Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

“It must be in the water.” (The DOR and WOC connection)

March 31st, 2013, Promulgated by b a

A reader recently emailed me about a lecture he attended at SJFC. I asked if he was interested in writing up his experience. What follows is his response.  I must say I was inspired by his willingness to defend the faith in this way.

“It must be in the water”. Those were the words from Sr Mary Jeremy Daigler as she presented her lecture on the history of the women’s ordination movement at St John Fisher College on 3/21. The point that Sr. Daigler was making was that Rochester, NY and this diocese stands out in the crowd as one that produced a large number of proponents of the women’s ordination movement within the Catholic Church. Sr. Daigler was referring to Rosalie Reinhardt (more here) and Deni Mack and as she mentioned their names, everyone’s attention was directed to the first couple rows of the auditorium where Rosalie and Deni were sitting. Not to be outdone, someone in the audience piped up to also let Sr. Daigler know that Sr. Joan Sobala was present. Sr. Joan waved her arms in the air and took her rightful place amongst the “local mothers of the movement”, Rosalie Reinhardt and Deni Mack. The remaining fifty or so people in the audience included Dr. Linda M. MacCammon, Director of the Ethics Minor Program and host for the evening, as well as about 20-25 students and another 20-25 middle to senior aged people.

Before the lecture began, I sat toward the back of the auditorium, just about three seats from two young female SJFC students. After I settled in, an older women sat in the row in front of me and between me and the two SJFC students. At that point, I recognized her as Sr. Joan Sobala, but I was not 100% sure. That was until Sr. Joan turned around and engaged the reluctant girls in conversation. At the end of the brief conversation in which Sr. Joan offered her credentials in the women’s ordination movement and her many years fighting for it, Sr. Joan gave a double thumbs up to the girls and said “we’re doing this for you girls”. It was no coincidence that I ended up sitting next to these two girls and behind Sr. Joan. After she engaged in conversation with the girls, I engaged Sr. Joan and challenged her on her comments. Caught off guard that some Catholics actually defend the Catholic faith, Sr. Joan grumbled and turned around.

So why was this movement so alive in the diocese of Rochester? Sr. Daigler gave all of the credit to the support of the last two bishops, Bishop Clark and Bishop Hogan. This should not come as any surprise to us. The rest of the lecture consisted of the old and tired arguments being made by this movement. At the end of the lecture, a short Q&A session occurred, which was less Q&A and more comments. Many of the older people in the audience applauded the lecture, expressed their support of the women’s ordination movement, railed against the Catholic Church, and even invited the audience to join the movement and join in on the protest at the cathedral during the Chrism mass. The poor students who were forced to attend just sat there quietly. Toward the end of the Q&A session, I asked Sr. Daigler why she was not including Jesus’ choosing of twelve men as Apostles in any of her lecture. Not knowing how to respond, Deni Mack asked for the microphone so that she could help Sr. Daigler put me in my place. I was not bothered by that as much as I was bothered by the fact that Catholic laypeople and religious in the DOR actively pursue and spread teaching that is against the Catholic faith, yet are given prominent roles in the diocese. What Sr. Daigler needs to know is that the rampant Catholic dissent in our diocese is not from something “in the water”, but from a deeper culture within the diocese that wants to change the Truth of our faith to their own perverted view of what they would like it to be and it was all done and supported by our Bishop Emeritus, Matthew Clark.

I am thankful that I came to this event spiritually prepared and not only challenged the lecturer and the local “mothers of the movement”, but that I also engaged the students when the event ended. Noticing that the students started to leave as soon as the opportunity arose, I excused myself and handed them prepared literature that I brought. Many were receptive and took the literature and some actually engaged in good dialogue. One young girl refused because she disagreed with the Catholic Church’s ‘practice of discrimination’, but I think I reached most of the students. I was even charitable and left a dozen or so extra copies on the table outside the auditorium for Sr. Daigler and her fan base to take at the end of the evening. Please pray that our Holy Father, Pope Francis I, will bestow upon our diocese a shepherd who will restore the true teachings of our faith in its entirety.

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21 Responses to ““It must be in the water.” (The DOR and WOC connection)”

  1. Diane Harris says:

    It’s not drinking the water that does it; it’s drinking the Kool-Aid. Thank you for a great witness to Christ’s real teachings, and of faithfulness to the Church. What a waste of their lives and scandal to others; one wonders why they became nuns if they didn’t want to serve the way nuns are called to serve.

  2. Kelly says:

    Could there be a connection between this and the recent Gallup poll which shows Rochester ranked as one of the least religious U.S. cities? If you hunger for truth and continue to be shown older adult women playing dress-up, I’m sure it’s easier to decide to simply starve at home.

  3. annonymouse says:

    My question, which I’ve asked before, is this – why do these women (and the men who support them) stay in the Catholic Church and devote their energies, their lives to changing her, when they obviously do not subscribe to all that the Church teaches and believes. There is a perfectly fine alternative, which exactly matches what they believe, in the Episcopal Church. The Anglicans embrace female priests and bishops, openly homosexual parishioners, priests and bishops, were the first to sign up for artificial contraception, they’re starting to recognize (“sacramentalize”) homosexual relationships, and I could go on. Rather than be honest to their consciences, they deem themselves warriors of change inside (and against) the Catholic Church. If I believed all the things these people do, or better said, if I refused to believe all the things these people refuse to believe, I’d go someplace which more closely matched my “conscience.” That would be more honest and true to my beliefs or lack thereof.

    Rather, they stay, and given the microphone, they continue in their divisive and diabolical ways.

  4. Giovanni says:

    annonymouse…. because if everyone left the church because it disagreed with it on any given issue there would be no church. And I’m afraid history works against you here… in the past there have been times when people have disagreed with popes and won. There were times in the Church when the very divinity of Christ was up for discussion… We don’t all have the answers at the same points in our life… It’s a journey and at times our faith in church teachings are stronger than at other times. Sometimes, people leave, like Martin Luther (who was right on a lot of issues). Others choose to stay to change the institution from within. When they seem dissident we sometimes mock their beliefs, their motives, their Catholic identity… After history has vindicated them we sometimes call them prophets and saints. I’m so thankful to be a Roman Catholic and to be a member of Christ’s Holy Church… no matter what you think. Just because someone thinks women can be priests doesn’t make them an Episcopalian. You should work harder to realize the good in people instead of focusing on their faults. Sr. Joan is one of the greatest people I know and she has done a tremendous amount of good to build faith for many people and to keep them in the Church.

  5. annonymouse says:

    I also know Sister Joan, and I find her to be one of the most arrogant, full-of-herself, angry people I’ve ever met.

    Not at all a model of the Blessed Virgin Mary by whose humble fiat the world was redeemed.

  6. annonymouse says:

    Giovanni – there are a great many people who humbly accept the Church’s teachings even if they don’t fully understand those teachings. So your first statement is simply not true.

    I’m not telling these ladies to leave; all I’m saying is this – if there’s a communion that exactly matches your beliefs versus your the communion you find yourself in, one with which you differ on so many matters of faith and morals, wouldn’t you feel more comfortable and “at home” going over to the one that obviously is more “with it” rather than to bang your head against the wall trying to change the one you were born into? If I thought my Church leadership were as wrong on so many different fronts as these women and all the rest of the NCR crowd, I’d go someplace else, that’s for sure. But that’s just me. I don’t claim to know everything.

  7. Richard Thomas says:

    Mouse. That question was asked to Sr. Joan Chissister, a notorious dissenter. She said, ” Because that’s where the xerox machine and copy paper are”!

  8. DanielKane says:

    There is little to add that has not been said better by others but Kudos to Ben for (1) entering the lioness’ den (2) challenging them with dignity and tact (3) recording the authentic history.

  9. Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Folks with greater spiritual discernment can
    tell us if these folks are wolves, demon inspired
    or unwilling to leave thr Church for fear of their
    own judgment.

    But I can testify to what a dissenter said in public.

    At the 1992 SBI graduation the keynote speaker publicly
    Declared she and others should stay in the Church to change
    the Church.

    Her name?
    Rosemary Radford Ruether

  10. Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Sister Joan did not edify me, encourage me or grace me with

    The one time we met SHE informed me I was wasting my
    Master of Arts In Theology degree.

    And why was I wasting it according to HER?

    Rather than apply for a staff position in some parish,
    I was serving God’s people as a RTS busdrIver.

    She will never know the thousands of open doors to give witness
    to the Lord Jesus Christ!

  11. Richard Thomas says:


    Kudos. Their response seems to be the norm. They are powerful and brave when they don’t have any imput from any potential contradictory individuals. They have been like lions trampling on the rights of others. But when confronted with informed individuals, they cower and are unable to conduct an intelligent conversation.

  12. Giovanni says:

    annonymouse, I hope I didn’t seem to terse in my response. Sometimes I let me emotions get the better of me… especially when it’s people I care about.

    I must admit to you that I said the same thing as you the other day. I went to the Chrism mass on Monday and saw the women priest protesters standing outside and didn’t think much of it. I was walking in with a friend, behind two priests. As we walked towards the steps they were saying women should be priests… but then one of them said “and priests should be allowed to marry as well, so there won’t be so much sexual abuse.” Well that set me off and I got mad (more than mad but for here I’ll leave it at that)… That was such a rude thing for them to say… not only that but untrue… and I just couldn’t help myself and yelled back why don’t you just leave and join the episcopal church. I wanted to do more, I wanted to make them feel badly about what they said in front of two good priests, but I knew it was a waste of time and might be inappropriate for me to react much more… so I get where you’re coming from. Still can’t believe what I heard that woman (don’t know who she was) say.

  13. Dr. K says:

    “priests should be allowed to marry as well, so there won’t be so much sexual abuse.”

    Is this protester implying that single people are more inclined to commit sexual abuse?

    You’re absolutely right, Giovanni, she couldn’t be more wrong.

  14. Giovanni says:

    Taht’s what it sounded like to me… it was just unbelievable to hear. I felt like reminding them about all the married coaches we heard about this past year and the countless teachers, who are married and have sexually abused children… sad

  15. Richard Thomas says:

    And don’t forget of the 5000 cases of sexual abuse in the Catrholic Church, reported over the last 20 or 30 years, 4000 have been homosexual priests predating and molesting teenage boys.

  16. Bruce says:

    Given than 80%+ of all sexual abuse cases in the past 50 years involved homosexual men on teenaged boys, marrying women would have done nothing for them. They weren’t “into the ladies” anyway.

    As for these ladies, well, staying in the Church feeds their ego as “rebels” and “culture warriors” who have not lived 45 years SINCE 1968, but rather have LIVED 1968 for 45 years.

  17. Mike says:

    Giovanni said,

    When they seem dissident we sometimes mock their beliefs, their motives, their Catholic identity… After history has vindicated them we sometimes call them prophets and saints.

    We won’t ever be calling those who continue to advocate for women’s ordination prophets and saints unless they repent of their heresy.

    The teaching that the Church lacks the authority form Jesus Christ to ordain women has been declared to be an infallible teaching of the ordinary and universal Magisterium (i.e., a part of the Deposit of Faith), and a “judgment [that] is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.

    As Professor Peter Kreeft of Boston College has put it, “The issue today is not whether the Church will have priestesses. She won’t. The only open issue today is whether the would-be priestesses will have the Church.” (Source here, at the 20:52 mark.)

  18. Scott W. says:

    There is a perfectly fine alternative, which exactly matches what they believe, in the Episcopal Church.

    Secular humanists have already overrun that denomination, so there is no reason for secular humanists running around in Catholic drag to go there. Germany doesn’t have to invade Italy when Mussolini is in charge.

  19. annonymouse says:

    Scott – perfect! I was giving their motivations the benefit of the doubt, but I think you’ve nailed it!

  20. annonymouse says:

    Joan is a perfect example of what is wrong with the mainline vowed religious orders of women in our nation. They brazenly defy the authority of the Church, long ago having abandoned any semblance of humble service. They openly advocate for ObamaCare against the teaching of the U.S. bishops. They get “on the bus” and advocate for all kinds of social justice issues except the only non-negotiable one – the fight against legal abortion.

    And what has this got them? Their orders, which make up the LCWR, are all dying a slow death, with essentially zero vocations. I would ask Joan’s Mother Superior the following questions – what is the average age of your nuns, and what was the ratio last year of the number of your members who died as compared to the number who professed final vows?

    The ONLY way forward for these orders is to return to their roots, which was humble service in the vineyard of the Lord, in full communion with the Church and her teachings. It is a fact that the only orders that are getting vocations and growing in numbers are those that are in communion with the Magisterium.

    George Weigel has a great quote in his chapter on the reform of the consecrated life, in which he refers to such orders as “decomposing” – but causing great discord in the Church as they do.

  21. Richard Thomas says:

    There is hope. I have the newsletter of the Dominican Sisters of Nashville, TN. They had 21 women making first vows and 11 women making final vows. The New Church is alove and well. Perhaps they can come to the DOR

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