a good old-fashioned debate, it’s much easier to just name-call and pretend that giving reasoned argumentation for your name-calling is below your Christian standards.  In God’s providence I started reading Lewis’ “The Problem of Pain” a few weeks back (mentioned here and here) which deals especially well with the modern mind’s perversion of “kindness”.  Contrary to the long line of Catholic intellectual heritage, many modern Catholics seem to be concerned only with faith and feel that reason should be checked at the door.  The reason I bring this up is because I’d like to beef up my argument that what we do here at Cleansing Fire is not out of line with Catholic teaching or historical example.  This is where I’m asking for your help.  I’m looking for good resources, references, or stories of Saints (or just widely accepted holy persons) challenging authority (especially bishops).  A good, recent example might be when Mother Angelica told her national TV audience that Archbishop Weakland can stick his head in the toilet.  I’m not interested in debating whether or not that comment was un-Christian, but use it to give an example of what I’m looking for.   I’m also interested in gathering examples of anti-Catholic writings by both the secular media and so-called Catholic media (eg National Catholic Reporter) which use much worse language and tone when speaking of our Holy Father and traditional Catholic morality than anything we’ve done here at Cleansing Fire in regard to Bishop Clark.  It’s interesting that many people who have jumped on the anti-Cleansing Fire bandwagon have for decades subscribed to and paid money for material that is outright hostile to Catholicism.

One thing I don’t have a lot of is time.  Many apostolates ask for you money.  We don’t do that here.  Instead, I’m asking for your time and effort.  If you believe our mission here at Cleansing Fire is important, please give me a hand in this endeavor.  Either leave comments or email me.

God Bless,

Ben Anderson

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64 Responses to “Help: In Need of Good References/Resources”

  1. avatar Raymond Rice says:

    check out what they are doing to the pope on “you tube”!!!

  2. avatar Hopefull says:

    One thing I tend to steer away from is “consensus” building as argument. It is a chief problem I think with the mess the secular world is in today. Having said that, I think St. Jerome had quite a sharp tongue and a temper, and I think it was Thomas Aquinas who traded verbal barbs with Dun Scotus, a Franciscan, who had the breakthrough understanding of the Immaculate COnception, not Aquinas. On important matters, it seemed it was “no holds barred.” And I think Arius got punched in the face at one of the Councils.

    I rely greatly regarding rights of the laity on Canon 212 (3): “According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.” The particular words “and even at times the duty…” are powerful.

    “Reverence” toward pastors does not require suppression of truth, nor writing so ambiguously that it veils the truth, or which elevates another’s erroneous opinion to the dignity of truth. It does require avoiding “ad hominem” attacks which make for poor argument anyway. The facts should be able to stand on their own; ad hominem attacks only weaken the arguer, hard as it can sometimes be to avoid.

    And we can consider that Christ was no wimp when it came to expressing truth. He called people vipers, thieves and whitened sepulchres as needed. Cleansing of the temple is a great moment and an inspiration to all who are willing to speak up for Christ, that He may not, at the end, be ashamed of us since we were not afraid to speak up for Him and His Church. It means not being lukewarm, not being vomited out of His Mouth.

    Peace, hope this is helpful.

  3. avatar Dr. K says:

    And we can consider that Christ was no wimp when it came to expressing truth. He called people vipers, thieves and whitened sepulchres as needed.

    The best argument one can make on this topic is to turn to the words of our Lord and to recognize that He used some rather sharp words to correct the religious leaders of His time who had strayed into error. Good point.

  4. avatar Christopher says:

    I was present for some of the attacks made on Ben in person. While some or most of the attacks were perhaps uncharitable in delievery, uninformed and unoriginal, the one that I agreed with was that the bishop retirement counter on the front page appears to show a lack of reverence for our Bishop. Perhaps someone could convince me otherwise though without releasing the hounds after me.

    I hear from numerous people who love the site but hate the counter as well. I would be interested to see a reader poll on it perhaps on the question of whether it is irreverent or not.

  5. avatar MQ says:

    I read a lot of blogs, religion, economics, politics…. and yours is one I always look forward too. Something tells me that if Saint Teresa of Avila lived today and was capable of displaying some type of retirement counter for any one, two, three bishops she thought progressed a bit too much, she would have done it without regret.

  6. avatar Mary-Kathleen says:

    That bishop retirement counter is what gives me hope. I moved into the DOR fourteen years ago assuming it was a very orthodox Catholic area. (I moved here from Vermont where I lived in a mostly Protestant area with a fair amount of lapsed Catholics.) My eyes were gradually opened with the Spiritus Christi schism, the plethora of lay “pastors” and the wrecking of Sacred Heart Cathedral. In conjunction with these developments I did a lot of reading about the background and reasoning for them and realized what a state of crisis the faith is in the DOR.
    When January rumors of an imminent appointment of a new DOR bishop proved premature, I really felt depressed. So, the counter gives me hope that a new day for the DOR is coming. A new day that won’t need a watchdog website for the diocese. A new day when the souls of the Catholics in the Diocese of Rochester won’t be placed in jeopardy by their hierarchy.

  7. avatar Eliza10 says:

    We really need this blog. The truth must be told! Its an awful truth, and the temptation to be uncharitable in the telling of the terrible realities of the DOR strong. So let the truth be told in charity, but let it be told. And when we, in our humanity, are uncharitable, let us correct each other and let us welcome any corrections.

    I agree, people who don’t like the truth will accuse the truth-tellers as being uncharitable persons. People who are doing wrong want privacy, and having the truth told outrages them. Not only do they want to hide their actions, and not have them publicized, but they want to label their detractors as being unreasonable and ridiculous and as “persons resistant to change” that we should feel sorry for and “pray for”. The truth-telling at Cleansing Fire is a serious obstacle to imposing change on the DOR, and to the business-as-usual custom of detracting anyone who is not on board with the DOR agenda.

    Well, its wrong to grant evildoers the darkness and anonymity they desire.

    So then let us continue to tell the truth and also continually examine ourselves. Are we being charitable?

    The counter – good question. I really like the counter! It gives me hope. Because I don’t think the bishop and his team are going to change their stripes, and therefore change in the DOR won’t happen until the leader of the dissent is gone.

    When I read Diane Harris’ new stories about what Father Ring did in her parish/cluster, it makes me sick because its so familiar, so representative of what has happened all of Clark’s reign. It makes me so glad that Bishop Clark’s days, and the continual damages of his administration, are numbered.

    If Bishop Clark does an about-face, and decides that the “legacy” and personal identity he has been arduously tending to all these years doesn’t matter any more, and he wants instead to do the right thing and adopt a vision not of his own making, but instead, the vision of our good Pope, to whom he has vowed his obedience to, then I will be full of joy and thankfulness for God’s work in his heart. Although I ask for this miracle I do not EXPECT it. And so the counter gives me hope in the face of reality.

    But while I like it I am willing to consider argument that the existence of the counter I like so much is uncharitable, instead of just a truth that gives me hope. But explain it to me if you think its wrong. I want to understand.

  8. avatar Gen says:

    When I talk to people about the site, I am always told, right away, that the counter is what brings them in and keeps them coming back. It’s something which is there to give hope, not make a joke or pass any kind of judgment against the Bishop.

    If the counter were truly “uncharitable,” we would use a less-than-flattering photo of the Bishop. God knows there are tons. Also, we would put something with it along the lines of, “thank God this guy’s going away soon.” But note: we don’t do those things. Just like people countdown the days to their vacation, or to the birth of a child, or some similar thing, we’re just looking forward to Bishop Clark’s retirement. There’s nothing insidious about that. In fact, we’re being more honest and forthright than most in the Diocese are.

    People who level broadsides against us for such things as the counter (I don’t mean you, Christopher, I mean the fellow(s) Ben dealt with) need to realize that there is a tremendous difference between respecting the office of “bishop” and respecting the man who fills that office. Ordinarily, there is no need to separate the two. However, in Rochester, where the Bishop is openly disobedient and heterodox in so many ways, there is a tremendous need to pull the two apart. Men are fallible. That’s a fact. Bishops are men, ergo, fallible. The role of the bishop is to shepherd his flock, not to sell it off, scatter it, neglect it, or sit back and let the wolves descend upon it. If a shepherd did these things, the right thing to do wouldn’t be to sit back and say, “well, God made him a shepherd . . . he must know what he’s doing.” NO – you confront the problems and do your best to rectify them.

    The Bishop Clark countdown is a way to remember that all bad things come to an end. I can think of very few people who could rationally say that the Bishop has had a positive impact on the Diocese. By counting down his time as bishop, we are standing in solidarity with those people who have lost their parishes, who have lost their schools, whose priests have been treated like dirt, and whose Catholic identity has been stripped from them for the sake of “ecumenism.”

    If people have a problem with the things we do, no one is forcing them to read. Similarly, no one is forcing them to act in undignified and unbecoming ways in public, accusing fellow Catholics of being un-Christian. That’s what really divides the Church, not some countdown, and not some semblance of accountability created out of the labor of good and solid Catholics.

  9. avatar Dan says:

    I agree that the bishop retirement counter is a sign of hope.

    I have witnessed the closing of parishes, Catholic schools and the jack-hammering of the Sacred Heart Cathedral Altar against the will of the parishioners.

    Make no mistake, I personally heard the women cry when their parish was forced to close. Generations of their family were part of the parish family. I watched the children cry in grief when their Catholic schools were closed against the will of the parishioners. Their dreams of graduating from the school were shattered.

    I can tell you about it, but until you have seen it with your own eyes or heard the cries and sounds of the destruction, you can’t imagine the level of destruction of our parishes and schools that has taken place at the hands of Bishop Clark.

    Try taking a walk through one of the schools that Bishop Clark closed. Some of the buildings are huge. It feels like a knife was stuck into your heart when you see a parish school community that was destroyed.

    In a few months, Bishop Clark will close the Mother of Sorrows school and Holy Rosary School. The number of Catholic Schools that he has closed will increase to 52. This is in addition to the approximately 35 parishes that he has closed.

    God Bless the Cleansing Fire website for promoting the truth and God Bless the Internet.

  10. avatar Nay says:

    When their conscience is panged and what is just and true is brought to day, they default and revert of a sense of being attacked. Have no opinions, be less fervent, be insipid and indifferent and join the vast ocean of DOR lukewarm Catholics where the flock is scattered and the betrayals continue in closed door sessions. Who can stand and and tolerate this consistent and predictable negligence. They play you for a child. Sell you for something less. They diminish you, mischaracterize you and dismiss you…completely disresectful not only for yourself, but the churches and the schools (and that means a child, something to protect and defend) a genuine travesty. Any self-respecting parishoner or citizen worth their salt, should and ought to stand up. This forum seems a natural and fitting response to the truely shameful dealings. Pick any. Call a spade a spade, say ‘send me’, use your right arm to help deliver yourself and others. They would prefer the light of day not shine on their actions, designs and consequences. They seek to diminish you and characterize you to comfort themselves. It seems unchristian (in a false sense, as a false cross, as false victims and as false prophets) because they sense the offense in what they do, as they ought. Their own hearts convict them.

  11. avatar Scott W. says:

    Excellent defense of the counter Gen. Frankly, the counter IS proportionate and charitable compared to what is deserved.

  12. avatar A Catholic says:

    Ben,

    I think a lot of the criticism that Cleansing Fire gets is due to the fact that the DOR just hasn’t been challenged in this way before. They are being exposed with factual information, and the natural human reaction is to become defensive. Many of the people who attack you may just not know any better since they may have been in this environment of dissent in the DOR for so many years. I also think it’s good that you use your own name (better than me on that) which shows that you are willing to stand behind what you write here. As to challenges to authority by saints: it isn’t exactly the same, but from what I’ve read, St. Athanasius actually slapped the priest Arius. St. Jerome wrote some things about Church leaders that translate into English sounding much more uncharitable than anything I’ve seen on Cleansing Fire. St. Paul challenged St. Peter, St. Catherine of Siena challenged the Pope to move back to Rome, and Mother Angelica (in addition to what you wrote she said about Weakland) challenged Cardinal Mahoney on the dissent in his diocese.

  13. avatar anon says:

    Saint Nicholas striking Arius at the council of Nicaea.

    See here for a good icon of the incident:

    http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2008/12/life-of-st-nicholas-archbishop-of-myra.html

    Definitely not nice. The church lady would not approve. However, legend has it that God appeared to the council bishops in a dream, saying Nicholas had acted in a pleasing manner.

  14. avatar A new follower says:

    Try St. Athanasius…

  15. avatar Christopher says:

    Gen, would you consider copy pasting that defense into a “Question and answer” defense page perhaps so we can refer people to it?

    I am sure this is not the first time you or Ben have heard people complain about the site and it won’t be the last time. I know how annoying it must become to waste time on it rather than writing on more pressing subjects. Perhaps a “defense” page might be appropriate.

    Speaking of defense, what happened to Gordon from Brockport (Secular defender of all things Liberal catholic)?

  16. avatar Ludwig says:

    […] writings by both the secular media and so-called Catholic media (eg National Catholic Reporter) which use much worse language and tone when speaking of our Holy Father and traditional Catholic morality than anything we’ve done here

    This boils down to “they do it too” and it doesn’t work.

    There is a popular political pundit who defends my political ideology. She’s awful. Her first response to criticism is always “well, they do it too!” I wish she’d just go away.

  17. avatar Scott W. says:

    This boils down to “they do it too”

    Not necessarily. I take him to imply that CF’s criticism and tone are just and acceptable, whereas his opponents cross the line. How do we decide? Discussion of course which is interesting considering that most times whenever someone comes on the blog and throws around accusations of lack of charity and someone naturally asks what was uncharitable and why is it uncharitable, the response is crickets chirping.

  18. avatar Louis E. says:

    Of course,despite her counter,Joan Sobala has not yet been retired…and one can count on the fingers of one hand the on-the-dot retirements of bishops in a typical year,or more than one year.So don’t assume that the choice between an ICKSP or FSSP priest for Rochester is just waiting to be unveiled on Clark’s 75th birthday…that would be more false hope.

  19. avatar TM says:

    I’m all for calling out liturgical abuse, heterodoxy, and working for the removal of heretics from positions of power. But the motivations for these objectives cannot come primarily from pent up anger, but rather must be driven by a desire to see one’s neighbor, even one’s enemy, converted to attain everlasting life in the world to come.

    I agree wholeheartedly that the bishop countdown icon you have at the top of your page is disrespectful and needs to go. You have no place to state when he retires (the vast majority of bishops dont have retirement resignations accepted at exactly 75 years.) You must avoid the appearing as though disobedient and disrespectful. Just because NCR and their followers are profoundly uncharitable doesnt mean you must descend to their level.

    You could do so much more good, and be taken much more seriously, if you changed your whole tone.

  20. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Thanks everyone for the resources. Thanks for the feedback as well – much appreciate (good and bad).

    This boils down to “they do it too” and it doesn’t work.

    no, that’s not at all what I was saying. We all agree respect must be shown. Specific things that might be considered disrespectful are open to debate. Anyone would agree that calling a bishop a “stupid idiot” would be crossing the line. Everyone would also agree that saying a “I completely respect our bishop personally as well as his office, but I disagree with him on this point” would not cross the line. Somewhere in between those 2 end points there is a room for a variance of opinions as to what is respectful and what is disrespectful. The reason I pointed to others (like NCR) was to show that many publications cross the line all the time and go uncommented on. My question is to those who have called us out – “why us? why now?” Is it really because you think we’ve crossed the line or is it just because you don’t like what we say? Some may think we cross the line, but even if you do, you have to admit a very good case can be made that we don’t. Either way you can’t ignore our arguments – which, I believe, is the real motivation for claiming we cross the line. They think they can ignore us if they are able to label us as uncharitable.

    But the motivations for these objectives cannot come primarily from pent up anger

    wow – really? I didn’t read such a motivation in any of the above comments. Seems to me that this really nails the issue – it’s a presumption that we have ill motivations and nothing we can do or say is going to convince a mind that isn’t open to listening.

  21. avatar Sands says:

    Love the Bishop, long live the Bishop, may he have many sunny days at the beach and be granted everlasting life. Despised the negligence and needless devastation strewn over the diocese for how many years? Oh, the counter, it refreshes my memory. They were counting too, the ‘small vocal minority’. Keep the counter for those who have patiently endured this lapse. There are countless others who justifiably feel this way. You are not the Bishops child and free to be very real about what is about the be an unbelievably all too real thing of the past. You ought to pinch yourself to see if you are still alive if you didn’t hint at what the number of days represents and signifies in a multitude of ways to so many people in the profound depths of their being.

  22. avatar Scott W. says:

    TM,

    You didn’t establish that there was anything wrong with the counter. You just stated it. That is, you personally don’t like it. Well, no disrespect, but whoop-dee-doo.

  23. avatar Nerina says:

    You could do so much more good, and be taken much more seriously, if you changed your whole tone.

    TM, can you give an example of what you mean by this quote? By the way, you are always free to start your own blog and show us how it is done. You are also free to not read. No one is forcing anyone to visit here. I say this with no hostility (tone is difficult to convey in comment boxes).

    I’d say there are plenty of people who take this blog seriously and that is exactly why things like the “counter” are being attacked. Frankly, if that’s the “best” criticism they have, they are floundering.

  24. avatar Gen says:

    Seeing as how 1,000+ people read this site each day, I don’t think we need to worry about being taken more seriously.

  25. avatar Christopher says:

    Nerina, I don’t want to speak for TM but I think he/she may mean that there are many people who have ventured to this site never to venture here again simply because they see the counter and don’t even bother to read onward. The counter is an “in your face” aspect of the site. If a person comes here for the first time there is a pretty good chance we can agree their eyes will scan the counter before actually scanning an article. Obviously that sets a “tone” for that person before they begin reading the article if they should continue onward.

    The “more seriously” comment I think was pretty straightforward. There’s a reason Fox News doesn’t have an Obama counter on the front page.

    While there is no way for us to quantify how many readers have stopped reading after the counter, it is fair to say this classification of people does exist. I am merely hypothesizing that this number may be greater than thought.

    In addition, let me portray a scenario for you. A parishner comes a pastoral administrator after mass and is like “Hey, I read on CF that you aren’t supposed to give a homily based on Canon X,Y and Z. Only the ordained can give homilies.” The first thing I would do if I were this liberal pastoral administrator is to redirect the argument onto the counter. I would respond, “Well you know, cleansing fire isn’t a very Catholic site, they hate our Bishop and want him to retire, just look at the counter on the front page…do you really want me to respect their opinion?” Obviously that is all they can do, is flounder. But why give them that opportunity to latch onto something trivial like the counter.

    When Ben was attempting to defend the site in person, Ben asked the person “Name me one disrespectful thing I wrote about the Bishop”, the person kept coming back to the counter as being disrespectful. This suggests one thing, the person never read beyond the counter because he had nothing else to come at Ben with. To your point Nerina, this person was “floundering” to a degree. However, that said, it doesn’t nullify his point.

    As Gen suggests, “there is a tremendous difference between respecting the office of “bishop” and respecting the man who fills that office”. I would agree those are two different things. The Bible would suggest we are to honor and respect our mother and father (spiritual fathers included) suggesting the person holding the office, not the office of the person. I have been known to confess to a priest speaking disrespectfully about our Bishop and none have stopped me saying “it’s just the >office< we are to respect, no worries". Canon 212(3) seems to suggest we are to respect the persons as well.

    "I am always told, right away, that the counter is what brings them in and keeps them coming back."

    I'd like to think you keep your readership with the well written/informative articles, not by the counter.

    All I am saying is that I'd like to see the readership of the site grow to 50,000+ people a day with 70% being liberal Catholics who are trying to educate themselves. I do my best to tell people about it in various parishes I visit.

    I think the intentions of the counter are not overly hostile (and I know this simply from your defense over the past couple years). Many people do not know this which is why an explanation "question and answer" page is perhaps needed for clarification. Even though I criticize small things such as the counter, please do not become upset over this. Obviously I find the site very informative, powerful, and good in it's intentions to bring the truth to an area which has been clouded for a long time by deception. I think we all agree constructive criticism helps us get stronger and you know you are doing something right when people persecute you for your beliefs like Ben was last week. It's difficult but we must carry our cross with joy.

  26. avatar Louis E. says:

    The counter is an expression of Canon 401…if you don’t like fixed retirement ages,take it up with Rome!

  27. avatar Christopher says:

    haha funny comment Louis.

    I think the counter has lived its life and served its purpose. To grow sometimes you must allow for more room. Into the PR realm – what is going to be most effective for CF to effect change, change hearts and minds, and ultimately win souls. We’re gaining legitimacy, sometimes you have to give things up.

    Dropping the counter (and using a milder tone) perhaps some more priests and parishioners would be willing to read the site beyond the ones that already do.

  28. avatar Ladle says:

    Cristopher, perhaps. Louis E., good point.

  29. avatar Scott W. says:

    I think the counter has lived its life and served its purpose.

    I think you are right…….in 473 days. 😀

  30. avatar Anonymous says:

    The counter isn’t what keeps me reading cleansing fire. I read it daily because it confirms that the Church in Rochester is having a crisis of faith. Your average lay person can easily read your blog and become more educated and more informed about their faith. In addition to the dissent that is regularly posted, one can read about a number of very interesting topics ie.San Damiano Cross, Infant of Prague, Pope’s latest talks/letters, etc.The reality is that we are living through very troubled times! It is our duty to be ready. I appreciate the authors of this blog for keeping me informed. Of course, it is easy to begin to move away from Christ when we spend too much time lamenting the condition of things and don’t lift a finger to improve or reform ourselves and the Church. This blog is a service to the people of Rochester who sincerely wonder why are schools and churches are closing, why Father so and so said this or that, why our religious orders are dying off, why our children have little or no faith after spending thousands sending them to “Catholic” schools in DOR, why we are having “communion services”, why a priest is being called a “sacramental minister”, and on and on and on. This blog lets us know we have a lot to pray for and a great deal to share with others who wonder about the same problems we see. That being said, we have a duty to spend just as much time praying for our Bishop, priests and people of the diocese. God Bless and thanks to the all those who provide this service to our local Church.

  31. avatar Nerina says:

    Christopher, the scenario you describe illustrates the weakness of the argument against the counter – which is: people are complaining about a very superficial thing while refusing to address the substance of the blog. If a pastoral administrator really came back to me with the response you hypothetically proposed, I would kindly ask him or her to address the substance of my complaint. If he/she was unable to do so and continued to lament the “counter” then I would know that he/she was unwilling or unable to discuss the matter beyond a superficial pretense.

    Finally, like beauty, disrespect is in the eye of the beholder. I don’t deny that there are people who find the counter offensive; however, based on the comments, it seems like their number is small. If the counter offends them, they would likely find the information available equally offensive. Sometimes the truth is not pretty and sometimes it can’t be presented in a nice, neat package. Sometimes a wound must be debrided before healing can begin. That’s the situation our diocese is in.

    One more comment about the counter – I have had several people make specific reference to the counter and say that they check it often to see how many days are left. So, yes, the counter does attract people and keep them coming back.

  32. avatar Persis says:

    When I first started reading CF, I was of the mind set “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” 😉 I regarding this blog as the enemy. After some experiences at St. Bernard’s and a time of extreme spiritual growth in which I have completed the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, I now consider this blog to be a valuable asset in my continued growth as a Catholic, both in knowledge & faith.

    That said,I feel that the counter gives a sense of “false hope”,

    By that I mean this-
    It is my understanding that the Bishop must submit his resignation on or very soon after his 75th birthday. That does not mean that the day after Bishop Clark turns 75 everything is going to magically change. A lot can happen in the next 15 months that could make naming a new Bishop to Rochester, NY not a real priority for the Vatican or actually hasten the need for replacing the Bishop. We are talking about men in their 70’s & 80’s after all.

    My humble suggestion, FWIW, if you keep the counter, make it clear what it is counting down to. Me personally, I would ditch it, but whatever CF decides, it won’t make me stop reading! 😀

  33. avatar Barley says:

    Persis, we have no illusions about what the counter means. We are aware of the tangible reality of what it represents and the variety of scenarios that may follow. There are hundreds if not thousands or more (it ought to be cataloged) of tangible particular circumstances that within the time of this span (from decades ago to the end of this counter, and of course the end possibly shorter or longer) that may have been affected differently to one degree or another. Affected quite seriously differently it’s laughable. In other dioceses (or in organizations or businesses etc) yes maybe few, much has changed and possibilities open up and aspirations and hopes become alive and breed life when there is a change up the ladder. There is such great potential it’s ridiculous! And then, you know, we’re prepared for both. The Holy Father got the message. In other dioceses he cleared house. He was also forced deal with Curran personally where his hand was forced to weild his authority. When His Holiness and our current Bishop met last, he planted the enourmous stacks of files, and letters before him. We are going to see it. There is a hope, joy and promise for many of very tanglble circumstances changing with the potential of a positive, affirmative, deliberate action of a different kind. Count the ways, all the stories, yours or your neighbors if you wish to recall, things public or private, the exhaustive accounts of how the weight of his authority was the determinant. We’re pretty grounded. We know.

  34. avatar Scott W. says:

    It is my understanding that the Bishop must submit his resignation on or very soon after his 75th birthday. That does not mean that the day after Bishop Clark turns 75 everything is going to magically change. A lot can happen in the next 15 months that could make naming a new Bishop to Rochester, NY not a real priority for the Vatican or actually hasten the need for replacing the Bishop. We are talking about men in their 70’s & 80’s after all.

    That is a good point Persis. However, I would suggest that this bishop has become so notorious that it is my reasonable hope that it will be quick. It is my audacious hope that the new bishop will be waiting with a moving truck and a sizeable crew seconds before day zero, all with synchronized watches going, “3…2…1…NOW! 😀

  35. avatar Anonymous says:

    I would say.. “Pharisaic”–and if that is what this Blog wants to accomplish, then own it. Jesus challenged the Pharisees ( who were devout, orthodox, religious men)to embrace the “Spirit” of the Law, rather than its minutiae. The pharisees added over 600 laws to the original Mosaic Law because they felt that the laws somehow kept the people closer to God and in His favor. To disobey even one of the laws was tantamount to unclean-ness. The ritual became more important than the Spirit with which it was created. ( Priests wearing birettas? Latin hymns being somehow “holier”?, et al)
    There are real issues which plague our world and our Church, issues which make the Face of God more and more difficult to see. Our Holy Father is actually more in touch with the needs of the Church than some of the bitter, mean-spirited people who comment on this Blog. It would be interesting to see what he would have to say about “The Countdown”, or the disparaging comments about lay leadership in the Church ( which is Vatican approved). Whether one agrees with Bishop Clark or not, he is the duly ordained bishop in this diocese and holds the authority of the Apostles. Do you really feel that a “countdown” is respectful of that role?
    I do not know whether you will print this but I hope you do. It really is “food for thought”..

  36. avatar Anonymous says:

    So, isn’t my comment deemed worthy of publishing? Are the only comments allowed the ones which agree with you? It was thought provoking–but maybe that’s the problem–provoking thoughts is not nearly as much fun as provoking people.

  37. avatar Dr. K says:

    Re: Anon 12:47

    Your comment was in the spam bin. I don’t know why it is there, but it is now posted. Please do not jump to conclusions. This happens to a number of our readers, regardless of what their views may be.

  38. avatar Abaccio says:

    Usually, comments wind up as spam if the commenter has used different names from the same IP, I believe.

    In any case, if you don’t like the Counter, use Google Chrome. They don’t like each other, and the counter doesn’t show up. In the immortal words of R.M. Van Winkle: “If you got a problem, yo, i’ll solve it.”

  39. avatar Scott W. says:

    Well anon. I wonder what the Holy Father would say about someone who unfairly characterized people they disagree with as Pharisees and bitter and mean-spirited. As far as “Whether one agrees with Bishop Clark or not, he is the duly ordained bishop in this diocese and holds the authority of the Apostles. Do you really feel that a “countdown” is respectful of that role?” That was already addressed above in distguishing the office from the fallible man that holds it.

  40. avatar Hopefull says:

    I like the counter; it first got me interested in the site. People would ask me how much longer we have to endure the liberalism in Rochester and I would reply with the number of days. Invariably, with a laugh, the reply would be “but who’s counting?” I think it is important to be clear that the bishop is not supported in many areas and has no right to be. His trying to shuffle the pastoral administrators in as pastors is just one example.

    I don’t want any lack of clearly wanting a new bishop to imply that I endorse the awful things being done in the Diocese of Rochester. The counter is far more charitable than giving a laundry list of what we justifiably oppose. The counter has become a logo or trademark; it says in an instant what it would take hundreds of words to say, and far more effectively AND charitably. And THAT, my friends, is why supporters of the liberal agenda want it to go away. If you took it away, there would be another complaint, like “don’t use names” or parishes or criticize policy or what next? There will always be something for those who like the departure from Church teaching. Don’t give up an inch of the territory.

    Furthermore, the counter does give hope. It is asking people to hold on just a little bit longer, to endure the unendurable, not to leave the Church. Reminding us that another Bishop is coming is also a reminder to pray for him. Right now.

    Also Rome follows this and many other sites. It is one way that the Congregation for Bishops learns what the faithful are suffering and what they need. This site does a good job of doing just that. God bless your courageous work. I don’t believe that those who sing in chorus with the bishop’s agenda (his PERSONAL agenda) could possibly understand the pain of not having a bishop we can fully admire and trust.

    Hopefull

  41. avatar Anonymous says:

    The term “Pharisaic” is a descriptive one–meaning a strict adherence to the law–regardless of human need. The charges of bitter and mean-spirited are indictments of what is said..Certainly the usual comments are extremely mean-spirited, wrapped in the mantle of righteous indignation and orthodoxy. Exactly what the Pharisees did. The Pharisees chastised Jesus because he didn’t practice the law the way they saw fit.He healed on the Sabbath; he interacted with Gentiles and Samaritans; he ate and drank with sinners ( the heterodox of the day perhaps??)and he insisted that the Law was made for humans, not humans for the Law.
    The Pharisees were holy men–just a bit misguided in their view that God somehow cares about how many miles it is permitted to walk on the Sabbath…or whether a layman or laywoman can lead a parish when there is real need…or whether a non-ordained person can offer ministerial care when someone’s husband or wife has died..
    Jesus, who is the true revelation of God, lived in life according to the Spirit of the Law and left the quibbling to those to whom it mattered.
    Just remember, the Pharisees would have had attack of apoplexy if they had seen Jesus talk with a 1) samaritan 2) woman 3) who was living with her boyfriend!

  42. avatar Anonymous says:

    “Rome follows this and many other sites”…
    Everyone in Rome, Italy? Everyone in the Vatican? The Holy Father, personally? The members of the Curia?
    I am sure there are a number of sites that are being looked at–for ill and for good…but please do not try to lump all of the “faithful” into one group which somehow comes together to express themselves through this Blog.
    St. Augustine tells us that the Church is a large tent, which has the grace to encompass all who need Her.

  43. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Certainly the usual comments are extremely mean-spirited

    w/out agreeing to that comment, let me address it. Would you condemn the D&C, cnn.com, or any other site for the comments of its readers? Also, I firmly believe we should avoid the us-them mentality as well as painting stereotypes. Most of what we present here are objective statements (facts and opinions). I don’t believe we try to paint our counterparts as all being “like this” or “like that”. Please don’t do that to us. I ask that you address specifics instead of just broadly calling us pharisees. Fair enough?

    As to the pharisee charge – let me explain why that doesn’t work. The pharisees were overly concerned with externals – not the total submission of the will to God. He never said externals don’t matter. They help us remember that God wants our hearts – that we are not in charge.
    I grew up in the presbyterian church. I am ever grateful to my parents for teaching me of my need for God, utter transcendence of Him, and my complete dependence on His grace. We didn’t have a liturgy and we didn’t have anything close to Catholic sacraments. After coming into the Church, I can tell you first hand how powerful the externals are in helping me realize that God is in control – not me. I absolutely agree that going through the motions while having your heart rebelling against God is truly sad. But that’s not something we promote here.

    Total submission of the will to God is what we should all strive for. The world-view we attack against most fervently is Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. It’s becoming something of a consensus on what is most wrong with our local church. This is no small issue. It matters immensely.

    St. Augustine tells us that the Church is a large tent, which has the grace to encompass all who need Her.

    absolutely, but the tent does have walls. There is such a thing as being inside the tent and being outside the tent. The Church clearly defines these boundaries. I have yet to hear any writer on this site try to bring the walls in any further than the Church defines it. Do you have any examples?

  44. avatar Anonymous says:

    Jesus concerned with externals? When he embraced the leper? When he asked a samaritan woman for a drink? When he healed on the sabbath? The thing is the Pharisees THOUGHT they were adhering to the will of God by following the Law TO THE LETTER…That is what one did when one was an observant Jew in the 1st century. Jesus rejected that kind of thinking by revealing a God who was NOT concerned with externals, but what is in our hearts.
    So many who write in this Blog sound like the Pharisee in Lk 18..”Thank you God that I am not like that tax collector..Thank you that you made me to follow the “rules”…”In other words, thank you that I am a rule-following, pre-Vatican II Catholic who has the inside track on what God wants…
    Wow..what hubris.

  45. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    The pharasaical law (I’m not sure if that’s the right term) was much, much more over the top that what is required of Catholics. Honestly, the demands on a Catholic are almost laughable. It could hardly be easier. I REPEAT – instead of name-calling, could you please deal with specifics. A serious dialogue cannot be had if you just make sweeping generalizations and name-call.

    So many who write in this Blog sound like the Pharisee in Lk 18

    repeating yourself and not addressing most of the issues I raised doesn’t further your cause.

    might I also remind you what Jesus said about being perfect, about divorce, about turning his father’s house into a den of robbers, about giving up everything to follow him, about (today’s gospel) leading his children into sin, etc, etc. Most especially about sin. I’m the first to admit I’m a big sinner and in need of daily repentance. How can you charge us with being like the pharisee in luk 18?

  46. avatar Dr. K says:

    So many who write in this Blog sound like the Pharisee in Lk 18..”Thank you God that I am not like that tax collector..Thank you that you made me to follow the “rules”…”In other words, thank you that I am a rule-following, pre-Vatican II Catholic who has the inside track on what God wants…

    Those are your words, not ours.

  47. avatar Christopher says:

    While I agree that whether the counter is disrespectful or not is subjective and opinion based; I respect Gen’s defense of the counter as being not disrespectful. That is his stance which is fine. Obviously I can’t debate that nor do I wish to.

    So question #1 for the “FAQ or Defense Page” would be:

    Is the counter on the front page disrespectful? How is it intended?
    (cut paste Gen’s response)

    Question #2 appears to now be, “is CF being ‘Pharisaic’ or mean spirited ? ”
    (cut paste responses)

    Question #3: Why does cf (and Fr. Rick when I asked him awhile back) have a problem with the term “sacramental minister”?

    Question #4: Does cf dislike lay administrators?

    Question #5: Why are some of the writers of CF anonymous?

    Question #6: Does CF dislike Vatican II or hold TLM or Extrodinary form in higher regard?

    I’m sure there’s other’s I’m missing….

    Sooner or later these debates will be rehashed so many times you’ll be forced to build this page. 😛

    “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

  48. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    I’m with you, Christopher. It’s something we’re working on and this conversation will get me moving on it. Thanks for the head start there.

  49. avatar Scott W. says:

    Those are your words, not ours.

    But Dr. K, knocking down strawmen is so much easier! 🙂

  50. avatar Scott W. says:

    “strawmen”, not “stawmen” 🙂

  51. avatar Anonymous says:

    The only time in the gospels that Jesus unequivocally said who was going to eternal damnation was in Matthew 25. Check it out.

  52. avatar Christopher says:

    Anonymous, can you please explain where you are going with Matthew 25?

    Is your interpretation that we are all under obligation to defend the “respect/honor” (but not the actions) of a priest/bishop/etc. (no matter what wrong or sin he has committed) if someone for instance in the comments disrespects them with a harsh comment?

    For instance, are you suggesting waiting for the administrators of this site to find the offensive comment and delete it isn’t good enough. We must actively help them where possible if you wish to read the site. Being passive or “lukewarm” about it isn’t a good thing, right?

    Perhaps I misunderstood where you were going with it….

  53. avatar MarkS says:

    I will add my $0.02 to the mix. I have a couple of comments.

    1) I agree with the last statement that Christopher left regarding the counter. I think it *might* be construed as a sign of disrespect. While I agree that this is a possibility, we cannot always, particularly in a format like a website, control the perceptions people have of what is posted. Many (but not all e.g. Christopher and me) view the counter as disrespectful simply because the site is dedicated to revealing the teaching as contained in the Catechism and Canon, even when it is unpopular.

    2) To “Anonymous”

    The term “Pharisaic” is a descriptive one–meaning a strict adherence to the law–regardless of human need

    may contain a kernal of truth, but we as Catholics (or in my case soon-to-be-Catholic) need to remember that the definition of “human need” is very difficult. Obviously the rights that the Church outlines (nice graphic) are not to be violated. Beyond that things get murky very quickly. Often “human need” is used where a better phrase would be “human want”. The Pharasaic demand for adherance the the human addition of law to the Law of God was indeed disrespectful. The demand to adhere to Gods Law is not. We should be careful to not pat ourselves on the back as the Pharasee did when comparing himself to the penitent, because we are all sinners and should cry out as the penitent, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner”.

    3) Ben: I like the site and have been back many times, although only recently posted any comments.

  54. avatar MarkS says:

    OK – so it is now obvious that my web skills are sub-par. I did not intend my entire comment to be a link – is an admin can fix that, I would be grateful.

  55. avatar Eliza10 says:

    “Anonymous” here has a lot to say about the Pharisees, and it got me reflecting on them.

    When I observe and experience the DOR leadership, and when I read here about actions of the DOR activists-for-dissent – and I mean the usual, everyday actions of dissent we are so used to now for so many years in the DOR, the recent Father Rings expose being only one example – I think of the Pharisees.

    They also were less concerned with Gods truth than with their own invented truths. They had built their own house of ideology on God’s foundation. And they loved that house! It was their own rules and their own authority they were interested in. And that intense interest in their own interests left them blind to the truth of God. And so they did not/could not recognize the Messiah — they had a different picture of the Messiah in their minds – one that fit their agenda and left their authority intact. And their attitude was marked by narcissistic entitlement – that DOR stamp. Yes, they are the duly-ordained authority, so they are entitled that no one should question what they say or do!

    Yes, it is very much like the Pharisees. And when these modern-day Pharisees use the parables of Jesus to tell us how we ought to be, I am naturally cautious, knowing that the Messiah they see may well be a very different one…

  56. avatar Anonymous says:

    Eliza10…You clearly do not know what the religious infrastructure of the Jewish Temple was in first century Palestine. They did not “make up” rules, they interpreted them because they needed that kind of structure to feel they were in God’s favor. Much like the very traditional Catholics today. More canon law is quoted ( often out of context) on this website than in websites coming out of the vatican.
    Is it because the structure is needed to feel that God is somehow smiling on one? To claim the pharisees made up the rules is to virtually bash an entire faith.

  57. avatar Scott W. says:

    More canon law is quoted ( often out of context) on this website than in websites coming out of the vatican.

    Give one example and explain how it is out of context.

  58. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    anyone notice that St. Leo in Hilton also has a Bishop Countdown? I think they’re counting hours, though, because the number is little higher.

  59. avatar Dr. K says:

    I think it’s just a hit counter 🙂

  60. avatar Anonymous says:

    The Bishop countdown is disrespectful, rude, and mean-spirited. Please pray for Bishop Clark and all Diocesan Priests and Deacons rather than attacking and condemning them. God has called these servants of God to ordained Ministry and they are deserving of our respect, honor, and common courtesy.

    “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” Matt. 7:3-5

  61. avatar Anonymous says:

    Amen, Anonymous.

  62. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Anons, thank you for coming and sharing your opinions. Please come back and continue reading so you have a better context as to the overall message here at CF.

    The Bishop countdown is disrespectful, rude, and mean-spirited.

    That is your opinion. Many other opinions have been expressed in this comment thread. You are certainly welcome to disagree, but I’d ask you to leave out the part where you condemn those with whom you disagree. Personally, I believe to consider the countdown mean-spirited is not in harmony with our cultural norms.

    Please pray for Bishop Clark and all Diocesan Priests and Deacons rather than attacking and condemning them.

    No one is attacking the clergy. We most certainly attack world-views, attitudes, and opinions that are in stark contrast with Church teaching. Sometimes clergy are so closely tied to their world-views (which contradict Church teaching) that it appears we are attacking them, but it’s a false dichotomy to say that we don’t also pray for them. We most certainly do that.

    Thanks also for quoting scripture. But remember that even the devil quotes scripture. The pope even calls him a theologian in referring to his tempting of Jesus in the desert.
    Please keep in mind what V2 teaches about the Word of God.

    Dei Verbum:
    But, since Holy Scripture must be read and interpreted in the sacred spirit in which it was written, (9) no less serious attention must be given to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture if the meaning of the sacred texts is to be correctly worked out. The living tradition of the whole Church must be taken into account along with the harmony which exists between elements of the faith. It is the task of exegetes to work according to these rules toward a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of Sacred Scripture, so that through preparatory study the judgment of the Church may mature. For all of what has been said about the way of interpreting Scripture is subject finally to the judgment of the Church, which carries out the divine commission and ministry of guarding and interpreting the word of God. (10)

  63. avatar Dr. K says:

    “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” Matt. 7:3-5

    Do you not see the hypocrisy in citing this passage while at the same time complaining about the site?

  64. avatar Anonymous says:

    Amen, Dr. K!

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