Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Fruits Indeed…

March 26th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K
Bishops Clark and Hubbard receive the "John Cardinal O’Connor Award"

Bishops Clark and Hubbard receive the “John Cardinal O’Connor Award”

An excerpt from Bishop Clark’s acceptance speech, as printed in the progressive America magazine:

“Fruits of the Council – Prayers for the Church”

My overarching awareness of the experience of 50 years of priesthood and 34 years of episcopal service is that it all began at the same time that Vatican II began. That realization leaves me deeply and abidingly grateful for the wonderful fruits of the council. It also makes me aware that there is much yet to be done. It has been my privilege all these years to walk with people whose faith and generosity make the Kingdom come every day. The lay faithful, women and men religious, our priests and deacons in great number really do get it, that they are gifted by and called to holiness, that they are to participate fully, actively and consciously in the life of the church; that they are to be salt and light for others.

They know that we are in this together. They know that we embrace Christ most lovingly when we embrace the poor, the lonely and the dispossessed. They know that we are part of a faith community which is poorer than God wants us to be without the gifts of all. Such people do continually inspire me, and I believe that God’s gracious providence has contributed to my ongoing, continuing human and ministerial formation through all the years. Shifting into this new phase of my life, I welcome the opportunity to pray in gratitude for the people among whom I have served, and for their continued growth. I shall be praying, as well, that God will inspire us to continuing, ongoing conversion.

Among the prayers and hopes I have for our beloved church are these: the revival of a genuine experience of subsidiarity in the church, so that people at every level are free to do what they do best and what they generally can do better than anyone else; and a fresh realization that pastoral authority is meant to serve freedom and communion, not only by setting legitimate limits but by listening and learning from those it serves. To grow in genuine communion, we need much more honest, respectful, even tough conversation in our church, especially around matters that are disputed. Such conversations need to center more on seeking the Truth than on who holds the power. [There is no point in debating matters which have been settled. This dialogue tactic is an attempt to keep the door open on subjects such as women’s ordination and contraception]

I pray, too, that we will strive always to translate into appropriate structures and significant decisions what our pastoral statements say about women in the church [He really doesn’t know when to give it up]; that we will widen the pastoral embrace of the church to welcome more fully and affectionately our gay and lesbian sisters and brothers [And how do you propose we do this in a way that we aren’t already? Gay marriage? Gay-themed liturgies?]; that we will rejoice that God touches the hearts of our laity with a call to pastoral ministry, not seeing that call as in competition with priesthood [In Rochester, you have made the laity superior to the priesthood. Here a group of super-laity runs parishes, delivers homilies, tells the priest what to do, decides what churches close and stay open, etc.]; that we will be especially attentive and open to the faith experience of people who show every sign of being devoted disciples of the Lord, but who say all too frequently, “I am finding it very difficult to remain a Roman Catholic.”

I conclude by telling you that the beginning of the emeritus life has been wonderful. It allows a continued opportunity for apostolic ministry; it has opened the door for more prayer, study and thought about our pilgrimage together. Even at this stage of looking back over the years, I am profoundly encouraged by what has happened. I am also aware that growth is not always linear or uninterrupted, that we always stand in need of reform. But, my friends, I do believe and know at the very core of my being that the good work our loving God has begun in us, God will one day bring to completion.

Most Rev. Matthew H. Clark

Bp. Hubbard’s speech is also available at the link above.

May these two retire down to Florida upon Bp. Hubbard’s resignation and cause no further harm to the Catholic Church.

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18 Responses to “Fruits Indeed…”

  1. Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    “that we will be especially attentive and open to the faith experience of people
    who show every sign of being devoted disciples of the Lord, but who say all too
    frequently, “I am finding it very difficult to remain a Roman Catholic.”

    Now I am confused. What possibility could be the signs of discipleship that make it difficult to remain Catholic?

    There was a phase in my faith journey when I really thought being a faithful disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ and being Roman Catholic were mutually exclusive. In other words, no way could Catholics be faithful disciples and no way would a committed believer in the Lord Christ ever consider becoming Catholic or if already Catholic could a true disciple stay in the Roman Catholic Church.

    Readers should realize that kind of mistaken thinking is rooted in misconceptions, misunderstandings and misinformation. Thankfully, works like Ralph Martin’s A CRISIS OF TRUTH: THE ATTACK ON THE FAITH, MORALITY AND MISSION IN THE CHURCH and Alan Schreck’s CATHOLIC AND CHRISTIAN can help both to expose confusion and clarify Catholic beliefs. (Father Robert Barron’s CATHOLICISM is now shining light on the Church’s beauty, goodness and truth.)

    But how can it be that devoted disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ (who are already incorporated in God’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church) are finding it very difficult to remain Roman Catholics? Maybe they are not in fact devoted disciples of the Church’s founder?

    Have the parishes in which they became “devoted disciples” taught them something other than what Christ’s Catholic Church teaches? Have their pastors, confessors, spiritual directors or theology professors encouraged them in some different understanding of prayer, holiness and mission contrary to what the Church’s great saints have given witness?

    Or could it be, that these particular Roman Catholics saw or heard something in their Bishop which resonates with this difficulty to remain in the Church that Christ founded?

    Can anyone help clear away this confusion?

  2. Richard Thomas says:

    “Open to the faith experience of people. Let’s see. Contraception, homosexual acts, abprtion, women priests, dismantling holy sanctuaries. That is his vision of Catholocism and he surrounds himself with likeminded people.

  3. annonymouse says:

    The frightening thing about +Clark’s comments is how confused he seems to be about the principle of subsidiarity. He seems to be saying that the Church should embrace subsidiarity in matters of faith and morals, so that individual bishops may have free rein to decide matters of morality based on the “faith experience of the people.” This is a new concept to Catholicism – for we believe that in matters of faith and morals we are united around the visible sign of the unity of the Church – the Chair of Peter and the man who holds Peter’s office. Furthermore, his comments seem to imply an embrace of postmodern relativism, in which there is no longer any such thing as objective moral truth – what is good and true in Rome may be different than what is good and true in Rochester, he seems to be implying.

    This man was our bishop for 33 years. When did he ever LEAD (aka TEACH) the faith experience of people, over and against the postmodern culture? It seems to me that he has always wished to embrace (aka FOLLOW) the popular culture and remake his Church in its image and likeness. If I had been entrusted with the spiritual care and teaching of 400,000 souls for 33 years, I would be on my knees in fear and trembling given the observable fruits of that tenure.

    One more thought – what +Clark and countless other “progressive Catholics” refuse to recognize is that the Holy Spirit has given us a definitive hermeneutic of the Council’s teachings in the persons of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, yet they continue to rebel.

  4. Rich Leonardi says:

    Let it suffice to say that Pope Benedict knew exactly what he was doing when he fired this unyielding ideologue. Say a Te Deum that he can now only voice this twaddle from the pages of a largely unread magazine.

  5. Susan of Corning says:

    Good headline 😉

  6. Ron says:

    And now, McQuaid is going to allow a gay couple to attend the Junior Prom?!

  7. Bruce says:

    That Mcquaid letter is disgusting. A rambling rationalization and a temptation for mortal sin. Everyone knows that dates and dances are for getting to know the OPPOSITE sex for purposes of future marriage. This is no different than female “pastors” in that it is setting them up for something that is forbidden. This man has just said it is okay for homosexuals to “date.” The point of dating is marriage and sex and family. These confused boys cannot do that, and it is confusing the community as well.

  8. Bruce says:

    On second thought…DOR + Jesuits…some kind of homoerotic heresy was bound to happen.

    I wish the DOR would get the nuclear option: Cardinal Burke to swoop in with a gang of African Traditional Mass priests, shut down all parishes except a quickly-renovated Cathedral, close all schools, fire all lay pastors, and reopen each parish and school one by one with the proper staff in place. It would take years, but heck, it took over a quarter century to get this bad. Its not going to be great overnight.

    This would be awesome!

  9. Ben Anderson says:

    wow – thanks for sharing that, Ron. What a bunch of mularky! And here we go, the progressives have started summoning Pope Francis to validate their dissent! I’d get this story to the front page (I hear it might be garnering national attention), but I’m afraid I won’t have any time until next week. And seeing as it’s Holy Week – it might be best to consider the great mysteries of our Lord the next few days and try our best to forget the great mystery that is our diocese. (If another contributor wants to do it – go for it).

  10. annonymouse says:

    Apparently Fr. salmon misses tat he Church also teaches that same-sex attraction is intrinsically disordered. the truly loving thing would be to offer help to these young men.

    Apparently Fr. Salmon is happily unaware that his decision will inevitably be a national news story, bringing scandal to millions of Catholics, especially confused and vulnerable youth.

    The real scandal here is that McQuaid created the sort of culture in which the two young men saw fit to request to attend the dance together. A truly loving Catholic culture would offer help to young men so afflicted, so that their attraction disorder could be overcome, or so that they could be empowered to live chaste lives, which is what the Church teaches. Rather, the school is, wittingly or unwittingly, encouraging this “lifestyle” and that is an outrage.

  11. Richard Thomas says:

    Well. Fr. Salmon is an enabler. He IS a near occasion of sin! He, by allowing this to happen, is putting the souls of these students into danger of going to hell, as well as contacting all the sexually transmitted diseases homosexuals acquire through their lifestyle.

    And scandal to the many hundreds of students who now, through the conduct of a authority figure and a priest as well, now are exposed to propaganda that homosexual behavior is morally OK. No wonder O’Bama won the last election. The country, especially her young people is morally bankrupt.

    It would be better is you were not born. If you give scandal it would be better if a millstone were tied around your neck and you were thrown into the sea.

  12. annonymouse says:

    Bruce – I found your first post (3/27 9:18p) is absolutely 100% spot on. Fr. Salmon’s letter is a rambling rationalization of something that Father Salmon knows is wrong. The grade it merits, in terms of Catholic moral theology, is an “F.”

    Your second post is not so helpful (and diminishes your first, I think).

    But it is correct to say that there is no point in same-sex “dating” in a Catholic environment that teaches that anything further than dating is impossible without entering into a state of serious sin. Please tell us, Fr. Salmon, how encouraging same-sex dating encourages such confused, afflicted young men to live lives of chastity? Or do you secretly wish to foster change in the Church by “pushing the envelope?” And I presume you wish to be “pastoral,” good Father, but since when is permissiveness consistent with shepherding?

    I wonder if Fr. Salmon consulted the Apostolic Administrator on this question. I doubt that +Cunningham would have given him the wink and a nod we’ve become accustomed to here (meaning “go ahead and push the envelope”). For matters like this, that risk serious scandal of the flock, the local ordinary should be consulted, and in his stead, ask the AA. Perhaps he simply consulted the local moral theology expert, Sister Sholes, if anyone at all.

    Let us pray that a good, holy, courageous shepherd to be sent to us.

  13. militia says:

    Cute couple, a matched pair, but I don’t think they should be allowed to attend the McQuaid prom together.

  14. Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    “Next, our gracious docent would like to give us a look at Dei Verbum, wherein His Excellency tells us that one will discover regarding Sacred Scripture, “God’s Word is a living word, which brings about what it proclaims” (a statement in which the Catholic readily senses the stench of that central tenet of protestantism, sola scriptura, in which it is assumed that the teaching authority of the Church and the sacraments entrusted to her are unnecessary since the Bible somehow “brings about” salvation all by itself just like magic”


    See Dr. Scott Hahn’s website
    Or read Hahn’s most excellent book:
    LETTER and SPIRIT From Written Text To Living Word
    In The Liturgy

    Hahn’s conclusions are the same as what is falsely accused
    of being magical.

    Not Protestant Sola Scriptura Not a rejection of
    Church Authority or of the Sacraments.

    Read Hahn and (re) discover the power of the
    Scriptures in Liturgy bringing about and making
    present what is proclaimed!!

    I am a Catholic believer in Christ and the only
    stench is the ignorance in this sarcastic blog.

  15. Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Above, Choir wrote the link to harvesting the fruit.

    After going to it, I realized the blog falsely accused
    Bishop Hubbard regarding the sacred Scriptures.

    (see my above comment)

    To substantiate the correct position, which Hubbard
    expressed, I refer readers to Benedict’s THE WORD OF THE

    The sacramentality of the word

    56. Reflection on the performative character of the word of God in the sacramental action and a growing appreciation of the relationship between word and Eucharist lead to yet another significant theme which emerged during the synodal assembly, that of the sacramentality of the word.[195] Here it may help to recall that Pope John Paul II had made reference to the “sacramental character of revelation” and in particular to “the sign of the Eucharist in which the indissoluble unity between the signifier and signified makes it possible to grasp the depths of the mystery”.[196] We come to see that at the heart of the sacramentality of the word of God is the mystery of the Incarnation itself: “the Word became flesh” (Jn 1:14), the reality of the revealed mystery is offered to us in the “flesh” of the Son. The Word of God can be perceived by faith through the “sign” of human words and actions. Faith acknowledges God’s Word by accepting the words and actions by which he makes himself known to us. The sacramental character of revelation points in turn to the history of salvation, to the way that word of God enters time and space, and speaks to men and women, who are called to accept his gift in faith.

    9] Christ, truly present under the species of bread and wine, is analogously present in the word proclaimed in the liturgy. A deeper understanding of the sacramentality of God’s word can thus lead us to a more unified understanding of the mystery of revelation, which takes place through “deeds and words intimately connected”;[200] an appreciation of this can only benefit the spiritual life of the faithful and the Church’s pastoral activity.

  16. Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Wrapping up my defense of the statement by
    Hubbard, which was ridiculed in harvesting the fruit,
    I encourage readers to (re) read DEI VERBUM
    of the Second Vatican Council.

    Moreover, I suggest rereading Isaiah 55: 10-11.
    The Hebrew for word in verse 11 is DABAR.

    “Dabar: as a noun means: word; matter; something. It is also the Word which creates, as God created the world by His word (Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 48:13; Psalms 33:9).
    The Dabar of the Lord carries with it the ability to accomplish what it is sent out to do.”

    DABAR is word but word that is event.
    What is declared happens.

    In conclusion, the suggestions made in my three
    comments include some solid reading. Don’t forget
    Scott Hahn. He is the American expert on this subject
    in fidelity to Sacred Tradition.

    Harvesting the fruit needs to do some serious study.

  17. annonymouse says:

    DAZ – thank you for that analysis. Harvesting the Fruit exhibits some snarkiness that we need to be careful to avoid. Criticism without love is not Christian.

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