Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


When Fr. Radcliffe Came to Rochester

September 29th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

On Church Militant TV, Michael Voris has just named some names, and one is a person whom he calls “The Sodomy Priest,”

Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, OP shown on Church Militant Special Report Sept. 29, 2014

Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, OP shown on Church Militant Special Report Sept. 29, 2014

Father Timothy Radcliffe, Dominican Friar, who has apparently just recently free-wheeled his opinions through the Diocese of San Diego, including at its Catholic University, preaching same-sex “love.”  That name may sound familiar to some in the Rochester Diocese.  In January 2010,  Father Timothy Niven, Pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in Victor, brought Father Radcliffe to lead a “retreat for several parishes.”  I wrote about this questionable presence in a newsletter I did that month, called “It Really Matters,” questioning how this could happen, and warning those hundreds of families who received the newsletter (see blue type, below).  San Diego may seem far away from our interests here in Rochester, but not so!  While the content of the presentations may have been quite different, it is highly questionable for any pastor or bishop to bring such a person into the Diocese, and I would wager it could not happen today under our new bishop.  Give thanks for a shepherd’s protection of the flock!

Here’s what the newsletter said in January 2010 (click on Read the Rest) to finish the article:

Concerns about NW Ontario Retreat

We might indeed wonder “What in the world is Fr. Niven thinking?” by his hosting a person seen as a noted advocate for ordaining homosexual men to the priesthood, to allow him to give four ‘retreat’ presentations (8 HOURS!) at St. Patrick in Victor!  Since announcement of this event was in the Canandaigua [St. Mary’s] Bulletin, and since 75% of our people from St. Mary Parish in Rushville now go there, it is indeed a case of being a brother’s (or sister’s) keeper to inform each other of occasions of sin or scandal of which we may not be aware. 

The speaker, Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, is a Dominican who spent 10 years as the Master General of the Order and has surprisingly impressive credentials, but that should not influence souls, as God is impressed with the heart, not with worldly accomplishments, even in the church order.  Rather, we should especially be on guard against those who come in sheep’s clothing of honorary doctorates, and glossy titles like “Provincial of the English Province”, and “President of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors”.  Fr. Radcliffe, as an itinerant preacher, has his next stop in Victor, NY.  Faithful Catholics and those trying to sincerely understand and follow the church’s teaching on homosexuality or “same sex attraction” especially as it applies to the Catholic Clergy, should either avoid Fr. Radcliffe’s talk or be especially on guard to his message.  One needs to be careful in expressing opinion in the church not to deviate from the church’s legitimate teaching.  And, we might say, that laity in choosing which retreats or seminars or other spiritual events to attend should be particularly careful to avoid speakers who do not adhere to the church’s own guidelines.

Canon Law 752: “Although not an assent of faith, a religious submission of the intellect and will must be given to a doctrine which the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops declares concerning faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim it by definitive act; therefore, the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it.”  

How, then, would it not be prudent to avoid Fr. Radcliffe? He wrote an article for the Tablet (UK) expressing his own opinions in disagreement with the Instruction from Rome.  In November 2005 [Pope Benedict], the Church promulgated the   “Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders.”   The Instruction from Rome addressed whether to admit to the seminary and to holy orders candidates who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies.  “The candidate to the ordained ministry… must … relate correctly to both men and women, developing in him a true sense of spiritual fatherhood towards the Church community that will be entrusted to him.”  (Father Radcliffe writes: “…spiritual fatherhood?  This is not a concept with which I am familiar.”   How surprising, as St. Paul clearly speaks of his spiritual fatherhood of his flock.)  

The Instruction from Rome states: Deep-seated homosexual tendencies…are also objectively disordered …. Such persons must be accepted with respect and sensitivity…. the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise [sic] homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture’.  

Such persons… find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women.  One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies….”

The Los  Angeles Mission, as reported in the New Oxford Review, quotes Fr. Radcliffe as saying: “We begin by standing beside gay people…. And this means letting our imaginations be stretched open to watching Brokeback Mountain [a homosexual propaganda movie], reading gay novels, having gay friends…[and] listening with them as they listen to the Lord.” 

The Instruction continues“It would be gravely dishonest for a candidate to hide his own homosexuality in order to proceed, despite everything, towards ordination. Such a deceitful attitude does not correspond to the spirit of truth, loyalty and openness that must characterize the personality of him who believes he is called to serve … in the ministerial priesthood.”

Father Radcliffe writes: But if the criteria of this document are interpreted in a narrow sense to mean that no one who is gay can be ordained, then some seminarians would find themselves to be in an impossible situation.  If they speak openly, then they may not be accepted. If they do not, then they are failing in transparency. The danger is that the most honest may therefore leave and the less truthful stay.”  [Quite an illogical argument.] 

The Instruction concludesLet Bishops, episcopal conferences and major superiors look to see that the constant norms of this Instruction be faithfully observed for the good of the candidates themselves, and to guarantee that the Church always has suitable priests who are true shepherds according to the Heart of Christ.  Signed:  The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, on 31 August 2005, approved this present Instruction and ordered its publication.  It was promulgated on Nov. 4, 2005. 

Is the issue relevant in Rochester?  The November 12, 2005 issue of Bishop Clark’s “Along the Way” column begins:  “Some years ago — at least 10, I think — two of our diocesan priests told me that they are homosexual.”  Visit the website, search on the Catholic Courier archived articles, for the full text.

How do trusted authorities and commentators see the preaching ministry of Fr. Radcliffe?  Father de Valk CSB writes in Catholic Insight about Fr. Radcliffe’s Tablet writings:          

  • “The article has done a disservice to the Church. Fr. Radcliffe wishes to assure priests who battle homosexual tendencies that they can still be good priests…by attempting to deconstruct Vatican warnings…by whose authority?  His own.” 
  • “When the Vatican explains that its document has been made ‘more urgent by the current situation,’ Fr. Radcliffe presumes this refers to the sex-abuse scandals. And it does.  But he misses the wider context.  Scandals are not causes, they are results.  Results of what? Of the justification of homosexuality, a justification which began in earnest 50 years ago with Kinsey and has today blossomed into a massive propaganda campaign in the presses and on the airwaves to tell all of us that the homosexual lifestyle is distinct, normal, natural, ‘equal to heterosexuality,’ nay, a gift from God!”
  • “In unjustly deriding the Vatican warnings, Fr. Radcliffe has given succour [sic] to other detractors. For example, the nineteen Quebec priest dissenters of February 27, 2006 …. quote him and his article as their intellectual authority in denouncing ‘Rome’ and its instructions.”                   We’ve been warned!  

Thus ended the newsletter article which warned the hundreds who received it, but which did not stop the “retreat” from going forward.  Such permissiveness has only encouraged Father Radcliffe and his supporters further, as Voris’ comments on the  San Diego situation show.


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3 Responses to “When Fr. Radcliffe Came to Rochester”

  1. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    How we remember the “ol days”. All diocesan spokesmen and women would chant they were an open church, welcoming ALL ideas and giving the impression of being a big tent.

    But when the Catholic Physician’s guild advocated the majesterium’s teachings concerning homosexuality, they were suppressed and the bishop removed their spiritual advisor and tried to replace him with a very liberal individual.

    What hypocracy.

    You are correct. As what was done in the DOR, they assembled heresy by picking and choosing certain sentences of documents, removing other sentences and being totally disingenuous in their actions. And the truth. It speaks for itself. Intellectually, it is easy to refute lies but it is the sinful conduct of the heretics that make life miserable for those who are true blue.

  2. avatar christian says:

    You are so right about dissidents with lofty and impressive titles who promulgate ideas, concepts, and teachings not in line with accepted Church Authority and and the Bible. Discernment from the Holy Spirit is needed when listening to these (and all) presenters teach and preach. A lot of people are taken in by someone’s credentials and are not able to see the person or message for what it is. – “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

    I also had a friend who attended a religious weekend retreat out of state many years ago, which took place in cabins venue in the woods. The retreat had been posted on a bulletin board. The Retreat Master was listed as Rev., an ordained minister in a specific denomination with impressive credentials. My friend was looking forward to the retreat as they stated they liked the topic and it sounded like the retreat they needed. After taking the time off of work and spending much money on this retreat out of state, they wound up leaving early in the retreat. The Retreat Master was bizarre and addressed the Spiritual Topic in bizarre, heretical teaching.The Retreat Master’s solution to everything was sexual intercourse and masturbation as a substitute. He thought they should all seek out sexual intercourse. My friend stated that when one of the retreatants posed a personal question, or if they questioned his reply, he insisted they needed to masturbate and ordered them to go off to another section of the cabin to do so. (I apologize, I am not trying to spew obscenity or vulgarity, I’m just trying to state an occurrence of heretical teaching at a retreat).
    My friend left immediately after receiving that instruction to masturbate. After my friend returned back from the retreat, they checked out that minister and found out that he had been defrocked by their congregation/denomination. My friend was angry that they had lost so much money on that “retreat.”

    That minister obviously held the retreat in an area where no one would recognize his name and knew he had been defrocked. *I have heard there are other defrocked or laiicized clergy who hold retreats, conferences, or talks in different areas of the country from where they have been known despite the restriction of using their title or credentials and dressing in clerical garb. In this day and age, one could check out clergy on the Internet-hopefully all those who have been removed from ministry would be listed.

    A short while ago, I remember a comment/topic on this site about a bishop who refused to give out names of priests he had dismissed.
    *Just that type of neglect on the part of any bishop could lead to defrocked/laicized clergy leading “dangerous” retreats, conferences, or seminars. And any bishop who does not take action against wrongful conduct and teaching, especially sexual abuse of minors (and adults) by clergy/religious, purposely puts others in danger. It especially upsets me when those who are vulnerable come into contact with these charlatans and sexual abusers.

    I think there needs to be more people to blow the whistle on those who preach and teach heresy and have unacceptable conduct who still have titles and credentials.

  3. avatar Diane Harris says:

    A contact was made to Cleansing Fire drawing our attention to
    regarding these matters.

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