Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


When a parish is needlessly divided …

September 3rd, 2017, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Most responsible leaders in the Church do recognize that unity must be around doctrinal issues, not around political or opinion issues. Most responsible leaders do not deliberately precipitate division in a parish, especially around matters of prudential judgment. And most responsible leaders, when quoting opinions of others, honor disputes with relevant quotes from both sides, acknowledge their own prejudices, use credible experts, and try to avoid sources with besmirched reputation. But Cris Wensel, pastoral associate of St. Matthew and St. Mary in Honeoye, isn’t like such responsible leaders.

In less than two months in her new position of responsibility, during the medical absence of the pastor, in my opinion she has already betrayed the trust that was put in her, making a bulletin first page extensive quote from the very controversial Vatican newbie, Fr. James Martin, S.J., who is a prime example of why a real Re-Suppression of the Jesuits is needed asap. It appears that the Jesuit Fr. Martin has been in the hot seat for two months since his controversial book and subsequent remarks on homosexuality. Here are the links to the most recent LifeSiteNews articles on Fr. Martin’s proclivities and opinions:


Who’s really responsible for Fr. James Martin’s revolution? (June 27)

Church leaders rip Fr. Martin’s new book on homosexuality (July 12)

Vatican adviser dismisses Catholic teaching, says God made gays ‘who they are’ (Aug. 22)

Pro-gay Vatican advisor: Some of my critics just fear their own ‘complicated sexuality’ (Aug. 24)

Vatican advisor urges gay priests to ‘come out,’ won’t say what his own ‘sexuality’ is (Aug 29)

Cardinal rebukes Vatican adviser’s critique of Church principles on LGBT issues (Sept. 1)

The self-proclaimed expert on homosexuality is apparently also a self-proclaimed expert on climate change as well. Cris Wensel quotes the very controversial Father Martin’s opinions to the parishioners of St. Matthew and St. Mary, without even adequately identifying the original source of his alleged comments:






















ScreenShot705In the spirit of full disclosure, I will make three points lest I also have a conflict of interest.

  1. I spent six months writing a response to Pope Francis’ Encyclical “Laudato Si.”  Not only do I believe that climate change is a hoax, but  I believe, more dangerously, it is an attempt to establish a one-world-religion based on pantheistic and socialistic principles. I have sent a copy of my book to the head of every diocese in the US, also offered also it free to Canadian bishops and sent copies to selected Vatican leaders, including both Pope Emeritus Benedict  XVI and Pope Francis.  I was generally quite pleased by the responses I received. Information is at  I am not going to use this space to refute all of Fr. Martin’s allegations in defense of Laudato Si, which amount mostly to parroting the encyclical, as I’ve already spent over 200 pages arguing the opposite position. Father Martin does take on the “authority” however to determine what is and what is not a “moral” issue. That is important power grab; if it were a moral issue then it would imply Laudato Si might be binding, which I believe most Canon Law experts do not assert.
  2. Cris Wensel and I have a history of disagreement, some of which is on this Cleansing Fire blog site. “Search” for Wensel for pretty full disclosure. The first significant controversy occurred when she was using the feminine gender for the Holy Spirit. Her patron-pastor supported her, alleging that Bp. Bruskewitz supported the feminine use. I had the opportunity to speak with  Bishop Bruskewitz on a Catholic Radio call-in show, and the good bishop absolutely condemned such behavior, as God has revealed Himself to us under the male gender. If you would like to hear the brief recording of my call with Bishop Bruskewitz, please click here:   Cris and I have also had disagreement on ordination of women, and I have published in defense of the male priesthood and against feminists coveting ordination.
  3. It makes me particularly concerned, and I admit also angry, when people in the pew, especially the young and less catechized, are subjected to material such as was just published in the St. Mary / St. Matthew Church bulletin, particularly for those who have little ability to discern truth from pastoral ego. Their natural trust of their parish’s communications make them targets for what is not true. I would feel guilty were I not to challenge the assertions of someone arguing climate change is a moral issue, but that what is condemned clearly in Romans Chapter 1 is not!

P.S. All the above begs the question: “What should parishioners do when confronted with such an inappropriate article in their Church bulletin?” In my opinion, it is not enough to just go to the person who promulgates misunderstanding of our Faith, especially where they have a track record of rampant error, and there is no reason to believe a single personal complaint to the individual writer will prevent further abuse. Rather, I believe the article should be sent to Bishop Matano’s attention with charitable complaint. It is not only about stopping future error to protect our brothers and sisters in Christ, but also about trying to correct what has been already done. And His Excellency is the only one with the power to do both.  Peace!

Following the thread emerging on Fr. Martin and Petition to have him removed as a Vatican Advisor (Sept. 12)


18 Responses to “When a parish is needlessly divided …”

  1. avatar BigE says:

    So Diane, let me get this straight: your asking your followers who disagree with the attached article on Climate Change to go to Bishop and complain that someone is supporting the Pope too much?

  2. avatar Diane Harris says:

    @Big E: No, that is absolutely not what I said. First I don’t have “followers”….God has “followers.” Second, I’m not asking anyone to do anything that they don’t feel called to do in their own conscience. What I am bringing to people’s attention and objecting to (and I apologize if I wrote confusingly)is a Pastoral Associate using her (or his) position to promulgate an unidentified writing of a highly divisive individual who already clearly opposes Church Teaching (on same-sex issues which the Church has always clearly opposed) as if he were a credible person to be trusted and then putting that material on the front page of a parish bulletin, a vehicle which people in the pew generally trust. It wouldn’t matter if it were climate change, or moral issues such as abortion or euthanasia, when the person quoted is already in opposition to Church Teaching.

  3. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Austin Ruse writes, “So, this is what must be done. James Martin SJ must be called out by the faithful for what he is: a liar leading the young to damnation and leading the Church into heresy. There must be some accountability for what he is doing. It is obvious the institutional Church will not hold him accountable. So, laymen must.”

  4. avatar christian says:

    I signed the petition for Pope Francis to remove Fr. James Martin S.J. from the Vatican Office of Communications

  5. avatar raymondfrice says:

    Dominick/” It is obvious the institutional Church will not hold him accountable. So, laymen must.”

    Pray tell, how is this going to be accomplished since the hierarchy seldom if ever listens to the laity??

  6. avatar militia says:

    Here’s another one:

    The search for scapegoats is on! Re ideas of what laity can do…. boycotting Martin’s books and maybe even Jesuit books and other materials since they won’t discipline Martin. Pressure on boards of trustees of Catholic universities who give him a forum to speak. Mail him copies of Romans Chapter 1 urging him to repent.

  7. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Hi raymondfrice!

    The quote about laymen holding James Martin SJ accountable is part of Austin Ruse’s article “The Perfidious James Martin SJ”. I suggest rereading the article and reflecting upon the examples of holding Martin accountable recorded by Austin Ruse.

    Isn’t writing and publishing the article itself a way of holding this particular priest accountable? Doesn’t it hold him accountable to a certain degree by posting on CF the various links to other articles and comments?

    However, I will try to answer your question about holding him accountable when, according to you, ” the hierarchy seldom if ever listens to the laity”.
    We could buy his book and read it. Tell friends, family and parishioners what we discovered in the book and how what we discovered is not in harmony with Sacred Tradition. We can send our written opinions, well substantiated by references to official teaching, to newspapers and diocesan publications.

    When sharing with teachers, catechists, or authors, we can phrase our “holding accountable” questions like this: ” Help me understand (quote verbatim Martin) in light of (quote verbatim official Church teaching)?

    Then of course there are those beloved Catholics who refuse to read, reflect upon or consider official Church teaching because they emphasize personal experiences. So, give them plenty of personal examples of same-sex attracted men and women who by the grace of God strive to live chaste lives in committed discipleship to the Son of God, Our Savior. Need some well documented examples? Start with the excellent video DESIRE OF THE EVERLASTING HILLS and the excellent book WHY I DON’T CALL MYSELF GAY.

    Brother raymondfrice, if in fact JAMES MARTIN SJ is deceitful and untrustworthy, make a point of demonstrating his disloyalty to the Church and to her Sacred Tradition to those who are open to discover and realize how harmful his talks and book can be to the salvation of men and women susceptible to these lies. Yes, brother, hold him accountable, pray for the Church, pray for James Martin SJ and recall what Archbishop Fulton Sheen said: ” Who is going to save our Church? Do not look to the priest’s. Do not look to the Bishops. It’s up to you, the laity, to remind our priests to be priests and our Bishops to be Bishops.”

    “It is obvious the institutional Church will not hold him accountable. So, laymen must.”

  8. avatar BigE says:


    Pew research in 2014 said that fully 85% of self-identified Catholics ages 18-29 believe Homosexuality needs to be accepted by society.

    That means Fr. Martin’s conciliatory tone IS the future of the church and that in fact he will probably overwhelmingly get the support of the laity. And as us older Catholics die off, that support will only grow.

    Seems to me your rushing to close the barn door after the horse has already bolted and is running.

  9. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    WOW, BigE! So when the Arians were the majority Saint Athanansius was rushing to close the barn door after the horse had already bolted and was running? Good thing that heroic Saint didn’t give up!

    Christ welcomes all….to repentance, conversion and discipleship. Perhaps those 85% of self-identified Catholics ages 18-29 you reference haven’t heard the Christian call to repentance, conversion and discipleship which includes chastity.

  10. avatar raymondfrice says:

    “boycotting Martin’s books and maybe even Jesuit books and other materials since they won’t discipline Martin.”

    So we should boycott the pope- a Jesuit??

  11. avatar annonymouse says:

    So, BigE, since when is moral truth subject to the polling of Pew Research? And how many of the self-identified 85% actually go to Church? And are clerics (bishops, priests and deacons) preaching Catholic truth so as to form the faithful? The media are very effectively forming the faithful in the ways of the Prince of this world, wouldn’t you agree? When was the last time you heard a deacon, priest or bishop preach on Catholic sexual morality?

  12. avatar raymondfrice says:

    When was the last time you heard a deacon, priest or bishop preach on Catholic sexual morality?

    They don’t preach about it because they do not understand it, either experientially, morally, or academically. Ask any cleric what the venial sins are that fly in the face of the 6th commandment!!

  13. avatar BigE says:


    1) I wasn’t arguing against the truthfulness of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. I was trying to make the point that a significant majority of the Church’s laity support what Father Martin is doing. So this idea that the laity is going correct what the church hierarchy hasn’t is silly.

    2) If that 85% of self identified Catholics aren’t going to Church – then our Church has no future. Because certainly those who don’t identify themselves as Catholic aren’t going to go. 🙂

    3) So you really think the people in the pews don’t know the Catholic stance on homosexuality? I’ve never run into anyone who doesn’t. I want my preachers preaching the good news of the Gospel – not bashing people over the head who have already been bashed for much of their lives.

  14. avatar christian says:

    I think there is some relevance to Big E’s assertion that many of the church-going Catholics sitting in the pews support the homosexual lifestyle and same-sex “marriage.”

    I was in attendance at a church meeting after mass at a parish in the Diocese of Rochester approximately two years ago, when they were addressing ways to be more welcoming to their church community. One man brought up the suggestion of warmly welcoming the LBGT community. There were others present who wholeheartedly seconded his suggestion. (There is one thing to warmly welcome persons who have same-sex attraction and gender identification issues, but it is another thing to welcome their life-style and sexual activity. There was no distinction made in the suggestion, so I am inclined to think both the LBGT community and their way of life was intended).

    Some years back, there was controversy over the Principal of McQuaid High School allowing a teenage same-sex couple go to junior prom together. Before the school made their decision, there was a call to a local radio station falsely stating the decision had already been made and they weren’t allowed to attend. It then resulted in an online petition which gathered 800 votes. There was large support for the same-sex teenage couple from parents of McQuaid students. The parents cited New York State had already made same-sex marriage legal and the church needed to catch up with the times.
    (Parents of other Catholic high schools in the U.S. where a teen same-sex couple weren’t allowed to attend a prom, especially when one of them wore the attire of the opposite sex, used the same argument about their state, or their country, having made same-sex marriage legal). These parents don’t seem to get that there is a difference between the state and the church, as they think the church should catch up to the state.

    Some of the factors influencing these parents, and other adults, is 1. that one of their children, or a niece, nephew, or friend’s child has same-sex attraction or gender identity issues. 2. They have been exposed to social propaganda from the media, their child’s public school (there have been instances of parochial schools involved also), their workplace, and other non-church groups/organizations they are involved in.

    Many clergy and religious don’t want to teach for or against the homosexual lifestyle (involving homosexual activity), as it is deemed a taboo topic which might cause great controversy, and sometimes, because they don’t know what to think about it themselves.
    There are also priests and other pastoral support staff that support ministries to the LBGT Community and their families. It is fine if they are offering support for those with same-sex attraction and gender identification issues, and their families -but are they also supporting the LBGT life-style including homosexual acts and same-sex marriage? I think that is a fair question to ask.

    Any Catholic high school or college/university which receives state and federal funding, are obligated to support the LBGT agenda (in addition to providing information and resources for birth control and sexually transmitted diseases. Sadly, some of the services that students are referred to may also perform abortions).

  15. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Deacon James Russell writes:

    “I would invite both Bishop McElroy and Fr. Martin to consider conversing, brothers to brothers, with Cardinal Sarah, Archbishop Chaput, Bishop Paprocki, and many other good and holy Catholics who have their own concerns about Fr. Martin’s approach to homosexuality.

    Such a sincere attempt at genuine dialogue would do so many other faithful Catholics—and everyone with same-sex attraction—a world of good.”

  16. avatar christian says:

    Excellent article, Dominick.

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