Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

A Truly Disgusting Appointment

May 19th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Tonight’s LifeSiteNews reports that Pope Francis has appointed the “radically liberal, pro-homosexual” dissident Dominican Father Timothy Radcliffe as a consultor for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.  It was another “weekend” appointment that sometimes falls below the radar screen for a few days.

download (1)This is indeed really disappointing news, and it is difficult to plead any reasonable level of ignorance. Father Radcliffe’s deep-seated opposition to Catholic Church teaching has long been well-known.  In January, 2010, when Father Timothy Niven brought Radcliffe to St. Patrick’s in Victor as a speaker to unsuspecting Catholics in the pew, I wrote a column on Fr. Radcliffe’s proclivities in a newsletter (It Really Matters, Vol. 5, #1) which I was publishing at that time.  Thus, at least perhaps a few hundred souls were warned.

The following is what I wrote at that time, and I know of no reason to recant or change any of what I said.  [Any needed clarification is shown in square brackets.] The context is that my former parish, St. Mary Rushville, had been closed several months earlier, and 75% of the people had moved to St. Mary Canandaigua, where they were among the target audience for this “retreat.”  Who would have suspected at that time that the problem, left untreated, would metastasize from Victor, NY to a Vatican Pontifical Council?

Concerns about NW Ontario Retreat [Jan. 2010]

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.”  

The rest of this newsletter article can be found here:


[ ] What I wrote in January 2010, about what has been allowed to grow and fester within the Church for five additional years, reaching now even highest levels of influence.  Disobedience, dissent, evil do not change on their own.  Tolerated, these weeds eventually take over the entire garden.  It is a tragic and disgusting development.

LifeSiteNews article this evening can be found here:




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8 Responses to “A Truly Disgusting Appointment”

  1. Jim says:

    Diane, Thanks for sharing this article. but I do have to warn you that there are several priests, serving in most dioceses, who have a homosexual orientation. How do I know? I worked in several parishes in my lifetime, and learned that “Father” isn’t always heterosexual. I was never approached, but my eyes were open to the reality of the situation. The Roman Catholic priesthood is the only professional field, where a man is not expected to marry and to raise a family. I was told that some Episcopal, Lutheran, and other denoninational ministers, transferred to the Roman Rite, so their orientation would not be noticed. In a perfect world, all priests would be heterosexual. I was surprised, but was told by some people, including priests; that as long as the man remains celebate, and “fights” the temptation, he can serve as a priest. This is a reality that many Catholics don’t realize. Let’s pray for our priests, and pray for a healthy crop of new seminarians that can serve our Church, faithfully and spiritually.

  2. raymondfrice says:

    Current issue/America Magazine/

    Coping With Polarity
    May 25-June 1, 2015 Issue
    The Editors

    At a conference at Notre Dame in late April, speakers explored the issue of polarization in today’s church under the heading “Naming the Wounds, Beginning to Heal.” From a variety of backgrounds, they drew a picture of today’s Catholic Church in the United States with its polarities, tensions and different ways of thinking.

    Polarization is not new in the church. The Acts of the Apostles (Chapter 15) tell of an early conflict in the church. Some were teaching, “Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved.” Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to consult about this issue. When they arrived, the text says, “They were welcomed by the church, as well as by the apostles and the presbyters…. But some from the party of the Pharisees who had become believers stood up and said, ‘It is necessary to circumcise them and direct them to observe the Mosaic law.’” Paul said no, they do not have to observe all Jewish laws to be Christians. Very early in its history, the church experienced polarization.

    That was just the beginning. Sadly, differences of opinion, bitter fights, heresies and schisms have occasionally wounded the church. In the late 1800s in the United States, the Catholic Church included some who wanted to strengthen the international dimension, favoring a worldwide church with a leader in Rome from whom authority flowed. Others sought to find distinctive American features in the church, like freedom, representation and a voice in how things worked. Isaac Hecker, the founder of the Paulists, reaching out to Protestants, found favor with French liberals but disfavor from Pope Leo XIII. Archbishop John Ireland of St. Paul had to be very cautious expressing his beliefs about church life in the United States. Leo did not like some American fundamental principles, like separation of church and state. French journalists described a new heresy, calling it Americanism.

    Today, statistics present a troubling picture to those who knew a church that was once unified and growing stronger. Older Catholics, who went through the social changes of the 1960s, reflect the polarization of society that took place afterward, from those who let go of many conventions and formalities to those who applauded PresidentRonald Reagan’s economics. The findings of Mark M. Gray reported in a recent issue of America (“Your Average American Catholic,” 5/18) draw a full statistical picture of how things are, and he finds encouraging signs among otherwise dark numbers.

    In South Bend, Ind., John Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame, citing Robert Putnam and David Campbell’s American Grace, described two aftershocks of the cultural revolution of the 1960s. One was the Reagan movement that contributed energy to political divisiveness or polarity. The other was the movement of young people fed up with the controversies that divided religious people, leading to the explosion of the so-called nones—those who mark “none” on surveys that ask about religious affiliation. The sociologist Christian Smith told the conference that the millennials are not polarized; they are unconnected.

    Catholics of different political stripes do agree on important things and can transcend polarities. The church’s strong tradition on social issues has much to contribute to the larger American society. Catholics of conflicting political stances still face issues of immigration together, perhaps because the face of Catholicism has long been that of immigrants. They still care for the poor and the outsiders, even if they have different views on how the political realm should address them. On life issues, from abortion to the death penalty, bishops of otherwise varying political views have been leaders in efforts to get together to work for what they believe.

    Opportunities for addressing major issues do occur. The next meeting of the Synod of Bishops to consider the challenges of the family could introduce a new appreciation and attention to family issues. Perhaps Pope Francis’ promised encyclical will prompt serious reflection rather than reflexive dismissal of environmental issues. Later in the year, Pope Francis’ visit to the United States and in particular his address to Congress will put Catholic values and principles into public discourse in a powerful, personal way. And given the pope’s willingness to let people speak their minds without the need for everyone to agree on everything before we can all get along, perhaps when the bishops meet after the pope’s visit, they could express their varying opinions without danger of offending the faithful.

    At the level of personal response, after naming the wounds, we can begin to heal by toning down fiery words and divisive stances, by admitting differences with our friends and colleagues without alienating them or blaming them. And we could, as Father Jenkins suggests, each do an examination of conscience that focuses on our rhetoric. That would start the healing in earnest.

  3. Pianist9591 says:

    I must confess I don’t understand this. One day, Pope Francis is teaching clearly & beautifully about marriage & family, then the next day we have this. It makes me dizzy.

  4. Diane Harris says:

    Hi Jim,

    Sorry; I meant to answer you sooner, especially about your having to “warn” me that there are “several priests, serving in most dioceses, who have a homosexual orientation.” I do agree with you and have had good reason to believe I knew a few, and also among diocesan employees who were not priests. Sin doesn’t exactly have a hold on what kind of collar someone is wearing. Moreover, I don’t see how it is possible to debate the homosexual component of Catholic clergy’s sexually abusing children, when one considers how high the ratio is of young males to young females who were preyed upon or abused. Many in the Church seem to debate the issue, but without seemingly being able to explain away the data. Wasn’t it Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone who unleashed a major clerical rift when he addressed those very issues during a South American trip?

    IMO, while predator priests and cover-up bishops have rightfully taken the brunt of blame and public scorn, but parishioners and their churches have borne much of the financial impact, an almost untouched component of the cover-up is brother priests to whom fraternal correction meant little or nothing, who covered their ears and eyes and looked the other way. IMO it is almost impossible for a “straight” priest to live in a rectory for very long without at least suspecting homosexual activity on the part of another man living there. For example, if you were a priest in the rectory and the pastor or another priest brought a young man to live there for nearly a year, wouldn’t you be suspicious? And suppose, when he moved out, within a relatively short period another man moved in for a like period? Wouldn’t one also have to wonder why a bishop would allow such behavior (Canon Law addresses who may and may not live in a rectory.)

    My point is, to add to your warning, that it is not only the exceptional circumstances that exist, but the aura and culture of being permissive of same-sex relationships among those who are promised or vowed to be celibate. Who are those priests who cover-up for their homosexual brothers? Some, at least, may be among those who have actively contributed to “Fortunate Families” over a number of years, in spite of that organization’s attacks on the Catholic Church, and particularly on Pope Benedict. And the number of priests who signed the pro-gay petition to Bishop Clark also certainly raised eyebrows. One need not think those contributors or signatories are all homosexual; they may simply be of opinions which contradict Church teaching, or wishing to ameliorate their consciences regarding what they knew and didn’t report, or maybe for some other, unknown reason.

    However, Jim, I do have to take exception to your words: “In a perfect world, all priests would be heterosexual. I was surprised, but was told by some people, including priests; that as long as the man remains celibate, and “fights” the temptation, he can serve as a priest. This is a reality that many Catholics don’t realize.” To that, I would say, perhaps they don’t “realize” it because they are being handed a line which does not conform to the Church’s actual expectations?

    I do not believe that statement you made is true. Pope Benedict addressed this matter in 2005, when he sowed panic among a number of ordained priests (and bishops?) that they might indeed be in danger of “losing their vocations” i.e. being laicized, or that seminarians “in the system” would be prevented from ordination. Pope Benedict signed 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.” Long title, but to the point and easy to read.

    The point was that it contained “norms concerning a specific question, made more urgent by the current situation, and that is: whether to admit to the seminary and to holy orders candidates who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies.” The conclusion, signed by Pope Benedict on August 31, 2005, clarified: it is “necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture’. Such persons, in fact, 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.”

    Jim, I would assert that Pope Benedict made it very clear where he was drawing the line for the Catholic Church; it was others like Fr. Radcliffe who chose to quibble on words, especially what “deep seated” means. It was known for sometime that this work was in process. Pope Benedict was elected April 19, 2005 and he signed this “Instruction” on August 31, 2005, for promulgation on November 5, 2005. Those dates at least covey the urgency Pope Benedict felt about addressing this matter. He wrote: “Let 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 on 4 November 2005,the Memorial of St Charles Borromeo, Patron of Seminaries.” However, it was well known, beginning in August 2005, that the document was being promulgated. Besides commemorating St. Charles Borromeo’s Memorial, one might also assume that the new Pope was giving his bishops time to get their own house in order, if only they would do so.

    It is ironic, therefore, that ONE WEEK after the November publication date, that Bishop Clark chose an apparently opposite tack, which some might call obstinate or recalcitrant. In the Diocesan Courier for November 12/13 2005, Bishop Clark wrote: “Some years ago – at least 10, I think — two of our diocesan priests told me that they are homosexual. They came in separately and, as far as I know, neither of them was aware of the other’s visit. I do recall that each said his decision to come out to me was prompted, at least in part, by something I had written…. In that particular column, I had referred to a priest from another diocese [it has not been clear if this had been a Rochester diocesan priest born and raised in another diocese, or a diocesan priest from elsewhere who took a highly unusual role of telling the bishop of another diocese?] who told me he had finally told his parents that he was gay. He was elated that his parents took that occasion, so sensitive to him, to reaffirm their love and support of him. I wrote that this man – whom I had known for years – had never told me before that he was gay. Telling me that he had told his parents was the man’s way of telling me!”

    “In any case, the two priests of our diocese told me that they are homosexual, and I am glad that they did. It seemed a great relief to them that their bishop – to whom they are so closely bound in priestly identity and ministry – should be aware of this important aspect of their personal reality. I know that I was deeply gratified that they entrusted me with that information. I had come to know and admire them through years of shared ministry. Their simplicity and honesty with me only deepened my regard for them. In the years since, a few other priests – religious and diocesan priests, here and elsewhere – have chosen to tell me the same thing. In each case, I have admired their honesty and felt enriched by their trust and confidence. Lately, I have thought a lot about these friends and prayed for them in a particular way. I have also prayed for priests who are gay but who are not ready or feel no need to tell me about their sexual orientation.”

    The article goes on (the above is about a third of the article and may be available from the archives), acting as if the “long rumored document” which Pope Benedict had signed months earlier and which was actually released one week before Bishop Clark’s column, was unknown to and unseen by Bishop Clark at the time of coincidentally publishing his own column. He then writes more about seminary visitation and of his encouragement of “gay young men” to the priesthood. Interestingly, he writes of the importance of maturity in the priesthood, without even addressing the secrets long held by certain clerics whom, one might wonder, if they’d been ordained on some false pretenses. While one can certainly feel for the panic and uncertainty the Vatican document instilled in a number of priests, one can also wonder if their bishop had done them and the flock a disservice in discernment of the appropriateness of their ordinations. And if all the priests who didn’t suffer from this disorder had chosen rightly in giving their obedience to a bishop in this circumstance?

    Furthermore, if one looks deeply at the roots of the current “same-sex” destruction of true marriage, it is logical to ask what the church and some prelates have done to pave the way, by justifying ordination of disordered priests. The Church’s silence in this matter has been deafening.

    There is also a view which has been presented to me that we can willingly give up a “good” as a gift to God (and marriage, wife, children are “goods” a celibate priest gives to God). But it is arguable that one can renounce a sin as a gift to God in the same sense. Is a wife’s “not committing adultery” a gift to her husband? Or is living up to a vow she made (and, in justice, owes) a demand she put on herself in becoming married?”

    Bishop Clark was still fighting his personal battle on this matter on March 7, 2011 when he gave an interview to the Rochester CITY newspaper, reported by LifeSiteNews that “The bishop of the New York diocese of Rochester has dismissed a statement from the Vatican banning individuals with “deep-seated” homosexual tendencies from entering the priesthood, saying that he has ‘always tried to be open’ to such persons.” “I know some magnificent gay priests,” said Bishop Matthew Clark, according to the Rochester City Newspaper. “If they are openly gay in terms of living a lifestyle that is incompatible with their basic commitments, we have to intervene. But I have always tried to be open to such candidates.” [And one wonders why Pope Benedict accepted Bishop Clark’s mandatory resignation so quickly?]

    “Clark referenced a Vatican document, presumably the 2005 document discussing homosexuals and the priesthood put out by the Congregation for Catholic Education (CCE), saying that it “left the impression that under no circumstances could a person of gay orientation be ordained a priest.” He added that “that’s not so.”

    Jim, I think the above quote is at least partially a source for the dismissive answers you had received and reported in your comments above.

    I also believe it would be a mistake today to believe that resistance by any priests to reforms by Bishop Matano relates so much to his own actions as to the turmoil which has gone before. There are priests who are living with expectations hanging over their heads, fear of discovery, and self-rationalization who are still fighting the battles of 10 years ago, and so it will be under any faithful shepherd of the diocese, until retirement moves some agitators out of the role of active priesthood.

    I am sorry this is so long, but so much is needed to put what you reported in context.

  5. Ben Anderson says:

    For reference: Rumors can be misleading

    discovered via a google search by doing a site query and quoting just some random alpha-and-whitespace-only portions of the text like this: “said his decision to come out to me was prompted”

    I couldn’t find the original from Rochester’s CITY Newspaper, but I think this reprint by lifesite is the same?

    You are right on, Diane. Thanks for your extra effort here. As with most issues in the Church there is rather clear teaching. Somehow it gets muddied on it’s way from Rome into our parishes. And many “educated” Catholics do their best to ignore it. Go figure.

  6. Ben Anderson says:

    playing my “will the Catholic Courier ever print my comments?” game again, here’s what I posted:

    coming back to this article after many years. It is alarming how dismissive Bishop Clark’s words are of this document:

    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

    It certainly explains why this diocese in general has been so pro gay-agenda for so many years. May God have mercy on us all.

  7. Jim says:

    Thank you for your comments, Diane and Ben. I realize that it’s not just the Rochester Diocese that has this problem, but also many dioceses and religious orders. A friend of mine who years ago was an engineer at Kodak (1980s-1990s) decided to explore the Catholic priesthood in a religious order. He is heterosexual, (I knew his girlfriend) and chose an order to explore (I won’t name the Order for scandal’s sake). He was accepted into the novitiate and told me that he was upset, because he decided to devout his life to God, instead of marriage and family life…only to discover that a lot of the men that he was living with in the novitiate were either gay, or had homosexual tendencies. He told me: “Here, I am giving up a family life to become a priest, and these guys aren’t giving up anything!!” That statement from him, gives me the shutters to this day. Despite this, he was ordained a priest in 1997, and is now serving in Texas. My point is that the number of candidates studying for the priesthood, with this inclination, seems to be pretty large.

  8. Diane Harris says:

    At the very end of the post itself is added information on Fr. Radcliffe’s next intrusion into the Rochester Diocese … many of us had hopes we’d seen the last of him. Pray that innocent souls may not be disturbed by him or his agenda.

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