Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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:

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47 Responses to “Please Suspend This Priest, Bishop Clark”

  1. This is scary. And a new priest you say? Wow, and I thought we had it bad.

  2. Dr. K says:

    And a new priest you say?

    The priest in the images has just retired, though he may continue to assist at random parishes in the area. One of the two priests assigned to St. Mary in his place was recently ordained.

  3. Hopefull says:

    Should this say “Spiritus Christi?” or is Corpus Christi correct? Sorry; I’m confused.

  4. Mary says:

    What were they using for the host? It doesn’t look like the usual unleavened hosts we see. It looks like a big cakey thing. Or is that just the picture?

    I just went to their website and noticed an off chute site:
    Our good friend 🙂 Sister Joan Sobala came in and helped start the Downtown Community Forum through St. Mary’s. It looks like they hold talks on social justice issues. Anyone ever been to one of these? I have a bad feeling I could guess what they might discuss and promote. Let me be clear in saying, I have no information on the group aside from perusing their website briefly, so I apologize if I’m wrong.

  5. Ben Anderson says:

    Should this say “Spiritus Christi?” or is Corpus Christi correct? Sorry; I’m confused.

    Corpus Christi was the name of the Roman Catholic Church. When the vatican stopped their shananigans they renamed to Spiritus Christi, moved elsewhere, and broke away from the Church.

  6. CBD says:

    For those who can travel, it would be a good idea to support Fr. Caton by attending his Masses at St. Mary’s. I think he would appreciate that and it can be a good step in turning that parish around in the right direction.

  7. CBD says:

    St. Mary’s is a hub of insane liberalism — and therefore it’s dying. Collections are falling off and they have cancelled daily Mass now except for 2 days a week. The dissenters are anything but “joyful”. There’s a lot of anxiety and anger to be found among the aging congregation. In walking distance is Our Lady of Victory, with virtually no diocesan support and standing-room only Masses every week. It’s pretty easy to see where the future lies.

  8. CBD says:

    St. Mary’s liturgy is so “beautiful” that parish leadership can substitute a Communion Service for Mass and nobody cares (or knows the difference). They could probably substitute a Bible reading and as long as everyone got a chance to hold hands it would be considered a “celebration”. The place is a nightmare.

  9. Hopefull says:

    Honestly, the pictures of “Father Bill” look like a teacher in a white lab coat, with kids gathered around to watch some magic experiment at a lab bench. Very disturbing. Who are the two women in the background of the second and third pictures, seeming to hide their faces (understandably so.) The camera angle is high — is there a balcony there? Or was someone on a ladder taking pictures during the consecration? Is this a real Eucharist, or specially staged for some other purpose?

  10. CBD says:

    The woman vested in alb is Anne Marie Brogan, the pastor(al administrator). She is adopting an unusual liturgical pose near the throne while the children get to touch the “bread” and discover that Mass really isn’t that sacred after all. It’s a form of child abuse – on the spiritual level.

  11. Choir says:

    Hopefull – Yes, there is a balcony.

  12. Giovanni says:

    They are not down to two weekday masses for any other reason than limited priests. Fr. Kennedy and Fr. Caton cannot be at all three parishes everyday. Don’t blame it on St. Mary’s ‘liberalism.’

    This is really absurd to complain about. We are a big Church… if you don’t like St. Mary’s… if it’s too open minded and welcoming… then keep on going to Church at Our Lady of Victory allow us other Catholics (and yes we are fully Catholic and we love our church because we know when it’s at its best it is the greatest force for good in the world)to continue our own walk with the Lord. Fr. Kennedy and Fr. Caton will be a wonderful addition to this parish.

  13. Eliza10 says:

    Anonymous-98121 says:
    “Personally, i think these are beautiful photos…
    “…this is as close as our young children get to the Eucharist since we have hardly any Catholic schools left. … this is a great way they can be close with the Lord and truly understand the Eucharist. What better a way of including them and making them feel welcome than this???”

    And a completely different point of view from Hopefull:
    “Honestly, the pictures of “Father Bill” look like a teacher in a white lab coat, with kids gathered around to watch some magic experiment at a lab bench.”

    Two different views. I respect your opinion, Anon, but I don’t share it. I agree with Hopefull. I, too, thought of a school demo. One where the teacher didn’t have enough rapport with the children to be able to tell them what listening looks like, and not to lean on the table, and the teacher lacked the teaching skills to let the children know what part of the science experience was the important part they should be watching! So, lots of the children missed out on what they needed to learn that day, since they were ill-taught. That’s what I see in the photos.

    Anon, do you think that the children “gathering around the table”* is special to them? Maybe to you. But they do this everyday in school, with their classroom teacher, with their art teacher, with their science teacher, with their librarian. It may be unique and sweet for you to see them gathered like this, but its not unique to them. Its their everyday life.

    I remember when I was 8, or maybe 10. My family went to the Protestant church down the street and my friend’s family went to the Catholic Church in the other direction down the street. And the school!

    I knew something was wrong with “Catholic” from my Moms tone of voice when she said the word. My friend knew she should only go to her church. However, we were curious about each other’s churches. One Saturday afternoon we snuck into each others churches. Mine was empty, of course, on a day not Sunday. But we tip toed into the sanctuary and I told her how I loved when they sang the “Gloria.” Then we went to her Catholic Church. From the moment I walked in, I saw it was special, different, from how she introduced everything. The Holy Water! The Kneeling, the Tabernacle! Holy place where Jesus was! it didn’t make sense to me, but I knew it was special. The altar! Bow! she told me. Her church was more alive. Stations of candles flickered and glowed. A nun was there! In her long black habit. Some special person set apart for God. All of these things made an impression.

    Many years later as an adult, it was dawning on me that the Catholic Church is right, and that Jesus REALLY DOES dwell there in a special way there, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Tabernacle! Like no other place! And I remembered my awe as a child.

    What makes me sad is that these children don’t have the awe my friend did. No one taught them awe. They won’t bow before the altar, no, not that one they are casually leaning on, like a science lab table. They won’t genuflect in awe in front of Jesus in the tabernacle. Look! He just came down from Heaven! But they aren’t on their knees. They don’t even know.

    I remember when the children from Fatima were brought the Holy Eucharist by Archangel Michael. They slammed down on their knees!

    Children of Fatima, pray for these children! They are ignorant through no fault of their own but because of the neglect and dereliction of duty of those who should know better.

    Yes, it IS spiritual abuse.

    *and sadly, I expect these particularly children have come away learning that they stood at a “table” for a “celebration” of a “special meal”

  14. Eliza10 says:

    Yes, its true Father Caton is walking in to a lions den or at least a big fat mess. However I don’t think he is coming to clean house, I think he is just focused on his priestly duties. Not that I have inside knowledge! Just my impressions. And who knows if obstacles will be thrown in front of him or if they will just let him be a priest. Hopefully the latter. At any rate I trust him to be prayerful! I trust him pray for help in Godly wisdom and charity, and for the Holy Spirit’s presence. And we can pray the same for him. I think Our Lord will send abundant graces!

  15. Dr. K says:

    Perhaps this Fr. Donnelly Mass was one last hurrah before change comes to St. Mary? One can only hope.

  16. JLo says:

    Eliza10, your lengthy post was just plain beautiful. Thank you for that walk down my own memory lane, and I thank God (literally, I do!) every day for the Faith I was born to and the instruction I received (having been born mid-40s and attended sister-staffed Catholic schools all the way through in the days when they humbly, happily and reverently loved their vocations), and mostly I thank the Lord for increasing my Faith every day all these years.

    What Giovanni and those Anon. posters who protest our protest of the things done at St. Mary’s and elsewhere in the DOR are missing is the Holy Spirit. They believe that humans must rev it all up for major effect; and lacking the Holy Spirit, they believe humans can! It’s almost like still being in pre-school in the Faith, having never moved on to understanding that the Faith is mystical (from God), not magical. God help them all, and may God forgive all his clerics and religious who have not done the work their vocations called them to… they need our prayers the most for all the souls never given a chance at the golden growth of our Faith, Hope and Love in Holy Mother Church. Just tragic. +JMJ

  17. Mary-Kathleen says:

    What are the Mass times at St. Mary’s, both daily and Sunday obligation? Will Fr. Caton be presiding at all of them? I want to either attend or be praying for him at those times. I have already been praying for him and his ministry daily since I learned of his assignment.

  18. annonymouse says:

    Great post, Eliza10. It IS spiritual abuse. I’ve refrained from posting on this topic because these pictures make me physically sick, but you’ve said it beautifully.

    Our God, who created the moon and the stars, is physically really, present on that sacred altar, but how will these children ever “get” that if nobody there has a sense of reverence and respect.

    Good luck, Father Scott. Our prayers are with you. Please don’t indulge the native fancies.

  19. annonymouse says:

    One more thing – St. Mary’s IS dying. It’s always been a hotbed of Church liberalism, outdone only by the folks over at Corpus Christi, but when Fr. Lawler and Sister Joan were there, the place was packed. Now it’s quite sparsely attended.

    Unfortunately, that seems to be the case most everywhere, except at OLOV.

  20. RochChaCha says:

    My first thought when seeing this was ‘unbelievable’ but then I realized this is not so unbelievable. Something like this was likely to occur at St. Mary’s. If you are retiring, and you appear to dissent with Catholic teaching, then you might as well go out with a bang. The DOR (not Buffalo Road, but the laypeople) needs a direct line to the Papal Nuncio so that we can easily provide this abuse to them.

  21. RochChaCha says:

    Anon 11:28

    ‘All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place’

  22. Bruce says:

    If you believe in God, and in His Son, and that His Son founded the Catholic Church, and gave her the authority to teach the faith infallibly, and she in turn has provided rubrics to be followed by clergy and laity alike…then why do you refuse to abide by them?

    To refuse is to not believe in the authority of the Church, which is to not believe that Christ has founded the Church and guaranteed her to be free from error, which is to not believe in Christ, which is to not believe in God.

  23. Giovanni says:

    Bruce… oome on… the Church hasn’t taght infallibly on most of the topics you would like to claim she has. The Church can mean many different things the people who make up the body or the hieracrchy.. but exactly what infallible teachings do you sight to condemn these children and this priest to stand around the alter.. it might not be proper and may be frowned upon but to claim that the Church teaches infallibly on these issues is a great misinterpretation of infallibility…

  24. So if my family and I attend a Sunday Mass at OLV and we remain standing before Communion and hold hands with each other during the Lord’s prayer, are we welcome?

    What your really mean is, “If I choose to act like a truculent four-year-old, will I be asked to leave?”

    Probably not, but don’t be surprised if someone trying to pray cocks an eyebrow your way.

  25. “you” above, not “your.”

  26. Bruce says:

    Giovanni and Anonymous-204144,

    Let me simplify this process. Answer the following questions:

    1.) Do you believe in God?

    2.) Do you believe that God sent His Son?

    3.) Do you believe His Son established the Church?

    4.) Do you believe that Christ gave the Church the authority to determine what is and what is not authentically of Christ?

    5.) Do you believe the Church has the authority to declare dogmas, doctrines, laws, and rules in all areas of the faith?

    If you answer “no” to any of those, you are not Catholic. If you answered “yes” to all the above, then why do you persist in not following what the Church asks you to follow when it comes to the liturgy?

  27. Dr. K says:

    Exactly where in the liturgy does it say you cannot hold hands during the Our Father

    Where does it say you can’t break dance? Where does it say you can’t quack like a duck?

    From the USCCB: “No position is prescribed in the present Sacramentary for an assembly gesture during the Lord’s Prayer.”

    or that you must kneel before Communion

    There is no requirement that you kneel or stand. It is up to the communicant. In the instance of receiving Communion from Pope Benedict, people are required to kneel.

  28. Dr. K says:

    By the way, I think it is a great idea for people to attend St. Mary’s as a show of support in what is likely to become a hostile environment.

  29. Ben Anderson says:

    In the dioceses of the United States of America, they should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.53

    I think we’ve discussed this before (and I may be mistaken), but I don’t believe Bishop Clark has “determined otherwise”.

  30. annonymouse says:

    Giovanni – here we go for the umpteenth time with the infallibility argument. Look, teachings don’t need to be declared infallible for Catholics to have a duty to give their religious asset to them. Your argument, and others’, seem to be that unless it’s infallible, I’m free to believe anything/do anything I please. That just aint so.

    Bruce – your quote proves that there is nothing that prevents people from holding hands during the Our Father – “No position is prescribed” – therefore people are free to do so if they please. They certainly shouldn’t be required to do so. Because the liturgy is an act of the community, and because the title of the prayer is “OUR Father” I sort of like the holding of hands. I suppose you’re right that nothing is preventing us from quacking like a duck either.

  31. CBD says:

    Mary-Kathleen – Fr. Caton will only be offering Sunday Mass at St. Mary’s. Daily Mass there has been reduced to just Monday and Friday (3 Masses a week cancelled). I think they only have one Sunday Mass also and one Saturday evening Mass of obligation.

  32. “No position is prescribed” – therefore people are free to do so if they please.

    That isn’t true, otherwise one would be free to do all sorts of things, e.g., “quack like a duck.” It also runs contrary to the spirit of obedience that informs your first paragraph.

  33. Dr. K says:

    I think we’ve discussed this before (and I may be mistaken), but I don’t believe Bishop Clark has “determined otherwise”.

    Bishop Clark, sadly, has determined otherwise. He provided no respectable reason other than unity in posture, but he has indeed asked parishes to stand after the Agnus Dei (kneeling remains throughout the Eucharistic prayer). I hope this policy will change with our new bishop.

  34. snowshoes says:

    Thanks, Eliza10, that was beautiful. Of course, loving obedience is the reason we “say the black and do the red”. As for kneeling before the Holy Eucharist, that comes from Scripture: At the Name of Jesus, every knee shall bend… At the actual eucharistic presence of Jesus, it is perfectly natural to prostrate oneself in adoration. Of course at Mass, we don’t normally have enough room to do that… St. Mary, pray for us! Ss. Peter and Paul, pray for us!

  35. Ben Anderson says:

    Well if the policy does change my family and I will continue to stand and ignore it just like you all ignore Bishop Matthew Clark and kneel now.

    I have not heard from Bishop Clark on this. If he wants us to do it, he’s got to tell us, no? Otherwise, I think it’d be proper to follow the pastor and congregation. It’s also worth noting that the US is an exception, isn’t it? The universal norm is to stand, I believe. IMO – it’s really not worth arguing over.

  36. Eliza10 says:

    Anonymous-133122 says:
    4:09 PM “Exactly where in the liturgy does it say you cannot hold hands during the Our Father or that you must kneel before Communion? If it is wrong then why do the vast majority of Catholics in this diocese do both of these during the Mass? Maybe I will get a bunch of my friends to start attending Mass at OLV so we can hold our hands together while saying the Lords Prayer, stand as is proper before Communion, and liven things up!!”

    The “vast majority” that you speak of do it because that’s what our dissident Bishop has consistently and actively implemented. That people are now attached to the erroneous habits imposed on them, and have grown fond of them, and perhaps even feel them a pious practice, is no fault of their own.

    There are always some people who hold hands during the Our Father at OLV. People often visit from other parishes, and bring their habits with them. No one will frown at you if you hold hands, and you won’t be the only one.

    Now, if you go singularly to “liven things up”, I don’t think you will succeed. I think you will see a concerted pious focus of the people on the holy things of the Mass. It may move you. But if you decide to make a chain across the aisle, or stand when all kneel, I don’t think your spectacle will be more interesting to the people than the Mass. They will just keep paying attention to the Mass. And you’ll just feel kinda like a weirdo.

    Anonymous-133122 says:
    8:43 PM “Well if the policy does change my family and I will continue to stand and ignore it just like you all ignore Bishop Matthew Clark and kneel now.”

    LOL! I think a new Bishop will be a true Shepherd, and rather than ignore the pleas of the people to worship as they like, when he implements new policies he will give people time to get used to them, and not demand that every individual change before they are ready. I think when all kneel again, as they should, standers will be sympathetically accepted.

  37. Eliza10 says:

    Jlo – you were fortunate to grow up in that! How sad for all the children of the DOR that they don’t have that anymore. It is slim pickings finding such practices in the DoR. Though true Catholic faith is NOT dead – its exists, it sleeps. Its dormant, waiting for Springtime.

    I didn’t mention that my friend’s family was highly dysfunctional. She didn’t learn that awe at home. She learned it at Church, and from the nuns at school.

    So lucky!

  38. anony says:

    [Deleted by moderator]

  39. Ben Anderson says:

    We can play the game of misapplying biblical quotes to modern situations all day long, but I don’t think that’s going to get us anywhere. I think we’d agree that providing children access to Jesus is a good thing and we should all be doing what we can to ensure that. But what’s the best way to apply that is an open question. I would argue that if one’s approach to it disobeys Holy Mother Church, then it would be the wrong approach. So, let’s start there.

    Are you aware that Holy Mother Church has prescribed norms for the mass?
    Should we follow those norms or assume that we know better?
    If we can override Holy Mother Church’s norms, can you please provide your guidelines for when it is appropriate to do so?

    Please learn forgiveness so you may be forgiven

    What evidence do you have that anyone here is unwilling to forgive?

    You are traveling down the wrong path through your condemnation.

    Well, that’s a greater judgment and condemnation than anything else I’ve read on this thread. How dare YOU?

  40. annonymouse says:

    Rich L – if all of our liturgical actions must be prescribed, then I will cease to bless myself with holy water upon entering church. I don’t believe that is prescribed in the rubrics, and I don’t want to do anything unless I’m clearly directed to do so!

    With respect to the “spirit of obedience” in my first paragraph – please tell me where there has been any sort of official instruction from the Church (can’t include Fr. Z and some folks on EWTN) that proscribes the holding of hands during the Our Father.

  41. Eliza10 says:

    Well I am sure I am not immune to smugness. I am open to the possiblility that I was being smug even though I don’t see it at this minute. Which part was smug? That I called Bishop Clark dissident? But that’s how I see it. I’ll stand corrected if I am wrong, but its how I see it. Please persuade me otherwise if I am wrong. Okay, worse examples of dissident? Archbishop Weakland? He was long a dissident, serving bishop. So you can be dissident and still serving. But I am not an expert or authority. I am open to be persuaded that I see things wrong.

    Does anyone thing this word is inappropriate here, that another would be better? Let me know!

    Honestly, its the truth: I don’t see anything wrong with your holding your child’s hand during the Our Father, or you husbands, or your best friends, or your grandma’s! If you insist on grabbing mine (and you don’t know me), that’s pushing it. I’ll sit somewhere else next time.

  42. Eliza10 says:

    “Face it you … have no leg to stand on except for some washed up backwards priest from EWTN.”

    I am drawing a blank! Want to explain this? Which EWTN prioest sems backward to you, and how does that relate to something I said?

    Honestly I don’t get it. Give me a clue. Sorry if its obvious, but I am clueless!

  43. You will have a harder time getting into heaven for a being a judgmental know it all than I will for holding my child’s hand while praying the Our Father or standing before Communion!!!

    Surely this is the child in question pretending to be the parent. No one over the age of 16 thinks, much less writes, this way.

  44. Rich L – if all of our liturgical actions must be prescribed, then I will cease to bless myself with holy water upon entering church. I don’t believe that is prescribed in the rubrics, and I don’t want to do anything unless I’m clearly directed to do so!

    The Church operates under the principle of the organic development of the liturgy, whereby actions and even prayers are incorporated into the Mass over centuries. For instance, blessing oneself with Holy Water dates to at least the fifth century. Holding hands during the Our Father, which for the life of me I can’t understand why some people defend as though it were a birthright, is a very recent innovation imposed on the liturgy and has its origin in evangelical Protestant worship services as a sign of unity. As Catholics we have no need of such an artificial sign; our unity is in the Eucharist.

    With respect to the “spirit of obedience” in my first paragraph – please tell me where there has been any sort of official instruction from the Church (can’t include Fr. Z and some folks on EWTN) that proscribes the holding of hands during the Our Father.

    You will search the Church’s liturgical books in vain for anything resembling the guiding principle, Whatever isn’t prohibited is permitted — or encouraged. In other words, the burden falls on you.

  45. Bruce says:

    Failure to bend one’s knee or bow in front of the Blessed Sacrament is a sign that one does not believe in the Real Presence. As Muslims often tell Catholics, if they believed that God was really in the host, they would be flat on their faces all day long in front of it.

    Sad when Muslims understand God better than some catholycs in the DOR.

  46. annonymouse says:

    Rich – yes, the holding of hands is a recent phenomenon. But it seems to have caught on with the faithful. How exactly does a practice become generally accepted (like blessing oneself with holy water) if it is to be outlawed by a few from the start?

  47. Diane Elizabeth says:

    If you find the congragation offensive do not attend.
    Vatican Council II Declaration on Religious Liberty Dignitatis Humanae 7 December, 1965 On the Right of the Person and Communities to Social and Civil Liberty in Religious Matters Chapter 1 The General Principle of Religious Freedom 2. The Vatican council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. Freedom of this kind means that everyone should be immune from coercion by individuals, social groups and every human power so that, … no men or women are forced to act against their convictions nor any persons to be restrained from acting in accordance with their convictions in religious matters…
    In otherwords the teachings of the Catholic Church allow for both points of views for worship; yours and St Marry’s!

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