Cleansing Fire

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Cardinal Dolan on Bishop Clark: “a great bishop”

September 17th, 2012, Promulgated by benanderson

Yesterday Timothy Cardinal Dolan delivered a message for Bishop Clark’s 50th anniversary to the priesthood.  The Courier reports:

Mass of Thanksgiving honors ‘a great bishop’

Only a couple of minutes into his homily, Cardinal Dolan, who noted that all were gathered “to salute a great Bishop of Rochester,” got to the prevailing sentiment of the occasion.

“Why don’t I just say it, what’s in all our hearts. Matthew, we love you very much,” Cardinal Dolan remarked, setting off thunderous applause that became a standing ovation.

And don’t miss the video interview:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=3683270045119

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98 Responses to “Cardinal Dolan on Bishop Clark: “a great bishop””

  1. avatar militia says:

    It’s not the same as storing up Treasure in Heaven is it?

    Luke 16:15 “But he said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts; for what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.'”

  2. avatar RochChaCha says:

    Ben,

    What else do you think the archbishop would have said? Even if archbishop Dolan was not pleased with Bishop Clark’s leadership, he would not have said anything about it so openly and at a time of retirement and celebration.

  3. avatar Gretchen says:

    I apologize beforehand if I offend anyone’s sensibilities, but isn’t Cardinal Dolan more a politician than any of the other roles he fills? He was just saying what any good politician would say in the circumstances.

  4. avatar Scott W. says:

    I’m just going to have to chalk this up to Dolan being Dolan. Just roll your eyes, move on, and pick a better battle.

  5. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    I’m just going to have to chalk this up to Dolan being Dolan. Just roll your eyes, move on, and pick a better battle.

    I’d have to agree.

  6. avatar JLo says:

    Cardinal Dolan has been another learning experience for me: having been at first so grateful for his leadership appointment at the USCCB and his appointment to the Archdiocese of NY, I have been instead treated to constant let-downs. For sure he is no John Cardinal O’Connor of happy memory, and I no longer look to the jolly +Dolan for “leadership”. He is another I will just have to pray for and not look to for solace. +JMJ

  7. avatar raymondfrice says:

    The higher up you go in Holy Mother the Church, the more human it becomes!! Do you really think that men become cardinals because of their prayer life alone ?? To be a cardinal , you have to know how to gather and handle large amounts of money, make difficult church teaching sound practical, choose your battles wisely, and say thing which will ensure the continued plolitical presence of the Church. I believe that the position/job of cardinal is not scriptural but evolved through tradition.

    The presence of the Holy Spirit at conclaves is determined by the number of cardinals who follow his “advice” and avoid secular issues which can creep in IE. avarice, power etc. The Spirit was obviously not listened to very well when Alexander the 6th bought the papacy through bribes and was subsequently elected and his mistresses and children followed him into the Vatican.

    Welcome to the human side of the Church. Now you know why cloistered sisters and monks pray ceaselessly.

  8. avatar Rich Leonardi says:

    What else do you think the archbishop would have said? Even if archbishop Dolan was not pleased with Bishop Clark’s leadership, he would not have said anything about it so openly and at a time of retirement and celebration.

    Several folks offered the same thought on my site. Here was my response:

    How about speaking to one of Clark’s few positive achievements — his bridge-building with Rochester’s Jewish community, for instance — and putting it in the context of the Church’s universal mission, e.g., how a bishop can implement Nostra Aetate? The point being, Cardinal Dolan’s choices weren’t limited to chummy bonhomie and harsh invective.

  9. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Celebration. Really, what is there to celebrate except for his retirement. This indicates how the sheep have been abandoned by their leaders. I don’t think the cardinal gives a rat’s gluteus maximus about all the pain and suffering endured by the faithful in Rochester.

    In New York City, there is an infamous parish that is very pro homosexual. The Cardinal recently celebrated mass and gave a homily. I thought I was at a high school athletic event with the cheerleaders rabidly encouraging their team to try harder and win. His homily had little substance and was more a pep talk. But without proclaiming the actual teachings of the Church, the teachings most bishops and priests have ignored, then pep rally’s and their concepts of “new Evangelization” will fail miserably.

  10. avatar Scott W. says:

    Richard, this wouldn’t be St. Francis Xavier would it? I did a fisk of a letter from the priest there called Cthulhuspeak.

  11. avatar annonymouse says:

    The article says that the cathedral was filled with bishops, priests, deacons and the bishop’s family and friends. It would certainly not have been the place or the time for +Dolan to publicly criticize the bishop. +Dolan’s remarks, I would think, may actually have the effect of endearing him to those in the congregation who may otherwise disagree with his leadership. He definitely prefers to attract flies with honey rather than the other stuff.

    I would have liked to have had the opportunity to ask the cardinal about the Al Smith dinner and express how dismayed the Obama invitation has made many of us.

  12. avatar annonymouse says:

    Richard Thomas, I cannot resist:

    1. While one may judge that the bishop’s tenure here has been disastrous, he still is a priest (for nearly 50 years) and bishop for 32+ years, and as such deserves a modicum of our respect, don’t you think? That’s what the celebration was about, I gather. Every priest has a party (including liturgy) for his golden jubilee, and deservedly so. Whether we agree with +Clark, his policies, his decisions, etc. or not, the man has given up his life for the Lord. Isn’t that worth something to you?

    2. +Dolan said a mass and gave a homily for homosexuals. HOW DARE HE!! My guess (and I could be wrong) is that he did not in any way endorse sinful homosexual activity, and hopefully he extended a firm and loving (although I am sure not offputting) invitation to repentance, but I am quite sure that you would be equally scandalized if Our Lord were to descend right now, for wouldn’t He also be with the homosexuals? And the prostitutes? And anyone else who gives scandal to the (self-)righteous? That is where Our Lord wants the Church to be; that is the clear message of the Gospel. Good for +Dolan on this one!

  13. avatar Scott W. says:

    but I am quite sure that you would be equally scandalized if Our Lord were to descend right now, for wouldn’t He also be with the homosexuals?

    Not at all because I am confident that somewhere in that ministering, there would be something said similar to what was said to the women caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.” Now I’d want to see +Dolan’s actual speech before committing, but if I was betting money, I would put it on it being contrasted from the woman caught in adultery and looking more like this: http://youtu.be/5NNOrp_83RU

  14. avatar brother of penance says:

    No, Ben, I wasn’t there.

    I would have considered attending but at the 11:30 AM Mass at Saint John the Evangelist, the pastor said that attendance was by invitation only.

    I wasn’t invited.

    Would I have protested?
    No

    Would I have confronted Cardinal Dolan?
    No

    Would I have prayed with thanksgiving (Eucharist)?
    Absolutely, yes.

    Is Bishop Clark a great bishop?
    Not in my humble opinion.

    Is Bishop Clark a great bishop according to those invited to attend?
    Yep.

    Are we wasting a lot of time on this issue?
    You know it.

  15. avatar Scott W. says:

    Are we wasting a lot of time on this issue?
    You know it.

    On that note, let me go back regarding Alexander VI. While it is agreed that he lived a scandalously worldly lifestyle, his buying of the papal election is unsubstantiated rumor.

  16. avatar annonymouse says:

    Scott, precisely right – Jesus’ message would be a call to repentance. And that is precisely why He WOULD be with the homosexuals, prostitutes, etc. – He was with them while He walked the earth. And He would be with you, and He would be with me, for aren’t we also sinners in need of His endless love and mercy?

  17. avatar Scott W. says:

    Well, since we are in agreement about something, I’ll stop knocking heads over +Dolan, follow my own advice, roll my eyes at his gushing praise of Bishop Scorched Earth, and move on.

  18. avatar brother of penance says:

    “without proclaiming the actual teachings of the Church….their concepts of “new Evangelization” will fail miserably”

    Ah, Richard Thomas, thank you for referring to my favorite subject:

    ‘new evangelization’

    Evangelization is the issue over which the Church must exert time and energy; for announcing the announcement is a matter of life and death, eternal life or damnation.

    Richard Thomas is spot on in that by ignoring Catholic teachings, bishops’ and priests’ concepts of the new evangelization will fail miserably.

    Rejoice, however, there is great hope for the Church in the USA.
    There is a new book on the market which equips clergy and lay for authentic, genuine Catholic evangelization to procure the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

    About this book, Scott Hahn writes in part: A BOLD YET CAREFUL STUDY THAT ADDRESSES THE MOST DIFFICULT AND PRESSING THEOLOGICAL ISSUES RELATED TO THE CHURCH’S MISSION AND THE NEW EVANGELIZATION…..(which) CLARIFIES THE URGENCY OF EVANGELIZING FOR THE SALVATION OF SOULS.

    Eerdmans has published Ralph Martin’s “WILL MANY BE SAVED? What Vatican II Actually Teaches and Its Implications for the New Evangelization.”

    http://www.renewalministries.net offers savings coupons for this book without handling and shipping costs.

    Deacon Daniel Foley, a member of the US Bishops National Advisory Council, writes:

    ‘The Zeal of Catholics for evangelization has been significantly undermined since Vatican II by false interpretations regarding both the nature and the necessity of the proclamation of Jesus Christ to all peoples. Martin unveils the deepest roots of the deception while presenting a pastoral vision aimed at re-awakening the Church to her central mission. It should give us great hope that Pope Benedict XVI has recognized the importance of Martin’s insights on the New Evangelization by appointing him as a Consultor to the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.’

    Already I have a copy!

  19. avatar Dr. K says:

    and a video interview:
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=3683270045119

    You’re making me want to put my fist through a wall right now. I’m sick of our “leaders” being politicians instead of pastors.

  20. avatar raymondfrice says:

    Scott:On that note, let me go back regarding Alexander VI. While it is agreed that he lived a scandalously worldly lifestyle, his buying of the papal election is unsubstantiated rumor.

    So what got him elected?? Threats???? Holiness??

  21. avatar raymondfrice says:

    Dr K, “You’re making me want to put my fist through a wall right now. I’m sick of our “leaders” being politicians instead of pastors.”

    You are just finding your “cross” in unexpected places!!

  22. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    SALLYANNE,
    I’ve deleted your last 3 comments. If you want to have respectful discussion – you are welcome to do so. If you want to insult and post links to videos with no commentary that are not in the topic of the post, they will get deleted. And if you keep it up, I’ll make it easier for myself and just auto-delete everything you post. We have plenty of people here who disagree but do so respectfully. I’d suggest you mimic some of them.

  23. avatar Scott W. says:

    So what got him elected?? Threats???? Holiness??

    Popularity? Schmoozing? I don’t know. The point is there is no real evidence of him bribing his way in as far as I know. Just because I am prepared to believe he was a bad bishop, that doesn’t mean we get to pile on every charge no matter how flimsy.

  24. avatar Scott W. says:

    SALLYANNE,
    I’ve deleted your last 3 comments.

    You mean she actually commented on a recent topic and not one from six months ago? Will wonders never cease. 🙂

  25. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Scott W.

    Was that a respectful question and comment? What does that have to do with the topic at hand?

  26. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Every priest has a party (including liturgy) for his golden jubilee, and deservedly so. Whether we agree with +Clark, his policies, his decisions, etc. or not, the man has given up his life for the Lord. Isn’t that worth something to you?

    It’s not if he has squandered his life promoting things that send peopele to hell. And not being a shepherd for those he swore to protect. He is sending hinself to hell so I would not publically commend him for a job miserably done.

    2. +Dolan said a mass and gave a homily for homosexuals. HOW DARE HE!! My guess (and I could be wrong) is that he did not in any way endorse sinful homosexual activity, and hopefully he extended a firm and loving (although I am sure not offputting) invitation to repentance, but I am quite sure that you would be equally scandalized if Our Lord were to descend right now, for wouldn’t He also be with the homosexuals? And the prostitutes? And anyone else who gives scandal to the (self-)righteous? That is where Our Lord wants the Church to be; that is the clear message of the Gospel. Good for +Dolan on this one!

    Our Lord would be with the prostitutes and homosexuals but like the woman at the well, he would tell them clearly, firmly and compassionately not to sin. You never hear that from most shepherds. That statement is used so often by people promoting the homosexual lifestyle. Let’s procvlaim the love of Christ but let’s never tell the dificult things. And if we omit the tough things, maybe we think that issues like homosexual behavior are not so bad after all.

    And as far as his homily at that homosexual parish. I would change pastors and shut the place down. I might think I would remove a near occasion of sin…..Making it a bit more dificult to promote the homosexual lifestyle and not cause scandal to faithful Catholics. If I could not do that, I would not say mass there. My presence there, without commenting on such sinful behavior implies my acceptance of that behavior and the sinful programs of that church.

  27. avatar annonymouse says:

    Richard Thomas – I agree with you that pastors must firmly teach the faith in love and truth, calling sinners to repentance.

    But I’d ask you this – read and pray long and hard on tomorrow morning’s Gospel.

  28. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Annonymouse. I reasd the gospel for today and tomorrow. I don’t see your point. I am firm in what I believe. Is praising Bishop Clark analogous to Jesus singling out Judas and praising him, in front of the believers, for being a fantastic apostle? It would never happen.

    I recall an event in Mother Angelica’s life just before she had her debilitating stroke. She was faced with the prospect of having to allow bishops, who were diddidents, speak on EWTN. Her comment: I’ll blow the whole network up before I allow any of these wolves to be on the network.. We need bishops with the mindset of Mother. Unfortunately, we have cowards, wolves and Judas’s.

    Cardinal rule # 1. Nefer, never give scandal. It would be better if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea.

  29. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Bishops who were dissident. Sorry.

  30. avatar annonymouse says:

    +Clark’s judge will not be you nor I – God will judge his heart and life and deeds – God who is loving and merciful.

  31. avatar brother of penance says:

    I am beginning to think that it is not a waste of time to discuss this issue of Cardinal Dolan calling Bishop Clark a great bishop.

    After viewing the Catholic Courier interview of the Cardinal and the Bishop (an interview that took place before the Mass), it become apparent to me that there is a distinction that needs to be emphasized.

    Cardinal Dolan reminisces about his seminary experience of Father Clark the spiritual director.

    It becomes obvious to me that the gifts and calling of a spiritual director are specific to that service.

    Perhaps some of the spiritual director talents can be well utilized even by a pastor. But the gifts and talents with which a pastor must be equipped to shepherd Christ’s flock for whom the Savior shed his blood certainly go beyond what a spiritual director must have.

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19651028_christus-dominus_en.html

    I imagine a good read of Christus Dominus and any good work on spiritual direction makes the distinctions clear.

    To Cardinal Dolan, I would say:
    ‘Thanks be to God Father Clark served you well when you were a young seminarian given to discouragement, confusion, doubt. Thanks be to God that Father Clark’s calmness, gentleness, good listening skills and prudential judgment helped you discern the Lord and his call in your life. Praise the Lord!

    But, help me understand Cardinal Dolan, how is a bishop considered great whose actions and lack of action betray an unwillingness to preserve, expound, and spread Sacred Tradition abroad by preaching and teaching?’

    Cleansingfiredor Family, if all we are doing is adding fuel to our personal fires of resentment and bitterness, we are hurting ourselves and helping no one.

    But if in fact we are asking the Hierarchy and members of the Magisterium to help those who desire to be faithful to Christ and his Church make sense out of the accolades, praise and thunderous applause for a “spiritual man” who consistently……(fill in the blanks) rather than…….(fill in the blanks), we have a right to an answer.

    ‘Therefore, Cardinal Dolan, Your Emminence, help us make sense out of it. And whether or not you choose to help us make sense out of your praise for Bishop Clark, and whether or not an upright, holy man, faithful to Christ and His Church, able to give instruction in sound doctrine and able to confute those who contradict it, is appointed to replace Matthew Clark, we will not betray Christ or His Church. We will not give in to the UnGodly Secualarism attacking both the Church and Society.

    With the help of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God, Your Emminence, we will continue to study, believe and live the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.’

    So Help Us, God!

  32. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    That’s true. But I am not going to give him a pass and then call God merciful and loving to give this bishop a pass. Yes. God’s grace is given even at the moment of death. And I hope Bishop Clark and all people respond to his grace. But we have to repent as best as we can.God is loving and merciful but we have to respond to his love and his mercy. It’s like the Sacrament of confession. God forgives but it is up to us to ask for forgiveness. If we don’t, we are in a pack of trouble.

  33. avatar annonymouse says:

    BoP –

    Do you really expect that +Dolan would have used the occasion of +Clark’s 50th jubilee to chastise him for “consistently……(fill in the blanks) rather than……(fill in the blanks).” That would not have helped anyone, would have put off many or most of the friends, family and fellow bishops and priests in attendance, and frankly, would have been just plain rude.

    +Dolan gets a pass on this one, if you ask me.

    Richard Thomas, we cannot even begin to fathom the depth of God’s love and mercy.

  34. avatar brother of penance says:

    Annonymouse, I never expected Cardinal Dolan to use the occasion of Bishop Clark’s 50th Jubilee to chastise him.

    Perhaps you are misreading my comments.

    May I refer you to September 18, 2012 at 1:55 PM comment wherein I infer that if invited I would have considered going and would have given thanks prayerfully.

    In the September 19, 2012 at 10:39 AM comment I allude to an explanation being necessary since the Cardinal called the Bishop a ‘great’ bishop. Specifically I wrote: “But, help me understand Cardinal Dolan, how is a bishop considered great whose actions and lack of action betray an unwillingness to preserve, expound, and spread Sacred Tradition abroad by preaching and teaching?”

    I really think you misunderstood what I wrote. I never intended any public chastisement.

    Isn’t it possible that the Jubilee could have been celebrated telling the man he is loved without publicly announcing his greatness?

    And if one had the opportunity to speak with the Cardinal, isn’t it appropriate to ask him why he considers Clark a great bishop in light of…..fill in the blanks?

    Don’t Catholics who strive to be faithful to Christ and His Church deserve explanations as to how the Hierarchy tolerates its own members whose actions and lack of action betray an unwillingness to preserve, expound, and spread Sacred Tradition abroad by preaching and teaching?

    In fairness to you, Annonymouse, I did ask: “help those who desire to be faithful to Christ and his Church make sense out of the accolades, praise and thunderous applause for a “spiritual man” who consistently……(fill in the blanks) rather than…….(fill in the blanks)?”

    Here is the obvious answer, ‘those who praised and applauded are the same folks who agree with what the Bishop consistently did and didn’t do.’

    Now we are left with our personal feelings about all of this, wondering aloud about dissent from Catholic Truth being overwhelmingly politically correct in both American society and Church.

    Give me Christ, His Cross, My Cross and a share in his suffering for God’s Grace Is Sufficient.

    You, Annonymouse, can give the Cardinal a ‘pass’.

  35. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    No. I cannot fathom God’s mercy. After all, I merit hell by my past life. I do not, however, want to praise anyone whose public actions have hurt Christ’s church.

    And giving scandal. You can talk about God’s love and mercy but there is also God’s justice. God didn’t put his justice in cold storage and give all a free pass saying God is love and forgiceness.

    I repeat. We must ask for God’s forgiveness. Sometimes God can bring us to the pits of life to let go of all the impediments that keep us from his mercy. And that’s good. For we depend on his mercy. But if we do not heed to his mercy and not ask for forgiveness, then his justice has to prevail.

    Too many times, we have heard “God is love, God is mercy, God is forgiveness by people who use the phrase to justify conduct that is objectively wrong. That talk seems to give people a free pass to justify any type of behavior. But we know there are objectively wrong actions. I don’t want anyone hiding behind those phrases.

    We re getting away from the topic but I agree with Brother of penance. The bishop of the DOR is not a great bishop. Do you want to put him in the same categore as St. Alphonsous Ligouri, St Augustine, St Pius X? I rest my case.

    The cardinal could have said things that would have not implied a job well done. How could he single out that man, commending him for his service. If you don’t have anything nice to say, zip it!

  36. avatar JLo says:

    Thank you for your clear-headedness, Richard Thomas. Platitudes are not necessarily truth bearing, annonymouse. In fact, often such are contrived to just make the speaker feel so very good and holy while slapping dissenting views! Where Jesus went and those he attended to were never left in the dark to wander in their sins and lose their everlasting life, so stop with your giving sin a pass in the name of your heartfelt love. Richard is right about Justice, WHICH IS LOVE!

    There are too many SSA-accepting priests and bishops just left in their posts, losing their own souls and probably many others. That should not be. They should be removed from active ministry, every single one of them.

    As to judgments, we are called upon all day and all night to make judgments about BEHAVIOR, else how will we manage to walk in the light? In going among SSA devotees instead of disbanding a known SSA haven in a church actually called CATHOLIC, +Dolan gives the nod of his head to their behavior, bolstering them up in their sinful lifestyle and holding their pastor unaccountable for this tolerance of an intolerable behavior.

    There is madness in the land, and platitudes and acceptance in the name of “love” does not cut it. It’s not even honest. It’s not helpful, not courageous, not truthful and so not loving. It is, though, straight from the progressives’ playbook.

    +JMJ

  37. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    I cna honestly say that had I continued my previous life, I dread what might have happened. But God used a terrible event in my life that made me rely on him, after ignoring him for almost 20 years. And his mercy makes me tremble because I did not deserve it. I could have been shoveling coal for eternity. It is unfathomable.

    But thank God, I did respond. I went to confession after 18 years and have tried to be faithful ever since. But I will never, God hope, utter that phrase: God is love and forgiveness, while actively sinning, or tolerating bad conduct in others, especially those in active ministry.

    But a great saint once uttered: God, I need you every minute because by my very nature, I would choose sin and death, unless the power of your grace and protection in present.

  38. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    To me, God is LOVE. HE forgives…he UNDERSTANDS … I believe that his KNOwleDGE cannot be understood nor can WE ever speak for HIM. As Christians, we tend to focus on HIS WORD according to what we, as individuals have experienced in life. This is a wonderful thing. Christ died on the Cross for us. I truly believe that he understands where Bishop Clark is coming from as he does where Ben Anderson is coming from. To disagree, in God’s name can be a learning experience but also, it can cause havoc. I think each and every one of us should examine ourselves, our family, and how we deal with adversity. Bottom line, even in my elementary knowledge, Love should prevail…forgiveness should prevail…judgement should cease. Of course, scripture teaches us to confront sin, but when it causes disdain among ourselves, I think re-examination is in order. Anonymouse…I like you and the way you think…Please contact me… Jan3143@aol.com … I’d like to talk. Ben and those who agree with him…Thank you for giving me the opportunity to look deeper into scripture…I just keep coming up with the fact that God wants us to UNITE…Peace to all…

  39. avatar brother of penance says:

    Richard Thomas, thank you for sharing faith and your experiences of conversion.

    May Jesus Christ be praised, now and forever.

  40. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    i wonder, could the adversity here be a male/female way of looking at life?

  41. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    I believe in forgiveness too.

    But if someone does harmful things to Christ’s church and people, then they are acting as a Satan, an enemy of Christ. We must do all we can to thwart this.

    Much of the trouble in the DOR is that the current administration has been acting with total power and it has been their way or the highway.

    Many have displayed righteous anger over the many assaults on Christs mystical body but have unfortunately been helpless to do much of anything. It is heartbeaking to watch the Church be trampled into the dust. Christ will make things right, maybe not now, but eventually.

    I will forgive but I will not forget. And I will not give someone , who was entrusted with so much, a free pass. Yes, I want the salvation of his soul and I pray for that. But I am not saying the word forgiveness to justify someone’s malavelant behavior.

    I know ultimately this is between him and God. I forgive him. But forgiveness does not allow me to stand by and allow someone to continue bad behavior and not call him or her out.

    Anyway, God bless.

  42. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    To Richard Thomas:

    Firstly, I will attempt to respond to you from a human/female perspective. That’s all I can do…I won’t go with scripture here. I believe that God wants us to listen to each other, whether it be a doctor/patient relationship, a male/female relationship…or a God/man/woman relationship. I think we can’t issue free passes, and to take a stand as to whether to issue or not issue them is fruitless. From my perspective, it’s not up to us to issue a free pass nor is it up to us to not let our fellow man in. I think that is God’s job. My objective is to stop the fight. Right and wrong exist, and only God has the right to judge. He doesn’t want us to fight. He wants us to unite…and even though I have, myself, shown my bad side, exibiting my dysfunction, my anger, my judgements, I own them, and that is because I’m not afraid of being wrong nor am I afaid that God won’t honor me because I am wrong. To fight with scripture, to me, honors favor, and isn’t there scripture that says that is not what God honors? Just wondering.. All of you, Ben, Dr. K., and so many others are definately very smart people, and it’s very apparent that you all know what you are talking about and that each and every one of you have the best of intentions, and that is to please God. I can’t argue with that. And I won’t ..because that’s not the issue here..to me, the issue is unity…whether being right brings us together…I ask for more understanding…void of scripture…for understanding and forgivness is just what Jesus has taught us…that’s his main message, in my opinion…why can’t that be? Why must somebody be right? If somebody is right, then everybody else is wrong…so if everybody else is wrong…why talk or try to communicate? I want to understand what Cleansing Fire wants to acheive…why they keep persisting and persisting…being right…where has it gotten you? just wondering with respect…

  43. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    good discussion here. I have a few points to add (well, really I think it’s all been said already), but I’ll throw them out there anyways.

    – In full disclosure – my original post introduced the Courier’s article with this tag line:

    Yesterday Cardinal Timothy Dolan gave a big boost to those who support the radical homosexual agenda, women priests, free-for-all liturgies, and pretty much every issue endorsed by the Democratic platform.

    I received some feedback from some folks I trust and respect saying I went too far. I don’t often make changes to my posts, but in this case I thought I’d step back and give it some more time to reflect. In defense of my original words, I wasn’t saying Cardinal Dolan supported those things I mentioned. I merely said he gave liberal “Catholics” a big boost (intended or not) by the excessive flattery he heaped upon +Clark. I don’t see how you could argue against that. What I took +Dolan to be saying is, “there’s no problem here and the people who think there is are the real problem”. I find that mentality very troubling because if our next bishop takes that approach then we’re all in trouble. I would guess he’ll make up his own mind, but there’s a good chance he (and other orthodox priests present at this mass) will weigh +Dolan’s remarks quite heavily as they approach the upcoming transition.

    Here’s one such comment from facebook:

    maybe some folks have exaggerated Bishop Clark’s errors and alleged bad motives, and Cardinal Dolan has a more objective view?

    many people will jump to that very same conclusion based on +Dolan’s high praise for Bishop Clark. “You see, rejecting teachings of the Church that Rome claims to be infallible is no big deal. There is room in this Church for a wide variety of beliefs.” Certainly that’s true about some doctrines, but not the ones we argue about on this blog.

    Some people say, “well, we all know +Dolan didn’t really intend to endorse +Clark’s policies with these comments. He’s a politician and this is just what politicians must do.” I don’t understand this logic because that’s pretty much endorsing deception. If he didn’t mean it, why should he say it?

    Then there’s the “it was a retirement party, a 50th ordination, etc, so he should heap praise on him”. Well, obviously I don’t think anyone here would expect +Dolan or anyone else to rain on +Clark’s parade, but +Dolan’s comments went well above and beyond. To claim that this situation is unique and unlike any scenarios normal people face is bogus. We all have awkward social situations we have to deal with all the time. It’s never easy to handle and sometimes it’s hard to find the right words. Here’s a couple scenarios off the top of my head.

    1 – You’re at work and one of your gay co-workers announces that he just got engaged. Everyone, I mean everyone is ecstatic and celebrating. What do you do? You obviously don’t scream “homosexuality is a sin, people!!!”. But you also shouldn’t participate in the celebration. The right thing is the more difficult thing. You could exit the situation silently or perhaps in a very polite way say something nice about the person without endorsing the circumstance. There’s room for judgment, but there are certainly guidelines. It would be a sin to endorse the situation.

    2 – Your friend calls you up and asks you to be his best man at his wedding. You know his fiancee is divorced (no annulment). What do you do?

    3 – A family member recently left the Catholic Church and asks you to be the godfather for their baby’s baptism in an Anglican Church. What do you do?

    Our Church leaders must lead by their actions. People look to them to see the best way to respond in situations. When they fumble and drop the ball, so many people will follow and do the same.

  44. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    SALLYANNE,
    I’m not persisting and persisting that I am right. I’m persisting and persisting that Holy Mother Church is right. And if people want to disagree – they ought to admit that they’re outside the boundaries of Catholicism. It’s as simple as that.

  45. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Ben,

    I think I get where you are coming from. I think your whole message is to honor and obey God’s word, that is, biblically speaking. I do get it, and you are right on in every way when it comes to that. You are very schooled in scripture and undoubtedly a smart guy. Your grammar, and everybody’s grammar, for that matter, who partakes in this blog is pristeen. Each and every one of you are trying to please our Lord and you do it via scripture that the bible is true and to be taken in every aspect, literally. I do believe that you and your counterparts realize that God’s scripture can be misinterpreted by others, and that is why you persist. Your point is to point out to others just what God commands via scripture. I know I’m being a bit redundant here…

    To add, this is a Catholic blog, so the Holy Mother Church has a strong influence on what you teach.

    I wonder what God’s plan actually is. If, for instance, Bishop Matt is wrong and he is going against God’s wishes and commands, why he would do that. I can only assume that he is not bad in his heart and that he has thought this through. He does pray and he reflects and he is schooled in the scripture. So why would he ignore the Church’s commandments and God’s commandments is the question….

    To me, it is a question…That’s what I’m trying to point out. We do not have a crystal ball and we can’t understand anybody’s reasoning, even our own…that, in itself is quite a task…

    I know that I realize what I do wrong and I still do it…my personality, my habits, etc.

    I can hardly fix my own “stuff” no less control even those who are family members. I have learned, through much counseling (and yes, I too, have had my troubles and my journeys) that the only people that we can change is ourselves. I even tried to push my belief and understanding of scripture on you and those who partake in Cleansing Fire. It didn’t work. That’s my point…

    Being right doesn’t change others. Being right makes us right. That’s all it does. If that’s what you are trying to achieve here…then you are right…but I believe with all my heart that God is trying to help us to understand each other, to open up, and unite in his Love….

  46. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Sallyanne,
    You’re wrong! I have horrible grammar!

    I’ll grant Bishop Clark has the best of intentions – I’ve never questioned that. But that’s not the point.

    the only people that we can change is ourselves.

    The only people we can change for *certain* is ourselves, but we can try to influence others. People are influenced by many things. This blog is just one more vehicle that might influence some people in some way to delve deeper into their faith. It’s also a nice resource for the next bishop or anyone else in command to see what’s going on here.

  47. avatar annonymouse says:

    It seems to me extremely dangerous, and presumptuous, to throw terms like “satan” around in connection with our bishop. Who are we to judge? Leave that to the Lord, will ya?

    Meanwhile, isn’t this entire conversation “beating a dead horse” so to speak? I mean, +Clark has submitted his resignation letter and will soon be replaced.

    I think (more than ever) that many folks here (Richard Thomas in particular) are simply going to be very disappointed that the next bishop is not the “bull in a china shop” that people are wishing and praying for. While I fully expect the next bishop to take a much more rightward tack, I also expect that he’ll attempt not to alienate the large number of Catholics who are quite fond of and loyal to +Clark. And isn’t that a bishop’s role as shepherd? I have to believe that many here, if truth be told, are quite disappointed with Benedict’s lack of ferocity.

  48. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Anonymouse,

    I couldn’t have said it better. I think Bishop Clark (regardless of the fact that he is my cousin) is a wonderful man, a Godly man, and a man who prays and has given his life to the Lord. Whether or not he pleases everybody, does not make him a “bad Bishop.” Whether or not he pleases the Lord, is God’s decision. It’s not our place. Cleansing Fire has pointed out their belief to Bishop Clark. Evidently, he has rejected it and gone about doing as he pleases. This is what human beings do, not to anger others, but to be true to ourselves. If others point out our faults and we don’t take adhere, then we need to let it go. We cannot change anybody but ourselves and to keep harping and harping is not peaceful…it’s counterproductive.

  49. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    correction: If we don’t adhere…duh me….

  50. avatar Dr. K says:

    Whether or not he pleases everybody, does not make him a “bad Bishop.

    This is what makes him a bad bishop:

    Category 1979 2012
    Active diocesan priests 341 90
    Total priests 584 215
    Priest ordinations 4 0
    Religious sisters 1,047 443
    Parishes 161 105*
    Seminaries 2 0
    Catholic high schools 9 5
    Catholic elementary schools 78 25
    Total Catholic school students 76,724 20,603
    Infant baptisms 6,742 2,646
    Marriages 3,919 1,009

    *Though many parishes have merged, the number of closed churches under Bp. Clark is an alarming 40.

    Another important figure is the 33% decline in Mass attendance from 2000-2010 (108,000 to 71,901).
    Mass attendance is 23% in the Diocese of Rochester, far below the national average.

    This is a great bishop? Is this even a poor bishop?

  51. avatar Scott W. says:

    I suppose one could protest “But Dr. K! That’s hardly +Clark’s fault! Dioceses around the country are showing decline in those categories!” That is true, but I would challenge anyone to find many dioceses nose-diving harder.

    The statistics alone are enough to come to a reasonable conclusion about the quality of leadership here. That’s before we even get to the doctrinal obfuscation and liturgical chaos.

  52. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Sallyanne,

    I met the bishop. He is a gentle person when meeting strangers. But that gentleness can win people over and being won over to that agenda is wrong. I have also experienced his vindictiveness and his using his office to promote things that harm the church, especially the homosexual agenda, while at the same time suppressing those people who simply stood up for the truth in a non judgemental way.

    I don’t want to fight but Christ said” I came to divide, father against mother,” etc. I think that is what has happened not only in Rochester but everywhere the gospel is preached. Look at the story of Arius and the bishop of what I think was Constantinople. The emperor had ordered the bishop to give Arius, the heretic, communion in public. The bishop prayed to God saying, Lord, either him or me. As he approached the altar, Arius began to suffer indigestion and excused himself and went to the bathroom. There, he died. In the bathroom.

    I do not wish any harm to anyone but I cannot unite with someone who is diabolically opposed to so much of the teachings of the Church. But God can do anything. He can bring enemies together where man fails. Shrt of that I can only pray for him. I wish him the best and pray he makes heaven.

    How can you unite with someone so opposed to Christ’s church? All I can do is pray for him and his intentions.

  53. avatar Gretchen says:

    Ben, I don’t think you went too far at all. Speaking truth is a scandal at times, and we are certainly living in times that demand truth.

    Though I believe Sallyanne is a sincere individual who takes her faith seriously, I am sensing in her words that the promotion of unity takes precedence over truth. Jesus having declared himself the ‘truth’ and the ‘way’ and the ‘life,’ I would say unity takes a back seat in the scheme of living out our Catholic faith in a whole (or holistic) way.

    Additionally, if we take the idea of ‘not judging others’ to its logical conclusion, then we have no basis for declaring a single thing about anything. We are constantly asked, in this human life, to decide between good and evil, right and wrong. Each day we make dozens of decisions on how to act, react, and respond based on our internal moral value system. As Catholics, our value system is based upon Holy Scripture, the Magisterium, and the Apostolic Tradition. That is our standard upon which to make the myriad judgments that present themselves to us each day. To aver that judging is somehow wrong or sinful or not the highest sense of living a Catholic life is to destroy a foundational brick of our spiritucal progress and sanctification, and to paralyze those with differing views. The ‘trick’ is to judge righteously based on the teachings of our Faith.

    God is indeed love, but Scripture also tells us He is a “Man of war.” As Catholics it is important to understand our Faith enough to contextualize its teachings and not focus so deeply on one aspect as to fragment or compartmentalize it, or worse, to reject it.

  54. avatar Ron says:

    I wonder how long it will take for some folks here to turn on whoever our new bishop is.

  55. avatar Rich Leonardi says:

    I wonder how long it will take for some folks here to turn on whoever our new bishop is.

    I’ll wager it’ll take quite a long time if it ever comes at all, given how low the bar has been set.

  56. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Rob,
    I assume you’re implying that we’re a bunch of nit-pickers who focus on the speck in our brother’s eye? If that’s the case, I challenge you to scour our site and find an issue that isn’t a big deal where we’ve put our foot in the sand and said, “this is injustice and cannot stand!”

  57. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    To Gretchen and Ben,

    I’m going to go out on a limb here, and just be a human being and state what I feel and what I think without using actual scripture to back me up.

    As I have stated in previous posts, I have no doubt that those who back Ben and Gretchen truly believe that they are working for the Lord, following his commandments, using scripture as their base. In fact, all of you are very good at what you do, and I’m sure it would not be easy for any of you to just sit back and discuss the issue of Bishop Clark without scripture and actually be honest and real with your expression as how he has caused you so much pain and discomfort. Pain and discomfort is here, it’s so much the theme, but I see it masked with anger, God’s anger. I don’t think it’s God here, who is angry. I think you are angry, all of you, and you victimize Bishop Clark because it gives you some sense of comfort and favor with God. That’s what I think. I’m not judging you, right now, although I have fallen into the chaos because I am a human being, imperfect, and I like being human and imperfect….I really don’t have a problem with that at all. I truly beilieve that God is a loving God and even though he looks at us with anger and judgement, I think he wants that job to be HIS….

    Because this is a Catholic blog, I think social and personal aspects take a back seat in your hearts and in your minds. I would really like to see some true feelings expressed here, feelings void of Holy anger, which seems to be the theme here, in this blog.

    I must say that this is very disturbing to me. I have always believed, with all of my being, that Jesus was born and crucified in order to deliver all of us from our sins. I have always believed and interpreted (through scripture) his theme as being love, forgiveness, and lack of judgement for our fellow man/woman. To me, that is what I see in scripture, even though scripture directs us to other paths. Gretchen pointed out that God is a “Man of War.” That might be true, and it probably is, but to me, he (Jesus) suffered for us in order to spread love and forgiveness. I really don’t see much of that in this blog so I have to assume that the theme of this blog is to attack FOR God. All in all, I see ATTACK, JUSTIFY, PROVE, RIGHT, WRONG, FAVOR, DYSFUNCTION, and the inability to use intelligence and knowledge to bring people together…to turn the other cheek, to spread peace and love.

  58. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    I realize that I contradicted myself in my previous post…i just winged it…so please don’t point it out…I already know…just try to take my message as I meant it in my human imperfection…

  59. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Sallyanne,
    You’re making personal judgments based on one small sliver of people’s lives. This blog has a focused topic. That doesn’t that people who contribute or read it think and act with righteous anger in everything we do and everyone we encounter. I tend to think people here are much more balanced than you realize. You’re taking more of a psychological approach which takes the focus off of the issue at hand. Also, for what ir’s worth, your caricature of me and the others here that I know personally is flat wrong. Please try to focus on objective reasoning.

  60. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Fair enough, Ben. I’ll try to be more objective….:)

  61. avatar Scott W. says:

    Bishop Clark hasn’t caused me any anger and discomfort. Plenty of eye-rolling. Plenty of checking the watch and asking, “How much longer?” Plenty of setting the watch to the inevitable disasters his progressivist poison causes. Peace and love are not possible when they are built on a foundation of falsehood. Besides, even if one turns beet-red in the face, pounds the table and screams at the top of his lungs, “2+2=4!!” then sure, he should have that anger managed, but at the end of the day, any bishop that insists 2+2=5 can’t escape the fact that they are wrong.

  62. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Sally, I don’t know what “contradiction” you mean in your post, and I’m not trying to seek it out, but there are two things about your writing which do disturb me. One is that I would like to sense more of a respect for scripture. It is God’s direct speaking to us, and if we act or believe or lead others to act in ways which contradict Scripture, we have endangered the souls of others. There is no need for Catholics speaking to Catholics to ever ignore God’s own Word. But, today, there seems to be a real lack of understanding of Scripture, and what God’s teaching demands of us. It is up to us to keep His Holy Word in plain sight. Unfortunately, too many people grab on to a few words like “judge not” (without understanding the role of discernment), and “love each other” to mean making nice and not being confrontative. The truest manifestation of love cannot be separated from Truth. Tough love. If we are in love with someone it is natural to want to know all about the person. So too, in our love for God, if we seek to know all about Him, we will naturally be drawn to Scripture, not avoiding it. I know people who late in life delved into understanding Scripture and were greatly spiritually enriched by it. I’d like to encourage you not to avoid it, but to willingly be hungry for the Word of God, because so much else then falls naturally into place.

    Second, I want to express my concern about the apparent attribution of motives, over and over again, to those who post here. Each person is different, and may have different motives at different times. We can’t always recognize our own, let alone the motives of others. But I know many of these people and how they are driven by a love for the Church and for God’s people, and how they are greatly saddened by the demise of the Rochester Diocese under Bishop Clark. The numbers clearly show the lack of fruit. We are Catholics, and in fully embracing Church teaching we cannot condone leadership which doesn’t clearly speak the truth of the Church’s teaching, or take Jesus’ admonitions seriously. We have Canon Law rights — and sometimes the duty — to point out what falls short of our spiritual needs, which offends a sense of righteousness.

    But to return to the question of motivation, it can lead one down a path of error to try to match every action to a motivation, although sometimes we may well indeed shake our heads. And sometimes we feel we must ‘beg the question.’ I’d like to pose to you, and I hope you will answer, how you would feel and what you would think, and what kind of motivation you would ascribe to someone on Cleansing Fire saying the following:

    “A traveler on my flight said that Bishop Clark is the “second-most famous thing in Rochester.” Would someone tell me what a Nick Tahou’s Garbage Plate is?” Then this remark is followed by loud laughter.

    Sally, what would you think if you found this on Cleansing Fire? Is this is funny? Or disrespectful? Why? What kind of motive would give rise to such a comment about a bishop? Is it okay for others to laugh at such a remark? If it were on Cleansing Fire should it be removed? tolerated? Should it be reported to Rome for action? Should the person lose posting rights or not? I am interested in what you think and why. Then I’ll tell you more about it, and what I think about it.

  63. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Diane, I’ll process what you said and get back to you, for sure….

  64. avatar Scott W. says:

    I think I have a bead on why it is so common that we hear attributions of impure motives. What it is is the modern error that inverts concupiscence. While Freudian thought is finally starting to abate, much of his worldview permeates society and even good Catholics can lapse into this view if not vigilante (myself included). In Freud’s world, the id, that is, all your primal desires, are in charge, and Reason is merely an illusory construct for achieving those desires. I think you can trace this back to Hobbes who said that reason was but the scout and spy of the desires. In a sense, you can trace it all the way back to the Bible when the Devil tempts Our Lord when he is fasting in the desert: “turn these stones into bread”.
    Finally, today we are in a sense playing that out except that the Devil is telling the State, “turn these disordered homosexual desires into a real marriage”. Of course it can’t except through sheer force to browbeat people into accepting a lie.

  65. avatar Gretchen says:

    Sallyanne, I understand what you are feeling. When our deepest feelings move us to a certain position about our Faith, it is often extremely painful to know that others disagree. Sometimes even the degree of disagreement can cause more pain and an individual can be left emotionally desolate over misunderstanding or lack of mutual understanding. I get that. I feel that often, even amongst those who take issue with Bishop Clark (or any number of Catholic issues).

    However, I can’t speak beyond that with you, because in your obvious distress you aren’t willing to address issues in a way that forwards an honest exchange of fact-based ideas. Again, I understand the strength of feelings, being human myself. I appreciate your willingness to comment and your obvious humility. It is humbling to me.

  66. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Gretchen,

    Thank you for your understanding. Only a little over a month ago, did I come upon the controversy that surrounds Bishop Clark. I’m not what you would call a good Catholic. I don’t even go to church, (even though I have been throughout the years, turning toward God and again turning away like so many Catholics do…although my family is very Catholic, especially my mother, Bishop Clark’s first cousin. She is 89 years old so she remembers babysitting him when he was a child. She was invited to his retirement bash last weekend. I drove her half way to meet her brother, who lives in Syracuse, NY, and together, they went to his celebration. The pride that my mother feels is not only refreshing. My mother has always been very niave, like an angel, so even if she had been exposed to the controversary surrounding Bishop Matt, she wouldn’t focus on it. That’s the way she is. The whole family is very religious, on my mother’s side, that is. I have always understood Bishop Matt to be a wonderful guy (which I still do…he has shown up at our family reunion celebrations throughout the years…and I found him to be very warm and wonderful). So, you can only imagine the shock I felt when I Googled his name and came upon Cleansing Fire. I have bantered back and forth with Ben, Dr. K., and many others, and I must say I have shown my disapproval several times in the form of sarcasm and anger. Thing is, I don’t make pretend that I’m holy or that I’m in God’s favor. I just cannot swallow the hypocritcal (or what I perceive it to be) attitude and I was shocked with the Jibjab.com cartoons of him. It’s distressing…this whole experience… although I have learned a lot through research; it just doesn’t sit right in my mind. I don’t think Christianity should be this way. I can’t join in with people who point fingers, even if they truly believe that they are doing what God wants them to do. I have read the scripture which justifies their position(s), and I still can’t swallow it.

    It feels wrong — especially since, being the Living Word of God, it seems people can find Scripture for any issue they may have. And being the Living Word of God, not one of us can truly

  67. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    know for complete certainty what our Father means, as He is so eternal in His knowledge, in His love. We may just have it wrong… and what if we do? What IF we have it wrong???? I do know He does not wish for us to judge… that is His (and only His) unfortunate job. Do not judge and love above all… and all of this upset over Matt Clark. . .? It’s not only judgmental, it’s causing unnecessary strife within the church. WE are the church… all of us.

  68. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    I have noticed that only females respond to feelings on this blog…

  69. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Men, I do matter, as a female..please respond …I wonder if you can…even Gretchen, you are afraid for you, too, will be judged..for your opinion matters not, so just go along with the power and ignore me…..I get it!

  70. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    I really don’t think it’s possible for any one of you to respond to actual feelings…I believe that is because men can’t stand to be wrong…fear lies in the heart of man…I know it as do all women…prove me wrong…

  71. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    What does the Bible say about pride?

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    Ben, I know and believe that you are a spiritual man…driven by the Divine, and I wonder what your respose is to this question about pride…I respect you opinion…

    Question: “What does the Bible say about pride?”

    Answer: There is a difference between the kind of pride that God hates (Proverbs 8:13) and the kind of pride we feel about a job well done. The kind of pride that stems from self-righteousness is sin, and God hates it because it is a hindrance to seeking Him. Psalm 10:4 explains that the proud are so consumed with themselves that their thoughts are far from God: “In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” This kind of haughty pride is the opposite of the spirit of humility that God seeks: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). The “poor in spirit” are those who recognize their utter spiritual bankruptcy and their inability to come to God aside from His divine grace. The proud, on the other hand, are so blinded by their pride that they think they have no need of God or, worse, that God should accept them as they are because they deserve His acceptance.

  72. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Sally,
    This blog really does have a purpose. It is to defend Truth and Tradition in the Church. To be soldiers for Christ. To advance His Work. To identify and share concerns. To protect the vulnerable by offering the Truth to those who are weak in their faith. To be loyal to our Holy Father. To provide a forum by which we may exercise many of our Canon Law rights…..I’m sure the founders would have much more to add. But it is not for the dilutive social dialogue of a FaceBook, in my opinion. I totally understand why people are not responding to your recent comments, which come across unfortunately as demanding attention. It is not what we are here for, men or women. But if you want to pursue this sidebar about men and whether they are paying enough attention to you, I think it would better serve the site to take it to private email.

    I am still interested in how you would react to the question I asked you on September 20th at 11:32 PM. I still hope you will respond. Peace.

    PS you can’t tell the gender of those who comment just by the screen names they choose.

  73. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Diane, my email address is Jan3143@aol.com…please email me…You are a woman, and I trust you just as Ben trusts Dr. K…but we shouldn’t speak about this on this male orientated blog….shame on me…Lord, forgive me as I know not what I say or what I do…

  74. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Diane,I know that you now what I’m talking about….

  75. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Diane,

    For some reason, unknown to me, my posts don’t appear on this blog…Ben, why is that? Possibly there is a great fear of truth here, on this Godly blog…my posts keep vanishing…why is that? Is it becasue of fear? Is it because truth is too hard to undersrtand or is it because feelings just don’t matter…in this messed up world, …??? Ben, you have the answers….

  76. avatar Dr. K says:

    “For some reason, unknown to me, my posts don’t appear on this blog…”

    I see the posts fine.. ?

  77. avatar Scott W. says:

    There is nothing wrong with feelings in and of themselves. My confession is that I get a little misty-eyed when Boromir dies at the end of the Fellowship of the Ring. The problem comes when people think feelings are some kind of trump card in a discussion. For example, in the 70’s pro-abortionists lined up women and had them cry into the microphone about how their education or careers were ruined because they were “forced” to have children. Now lately, pro-lifers have taken to crying into the microphone about how they regret their abortions. Now, I’m all for any morally licit tactic for ending abortion, but the observer may reasonably ask, “Why are these women’s cries into the mic more valid than these other women’s crying into the mic?” In the end, using emotions to advance an agenda reminds one of Gollum’s pathetic protests of self-pity.

  78. avatar Gretchen says:

    Sallyanne, I cannot agree with you that the tone of this blog is male-oriented or dominated. In fact, it never entered my mind that I would be judged at Cleansing Fire because I am a woman. I have not experienced that here.

    I can only reiterate what I said before, that your feelings of what is right and/or wrong is preventing us from discussing facts and thus furthering dialogue and understanding. Feelings, if allowed to dominate, ultimately shut down the furtherance of knowledge. There has to be an honest give-and-take between one’s mind (reasoning faculties) and one’s heart (feelings).

    Blessed Mother Teresa was famous for never judging others. She would not hesitate to tell an individual that his/her actions were wrong/sinful, but she did not judge the individual’s soul for that sinful action.

    There is a difference in what you are asking of those who disagree with how the DOR was run under Bishop Clark. In effect, you are asking those who disagree with Bishop Clark to shut up (in the interests of unity). That is not what I understand to be a Christian response to sin, especially when so many souls are endangered by policies and actions that are contrary to the teachings of Christ’s Church.

  79. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Maybe I was wrong by saying this blog is dominated by men. Diane, I’ll try to find your question and answer it.

  80. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Diane, where did this come from? I’m not sure. If I found this on Cleansing Fire, I’d say it was disrespectful. I don’t think it’s funny, but it’s clear that most people on the flight understood the joke. It’s mean, but it wasn’t said in the name of God. It’s far less disrespectful than the JibJab cartoon. I think that was awful.

    What kind of motive would give rise to such a comment about a bishop?

    The motive might be frustration and anger.

    Is it okay for others to laugh at such a remark?

    I’d say it’s OK to laugh at this if the people laughing thought it was funny. This was said on an airplane flight.

    Should it be reported to Rome for action?

    Of course not.

    Should the person lose posting rights or not?

    No, they shouldn’t lose posting rights. As long as they don’t hide behind God and condemn a man by “praying for his soul” as if they were standing on the top step of the “Staircase to Heaven” with a pitchfork.

    Please tell me what you think about this…Peace to all..

  81. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Sallyanne, I am glad that you find the cited remarks disrespectful. So do I. And I can guarantee you that if any Cleansing Fire writer had written it, we’d be hearing condemnation from all over the Diocese and further. Also, I think there is a good chance one of the website administrators would have deleted it, although they can speak for themselves. (You keep mentioning jibjab and I don’t even know what that means so I won’t reference it.) One of my points in mentioning the garbage plate remark was because you have often mentioned MOTIVES. We do try (not 100% successfully, nor is any human being) to focus on FRUIT or its lack — what are the RESULTS of Bishop Clark’s episcopacy? (The data table, for example.) Those are facts; those are history.

    The cited quote, which in essence placed Bishop Clark as #2 behind a garbage plate, shows why it is so hard to judge motives. I am no fan of Bishop Clark’s and I mourn for what he has done to our Diocese and souls in it, but I don’t know WHY he did what he did, just as you don’t know WHY people write what they do. Only that you are offended by it. (Sometimes giving offense is the inevitable although unintended cost of speaking the truth.) But we can certainly judge if we are offended. And I am offended by the garbage plate remark directed toward any bishop.

    You think the garbage plate speaker had a motive of frustration and anger. That is possible. Or maybe not. While the speaker referenced his having HEARD it from a traveller on an airplane, that isn’t the whole story. We wouldn’t know about it if he hadn’t repeated it. And when the man who speaks this way, at the Bishop’s expense, is the Cardinal of New York, to me that only adds to my being offended.

    Yes, this is what the Diocesan Catholic Courier reported on-line on September 17th about the Jubilee Mass on Sunday, September 16th (excerpt): “[Cardinal Dolan] noted that another traveler on his flight to Rochester informed him that Bishop Clark is the ‘second-most famous thing in Rochester. Would someone tell me what a Nick Tahou’s Garbage Plate is? I’ve got a feeling I’m going to find out,’ Cardinal Dolan remarked, sparking loud laughter at the mention of Rochester’s local fast-food favorite.”

    And, to make matters worse, this wasn’t said on-line, in a private conversation or even at a roast. It was said from the pulpit of Sacred Heart Cathedral at the Bishop’s Jubilee Mass, in the Eucharistic Presence, with an overflowing audience of priests, deacons, family and community leaders. I personally see it as entirely inappropriate, as demeaning to the office of the episcopacy, and offensive. If you read the article carefully, in spite of all the love and acclaim supposedly given, you will see that Cardinal Dolan also took off on a tangent which implicitly compared Bishop Clark to one of his predecessors now being considered for canonization, Archbishop Sheen. How could Bishop Clark not have looked small by comparison? Regardless of my personal feelings toward Bishop Clark, I think the words by Cardinal Dolan were demeaning to someone who saw himself as celebrating a pinnacle of his life. But why all his priests and friends laughed is of course a question of their motives, their judgment, nervousness, or something else? I don’t know; I can’t speculate. We do of course know that both Bishop Clark and Cardinal Dolan did know last Sunday that Pope Benedict was accepting the resignation this past week and this would be an almost final event of sorts. Cardinal Dolan, in essence, had the last word.

    Here is the link to the whole story: http://www.catholiccourier.com/news/local-news/mass-of-thanksgiving-honors-a-great-bishop/

    PS If Cardinal Dolan were just showing poor judgment, craving laughter or attention, or abusing his role in this matter, we don’t know. But it certainly does raise even more questions about his motives/reasons/judgment regarding the Al Smith dinner, for which polls have shown half of the Cardinal’s flock oppose an invitation to a president being sued by the USCCB. People are known not so much by the grandiose one-time gestures as by what they do when exerting power over others. I will have more to say in a future post about concerns about Cardinal Dolan.

  82. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Diane,

    Knowing the whole story, I’d say that Cardinal Dolan’s remark was funny. Bishop Matt was right there. That changes the whole thing. I think it shows that even Bishops and Cardinals can have a sense of humor. I Googled Nick’s Garbage Plate before I responded to your question, so I knew that it was a well known and established business in Rochester, NY. Whoever made that comment was possibly just letting the cardinal know about that business in the City of Rochester. Possibly that person’s motives were not from anger or resentment, possibly they were, but what was funny about it was the Cardinal’s question, and I think, because he and Bishop Clark are such good friends that it was appropriate. We all need to have a sense of humor.

    JibJab.com is a site where you can “cartoon” somebody by cropping a person’s face on a body and watch the person dance to music. Even though I believe in humor, it’s pretty clear that the person who did this (I think that person was from Cleansing Fire) had angry motives and posted it for everybody to see. Just Google “pure imagination” Cleansing Fire and see for yourself. There are two of them, I believe…meaning two cartoons. To me, it contradicts what Cleansing Fire’s motives are. It’s mocking and doesn’t seem very Christian-like to me. Anyway, those are my thoughts.

    Would you tell me more about the Al Smith dinner?

    Thanks for your explanation. I do respect your opinion and realize that you have the right to be offended by Cardinal Dolan’s remark. Everybody has their own take on things.

  83. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Hello Sallyanne,

    I will be writing more soon about Cardinal Dolan and the Al Smith dinner, so I’ll save those remarks until then. I will also try to find JibJab and see what I think.

    But I can only read in print Cardinal Dolan’s remarks about Bishop Clark being #2 to the garbage plate. I did not have the benefit of hearing his delivery. Nevertheless, I am offended by the objective words I read. See the danger of interpreting motive, though? When it appeared it might be from Cleansing Fire or at least an unknown source it was disrespectful, not funny, motivated by frustration and anger? Now, because one knows it comes from Cardinal Dolan, it is funny? It is a double standard, Sallyanne. And I think Cleansing Fire is being judged by such a double standard. Also, Cardinal Dolan is an individual, responsible for what he said. On Cleansing Fire each individual poster and commenter is responsible for what he/she writes. While administration can delete, they are not obligated to do so.

    Without questioning what the Cardinal’s real motives might have been, I can still see it as “disrespectful” without saying he is a disrespectful person. I can still be offended by it, without saying he is an offensive person. But the more power a person has, the more circumspect he/she should be in demeanor, guarding words and other actions carefully which can mislead as to truth, or injure feelings needlessly. The biblical quote which comes to mind is one I lectored a week ago, from St. Paul in 1 Corinthians Chapter 8, that we should not cause our brother to stumble by what we do. We need to take extra measures not to cause scandal.

    There is a difference of course between speaking the truth and making a bishop the butt of a joke, in my opinion. To not speak the truth when it is needed is a sin. To AVOID making a joke that might be misunderstood or taken the wrong way may be evidence of self-control, discipline, care. I find the difference between your opinion when you didn’t know it was Cardinal Dolan and now that you do, to be very telling. Why should there be a difference? The facts are the same. One reason you don’t see a lot of emphasis about feelings and opinions on this site, is its orientation toward objective facts. Facts are not for dispute. Facts are facts. Cardinal Dolan said what he said. Fact. Sacred Scripture, Church teaching, Tradition, Catechism — not open for dispute either. Thus, we can aggressively and faithfully state all facts of our faith without apology to those who deny them; actually as a duty to those who deny them.

    You say, that “everybody has their own take on things.” Yes, and they are entitled to their own “take” regarding their opinions, but they and their opinions have no rights to contradict the veracity of truth itself.

  84. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    But I can only read in print Cardinal Dolan’s remarks about Bishop Clark being #2 to the garbage plate. I did not have the benefit of hearing his delivery. Nevertheless, I am offended by the objective words I read. See the danger of interpreting motive, though? When it appeared it might be from Cleansing Fire or at least an unknown source it was disrespectful, not funny, motivated by frustration and anger? Now, because one knows it comes from Cardinal Dolan, it is funny? It is a double standard, Sallyanne. And I think Cleansing Fire is being judged by such a double standard. Also, Cardinal Dolan is an individual, responsible for what he said. On Cleansing Fire each individual poster and commenter is responsible for what he/she writes. While administration can delete, they are not obligated to do so.

    Good point, Diane. Maybe I am judging Cleansing Fire too harshly. I don’t like double standards, whether it’s me who is setting them or somebody else. I realize too, that Cleansing Fire isn’t responsible for what is said. I know I have said some pretty rotten things on here, myself, and I know that I intended to be rotten at the time and I also know that what I said was my doing, only. I do think in the case of Cardinal Dolan that the joke was funny, though. I say that not because he is a cardinal but because he is Bishop Matt’s friend and even funnier because I wouldn’t expect a Catholic cardinal to say that. It probably was intended to make everybody loosen up and relax…just assuming, though. Even a Catholic Cardinal can be funny.

    There is a difference of course between speaking the truth and making a bishop the butt of a joke, in my opinion. To not speak the truth when it is needed is a sin. To AVOID making a joke that might be misunderstood or taken the wrong way may be evidence of self-control, discipline, care. I find the difference between your opinion when you didn’t know it was Cardinal Dolan and now that you do, to be very telling. Why should there be a difference? The facts are the same.

    Again, I agree. There is a difference between speaking the truth and making a bishop the butt of a joke. I have read scripture (pointed out to me by members of Cleansing Fire) that instructs that it is a sin to not speak the truth when needed. While I agree that the facts are the same, the context of the whole thing is clear now. That’s why it is different to me.

    You say, that “everybody has their own take on things.” Yes, and they are entitled to their own “take” regarding their opinions, but they and their opinions have no rights to contradict the veracity of truth itself.

    I also agree that opinions have no right to contradict the veracity of truth, itself. However I beleive that we, as human beings, can go overboard. We can rage on and on about something and it still will not change another person. Possibly at first, if what is pointed out is taken and listened to and processed, and the person processing the information actually changes heart and opens him/herself up to looking at things differently, then yes, speaking the truth can be helpful. If the person who hears another person’s truth, even if spoken in the Bible, and they still go ahead and do what they initially set out to do, then I have to assume that the person is seeing something that his/her critics are not, especially a person as smart and educated in theology and Cannon Law as Bishop Matt is. I can only guess about this as I have not talked with him, personally, but I do have a lot of faith in him as a Bishop. I also realize that I don’t live in your area, so I guess it’s easy for me to judge Cleansing Fire (as I openly admit to doing) because I have not felt what you have from your perspective. The bible can be taken in so many different ways. So much unhappiness has been brought about (in the world) because of different takes on scripture. People can condone anything as scripture contradicts itself so often. It’s obvious that Bishop Clark focuses on the love that Jesus preached, love and fogiveness for all, turning the other cheek, etc. and I think he feels his conscience is clear and believes that God understands him. That’s only a guess on my part, of course. Anyway, thanks for your thoughts…Peace.

  85. avatar Scott W. says:

    Wait a minute. From my wiki search, a “garbage plate” is a famous dish in the area (I haven’t been here long, so it was the first I was hearing it.) See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Tahou_Hots

    Is this a case of misunderstanding?

  86. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Scott,

    Exactly. I knew that a garbage plate is a famous dish in the Rochester area. That’s why I responded as I did. I Googled it before I responded. I just assumed everybody knew that because again (I’m assuming) that most members of Cleansing Fire are from Rochester, NY. I just assumed that Diane knew what it meant. Did you, Diane? That does change things, like Scott said.

  87. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    That’s what makes the whole thing funny to me….

  88. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Yes, I did know what a garbage plate is when I made the original post. And I assume Sallyanne did also when she wrote (above):

    “If I found this on Cleansing Fire, I’d say it was disrespectful. I don’t think it’s funny, … It’s mean, ….” What kind of motive would give rise to such a comment about a bishop? “….The motive might be frustration and anger.”

    When it turned out to be Cardinal Dolan who said it that’s when it just became funny (not when it was discovered what a garbage plate is because we both apparently already knew that….) It wasn’t funny until Cardinal Dolan said it. If CF said it, then it wasn’t funny. It was “disrespectful…mean….motivated by frustration/anger.” I was making the point about reading into motives being risky.

    Yes, I knew what a garbage plate is and I still find what Cardinal Dolan said to be offensive and disrespectful. No one needs a laugh that much. I have also read the excerpt directly from the Courier to half a dozen people (none of whom particularly like Bishop Clark and a few who really don’t.) Every single one gasped, expressed disbelief what was said and by whom, and felt it was disrespectful. It was not a matter of knowing what a garbage plate is — they all know. Just saying….

    Hope Nick Tahou appreciates all this free publicity. 🙂

  89. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Sallyanne makes a good point

    “I beleive that we, as human beings, can go overboard. We can rage on and on about something and it still will not change another person.”

    I see this as meaning it is possible to be so harsh with the truth that we could drive someone away. That is why it is so important to pray that we allow ourselves to be used as the Holy Spirit wishes to use us. Forced conversion is no conversion at all.

    Thanks for making this important point, Sallyanne.

  90. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Thanks, Diane, for acknowledging my point. As you know, I’ve had trouble with this whole thing about exposing Bishop Clark and what wrong he is percieved to have done. Even though I don’t have anywhere near the knowledge about scripture as some of the members of Cleansing Fire, it just doesn’t feel like Christian love to me. I think by exposing him to such an extent that others who might have thought highly of Bishop Matt might change their minds and begin disliking him feels wrong to me. Isn’t that what satan wants us to do? Let’s say, for instance, that we sin and then we confess to Almighty God, that sin. We wouldn’t broadcast that sin and expose ourselves like we do others when they sin. I say, if we would hesitate to post our sins on a blog, why is it OK and why is it Christian behavior to expose another human being?

    “And you must love the Lord God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”- Mark 12:30-31 (NLT

  91. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Yes, I knew what a garbage plate is and I still find what Cardinal Dolan said to be offensive and disrespectful. No one needs a laugh that much. I have also read the excerpt directly from the Courier to half a dozen people (none of whom particularly like Bishop Clark and a few who really don’t.) Every single one gasped, expressed disbelief what was said and by whom, and felt it was disrespectful. It was not a matter of knowing what a garbage plate is — they all know. Just saying….

    Diane, like I said, we all have different perceptions and the vain in which our perceptions are delivered, I think, has a great influence on those we are communicating with. I think if you had delivered the “garbage plate” issue to your friends in the manner of jest, they would have laughed. I still feel that Cardinal Dolan meant only jest in his delivery. I don’t feel this way “because” he is a Cardinal and that it makes it “OK” but only because after knowing the whole story, my understanding increases. I’ll use this blog as an example: This blog focuses on defending truth and tradition in the Catholic Diocese of Rochester but if it focused on enhancing change in the Diocese of Rochester, then it would be a whole different experience. The delivery of our messages either cause a positive or negative reaction. I still believe, however, that you and each and every one of us has the right to “perceive” in our own manner. I can’t say that you are “wrong” in your perceptions because you are not. They are “your” perceptions. Peace…

  92. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Diane, one more point to back up my previous message. Below is my statement:

    “If I found this on Cleansing Fire, I’d say it was disrespectful. I don’t think it’s funny, … It’s mean, ….” What kind of motive would give rise to such a comment about a bishop? “….The motive might be frustration and anger.”

    Again, the delivery. Your questions were delivered on a blog which “defends” truth and tradition so I automatically “perceived” and “answered” in a negative manner, “assuming” my answer should be to “defend” and that it should be negative. That was “before” I knew the whole story. To change an opinion “after” understanding a story does not “prove” anything except that we really cannot know a persons motives without the whole story.

  93. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Sallyanne, Thanks you for explaining where you are coming from. Bishop Clark truly must have been the best-ever famous uncle/brother/cousin. What a point of pride for the whole family. And he was so loved by his family. Clearly, he didn’t offend any of his family and that’s an accomplishment. And many, probably most of the people he worked closely with, he also never offended. He also was so close to a big band of his priests; they just looked so happy and comfortable and validated and like part of a special hyped-up, happy brotherhood whenever they were together. I have met some of the people who worked for him, and they were all comfortable with him and grateful for his kind, nice ways.

    But while it was very nice for those in his brotherhood of like-minded priests, it not so nice for any priests not like-minded with his new ways. Or for anyone who did not, for example, share his imagination vision for stripping sacred spaces and turning them into pleasant gathering spaces. And not so nice for those of us defending Catholic traditions we have a right to defend. No, for those of us marginalized and discounted, it wasn’t so nice. Surely, you weren’t in with those. But we exist.

    MANY of us were negatively affected by the reality of his tenure, as is amply evidenced above by Dr.K [Sept.19, 11:33PM]. Many of us were affected seriously by these things. And we saw others working valiantly to prevent these losses, and witnessed again and again their deep discouragement at being ignored and marginalized. It was shocking to me.

    And I must address JibJab. Wen I saw Gen’s “Pure Imagination”, ohmigosh, it was the comic relief I needed so desperately in all this heavy sadness. I realize to you, there never was any heavy sadness. You only knew Clark as your so-nice so-wonderful famous cousin; I can see how this is a shock that anyone would see any harm coming from this nice guy you know. But the things that happened when he was in charge? [again, see above in Dr.K’s post] Not so nice! And the experience of those who tried to dissuade him from those projects his imagination compelled him to complete? Not so nice!

    So for years, to me, what was happening under Clark just seemed crazy! How could this go on?? Then that video helped me see that others saw it just like I saw it. The slide show in the video showcases some of the classic things that had us shocked and disappointed, the Cathedral wreckovation being the main one (Yes, its pretty! Pretty isn’t everything, though! Really.)

    Yes, “imagining” a shiny, pretty, giant, million dollar organ front and center in the Cathedral – that was “pure imagination!” And so childishly ignorant to not see that it pales next to Jesus in the Eucharist, Who was cast off to the side behind the pillars in its stead. How?! Was the Bishop just evil??? Well, its nicer to just think of him as childish, as a man on a unicorn, chasing a dream! With the power to do it (with the dollars of the protesters!). So I liked the “lite” answer provided in the video. It goes better with his friendly face and kind demeanor.

    And I just love “Lord of the Dance”, too! Joan’s face, smiling no matter what reception she is getting and no matter who she wrecked a parish. Still upbeat! Clark, the same — smiling happily over the years through that whole list Dr.K provided above.

    It just helps me feel better about it all. And its all over, Thanks be to God. A new beginning now.

    I am glad you have had such a positive relations with your cousin. Many have had positive relations with him! He is a nice and kindly personality. People need that. He has touched many lives positively and God will be sure to thank him for that.

    And now we need a truly Catholic Bishop. Desperately!

  94. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Eliza10,

    Thanks so much for responding and also for “explaining” your feelings as a human being. I must say, I’m confused. I really am. I really don’t know what to make of this. I hear you and all I can say right now is that I will think this through. From where I stand and from what I have learned on Cleansing Fire, all I can do right now is “discern.” It’s not easy. Is what I’m hearing from God or the other side? Is what I think from God or the other side? I really don’t know. I know one thing, for sure, and that is that I’m going back to Church and confession. I think that’s all I can do right now. Thank you.

  95. avatar Gretchen says:

    Eliza, thank you for your post. You said it perfectly, and it was good to be able to have a little laugh at the videos. I needed that after attending Mass in my parish over the weekend. In addition to the usual liturgical abuses, we were subjected to the following from our pastoral administrator: Instead of the penitential rite, we were implored to offer our prayers for bishops Clark and Cunningham…Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy. Then during the homily a video of the CMA was shown; all on the altar vacated to sit in the audience during the video. It is these sorts of things, which to me are a slap in the face to our Lord Jesus Christ, that cause such suffering to the faithful, week after week, month after month, year after year.

  96. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    There is one particular video that goes on for hours. Some of it is very disturbing, just saying.


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