Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


Week 48 in Catholic Media, 2013

November 29th, 2013, Promulgated by Diane Harris







Pope Francis reaffirmed Catholic teaching on male priesthood in his first apostolic exhortation,  Evangelii Gaudium  (The Joy of the Gospel).  “The reservation of the priesthood to males, as a sign of Christ the Spouse who gives himself in the Eucharist, is not a question open to discussion,” he said, “but it can prove especially divisive if sacramental power is too closely identified with power in general.”   Read more here    

The NCRegister mysteriously drops some words when it states:  “The Pope recognized that women already ‘share pastoral responsibilities with priests’ and contribute to theological reflection.”  The specific quoting of the underlined words can raise eyebrows.  Just what might those “pastoral responsibilities” be?   Referring to the Apostolic Exhortation itself, the full sentence shows clarifying language of apposition: “…many women share pastoral responsibilities with priests, helping to guide people, families and groups and offering new contributions to theological reflection.”   This second bit of underlined language clarifies just what those shared “pastoral responsibilities” are.  Excising this clarifiying language, unfortunately, leaves open inappropriate interpretations, and groups oriented toward ordaining women have previously seized on the tiniest sliver of misinterpretation to hold onto their arguments.  Just thought I’d point this one out in advance.  This has been one of my complaints about the National Catholic Register.  Controvesy sells media.

The Pope also said in his exhortation that “a woman, Mary, is more important than the bishops.”  See next article for some context on what some bishops think about themselves.





“German bishops push reform to welcome divorced Catholics”

 CatholicNews USA reprinted an article from Reuters, by Peter Wensierski, fomenting the faithful as it is wont to do.  

“Germany’s Roman Catholic bishops plan to push ahead with proposed reforms to reinstate divorced and remarried parishioners despite a warning from the Vatican’s top doctrinal official….”  Stuttgart Bishop Gebhard Fuerst told a meeting of lay Catholics at the week end that the bishops had already drafted reform guidelines and aimed to approve them at their next plenary meeting in March.”

Notice the twisting of Pope Francis’ words:  “Readmitting twice-married Catholics to full membership in the Church is a pressing concern for Pope Francis, who has called a special synod of bishops next October to consider ways to do this despite Catholicism’s rejection of divorce.”  We have to realize that this is the “face” of the Church that much of the world sees.  Then follows great disappointment when the media fails to push the Pope where they want him to go, in spite of the Vatican’s clarity:  Fuerst was the most explicit of several German bishops to rebuff Archbishop Gerhard Mueller, head of the Vatican doctrinal office, who last month ruled out any change after the Freiburg archdiocese in Germany unveiled its own reform proposals.”





LSN has more courage than many media, IMO.  Two articles caught my attention this week.  One is the sad case of the owners of a B&B losing their home and income due to a single lawsuit.  See article  on UK Christian B&B owners losing appeal. 

The second article was beyond stories on particular victims; rather, is is an overview of how the Catholic Church has contributed to this situation,  in effect setting up Christians for persecution.  It is worth reading : “How Catholics lost or may lose [the homosexual marriage] battle in 10 steps,” an opinion piece by Mario are a few highlights:

“A nation that introduces the category of homophobia into its laws inevitably accepts the ideology of gender; [i.e.] a person’s sex is not a fact that inexorably comes from nature  … but each individual chooses, and not once and for all, whether they want to be a man or a woman with [total] disregard to their body and genetics, …  summed up in the total rebellion against God, and which culminates in rejecting the sexual constraints imposed by the body and its organs. It also makes a mockery of the Divine project for man: ‘be fruitful and multiply.’

[O]nce a law is passed on homophobia, … the follow-up will automatically be a law on homosexual marriage. And consequently there will be the legalization of adoptions for homosexual couples and the access of the same to artificial insemination.

In short, the effects of this law on homophobia are apocalyptic. In Italy, a strong reaction from the Catholic world i.e. the Church, the Conference of Bishops, ecclesial associations and the main Catholic newspapers, would have been completely normal. Instead – they are … silent.

[There are] three causes:

a. The habit of compromise: for years now the Catholic world has become used to pursuing the lesser evil instead of the good and the true: a law on bad homophobia rather than a worse one.

b. The existence of a homosexual lobby in the Catholic world which paralyzes it on this and other battles.

c. Fear of clashing with the world and of losing a political battle. 

The article goes on to identify the 10 steps … Catholicism, you might say, “has dug its own grave”, through ten earth-shatteringly erroneous moves.  Here are some mentioned:

#2. Being silent about the fact that homosexual behaviour is a sin.

#3. …nothing can be done to change things.

#4. The term “against nature” is abolished from language use in sermons, conferences and books…

#7. Now, at this point, the person who tries to say homosexuality goes against nature, …, becomes an outlaw, first at the level of the mass-media… and then at the juridical level (laws on homophobia)…

#8. So then the law on “homosexual unions” is passed, and here the Catholic loser displays satisfaction because “they have not been defined as marriages”.

#9. “Homosexual marriages” obviously then are passed and here the Catholic loser displays optimism, because “adoptions by homosexuals are not foreseen.”

#10. Adoptions by homosexuals are passed and here the Catholic loser concludes, with satisfaction, that anyway ‘the idea of the family still exists.'”

To me, what is most glaringly missing from the 10 steps is the debilitating erosion of Catholics holding the high moral ground, due principally to the scandal of priestly sexual abuse of children, in particular, and which has been shown to have a strong homosexual component (boys more often abused than girls.) 

And, finally, 2 outstanding statements from Bishops this week:

Thomas_Olmsted-225x240Bishop Olmsted:  key to New Evangelization is to trust the ‘tough truths’ on sexuality; an address delivered in Mexico City.  Excerpts include:

  • Even “some of our clergy” have lost confidence in the truth about marriage, life and religious liberty, … as a result of the relentless attack from secular culture… if Christians don’t maintain their confidence in these “tough truths” it will hurt the spread of the Gospel.
  • Bishop Olmsted offered six tasks that the Church in America is required by Christ to undertake “at this time in history.”  One of those tasks was to trust the “tough truths” … that come to us from Christ through the Church.
  • Purity of heart.  ”Who else but the Church is in a position to build a culture of chastity, a culture of sexual integrity? … What is needed … is Christian confidence that it is possible to live a chaste life, that fidelity to married vows is within reach, that it is possible to escape from a life of promiscuity and addictive pornography with the help of God’s grace.” 
  • Christians must “avoid the temptation to blame modern culture for all the problems among the members of the Church, when in fact our own sins are, at times, the primary reason for them.” On the other hand, he added, we must “avoid the temptation to accommodate to the popular culture without taking into account what is incompatible with our faith, but instead requires firm opposition.” The bishop urged the faithful to “live God’s plan for marriage.”
  • Bishop Olmsted also stressed the essential responsibility of the laity to engage in the public square.  Christians needed to be a counter-force to the flattened concepts of the human person – purely consumerist, secularist and utilitarian views of human life.”
  • The Phoenix bishop concluded his remarks on the task of respecting and defending the dignity of all persons with rarely heard praise for pro-life and pro-family groups. … “Should we not count it a privilege and blessed opportunity from God to bear witness to the Gospel of Life today, to stand up for the life and dignity of the most vulnerable among us, and to work with others of good will to secure the right to life of all?”


  • Charles_SciclunaMaltese Bishop Denounces Proposed Same-Sex Civil Union Legislation.  Malta is a country that is well over 90% Catholic, and hence (as in traditionally Catholic countries like Ireland and the Philippines and now Italy) a specific target for Satan.  The remarks by Bishop Charles Scicluna doubtless have some supportive audience at home, but his comments belong on the world stage.  Excerpts are shown below:
  • Maltese bishop [Scicluna] has slammed the government’s proposed same-sex civil union legislation, saying that there is simply no equivalence:  … “While the sexual activity of heterosexual couples has a fundamental role in producing future members of the society, that of same-sex couples does not have a role in society as it does not produce offspring,” …
  • “The bishop also denounced the surreptitious way in which the proposed legislation was introduced.  “[A gov’t minister] promised a White Paper and instead chose to bring forward a draft law hatched by LGBT people in a closed shop, the consultative council.” 
  • “… asserted equality is a no-brainer when we deal with human dignity and the right to freedom from unjust discrimination. It does not stand the test of logic when it comes to the openness to the gift of parenthood.  …  This is the essential difference between marriage and any other human partnership….” 

2 Responses to “Week 48 in Catholic Media, 2013”

  1. avatar snowshoes says:


    Is it okay to list you as a source of good, solid news and analysis on the important issues Catholic in the DoR and beyond? I’m sure I speak for many when I say your Weekly summary reports are most helpful. It’s often hard to find the time to access and read the various media sources, so to have a trusted Catholic professional who can analyze and summarize the important news of the week is a great grace. I am in your debt. You and your apostolate are in my prayers. St. Andrew, pray for us X.

  2. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Hi Snowshoes,
    Sorry not to have been able to answer you sooner. A router problem has kept me mostly off line since last Wednesday. But thank you for asking about sharing the weekly summaries. I am hoping to keep them up, although I’d be glad to share with a few other people, say each doing once or twice a month. In the meantime, it helps to keep me focused on the what and why of happenings. So of course, feel free to share. And I hope others will add each week whatever they think I’ve missed. But of course I am only looking at a few sources (mentioned in Week 47) and through my own filters. Thank you for your kind encouragement.

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