Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

What about the “Pastoral Minister” title?

February 25th, 2012, Promulgated by Diane Harris

If you haven’t yet caught up with you may not have seen the use of the title “Pastoral Minister”  there.  At least two women are given that title on the site.  One is Kathy Lipfert from Auburn, and the other is Cris Wensel who is an employee of both St. Louis in Pittsford and Our Lady of the Lakes in Penn Yan, and has been since 2008.  (Figure out the mileage on that one!)  Wensel is one who pushed so hard for the wreck-ovation at St. Januarius, and who got low ratings in a parish-wide survey, but  is still hanging on.  (See the Zeal posts II, III, XV, XX, and XXI.) 

Now is she the spokeswoman for Our Lady of the Lakes in evangelization too?  The person who calls the Holy Spirit “she?”  Interesting!  But Fr. Ring defended her gender mis-use; not a surprise in DoR, is it?  Well on the video she identifies herself as a “pastoral associate in the Diocese of Rochester.” 

So, where does the term “Pastoral Minister”  come from? Where does it fit with Pastoral Associate, Pastoral Administrator and Pastor?  Lipfert’s title is enshrined in the Diocesan Directory; Wensel’s is not.  But before the titles disappear from the website, here is the evidence:

If you play the Wensel video, you will hear her identify herself as pastoral associate, but how can we help but wonder what is around the corner?  Why is DoR using these titles now?   Not surprisingly, the difficult time Wensel has had in OLOL is at least partly reflected in her choice of words that the Catholic Church is “grounded in community” and it can be a “little rough, a little frustrating, a little difficult”.  Oh, my — what evangelization is THAT!  If I weren’t Catholic, would I want to run right out and convert?  Not likely.  Her message is to “try out one of our parishes.”  And although she is listed for Yates County, she doesn’t mention OLOL churches.  Check it out at:

 Late Emendation:

When I first posted, I’d hoped for some input and reaction to the spritual pilgrim program, and was wondering if this is a good way to go about evangelization?  However, in the first 10 responses there has been much banter on the comment I’d made about Cris Wensel’s calling the Holy Spirit “she,” and it felt to me like “deja vu all over again” as Yogi Berra would say.  Back in Our Lady of the Lakes this was precisely the question I had called Cris on, and for which Fr. Ring defended her.  He even used some writing by Scott Hahn to argue that Bishop Bruskewitz endorsed Cris’s language.  As the Holy Spirit often and so fortuitously arranges, I actually had the opportunity to speak with Bishop Bruskewitz on the national EWTN call-in show, and here is his reply, soundly defeating the Wensel-Ring arguments, and also some of those arguments posted in the comments below.

Click on this link to hear the commentary with Bishop Bruskewitz:

Diane with Bishop Fabian

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16 Responses to “What about the “Pastoral Minister” title?”

  1. Eliza10 says:

    Well in my opinion, its all bland and shallow and self-conscious. I never never would have converted if I thought this DOR style stuff is what Catholic is.

  2. Scott W. says:

    her choice of words that theCatholic Church is “grounded in community”.

    Hmmm…I seem to the recall that the Catholic Church is supposed to be grounded in one man from 2000+ years ago. Now who was that again?…….

  3. Bruce says:

    Anyone who refers to the Holy Spirit as “she” is a heretic and needs to be excommunicated for the sake of their soul and the souls of other.

    The DoR has heretics running parishes as pseudo-pastors.

    Women and lay men cannot be pastors. Ever. The Holy Spirit is not a “she”, that is heresy.

    Tell it like it is, DoR, or continue on the path to burning forever in Hell.

  4. Monk says:

    Tic Toc Tic Toc……

  5. Abaccio says:

    The road to hell is paved with the skulls of erring priests, while the heads of their bishops act as lampstands.

  6. Abaccio says:

    Skulls of their bishops, rather…

  7. militia says:

    I went to the DoR website ( because I had trouble with the link, and found all this content and more under “Latest News: Spiritual Pilgrim.” Actually what struck me the most was the unanswered question of why a bishop about to retire is spending money on making this series? It is not well done (many of the people delivering their spot commercials seem ill at ease, not well rehearsed, and embarrassingly unprofessional.) But of more concern is the superficiality of their messages. I can’t imagine a new bishop ever wanting to use this so that’s why it seems a waste to me.

    Cris Wensel isn’t the only poor performance. Father Heyman is very strange, and his message is unclear to me. Seems full of generalizations. How does this evangelize? The bishop’s mannerisms are awkward too. One thing that really irritated me personally, as I scrolled through the site is what seems to be a stained glass of the Good Shepherd with the top half cut off in all the bishop’s sound bites. There is too much of the picture remaining not to know what is missing. So I guess that is also a metaphor for the last 30 plus years too, cutting off the Head of our Church? This surely can’t be for evangelization purposes? What then?

  8. Raymond F. Rice says:

    Before you light the match and burn the heretics, please note the enclosed quotation from the Current Catholic catechism:

    Refer to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) paragraph number 369. Here is a snip from that:
    Man and woman are both with one and the same dignity “in the image of God”.

    God has his own image and it is not determined by man. If we, as men and women, are made to His image, He must have feminine aspects to Who He is. In our time and place, He has been revealed as male but outside time and place, He is both.

    Note the use of “Hagia Sophia” (Holy Wisdom) as one of the attributes of God in the Greek New Teatament and its being a feminine noun.

  9. Scott W. says:

    From Liturgiam authenticam (my bold):

    In particular: to be avoided is the systematic resort to imprudent solutions such as a mechanical substitution of words, the transition from the singular to the plural, the splitting of a unitary collective term into masculine and feminine parts, or the introduction of impersonal or abstract words, all of which may impede the communication of the true and integral sense of a word or an expression in the original text. Such measures introduce theological and anthropological problems into the translation. Some particular norms are the following:

    a) In referring to almighty God or the individual persons of the Most Holy Trinity, the truth of tradition as well as the established gender usage of each respective language are to be maintained.

    Now, I am not aware of any explicit teaching of the Church on what gender the Holy Spirit is to be referred by, so technically it is not heresy. Also, the CDF, while authoritative, is not Canon Law, so technically it isn’t illicit either. Also, one could say that Liturgiam authenticam applies to publishing liturgical texts and not everyday conversation.

    That’s an awful lot of technicalities! Feel at ease now? No? Me neither. And that’s because the idea that an ostensibly faithful Cat deliberately using “She” is innocent is bit like saying that because Big Jule from Guys and Dolls stands on his record of “33 arrests and no convictions”, then that proves he isn’t a gangster.

  10. Bruce says:

    Uh, Ray, that clap trap has long been refuted and condemned.

    Try not to fight heresy with heresy.

    Oh, and as your quote of the Catechism, your “misquote” rather, you just destroyed your own argument:

    369 and 370 (remember, it is not an encyclopedia – every entry has context and must be viewed within the whole)

    “369 Man and woman have been created, which is to say, willed by God: on the one hand, in perfect equality as human persons; on the other, in their respective beings as man and woman. “Being man” or “being woman” is a reality which is good and willed by God: man and woman possess an inalienable dignity which comes to them immediately from God their Creator.240 Man and woman are both with one and the same dignity “in the image of God”. In their “being-man” and “being-woman”, they reflect the Creator’s wisdom and goodness.

    370 In no way is God in man’s image. He is neither man NOR WOMAN. God is pure spirit in which there is no place for the difference between the sexes. But the respective “perfections” of man and woman reflect something of the infinite perfection of God: those of a mother and those of a father and husband”

    Try to be less heretical, or you’ll wind up in Hell.

  11. Raymond F. Rice says:


    “Try to be less heretical, or you’ll wind up in Hell.”

    Ans: God told me at church during our daily conference today that this would not happen.

  12. Raymond F. Rice says:

    I read this in Sunday’s paper;any comments??

    “The people with whom Jesus had the greatest problems were the fundamentalist religious leaders of his time. He said of them, “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves” (Mt. 23:15). Jesus himself was an inclusivist — eating with sinners, forgiving the woman caught in adultery, healing lepers, befriending tax collectors, gleaning the fields on the Sabbath, talking with the woman at the well and allowing the woman of ill repute to wash and anoint his feet as he reclined at table. That is to say, he embraced and affirmed the people who were seen as being on the outside.

    The most radical affirmation he made was of the Roman centurion who came to ask Jesus to heal his servant. There was no more hated symbol of the oppression of Rome than a centurion, the commander of 100 occupying soldiers. In front of his fellow Jews Jesus declared about this centurion, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I seen such faith” (Mt. 8:10b). He was declaring that this man had greater faith in God than the chosen ones of Israel!

    Pray that we all might have perfect knowledge lest we be condemned and end up in perpetual hell fire!!!!!

  13. Diane Harris says:

    When I posted this blog I was expecting discourse on the new DoR program “spiritual pilgrims” and on the question if that approach answers the call to evangelization and/or is an effective way to go about it. I was surprised by the commentary on the sentence I’d written about Cris Wensel calling the Holy Spirit “she” and now I feel I should reply with a bit more input, so I’ve added on at the end of the prior post to share with you my discussion with Bishop Bruskewitz on this subject. The reason, as I say in that audio, was because my pastor, Fr. Ring, was supporting Cris Wensel in this regard, and in her role then as faith formation director, and I felt it could be confusing to the children (and later I would also learn that isn’t how a number of parents wanted their children taught either.) So please click on the link at the end of the post on “pastoral ministers” to hear the short exchange with Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz.

  14. Eliza10 says:

    Good link, Diane. What stuck out to me in your link to yor question to Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz was how offended I feel at Father Ring’s Narcisistic arrogance to tell you that you are not the “resident theologian”. Apparently nor is he, and nor is Cris Wensel. Yet i am not surprised; I ahve been confronted with the same narcissistic arrogance by other of Bishops Clark’s favorite priests. Its like they are all marked by this! it is an implication that they are the experts because they have “position!”. How little they know! So transparently borishly arrogant! I wonder how he – and Wensel – will survive at Pittsford’s St. Louis? Will the people there tolerate this brand of arrogance? I suspect not!

  15. Raymond F. Rice says:

    Yet i am not surprised; I ahve been confronted with the same narcissistic arrogance by other of Bishops Clark’s favorite priests.

    It’s like trying to argue with Truman Capote!!! lol lol lol lol

  16. Richard Thomas says:

    What really bothers me when I go to mass is that these same priests, who act so arrogant, narcissistic and close mindedness, then act so hypocritically holy, carring the book of lecturn around tha altar or performing any of a number of religious functions.

    And they never teach about the 5 sexual issues: Birth control, abortion, homosexuality, premarital sex and pornography.

    It is so dammed hypocritical and phoney.

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