Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church



December 6th, 2013, Promulgated by Dominick Anthony Zarcone

Father William Kuchinsky, a diocesan priest, member of the board of directors of American Life League and their board’s spiritual advisor, wrote an open letter to Timothy Cardinal Dolan. The priest expresses his concern to the Cardinal regarding a recent interview in which Dolan said the Church had been “out marketed” by the proponents of ‘same-sex marriage’.

In a very respectful manner, the priest reminds the Cardinal Archbishop that the Church proclaims, preaches, teaches and exhorts; it doesn’t market.

There is a difference between offering criticism of the Church’s pastoral strategy and criticizing the Church’s faith, identity and mission.

An example of a respectful, but very necessary criticism of pastoral strategy was offered by Dr. Ralph Martin in his book “WILL MANY BE SAVED? What Vatican II Really Taught and Its Implications For The New Evangelization”. Dr. Martin demonstrated that the Church’s missionary commission to proclaim Christ and make disciples has been adversely affected by a number of contributing factors including the pastoral strategy to avoid an emphasis on sin, dying in unrepentant sin and the reality of hell. This particular pastoral strategy of avoiding mention of hell contributed to a lack of urgency for evangelization.

Likewise, in his open letter to the Archbishop of New York City, a pastoral strategy is criticized and necessary remedies are offered.

You can find Father Kuchinsky’s open letter at



  1. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    “Will Many Be Saved?: What Vatican II Actually Teaches and Its Implications for the New Evangelization” is the correct title of Dr. Martin’s book. Pardon the use of “Taught” instead of ‘Teaches’.

  2. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Every priest should read that letter. IT’s too bad most of them are insulated and have no impetus to ever read anything they really need to read.

  3. avatar y2kscotty says:

    As Ronald Reagan once said in a political campaign, “There he goes again.” +Dolan’s concern about “marketing” bothered me, too. It makes one wonder if the bishops don’t really see the issue as all that serious. Let’s see, is he thinking they should have had a TV advertisement campaign showing mommy, daddy and 4 kids (oops…maybe more…since we don’t even want to hint or wink at contraception) as the correct image of a “marriage”. Or is he thinking that he should have gotten on the bandwagon early supporting “civil unions” as the more “marketable” strategy. +Timothy has a credibility problem. I wonder if there is somebody in Rome who thinks that +Timothy should be “elevated” to a position in the Roman Curia and a new Ordinary appointed to New York. Maybe our own (to be) Bishop Matano could get the nod in a year or two. Just sayin’.

  4. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Utilizing professional marketing consultants in making Diocesan or Parish decisions always irritated me.

    I remember back in the 1990’s a Diocesan campaign promoting Catholic schools got underway.
    Every Ad I saw and read emphasized all the features of Catholic Education but the most important one. I never read as AD which focused attention on Jesus.

    So I called the Pastoral Center and wrote a letter to the Superintendent (correct title?) of Diocesan Catholic Schools. After explaining what I considered an optimum promotional reason for using the Name Jesus in the Ads, {so that parents affiliated with various Christian ecclesial bodies would be inspired by public announcements that Catholic Schools emphasize faith in Jesus Christ}, I exhorted the Superintendent to remember our Catholic responsibility to evangelize. Moreover, the Lord warned those who were ashamed of him here, that he would be ashamed of them there!

    Nope. No way, must not have been marketable.

    Imagine that! Catholic School leaders could have heralded our Church Schools’ faith in the Son of God, but for whatever professional reason(s,) leaders chose not to announce the NAME above every other name.

  5. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Dr. Gerard Nadal, who admittedly values Cardinal Dolan’s
    episcopacy, has posted his criticisms of the recent Meet The Press

    The link to another respectful criticism of pastoral strategy
    is here:

  6. avatar Thinkling says:

    Hats off to Fr. Kuchinsky for his obvious sensitivity to addressing the Cardinal with charity. But could someone give me a two sentence summary of what his query with the Cardinal really was? Lots of good magisterial and Biblical quotes, a good deal not so good tribal buzzwords, some good encouraging pats on the back, but what is his actual issue?

  7. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Thinkling, the original open letter might be the place to start rather than Gerard Nadal’s comment.

    At we read that Father Kuchinsky is concerned that Cardinal Dolan has been using failed marketing tactics to combat the same-sex marriage movement in society. I wrote above that Father Kuchinsky took issue with the Cardinal’s pastoral strategy and is recommending a more biblical, a more Catholic strategy: Preach the Gospel, Teach the Faith.

    Kuchinsky wrote the Cardinal: “You said, regarding the legalization of same-sex marriage, that “maybe we have been ‘out-marketed.’” “Out-marketed.” I would imagine you may regret those words. The spread of the faith is not just up to our “marketing” of it. And, praise the Lord, we are not just left to our own devices to combat the evil of our day.” “I know you stand with St. Paul who says: “My message and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of spirit and power.” If they mocked Our Lord, they will mock us! Perhaps it just boils down to the fact that we are not “opinion molders,” but Gospel proclaimers!”

    Thinkling, it took a bit more than a two sentence summary. Yet, I trust that the above excerpts demonstrate both Father Kuchinsky’s criticism of the Cardinal’s pastoral strategy and the remedy to combat the crisis and be faithful to the Lord’s commission to “teach all nations….teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…”

  8. avatar Scott W. says:

    Thanks for the link Dominick. It should be in a priest manual as an example of how to address your bishop. Heck, it should be the model of how to discuss with anyone on a controversial subject.

  9. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Unfortunately, as manifested by the prior bishop, crossing him may mean “curtains”. Exile, persecution etc.

  10. avatar Thinkling says:

    Thanks Dominick for the synopsis. I apologize that my original post was confusing, my breakdown was of Fr.’s letter, not of your post. With your efforts I now see what Fr. was trying to accomplish.

    I agree again with many posters that his approach was excellent. What he is basically bringing is a suggestion that if he were the Cardinal, he would do things differently. Father avoids the trap or thinking there can only be one acceptable way of doing this, and castigating others who do things differently (see my comments about mistakes certain church subcultures, and certain church writers, make, in the Evangelical Catholicism post), but instead offers a slight alternative.

    This would require the cooperation of some CF oldtimers, but there was published here a letter to the newly installed Bishop Clark by three folks here (pretty sure two were Ben and Mike, third escapes me), concerning objectively wrong liturgical abuses, etc etc instead of merely prudential differences opinion or charism, and offered assistance as needed, to help right these issues. It too was done excellently, totally respecting the recipient both in person and in office (and to be fair to those here, easier to understand than Fr Kuchinsky’s letter). As this one is of more concrete issues needing attention, rather than just a prudential suggestion, the authors really did themselves well with their writing. I would think it really helpful if someone could pull this letter out of the archives to add to this one, as examples of good correspondence to bishop.

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