Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

St. Thomas Parishioners Locked Out

July 31st, 2013, Promulgated by Gen

Just when it seemed that the situation in Irondequoit had reached some sort of equilibrium, Fr. English reminds us that this is not the case. After having instructed parishioners of St. Thomas (sorry…St. Kateri Tekakwitha at St. Thomas the Apostle) not to pray their daily Rosaries there, the administration of the “parish” decided to change the locks on the doors to the church. This was done without any prior notification of the parishioners, adorers, or other visitors who sought to visit Our Lord in His holy place. 398574_10150600168381842_509333251_n

Simply put, Fr. English has locked his own parishioners out of their own church. Remember: St. Thomas the Apostle has not been closed. It is an open church, consecrated and fully able to minister sacramentally to the people of the city, presuming, of course, that her priest(s) choose not to shirk their duty to do so. The parish has been stripped of its Masses, its confession schedule, and all devotions, and for no other reason than a warped sense of political expediency. This is not pastoral planning; this is pastoral vengeance.

The people of St. Thomas have been fighting for years to maintain a presence in their own church. They ought never to have needed to do so, based on their stable finances, demographics, and campus upkeep. Indeed, of all the Irondequoit parishes, St. Thomas was in the best position to facilitate a gentle transition to a prosperous worship community. This was overlooked by many, though. Every individual in a position of authority lorded that authority over the people of St. Thomas, and did this only because of one reason: St. Thomas the Apostle rejoices in its Catholic identity. The same cannot be said of Christ the King, where the casual observer finds himself asking, “is this really a Catholic church?”

The willful and deliberate targeting of St. Thomas has been an unquestionable trend for the past several years, and this most recent transgression refreshes in our minds the memories of past injustices. The manner in which the parish of St. Thomas the Apostle has been “dealt with” bears a striking similarity to the Jews’ treatment of Our Lord in his final days. The Diocese, like the High Priest and his minions, hides behind flawed interpretations of Canon Law, and bends the Law to suit its own agenda. The machinations of the priests took place in darkness, hidden from the light of day, from the light of Truth. Fr. English, I think it is fair to say, is not acting entirely dissimilarly in this matter.

76079_461342011841_6916584_n We should ask of him several questions, to see what possible justification he might have in locking his parishioners out of their worship site. Primarily, why now? What happened to prompt him to seal shut the doors of one of his own churches? Was there theft? Was there mistreatment of property? Did someone say their “Hail Mary” a little too loudly for his liking? Next, we should ask what part of Canon Law allows a pastor to lock his flock out of their church? He might say that locks are changed frequently, and for all sorts of reasons. And this is true. However, in most instances when a parish has its locks changed, the pastor sees to it that the faithful actually have access to the church, and don’t find themselves left out on the steps. His defense might be that “we don’t use St. Thomas for Mass any more. We worship at St. Cecelia, Christ the King, and St. Margaret Mary.” Yes, that is true. But St. Thomas is not closed, and being in that state, cannot be locked to the faithful. The Vatican ruled that it could not “save” St. Thomas because, on paper, St. Thomas is not in any need of being saved. It is officially open. There is no doubt about this. And, maybe I just don’t understand, maybe I don’t speak English too good, but isn’t an “open” church actually supposed to be open?

As of this writing, the canon lawyer representing St. Thomas has been contacted, and is working on resolving the situation. Let us pray for a resolution that is just and equitable for the parishioners. But remember: our politically-motivated priests don’t operate with a focus on the Faith, on objective Truth. No. They can’t focus their eyes on anything, living and operating as they do in the shadow-lands of legality. Do not expect, dear friends, to be dealt with by those in charge with any semblance of respect or charity. But stand firm, be vigilant, do not yield. The Office of Compline tells us, “Be sober and watchful, for our adversary, the devil, goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. But resist, ye, strong in faith.” Take this to heart, and approach this issue prayerfully, with composure, dignity, and certitude.

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74 Responses to “St. Thomas Parishioners Locked Out”

  1. JLo says:

    Doesn’t the Church have to remain open for the property to maintain tax exempt status?

  2. annonymouse says:

    I presume, Gen, that you’ve called Father English?

    If not, wouldn’t the charitable thing be to speak to the pastor rather than to automatically assume the worst, imputing bad motives, and post here a tirade before equating a priest (who’s devoted his life to the service of God and His people) to the Jews who saw fit to crucify the Lord?

    And I know next to nothing about the matter at hand but as an observer I will say this:

    It’s one thing to disagree on the proper course of action vis-a-vis church closings, lockings, school closings, etc. These are difficult decisions, fraught with emotion, and many are hurt, particularly by the notorious bad communication of church people. But it’s quite another thing to believe that those with whom you disagree are motivated by (implicitly) the devil who “goeth about like a roaring lion.” It seems to me that a spirit of charity and assumed good will (absent proof to the contrary) ought to go both ways.

  3. Ron says:

    When you call him make sure you use a joyful tone of voice. If he has no good explanation, make sure you joyfully tell him to his face every insult and accusation you are willing to post here. And if he has a reasonable explanation, make sure that you joyfully apologize to him and print a joyful retraction.

  4. Diane Harris says:

    I am going to take (not surprisingly) the opposite approach of Annonymouse, and deal from the Christian basis that Gen has indeed checked and rechecked his/her information, and is not engaging in wanton emotions, but rather has carefully considered the situation and believes in good conscience that such exposure is warranted. I don’t understand commenters who automatically assume the person entrusted with the ability to post on this site is suspected as less than trustworthy. Repeatedly. Thank you, Gen, for sounding the warning to the flock of yet another wolf at the door. The situation in DoR regarding St. Thomas the Apostle is already so egregious that it boggles the mind to see how it can even get worse.

  5. Richard Thomas says:

    I wonder who or what group of priests and administrators are behind this? This does not seem like the independent action of one individual ( Fr. English). Is the Apostolic administrater just overseeing the big stuff. Was this presented to him as simply an administrative action?

    It seems to me that the past bishop has his cronies in place to do as much as they can to promote his diabolical agenda, even when he is gone.

    Again, it would be interesting to know who is pulling the strings here. It is obvious that the Majesterium is still not welcomed by the higher ups in the DOR and that vigilance is still waranted.

    God help the next bishop. Or at least I am assuming and hoping he will be a faithful, energetic bishop. For he, like Pope Benedice, will be in company of men and women who will say yes to his face then go behind his back and oppose him as much as possible.

    The DOR needs a thorough house cleaning. IT is time for all these scoundrils to be removed.

  6. TL says:

    Dear annonymouse, Gen has been quite even-handed in this post and has very good information to draw upon. You say you “know next to nothing about the matter at hand.” Well, if you want you can select the tag “church closings” and read a great many postings documenting historical backstory about the (non)closing of St. Thomas the Apostle — as well as other churches in the diocese — and your ignorance will be cured when you find this is far from the first time STA parishioners have been treated uncharitably. This situation is all about punishing STA and not about saving souls, and that’s the simple ugly truth. Once you read the history I am convinced you will come to the same conclusion. Arm yourself with knowledge and truth, and refuse to defend these wrongdoers, yes, these wolves, who are devouring souls all around us.

  7. annonymouse says:

    I’m sorry, Diane, but the tenor of Gen’s post makes it appear that Gen has no idea why the STA folks have been “locked out.” Or at least she has not presented Fr. English’s explanation. I assume she would have, if she had obtained one. She has jumped to conclusions and imputed evil motivation without basis. So I disagree with everyone else that Gen’s post is “even handed,” or concluding that this event casts Fr. English as a “scoundril” (sic), or that this somehow makes Fr. English a “wolf at the door.” At least without more information other than raw emotion on which to form a judgment.

    I understand that STA people feel wronged. I don’t even argue that they may (rightly) feel that they have not been listened to, or that in the Irondequoit situation there were (rightly perhaps) perceived to be winners and losers. And I understand that the hurts are too fresh and unresolved, so it is natural and normal to perhaps fly off the handle. All I’m saying is that we Catholic Christians ought to treat each other with respect and charity, and I find none in any of these posts.

  8. annonymouse says:

    Ron – go ahead and mock me all you want. “Joy” was the Holy Father’s word; I was merely reiterating it here.

    Threads like this one make me more firmly believe that Francis would shake his head at us here. “You’re not listinging; you’re just not getting it,” I envision him telling us.

  9. annonymouse says:

    One more thing – if you’ll look around your parish church this weekend (and it doesn’t matter which one, I’ll hazard a guess to say the experience will be universal), you’ll see more folks with gray hair (and a more than a few bald ones) than not. Our parishes are quickly aging. So the experience of closing churches is just beginning, and it’s not a situation unique to our diocese (nor solely something to lay at the feet of +Clark). Unless you and I put this “stuff” behind us, quit the inter-ecclesial squabbling, and go out and present a credible witness to the world – a witness of joy, and hope, and love, then the current trend will continue, even if Christ Himself is named the next bishop. The blame for that can not be lain at the feet of any bishop, but must be lain at your feet and mine. For the great commission of Our Blessed Lord was directed not at the clergy but at you and me AND the clergy.

    Now I ask you – would anyone considering the Roman Catholic Church legitimately come to these pages and be attracted to join? Would anyone find anything here other than bitterness and anger and divisiveness? Someone said that folks can encounter Jesus here – perhaps theologically, and intellectually, but will anyone find a Lord here to whom they wish to give their lives?

  10. Richard Thomas says:


    You are correct. Most of the people in the pews were born around the late 40’s or early 50’s. These are slowly dying out. Many are leaving the Church and there are too few few converts. So we as a Church will lose millions of souls.

    And you can out the blame squarely on the priests, bishops and cardinals who have run our Church into the ground by promoting heresy and failing to teach all the important subjects and remaining silent on issues like homosexuality and birth control.

    What goes on in the DOR is endemic and is the reason [people don’t want to have anything to do with such a “Church”.

  11. Jim says:

    @annonymouse…I am a parishioner of St. Thomas the Apostle Church, and have been since 1954. Everything that Gen narrated here is the honest truth. I have been making daily visits to St. Thomas Church, since they “closed???” us in 2010…now just today I find that all of the locks have been changed. In fact, I stopped there after work today, and saw a locksmith panel van pulling away from the Church. No signs of explanation, no reasons given to anyone. I am sorry to say this, but I am deeply ashamed of the actions of Fr. English and any others that planned this heinous deed. When I think back in history of priests who gave up their very lives for their faith…who actually would choose to die in defense of their parishioners, and in defense of the Blessed Sacrament, I am appalled at the cowardly actions of these men, who lock people away from praying in front of the Eucharist. God help us and please pray for the Catholics who live in the Irondequoit area.

  12. Monk says:

    Your words are pleasant thoughts except for the fact that as TL states, souls are being devoured all around us. We are truly dealing with wolves in sheep’s clothing. I have personally dealt with the likes of Fr. Tanck and now Fr. English and others. They will look you in the eye and speak kindly to you but as soon as you challenge their “agenda” they almost literally/physically turn into wolves that intimidate and pounce with a total lack of respect and charity. We are dealing with modern day Pharisees. Jesus spoke most harshly of the phoniness of the Pharisees and warned the faithful not to be duped by what they say but watch what they do. This site exposes these modern day Pharisees, just as Jesus did in his day. It serves to warn the faithful not to be misled. We have the right to defend our faith and expose the injustices perpetrated by these modern day Pharisees. Jesus did the same.

  13. annonymouse says:

    RT – certainly the prieses, bishops and cardinals are not without blame. But neither are we, the faithful. And our squabbling and navel gazing (and I’m as guilty as the next person, Diane) is not gaining souls for Christ.

    Jim – did you call the St. Kateri parish office? Did you speak with Father English or anyone there? Don’t you think you ought to do so before jumping to the conclusion that this is a cowardly action, a heinous deed?

    If there is no good reason to have done this, other than the desire to keep good people from praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I’m more than willing to stand down.

  14. annonymouse says:

    priests, that is, not “prieses”

  15. eyeondor says:

    I agree with annonymouse. I think it’s tragic if the decision to lock the doors was to keep faithful people from a prayerful place. I do agree though, until we know that’s actually the case, it’s a strong accusation.

    Please let us know the results of calling Fr. English, we can as a community come together if the reasons are to spite the faith of God loving people.

  16. Jim says:

    Annonymouse, I have known Fr. English for years,(even back at St. John Fisher College thirty-five years ago) and I believe that Monk has just nailed it. I know of SEVERAl people who have tried the nice, rosy approach and speak to Fr. English about St. Thomas, but he does not listen and he does have his own agenda. It pains me to see the pleasant, non-confrontative approach that you’re trying to take in this situation, but you really have to do your homework. You have no knowledge of the history of the problems that St. Thomas the Apostle has had with this diocese, dating back to the Monsignor Burns era of the 1970s. Simple equation: Conservative orthodox parish + Liberal bishop and Liberal pastor (now in charge of that parish) = disastrous results for the parish. Amen

  17. Richard Thomas says:


    All heresies were started and promoted by clergy. It was the laity who were influenced and lead by these wolves.

    So be careful of blaming the laity. For they have been leaderless and have been taught heresy or simply have not been taught the truth for over 40 years.

    I would not call discussions on this site squabbling. For some on this site espouse beliefs like situational morality and unfortunately, much energy has had to be spend expousing and refuting this heresy. I would NEVER equate exposing heresy as loveless.

  18. Monk says:

    annonymouse and eyondor,
    I was told by some of the regular visitors to STA that Fr. English visited their regular evening rosary and told them he did not want them praying in the Church anymore because he didn’t want to pay to keep the Church air conditioned. If you understood the history here, you would understand this is phony nonsense.
    If this was his reason to lock-up his STA Church, he should also lock-up his parish’s St Margaret Mary Church that is dreadfully not air conditioned in the summer months!

  19. Ron says:

    Sorry for the confusion annonymouse – the “joyful” comments were not directed at you. I happen to agree with your observation about the nature of some of the “less-than-joyful” posts and comments here. In being sarcastic, I was not being fair to those I disagree with, and I apologize to them and to you for the confusion. I should have been more honest, like you, and directly commented on the joyless impression this blog and its commenters sometimes give.

    In addition, annonymouse, I think you are right on target with your observations about the post that started this thread.

    No matter what has been done in the past, as Catholics we are called to treat those with whom we disagree with respect at all times (and I’ve just admitted I failed!), and calling Father English first would have been the more respectful approach. There may have been legitimate reasons for his actions. Even if there weren’t, he deserves the courtesy of a call.

    And since I’ve already stuck my foot in it and will likely draw ire anyway, having read this blog for a number of years, and having been involved (on both sides) of some of the issues raised, I can honestly say that I do have questions at times about trustworthiness. Not always – but there are times I read things here and then run off to check to make sure what’s being said is fair and accurate. That has not always been the case.

    Okay, now … “Raise shields!”

  20. annonymouse says:

    Monk, let me get this straight: Fr. English said that this action was to save money on air conditioning? And you say that he should lock up St. Margaret Mary which you say is not air conditioned (hence, I assume there are no air conditioning bills there)? I guess I’m missing your logic. IS STA air conditioned? If so, I would think that it would cost a small fortune to keep that building air conditioned in the summer months. Did Fr. English offer any other nearby space in which to pray and worship the Blessed Sacrament (I seem to recall from some post here some time in the past or someplace else that I learned it that there is a chapel at STA for that purpose). If true, is that also locked up? Enlighten me, thanks.

    Ron – I appreciate your candor and your response.

    May God bless everyone here today!

  21. DanielKane says:

    As a complete outsider, there is an acute failure of logic and horrid pastoral form.

    If I were the caretaker of the property (to remove the religious nature of the argument)and the A/C cost in one of the coolest summers in years were a problem a person of prudence could (a) simply turn off the A/C and open a window (b) present the A/C bill to the parishioners and ask them to write a check. Changing the locks is not related to the climate of the building nor does it address the A/C cost distraction.

    One can easily observe a culture of sin that begets sin – from vertex to base. Changing the locks in secret is only the latest boil in the skin of a remnant of Catholicism in the DoR; a Catholicism that over the last decade dropped 30% while the population actually rose 2%.

    I have said it before and I will say it again – officers of the Church – Super-laity, Pastors and Bishops most often make mediocre friends and fearsome enemies. As soon as there is a whiff of conflict, they lay out the nuclear option as card one as a show of power which is the ultimate failure of the theological virtues. Of course this is reflective minimally of a very deficient human formation and a herd mentality in the leadership which is seemingly related to a rather “one note” formation reflecting the charisms of one or two centers of formation none of which are considered “centers of excellence”.

    It is a sad and regrettable circumstance. Today, the Rochester temperature is 66 degrees. Last week, not one day over 80 (just like this week). The A/C is a distraction.

    I am not judging the motivations of the parties. I am judging the public actions – which are totally civilly and canonically legal. But at the end of the day a legal action may not be morally or pastorally prudent. Simply put, it is very poor pastoral form to unilaterally lock out persons who desire to peacefully gather to pray.

    Even with the purest and most well reasoned intention – an intention that is hardly self-evident; this was a heavy-handed, near bullying act that hurt people. It is easy to predict this act as hurtful. Pastors are not supposed to hurt people. Pastors are supposed to know that it is hurtful to put people who care to pray in Church for the Church on the street. Pastors are supposed to be “above” the laity in faith, hope and love so that they can lead the laity to a higher faith, hope and love. Locking doors demonstrates the opposite of faith, hope and love AND even if done under the direct order of the Holy Father himself, it could have been done with a tad more faith, hope and love.

    It is a fool’s errand to ask the pastor why in charity, he locked the doors. The reason of the lock change is meaningless. One should ask the pastor WHY he acted in such an un-pastoral manner, smashing his exemplar of Faith, Hope and Love that the last TWO popes have taught so extensively as recently as last month. Even with the purest of intention and with perfect obedience, this action was executed with very shabby pastoral form, observable by the most casual of observers. I will not fault his decision, I will greatly fault its execution.

  22. Gretchen says:

    Annonymouse is being very disingenuous. You decry naval gazing, yet encourage it in the next breath by telling us (for the umpteenth time) that the writers and commenters are not loving enough, not joyful enough, not blah, blah, blah. This technique has worn out its usefulness. You need something more.

    You mention the declining Catholic population without giving a cogent explanation for why it is happening. The DOR claims it is demographics, but the stats don’t bear that out. The population is actually increasing, while Catholics are declining. What you don’t like, Annonymouse, is that the closing of parishes/churches, the lack of authentic Catholic teaching, the closing of schools, and the adherence to a worldly political agenda cloaked as social justice is a major factor in the decline of the Faith in the DOR. Bluntly, this is the Church hierarchy’s fault, either through a mistaken or a nefarious agenda. It has been going on for two or more generations. The rotten fruit is evident. Just admit it.

    I recently moved and have been attending an FSSP parish. The differences are more than stark. In a parish that is run by traditionally-minded priests (who have only volunteers to take up the slack) the flock is thriving. The silver haired among us are the minority. All masses are filled. Confessions go on daily before and after masses (and the lines are long). There are more babies and children than a large daycare center could possibly hold. In short, it is the type of parish that was typical in the 50s and 60s, before the “spirit of V2” infected the clergy.

    Scripture tells us there is a time to laugh and a time to cry…so please ponder why you are so insistent on telling Cleansing Fire and its readers that they must laugh and laugh and laugh ad infinitum while the Holy Catholic Faith is being destroyed in the DOR.

    I would love to hear your response as to why the more traditional parishes are thriving and growing like days of old, as opposed to the DOR. Now that might make for some interesting posts, Annonymouse! You might even ask yourself why some priests in the DOR are quite insistent in helping to close those parishes that are more traditionally minded. Go for it, Mouse! 😉

  23. Catinlap1 says:

    As the previous post indicated, WE ARE NO.2! Could this action possibly have waited?

  24. annonymouse says:

    Daniel – we had three straight weeks there where the daily high was pretty close to averaging in the 90s. Yes, it’s been cool the past couple days.

    Let me ask this – how did folks know the locks have been changed? Answer – they must have keys. If the building were open, they wouldn’t need to have used the locks, yes? So, I deduce that the building’s been locked, but that a great many (it sounds like) parishioners have keys to use the building as they please. Possibly that had something to do with this? And have you ever been to STA? It must cost a fortune (tens of thousands, I would hazard a guess) to cool a building of that size (biggest church building in the DoR, I believe) even in a cool summer. Are the STA folks regularly attending St. Kateri masses and contributing to the parish so as to fund that utilities bill? Hmmm.

    Gretchen – what you see as a DoR problem is a nationwide epidemic, with some exceptions (and yes, the more traditional, orthodox dioceses appear to be faring better than the “progressive” dioceses are). In the DoR, there are thriving parishes and declining parishes. OLV is thriving – largely on folks who’ve fled less traditional parishes. I actually cannot name another parish in the diocese that I would consider to be “traditional.” OTOH, Transfiguration (decidely NOT “traditional”) is also thriving (largely on folks who’ve fled the lay-run parish to its west). Just to name two. Most of our parishes have been in steady decline, and for a long, long time.

    I do know a thing or two about STA from relatives, and it is my understanding that STA was in greater decline than its neighbors since the passing of Msgr. Burns. That’s got to be 25 years ago. The ultra-traditional pastor who followed him (forget his name) managed to send a multitude of folks across the river to Holy Cross. STA was a shadow of its former self.

    But I’m rambling. I’ll say this and go away: isn’t it high time that the STA folks bury their hatchets and decide to join Holy Mother Church? I cannot say that Fr. English did or did not act judiciously or with malice in this case, I don’t know the facts. I do know of him, and on the testimony of people I know and trust, he is a good man trying to make the best of a difficult (and yes, sad, situation). My point is that besmirching the man’s reputation and imputing the absolute worst of motives (wolf, Pharisee, evil,etc.) to the man, without any facts, is unbecoming.

  25. Gretchen says:

    Annonymouse, the decline of Catholic identity is not a nationwide problem. The Faith is growing in the South and the Southwest, and as you stated, where there are more traditional parishes in other areas. Wherever there is a culture of life, where Catholic identity is upheld and not suppressed, that is where you will see healthy parishes. I would posit that it has become clear to even die-hard “spirit of V2” clergy that their own policies, action plans, and political ideology are to blame for the die-off. And, further, I would say that it is politically expedient for those who desire to continue a failed agenda to make sure traditional parishes are not around as a ‘rebuke’ or a counter argument. They will not be able to hide from history. The truth will out. Perhaps they hope they will have entered history themselves before the full exposure comes. Already, their legacy is a very poor one. It will not get better by destroying yet one more parish/church.

  26. Richard Thomas says:

    I have love and joy when I am talking or discussing the gospel concerning sexual ethics

  27. Gen says:

    Anonymouse –

    People knew the locks were changed because they saw them being changed. The individuals who experienced the unannounced locked doors (myself included) were used to the church being open from morning until night for adorers, etc. Of course people had keys to the church; the possession of keys does not mean that the church was not open. It means that women could come in at night to replace flowers before the tabernacle. It means that musicians could practice in spectacular acoustics. It means that people could sit with Our Lord at any time of day. It means that the parish is loved and well cared for.

    I don’t post things idly, Anonymouse. I verify things I share. I don’t sit here and speculate, thinking of things I can write to make people worry and spread rumors. No – I write so that people can know what’s going on, so that word can spread about injustices such as this. I don’t know about you, but spiritual abuse makes me sick. This is one remedy to the disease that you seem not to notice spreading. Pray and labor. That’s what we must all do.

  28. Monk says:

    Yes, I was illogical. I apologize. I shouldn’t comment so late at night 🙂 let me try again. Fr. English used the air conditioning as an excuse to remove the parishioners by telling them it would be too uncomfortable for them to spend their 20 minutes praying the rosary in such “horrid” conditions and yet is willing to let hundreds of parishioners suffer all summer long at St Margaret Mary Church. By his logic, if he is that concerned, he should close SMM and open air conditioned STA! Also, these parishioners asked him for nothing. They didn’t request the air conditioning. They don’t even turn on the lights. STA Church is an open parish Church with the Blessed Sacrament present. All they want to do is pray in front of their God and keep him company so He is not alone all day.
    Fr. English never visited them or sat and talked to them, or prayed with them since he has been their pastor. These people are faith filled parishioners that are hurting. DanielKane gets to root of the problem. The flock begs for real shepherds.

  29. annonymouse says:

    Gen –

    Please tell – then why was this done, and why now? What did Fr. English tell you? Is he simply mean-spirited and vindictive? Or does he have valid reasons?

    If you have not given the pastor the courtesy of a phone call, then I have to wonder about your assertion that you “don’t post things idly.” I should think a man of God, an ordained priest of the Lord Jesus Christ, should be given a modicum of respect, should he not?

    If I am not mistaken, there is a subtle “the Church is here to serve me and darn it, I demand to be served, on my terms” mentality about this place. Just to play devil’s advocate, being the pastor of a large parish with four or five church buildings and umpteen other responsibilities cannot be an easy job, and it must be made more difficult when there are hundreds of parishioners (many of whom don’t regularly attend Mass in his parish, I’m willing to wager) to whom he must answer/report.

    Gretchen – a quick look at and I really can’t find any dioceses, even in the south, that are growing significantly any faster than their population. Yes, many in the south are not re-trenching, but having been to some of these dioceses, it is also a fact that much of their growth is from Hispanic immigration. Even Lincoln, NE is only treading water. But I do not argue your premise that, in general (STA to the contrary), traditional, orthodox parishes and dioceses fare better than liberal, “progressive” ones. I’ve never said anything different. All I’m trying to say is that growing the Church in Rochester, before we’re all dead, is yours and my responsibility. Jesus Christ Himself said as much. And venom and bitterness aren’t too attractive to the wayward, disaffected, and unchurched.


  30. DanielKane says:

    I understand…it is hot in the summer but the heat is over for the most part. I understand that people who pray in Churches have keys to them or know the “hiding place” which could be a security risk…I know money is tight because parishioners often refuse to fund disrespectful treatment (experienced or observed) so there is a predictable drop in monies…

    None of that excuses the near total lack of virtue and pastoral sensitivity displayed by the pastor. No amount of appeals to AC costs, security of the Church, the direction of a higher authority will excuse the consciously chosen course of action that on its face is unbecoming of a priest. He may very well have been ordered to cut AC costs and lock the doors, maybe even directed to lock out parishioners who pray there…he was decidedly not directed to be devoid of virtue and un-pastoral while he did it.

    He likely had no control over what he did he had complete control over how he did it. I do not criticize his motives as they are unknown. I do criticize the means chosen.

    I accept annonymouse’s finding “he is a good man trying to make the best of a difficult (and yes, sad) situation” adding that very well may be the case, but in this time, place and instance; he was a lousy father and pastor because given several opportunities he neglected to display Faith, Hope and Love to those that needed it.

    If I were to change the locks on your office or meeting place without the courtesy of a text, email, call, note or visit; or if I neglected even to have an subordinate do so; you would rightly call me an ass and you would be correct. You would properly conclude that I lacked virtue and had a deficient human formation because in this instance I displayed very poor behavior. If I had over 8 years of religious formation and the grace of the Sacrament of Orders and locked you out of any secular place, in the manner described you would rightly conclude that my behavior was even more reprehensible.

  31. Rich Leonardi says:

    If I am not mistaken, there is a subtle “the Church is here to serve me and darn it, I demand to be served, on my terms” mentality about this place.

    This “place” seems to make you very unhappy. Virtually all of your comments consist of complaints against the CF staff, and in some cases it is downright calumnious. Why do you visit and post so often? I’m not saying you’re unwelcome — that’s for the staff to decide. But again, why spend so much time on something that makes you unhappy?

  32. DanielKane says:

    This decade, in the State of Texas they added a Cardinal and carved out a new diocese. In the Archdiocese of Atlanta in the 1990’s to 2000 we added nearly a parish per quarter and opened a dozen schools. In the new millennium Atlanta went from one Archbishop to one Archbishop and two Auxiliary Bishops.

    Both the new Cardinal of Texas and the Archdiocese of Atlanta are known to be doctrinally sound with well celebrated liturgies. They certify catechists. Atlanta has the largest weekend gathering of Catholics in N. America (the Eucharistic Congress 40,000 attendees).

    I hesitate to say liberal and progressive because the terms are so loaded…because to be one is within the rubrics or not; one preaches a relevant Gospel or not…the Diocese of Peoria (highest number of seminarians per capita) shows that a bishop that leads from the front creates priests who lead from the front creating a circumstance of clear roles and clear goals because there is a leader with a cogent message. Peoria (smaller than the DoR has sent priests to be bishops of at least three dioceses. Ditto Diocese of Lincoln.

    Few, if any have seen the steep decline that DoR has seen and “priests acting poorly”, priests preaching (or letting laity preach) poorly, catechists who are well intended but utterly incompetent lead to people seeking truth elsewhere.

    Because if Communion is just a cookie, you can go anywhere…and many have.

  33. Choir says:

    If anyone is interested, local WHAM radio commentator Bob Lonsberry made mention of the STA situation on his radio program this morning. He said he put in a call to the diocese.

  34. Jim says:

    Gen you are so right. In addition to praying in St. Thomas, the caring lay people decorated the altar with flowers, changed the liturgical banners to the proper liturgical colors in the seasons throughout the year, and proper colors on the altar; kept the sanctuary light lit in the Blessed Sacrament chapel, prepared the Church for the occasional funerals or weddings at St. Thomas, practiced music for any upcoming liturgical services, filled the bowls at the doors with holy water when they needed it, and in general, showed the proper respect that a “still opened church” deserves! If these caring people didn’t do this service, nobody else would. (Hello, Fr. English) The Church would be an empty building with the Blessed Sacrament present, without any of the proper amenities that this church, or any other “open” church deserves.

  35. militia says:

    Amen, Brother Rich.

  36. Gretchen says:

    Annonymouse, how can you say there has not been any significant changes? Goodness, a cursory glance at Lincoln, NE shows significant uptick in Catholic population, while the general population has not changed that much. In the Dallas diocese, take note of the number of Catholics per priest (4,849 for 2006), and compare that with the number of Catholics per priest in the DOR (1,445 for 2011)). Now, tell me again how hard the DOR priests have it. Compared to what? (That said, I cannot vouch for the website you referenced.)

    I sense a strong streak of clericalism in some of what you aver regarding the priestly class in the DOR. “Growing the Church in Rochester” as you say, begins with those who are tasked with teaching and preaching the Catholic Faith–namely the clergy. Unfortunately, many of them are much too busy closing schools and parishes, training lay people to replace them, and thinking of new ways to get tax dollars for pet charities that may or may not be in line with Catholic social teaching.

    Let us open our eyes to the truth, Annonymouse, rather than be content with browbeating Catholics for daring to say the emperor has no clothes.

  37. Richard Thomas says:

    I just remember a Friday dinner attended by many priests and laity about 15 years ago in the DOR. All the priests ordered meat and most of the laypeople ordered fish. And we knew why we were ordering fish. I think the clergy in the DOR has been lulled to sleep or worse, put themselves to sleep.

    What Bishop Sheen said was true. In this heresy called modernism, ou job, that of the laity, is to encourage, remind and tell the priests they’d better be priests and to encourage them to faithfully uphold their priestly duties.

  38. Diane Harris says:

    Something is happening on our website which is a cause for concern. Gen posted a very important and thoughtful piece on what is happening inside one of our beleagured churches, a serious abuse of souls. There are now 37 responses. Nine of those are from annonymouse (24%) expressing all kinds of doubt and chiding of the poster. Then there are 19 comments dealing in whole or part with annonymouse and his/her comments (51%.)

    That leaves only 25% of the remaining responses to deal with the true meat of the matter, to share, advice, refer. I wouldn’t be concerned if it were just very active discussion shedding light on the problem, on the damage to souls, manipulation of the people of God. That is a message which needs to be heard and understood. But I am concerned about the virtual taking over of such an important thread by one person. This is not the first, second or third time it has happened, yet it is easy to get drawn into a sidebar which is neither productive nor meaningful. I’m proof enough of that! But when we get seduced down a side street, away from the key issues or to placate the attention someone seeks, I wonder if we haven’t all done a disservice to the hard work so many people have put into this site. Obviously I am not focusing on needed correction, such as heresy, but rather on being diverted from what logically should be the main concern and focus. I am concerned about the overt shutting down of relevant dialogue to attend repeatedly to the needs of a single person.

  39. Jim says:

    Diane, you brought up a most interesting perspective regarding these posts. I am one of the bloggers who fell right into the trap. From now on, I will address the issues at hand….in this case, St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, and will stop placating our friend who chooses to remain anonymous. This site is much too important to wind up bickering back and forth and having to defend oneself constantly. Thank you for bringing us back down to earth.

  40. Ron says:

    Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Eph 4, 29-32 (Catholic RSV) – This was part of morning prayers today. May this be a guide for how all of us respond to even those with whom we disagree.

  41. Scott W. says:

    On a camping trip, so see you later. Don’t put beans up your nose and stop feeding the troll.

  42. annonymouse says:

    You’re right, Diane, I’m posting too often. And this thread, and my posts, have strayed from the matter at hand. I don’t know why the attitudes expressed by many here are so upsetting to me of late.

    Thank you, Ron, for posting that passage from this morning’s Morning Prayer – that pretty much nails what I’ve been trying to get across. We would all (I included!) do quite well to meditate often on this passage from the Letter to the Ephesians.

    Sticking to the matter at hand (STA):

    Diane – my initial request to Gen’s very first post stands and has remained unanswered – has she spoken with the pastor, and what did he say?

    DanielKane – with respect to your last paragraph (8/1, 2:25), you would have no right to change the locks on my office or meeting place, for the simple reason that it is MINE. STA does not belong to anyone other than St. Kateri parish (if my canon law understanding is correct). And the pastor is the person charged by the Church with the responsibility for the parish and its people and its properties (again, if my canon law understanding is accurate). He is within his canonical rights to do with the property as he sees fit, and is not obliged to answer to anyone. So perhaps you’ve unwittingly hit the nail on the head – perhaps there is an attitude that this church somehow “belongs” to us and the evil (wolf, Pharisee) priest has taken it from us.

    Now I agree that pastorally it would be foolish to needlessly aggravate folks who are still hurting from the decision to merge their parish and close their church building without the courtesy of communication, as the pastor’s first responsibility is to the people of his parish. But one post above indicates that Fr. English made an appearance at one gathering to communicate the intention to change the locks, so I’m hesitant to jump to the conclusion that this was poorly handled pastorally, either.

    I would like to ask the folks close to the matter (Gen, Jim) this – do you regularly attend Mass at St. Kateri parish and do you regularly contribute financially to the upkeep of the parish?

    Jim – just a clarification to your last post, if my understanding of the goings-on in Irondequoit is correct, St. Thomas the Apostle Parish doesn’t exist any longer. None of the former Irondequoit parishes exist any longer. What we are talking about is the STA building.

    Rich Leonardi – maybe I’m here because I struggle with many of the same attitudes I find in many of the folks posting here (like looking in the mirror) and I don’t much like what I see when I examine my own attitudes, so I am perhaps too quick to judge the same attitudes when I see them in others. But we are all called to conversion of heart and to live in peace, and to “let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away” from us.

    Scott – have a great time camping.

    God bless.

  43. Gen says:

    Oddly enough, Fr. English and the Diocese have not been accommodating as far as “facilitating dialogue” is concerned. If you would like to call them, you are more than welcome to do so. Like I said, I verified all this information. Given all the evidence which I shared (and other evidence I did not share, due to its unsubstantiated nature), I would say that Fr. English is, as you said, mean-spirited and vindictive. He has no valid reasons to close the doors of this “open” church. Canon law and common decency forbid it. If he did not have ill-will, would he not have prayed with the Rosary group? Would he not have given keys to those who need them? Would he not have explained his reasoning, as opposed to having the locks changed when no one was expected to be around? Would he not have answered our calls? Would he not have provided so much as a memo posted on the church’s doors? He did none of these things.

    A pastor is charged with the care of souls. He is called “pastor” after the Latin word of the same spelling, a word which means “shepherd.” I fail to see how Fr. English is acting as a genuine shepherd in this circumstance. Did not Our Lord say that He would pursue one wandering sheep, lest it find itself without help or recourse? The psalms tell us of the beauty of the dwelling place of God, “Wherein even the swallow has found a place to lay her young.” These parishioners, these “swallows” of humility, have had their nests thrown to the ground by the keeper of the temple. They have been led into a spiritual wilderness by the man entrusted with their spiritual welfare. This is why I take the tone I do.

    Diane pointed out that the majority of the comments on posts such as this are either yours or people responding to yours. We enjoy active discussions on our posts, but we don’t enjoy when they become sidetracked through negativity. If, as you say, “this place” is not being fair, ideal, etc. ad infinitum, that’s fine. That’s your opinion and you’re certainly entitled to it. However, please respect the blog writers and staffers and refrain from casting personal aspersions (even passive aggressive ones). I agree with Rich, that if you find this site so unagreeable, perhaps you should refrain from commenting with such frequency and vigor. No one is forcing you to do an unenjoyable thing.

  44. Richard Thomas says:

    Pardon me but the thoughts expressed by Gen and some of the others on this post are “loving” because they express the truth and offer correction in a charitable way. Sometimes doing the tough thing can be a matter of joy because you are doing the Lord’s will and are defending the faith.

    It’s too bad there are not a lot of faith defenders in the DOR

  45. Jim says:

    FYI to all involved: I called the rectory yesterday to speak with Fr. English. He is away until August 10th.

  46. DanielKane says:

    There is little question that the changing of the locks is very likely canonically and civilly legal. Just like a regional manager at Kodak can change the locks on a building he manages. Should the regional manager change the locks on a worker’s office (with worker’s office being defined as the office that a worker uses, as opposed to the office that they own) sorry if the analogy was obtuse. Such a manager if taking such action without notice (notice that he is not required to give as a matter of law) would properly be described as an uncaring, inhumane ass operating well within his managerial authority. He would be described as poorly formed human person. Some might step out and say power-tripper.

    It is not so much a matter of considering a particular location “my Church” in the possessive. Clearly no one has a right to a particular place, time, location or service. They do have a right or minimally an expectation to be treated as a brother or sister in Christ by those who have been appointed over them. It is neither clericalism or legalism it is simply Gospel Charity and that used up phrase “do unto others”.

    It is a matter of having a “hireling” as a shepherd (John 10:12). It is indeed a regrettable and sad circumstance when a man with 8 years of formation, plus the grace of orders acts this way – and then leaves his flock for a week. To say he is unavailable until 8/10 is to live in the 18th century.

    And legitimate, well sourced reports like this are a service to the Church. No one will admit it but it is read and noted.

    Surprisingly, there is no rebuttal, no contrary testimony, no explanation. Just excuse-making and hollow explanations that defy logic, reason and the most elementary call of the Gospel.

    Even pagans have the “golden rule”.

  47. militia says:

    Keep in mind that Fr. Paul English is not a diocesan priest. He is a Basilian. Yes, the order trying to raise money for a new chapel at St. John Fisher, which we are told isn’t a Catholic College. Fr. English is listed in the diocesan directory, but without an email. If anyone wants to write to him, the address is Basilian Fathers at Christ the King, 445 Kings Hwy South, Rochester NY 14617 and the fax is 585-266-1074. The phone is 266-1288.

    The superior of the Basilian Fathers of East Rochester is Fr. Joseph M. Lanzalocco, CSB, 3497 East Ave., Rochester NY 14618-3530. Phone is 586-4600 and the fax is 385-6383. Again, no email. Like Fr. Tanck and the disaster he caused in inappropriately closing STA (even though the Pope has been told it isn’t closed), Fr. English can hide out in his religious community unless they are made aware of, at a minimum, his apparent mis-management; i.e. unless his poor reputation begins to “cost” the Basilians something. They are trying to raise money for a new chapel at St. John Fisher. But I don’t think SJF is a Catholic College, is it?

    The Rochester houses are affiliated with Toronto, one of their largest centers. If Rochester is unresponsive, as I imagine it will be, then the contact in Toronto is: at 95 St. Joseph Street | Toronto, Ontario | M5S 3C2 | Canada
    It might be useful to flood this address with comments and complaints.

    If anyone has the correct contact in Rome, please add a comment with the address and Prefect’s name. It seems like the Basilians should be helping to save souls in Rochester, not locking them out of churches.

  48. Richard Thomas says:

    I just hope the Basilians aren’t in kahoots with officials in the DOR. If so, they will protect him.

  49. Gen says:

    In response to some questions raised above:

    Fr. Joe Lanzalaco was stationed at St. Thomas, and is very supportive of the people of that church. He is definitely a friend in this matter.

    Secondly, the “progressive” Basilians are, as one might guess, well-liked by the Diocese as it was under Bishop Clark. I think, because of this and other factors we have already mentioned, any help would have to come from outside the Diocese. Like Daniel Kane mentioned, it is likely that what has happened is in accord with the letter of canon and civil law. However, the spirit of the law is undeniably being ignored. Therein lies the heart of almost every problem Catholics in the Diocese face and have faced for over 40 years.

    Lastly, St. John Fisher is not a Catholic college; it does, however,embrace “the Catholic tradition.” I fail to see any evidence of this, but I’m certain that there are pockets of orthodoxy around campus and in certain classrooms.

  50. annonymouse says:

    Well done. Let’s vilify the entire Basilian order now. They staff the diocese’s largest parish with three active priests and some retired ones, too, I believe, but let’s throw all of them under the bus along with the St. Kateri pastor. Quite charitable and an excellent long-term strategy in a diocese that is woefully short of priests and becoming more so with every June’s retirements.

    There was a time when our priests were afforded a modicum of respect, even if one were to disagree with them. No longer, I conclude.

    I still don’t know the pastor’s side of this matter, and I still don’t know if any of the offended parties actually attend St. Kateri or contribute to the parish’s financial well-being (so as to fund the upkeep of the STA building) but apparently that question is being ignored.

    I am told that there is an open chapel at St. Thomas which is available for prayer and adoration. Is that true?

  51. militia says:

    Oh, there goes the mouse again….. a tornado in a teacup. Rather than everybody else getting drawn in, I did the comment on the Basilians and I will answer that it is exactly the correct process after complaining to the perpetrator in a religious order, to complain to his or her superior, and so on up the chain until there is suitable resolution or all the alternatives are exhausted. Maybe if that had happened with Fr. Tanck, some of the aggression would have ceased; maybe not.

    The transparent stirring up of “anonimousity” with words like vilify, throw all under the bus, and related sarcasm…. if she “still doesn’t know”, let her go find out. Nobody here owes her any further information, let alone a repeat of what has already been said. There was a time when care of souls was the most important job of a priest; aka “feed my lambs.” When did Christ say to lock ’em out? So please cut out the over-emoting and self-righteous demanding of information. All it does is get us all back on the mouse pulling the strings again. I would like to hear more ideas of what people might do to fight for their church. I don’t care where they are spending their money today, but STA didn’t fall out of the sky. Parishioners funded it.

  52. Interstate Catholic says:

    The parish council is getting off easy in this matter. I believe that they would have had to approve these moves.

  53. Richard Thomas says:

    No one said the whole Basilian order is bad. Never. Someone on this post named a priest from that order who treated the parishoners of STA with respect. Why are you using this extreme measure? Is it to garnish attention. It is dificult enough to defend Christ but it gets more troublesome when people’s words are twisted.

    And no one is disrespecting the priest. I guess you are equating correction of someone’s deeds that adversely affected others as disrespect which it is not! And perhaps you equate pointing out errors in the faith as loveless.

    Perhaps you can contact the priest when he comes back.

  54. annonymouse says:

    Militia – your use of the word “perpetrator” is quite interesting.

    But, a quick primer in canon law: if you wish to exercise your canonical right to question the action of a pastor, the proper person to whom you should complain is not the superior of that person’s order or local house, but the ordinary of the diocese, in this case that would be our Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Cunningham. Fr. English is the pastor of the St. Kateri parish, which is a canonical title that carries with it rights and responsibilities and, in this role, answers to the bishop, not his order. So, Fr. Lanzalaco, regardless of being “friend or foe in this matter,” would probably prefer not to become embroiled in it, and, I’m reasonably certain, powerless over it (absent something illegal, scandalous or gravely immoral going on).

    Interstate – canonically, there is no requirement to even have a parish council, much less require it to “approve these moves.”

    RT – read back over the Basilian posts, especially vis-a-vis St. John Fisher and the “progressive Basilians.” The feeding frenzy has gone way past Fathers Tank and English and folks seem willing to impugn their entire order over this.

    Meanwhile, I await hearing what folks have found out from the pastor, and I await hearing (specifically from Gen and Jim) whether those who are raising these complaints are, in fact, practicing parishioners at St. Kateri and are contributing to the support of the parish. It would be disingenuous, wouldn’t it, to attend and support Holy Cross or OLV or some other parish and then loudly complain about an action of the pastor of the local parish, St. Kateri?

    And RT, what I would like to question is your ability to accurately determine what constitutes an “error in the faith.” Who are you to judge? How are you so certain that your judgment is correct and that Father English’s judgment is in error?

    Have a wonderful day and God bless you.

  55. Gen says:

    Anonymouse, in all charity, please consider this your last day with commenting privileges. So many people are emailing me with complaints that it’s hard to keep up with. If you would like to discuss this matter, feel free to email me.

  56. annonymouse says:

    I see, Gen. That single comment tells volumes. God bless.

  57. annonymouse says:

    Nobody pulled my commenting privileges when I argued BigE over the Church’s teachings on artificial contraception and others.

    Nobody pulled my commenting privileges when I vociferously complained about Father Spilly and his active support of Call-to-Action.

    Nobody pulled my commenting privileges at any of the other times when I defended Holy Mother Church, the Holy Father, and our holy bishops, priests and deacons.

    I am banned, however, when I raise questions in a thread started by Diane containing unfounded and (in my opinion, irrational) allegations about the Diocese’s finances, and when I question how balanced these accusations are about the action of a local pastor, Fr. English, and raise questions which are, as yet, unanswered.

    It’s your site, you may do as you wish. My commenting privileges are at your whim. But to remove my commenting privileges says alot about the ability of folks here to self-examine and respond to objective criticism themselves.

    For a site dedicated to providing (often much-needed) criticism, I find it ironic that folks refuse to be submitted to any criticism themselves. Adieu.

  58. BigE says:


    So annonymouse is banned for questioning and because she has a different point of view on the subject?

    I would think you’d love it when a topic generates this kind of interest and debate.

    A classic example of “being able to dish it out, but not take it”…….

  59. Gretchen says:

    I have long thought that Annonymouse is a purposeful provocateur, or to put it more bluntly, a troll.

    When Annonymouse comments it is almost always to divert the discussion from the actual subject, and to subtly turn the argument to rebuking and upbraiding posters for speaking the truth. She/he almost always attacks posters for speaking hard truths, but is not able or willing to supply cogent answers to questions or provide evidence disproving those truths.

    At best, Annonymouse will point to the few times he/she has admitted a truth. Again, this is classic diversionary tactics. Annonymouse is a talented writer and is obviously well educated, which puts him/her in a ‘better class’ of internet trolls; however, the results are the same: discord and disruption.

  60. Jim says:

    FYI to all involved: On a previous post, I mentioned that I phoned the rectory to speak with Fr. English, (the call was made on Thursday, August 1st) and was told that he “was away” until August 10th. I found out yesterday that Fr. English celebrated one of the weekend Masses at Christ the King Church (uh..sorry..St. Kateri Parish at Christ the King). Maybe he just wanted to “be away” until the hubbub concerning St. Thomas blew over….

  61. y2kscotty says:

    I don’t think that “mouse” should be “banned” from making comments.

  62. Gen says:

    There is a difference between open and honest dialogue and passive aggressive bickering. I would like more of the former and less of the latter, if at all possible.

    @Jim – I agree. The timing is very convenient.

  63. Richard Thomas says:

    I would like to think the best of individuals when a crisis or problem occurred. But for the last 30 years, there has been nothing but deciet when the DOR representatives discussed issues with traditionilists people. groups or parishes. I don’t recall one decision rendered by te diocese that promoted majesterial teachings when heretetical teachings, issues or concepts were involved( Please correct me if I am wrong and give me actual instances). Don’t call me any names until someone can refute me with actual events. I was involved with the diocese concerning the status of the Catholic Physician’s guild and have nothing but contempt for the dishonesty, disregard for majesterial teachings and lying, yes, lying, by the diocesan representatives, who were priests.

    With 30 years of experience , with nothing but guile and dishonesty concerning such a group of people, I don’t think they are willing and are about to change their stripes this late in the game.

    he issue is a hatred for the majesterium and any priests, laypeople and groups who are also faithful.

    So when a priest suddenly changes locks without notifying anyone, I think I smell a rat.

    Many are invlved at STA. Couldn’t the priest have given common courtesy to at least announce the change in policy and give alternatives? Are these people entitled to charity?

    None was given. The people at STA were left hanging. Can anyone refute that statement?

    And what about the message on the answering service saying the priest was unavailable until mid August and then say mass the following week at the next door parish. I am sorry to be so brash but this stinks of deciet.

    This has been done to a parish that was done in by the Shepherd of the DOR, simply because the parish was orthodox and the Shepherd has shown nothing but hatred for anything smelling of orthodoxy. Prove me wrong.

    I want to hear the conversation when Fr. English is confronted, and he will be eventually confronted by people of STA. Will he be indignant. Will he say,”It’s my way or the highway.

    I just want to clarify something. I believe all the majesterial teachings, especially those concerning sexual morality and it troubles me over the state of the Church, clergy and laity, concerning their ignorance and opposition to these teachings but that’s another post.

    I spent almost 20 years floundering trying to “make it on my own” and got absolutely nowhere. It only resulted in pain and suggering and no happiness.

    So forgive me but I will defer to the majesterial teachings because I want to “Cling to Christ”.

    If someone deviates from the majesterial teachings concerning anything, I KNOW it’s an error. It’s Rome sweet Rome. If people have trouble with this I only hope God puts on their hearts the truth.

  64. Jim says:

    Thanks for posting this Richard. I’ve stood in your shoes many times in my lifetime, and have witnessed first hand the lying and deceit on the part of some priests that also left me shocked and surprised. When I was a much younger man, I had some pretty serious issues with some ordained priests at the time. Knowing this, my pastor at St. Thomas, Monsignor Burns, told me: “Don’t be surprised that not all priests will necessarily go to Heaven.” I took Monsignor’s advice with a grain of salt, but do now realize that the gift of orders (ordination) doesn’t necessarily mean that a man will live up to the kind of life that Jesus Christ may expect him to live. I think we need to pray for ALL priests, regardless of their diocese or religious order.

  65. Richard Thomas says:

    Hi Jim,

    How true.

    After 18 years of rebellion, I returned to the Church in the mid 80’s in Boston. The church was a Catholic chapel in the Prudential Plaza that is still in operation. It was frequented by so many businessmen and other lay people. ( I wonder why most dioceses have not considered putting a chapel in the mall. It attracts so many people who otherwise would not go to church. On the other hand, if such chapels were only mirror images of the nonsense put forth in most parishes, it probably would be a failure.). The chapel was run by the Oblates of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At the time, there were 4 or 5 young priests who were faithful to the majesterium and preached everything I have harped about on this site. I had a group of faithful and energetic individuals as my friends who gave me much support.

    I moved to Rochester shortly after on fire but immediately noticed how different things were and how tepid most were… well as all the heretetical crap that was going on. My heart longed for the Boston experience for a long time.

    But I did finally meet people of like beliefs but not in the parishes. There were many faithful pro-lifers, Doctors and lawyers to share beliefs and suppots.

  66. Jim says:

    Richard, Glad you met some folks with similar beliefs. That’s important coming in from another part of the country.

  67. Richard Thomas says:


    Those who are faithful in the DOR are small in number but strong in their beliefs. Perhaps they have been made stronger by the tempest they experience. Groups like the St Thomas More Lawyers guild are a stalwart. I have nothing but love and admiration for them. They too have had to withstand a very unchariotable burden, organized by the DOR. They were even pubically called a “Terrorist Group” by a very very high up priest in the DOR.

  68. flowerchild says:


    “Don’t be surprised that not all priests will necessarily go to Heaven.”

    Within any “profession” you will find a range of practitioners. Unfortunately, the priesthood is not so different from other professions in that regard. We hope for better, but may be disappointed.
    Sometimes it takes several tries before you find a “good” one. Keep looking.

  69. Rich Leonardi says:

    Regarding the decision to “ban” someone or give him or her a timeout, I’ve always been a fan of the Living Room Test. If you wouldn’t permit someone to say those things in your living room, or a reasonable person could be expected not to behave in such a fashion there, then he gets the boot. There can be argumentation in a living room, even some with a little heat, but not badgering, name-calling, constantly questioning someone’s motives, or generally acting like a pain in the @$$.

  70. Rosemary says:

    My name is Rosemary, and I’m a sporadic commenter at “Over the Rhine and into the Tiber” here in the Cincinnati Archdiocese. As one who has been following Cleansing Fire on a twice-a-week or so basis for a long time, and praying for the parishioners in the DOR, I haven’t felt led to comment about the “mouse” until now; I must say I am relieved to see that “annonymouse” has lost his/her commenting privileges. I only hope she doesn’t return in another guise. Please keep doing what you’re doing. I will continue to pray.

  71. Gen says:

    Thank you for the kind words, Rosemary.

  72. militia says:

    Today’s Catholic Courier announced it now has a mascot — a turkey! Sometims the truth is spoken without being meant to be said.

  73. Pianist9591 says:

    I am living through the SPX fiasco. But I have been attending daily Mass at one of the churches in the St Kateri parish for the last year, usually Christ the King, because my office is in Irondequoit. I just have to say that the priests at St Kateri, including Fr. English, have been nothing but kind, helpful, & welcoming to me. I am not dismissing the hurt – believe me, I know all about hurt – I am just offering a different perspective…

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