Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


“I’m NOT leaving and I’m NOT going to be quiet” -Nora Bradbury, Director of Faith Formation

September 5th, 2012, Promulgated by benanderson

This is the story of recent interaction I had with Nora Bradbury (Director of Faith Formation, St. Patrick’s Church in Victor, NY).  I’ll just lay it all out there mostly because it’s easier to copy-and-paste than to paraphrase the whole saga and I don’t believe there’s anything all that private being revealed here.  The interaction began with this email from Nora:

Dear Ben,

I’m writing to ask if you would remove an inaccurate post on Cleansing Fire. You have posted my name on your “worst hits” list dated September 4th, 2011, with a link to the original post dated December 26th 2010. You say that I am a member of SBNR and I am not. I did have SBNR listed on my Linkedin profile at one point as a topic that I speak about and though I may have briefly jumped in on an SBNR Linkedin group to see what the conversation was, I do not ascribe to that ideology. I have been a church-going Sacrament-receiving Catholic all my life and it is my fondest hope, as well as my life’s work, to pass on the Faith to the next generation in hopes that they will become the same. Thanks for your time.

Yours in Christ,

I responded:


Thank you for contacting me to clear this up – I really appreciate it.  I have updated both posts and have removed your name.  If you want something further – like a post stating essentially what you’ve said below – just let me know.  I can certainly understand your desire to reach out to the SBNR group (or to just learn what they’re about) – that is a good thing.  I have at times checked with people before posting what appears to be scandalous material to make sure of their intent.  In your case, I decided just to write the disclaimer that you certainly might have good intentions (as you did).  It was bad judgment, however, on my part to put it into the “Worst Hits” before checking with you.  I apologize to you for that.


I felt bad that I may have highlighted someone on CleansingFire who didn’t warrant it, but I was glad I gave her the benefit of the doubt from the get-go (a good reminder that it’s always best to give the benefit of the doubt).

What I hadn’t realized was that prior to contacting me she had posted this on facebook:

I just found out that I’ve made the “worst hits” list of a local conservative Catholic hate website. I’m not sure whether to be creeped out or flattered. I’m in excellent company though Joe Marcoux, and Ed Palumbos also made the list. The charge is that I am spiritual but not religious (SBNR) I think many of my friends would be surprised to hear that I am not religious 😉

As it turns out the Gospel of Niceness has its limits as the comments to this post spawned comparisons of me to the KKK and the Westboro Baptist Church in addition to Nora’s initial comment calling us a “hate website”.  The Gospel of Niceness is very intolerant of those who don’t subscribe to it – they will label you a hater, a racist, and a bigot before you can blink.  And, of course, those who subscribe to the Gospel of Niceness are most assuredly your intellectual superior (see this interesting post today).  I subsequently asked Nora for the opportunity to respond to her friends’ comments:

Hi Nora,
Someone pointed me to your facebook post in which you reference this incidence. I realized that your facebook page is open so I went and read it for myself (and glanced at some of the comments). I sent you a friend request in hopes that I might respond to some of the comments. I so enjoy a good dialogue, so I’m hoping perhaps you’ll let me post this comment:

Hi everyone,

I’m the one who posted the article that referenced Nora on what she calls the conservative Catholic hate website. In case you’re wondering, here’s what I wrote:

“Nora Bradbury-Haehl’s linked-in page (where she claims to be a member of SBNR). She is also Director of Youth Ministry at St. Paul’s, Webster. Those two things are mutually exclusive. Before we rush to judgment, perhaps we give Nora the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps she’s only a member of the SBNR group so that she can evangelize the truth of the Catholic faith to them.”

Pretty hate-filled, isn’t it? Just wanted to let everyone here know that I gave her the benefit of the doubt from the get-go. At Nora’s request, I removed the reference to her. My apology to her was that I didn’t check with her about her intentions of joining that group on linkedin. The reason I didn’t do this is because usually when I do that, I either get no response or someone tries to pick a fight. In this care, I should’ve checked with Nora first. Instead I gave a disclaimer that she very well could have good intentions (which she later told me she did and I applaud her for that).

So you might be wondering why I would even post what I did. Here’s a short synopsis of what this site is about:

Catholicism (like any religion) has boundaries. To go outside those boundaries is to work against the institution. This particular diocese happens to have a serious problem in that many of its pastors, teachers, and professors teach things that are outside of these boundaries, while claiming to be teaching Catholicicism. This is being dishonest. Whether you believe in Catholicism or not, I think most people have respect for the virtue of honesty. If you are a Catholic teacher and are teaching things that are contrary to the Catholic faith, then you are not being honest. I’m not saying Nora fits into this bucket – I don’t have any idea really. But, I can tell you that many (most, perhaps) of those in power in this diocese do. To be more specific, here’s just 3 examples – 1) male-only priesthood 2) the intrinsically evil nature of contraception and 3) the instrinsically evil nature of the homosexual act. I’m guessing most people commenting above would vehemently disagree with those things and you are free to do so. I certainly don’t hate people with those beliefs – I have good relationships with many people with whom I disagree. What I suggest, though, is that people with those beliefs be honest that they are not inline with Church teaching and above all else don’t teach those things in the name of Catholicism.

Why do I bother with this website? Embracing Catholicism (all of it – every last bit) changed my life. Everyday I praise God for reaching out to me even though I strayed away from Him. I want others to have the same opportunity – to be presented with the authentic Catholic faith…- a faith that can heal, bring peace, help you to love others and to love the life that God has given them, and to look to Him every step of the way. Our forefathers in the faith went to unbelievable pains to pass it on – the least we can do is to not diminish it and treat it like something inferior.

With all that said, if you still want to call me a hater, then so be it. May each of you be blessed.

for more see this post here:

God bless,

I waited a few days and didn’t received a response. In the meantime, a friend of mine had alerted me to a few articles written by Nora that call into question certain infallible doctrines of the Church (thus showing that she is not fit to teach the Catholic faith.) So, I sent her another note:

I don’t know if you’re still pondering letting me defend myself of being a hater (along the lines of the KKK and Westboro Baptists) or not, but in the meantime, I’d like to give you the opportunity to let me know if you still stand behind what you wrote here:

specifically this:
I’ve been (fairly) quiet on the issues that Ratzinger called for silence on- the ordination of women to the priesthood, birth control to name a few- but I think that time has come to a close. I’m tired of not talking about important things- sexuality, power, who is allowed to do what and who gets to say so. I’m tired of working and worshipping in an environment of fear and mistrust. I’m NOT leaving and I’m NOT going to be quiet.

and this:

Martin Luther addressed the abuses of the hierarchy in his time and ended up excommunicated.

For these women too, their love for their church and their fidelity to the Gospel brought them to a point beyond the boundary.

If you wish to discuss, I can explain to you why these statements are troubling – especially for a teacher of the Catholic faith. If not, just let me know if you happened to have changed your position on these issues. I want to offer you the opportunity to clear up any misunderstandings that might be present in those statements.


It’s been a week and I have yet to receive a response from Nora. It appears that from these actions and from her linked article above, Nora understands well the principle that “silence gives consent” (see video below).  Now I have another term to be on the lookout for – “church-going Sacrament-receiving Catholic”. My future response to that claim will be, “that’s great!  and I assume that also means you are true to Magisterial teaching?”

Another quote from her articles linked above:

We’ve got a new pope, he’s the guy that brought us loyalty oaths… Maybe he will surprise us. In the meantime, anybody need a drink?

And what’s the point of the dreaded loyalty oath? Honesty and transparency. It is meant to require those who are put in positions to teach the Catholic Faith to assert that they will indeed teach the Catholic faith and not something else. It’s the perfect opportunity for Nora to “not be quiet” about what she believes and declare publicly that she doesn’t agree with certain infallible teachings of the Church. And what, in her opinion, would be so bad about that? She is perfectly free to go teach whatever she believes in another Christian community. She is not, however, permitted to suggest that doctrines that have been infallibly taught are open for discussion. For someone whose “life’s work is to pass on the Faith to the next generation” I would think that honesty and transparency would be given high regard.  Just recently our Holy Father made this very observation saying that “he [Judas] would have left if he were honest.”

Another point worth noting is that while Nora’s facebook page is open to anyone who has a facebook account (at least the last time I checked), after I sent her a friend request, she has explicitly blocked me and only me from seeing anything she posts.  I’m still holding out hope that her spirit of dialogue will kick in and she’ll get back to me.

Before someone accuses me (once again) of being judgmental (calling upon this past Sunday’s Gospel to prove their point), I’d like to very briefly review some aspects of sin. Sin has an objective component and a subjective component. It is not wrong to look at an objective act and call it sinful or erroneous. It is the subjective aspect about which we must be very careful and always give the benefit of the doubt. In Nora’s case (and probably thousands upon thousands of others in this diocese) we must always give the benefit of the doubt that she has been improperly taught. Just consider the fact the local institutional Catholic Church has for the most part encouraged this type of dissent and blessed it.  Being in “good company” is what a lot of these folks rely upon.  I could see many well intentioned people falling into error without being fully culpable. At some point this culpability fades away as folks are presented more and more with the truth, but we can never judge when a particular individual has reached that point. That is up to God and God alone.

Here’s a link to the video in case it doesn’t embed properly.


87 Responses to ““I’m NOT leaving and I’m NOT going to be quiet” -Nora Bradbury, Director of Faith Formation”

  1. avatar Raymond says:

    And this is the person teaching our youth the Catholic faith.

    God help us.

    If you’re in Nora’s parish, think twice about enrolling your children in her program.

  2. avatar JLo says:

    I’m confused about her job… is she in Victor or in Webster?

  3. avatar snowshoes says:


    Thank you for your courageous and most charitable expose of this charlatan. All faithful Catholics call upon her to renounce her heretical beliefs and return to the Faith, or leave her position immediately. Based upon her own statements she proves herself a fraud. “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” I would also respectfully encourage her Pastor to address this most serious problem, since it involves not only her soul but those of the children of the parish, because he, Father Pastor, is ultimately responsible, and will be held to account for this egregious situation at his death and judgment. Let us pray for an immediate happy resolution to this travesty. This would be a great birthday present for Our Blessed Mother. Blessed Kateri, pray for us.

  4. avatar Gretchen says:

    I can’t imagine why Nora did not respond to you, Ben. Perhaps it has something to do with embarrassment that she and her friends were caught engaging in the very thing of which she accused you. Perhaps she does have a modicum of guilt about holding and perhaps even teaching doctrines that are opposed to Church teaching. If so, that is something to be hopeful about. A convicted conscience can help turn someone around when they’ve gone astray.

    Gretchen from SOP

  5. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    You don’t respond if the truth hurts

  6. avatar Gen says:

    Does our sister in faith not realize that our alleged “hate” site only exists because of the actual (and not imagined) hate that we have all faced, due to our orthodoxy?

    I think the German philosopher Ludwig Witgenstein best be heeded by her and those who are equally blind to logic:

    “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”

  7. avatar annonymouse says:

    Another proud (and I do not mean proud in a good way – I mean it in the seven deadly sins way) graduate of St. Bernards, no doubt.

    This woman might wish to start thinking about what she’s going to make her “life’s work” after that evil “Ratzinger” appoints a new bishop. She might wish now that her heterodox views weren’t so public.

    And to JLo – I believe Ben misspoke in his last communication – I believe she’s in Victor. St. Patrick’s parishioners – be wary.

  8. avatar Hopefull says:

    I believe Nora was at St. Paul’s in Webster when Fr. Stan Kacprzak was pastor, but not under Fr. Paul Gitau who is there now. Nora is now listed in the bulletin at St. Patrick in Victor, under Fr. Timothy Niven.

  9. avatar Bernie says:

    Ben, you are a gem!
    Nora, if you haven’t already, reflect!

  10. avatar Dr. K says:

    Maybe our next bishop will sit down with her and have a nice long talk.

  11. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Lots of house cleaning has to be done.

  12. avatar snowshoes says:

    To go along with the excellent video, from the Examination of Conscience published by the Fathers of Mercy, the Nine Ways of Being an Accessory to Another’s Sin:
    1. By counsel
    2. By command
    3. By consent
    4. By provocation
    5. By praise or flattery
    6. By concealment
    7. By partaking
    8. By silence
    9. By defense of the sinful action.

    The full flower of the bitter fruit of that horrible mortal sin of sodomy, which cries to God for vengeance, is the spiritual sodomy of children; to despoil little boys and girls of their Faith is the worst sin.

    Catechists must be good Catholics. If they are not, and it appears Nora Bradbury is not, then they cannot be catechists, and must be removed immediately. If by the mercy of God the Diocesan investigation of this matter proves she has not brought her heretical views into the Catechetical program in the parish, she can be dismissed and that will be the end of it. If she has caused any of her heretical beliefs to be taught to children, then the diocese must conduct a thorough review of the program and correct the curriculum, pedagogy, etc, as required.

    The spiritual molestation of children must stop, and those who do it or permit it must be treated with the same severity as those who commit physical child molestation: they must be removed forever from their positions, no matter whether they are bishops, priests, consecrated sisters or brothers or laymen.
    St. Jean-Marie Vianney pray for us.

  13. avatar Bernie says:

    Do we dare assume that people charged with teaching the faith in this diocese actually convey the official teachings of the Church and not their own views of those teachings? If all we have is the evidence from what has come forth from the pulpits and staff bulletin columns in this diocese it would seem to be a bad assumption.

  14. avatar brother of penance says:

    “church-going Sacrament-receiving Catholic” means only what it states…..

    goes to church, receives sacraments, calls her self a Catholic….

    Now, as commented in another post, recent popes have said that many Catholics have been sacramentalized but not evangelized. While I will not judge if that is Nora’s experience
    (sacramentalized but not evangelized), it is obvious from her own writings and statements
    that she does not accept orthodox Catholic teaching on a number of matters of faith.

    Someone who refuses to accept and teach any aspect of Catholic faith should not be a catechist in a Catholic parish. But, let’s remember this is the Diocese of Rochester.
    Catechists who insist on teaching authentic Catholic faith are at risk of not being hired, not keeping their job or of not being rehired in most parishes in our Diocese.

    If the above is considered to be an over the top exaggeration, be challenged to demonstrate that orthodox catechists out number the heterodox.

    Personally, I am not at all surprised that Ben has discovered that Nora is who she is and that Nora has written what she has.

  15. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    Raymond: “If you’re in Nora’s parish, think twice about enrolling your children in her program”.

    The best way to teach your children the faith is to teach them yourself at home. Anyone else is a lesser and questionable substitute.

  16. avatar annonymouse says:

    I think perhaps a “Nora responds to Ben” count-up might be in order. How many days has it been already?

    I note that Nora has now secured or protected her facebook page (if that’s the correct term – I’m not all that familiar with facebook) so it’s not like she hasn’t seen your communication, Ben.

    I would be very very frightened to ENTRUST my children’s souls to a person who espouses the beliefs she espouses. She can undo an awful lot of good at-home catechesis, fersure.

    I can see it now:
    Junior: “I don’t see what’s wrong with gay people getting married.”
    Me: “Where’d you learn THAT?”
    Junior: “At Church”

  17. avatar Raymond says:

    The following comment posted to her Facebook page is an excellent reason why you should never let Nora Bradbury-Haehl teach your children the Catholic faith:

  18. avatar annonymouse says:

    To Ms. Bradbury-Haehl –

    I read with interest your well-crafted musing about the 2005 election of the Holy Father. It caused me to wonder if you or others who longed for a “liberal” pope ever stopped to think that maybe, just maybe, it’s you who’s out of touch with the Holy Spirit and not the magisterium of the Church. To your credit, you did say let’s leave it up to the Holy Spirit.

    But oughtn’t we all put on a bit of humility in regards to such matters and, rather than an attitude of I’M NOT LEAVING and NOT BEING QUIET, maybe, just maybe, oughtn’t we strive to conform our minds and hearts to the Church rather than continue in the belief that we know best and they (the old guys in Rome) know nothing?

    Thanks. Peace to you.

  19. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    I don’t understand how she claims she does not prescribe to the ideology of St. Barnyards but yet goes ballistic against the majesterium on Facebook and then locks Ben out of the page.

  20. avatar Mike says:

    Re: The I’m NOT leaving, and I’m NOT going to be quiet article…

    Bradbury-Haehl’s current bibliography on Busted Halo includes 19 articles. I’m NOT leaving is NOT among them, even though 7 of her listed articles predate it. Someone seems to have done some “site maintenance” and removed that particular piece.

    However, it did get picked up and preserved on before it disappeared from Busted Halo, as we are all aware.

    It seems the epitome of irony that one of her surviving articles is a warning to college students that anything they post anywhere on the internet just might come back to haunt them later in life.

  21. avatar Nerina says:

    I’m sorry to say that NBH is now the youth leader at our church.

    Having read what Ben linked to above and some other articles found on Busted Halo (what is that supposed to mean, anyway?), I find that my initial reaction to her is justified. Take this statment form the article, “Travels with Gregory” which details a trip to Ohio on the night of the 2004 election with her then 12 year old son, Gregory:

    On the drive home my son and I talked about the folks who’d been working on these issues a lot longer than we had and those who had more at stake. We talked about the older African American commentator on the news the night before who recalled the South before and during the civil rights movement. We talked about folks who’ve been fighting for racial and sexual equality (emphasis mine) for 50 years. They keep going and so should we. We talked about our new friend Keith and his partner. Gregory didn’t think it was right that all these states had passed gay marriage bans or that Keith and his partner should have to move to Canada if they wanted to marry (again, emphasis mine). We also talked about how this was the beginning of something, not the end. This was a setback, not a defeat. These issues, these people, wouldn’t be going away.

    There is much to be concerned with just in this paragraph alone. I can accept that a 12 year is in no way experienced enough to comment intelligently on complicated social issues, but a faithful, Catholic educator should be able to offer more than boiler plate, DNC talking points. She goes one to write:

    We made ourselves listen to Bush’s acceptance. Unity? Like hell. We worked on Kerry’s campaign to stop the war, to get health care, to get jobs, to stop the rich from getting richer, to end racism, to protect human rights, to stop the spiraling deficit spending that feeds the military industrial monster.

    See what I mean? Does anyone notice the elephant in the room? What issue is missing? Anyone? Bueller? Come on, Nora, what about ABORTION? You know, that intrinsic evil that deprives life to an innocent child? What about ESCR (which was quite a topic in the 2004 election)? So as not to be perceived as a partisan, I am certainly willing to debate the topics she listed above, but the mask has slipped on her sensibilities and alliances. I don’t know how anyone who holds the views she holds can be trusted to educated children in the Catholic faith. And I would say the same thing about someone with “right-wing” views that ignore the plight of the poor or vulnerable or who advocate for morally repugnant, dignity-denying practices.

    As I said to Ben in a private e-mail – I wouldn’t send my dog to one of her activities.

  22. avatar Scott W. says:

    Her crystal ball stinks as well. Here she is on Mel Gibson’s The Passion: “The fear is that we are about to witness, thanks in part to this film, a new wave of hatred and blame directed at the Jewish people around the world.”

  23. avatar y2kscotty says:

    I had to chuckle over Anonymouse’s claim, “just maybe, it’s you who’s out of touch with the Holy Spirit and not the magisterium of the Church”. I don’t think I would go so far as to claim that the Holy Spirit determines who the Pope would be. That certainly is not a doctrine of the faith. The HS doesn’t determine who our next bishop will be – or even that Bishop Clark was chosen by the same HS 33 years ago, or so. Popes and bishops are chosen by fallible and sinful men. The HS guarantees that the Church will prevail against the Gates of Hell and will thrive in Her witness to the Gospel. I often hear people say, “I am so thrilled that God has chosen so-and-so for Bishop or Pastor or Pope”. And I’ll admit that I throw water on the whole idea.

    I’d like to toss out to you a question regarding Nora: should Nora’s opinions as expressed outside of her responsibilities as an official minister in the Parish be sufficient cause for her removal? Nerina’s dog is not allowed to comment. 🙂

  24. avatar Nerina says:


    I see where you’re coming from and I think it’s a valid question. I suppose I would say if she can keep her personal views, personal and really stick to what official Church teaching is, then I’m okay with that. I just don’t know too many people who can walk that particular tightrope. My dog, on the other hand, loves everyone and would love her no matter what her views :).

  25. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    y2kscotty asked:

    should Nora’s opinions as expressed outside of her responsibilities as an official minister in the Parish be sufficient cause for her removal?

    I believe the answer is yes.

    The CDF’s commentary states:

    Every believer, therefore, is required to give firm and definitive assent to these truths, based on faith in the Holy Spirit’s assistance to the Church’s Magisterium, and on the Catholic doctrine of the infallibility of the Magisterium in these matters.15 Whoever denies these truths would be in a position of rejecting a truth of Catholic doctrine16 and would therefore no longer be in full communion with the Catholic Church.

    Even if someone endorses these thoughts in their mind without expressing them to others, they still remove themselves from full communion. There’d obviously be no way to prove it, so it’d be up to the individual to be honest.

    in the oath itself, though, it states:

    NOTE: Canon 833, Nos. 5-8 obliges the following to make the profession of faith: vicars general, episcopal vicars and judicial vicars; “at the beginning of their term of office, pastors, the rector of a seminary and the professors of theology and philosophy in seminaries; those to be promoted to the diaconate”; “the rectors of an ecclesiastical or Catholic university at the beginning of the rector’s term of office”; and, “at the beginning of their term of office, teachers in any universities whatsoever who teach disciplines which deal with faith or morals”; and “superiors in clerical religious institutes and societies of apostolic life in accord with the norm of the constitutions.”

    I don’t know where a Faith Formation director fits in. I’d guess they would have the same obligation to profess the faith, but I’m not a canon lawyer.

  26. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    If I had children, they would not be going to any youth activities at that parish. And there is culpability on the pastor for not removing her. That being the case, I would not go to that parish for mass.

  27. avatar Mike says:


    If pastors have the obligation to profess the faith – and they do, according to the oath – then it seems obvious that they are also obligated to step in and rectify the situation whenever their direct reports refuse to do so also.

    Failure to take action would amount to giving tacit approval to erroneous teaching.

  28. avatar annonymouse says:

    y2Kscotty – check out Christus Dominus 2:

    “The bishops themselves, however, having been appointed by the Holy Spirit, are successors of the Apostles as pastors of souls.”

    We believe that the Holy Spirit does indeed inspire the decisions of whom the Pope should elect to be bishop, and whom the conclaves should elect Roman Pontiff. We call upon the Holy Spirit in all liturgical actions of the Church. I hope you don’t think that He doesn’t answer when we invoke His name.

  29. avatar annonymouse says:

    Nerina – thanks for posting your research.

    With such frankly anti-Catholic, heterodox views on homosexual marriage and birth control, Ms. Bradbury-Haehl is really being quite dishonest to stay in the Church and (presumably) spread her heterodox views to impressionable youth. Souls are at risk here and all who teach and preach in the Church have an obligation not only for their own salvation but will be held accountable for those whom they’ve influenced.

    Moreover, why the hell stay? (I was going to say “heck” but this is my homage to your “Like hell” comment) Isn’t there is an Episcopal Church nearby that espouses views and values much closer to your own, Ms. Bradbury-Haehl? Why stay in a Church whose views you find so, shall we say, distasteful, huh?

  30. avatar Hopefull says:

    This is perhaps a little bit off topic, but maybe not. I just posted on the open Discussion Board on this site information about an Essay Contest for high school seniors. The topic is “Freedom of Conscience is Essential to all Freedoms, Especially the Freedom of Religion.”

    Prizes are $1000 for first place, $500 for second place and $100 for third place. Prizes will be awarded entirely on merit, not on financial need, and judging will be “blind” to names and schools. It is open to basically all public, private and home schools in the Dioceses of Buffalo and Rochester (716, and 585 area codes plus extra counties)and entrants may be of any faith, or no faith. Essay must be 700-1000 words.

    This should be a slam dunk for any well-catechized high school senior — how’s that for a segue back to the thread 🙂

    Please see the sponsoring site: for more information, rules and entry forms; contact is

  31. avatar Scott W. says:

    As far as expressing heretical views outside of her official duties, there is also a part in A Man for All Seasons for that as well when More’s daughter tempts him to swear to the Act. To “say the words of the oath and in your heart think otherwise.” and he replies: “When a man takes an oath, he’s holding his own self in his own hands…like water. And if he opens his fingers then, he needn’t hope to find himself again.”

    It seems to me that to hold an official church capacity, but hold contrary views is the classic example of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

  32. avatar BigE says:

    I still don’t quite understand why you constantly encourage people to leave the church (you have done the same to me). For all of the wailing about “cafeteria” catholics, you yourself seem to treat the Catholic Faith as if it is just another consumer option for the Christian faithful.

    In a perfect world, the Catholic faith would unite ALL Christians. In unity it would be the only Christian option. Would you then be inviting those who believe in the life, death and resurrection of our Lord, who are united by the Christian witness the Resurrection, but who are struggling with other teachings to go elsewhere? To become atheist, agnostic, muslim , buddist or whatever?

    The poor, the lost, the sinful, and yes, even the “struggling” should be welcomed with open arms by the church. It is difficult to teach and minister to people who aren’t around to listen.

    “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?

  33. avatar Mary-Kathleen says:

    I think the point, BigE, is that dissenting people have already “left” the Church. They just are not being honest enough to “announce” it by joining another group more in line with their beliefs. Instead, they remain members of a Church which they claim is not forward-thinking enough or inclusive enough or whatever enough and poison the faith-formation of others.

  34. avatar Nerina says:

    Hi BigE,

    I have to respond to your comment, because I’ve been thinking about this situation with my church’s director of faith formation all weekend. I don’t have any problem with people who are genuinely struggling with teachings of the faith. By that, I mean people like myself who, when I learned about the Church’s teaching on artificial birth control, have to step back, study, pray and come to terms with it. Of course, I also knew that I could not present myself for Communion if I did not assent to the Church’s teaching and therefore I did not receive the Eucharist until I was able to do so. Over the years, as I’ve continued to struggle with the whole argument of “using NFP with a contraceptive mentality” (that is a discussion for a different time), I’ve voluntarily withdrawn from receiving Communion knowing that receiving would imply something that wasn’t true – namely, that I professed and believed ALL that Holy Mother Church teaches. Now, I didn’t stop attending Mass nor did I stop thinking and praying and going to Confession (which has been particularly helpful when I have found myself spiritually “at sea”).

    Nora clearly has opposing views. If she wrote about how she struggled with the teachings and ultimately assented to the authority of the Church, then I’d welcome her reflections. Instead, she is contemptuous. You can just feel her disdain for the Church and for the teachings. She (and others) think they know better than 2000 years of Tradition and teaching authority. Sometimes it is just as simply as saying “credo” – I believe. She would rather say, “Hell no.”

  35. avatar y2kscotty says:

    The reference to Thomas More prompts me to mention a Bishop of Durham, Cuthbert Tunstall, who “caved in” and agreed to Henry VIII’s Oath of Supremacy. However in all else he seems to have maintained Catholic beliefs. He remained Bishop of Durham during Mary’s reign, but when Elizabeth I became queen, he refused to assent to the oath of supremacy and was imprisoned and died not long after at the age of 85. An interesting fellow – not exactly as heroic as Bishop John Fisher, but not a “Protestant”.
    Sorry to be off-topic. But maybe there is a connection to what BigE is saying.

  36. avatar Scott W. says:

    No one wants to see people leave the Church, but like Mary-Kathleen said, they need to be actually in communion with the Church rather than serving two masters. That is, serving the Church only as long as it doesn’t conflict with secular humanist platitudes. This is why Bishop Vasa had the right idea by making everyone who worked in any official capacity with the Church sign an affirmation of faith which explicitly affirmed those teachings that conflict with worldly thinking.

  37. avatar Dr. K says:


    I wouldn’t recommend that Nora leave the Church, but I would recommend that she step down as youth minister/director of faith formation if she has issues with Church teachings. Sort through your issues on your own time and in private. These individuals shouldn’t be in positions of power where they can corrupt the faith of others — especially young children. In the Diocese of Rochester, disagreement with Church teaching almost seems like a prerequisite for youth ministry.

  38. avatar annonymouse says:

    BigE, there are many seats under the big tent that is Christendom. As Mary-Kathleen clarified, it seems dishonest for one to continue to profess oneself Catholic if there are other expressions of Christian faith that exactly match one’s own beliefs. Why stay? Would you continue to call yourself a Democrat if the Republican platform and candidates exactly matched your beliefs?

    As I’ve said to you before, BigE, it is the height of pride and arrogance to say the Church is right here, here and here but wrong there and there. As Scott points out, the master served there is oneself. “I know best, I know better than those old men in Rome.”

    And it is downright diabolical for someone to continue to profess oneself Catholic and be in a paid position with the responsibility of catechesis of impressionable youth if one does not or can not subscribe to all the Church teaches. That is a position of trust. Parents and the faith community should be able to trust that such persons are going to impart the Catholic Faith, not the Bradbury-Haehl Faith.

    As pointed out above, Canon law requires that bishops, priests and deacons all must sign an oath professing to believe and uphold ALL that the Church teaches. It is high time that dioceses everywhere follow the lead of Alexandria and require people in positions of influence such as Ms. B-H holds to likewise profess Catholic faith.

  39. avatar annonymouse says:

    Nerina, thank you for your post. I applaud your honesty in your struggle with a hard teaching. And the honesty with which you’ve chosen to live your life in response.

    My spouse and I have had that struggle as well, and have over the years come to see the amazing wisdom in the Church’s teaching as well as the absolutely prophetic wisdom of Humanae Vitae, the prophecy of the kind of world that would be wrought by the separation of procreation from the sexual act. But it definitely has been a process of conversion of heart and mind for both of us.

    I do not mean to indicate that I do not appreciate that many of the Church’s teachings are hard teachings. The real presence is a hard teaching (going back to John 6!) and polls tell us that fewer than half of those who call themselves Catholic believe in the real presence. And (I’m sure BigE will recall), Jesus’ response to those who could not accept that “hard teaching” was not “wait come back” but rather “good bye.” And Peter (on behalf of the twelve), who could not (yet) possibly give assent with either mind or heart to what Jesus had just taught, responded “Lord, to whom will we go?” The meaning of that, BigE, is that we should choose to stay and choose to believe, even if our minds and hearts aren’t fully on board yet, and pray for continued conversion of heart.

    But if we are catechists in the Church, we sure as heck shouldn’t be out there proclaiming the Church wrong about the very things we’re charged to teach and proclaim.

  40. avatar annonymouse says:

    Dr. K – I did not say that Ms. Bradbury-Haehl should leave the Church. I questioned why the heck she’d want to stay given that (in her obvious opinion) the Church is so wrong on some very important issues, and there are many churches that would welcome her views with open arms and near lockstep agreement. The same question has been posed here to BigE many times, and he/she has yet to give an honest answer to that –

    (To recall E’s arguments for staying: The Catholic Church is the only one that claims an interest in social justice? Ha! The Catholic Church is the only one that claims the real presence? Not so either. Must be BigE believes the Church when she claims that the host is the real and true Body of Christ but cannot bring herself/himself to believe the Church when she teaches that artificial contraception is gravely immoral.)

    Instead Ms. B-H stays and, if she lets on at all as to her own privately-held beliefs (and I have to believe she does based on her postings), she plants seeds of disunity, dissension and disrespect. She fractures the communion. So I totally agree with you, Doctor, that she should not hold the position she does. Sadly, a lot of these people stay on because they seem to have the notion that they are going to somehow change the Church, change the truth.

    Rather, I pray that it’s these folks that change. I hope both NBH and BigE stay and humbly ask the Spirit to conform their hearts and minds to Christ’s Church. And while they’re searching for the truth, I hope neither has the power, position or influence to lead others astray.

  41. avatar Hopefull says:

    What about Pope Benedict’s comments on this very subject in his Angelus Address on Aug. 28th:

    Lifesite News reported that Pope Benedict XVI spoke of Judas’ betrayal of Christ, saying that Judas’ problem was failing to leave Christ when he no longer believed – a “falsehood,” said the Pope, “which is a mark of the devil.”

    “Judas,” said Pope Benedict, “could have left, as many of the disciples did; indeed, he would have left if he were honest. Instead he remained with Jesus. He did not remain because of faith, or because of love, but with the secret intention of taking vengeance on the Master.”

    Staying in the Church with the purpose of taking vengeance on her? That is certainly an illuminating comment on the disloyal and dissenting.

    According to Human Life International Rome Director, Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro, the comments are very relevant to the current situation in the Catholic Church. Msgr. Barreiro, who holds a doctorate in Dogmatic theology, told LifeSiteNews that “for those Catholics who cannot bring themselves to believe the formal teachings of the Church on life and family matters it would be more honest to leave the Church rather than betraying Her.”

  42. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Yep – I agree, Hopefull. One of the links to my long winded post was to that speech. I searched briefly, but couldn’t find the full text. I wonder if it’s published (and translated) anywhere.

    Thanks you for your comment above. I think it’s a very good witness for anyone struggling with Church teaching. I don’t want to pry into your personal situation, but at a more abstract level I think this comment warrants discussion

    Over the years, as I’ve continued to struggle with the whole argument of “using NFP with a contraceptive mentality” (that is a discussion for a different time), I’ve voluntarily withdrawn from receiving Communion knowing that receiving would imply something that wasn’t true – namely, that I professed and believed ALL that Holy Mother Church teaches.

    I’ve found in the blogosphere (and in some Catholic mindsets) the attitude that Catholics must not only not use birth control, but essentially have as many children as is humanly possible… and that using NFP either temporarily or longer term is thought to be intrinsically evil. I think we ought to give more leeway to what counts as “grave” reasons for parents to determine that God might not be calling them to have more children. I understand this to be a sensitive subject and perhaps a discussion for a different time (as you say), but I think it’s one that does deserve attention. It’s good to discern with prayer and spiritual advisement and we as Catholics need to be very careful not to judge others (or judge ourselves too harshly).

  43. avatar Nerina says:

    Hi Ben,

    I agree that it is a very useful discussion to have (maybe warranting its own post if I ever get time to think clearly and write coherently). I also agree that what might be considered “grave” for one family, might not for another. Rest assured that I have come to peace with both the Church’s teaching and our practice of NFP (okay, maybe peace is too strong a word sometimes). We’ve come to terms. My husband and I both know that while difficult to assent, we do believe that the only reason to be Catholic is because the Church teaches the Truth. It is not for any other reason except to be on board the “ark of salvation.” As others have noted, to Whom else would we turn?

    The quote you noted above didn’t come out quite the way I intended. I am certainly not saying that I’m better than anyone else, but that for me I felt like a big fraud receiving the Eucharist when I was less than joyful in embracing NFP. It has been a huge struggle for my husband and I especially as we get older, more tired, and stressed by the demands of raising the five children we currently have. I simply found I had to step back, pray for God’s grace, seek reconciliation for my feelings of anger and resentment (yep, I have those sometimes), do my penance and then rejoice in the peace of absolution and receiving Communion with a new understanding. Does any of this make sense?

    And can I say that “Family Foundations” is one of my least favorite magazines?

  44. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    I am certainly not saying that I’m better than anyone else, but that for me I felt like a big fraud receiving the Eucharist when I was less than joyful in embracing NFP.

    That’s how I read it – this is hard via text 🙂 I was trying to be clear that I didn’t think you were judging anyone, but I think I whiffed.

    Does any of this make sense?

    yes – absolutely

    And can I say that “Family Foundations” is one of my least favorite magazines?

    don’t know of it.

  45. avatar BigE says:

    Wow, wow and WOW. Anyone struggling with doubts about some of the teachings of the Catholic Church is staying in the church to take vengence on her? Really? I hardly even know how to respond to the absurdity of that statement other than to say such inflamatory accusations do nothing but to harden people’s hearts. What a sad way to dialogue on an issue.

    I wonder why Thomas stuck around before finally being able to touch Christs wounds?

    I guess he was planning on wreaking vengence on the church eh?

  46. avatar Scott W. says:

    BigE, I think you are seriously misreading Hopeful, and your indignation rings hollow and comes off as someone who is realizing they don’t have a leg to stand on and have sunken to caviling.

  47. avatar Scott W. says:

    Regarding NFP: As a practitioner, I fully understand that innocent couples have to pass a gauntlet of deadly and grim ushers with the anti-NFP hyperprovidentialists on one side, and the pro-NFP-but “your reasons aren’t really grave!” people on the other. Thankfully, here is magisterial support for telling both these people to jump in a lake:

    “Therefore, in our late allocution on conjugal morality, We affirmed the legitimacy, and at the same time, the limits — in truth very wide — of a regulation of offspring, which, unlike so-called ‘birth control,’ is compatible with the law of God.” – Pius XII, Morality in Marriage (emphasis mine), from Papal Pronouncements on Marriage and the Family, Werth and Mihanovich, 1955

  48. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    Off the subject maybe; but indeed, the population of the Roman Catholic Church is truly tiny!!

  49. avatar annonymouse says:

    BigE – perhaps “vengeance” is too strong a word, but if not vengeance, the question stands to you and Ms. B-H and others whose personal beliefs are a whole lot more in line with those of the Episcopalians – why stay?

    I would hazard a guess that many stay so that they can do their part to remake the Church (or their small corner of it) in their own image. In Ms. B-H’s case, that means that even if she cannot change Holy Mother Church, she sure can influence the minds of the Catholic youth in Victor. Rather than explain and defend the Church’s teachings, I would guess that she’s apologizing for them if not brazenly defying them, likely leaving the impression that it’s perfectly acceptable to call into question and openly defy the Church’s teachings and continue to think oneself a good Catholic.

    Perhaps that’s not “vengeance” against the Church, but it seems to me pretty close.

    “I’M NOT LEAVING AND I WILL NOT BE QUIET.” That’s not exactly an attitude of humbly seeking to conform mind, heart, attitude and behvior to Christ’s Church, now is it?

  50. avatar Thinkling says:

    Re: struggling with doubts about Church teachings, there is a major difference between Nora and (say) Nerina.

    Nerina struggles with her doubts. Nora struggles against the teachings.

    Big difference.

    Another difference lest we forget, remember that the Church is both “where the copiers are”, and where “the fullness of truth resides”. The matching between Nora and Nerina is left as an exercise for the reader.

  51. avatar Scott W. says:

    Another difference lest we forget, remember that the Church is both “where the copiers are”

    Just for everyone’s information, “Where the copiers are” is a reference to Rosemary-Reuther. A Catholics-for-Choice (ugh) board member who was once asked why she stayed in a oppressive patriarchal church and she replied, “because that’s where the mimeograph machines are” (it was the 70’s). And further added that it gave her certain ecumenical advantages to stay (read subvert everything with even a trace of traditional Christianity into meaningless leftist Episcopresbylutheranism). That is, the value of the Catholic institution was the prestige that could be stolen from it.

  52. avatar BigE says:

    @Scott W:
    Exactly how am seriously misreading the comment: “Staying in the Church with the purpose of taking vengeance on her? That is certainly an illuminating comment on the disloyal and dissenting.”

    Given that the Church is the “people of God”, isn’t it made in all our images?

  53. avatar Hopefull says:

    I call Big E’s attention to the fact that it is Pope Benedict who used the word “vengeance.” I do agree with him. The Holy Father was quoted as saying “Judas … did not remain because of faith, or because of love, but with the secret intention of taking vengeance on the Master.”

    While I do not disagree with the Pope’s use of the word “vengeance,” I did not say anything about doubts. That is Big E’s schtick: “Anyone struggling with doubts about some of the teachings of the Catholic Church is staying in the church to take vengence on her?” is what Big hE/shE wrote. I did not write about doubts, nor do I intend to do so.

    Sincere doubts are not vengeance, but teaching others to deny Church doctrine may well be vengeance. Causing a brother/sister to stumble, scandalizing the little ones, undermining the magisterium all fit my words of “dissenting” and “disloyal.” Note the absence of E’s accusatory word “doubts.” That is how (s)he twists things, over and over again.

    For the record I wrote, regarding what Pope Benedict wrote: “Staying in the Church with the purpose of taking vengeance on her? That is certainly an illuminating comment on the disloyal and dissenting.” And E’s sarcasm about St. Thomas’ doubts add nothing to the discussion. Another straw man. Another red herring. Another deliberate misstating. Another “all about E.”

  54. avatar Nerina says:

    ScottW – fantastic quote from Pius XII!

    Hopefull – I love ya’.

  55. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    So far we have been discussing what people have been teaching others, usually through lectures and conferences and parish forums. What about people in responsible positions who teach by their actions?? Should they go if they are in error?? I am thinking of the bishop in Kansas who has just been convicted of a misdemeanor for a sexual abuse coverup. Should he resign??

  56. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    should the bishop of Kansas resign?


    First of all – I believe he apologized. He is not someone who is obstinately against the morality taught by the Church.

    Second of all – read these:

  57. avatar Scott W. says:

    This is one of the few times I am going to disagree. Yes, +Finn was good for Orthodox Catholicism. Yes, NCR is a steaming pile of leftist dung that hates orthodoxy. But I’m afraid the stopped clock is right this time. Read the Stipulation of Testimony here: This is what both the prosecution AND +Finn’s defense agreed as facts. When I read it, I don’t think +Finn should be in charge of a diocese. It stinks to lose him, but you gotta run an extra tight ship when people are gunning for you.

  58. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    Scott W : “but you gotta run an extra tight ship when people are gunning for you.”

    Tell this to the new archbishop designate of San Francisco who just got a DUI ( presumed innocent until proven guilty) in San Diego, California, his current diocese. He also had his mother in the car. He is against SSM and is going to the battle the people in the “Gay Capitol” of the U.S. with this on his record?

  59. avatar Diane Harris says:

    That everyone –EVERYONE — sins is not a debate. Some people’s sins are known, others are in secret. However, we seem as a society to have lost the ability to distinguish between those sinners who repent (apologize, pay what they owe, and faithfully follow a resolution to never do that again) and those who deny they are in sin, parade it in everyone else’s face, and injure society by their persistent sin. These are two very different situations. However, those in the first category get bashed, and those in the second get ignored, validated, or reinforced to just call the sin “love.”

    Abp. Cordileone did wrong in driving with a too high alcohol limit, and he acknowledge and repented. To me, that makes him far more trustworthy and those who stubbornly and egotistically persist in their sin or deny it. Christ is the only sinless leader I need, for the rest I just want enough humility to apologize and have a conversion of heart.

  60. avatar Dr. K says:

    I read the document, Scott, and it sounds to me like Bp. Finn and the Vicar General took quite an active role in monitoring the situation involving then-Fr. Ratigan. The full scope of Ratigan’s danger didn’t become clear until May of 2011, at which time Murphy contacted the police about the discovery of new, undoubtedly pornographic images. I don’t get the sense of a cover-up or anything malicious as it’s being painted by the NcR.

  61. avatar Scott W. says:

    I don’t think +Finn did anything malicious. I think he can still serve as a fine priest, but when I read things like:

    47. The restrictions placed on Ratigan by Finn were not distributed to the Catholic
    community at-large. Because Finn trusted Ratigan to comply with the restrictions,
    no provisions were put in place to monitor compliance with the restrictions.

    and add to that the $1.4 million dollars of diocesan money spent to fight off a misdemeanor charge with no real likelihood of jail time, then this demonstrates too much a lack of prudence to be the top man. There is waaay too much classic Circle-the-wagons stuff going on here.

  62. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    Some thing we do can be mistakes based on ignorance or lacking in full knowledge of the situation. Some mistakes we make because we are damn fools and should know better. Any 10 year old knows, at least cognitively, that you don’t drink and drive.

    PS: No amount of apology, repentance or contrition can bring back from the dead someone who has been a victim of a DWI.

  63. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Raymond, I am on the same page with you on the seriousness of the drunk driving issue. As a family member of someone nearly killed by a drunk driver, permanently disabled, I spent 5 years as President of Rochester Against Intoxicated Driving, lobbying for stronger laws, commemorating victims, strengthening judicial watch and speaking at schools, community associations etc. If one life got saved as a result of all that work it would have been more than worth it. I believe in very strict penalties as part of prevention, but that doesn’t preclude allowing people to repent, turn their lives around, and contribute to a better world. But forgiveness is still awfully hard, isn’t it?

  64. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Thanks for that link, Scott.

    47. The restrictions placed on Ratigan by Finn were not distributed to the Catholic
    community at-large. Because Finn trusted Ratigan to comply with the restrictions,
    no provisions were put in place to monitor compliance with the restrictions.

    What was Ratigan’s guilt at the time? What had he done thus far?

    and add to that the $1.4 million dollars of diocesan money spent to fight off a misdemeanor charge with no real likelihood of jail time, then this demonstrates too much a lack of prudence to be the top man. There is waaay too much classic Circle-the-wagons stuff going on here.

    It does seem excessive. Does he address this supposed excessiveness?

  65. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:


    This arrived in my email yesterday (pure chance of course) from the brothers in New Jersey:

    Forgiveness is one of the many topics in the New Testament in which Jesus offers us no wiggle room. “How often must I forgive?” Peter asks, “as many as seven times?” Peter thinks he is being generous. “Jesus answered, I say to you, not seven times but seventy seven times” (Matthew 18: 21-22). In other words, keep on forgiving, once is never enough, neither is seven or seventy seven. Jesus’ own life and example match his words. From the cross he utters a loud and painful cry to the Father, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do” (Luke 23: 34).

    If Jesus’ words above are not difficult enough it gets even worse. In the Gospel of John Jesus says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (John 15:4). The implication is clear: you are not strong enough to forgive what others have done to you by your own strength. The grace of God is an absolute necessity. Without Christ, forgiveness is an impossible hurdle to jump over.

    How do you begin? Forgiveness, like the rest of life, begins on your knees. If you are honest, you probably cannot or even desire to forgive those who have hurt you immediately in this present moment. Yet you can, with all honesty, admit to the Lord your inability to forgive as He asks you and beg for the grace to desire to forgive those who have hurt you. It could be a prayer as simple as this, “Lord, help me for forgive as you ask because by myself I am not strong enough and without You I can see no reason to forgive.”

    Forgiveness is never easy. That is why God reminds us constantly that we need his help. May you allow Him to help you so that you can begin to walk on this difficult yet liberating journey that is forgiveness.

    God bless you,
    Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
    St. Felix Friary, Yonkers, NY

  66. avatar y2kscotty says:

    Well, now, the conversation thread is now on Finn and Cordileone. Regarding Cordileone, he asked for forgiveness. So, I say, “Ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis…” And I further counsel the bishop, “For your penance, you have to suffer the temporal punishment due to sin, which could mean swearing off the booze and going into rehab, and maybe not becoming the Abp of SF”. As for Finn, whether or not he stays in the job could depend on how effective a leader he can be in the future. The other shoe could drop for both Finn and Cordileone.
    Makes ya wonder what kind of character we’ll get as our Bishop.

    Now, moving to another thread…On the NFP point…. what is an “anti-NFP hyperprovidentialist”?

  67. avatar Scott W. says:

    “anti-NFP hyperprovidentialist”?

    A providentialist is one who simply doesn’t regulate the number of children they have. They just engage in marital relations whenever, and however many children they have, is how many they are supposed to have. Nothing at all wrong with this. A hyperprovidentialist is one who regards any birth regulation at all as at best selfish, or at worst, sinful.

  68. avatar annonymouse says:

    “Given that the Church is the “people of God”, isn’t it made in all our images?”

    Sorry, BigE, I have no idea what you’re asking. Perhaps you can make clearer what you mean by the second part of the second half of your question.

    I disagree with your premise, by the way. The Church is not just the “people of God” but the “people of God who profess the Faith” and part of professing the faith includes assent to her magisterial teachings.

    Finally, let me ask you a question: do you believe that someone who outright disagrees with important Church teachings should be catechizing young adults? Should not those in positions of influence in the Church be in agreement with what she teaches?

  69. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Thank you, Raymond. Fr. Jeremiah writes beautifully and inspiringly. Thanks for forwarding. Sometimes, one cannot even pray “God help me to…..” or even “God help me to want to…..” Then we pray, with as much repetition as it takes: “God help me to want to want to want (etc)….to…..” Forgiveness is very much an act of the will and not of the emotions.

    I am proud and awed by the way that my brother has dealt with continuous pain and limitations over more than half a life time as a victim of a drunk driver. A bit of humor: before one of his many surgeries he was talking and joking with the orderly who was very upset to see what a drunk driver had done to his patient, and my brother was saying how important it is to deal with what one has received, to move forward, to be positive….etc. The orderly quickly (and I hope unthinking) retorted: “easy for you to say!” Then, perhaps, the orderly realized how absurd such a response was from someone not really affected.

    So much for the personal view. Let’s get back to church leadership when it falls short, and how that affects the preaching of the word and shortchanges souls. It’s great that the friars are reading our site! Send thanks to Fr. Jeremiah, please.

  70. avatar BigE says:

    1) your definition of “church” is just that: yours. Now who’s making the church in their own image?
    2) I believe some earlier opinions stated. That a catechist should be teaching what the church believes, and if they hold any contrary opinions, those should be kept personal and not publicly stated or blogged.

  71. avatar Thinkling says:

    That a catechist should be teaching what the church believes, and if they hold any contrary opinions, those should be kept personal […]

    While at some point there might be a disciplinary directive that precludes even this, your description of this is quite precise. One can hold opinions about anything. But they are just that…opinions. Faith is an assent (act of the will) toward the sum of intellectual content from Scripture, Tradition and Revelation.

    There is no reference to opinion anywhere, or even understanding, for that matter. I often like to point out the Church teaching about the Trinity being “ineffable”. This precludes fully understanding it. But one can still assent to everything revealed about the Trinity.

    Forget the name but there was a renowned philosophy prof who lamented that at the beginning of each term he would ask his students what they thought about some complicated issue touching on philosophy. Invariably they would start their reply with “I feel that…”. He knew this was a bane of the culture, because when one mistakes an opinion for a thought, or a feeling for an intellectual conclusion, they invariably take strong psychological ownership of these and thus ossify themselves from any external information which would perturb them. (Hypothesis: This is why confirmation bias is so prevalent) Thinking about something, OTOH, is an exercise on something external to oneself, ideas, so a reason to change one’s thinking is not a personal affront.

    But as he (and others) have said, we live in the most educated age in history, and yet in an age of the poorest thinking, mainly because we feel in lieu of thinking. I remember during my formative years when Closing of the American Mind came out and the surrounding fracas. I read it, and while I still have issues with the presentation, the work is prescient. Quick, any folks under 30 who did not attend DeSales, Steubenville, etc.: How many of you ever read Aristotle, Aquinas, or Augustine in school (other than as straw men to be thrashed)? Didn’t think so.

  72. avatar annonymouse says:

    E, if you’ll crack open your catechism, you’ll find a rather extensive definition of “the Church” (much more than the brief definitions you and I have provided) and you’ll find it in Part One, called “The Profession of Faith.” Any definition of Church that does not presuppose the profession of a common faith is flawed. The common faith is fundamental to “Church.”

    You’re a bit off your game of late, BigE – everything OK?

  73. avatar BigE says:

    1) The Catechism IS where I got my definition of church.
    2) Your distinction of a common profession of faith is a bit of a non-sequitor since the Catechism is clearly referencing the Creeds, which neither I nor Nora (I would assume) have any problem with. That makes your distinction irrelevent. And you don’t usually make irrelevent points. Is everything OK with you? 🙂

  74. avatar annonymouse says:

    E, I’m glad that you and Nora have no problem with the creeds. So please read on:

    In 815-816, the idea of the Church as “ONE” (which we profess in the creed) points to the “unity of the pilgrim Church [which is] also assured by the visible bonds of communion” which are the profession of common faith, common worship including the sacraments, AND apostolic succession through Holy Orders. 816 makes clear that this apostolic succession is referring to the governance by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him.

    SO, when we profess our common faith, and we say we believe in ONE, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church, we are speaking of ONE Church unified by common faith, liturgy and sacraments, and our leadership (Pope and bishops). We cannot, therefore, claim to profess common faith without being unified around our leadership and implicitly, their teaching authority. And I’m afraid that those who disregard and disagree with her leadership and teaching authority are choosing to wound that unity (817), leaving them outside the “one” Church.

    As you can see, the Church is far more than simply “the people of God.”

    I’d still like to know what you mean by the question “isn’t it made in all of our images.”

  75. avatar BigE says:

    Having to cobble together a definition of church from other sections of the Catechism beyond the definition CLEARLY given is a “remaking”. Having to include “implicit” understandings NOT clearly stated or directly connected by the Catechism is also a “remaking” of the definition of church. I respect your beliefs, but to claim my definition is somehow subjective while yours is not just doesn’t work no matter how badly you want it to. I do love the discussion though. Peace my sister.

  76. avatar annonymouse says:

    BigE – my point was, is and will be that the Church is far more than the simple definition you gave: “the people of God.” For if that were all there is to it, the Vatican fathers could have substantially shortened Lumen Gentium and just left it at “The Church is the people of God.” In your view, they at the very least could have left out Chapter III entirely!

  77. avatar BigE says:

    It really is that simple. Theologians and Bishops (who are theologians at heart) tend to like to use 16 syllable words when a 3 syllable word would work just fine. Or write volumes on a concept that can be stated in a sentence. It’s nice for reflection, but not necessary for understanding.

    “Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it” (Mark 10:15)

    “But to those who did accept him he gave the power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name” (John 1:12)

  78. avatar annonymouse says:

    BigE – WHAT are you TALKING about?? 16-syllable words? Like what?

    I give up with you. You continue to advance arguments that are simply indefensible. And now you’re throwing up red herrings. In what possible way are your two quotes germane? They’re entirely NOT.

    I’m glad that you, who have the authority to define such things, are content that the Church is simply “the people of God” even though that definition fails to contemplate such rudimentary requirements such as faith in Jesus Christ and baptism by water, to name two.

  79. avatar snowshoes says:

    Our Lord’s burden is easy, His yoke is light, when we accept the Kingdom of God as a little child. Thanks, BigE. This means of course, If you love Me, keep My commandments. We receive His commandments from the Catholic Church, through the gift of faith.

    We are to love His Body, and His Vicar on earth, Pope Benedict. For a Catholic to speak disparagingly of our Holy Father is unthinkable. The way we show our love for our Holy Father is by obedience to all his teachings, and the teachings of the Magisterium, not just those we agree with or understand, or that have a formal “ex cathedra” hung on them. For a Catholic to say he does not agree with nor will he obey certain doctrinal or moral teachings of the Church based on personal reasons is not acceptable. For Catholics, love of the Blessed Trinity leads to loving obedience of all the teachings of the Catholic Church. It’s that simple. All or nothing, the narrow path or the outer darkness. St. Joseph of Cupertino, pray for us.

  80. avatar BigE says:

    ok, let me restate it in another way. Is a person who goes to mass every sunday, prays often, works tirelessly for the poor, and gives generously in time, talent and treasure to the church BUT doesn’t beleive the teaching on contraception – is that person a member of the church?

  81. avatar annonymouse says:

    BigE – that gets into matters that have been hashed out ad nauseum on these pages, usually between you and me, without resolution. You continue, apparently, to obstinately reject a papal encyclical on this subject, a teaching that has been consistently taught by the ordinary and universal magisterium. Hence you are arguably in heresy (look it up, the Code of Canon Law is online) – hopefully you do not possess a teaching office. I humbly pray that you seriously reflect on this and ask God to bring your mind, heart and life into full communion with what Holy Mother Church believes and teaches. I’d ask you this (again) – why so stubborn? How’d you get so much smarter and wiser on matters of faith and morals than Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and the college of bishops?

    But this post has far digressed from the original point, on which I believe you agree: that Ms. Haehl ought not possess a teaching office if it’s her intention (either by commission or, more likely, by omission) to advance teachings that are contrary to the faith.

  82. avatar Richard Thomas says:


    It’s up to God to judje but part of being Catholic is accepting the teachings of the Majesterium. If we have trouble accepting certain issues, we have to pray for acceptance.

    Part of the problem is way too many people, going to Catholic mass and receiving communion are “Cafeteria Catholics”. They pick and choose what they choose to believe.

    It’s exemplary that someone go to church and be generous to the poor but the REAL issue is: Proper formation of catholics, especially the youth. I don’t care how often someone goes to church, or “gives time to the church”, or helps the poor. If he or she is not on board with all the teachings of the majesterium, then that person shold not be teaching anyone the faith because their own personal judgement will cloud any instruction. That person should also not be in a postion of leadership in the church where it pertains to faith and morals. Do you want someone, having a problem with contraception, give instruction to anyone on the subject? Won’t their dificulty with the issue be transmitted to the recipient? Isn’t is more beneficial to have someone accepting of these issues instruct?

    For the past 40 years the church has suffered from too many people with all sorts of issues about Catholic teachings, being placed in roles of teaching and leadership. And the prize child of this mess is the DOR. Isn’t that partially the reason Catholics contracept, abort and agree about homosexual marriage in a similar percentage as in the genreal population? Doesn’t that contribute to their leaving the faith?

    And the pastor is partially to blame. For he is responsible for her presence and he will have to answer to God for the lost souls that were taught by this woman.

  83. avatar marylou says:

    Can someone please explain to me why Nora Bradbury-Haehl, listed as the Director of Faith Formation at St. Patrick’s church in Victor, is also concurrently serving as the “Interim Youth Ministry Coordinator” for the EPISCOPAL Diocese of Rochester?

    How can one be responsible for teaching youth the faith… in two different faiths?

    St. Patrick link:
    Episcopal diocese link:

  84. avatar annonymouse says:

    Perhaps she did some soul-searching and concluded that she cannot subordinate her own strongly-held beliefs to that which Holy Mother Church teaches. Sad as it is to see her leave, I would applaud her honesty. Perhaps the Episcopalians’ decision to “Sacramentalize” same-sex relationships was the last straw. Perhaps the arrival of an orthodox pastor (Fr. Tayag) (and I don’t mean to besmirch the former pastor, of whom I know nothing) had something to do with it.

    In any event, I would guess that she works for the Episcopal Diocese now, and that St. Patrick’s is slow to update their website.

    I would HOPE that she is no longer, nearly three years after this original thread, in a position to lead youth astray from Catholic teaching.

    If she has left for “greener pastures,” let us say a prayer that she safely returns to the Church. Comes home with more joy, less anger.

  85. avatar militia says:

    Nora is still listed in the first bulletin under Fr. Tayag’s pastorate, as youth minister, Director of Faith Formation and Pre-School! I didn’t understand that she is leaving, but rather that she is serving two masters, Catholic and Episcopal. Is that right?

  86. avatar annonymouse says:

    No, that is not right. It may be correct, but it’s not right.

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