Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Not Good, But Not a Gamechanger

May 22nd, 2015, Promulgated by Ludwig

Like many of you, I was distressed to learn of the appointment of Father Timothy Radcliffe to an advisory role on the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Also among the distressed was Al Kresta – revert to the faith and host of Kresta in the Afternoon on Ave Maria Radio.

Since discovering Kresta just a few months ago, I’ve been absolutely hooked. He provides a truly informed perspective on current events that I don’t find anywhere else on radio.

Since his local affiliate only carries the first hour of his program, most CF readers may have missed this segment from the second hour of his Monday, May 18 showKresta Comments: Pope Francis Appoints Pro-Gay Marriage Dominican to Pontifical Academy…What Are We to Think?

For context, Kresta spends the preceding segment recapping Radcliffe’s scandalous statements, with particular focus and criticism on this quote:

How does all of this bear on the question of gay sexuality? We cannot begin with the question of whether it is permitted or forbidden! We must ask what it means, and how far it is Eucharistic. Certainly it can be generous, vulnerable, tender, mutual and non-violent. So in many ways, I would think that it can be expressive of Christ’s self-gift.

Listen to Kresta’s response to the appointment below:

00:00 Introduction
00:58 Bad appointments aren’t new: Bishop Kenneth Untener and The Rainbow Bishop
03:16 What is the role of a consultor?
06:05 Further critique of Radcliffe’s statements and their logical conclusion
08:30 Problems with the appointment: The dialog turns to internal matters
09:32 Pray for Pope Francis: Remembering the admonition to sin no more
11:24 Stray afterthought on speculative theologians

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29 Responses to “Not Good, But Not a Gamechanger”

  1. raymondfrice says:

    One of the changes that the pope seems to indicate is to change the church from being an organization of”crotch watchers” to a refocus on the mind and the heart!! There are many issues in the New Testament more important than genital activity!!

  2. Diane Harris says:

    The Gospel at Mass this week has been principally on John 17, Christ’s Priestly Call to Unity. In listening to the proclamation of the Word, and to the priests’ subsequent homilies, I’ve been pondering the “Oneness” to which we are called. In that meditation, and acknowledging the Holy Spirit, I want to share the reflection that Oneness begins within each person, in being One with Christ and His Teachings. Before we can effectively be “One” with others, we must have a sense of the Oneness to which Christ calls us. It requires renouncing Cafeteria Catholicism, the fragmenter of our personal “Oneness”.

    And so it would be, if all priests were reliably teaching from the pulpit what Christ Himself and the Holy Scripture teach. Unfortunately, some opt for superficial smiles and full collection baskets rather than proclaiming the Truth, the Holy Truth, and nothing but the Truth. And that Truth, of necessity, requires repenting of sin, i.e. all sin, including sexual sin. Unfortunately, some would divert attention from even calling the most popular sins “sin,” and would divert attention instead to “social justice” substitutes.

    Individually we cannot be One if we select those Teachings we accept and those for which we look the other way. Any Catholic (in the pew or behind the pulpit) who picks and chooses what to accept and what to reject inevitably weakens and destroys their own Oneness, as well as within the community. If we so fragment our own Oneness, it isn’t surprising that it reverberates throughout the entire People of God, not only in the Catholic Church, but within the entire Christian Community which looks to Catholic Teaching much more than most would ever admit. That is one reason why a fall in the Catholic priesthood is met with such outrage and condemnation far beyond individual cases.

    But consider where Christ placed the emphasis:

    1. When the rich young man approached Christ asking what he must do to inherit internal life, Christ replied with a call to obey the 10 commandments. He didn’t add giving everything to the poor until the rich young man asked for more, and then He characterized essentially a vow of poverty as leading to perfection; i.e. loving him and calling him to a vocation. But Christ didn’t begin there. He began with obeying the commandments, loving God and avoiding sin. Elsewhere, Christ says: “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Avoiding sin is a serious part of keeping the Commandments.

    2. Similarly, when asked which is the Greatest Commandment, Christ cited loving God with all our mind, heart, strength and will. That is the first. Although many wanton seminaries have tried to turn out pupils who teach that loving our neighbor is equivalent to the Greatest Commandment, that is not what Christ said. The Greek shows the clear basis, the word “deutero,” that loving our neighbor is second. And no matter how much we immerse ourselves in the work of the second, we can’t buy our way into heaven just with good works.

    One of the greatest forces of disunity in the Catholic Church today is caused by the differential emphasis preached to the poorly catechized on matters of good works, at the expense of deeply embracing a life of adoration and worship of God. No wonder vocations have been devalued. This differential emphasis distorts Christ’s teachings, and misleads the flock. When properly ordered, the love of God will naturally lead to “deutero” fruit, not the other way around.

    There is a serious disservice done to the Catholic in the pew today (without even imagining what happened to the “used to be in the pew” people), caused by hierarchical emphasis on social and secular matters almost as alternative religious practices. It is hard to imagine how anyone cannot see the emerging trend to a world religion of environmentalism, with climate change as its mantra. Quite frankly, I am deeply concerned that we have a Pope writing a climate change encyclical instead of one preparing and teaching us to endure the worldwide sweep to civil persecution and martyrdom, and exhorting us to resistance. I am deeply concerned that we have a Synod more focused on trying to give the Holy Eucharist to unrepentant sinners than to helping those souls repent and receive worthily. I am deeply concerned that so much effort is going into accommodating the world, while Catholic schools and churches are closed and the missionary carpet is rolled up. “New Evangelization?” Nice words; what does it mean?

    Evangelization calls first for the evidence of repentance. “Go and sin no more.” There were 50 million souls who had their bodies aborted right under the nose of the Church in the U.S. alone; i.e. on our watch. Where is the repentance, as a people, for the horrors we didn’t rail against? That ought to be worth a good encyclical. And, correspondingly, why isn’t there more initiative in foreseeing and opposing euthanasia? It is hard to bring such moral strength about when the moral high ground is ceded, and when individuals argue that their particular sins, sexual or otherwise, don’t impair their own Oneness, and that of the Church.

    As Christ said, the world hates us. Attempts to accommodate the world, whether by ignoring sin, by social justice initiatives, opening borders, paying more taxes, accommodating same-sex unions, being nice to Cuba or complimenting the PLO cannot change the attacks happening on Christians today. We can’t pay a toll for a soul. Christ did that on the Cross. But we may be asked to contribute.

  3. annonymouse says:

    Raymond, I couldn’t possibly disagree with you more.

    The act by which a man and a woman can participate in God’s very creation of a new human being, a new child of God, a new eternal soul, a new person willed by God to enter into His eternal Trinitarian communion – which you scornfully reduce to calling it mere “genital activity” – that act is as important as it gets. That act indeed foreshadows (sacramentalizes here and now) the eternal union of Christ and the Church. How can you get more important than that?

    And to the extent that the devil has twisted and completely corrupted our collective understanding of that act, throughout human history but most effectively for the past fifty years, he has led many souls astray, into grave sin, away from holiness, away from God.

    So while you might reduce the wondrous gift of human sexuality to mere “genital activity” and believe that many things in the New Testament are more important, I think a well-formed Christian understanding of humankind and the Creator (Christian anthropology) would lead you to a far different conclusion.

  4. militia says:

    Right on, Annonymouse, right on!

  5. raymondfrice says:

    Dear Anonnymouse!

    The reality of the current situation is that the Roman Catholic Ship of State, is a pilgrim ship. It has been in dry dock for the past 10 years or so, and has made little or no progress. Then, in the most insightful decision of his papacy, Pope Benedict resigned. A new captain was made in charge of the ship!! He said to launch the pilgrim ship of Roman Catholicism and ordered the ship full speed ahead in the direction of our God intended destiny.

    Many will join the Holy Spirited new pope and many will want to stay in dry dock with the same old same old. But, of course, we have seen this before in the New Testament

  6. annonymouse says:


  7. Ben Anderson says:

    BXVI made “little or no progress”?!? I’m going to have to go ahead and disagree with that (to the nth degree).

  8. raymondfrice says:


    You have a right to your opinion but what group raised a storm of protest at his resignation!! For my enlightenment, name for me at least 5 of his major accomplishments that have value for us today.
    If you want to see his personal attitude, watch the accompanying video which was made while he was a cardinal!!!! I myself would resent being slapped on the hand by any cardinal!!

  9. raymondfrice says:

    annonymouse says:
    May 22, 2015 at 6:43 PM


    How can I help you???

  10. annonymouse says:

    Raymond invokes the word “progress” but neglects to tells us exactly what, in his view, “progress” means. He then criticizes Benedict’s lack of “accomplishments.” Well, Raymond, we aren’t talking about candidates for president here, we’re speaking of the Vicar of Christ charged with the responsibility of safeguarding (mind you -not redefining) and teaching the truth of the faith, in communion with the College of Bishops. And “progress” is only valuable if the Gospel is being preached for the purpose of salvation of souls. That is not my definition of Church “progress” – that is the Lord’s.

    Now, Raymond, kindly tell me what your definition of progress is, you know, all that was sorely lacking during our years in dry dock.

  11. annonymouse says:

    And Raymond, rather than to set up a straw man you can defeat, I would appreciate it if you addressed my point about the vital importance of human sexuality (and, by extension, sexual morality).

    Now don’t you find it ironic that the real “crotch watcher” is the Dominican priest yearning to find something “Eucharistic” in disordered homosexual relationships? And The only reason sexual morality demands the level of attention of those charged with teaching the faith that it does is this – that Godly sexuality is under an unprecedented assault in our times, an objectively evil assault which can plausibly be called demonic.

  12. raymondfrice says:


    Same papacy , different personalities; are we treating Francis with the same respect as Benedict?? Can we be so lacking in humility that we put our opinions above that of the God chosen pope??

    That aside, the present pope has drawn much more attention to the plight of the poor which is contained in the fundamental option for the poor. The cardinals of the Church knew what they were getting when they elected Francis. And of course we must remember that the Holy Spirit is an active member of the conclave.

    Final note: why do I not hear of the plight of the poor on this blog??

  13. raymondfrice says:

    Now don’t you find it ironic that the real “crotch watcher” is the Dominican priest yearning to find something “Eucharistic” in disordered homosexual relationships? And The only reason sexual morality demands the level of attention of those charged with teaching the faith that it does is this – that Godly sexuality is under an unprecedented assault in our times, an objectively evil assault which can plausibly be called demonic.

    The only correct answer to this situation is for you to write to His Holiness and tell him he is contributing to the problem of demononism in society on sexual issues by making this appointment!!!

  14. militia says:

    2 Timothy 3:10 [corrected by author and revised below to 2 Thessalonians 3:10; admin]

    “For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat.”

  15. Scott W. says:

    Final note: why do I not hear of the plight of the poor on this blog??

    Because no one is in favor of deliberately inflicting plights on the poor and calling it good (except Planned Parenthood, but no one here supports them). In any case, if there is ever a Thieves’ Pride Parade or courts of law recognizing a person’s “alternative property-rights orientation”, I’ll make more comments about the wrongness of stealing.

  16. raymondfrice says:


    For once I am stumped!!!! Please explain 2 Timothy3:10 for me.
    [see correction below by militia to 2 Thessalonians 3:10]

  17. Ludwig says:


    Call me a crotch-watcher if you must, but it’s hard to ignore when society daily sticks its proverbial crotch in my face and demands I celebrate its sinful use.

    Also, sorry for the imagery. 🙂

  18. militia says:

    Sorry, Raymond. I stand corrected. I should have said 2 Thessalonians 3:10. Asking for admin to correct what I wrote above so it doesn’t mislead anyone. Thanks for calling the error to my attention.

  19. raymondfrice says:


    No problem
    You know what a sweet guy I am!!

  20. raymondfrice says:


    2 Thessalonians 3:10.

    I checkered this out but cannot understand how it relates to the fundamental option for the poor??

  21. Ben Anderson says:

    Thanks, ScottW. Wow – Msgr. Pope doesn’t name names, but those are real examples and not hard to find with simple googling. Good for him. We’re familiar enough with #1 to know that was Bishop Hubbard in Albany.

  22. raymondfrice says:

    Can’t wait till Pope Francis gets here in the US and tells us his thoughts on the priority of the poor!!

    PS; Maybe he will tell the hierarchy that lobster newberg on Friday is not really a sacrificial act even though it is traditional in some episcopal palaces.!!.

  23. annonymouse says:

    Raymond, I don’t know where you go to church, but where I do I hear nothing at all of “crotch watching” and all kinds of “preferential option for the poor” – frequent hectoring, in fact – to the point that I sometimes wonder if the Church has not become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party!

    Abortion? Virtually never mentioned. Contraception? Never mentioned. Homosexual marriage? Never mentioned. So if you’re at Mass at a place these things are discussed, do share where that is so that I may occasionally go there!

    I come here to CF in part to remind myself that these “crotch watching” (to use your perjorative) matters ARE still part of Roman Catholic teaching.

    But I guess in your view I need to get with the times and forget about sin, focus on mercy (completely unnecessary without sin, but I digress), and prefer the poor.

    And as to your last comment – I dearly hope you’ve never indulged yourself of lobster newburg yourself. Please don’t reserve your scorn only for the hierarchy.

  24. raymondfrice says:


    “Who am I to say??” Pope Francis

    All I was interested in was whether or not we should focus more on the needs of the poor; not to the detriment or ignoring of doctrine.

    PS Never had lobster new berg but have had clams casino which are overrated. As to evangelization, I subscribe to a number of Catholic publications which are always a few days late. From their condition, I think the postmen are reading them during lunch.

  25. Richard Thomas says:

    Mouse is correct.

    Focus more on the poor. My goodness. That’s all many in the church give their exclusive interest. I still want someone to compare the poor in America with free cell phones, ect, with the real poor in the third world. Now that’s real poverty but I am afraid many of our clerice are only talking about the poor in America.

    Yes. I would love some well researched homilies on pornography, homosexuality, pre marital sex, birth control and abortion. But I am not holding my breath.

    As far as Catholic publications go, they never mention the abject failure of the clergy, especially the bishops and priests to preach sexual ethics. They also never discuss the homosexual influence on the clergy. But yes. There is plenty on social justine and caring for the poor.

  26. Richard Thomas says:


  27. Sid says:


    You said:

    Abortion? Virtually never mentioned. Contraception? Never mentioned. Homosexual marriage? Never mentioned. So if you’re at Mass at a place these things are discussed, do share where that is so that I may occasionally go there!

    Since you asked, I’ve heard ALL those covered repeatedly in homilies at OLV. I’m sure that’s not the *only* parish in the diocese to hold the line against moral relativism, though. My view is that it makes no sense financially supporting parishes that do not stand true to orthodoxy. As much as we would all like to think we can foment change “from within”, it’s windmill tilting—unlikely to ever change anything. Support the pastors who take their job seriously by taking your smiling face (and checkbook) to one of their parishes.

  28. militia says:

    Poverty outside the US, especially in Africa (a continent which is going to need international support to withstand the Obama imposition of immorality through abortion, same-sex etc.) deserves our alms, that is if we can find an administrative organization which can be relied upon to honestly deliver what is given. I have given up on the US, where people get huge support from the government through its endless imposition of taxes, often for the sake of political favors. And I’ve given up on Catholic organizations such as Catholic Relief Services and Campaign for Human Development. I don’t want to be associated with their agendas. I’ve given up on Christian Child Fund which supports abortion too. I’ve given up on supporting some orders due to their lack of clarity around current hot button issues. I’ve given up on dioceses where huge amounts have gone to paying abuse lawsuits and top heavy staffs .

    Actually, it is very difficult to find solid organizations faithful to Christ’s teachings to contribute to, and who will be accountable. Even where some seem effective, the fundraising percentage can be out of sight. So I thought I’d look to the bible for guidance and was surprised that there is little in the New Testament about how and where to give.

    Christ was here to preach the arrival of the Kingdom, and while He practiced hospitality and compassion in feeding the multitudes which had followed him, and the disciples at the Last Supper “thought” Judas was leaving to give “something” to the poor, at Christ’s instruction, I am having a hard time seeing what Christ did to throw off the shackles of poverty among the poor. He even “loved” the rich young man who didn’t want to part with his fortune. He ate with the rich, and benefited in how Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimithea took care of the grave preparations. We can’t dispute that Christ had the power to obliterate poverty for at least a few, but does not seem to have done so. John the Baptist told the soldiers to be satisfied with their wage. Whatever happened to the woman who gave the two mites isn’t even recorded. The message I take away is that taking care of poverty isn’t at the top of the list, because the poor we will always have with us.

    It’s one thing to chant the words, but from a practical point of view, how can care of the poor be effectively implemented by most people in today’s world? Especially without advancing the agenda of those opposed to Christian principles?

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