Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Not a Burden I Should Like to Bear

April 13th, 2012, Promulgated by Gen

We received the following email this morning from a parishioner at St. Anne/Our Lady of Lourdes. The woman who sent this in tries not to go to the cluster’s Masses, due to the insipid and illicit preaching of Joan Sobala, SSJ, but found herself out of options for a Good Friday service. She thus went to St. Anne and witnessed the following:

When they all processed in, Joan was, of course, right with the priests. When they got to the altar and went down for the prostration, Joan went right down with them. It was shameful. The priest prostrates himself because he is a priest, an “alter Christus,” an “other Christ,” but what is Sr. Joan? She’s a bitter wannabe. Maybe she’s got good intentions, but intent only goes so far. When the minute had passed, Fr. Tyman rose easily, with dignity befitting the tone of the Mass. However, Sr. Joan could not rise without the help of those around her. She looked like some kind of liberal weevil that had fallen out of a bad loaf of bread or something, wiggling around trying to get herself up again. Maybe that sounds mean, but let’s look at the perspective. This is Good Friday. Of all the days in the Church year when politicking should be left aside, this is it. Our Lord’s death should eclipse everything aside from itself. When you pull a stunt that distracts the congregation (which was pitiful compared to years past), you don’t deserve my compassion. Sure, I’ll pray for you, I’ll smile and be civil, but never presume that you should be the focus over God Himself. When I saw her being helped up I remembered why I started going to St. Boniface and Our Lady of Victory. Fr. Brickler never makes himself the center of attention. Fr. Kennedy says a nice Mass, too. Fr. Antinarelli conducts himself with humility and dignity. Well, not this dame. I feel sorry for her, definitely, but I feel sorrier for the people who have to put up with this kind of nonsense.

Like the woman who emailed us does, I pray for Sr. Joan often. I pray for our entire Diocese. People wonder why we have so few vocations, and then we see things like this, where an aging “progressive” nun upstages Jesus Christ Himself. Our priests look on from the sidelines and can’t do anything because she, and others like her, are the bosses in Rochester. There’s really nothing I can say or add that I haven’t already at some point over the past few years, so I’ll just close with this quote from Bishop Fulton Sheen:

“Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops, like bishops, and your religious act like religious.”

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20 Responses to “Not a Burden I Should Like to Bear”

  1. Hopefull says:

    The fault also lies with Fr. Tyman for not having the courage to tell her in advance to go sit in a pew. Or maybe he lacks the knowledge to do so. Whatever — shame on him too. As Gen quotes:

    Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests…

  2. Jim R says:

    Gotta disagree – the fault lies with the Bishop who encourages and allows these sorts of things. If the Bishop actively pushes such antics and Rome never does anything – I can’t fault the priest for going along. How many more days?

  3. Dr. K says:

    Her reign of terror is nearing its end.

  4. Jim says:

    Jim M. here: I think Sr. Joan should have just remained in the prostrate position for the whole service…she has a lot to repent for….LOL

  5. Hopefull says:

    Well, Jim R, we will have to agree to disagree on this one. While the Bishop has huge responsibility in the matter, priests who are more afraid of their bishop than of not obeying God’s teachings, have much to answer for, including for not properly counseling the offender and for facilitating scandal.

    Just where would/should a priest draw the line? If Sr. Joan comes up to concelebrate? If she preaches heresy from the pulpit? If she puts on a Roman collar? Does he ever, in your judgment, have the right to say “stop it?”

  6. Dr. K says:

    I really wonder if priests realize they will be accountable to God for their actions such as promoting scandal and irreverence to Our Lord.

    The answer seems to be no:

  7. lyn says:

    I came across this site by accident searching for a divine mercy sunday eve=
    nt and I was absolutely appalled by the Judgemental critical nasty comments=
    especially towards a nun (who is christs beloved) the Jewish leaders in ch=
    rists time came to mind more intent on judging and condemning than on love =
    forgiveness and peace, I am so happy I am not part of this congregation but=
    I am part of the same catholic =0Afaith so I just pray for the brothers an=
    d sisters who have such hard hearts and lack of love and compassion (perhap=
    s they need a pilgrimage to Medjugorje, where their heart will certainly be=
    softened and hopefully filled with Jesus peace and love.

  8. Bernie says:

    lyn: Perhaps it is Sr. Joan, the priests that go along, and the bishop who leads them astray that are in the role of the 1st century Jewish leaders. They have made themselves all important; they appear to have placed themselves above the Lord. Christ had some pretty harsh words for them and used some scathing metaphors to describe them. Love is not a feeling or sentimental sensation, it is willing the good of the other. Calling these folks out in strong terms (which is the only way to get their -and others’- attention) seems the compassionate thing to do it can turn them around. Of course, the Jewish leaders of Christ’s time failed to turn around.

  9. Chrysostom says:

    Amazing how even a gesture of abject humility can be transformed into an act of colossal pride…

    Once again, the lay faithful are forced into watching individuals hijack liturgy to use as an arena in which to grapple with their own personal issues.

  10. lyn says:

    Oh one more point who do you think is most sinful the person who prostrates in love for Jesus or the person who judges condemnes and whose heart is full of venom and condemnation over the breaking of a human traditional rule? I myself wish I had the courage to prostrate myself before Jesus at every mass. (it is not the action that matters but the amount of love one has for Jesus, did not he teach us this?

  11. lyn says:

    Bernie search your own heart, do not be a blind person, confess love lyn xxxx

  12. lyn says:

    Bernie my pieta book: Our Lords revelation to Mutter Vogel “one should NEVER attack a priest even when he’s in error, rather one should pray and do penance that I will grant him my grace again. He alone fully represents me, even when he does not live after my example. (page 29 Mutter Vogel’s Worldwide Love, St Grignion publishing house Germany (1929). When a priest falls we should extend him a helping hand THROUGH PRAYER AND NOT THROUGH ATTACKS. I myself will be his judge NO ONE BUT I. whoever voices judgement over a priest has voiced it over me; child never let a priest be attacked, take up his defence. (Feast of Christ the King 1937) Child never judge your confessor, rather pray much for him and offer every Thursday through the hands of my blessed mother Holy Communion (for him) never again accept an out-of-the-way word about a priest and speak no unkind word (about them) EVEN IF IT WERE TRUE. Every priest is My Vicar and My Heart will be sickened and insulted because of it. If you hear a judgement (against a priest) pray a Hail Mary (28.6.1939)

    If you see a Priest who celebrates the Holy Mass unworthily then say nothing about him, rather tell it to me alone. I stand beside him on the alter. “Oh pray much for my Priests that they will love purity above all, that they will celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with pure hands and heart. Certainly the Holy Sacrifice is one and the same even when celebrated by an unworthy Priest, but the graces called down upon the people is not the same (28.2.1938) Mary, Queen of the Clergy, pray for them.

  13. JLo says:

    I, too, must disagree with you, Jim R. The lame priests who follow the bishop’s lead in his own disobedience are not beneficiaries of the obedient servant graces, I would think. Fr. Groeschel has said that obedience to disobedience is not obedience, and I believe that.

    We at Holy Cross on Holy Thursday had to witness just such mindless following of Bishop Clark’s lead, as women and even a child were among the 12 who had their feet washed. And if that was not enough, then the entire congregation processed up to the altar to have their HANDS washed! All this in direct disobedience to the Mandatum, the directive which expressly told priests and bishops that they are to have men only and wash only feet. To those who think that the priests were just obeying their bishop, that Madatum also says that the washing of feet is optional, so they could have just skipped it instead of disobeying Holy Mother Church and trying to please their bishop instead.

    Lastly, I think our new person, lyn, has no idea what we battle here in this diocese, or she would not be so quick to judge we who gather together to console each other and try to influence for the good the Church.

    BTW, love that Bishop Sheen quote. Thanks, Gen. +JMJ

  14. Mike says:


    While there are a lot of interesting and inspiring books out there, one always runs the risk of reading into them what one wants to hear instead of what one needs to hear. There are also books that are just plain detrimental to one’s faith.

    St. Paul had something to say along this line when he warned that

    …. the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

    This is why I prefer to read sources I know I can trust, like Church documents and the writings of the popes.

    Pertinent to the topic of this thread, His Holiness had a lot to say about priestly obedience (and disobedience) on Holy Thursday. You can find his remarks here.

  15. Chrysostom says:

    JLo’s description of Holy Cross reminded me of what I witnessed on Holy Thursday at St. Stanislaus (not a place usually known for liturgical disobedience).

    Twelve women were chosen to have their feet washed–not even one man among them! (I have to admit that one of the benefits of following this website is that nothing I see in our diocese can shock me any more…)

    Makes you wonder, though, if these things are part of some “last hurrah” being enjoyed before a new administration starts taking a more hard-line approach to liturgical abuses in this diocese…

  16. Diane Harris says:

    From St. John Chrysostom

    “Only the person who becomes irate without reason, sins. Whoever becomes irate for a just reason is not guilty. Because, if ire were lacking, the science of God would not progress, judgments would not be sound, and crimes would not be repressed. Further, the person who does not become irate when he has cause to be, sins. For an unreasonable patience is the hotbed of many vices: it fosters negligence, and stimulates not only the wicked, but above all the good, to do wrong.”

  17. Diane Harris says:

    Mutter Vogel sounds like private revelation, which we are not bound to follow. Moreover, the Canon Law of the Catholic Church provides a means to bring suit or complaint against priests and bishops. I doubt that Pope John Paul II would have approved the 1983 Code if such suit or complaint is sinful.

    By extension of the “Mutter (mother?) Vogel” quotes, it would seem that even criticizing or exposing a child molester priest would be wrong. I doubt that, very much. To me, what is quite wrong, is feminist nuns acting like wannabe priests and undermining the authority of faithful priests and confusing the laity.

  18. Abaccio says:


    You took the words right out of my mouth. I can’t stand people who can cite more private revelation than they can official Church documents.

    On a mildly related side note, I keep trying to explain the same basic thing to the Medjugorge fanatics and 5th Marian Dogma pushers. When the Church speaks authoritatively on something, I shall listen closely. When she does not, I won’t go around claiming everyone should fight for it, believe it, etc.

  19. LizaJane says:

    I would rather completely forego a Good Friday service rather than go to one of those places anyway. It’s not a Holy Day of Obligation, so I think it does more damage to the soul to actually go to an irreverent service.

  20. Pete says:

    Fascinating blogs on the Good Friday service. Mike, Dr. K., Richard Thomas and others are pretty quick to judge Joan as some type of heretic. She was merely prostrate, a relatively simple act of humility. Where is the scandal? Where is the disrespect? Where is the irreverence? I read again and again in this web rag that the erudite among you long for a return to tradition, and Tradition. Be careful what you ask for. The traditional Church allowed for no deviation from the order of the Mass, a strict following of the Catechism, and left no room for the input of the laity. It is through the grace of God, and your membership in His organic, living, breathing and maturing Church, operating in a liberal democracy, that you are able to write in this blog. Even a strict constructionist in the teachings of the Church has to admit that progressive thought, tempered by the context of Christ’s ministry, has guaranteed the survival of the Church thus far.
    Of course there are things that irritate me in many masses – priests who lose their place, parishioners clapping for choirs, lack of vigilance during distribution of the eucharist, nuns who appear to overstep their bounds.
    But look to the spirit and heart of the person you criticize so lustily. Sr. Joan is progressive, determined, and polarizing, I admit. She is also human, far from perfect but still an instrument of God. She is, from my own experience with her, a loving, compassionate person who reached out to me in a very dark hour. Flawless, no; a reflection of Christ to me, yes.
    Ease up on the sarcasms; it is overshadowing your obligation as a Catholic to recognize the Church on Earth as Christ’s partner. Although I cannot guess the mind of God, I’d be concerned that I might be condemned for not respecting His bride.

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