Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


Christmas Message From Bp. Cunningham

December 14th, 2012, Promulgated by Dr. K

From our Apostolic Administrator:

“Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ in the Diocese of Rochester,

Through the centuries painters and sculptors have given us numerous depictions of the Nativity scene. The stable is pictured with Mary, Joseph and the Christ Child as the central figures. Angels, shepherds, kings and usually animals complete the scene. The stable is open! We can look inside and see the child. Seeing, we marvel at what God has done for us.

In the birth of this child, God has truly become “Immanuel, God with us.” As a child God has drawn so near to us that we can address Him in the intimate language reserved for a vulnerable, tender and beautiful infant. We have direct access to the heart of this child, and we can become his friends.

At this time of year, Christmas memories from our youths are often present. For most of us, Christmas was a time of great joy. Our memories center on Christmas Mass in our parish churches; Christmas dinners at home with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins; favorite recipes lovingly prepared and shared every year. Gifts were exchanged, and the hallowed memories of those who had gone before us into eternal life were shared with reverence and joy. Christmas memories rarely fade away completely. We may put them aside during the busyness of our year, but they emerge at Christmas to remind us of past blessings and to gladden our hearts.

For me personally the visit to the crib in the parish church of my youth continues to be a refreshing visit and a source of unbridled joy. While most of us have depictions of the stable and crib in our own homes, there is something special about entering the door of one’s parish church – the door of faith – and making a visit to the manger scene where the memory of the Christ Child’s birth is celebrated. With the altar nearby, we are reminded that this child will grow to adulthood and freely lay down His life for us. In the mystery of the Eucharist, Christ’s coming is not reserved only to the past. It is celebrated every day.

The Year of Faith, which we are celebrating at the present time. uses the “door of faith” as an image for the journey we are invited to make this year. This door is always open to us, inviting us to cross its threshold and enter into deeper friendship and union with God. It is my hope and prayer this Christmas season will not only strengthen the faith of our Catholic people but will also be the impetus to bring others through this door to closer intimacy with God.

Throughout the Christmas season, I will pray that you and your loved ones will enter the “door of faith” once more and, with memories from the past, see with renewed eyes of faith the Savior who came to free us from our sins and bring peace to our troubled world.

A blessed Christmas to you and all whom you love.

Devotedly yours in Christ,

+ Most Rev. Robert J. Cunningham”


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7 Responses to “Christmas Message From Bp. Cunningham”

  1. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Like was said on “The Vortex” today on “”, Unless the Year of Faith is accompanied by genuine and authentic manifestation and exprression of our Catholic faith, this will fail. Talk is cheap. Let’s see what happens. I don’t think much , however, will.

  2. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    So what can you and I do, Richard, to help?

    1) Pray to the Holy Spirit.
    2) Share authentic Catholic Faith with parish leaders and other parishioners.
    3) Give good Catholic resources to others.

    For example, at leat once a week I send an email
    to a woman in the RCIA process, I will talk to
    her on the phone and invite her to the house.

  3. avatar militia says:

    Wish I could go back and visit my childhood church, where the manger scene stood and (as JPII reported doing) kiss the baptismal font at which I entered the Church. Unfortunately, that Church is long since closed.

  4. avatar Nerina says:

    The message you’ve posted above is lovely, Dr. K., which makes Bishop Cunningham’s signature on a joint statement all the more difficult to understand. In part, the statement signed by Bishops representing the Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist faiths in Central New York reads:

    To a world struggling with such planetary issues as war and peace, global climate change, poverty and wealth, the Gospel of Luke from the Christian scriptures informs us that a sign has been given, albeit two thousand years ago.

    With this opening you can imagine where this statement is going.

    It continues:

    His parents had gone to Bethlehem to pay the forced tribute that held up the opulence of Rome. The central point of the Bible’s birth stories of Jesus was to challenge Rome’s propaganda and subvert the hierarchy of wealth and power.

    First, I thought they went to Bethlehem to be counted. Second, is this really why God took on human flesh in the form of an innocent, dependent baby? To “challenge Rome’s propaganda and subvert the hierarchy of wealth and power“? Silly me. I thought God sent us his only son to reconcile his lost people to himself.

    And in the final statement of ecumenism gone amok we read:

    The way of Jesus, no matter how you may honor him or what you may call him, is a way of life for all creation.

    I just don’t know what our AA was thinking by signing this statement. Are they trying to drive away all the remaining adherents?


  5. avatar y2kscotty says:

    Nerina, maybe our AA Robert signed it because he believed it. Or his VG signed it as a pro forma.
    When I read “… to challenge Rome’s propaganda and subvert the hierarchy of wealth and power”, Satan made me think that maybe our AA was endorsing some Protestant reformer’s attack on the Church (think of John Knox). But, sanity jumped in – that can’t be it. This letter is nothing but “ecumeno-speak”, a reduction to as little substance as they could agree on. And it looks more like political correctness. Maybe someone here can recall an ecumenical statement that had some real substance.

    I suppose the lesson is to take ecumenospeak with a grain of salt or a bourbon and tonic.
    [You can think also of +Dolan’s disingenuous reference to +Matthew as “a great bishop”, just as he’s sticking the knife into him. It’s all Grade-C rhetoric. With all the various diocesan ternas in the northeast, wouldn’t you think that we’d have a new bishop by now? Is it because there aren’t enough good candidates and that we’ll get the best of a mediocre lot? Sorry to be so negative and cynical.]

  6. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    I learned that Christ was born during Roman times due to the Pax Pomana. There was order in the world. It was easier to spread the gospel during these times. Now I know there were terrible persecutions later but there was a relative world order not found in prior civilizations. A roman empire made it easier to disseminate the gospel.

    Y2Kscotty: Do you really think Cardinal Dolan put a “relative” knife into Bishop Clark?

  7. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    “We get to create the possibility of a new world with visions of a new peace and a new justice that respects the dignity of every human being. It is the sign of the infant of Bethlehem. It is the Christmas hope.”

    Of course we Catholic believers in Christ strive to respect the dignity of every human being, even that of the unborn. But when told we get to create, we are reminded that we are earthen vessels carrying a marvelous treasure. (2 Corinthians 4:7 ‘But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency may be of the power of God, and not of us.’)

    Let’s discuss ‘the Christmas hope’.

    Saint Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15: “This [is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”.

    The salvation of sinners is a Christmas hope! “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”. (Luke 2:11)

    Isn’t it in the Gospel of Matthew where we read: “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins”?

    Perhaps what the bishops wrote is “ecumeno-speak”. But it is not the Gospel and it is not the power of God to save everyone who believes (see Romans 1:16,17).

    If The Rt. Reverend Adams, III, Most Reverend Cunningham, The Reverend Jerge, and The Reverend Webb were to read Dr. Ralph Martin’s “WILL MANY BE SAVED?” they might refocus their Christmas message to better announce the hope that matters in time and eternity.

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