Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Week 51 in Catholic Media, 2013

December 21st, 2013, Promulgated by Diane Harris


Popular media, and to some extent Catholic Media, ended last week fixated on trying to read the tea leaves about whether or not removal of Cardinal Burke from the Congregation of Bishops is a left-wing affirming action of the Pontiff (spun by secular hopes and Faithful Catholic fears).   Scroll to the very last article below, from LifeSiteNews, for the most balanced (IMO) treatment of the subject so far.

Implicit in much other news at week’s end is the question of whether or not the stance of any individual can be significant in the gay culture wars.  Yet oppression takes place one person at a time, and so too progress requires individuals to “stand up and be counted” even if, at first, it seems to make no difference, or if it is done imperfectly.  Like so many before him, Bob Newhart just caved under pressure and declined to entertain at a Catholic event to which it was reported he had agreed but received criticism from gay activists.   Yet, from an unexpected quarter, Duck Dynasty has held together for at least the moment, to reinforce its patriarch’s words.  Hollywood may indeed be where good vs evil eventually play out, not only on the screen but in real life.  Pastor Rick Warren, who may be remembered for having offered invocation at Mr. Obama’s first inauguration, is a staunch supporter of God’s Laws rather than CNN ratings.  He gave a powerful interview.  LifeSiteNews praises his charitable but firm assertions of Christian Teaching.   When we see how threatening laws cause damage one individual at a time, we can also see how mutual support in the Body of Christ is not only right, but really makes sense.

At the close of Week 51,  the current height of  international diplomacy and irrationality was exhibited by Mr. Obama in sending three openly gay athletes to Russia for the Olympics.  I rather think that Mr. Putin doesn’t rattle easily over such childish gestures, and that such antics show US President’s desperation and immaturity.  (See on this blog for more info on the issue.)


Culture Shock for Curial Heads?

VATICAN CITY, December 18   (Quotes from EWTN and Catholic News Agency)
By the time a Cardinal heads up the Curia in Rome, he is often fairly distanced from the sheep.  Might he even forget, for example, the real pain in the pew among those who have their churches closed, while he himself reads appeals from those in that particular agony?  Should a Cardinal stay “close to the people” in order not to lose his understanding of their plight?  Perhaps Pope Francis is thinking so.  On December 18th, it was reported that just a few days earlier the Holy Father had “strongly encouraged the bishops and cardinals of the Roman Curia to spend time hearing confessions weekly at a local parish.”  Santo Spirito, a walk of about 5-6 minutes, from St. Peter’s Square, is dedicated to the Divine Mercy devotion.   It was further announced that the confession initiative “had been planned to begin in January, but this week, word came down that the Pope wished to begin immediately.”  Pope Francis is reported to go to Confession every two weeks.

Cardinal Newman Society Takes Leadership Role in Confronting Common Core

The battle over the Common Core Curriculum has barely begun, but the Cardinal Newman Society is taking a leadership role in educating Catholics to the dangers.  One very significant point is that we already have a common core — it is our Faith.  Several bishops have blocked Common Core Curricula in their dioceses, including revising curricula to eliminate the celebration of same-sex parents in first grade materials.  Check out the link provided by the Cardinal Newman Society to learn more and be better informed.  They keep a finger on the pulse of activities at virtually all Catholic or allegedly Catholic Colleges, and a top-line rundown of current stories can be found here.


Catholic employers exempt from Obamacare mandate

Religious schools and health systems that sued the Obama administration do not have to provide birth control and other contraceptive coverage mandated under the Affordable Care Act, a federal judge ruled in Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York v. Sebelius, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn). The decision is accessible online and applies to NYS but is likely to create some precedent which other judges can consider.

Crains NY Business Today’s Barbara Benson reported the above story on December 16th.  While other victories have been won, most have been delays until the Supreme Court decides.  This ruling applies now to NYS, and doesn’t wait for a SCOTUS ruling.  

 Here are some excerpts:

  • Religious groups who sued over the Affordable Care Act requirement that they provide birth control won’t have to comply with the mandate, a federal court in New York has ruled.
  • The plaintiffs, [Archdiocese of NYC, Diocese of Rockville Centre LI, Catholic Health Care Systems and LI Catholic Health Services, Cardinal Spellman HS, Msgr. Farrell HS] argued that Obamacare’s provisions violated their freedom of speech and their religious beliefs….
  • Judge Brian Cogan’s decision …  said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services could not implement the regulations, which require the Catholic religious groups and their health plans to provide insurance coverage to employees and their covered dependents for [FDA] -approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling, because they violate the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
  • Catholic schools and health systems are covered under the mandate but, the judge said, don’t have to provide contraceptive coverage.

The Judge summarized:  “The Government has failed to show that the mandate is the least restrictive means of advancing a compelling governmental interest,” the judge wrote.   ScreenShot348

And, finally, from LifeSiteNews, a fairly balanced look at the questions about what is happening with Cardinal Burke, without the need to have all the answers.

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