Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Zeal for Thy House Will Consume Me — Part XX — Courier Between the Lines

September 10th, 2011, Promulgated by Diane Harris

The following article appeared in this week’s e-Courier, and was also contained in the September Newspaper Catholic Courier, Regional Finger Lakes section.  It is reproduced in its entirety, with comments in red  which relate to our earlier postings and current information,  except for the Courier’s picture of Sister Binsack and the Bishop pouring chrism on the renovated altar,  because that picture  is copyrighted.  In the following reproduction of text, some paragraph separation (but not reordering) was done for the sake of clarity.  Background and summary information is in blue; my remarks on the Courier text are in red, and the Courier text is in white.  An earlier picture of the renovated Sanctuary is included, just for reference (before the Tabernacle was placed on the table shown).

Previously,  we have only alluded to the 25% of parishioners who supported the renovation, but without naming names.   The Courier names names, quoting parties alighned with Fr. Ring regarding the travesty at St. Jan’s.   The view into their thinking  showcases what is wrong with the attitude of the undercatechized toward the church, the Mass, and how “feel good” seems to have replaced responding to the question “How does God want to be worshiped?”  It demonstrates how putting less informed people into leadership positions makes it easy for pastors or diocesan staff to run rough-shod over a parish by claiming it was the will of the people.  Notice particularly in the Courier comments the lack of  words like  “God,” “Jesus,” “Christ,” “pray” and “worship”.  See what you think, especially about the supporters’ priorities.

The surprising name missing from the article is Fr. Robert Ring.  Why would he not even be mentioned on a project he conceived, raised money for, and drove to completion against the wishes of 75% of his parishioners?  Will he later point to this article and say “See, I wasn’t involved.  It was Fr. Wiant?”  We can’t help but wonder!


 September 2011 Diocesan Courier

Renovations complete at Naples church (complete?  what happened to the rest of the money and the rest of the work that was promised in the fund-raising?)

By Jennifer Burke/Catholic Courier

Bishop Matthew H. Clark visited St. Januarius Church in Naples Aug. 14 to rededicate the altar of the church’s newly renovated sanctuary.

The base of the altar is new, but its top was constructed using wood from the previous altar. This new altar is highlighted by a curved wooden reredos, or backdrop, which comes to a point above the altar. A crucifix hangs at the peak of the reredos, and another portion of the reredos stretches out to one side to provide a backdrop for the tabernacle.   Reredos is a pretty fancy word for what we’ve been calling the Ugly Christmas Tree (UTC).  A friend looked up the meaning of reredos on line and tells me it usually applies to a wall of some artistic merit behind the altar.  I hope Bernie will have a comment on whether or not reredos is appropriately applied here. 

St. Januarius Demolished/Renovated Sanctuary July 2011

 The tabernacle itself was moved from its previous place behind the altar to a chapel of the Blessed Sacrament to the left of the sanctuary, just steps from the altar.  The Tabernacle, unsecured, is perched on the table to the left (Tabernacle is not shown in picture as Mass had not yet been said here), close to the exit door.  It strikes us as a Tabernacle on a Table.  How can the word “Chapel” be applied to a table?

Several other elements of the church also were changed during the renovation, including:

*the sanctuary floor, which was lowered to make it more accessible, Former Sanctuary; one step up; 3 to altar.especially for the elderly or those with disabilities.  (wrong; it was already one step from the nave to the sanctuary floor, then it was three steps from the sanctuary floor to the priest’s position behind the altar.  It was the altar which was lowered, not the sanctuary floor.  The Sanctuary floor has actually be raised to 2 steps from 1.  That means that lectors now have to go up and down 2 steps instead of 1, increasing the chance for their tripping, especially with a kind of free form shape to the curve of the steps.)  

Whereas five steps previously led from the nave to the sanctuary, now there are only two (wrong again, count them!  from the floor of the nave there had been one step up to the sanctuary floor, and another 3 to the altar.  One plus three equals FOUR, not five, to where the celebrant stands).  Now there are two steps total, from the nave to the sanctuary floor, and the altar table sits on the sanctuary floor.

A ramp into the sanctuary also was installed at the rear of the area.  There was never a single insurance claim or any known fall on the prior steps.  There was no need for a ramp, a very expensive item and for what purpose?  It is believed that the whole installation of a ramp is to interfere with the Tabernacle at the center, behind the altar and to impair celebration of a Latin Mass at any time in the future.  If a lector really needed to use the ramp, it would involve going up the left side, crossing behind the altar and wheeling to the ambo?  It is hard to believe that people who can’t count up to 5 steps actually were capable of evaluating a survey, keeping track of funds, and voting with any conscience at all.

* the crucifix at the reredos’ peak. The cross is new, but the corpus previously had hung on another cross in the church’s foyer. 

This crucifix is significantly smaller than the previous large crucifix which commanded more imposing sanctuary space. 

Some parishioners have already expressed their disappointment that the original, magnificent crucifix is “missing in action,”   and that the presence of the Crucified Christ has thus been diminiahed.

What happened to the large crucifix?   Where is it?  Who has that blessed object?

Here is a picture of the original large crucifix, just  in case anyone finds it:

Large original crucifix

* the ambo. Wood from St. Januarius’ previous altar was used to fashion a new top for the ambo, as well as part of the new Blessed Sacrament chapel. 

This Courier article is the first time that many St. Jan’s parishioners are learning that their previously consecrated altar has been broken in pieces and spread over at least three places, with other parts unaccounted for.  Since the altar is supposed to be a symbol of Christ, some folks wonder: “how can it just be broken in parts?”  Why do we bow to something that can be willy-nilly chopped into pieces?

* the lighting and electrical systems in the sanctuary and nave, which were upgraded and made more energy efficient.  Time will tell.  At the moment there are some weird shadows cast by the handrails of the ramp, creating a new kind of clutter.  It may be a function of both bad design of the ramp rails and unnatural accents caused by the lighting.

* the church’s Tobey Street entrance, where an automated handicapped-accessible door was added.  We are told that this entry automation is not working properly; but most parishioners agree it would be helpful.  The building itself has had long term issues of poor locking mechanisms, which endanger the security of the Blessed Sacrament in the Daily Mass Chapel and now in the church as well by having an easily movable Tabernacle.

St. Januarius also has become home to two statues from St. Mary Church in Rushville, which held its last regular (it was not “regular” at all; it was a Saturday morning (weekday) Mass, and was 15 months after the last Mass of Sunday obligation was said at St. Mary)  Mass Jan. 1, 2011.  Both churches are part of Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Community.  Questions abound on the hijacking of St. Mary’s statues to St. Jan’s.  In separate posts, in a new series, there will be more discussion on St. Mary’s Rushville, victim of DoR pastoral planning machinations.

The rest of the article (more than half) is a plethora of support statements for the disaster of the demolished/renovated Sanctuary at St. Januarius.  Most of the  individuals quoted have varied backgrounds of significant compliance to Fr. Ring’s whims.  Without trying at this point to lay bare individual faults or errors, we will simply say that among the names quoted as authoritative commenters on the joy of the renovated Sanctuary are a person who compiled the secret plans for demolition/renovation that were later found on the OLOL website; one who was the one of only two  in a meeting of 30 people who (with spouse)  voted to get rid of the organ for $3000 (worth $75000-$100,000), someone who hung around the construction site for the duration, one who is a retiree but who is the only “altar boy” in the parish (the children having departed),  a person who wrote a letter to the editor of the Naples Record awarding himself a title in OLOL that doesn’t exist and presuming to speak for the parish and making claims especially regarding data and surveys which were erroneous (more to come in Zeal XIX). one who is an employee of OLOL and likely to get a full time job with Fr. Ring at St. Louis, two who participated on a secret subcommittee  to decide between St. Mary Rushville and St. Theresa Stanley for survival,  (there was no member of the committee from St. Mary’s, which parishioners didn’t even know of the existence of the secret subcommittee), three who were members of the St. Januarius Parish Council who voted to refuse the petition of  dozens of parishioners to have OLOL split rather than amalgamated into a 700+ square mile OLOL parish, two who have brought pressure and insult to bear, demeaning some  who opposed the Sanctuary changes, refusing to speak to them, e.g., another who is a fairly recent graduate of St. Bernards, looking for a job in DoR, one who was previously chair of the parish council,  one of the two members of the pastoral planning team which worked for over 30 months in closed sessions without using parishioner input and supported Fr. Ring in his insistence of amalgamation in spite of OLOL-wide survey results,  a member of Finance Council  yet parishioners have been unable to get finance statements relating to many matters,especially to the renovation, and one person representative of those who are afraid to speak their opinions clearly out of fear of retaliation.   

Fr. George Wiant we mention separately, as he is a public figure as a priest.  Without diminishing Fr. Ring’s responsibility, it is also fair to note that Fr. George’s support for the project significantly undermined the ability of parishioners to present the truth to the steering committee and to make their voices heard.   Although Fr. Ring thrust him to the front, he is in large part responsible for the debacle at St. Jan’s.  The Wegman connection was used for money, illogical liturgical arguments were put forward that were untrue, collaboration on a survey was rejected,.  We note that Fr. George isn’t even using the ramp.  It is sad for a retired priest to now be seen as not able to be trusted due to his role in the demolition/renovation, to the pain of parishioners.

But the above spokespeople who pursued and supported what 75% of the parish opposed are obviously in the way of achieving any real healing between parishioners at St. Jan’s.  Now, at least, everyone knows who they are!

The following is the rest of the Courier article, with the quotes in white, and again in red there is commentary on the quotes, but not on the quoters (as noted above) based on what we understand at this time.  It is noticeable how preoccupied the commenters are with steps and lights, without ever noting the impact on the worship of God, attraction for new parishioners, care for children, or any way in which the Kingdom of God (rather than the Kingdom of the Clergy) will be advanced by what was done.

The Courier continues:  “All of these changes were made for either liturgical or safety reasons, said Jerry Luzum, a parishioner and volunteer at St. Januarius.  “From a liturgical standpoint, the concerns were that the focus in the sanctuary was no longer the altar,” said Luzum, noting that this focus was obscured by wooden railings, organ pipes and other items in the sanctuary. “There were just a lot of other things that had been added, and when you walk into a church, you ought to have a sense of what’s the most important thing there.”   This is mostly mouthpiece for Fr. Ring’s arguments to do what he had determined to do.  Railings at least helped people step up.  There are no railings now, and hopefully no one will get hurt going up 2 steps instead of the one to lector.  Demolition was hardly necessary to mask the organ pipes and if Luzum really had a sense of “the most important thing there” it wouldn’t lead to moving the Blessed Sacrament out of the way. 

“It was just a little crowded up there, busy,” added fellow parishioner Sue Hopper.  It appears that the floor space is much less now, and the priest risks stepping off the ramp.  It seems much more crowded now. 

The height of the sanctuary floor had been a safety concern for some time, said parishioner Andy Beigel, who noted the condition of the stairs leading to the sanctuary was “treacherous at best.”   As noted above, there was only one step up from the main floor to the sanctuary.   Beigel seems to have sanctuary and altar confused.  The three steps from the sanctuary floor to the altar had railings, as shown above. 

“They had weird rises, very narrow tread, and a few of them were kind of shaky,” said Beigel, a member of the steering committee for the renovation and cochair of the cluster’s pastoral council.  The cement that had to be jack-hammered was “shaky?”  It doesn’t take $300,000 to lower the rise or increase the run of steps.

The church had been built with a raised sanctuary to allow people sitting far away to be able to see what was happening at the altar, explained Father George Wiant, a retired priest who regularly assists at St. Januarius. When the church was built in 1966, weekend Masses drew large summer crowds of visitors, so a movable, accordion-style wall allowed overflow crowds to be seated in the gathering space beyond the nave.  This is true.

“To me as celebrant, it made me feel quite distant from the people,” Father Wiant said, noting that this extra space is no longer needed during Mass.  How sad, that attendance has dropped 47% and the overflow room isn’t “needed.”  How sad, also, that it seems to be spun as a positive.  Fr. Wiant doesn’t have to sit in the pews and look around other people’s heads to see what’s going on, something impossible for the children.  But then again, most of the children have been driven away.  “The motive was to lower the altar down where it felt like it was more of a community together.”  Typical of the overemphasis on “It’s all about us” rather than “It’s all about Him Whom we worship!”  This is the same mindset in the church today that leads to emphasis on a communal “meal” rather than liturgical worship, in my opinion.  What is also weird about Fr. Wiant’s comments is that it makes him seem unable to function in a large church where people may well be further back from the altar.  And the pastoral planning drive to close small churches and try to create mega-churches is certainly out of step for the personal need expressed by Fr. Wiant.

With the floor lowered (again, it wasn’t– IT WAS RAISED!  why do you think they are so insistent on constantly repeating what is obviously untrue?)  and the ramp installed, it now will be easier for people with disabilities to serve as lectors or extraordinary ministers of holy Communion, added Cris Wensel, pastoral associate at St. Januarius. (As if there were actually a need, which there has not been, and there is no sign on the horizon that there will be.  And see the notes above, how a lector now has to go up two steps, or else go up the ramp, traverse the altar area and then go to the ambo, and then do it all in reverse!  This seems very distracting!) 

The new lighting makes it easier for parishioners to see, and the new layout of the sanctuary draws one’s eyes to the altar, Beigel said.  One’s eyes were always drawn to the altar.  Now that it is lower AND smaller, and lacking as much floor space surround, and competing with an overbearing Tabernacle wall, one can predict that all eyes will likely be drawn away from the altar, not toward it.  The result of the new design seems to accomplish just the opposite of what Mr. Beigel claims was intended.  Moreover, another impairment of visibility which no one seems to mention is that the organ is tucked into a back corner where the organist  CANNOT see the presider!  Why?  Is it part of getting rid of the organ without getting rid of the organ?

“I think it’s very simplistic. Wonder if she meant “simple?”   However, her word “simplistic” is much closer to the truth: Definition of Simplistic:   adjective:  Treating complex issues and problems as if they were much simpler than they really are:simplistic solutions”.  It’s almost as if when you come in, it wraps its arms around you,” said parishioner Jackie Leysath.  The touchy-feely is a very poor reason for advocating these changes.  Where is arm-wrapping in the GIRM?  In ANY liturgical directive at all?  Or is it a new age prop, inconsistent with Catholic liturgy?

“I find it a serene, very meditative environment. The curvature of the reredos seems to be embracing, like a set of arms pulling you in,” Hopper agreed.  Here we go again.  More of the “It’s all about ME!”  But who knows what St. Bernards has been teaching on this subject?

Yet some parishioners did not share such sentiments about the reredos, or the renovation in general.  Convictions would be a better word than sentiments.  The 75% of parishioners opposed to the demolition/renovation put forth their specific reasons, all unanswered.  The “leaders,” especially Fr. Ring, refused to allow discussion.  So how would the supporters even know what the logical arguments were?  Touchy feely giggles were never seen as a plus by anyone on any survey.   

“The new design looks like a wooden Christmas tree, and you can’t see the organ (anymore),” noted Bill Vierhile, who said he and a number of other parishioners were not in favor of the renovation and liked the church the way it was.  “A lot of people weren’t for it, but I think it came out all right,” he said. “Probably we’ll get used to the new design.  This is just what the perpetrators are hoping.  I think in time it will probably work out OK, but it’s different.”  Is “getting used to” something that is bad or ineffective or just wrong a good thing?  Were the Jews supposed to get “used to” their exile in Babylon?  Or were they to long for return?  So, too, may the many parishioners long for the return of Jesus to the Center of their Worship Space.

Leysath said she loves the sanctuary’s new look, but understands it will take time for some people to get used to such a drastic change. It’s human nature to be afraid of change, said parishioner George Horsch, who was on the steering committee for the renovation.  We wish that George Horsch would also acknowledge that it is sometimes human nature to oppose stupid and wasteful changes, change for the sake of change, while needs such as religious education of children, evangelization and care of those in need goes relatively unaddressed.  When did “change” become a worshippable deity in Catholicism?

“There was a lot of negativism, a lot of critique about what they were doing to the beautiful sanctuary,”  Horsch recalled.  Critique?  Yes, George is right.  But he should also mention that he completely ignored the input.  Negativism?  Well, it is hard to say something good about something bad.  “THEY were doing to the beautiful sanctuary?”  Don’t you mean YOU, George?” 

Wensel acknowledged the mixed feelings about the renovation and said parish leaders didn’t want to make people unhappy. Nonetheless, “You go by what needs to be done,” she said.  And by what Fr. Ring tells her  to do.  One of the key points is that there were only two things that needed to be done:  the divider wall and securing the Tabernacle.  In spite of all the money collected and spent, neither was done.

All aspects of the renovation were meticulously planned (doesn’t quite fit with not being even able to count the steps!)  with the goal of making sure St. Januarius remains a vibrant church community, Beigel added. It would be wonderful if it were true that St. Jan’s is “vibrant” but it  lost 47% of its attendees on Fr. Ring’s watch; that  is hardly vibrant.  There is a 75:25 split among parishioners.  That is hardly vibrant.  It remains to be seen what a new pastor can do.  But if there is improvement it will be because of the return of many who said, when they left, “I’ll be back when Fr. Ring is gone,” (and some who now add: “and when Fr. Wiant is gone”) and it will be because of healing brought by the new pastor, in spite of the Sanctuary changes and not because of them.

“It’s like labor,” Hopper said. “You go through a lot of pains, there was a lot of pain in the community itself, and maybe the baby doesn’t look exactly like Mom or Dad, but it’s beautiful in its own way. The Lord gave it to us.”  — This last paragraph was not in the printed newspaper copy.  But when the Lord is finally mentioned it is to lay the blame at His Feet: “The Lord gave it to us.”  No, He didn’t.  You took it AWAY from the Lord–His position in the elevated center of the altar, the visibility of His Sacrifice in the Mass, the ability to offer Him a Mass in the Extraordinary Form, and the inspiring beauty of His House.  And now you say the Lord did it?  At least His Name finally got mentioned, even though dropped in the paper edition.

Selected Comments on Line

by Mary on September 6, 2011, 5:09 PM
I’ve seen various images of the St. Jan renovation on the Internet, and I have to admit that the results are not impressive (at least to me). The removal of the tabernacle from the center of the church over to a secondary position on the left side of the altar diminishes the importance of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. The sanctuary appears overly-simplistic and uninspiring. At least with the former design the sanctuary was elevated contributing to a sense of the importance of what takes place at the altar during Mass. A dividing wall near the Baptismal font, which was supposedly an important renovation priority, was left unfixed. It is my understanding that this renovation was hotly contested by a sizable number of parishioners which has contributed to many leaving the community. When all is said in done, striping the sanctuary down and moving the tabernacle is not worth the anger this project caused and souls put in danger of those who leave.

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12 Responses to “Zeal for Thy House Will Consume Me — Part XX — Courier Between the Lines”

  1. Susan of Corning says:

    So much sounds so familiar. And here again is my least favorite talking point: “It’s human nature to be afraid of change.” Um, no, only bad change.

  2. Kevin says:

    What mostly baffles me is how the divider wall was not fixed. What a joke. Personally, I think someone should drive to St. Louis on a Sunday morning and confront Fr. Ring in front of the St. Louis parishioners over certain things. Make them realize who they are dealing with. Three hundred THOUSAND dollars gone and not much to show for it. I could have done these renovations myself for three hundred dollars and a steak dinner at the end.

    Also, noting the steps. In my opinion, as a engineering student, the new steps look more dangerous than the old steps…by far. They are steeper and that lip that overhangs the step can easily trip someone up.

  3. Raymond F. Rice says:

    What makes me concerned is that the diocese gives a big article on a little church in an out of the way town which is very significant to local parishioners but not a big concern to the universal church in the full scheme of things. Looks like they are using the Currier article to try to justify what they did. The way they did it will always overshadow what they did.

  4. Eliza10 says:

    “The tabernacle itself was moved from its previous place behind the altar to a chapel of the Blessed Sacrament to the left of the sanctuary, just steps from the altar.”

    Yes, – how do you call moving the tabernacle to a table off to the side a “Chapel”?? How disingenuous! This is why I DO NOT TRUST BISHOP CLARK. This is not exceptional DoR speech, this is TYPICAL, expected DoR Doublespeak. He must think we are stupid! He thinks we do not see the emperor has no clothes, that we do not see that he has his OWN not-Catholic agenda he is foisting on us? 307 days and GOOD RIDDANCE!

    A “chapel”, indeed!

  5. TheAltonRoute says:

    A disgusting yet hardly surprising tale of deception by one of our supposed “shepherds.” The Roman Catholic Church is riddled with abusers of every stripe. I’m a lifelong Catholic and I can say my opinion of the Catholic Church would be best described as absolutely reprehensible. The Diocese of Rochester only will get better once it’s totally collapsed. The institution as it now stands is an abomination.

  6. Eliza10 says:

    DoR Doublespeak: “*the sanctuary floor, which was lowered to make it more accessible…”

    Diane shares the facts: “wrong; it was already one step from the nave to the sanctuary floor, then it was three steps from the sanctuary floor to the priest’s position behind the altar. It was the altar which was lowered, not the sanctuary floor. The Sanctuary floor has actually been raised to 2 steps from 1. That means that lectors now have to go up and down 2 steps instead of 1, increasing the chance for their tripping, especially with a kind of free form shape to the curve of the steps.”

    Thanks for explaining Diane. I don’t even know if you can call this Doublespeak – its just plain LYING. Another reason why its just foolish to trust Bishop Matthew Clark when he speaks to the people about why he does what he does.

    Bishop Clark is trying to sell us the lie that they lowered the sanctuary to make it more “handicap accessible” — since he is trying to mislead us that he rammed this wreckovation through for the sake of some possible-future physically-handicapped lector or EMHC (which has never once happened at St.Jan’s!) – when the fact is, they have now made it LESS accessible to the hypothetical scapegoat!!!

    But he has the Courier to publish whatever story he wants to invent! No reason to fear that anyone at the Courier will check the facts!

    Bishop Clark must think we are such fools. Only HE is the fool, because we ALL have encountered people in our life who lie in this kind of doublespeak way, so we instantly recognize it. But as Abe Lincoln pointed out [since Bishop Clark’s ways are nothing new under the sun]: “You can fool some of the people some of the time…” – and some of the people DO get fooled by Bishops Clark’s deceptive-speak.

    I imagine that’s because we are so used to deceptive politicians and CEO’s that when Bishop Clark (or his Public Relations reps and the obliging Catholic Courier staff) tell such bold-faced lies, many people assume that ALL leaders are obliged to be deceivers – why should the Church be any different?

    The actions of our Deceiving Shepherd teach his flock the BIGGEST LIE of all – that the church is just another human institution, not anything holy or divine…

  7. Eliza10 says:

    “It is believed that the whole installation of a ramp is to interfere with the Tabernacle at the center, behind the altar and to impair celebration of a Latin Mass at any time in the future.”

    I don’t see any reason not to believe this. What other possible reason could there be?

    It makes me want to go to a Latin Mass at St. Stanislas! Because if Bishop Clark hates the Latin Mass SO MUCH that he is scurries to such great lengths to prevent it, it MUST be a powerfully holy and divine thing.

  8. Eliza10 says:

    The crucifix – what a size difference! And the secrecy – typical Diocesan secrecy – WHERE is the crucifix?? And the secrecy of the altar – who knew where it was, till it was destroyed and the Courier article told what became of it (and readers of the article naturally assume this is something everyone agreed upon).

    Diane, I enjoyed your humorous but informative description of the motley crew (in the blue print) that Jennifer Burke used to breathlessly extol the wreckovation! Though you refer to this individual otherwise, I would reference “the college statistics professor who made it blatantly clear in his letter to the Naples Record that he either has no idea how to use statistics or that he knows quite well how to use them tell LIES.”

    Diane wrote: “The rest of the article (more than half) is a plethora of support statements for the disaster of the demolished/renovated Sanctuary at St. Januarius.”

    This is shoddy, sub-standard reporting. And the Courier gets awards? For the look, not the substance, I assume?

    Maybe when the new Bishop comes we can get a new Courier staff as well as a new DoR staff… The Cleansing Fire staff are some excellent writers!

    Diane wrote of the Courier article’s motley crew: “It is noticeable how preoccupied the commenters are with steps and lights, without ever noting the impact on the worship of God, attraction for new parishioners, care for children, or any way in which the Kingdom of God (rather than the Kingdom of the Clergy) will be advanced by what was done.”

    Good point.

  9. Eliza10 says:

    I just want to explain why I follow the St.Januarius/Fr.Ring Scandal story. I have only been to St.Januarius Church once – though Naples, many times. (I always do the sign of the cross when I pass St. Januarius, because I know Jesus Himself is there in the Tabernacle, and I know He sees me acknowledge Him!)

    I follow the St. Januarius story because it is well-written and its fully written. Because the St.Januarius/Fr.Ring story is the same thing that has happened all over this Diocese, again and again.

    As a convert in 2000, I saw the results of the same thing happening all over that happened at St. Januarius. I don’t agree with the Courier’s reticent critic who thinks it will all end up okay, that people will get used to it. Because I see the aftermath of the other wreckovations. People remain affected and wounded many years later.

    New to the DoR, I wondered over the war-weary parishioners Imet in parishes everywhere who told me that nothing can be done, that you fight with all your heart and Bishop Clark imposes the wreckovation anyway (and then uses his tools, the Catholic Courier staff writers, or the D&C – Mark Hare, i.e., to tell us all how wonderful it all went and how vibrant the community is now!). Wounded survivors of Clark Wreckovation battles are all over this Diocese. But I didn’t know their stories – only the bare-bones outlines of them. I wanted to hope that there was some righteous motivation behind the righteous actions.

    But even if it were so: the ends doesn’t justify the means. But, there is no righteous motivation. How can it possibly be righteous if they have to lie about it, as we can clearly see here in this Courier article? [which is typical DoR doublespeak!]. And we see the fruits of unrighteousness. Wounded people are left, and of course there is also the astonishingly un-Catholic DoR Church interiors that have us converts, or out-of-town visitors – those of us who haven’t been sitting in the wreckovation “getting used to it” like you get used to an amputated limb – saying “What the heck!?! How did this happen?!”

    So, I am grateful to Diane for showing us exactly how it happens, and showing the why of the underhandedness I see all over the DoR. It all makes sense now!

    I only disagree, Diane, when you refer to the St.Januarius wreckovation as Fr.Ring’s whim. I think Fr. Ring is just a soulless tool – a favored tool, to be sure, since he is so willing to ruthlessly forge on without conscience – to Bishop Clark’s driven and relentless agenda to destroy the Catholic identity of the Rochester Diocese.

  10. Richard Thomas says:

    Forgive me but I just wonder if psychologically there was a lot of hostility, trauma and anger between the bishop and his parents and this hostility is being displaced on the Church. That and $1.00 gets U a candy bar.

  11. Thinkling says:


    I have not followed every post in this series with utmost detail, but I have seen enough to know you have done yeowoman’s work, and that the revelations you have brought to light are invaluable.

    I would like to make a suggestion. Have you considered putting all of the parts together, under one title? I think there is potential for a great book here.

    I admit this is a presumptuous suggestion, especially as I will not be able to assist you in any way (other than prayers 😉 ). However, it is clear to me that there is enough substance to do so. With the opportunity to synchronize your footnotes across the whole series, double check the cross referencing of the different topics, and (if you’re lucky) get a really good editor to go over your manuscript with a fine toothed comb, such a single work would be worth far more than the sum of its parts.

    There is another reason too. I have read some of the criticism of your posts, and some of it reminds me of criticism of another much needed although challenging work, Goodbye Good Men. In both cases I can at least see where some of the critics are coming from. However, because GGM combined so much stuff together under one title, the take-home message was impossible to dismiss (unlike, say, one blog post or magazine article could be). I think your efforts will get the same benefit of scale if you indeed scale it. One can no longer claim a story is only due to the author’s overfocus. One would have to admit there is some “there” there. And again, a good editor (hopefully) could help streamline some of the more contentious hangup-inducing language without removing the underlying message and content.

    I am aware that such an effort would not be finished much before your Bishop’s retirement and replacement. However, it would be a shame that your message and synthesis were not as widely available and conveniently packaged as possible. To paraphrase Rich Leonardi, it would be great to have a summary to see how not to do things in the future and elsewhere.

    In any event, kudos on the thorough work.

  12. Diane Harris says:


    Thank you so very much for your thoughtful comments. It is very interesting that you bring up this subject, as I have been encouraged and giving it serious consideration. I’ll pray about it and see which way the Lord leads me. I am grateful for your recommendation and willigness to pray too. An editor would be a real asset. There is natural redundance as most people can’t read it all as installments, which could be eliminated by bringing it all together in one work. And knowing how it ends is always a help in beginning a work like this. There are only two more posts as I see it at this time, one on LaBella architects and the other on the conclusions from Rome.

    Sincerely in Christ, Diane Harris

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