Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Week 47 in Catholic Media, 2013

November 23rd, 2013, Promulgated by Diane Harris

It is very difficult to keep up with all that affects our Church.  If we rely on non-Catholic sources we are bound to get misled and confused.  If we wait for local church updates, we very likely will not hear much.  But on-line Catholic publications, especially the daily updates, seem to do the best job for me of alerting on a variety of issues, and the surviving print media at least give more in depth review of selected subjects. 

Here are a few of the stories (my comments in red) which I found of interest this past week.  How about you?  At the end is a list of a few of the resources that have seemed relevant, and not always from a good point of view.  And now to some recent highlights:

 Cardinal Newman Society


Bishop David Ricken, shepherd of the Green Bay Diocese, announced that Common Core would not be used in his schools. He said, “I have instructed our diocesan Department of Education staff, school principals and school system administrators that they not ‘adopt or adapt’ the ‘common core standards.'”  The battle is just beginning on this issue.

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania granted a preliminary injunction against the HHS mandate for several Catholic agencies and organizations in the Dioceses of Erie and Pittsburgh. This is the first decision in favor of religious nonprofits under the HHS “final rule.”  Inevitably this mess will end up at the Supreme Court, but which issues will they hear?

LifeSite News




California and New Jersey have already made “illegal” any therapy to assist teens in overcoming their same-sex attraction.  The story is summarized on LSN  What is not being mentioned YET, and is a real danger, is the potential for making illegal the spiritual advice given to youth in the confessional, in Church Youth Groups, and even from the pulpit with children in attendance. Don’t be surprised if this one metastasizes into more religious oppression.

LifeSite News also reported here   that Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) explained why he and 27 other representatives wrote a letter to the Superintendent of the Air Force Academy, Lieutenant General Michelle Johnson, about the deletion of the phrase, “so help me God,” from the oath in the Cadet Handbook.  Pompeo sees the deletion of this phrase as “an attack of core freedoms and our Christian nation” and as a part of a larger attempt to remove religious freedom from military institutions.  Previously we’ve seen suppression of everything from bringing bibles into military hospitals to eliminating the Name of Jesus from burials of combat victims.  The battle must continue in order to preach the Gospel.

Catholic News USA quotes the National Catholic Reporter (the dissident emphasis)




The liberal National Catholic Reporter (NOT to be confused with National Catholic Register of EWTN, or with Catholic World Report) is aiding in the hijacking of the Vatican poll of dioceses and parishes, urging the laity to essentially lobby for more liberal sexual ethics in a recent article.   

A document apparently prepared at the Catholic University of Louvain, is “asking bishops around the world to take seriously the expertise of lay people in their preparations for a global meeting of the prelates at the Vatican next year.”  It continues:  “Church teaching on issues like contraception and same-sex marriage … are based on “abstract notions of natural law and [are] outdated, or at the very least scientifically uninformed” and “are for the most part incomprehensible to the majority of the faithful…”  Addressing next year’s … Synod of Bishops, they say that previous such meetings … “offered no critical voice and ignored abundant evidence that the teaching of the church on marriage and sexuality was not serving the needs of the faithful.”   Note that perhaps moral teaching being meant to serve God seems to have escaped the writers’ understanding.

Austin Ruse, President of C-Fam, has done an excellent job of addressing the risk of misunderstanding such pre-Synod polling.

For those who want a “finger on the pulse” of what is happening in the Catholic World, there is a nice mix of resources.  The ones I’ve found most valuable are 1) the Vatican-based source, Zenit, 2) the Canadian source, LifeSiteNews, covering a wide spectrum of US developments very well, and which is especially timely, often scooping the secular news media 3) the Cardinal Newman Society Newsletter with its particular emphasis on education and 4) Catholic World Report (NOT to be confused with the NCR – National Catholic Reporter) is the on-line publication replacing the magazine by the same name which abruptly stopped publication in 2010, but still with thoughtful articles.

Going farther out on this limb, I will opine that I have found that Catholic News USA seems to have a strong bias toward progressivism, and I found the National Catholic Register (for which I held great hopes for its success under EWTN) to have been so offensive in the way it mishandled the Trayvon Martin story that I now only skim through the on-line version and have dropped the print edition completely.  The CNA (Catholic News Agency) has a persona of being more of a PR group for the Catholic Church, and is often cited in Diocesan materials as “the” story.  It doesn’t seem to be on top of the implications of some stories.

The surviving print media isn’t really “News” due to the long delay between story prep and publication, but I still find Adoremus of significant liturgical value.  First Things is deep and done well, but unfortunately I too often put it aside to read “when I have time” which sometimes I just never return to read.  Its lack of citations puts me off a bit too; but still, I subscribe.  I’ve been a bit tantalized by “Inside the Vatican” but haven’t yet subscribed to it,

As for mailing lists, I’ve learned a lot from the Beckett Fund’s emailed newsletter on Religious Freedom issues and HHS lawsuit progress through the courts, and from Fr. Frank Pavone and Priests for Life for additional insight on life issues.  I like the St. Joseph Foundation’s on-line newsletter for relevant Canon Law stories including exposure of problems eroding faith (like the McQuaid prom story) and I’ve even picked up news from Catholic Vote and the Blaze (which broke the stories on abuse of religious rights in the military).  Homiletic and Pastoral Review is another magazine which abruptly stopped publishing in 2011 (right after it carried my review of Bishop Clark’s book:  Forward in Hope.)  Hopefully, there’s no connection!  🙂 But it is still available online.

Other newsletters I get are from the National Pro-Life Alliance, Americans United for Life.  And regarding world wide persecution: ACLJ and Voice of the Martyrs can be leading edge.  Friends whose opinions I respect have also endorsed The Wanderer and a number of others linked from this CF site, and deserve mention even though I’m a little overwhelmed by what I am already following.  I have no doubt we all have our favorites, and my only reason for mentioning some is for perspective.  I do think Catholics really need at least a few sources to keep informed, and these are some that work for me.  What about you?



4 Responses to “Week 47 in Catholic Media, 2013”

  1. Eliza10 says:

    This is a real service, Diane. Thanks. I also appreciate your run down of sources; its good info to have!

  2. Pianist9591 says:

    That National “Catholic” Reporter article is utterly scary.

  3. y2kscotty says:

    What does the Common Core have to do with the Catholic Faith? It is controversial – but why would a Bishop take a stand on the Common Core?

  4. Catinlap1 says:

    Catholic moral teaching is about calling all Catholics to observe an objective standard of morality, not about caving in to popular moral norms that are divorced from the Ten Commandments, and not about changing moral standards to meet popular demands.

    I also think that the Bishop took a stand, not AGAINST the “Common Core” but FOR his own established standards, which are far above the “Common Core”, which is a low standard of achievement.

Leave a Reply

Log in | Register

You must be logged in to post a comment.

-Return to main page-