Cleansing Fire

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Lost In Fantasy Land

September 30th, 2012, Promulgated by Dr. K

From today’s D&C letters to the editor:

Greatly disturbed by Vatican decision

We were greatly disturbed by the announcement that Bishop Matthew Clark was retiring immediately and that Bishop Robert Cunningham of Syracuse would serve as the administrator of the Rochester diocese until a new bishop is named by the pope.

Bishop Clark submitted his resignation to Rome in July when he reached 75, which is standard protocol. We understand that the pope normally accepts these resignations upon the appointment of a successor and the current bishop continues to serve until a replacement is named. Why did this highly unusual action happen here?

We strongly applaud Bishop Clark’s positive stand toward leadership roles of women in the church, his support of gay and lesbian Catholics and his generally progressive theological views. Apparently the conservative leaders in Rome disagree and the early retirement was their response. We do not agree with this action for someone who has served this community so lovingly and faithfully with kindness and integrity for so many years.

TOM and BARBARA CLARK

So… “Why did this highly unusual action happen here?

This highly unusual action happened because Bishop Clark was an abysmal failure as Bishop of Rochester. Bp. Clark fostered a culture of dissent that contributed to the near collapse of our diocese.

Are Tom and Barbara Clark and all of the Bp. Clark apologists living in fantasy land? Are you blind to the empty pews in your local parish? Maybe they attend Our Lady of Victory’s standing-room only Sunday morning Mass [I doubt it], but most parishes in the diocese have seen attendance drop by 30% or more in the past decade alone.

Let’s step out of fantasy land and enter into reality. The Diocese of Rochester needs a change in leadership.

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55 Responses to “Lost In Fantasy Land”

  1. avatar Chrysostom says:

    Overall, a well-crafted letter:

    Question asked in paragraph two (Why did this highly unusual action happen here?)

    …and answered in paragraph 3 (…Bishop Clark’s positive stand toward leadership roles of women in the church, his support of gay and lesbian Catholics, and his generally progressive theological views).

    An accurate and succinct summary, Tom and Barbara!

  2. avatar Scott W. says:

    Meh. Let them sour grape. The rest of us can enjoy the springtime thaw.

  3. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Barbara and Tom,

    Are you related to Bishop Matt? I am, and I think he’s wonderful!

  4. avatar Sassy says:

    Funny that we also had our DOR relation tell us that the Vatican “was not very nice” to Bishop Clark by replacing him with the acting bishop of Syracuse. However, I will be the first to admit that she has bought into the progressive agenda that Bishop Clark espoused. This relation also sent us the special insert of the Catholic Courier with the article written by Bishop Clark. My relative wanted to use it as evidence of what made +Clark a great bishop (in personal opinion only). In reading it, I had just the opposite reaction. I could understand better why the DOR was in need of such a change.

  5. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    At least to me, one of Bishop Clark’s “relatives” I’m not yet sure whether or not Tom and Barbara Clark are “related” to the Bishop. After all, Clark is a very common name. I don’t know them, so I’m waiting for a response.

  6. avatar Bernie says:

    Well, at least we all can agree on exactly WHY WE THINK Bishop Clark was relieved of duties so quickly. To those of us on the orthodox side it might be the answer to all our letters to the Vatican that seemingly went unanswered -this would appear to be the answer.

  7. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Bernie, that’s an assumption on your part….like you said: WHY WE THINK…have you ever considered that possibly the Pope, himself, has read this blog and figured he’d do God’s work by releasing Bishop Clark so as to keep the peace? This does not mean that he agrees with the fanatics of Cleansing Fire…even if he agrees with how you stand up for church teaching…doesn’t mean he likes your anger or agrees with it…Possibly your righteous anger scares him as it does me?

  8. avatar Rich Leonardi says:

    Are you related to Bishop Matt? I am, and I think he’s wonderful!

    Special pleading, comically delivered.

    Guys, it’s your site, and you can adopt whatever comment policy you choose, but you might consider imposing some sort of quota or ceiling on the prattle coming from “SALLYANNE” and others like her.

  9. avatar annonymouse says:

    I have to believe, based on the Clarks’ letter to the editor of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, that Benedict is seriously and prayerfully re-thinking this most hasty and ill-considered decision.
    NOT!

    Seriously, I don’t know what good such a letter does, other than to breed additional discontent and dissention. And make things more difficult for +Clark’s successor, who (based on this hasty decision we can be assured) will be quite orthodox and be tasked with steering the Diocese away from the left. Dear Tom and Barbara – I hope you didn’t plunk down 45 cents and an envelope on that letter. You wasted your money.

  10. avatar Thinkling says:

    I started reading this piece and was reminded almost instantly of the maxim that bellyaching over administrative tick tack is usually a front for defeated ideology (see LWCR; then again don’t). But as I kept going, I have to give kudos to the Clark’s for being up front with their, er front…they were clear they value their ideology more than the Church. Would that everyone who felt such were so honest. I got a resigned kick out of their last few lines. Standard confusion between love and affection, faithful and stubborn, conservative and orthodox, etc etc. If this is the confusion being enabled for four decades then they should be thankful for the prompt action, not snarky.

    Do some folks really think the Pope reads CF? Seriously? I doubt the Pope reads Tom Peters or Brandon Vogt, even though he knows both, and they likely have a hundred times more page views than CF. Let’s get serious, shall we? No the benefit of this site in the papal eye was mostly to encourage the documentation of the various incongruities over the last 40+ years, especially proper letter writing campaigns through proper channels. And I still think Diane H could still write a kickbutt book about the financial et al improprieties…but her online documentation here was itself stellar

  11. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Thinking…possibly I’m wrong, but I THINK I have read, on this blog, wording which indicates that possibly the Vatican has read this blog…why would it be so seeking in recognition? Possibly, Cleansing Fire, Rochester, NY, thinks it’s intentions somehow are favored in God’s Plan? Amen, Rochester, NY…Amen! Hey, ya never know!!! Stranger things have happened!!

  12. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Correction Its intentions…can’t help it…

  13. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    I have never seen the “Clarks” on this blog, so please, don’t put them down..they need to let it all sink in, like I had to do…with justification, God’s scripture, and Christian Cleansing Fire! It’s not an easy task when you are used to just looking at people and understanding how they are helping people…then you learn, via Cleansing Fire of Rochester, NY, that you are not only a sinner, but you are also dumb, and subject to criticism and mockery, just for having the label, “Progressive” Sinners!! Repent, you “Liberals” you, who mock the very honor of God Almighty! Repent!!! Cleansing Fires says so!!!

  14. avatar pat says:

    Since the original post pertains to the acceptance of the resignation of the Bishop of Rochester and most comments seem to favor such acceptance, I am curious as to what the contributors to Cleansing Fire think should be done about the Bishop of Kansas City. Should the Pope do anything personnel-wise about that diocese?

  15. avatar Dr. K says:

    Should the Pope do anything personnel-wise about that diocese?

    No.

  16. avatar pat says:

    No?
    Perhaps ‘No’ on such issues has led to a decline in attendance in many dioceses across this country.

  17. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Rich, My prattle is what entertains you…sit back and enjoy! Of course, you wouldn’t expose yours, would you? Especially on cleansing fire…

  18. avatar militia says:

    I think that our Holy Father showed amazing restraint in not accepting Bishop Clark’s resignation on July 16th. Bp. Clark could have saved face if he’d announced that he had asked the Pope for early acceptance “for personal reasons.” But he really didn’t want to leave, and must have found it hard to even imagine that his resignation would be accepted so quickly. A more realistic attitude toward the damage done to souls and to the patrimony of the diocese would have suggested there would be rapid acceptance of his resignation. Some people just can’t see/admit the harm they’ve done, I guess.

    I also think it says a lot that Bishop Clark knew his resignation was being promptly accepted (and in some versions Cardinal Dolan knew too) yet they went through the motions of the Jubilee Mass ‘keeping the secret.’ That has also been an inherent problem of this diocese — lack of openess and transparency. Secrecy is endemic to the DoR. Why was it so important to keep it a secret for 4 more days?

    Also, as some have said, there has apparently been a ‘behind-the-scenes’ solicition of funding for priests’ (and the bishop’s?) retirement funds. This acceptance of resignation kind of puts the kabosh on that, doesn’t it? The quickest way to fix the priest pension situation is to tag a few years (3 or 4 or 5?) onto the current diocesan retirement age for priests. Then there is more time to pay into the fund, and less time for payouts. And if the priest shortage really existed, that would have prevented some church closures as well. Also, there are women-in-waiting who have pined for being ordained. Some were staying only until Bishop Clark retired, so the rapid acceptance may have caught some of his ‘friends’ by surprise as well.

  19. avatar Scott W. says:

    Should the Pope do anything personnel-wise about that diocese?

    I think that bishop ought to resign of his own accord as he did cause major scandal, but as far as the pope intervening, depends on what you mean. Admonishment? Sure. Accepting his freely offered resignation? Yes. Unilateral removal? That rarely happen even for bishops that do worse, so no.

    So there you go, a different answer from a reactionary CF regular, so you can put away any sweeping indictments of the blog you may have queued up.

    “Perhaps ‘No’ on such issues has led to a decline in attendance in many dioceses across this country.”

    Actually, surveys suggest that scandal has played only a small part of drops in mass attendance (expect in special cases like Boston). Of course any drop caused by scandal is unacceptable, but this is all red herring. What is inescapable is that the DOR has nose-dived harder than any other diocese in the country in virtually every measurable category, and that is largely attributable to +Clark’s ideological scorched-earth policies.

    But the period of always-winter-never-Christmas is finally over, and DOR laity have good reason for the audacity of hope. Yes we can! 🙂

  20. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Should the Pope do anything personnel-wise about that diocese?

    This question was also asked (and discussed) here:
    https://cleansingfire.org/2012/09/i%E2%80%99m-not-leaving-and-i%E2%80%99m-not-going-to-be-quiet-nora-bradbury-director-of-faith-formation/#comment-100415
    I’ll say that after reading Scott’s opinion, I’m not so sure as I was with my initial reaction. I’d say that I’d need to know more about the situation and given it’s remoteness to my life, I don’t really have the time or the energy to invest in learning all the details.

  21. avatar Scott W. says:

    I don’t really have the time or the energy to invest in learning all the details.

    On further reflection I apologize for giving this air-time on this entry. It’s changing the subject, tu quoque and a red herring. I’ll try not to rise to the bait in the future.

  22. avatar pat says:

    In the archives of Cleansing Fire there was an article promulgated by Dr. K on Sunday, April 17th, 2011 entitled “How Quickly Change Can Happen”.
    Maybe a solution to the situation in Kansas City is for the Pope to transfer the Bishop of Kansas City to Rochester. I am not convinced that church attendance in the Diocese of Rochester would begin to soar but who am I to say when apparently there are surveys showing that the wider scandals played only a small part in church attendance. Maybe there are also other surveys showing the wider scandals have negligible effect on attracting people back to the Church.
    At least the recent situation in Kansas City was discussed previously on Cleansing Fire.

  23. avatar snowshoes says:

    “Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'” Our Lord also tells us, in last Sunday’s Gospel, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”

    We have here in Rochester the sad, bitter fruit of disobedience, as Dr. K puts it, in the fantasy land. Rochester is a by-word in the whole world for the wrack and ruin caused by such sin. The Clarks, with all due respect, are an example of the sad result, people who honestly believe the ‘progressive’ false teachings of Bp Clark, and are subject to the consequent blindness of those who agree with scandal. Of course, there are as many or more who have been scandalized and left, which is the other side of the tragedy of scandal in the DoR. St. Thomas More, and St. John Fisher, pray for us that we may receive a good and holy Bishop.

  24. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Surveys on why people don’t go to Church will never tell the whole picture. People don’t go to Church because they don’t see the value in it – they don’t believe in it. The question is why don’t people believe. It is not what excuse will those people give. The reasons they had for going to Church probably weren’t any better than the reasons they have now for not going. They don’t believe because they weren’t taught that Catholicism has teeth – that it actually stands up and smashes to smithereens what the world has to offer.

    To quote CS Lewis again:

    The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water.

    what % of people raised in the Catholic Church have felt that type of happiness (an ecstasy of love)… have been exposed to it? have seen it lived out and witnessed to by others?

    I believe that instead of that view of Christianity, the more common view of Christianity (especially by those raised in the Catholic Church) is an outdated moral code that teaches people how to be nice… and if you are already nice then what use have you of a Church?

    This is where the term “moralistic therapeutic deism” comes from.

  25. avatar Scott W. says:

    I am not convinced that church attendance in the Diocese of Rochester would begin to soar

    Neither am I convinced no matter who is ultimately appointed to head the DOR. The damage has already been done. Rather, the DOR is in for a loooooong recovery process. The bishop can make the ground fertile again by promoting better liturgy, canning the lay-administration, and make it unambiguously clear that Catholicism will be taught as opposed to EpiscoPresbyLutheranism. But that is only the starting point. It will also require re-evangelization largely driven by the laity.

  26. avatar Thinkling says:

    Others have noticed these reigning fantasies in DoR. Cue Michael Flynn.

    He peruses the comments in Ross Douthat’s frisking of the latest “Jesus’ Sharpee wife” episode, and comments on this gem:

    Paul F. Slattery of Rochester, NY reveals in a bout of Too Much Sharing that a sexually active Jesus certainly has the greater appeal for me.

    Bold mine. Another Lopatamized Rochesterian who thinks genitals more sacred than Genesis.

  27. avatar Dr. K says:

    “Maybe a solution to the situation in Kansas City is for the Pope to transfer the Bishop of Kansas City to Rochester.”

    As much as I would enjoy that prospect, it seems unlikely given the two year probation issued by a secular court.

    Bp. Perry is still the most probable candidate for Rochester, in my opinion, or possibly Bp. Sample.

  28. avatar Rich Leonardi says:

    SALLYANNE(!) writes, Of course, you wouldn’t expose yours, would you? Especially on cleansing fire…

    This must be the comment your neighbor’s dog told you to write!

    Scott W. writes, What is inescapable is that the DOR has nose-dived harder than any other diocese in the country in virtually every measurable category, and that is largely attributable to +Clark’s ideological scorched-earth policies.

    Yes. And the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, which has a well-earned reputation for liturgical loopiness, has seen a drop-off, though not a nosedive, in Mass attendance too, despite the uptick in other dioceses. When you trivialize the Mass or freight it with your own prerogatives, you should expect people to react accordingly.

  29. avatar Dr. K says:

    The damage has already been done. Rather, the DOR is in for a loooooong recovery process.

    You’re absolutely correct, Scott. In fact, things are probably going to get much worse before they get any better.

    Some examples of the trouble ahead:
    + The priest shortage is going to worsen. We have a plethora of priests who will reach retirement age in the next five years. It will take several years of increased ordinations to offset the coming loss. Remember, we had zero priestly ordinations in 2012, one older married priest convert in 2011, and zero ordinations in 2010.
    + Area women religious are on the brink of collapse. There are no young women joining the local sisters, only older widows and divorcees. Expect to see the local SSJs and RSM become extinct within a decade. I hope our next bishop will invite tradition-minded sisters into the diocese to replace these decaying orders. Don’t do so, and that will be the end of women religious in Rochester.
    + Mass attendance and parish membership will continue to nosedive over the next decade. Our Masses are currently attended by a sea of gray hairs and bald heads. Who is going to replace these people when they die? The next generation simply isn’t there. The next generation may have married in the church, possibly had their very few children baptized, and now they and their very few children don’t go to Mass. How is our next bishop going to increase local Mass attendance, let alone preserve the current pathetic levels? Bps. Hogan and Clark have damaged this diocese royally, and we might never recover. The best we can hope for, it seems, is an end to the bleeding. Unless we have some kind of divine intervention and our own miracle of the sun to produce mass-conversions in Rochester, how are we going to avoid the upcoming destruction?
    + The local hierarchy is a cesspool of dissent. That includes both priests and lay “ministers.” Any changes proposed by our next bishop will be met with fierce resistance and attempts to undermine his authority.

    I’ll probably write a post about this topic in the near future.

  30. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    I worry that many priests, caught up in the modernist heresy, and approving of the wreckovision, will prematurely retire, making the priest shortage more acute. This had been indicated by someone else on this site.

    Scott and Others: How does the laity evangelize. Will it be in association with the remaining parishes. Will the faithful laity be more mainstream and not marginalized as has happened for the last 33 years?

    I read statements from Bishop Sheen that the role of the laity is to make the clergy, preach the REAL faith. Perhaps there are a few individuals who will be receptive but I also think there will be resistance from many of the entrenched priests.

  31. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Thinkling says:
    September 30, 2012 at 9:18 PM
    …I have to give kudos to the Clark’s for being up front with their, er front… they were clear they value their ideology more than the Church. Would that everyone who felt such were so honest…

    Good point there.

  32. avatar DanielKane says:

    Nothing to be disturbed about –

    + Bishop Clark has been at the same job for 33 years and deserves a break. Few if ANYONE has sat in the same chair for over three decades knowing that the chances of promotion, transfer or relief were nearly zero.

    + The Holy Father demonstrated extraordinary paternal and fraternal charity in allowing Bishop Clark to celebrate 50 years as a priest on active duty and to retire on the his namesake’s feast day. How beautiful!

    + Bishop Clark enjoyed 60 days of remembrances, celebrations, special articles and related sentimental activities appropriate to his tenure and status. He had the joy of having one of his former directees receive a red hat and come here to celebrate him. All of this gave good and certain closure to Bishop Clark’s historic time at the head of this diocese.

    + He was allowed to remain at the helm of the DoR to see one of his predecessors declared Venerable.

    + Following these appropriate honors, he was retired in accord with Canon Law and given a well deserved time to gather his things and begin his new life. This also respects the incoming bishop in that Bishop Clark’s departure does not detract from the new bishop’s installation or ordination.

    I for one are not the least bit disturbed and wish him a long and fruitful retirement. He was given honors appropriate to his position and tenure and having given his life to the DoR, was properly allowed to begin anew a new chapter with solid closure. What beautiful charity was extended by all of the faithful from the Holy Father to the pewsitter. Now, in the Gospel tradition, “he must decrease while another increases” and Bishop Cunningham, generously has stepped temporarily into the DoR to bridge the gap another manifestation of Gospel charity.

    Historians will judge the external results of his tenure, some of which are obvious and well documented. However, to be “greatly disturbed” over Bishop Clark’s treatment seems very superficial. How much work do you want to squeeze out of this poor bishop? Is not 33 years enough? He spent 2/3 of his adult life here. Let him rest and begin anew, notwithstanding his charitable desire to soldier on.

  33. avatar Scott W. says:

    Well put Daniel.

  34. avatar raymondfrice says:

    “Maybe a solution to the situation in Kansas City is for the Pope to transfer the Bishop of Kansas City to Rochester.”

    As much as I would enjoy that prospect, it seems unlikely given the two year probation issued by a secular court.

    Ans: transfers are routine and quickly expedited from one jurisdiction to another.

  35. avatar raymondfrice says:

    One of the issues that will have to be addressed by the new bishop of the DOR is the status of the theologian, Father Charles E. Curran. Father Curran has had his license revoked to teach in a “Catholic” institution of any sort because his positions on moral theology are contrary to the Vatican’s. He is a priest in good standing with the Diocese of Rochester and and is one of the most popular theologians in the country. Any negative change in his status will probably cause some “ground tremors” in the field of theology in this country. He is considered by some to be a theologian’s theologian and one of the most brilliant scholars in the Church today.

  36. avatar Dr. K says:

    Not only Curran, but the statuses of Jim Callan (still a priest) and a local married man who masquerades as a priest are worthy of consideration.

    Additionally, we have several priests “absent on leave” who should be carefully reviewed. One of them left the Catholic Church for the Polish National church. A second engaged in an affair with a female parishioner. A third may have violated the Confessional seal.

  37. avatar Persis says:

    militia says:
    “I also think it says a lot that Bishop Clark knew his resignation was being promptly accepted (and in some versions Cardinal Dolan knew too) yet they went through the motions of the Jubilee Mass ‘keeping the secret.’ That has also been an inherent problem of this diocese — lack of openess and transparency. Secrecy is endemic to the DoR. Why was it so important to keep it a secret for 4 more days?”

    I have heard from a very reliable source in the DOR, that the Bishop and all involved were instructed by the Holy See that they were not to divulge the upcoming change, until it was annouced by the Vatican. It is my understanding that this is how it is done.
    We cannot blame the DOR for this lack of transparency.

  38. avatar Dr. K says:

    “I have heard from a very reliable source in the DOR, that the Bishop and all involved were instructed by the Holy See that they were not to divulge the upcoming change, until it was annouced by the Vatican. It is my understanding that this is how it is done.
    We cannot blame the DOR for this lack of transparency.”

    The bishop selection process is bound by secrecy. Since this is part of that process, it makes sense that the retirement announcement would remain confidential until the appropriate time.

  39. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Persis,

    Keeping a secret is OK… no obligation to tell our personal secrets…And Dr. K. explained it so well…appropriate timing…

  40. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    what DanielKane said – well said, sir.

  41. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Persis says:
    October 1, 2012 at 5:56 PM
    “I have heard from a very reliable source in the DOR, that the Bishop and all involved were instructed by the Holy See that they were not to divulge the upcoming change, until it was announced by the Vatican…”

    That makes me feel better about Cardinal Dolan’s “great bishop” remarks. I was on the fence about that, understanding he was trying to give him credit for what was good on this retirement occasion and that it would be wrong to use the occasion to make a “fair judgment” of his whole tenure. But I do I feel much better now knowing that at the time Dolan said this, he knew the retirement was like, now.

    Also it seems like a normal amount of charity to allow the bishop a few days to get used to the idea on his own instead of having to find out when everyone else is.

  42. avatar raymondfrice says:

    “Maybe a solution to the situation in Kansas City is for the Pope to transfer the Bishop of Kansas City to Rochester.”

    “As much as I would enjoy that prospect, it seems unlikely given the two year probation issued by a secular court.”

    Maybe I missed something in passing but why would one enjoy having a criminal as bishop???

  43. avatar raymondfrice says:

    “The bishop selection process is bound by secrecy. Since this is part of that process, it makes sense that the retirement announcement would remain confidential until the appropriate time.”

    A far cry from the traditional way of doing it!!! I am reminded of the people of Milan electing St. Ambrose by acclamation in the public square. Accepting the call, he then had to be ordained a priest and then consecrated a bishop!!

  44. avatar Scott W. says:

    “Maybe I missed something in passing but why would one enjoy having a criminal as bishop???”

    There is already an entry on the +Finn controversy, but it was dredged up here as a rather dodgy threadjack, so although I’m not in charge, I think we should either post re +Finn on that thread and drop it here.

  45. avatar DonCope says:

    One of the fruits of Bp Clark’s tenure. Hard to find First Friday and Saturday devotions. We like to do first Friday and first Saturday devotions. We attend Mass, receive communion etc. However we cannot find these devotions offered by parishes. This morning, first Saturday in October, we overslept until 8am, so I looked on line at church bulletins for a Mass close by that we could attend in the morning. St. Mary’s Canandaigua had a listing under Masses, 11:00 AM, marriage of X and X. So we thought lets go to that Mass for our 1st Saturday obligation. Well it turned out to be a wedding service with a deacon and not a Mass. Everyone was dressed to the tees in expensive clothes and the pomp and circumstance was overwhelming but the service was so sterile. What has happened to the Nuptial mass in this diocese? I know, I know it’s allowed, but it felt like there was something missing. It seemed so protestant.

  46. avatar Diane Harris says:

    I’ve been in the same Saturday AM position as DonCope describes, and usually I pull up a funeral from the obituaries….have come to think every Catholic should attend a couple funerals a year where they don’t know the person, or have the emotional involvement of loss. It really gets one thinking about what the family would say for me? or I would say for other family members? When I hear the most profound thing a son or daughter can say is to praise the deceased’s tomato sauce, I have to wonder. When a golf score or winning at poker or being a sports’ or bridge club fanatic is the highest praise, well…..

    It’s not that anything is particularly wrong with such accomplishments or interests, but is it really the high point of someone’s existence? It does give perspective on the ‘last things.’ But, somehow, I find the funerals to be a little closer to the reality of life than many weddings. Perhaps it is the short time which is available for preparation between death and funeral, or perhaps it is realizing that the flowers, music and seating arrangements don’t change anything, but to me the funerals seem more “real,” and even the disappointing eulogies make me think.

    I have been to a number of very moving liturgies at St. Mary Canandaigua, but it is a shame when any bride and groom willingly forgo the Mass on their wedding day of all times. FYI, the Saturday Mass is at 8AM, followed by Rosary and Divine Mercy devotions every Saturday. The First Friday devotions are 7AM to 8PM, with prayers with the Nocturnal Adoration Society and a Benediction at closing. You are right that such devotions can be hard to find in the DoR. I wish there were better indices to what is going on by parish, so as to avoid the needle-in-a-haystack sorting through Church Bulletins on line.

  47. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    All I know is that marriage is very tough. And we depend on God for our marriage. I would think a deacon service is just symptomatic of couples today thinking of everything except God. Perhaps that’s why so many marriages fail.

    As to funerals, I recently went to a funeral in the DOR. The deceased was all but cannonized in the many eulogies spoken at mass.

    I wish priests would speak about the permanence of death, judgment heaven and hell. There are many at the funeral mass…many elderly. Perhaps, as one gets older, their mortality becomes evident. So having the priest invite all lapsed Catholics to return to the sacraments would be fitting in this situation.

  48. avatar raymondfrice says:

    “it is a shame when any bride and groom willingly forgo the Mass on their wedding day of all times.”

    In some areas, couples are asking the priests if they can marry at one of the Sunday Parish Community Masses just like the Baptisms are done. It is a brief ceremony within the Mass and the community witnesses it and promises to help the couples by spiritually supporting them.
    It avoids all the excesses that people are told they have to have in order to have a”correct” wedding. Correct weddings now cost, on the national average, about $25,000. to start and go from there and have a 50/50 chance of lasting.

  49. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Ray,

    That’s encouraging. I’ve heard stories of couples choosing a large wedding verses cash for buying a house etc.

  50. avatar annonymouse says:

    DonCope and RichardThomas – it seems to me that there is nothing wrong with a deacon officating a wedding. In fact, if one of the couple is not Catholic, I think it would be preferred, as then there is no question about the non-Catholic and his/her family/guests receiving Holy Communion. Of course, if both are Catholic, then I agree, they should have a nuptial Mass unless there simply is no priest available.

    Raymond – I think having the wedding at a Sunday Mass is a fantastic idea. Another benefit to the parish would be the encouragement and endorsement of the institution of marriage, something that needs to be much more stressed, with only 1000 or so marriages in our diocese these last few years.

  51. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Annonymuuse, You are correct that there is nothing wrong but it would be a situation where there would be more grace given because of the mass.

    I would hope that non catholic family members would be amenable to the mass. Hopefully, the priest would announce before communion that non catholics should refrain from receiving the Eucharist. Sadly, this is not done in more than a few cases.

    Mixed couples present a special problem because the challenge of the catholic spouse is to remain catholic. And then there is the pledge by the non catholic spouse that they have to raise their children Catholic.

    Sadly, this is not taken seriously by such couples and, unfortunately, many catholic fall away from their faith.

  52. avatar annonymouse says:

    RT – I respectfully disagree. Catholic teaching is that grace comes in and through the Sacrament of Matrimony, not just on the wedding day but throughout married life together. While as Catholics it is preferable to celebrate all Sacraments in the context of the sacred liturgy, I don’t think the Church teaches that somehow “more grace” will be bestowed if married by a priest in a Mass than by a deacon outside of Mass.

    Second, it is precisely to avoid the circumstance of half (one side) of the congregation presenting for communion and one side not, that it makes sense for mixed marriage weddings to be performed outside of Mass.

    Finally, I don’t think your wording is exactly accurate – “pledge by the non catholic spouse that they have to raise their children Catholic” – The Catholic spouse has to pledge to do all in his/her power to raise their children in the Faith, and the non-Catholic spouse has to understand and acknowledge the Catholic’s responsibility.

    With respect to your final comment, well that is unfortunately the case, without doubt.

  53. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Annonymouse,

    I am not talking about the grace of the sacrament. I am talking about grace received through attending Holy Mass. There is much more grace associated with that than a simple deacon ceremony.

    How can a catholic spouse expect to raise their children catholic when the non catholic spouse is adament against that. No, I think that to be married in a Catholic ceremony, all spouses have to agree to raise their children catholic.

  54. avatar annonymouse says:

    Richard Thomas – this is what canon law prescribes for mixed marriages (which is what I paraphrased in my post above) –

    Can. 1125 The local ordinary can grant a permission of this kind if there is a just and reasonable cause. He is not to grant it unless the following conditions have been fulfilled:

    1/ the Catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church;

    2/ the other party is to be informed at an appropriate time about the promises which the Catholic party is to make, in such a way that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and obligation of the Catholic party;

    3/ both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage which neither of the contracting parties is to exclude.

    There is no “quantity of grace” measure to be imputed to the Sacrament of Matrimony. A couple is either sacramentally married or they are not. It does not matter whether the couple is married by a priest, deacon (or, perish the thought! – a layperson who has been granted the faculty to witness marriages!) – the couple is equally married at the end.

  55. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Annonymouse,

    I agree there is grace of sacramental marriage and that holds true for either session but there is still the graces of attending holy mass that in themselves are greater than a ceremony. That’s not the sacramental grace.


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