Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Week 04 in Catholic Media, 2014

January 27th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Priests at the Barricades

You’ve heard the expression “you can’t tell the players without a scorecard?”  Well, that feels a bit like the situation being reported out of the Ukraine this week.  And it wasn’t Catholic Media which first reported it  (so I stay skeptical!) but it is about startling “Catholic News”  in the mainstream media.   I have had a little bit of help from a good friend just trying to understand who is on what side of which issue, and this is the best I can do at this point.  While I usually like to understand the issue in more depth before writing anything, the news itself is worth sharing and putting it up for comment and insight.

Complex Background

It is a gross understatement to say that relationships (over 1000 years) are complex between the Orthodox Churches (Ukrainian, Greek, Russian) and the Catholic Churches under Papal Authority.  We’ve seen Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict make real efforts at healing the breach, and it is a good sign that at least the two “lungs” of the Church, while not breathing together, at least have un-excommunicated each other.  And the Russian Orthodox prelate is expected to come to World Youth Day in Krakow!  But there is a long way to go.  Add yet another layer of complexity, due to the long term hostile relationship of the Ukraine to the Soviet control under which the Church in particular suffered so much, stir together with the dynamics of decline in the Catholic Church throughout Europe,  the pan Euro- issues of abortion “rights”, gay “marriage,” proposed legalized killing of children up to 2 years old and euthanasia flooding civil society, to a flashpoint.  Then mix in closing of churches in the West, sexual abuse scandals and deep rifts over lack of obedience (from politicians to theologians) with the incredible news of Putin’s holding the line against gay proselytization and abortion activism, before looking at the pictures below, and more pictures at this link.  Is it any wonder that even the issues defy articulation?  But when Catholic priests take to the barricades, in leadership positions, much begs to be understood.








Patriarch Shevchuk: “Stop the Bloodshed!”
Head of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Appeals for End to Violence After Latest Clashes in Kiev

ROME, January 21, 2014 ( – Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has decried continued violence in the country’s capital city and called for an end to the bloodshed.  His comments came in response to violent clashes between anti-government protesters and police in the capital Kiev.   Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the protests were “getting out of control”.

“In the name of God, stop the bloodshed!,” Patriarch Shevchuk said in a statement published Jan. 21. “Violence was never the way to build a free and independent state! Bloodshed will never reconcile hearts or bring a positive outcome.”  He said he and others are looking on recent events in Kiev with “great dismay and sadness” and he appealed “to all the faithful of the church, the Ukrainian people, and to all people of good will” to stop the violence.  He called on the Ukrainian authorities to listen to the people and not use violence or repression, and he urged political leaders to realize their responsibility for the future of their people.

Ukrainian Bishop Says Country in a “Battle for Dignity”

PARIS, January 24, 2014 ( – The “brutal” crackdown on demonstrators in Ukraine is acting as a recruiting sergeant for the protest movement, according to a senior bishop, who described the country as engaged “in a battle for dignity”.      Bishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Eparchy of Paris defended protestors on the streets coming under fire from government forces, but repeated calls of that they do not take up arms.  In an interview with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, the Catholic charity which for decades has supported the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Bishop Gudziak spoke out against the security response to the demonstrations, describing many protestors as prayerful and non-violent.

Medjugorje Study Completed

VATICAN CITY, January 20, 2014  – The Vatican has confirmed that the international Vatican commission investigating the events at Medjugorje is ready to submit its findings to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  …Fr. Federico Lombardi confirmed that the 4-year old commission “held its last meeting on 17 January.”


Gov. Cuomo says pro-lifers, conservatives ‘have no place in New York’  (Albany, NY  Jan. 21, 2014)

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo has been taken to task for  an interview with WCNY Radio in which he  defined “extreme conservatives” as “right-to-life, pro-assault weapon, anti-gay,” and said such people “have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”  It isn’t the biggest shock that the NY Governor would say something so politically foolish, but rather that his very criticism of pro-lifers is directly against Catholic teaching which he claims to hold.  Further, calling pro-marriage people “anti-gay” is a gross distortion also of Catholic Teaching, which he should perfectly understand is not “anti-gay” but pro-marraige.  How much more proof does the Catholic Church need to act on separating Cuomo’s opinions from Catholic Teaching and to contain his scandal?

LifeSiteNews Excerpts:  “The Governor might as well have hung a 54,000 square-mile ‘Keep Out!’ sign across the state border to anyone with mainstream views on marriage, life, and the Second Amendment,” Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said in an e-mail to supporters.  “Who’s really extreme? The Americans who believe that killing children in the womb is wrong? The people trying to operate businesses according to their faith? Or the men and women who want to defend their families?”  Added Perkins, “No, the extreme ones are the liberals like Governor Cuomo, who are so threatened by the diversity they say they support that they can’t even coexist with people who disagree!…“Cuomo is so anti-life that he doesn’t even think people who love life should be able to exist in his state,” Rebecca Kiessling of Save the 1 told LifeSiteNews (LSN).

“Cuomo Excommunicates Catholics,” proclaimed Pat Archbold of the National Catholic Register.  He accused Cuomo of double hypocrisy because … the governor has continued to present himself as Catholic while publicly rejecting the Church’s teachings against abortion and homosexual behaviors…. “While the Catholic Church wrings its hands and furrows its collective brow over the unpastoral calls to excommunicate Catholic politicians who advocate grave sin as policy, these unholy pols have no such qualms,” wrote Archbold.   Even Cardinal Timothy Dolan struck out at Cuomo Tuesday, in an op-ed celebrating Respect Life Sunday (Jan. 19).  After recalling a day filled with Catholics engaging in such pro-life activities as feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, assisting the poor, working to end gun violence – and, yes, protecting babies from abortion, Dolan declared it, “A good Sunday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral” and added rhetorically, “does any of this seem ‘extremist’ to you?”

New poll: 62% Americans see abortion as ‘morally wrong’, 84% support restrictions

by Peter Baklinski  Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:09 EST

New Haven, CT, January 22, 2014 ( – “… a new survey has found that a massive percentage of Americans support significant abortion restrictions.  The new Marist Poll sponsored by the Knights of Columbus reveals more than ever that an overwhelming majority of Americans are not satisfied with the current status quo on abortion.   A staggering 84 percent believe abortion should be restricted. In this group belongs those who would restrict abortion to the first three months of pregnancy (28%), the cases of rape, incest (33%), or to save the life of the mother (12%), and those who would never permit abortion under any circumstance (11%).  The survey surprisingly found that 58 percent of strongly pro-choice Americans would support such limits.  Regardless of whether Americans think access to abortion should be legal or not, 62 percent said that abortion was “morally wrong”.  Only 9 percent believe that abortion should be available to a woman any time she wants one during her entire pregnancy, the survey found.

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8 Responses to “Week 04 in Catholic Media, 2014”

  1. Scott W. says:

    Keep us in the loop about the CDF and Medjugorje if you can. I’d like to see something hopefully unambiguously final on it.

  2. Hopefull says:

    From Pope Francis’s audience earlier today:

    “I too have considered the indispensable contribution of women in society,” Pope Francis said. “I have rejoiced in seeing many women sharing some pastoral responsibility with priests in accompanying people, families and groups, as in theological reflection, and I have expressed my hope that greater room can be made for a more capillary and incisive female presence in the Church”.

    What does this mean?

  3. annonymouse says:

    It would be good if Cleansingfire were to acknowledge the fact that our new Bishop Matano attended and marched in the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. I do not recall his predecessor ever marching in Washington nor do I recall him even acknowledging that there was a march. And apparently, Bp. Matano has attended every year of his episcopacy. That, to me, is a sea change in leadership and should be recognized.

    May God richly bless Bishop Matano!

  4. Richard Thomas says:

    I read a “Dallas Catholic Blog” In it there was an article saying the Church has been infested by Modernism, through and through. Now, it was stated we would have a respite with the papacy of JPII and Benedict, but after them, the infestation would continue. Now, Christ will right the ship but there is going to be a lot of pain and suffering associated with this heresy.

    It’s like what St Jerome stated when describing Arianism. The world groaned and moaned and woke up Arian. I think that at one time 95% of Christendom was Arian.

  5. militia says:

    It is hard to believe these Kiev pictures in this post were taken less than a month ago. Today’s tragedy puts the loss of life at 65-100 and still counting. Let’s all pray for the people in this situation, and especially for the priests involved, as Christianity is likely to be a target for further victimization no matter what happens. I don’t remember ever seeing real life scenes as graphic and inflammatory as those on tonight’s news. God help them!

  6. Diane Harris says:

    And here is Pope Francis’ call for an end to violence in the Ukraine, also from CathNews:

  7. Diane Harris says:

    An important installment in this saga can be found at:
    Why is this story important? Because the role of priests has been so prominent.

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