Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


Judge not …

June 8th, 2018, Promulgated by Diane Harris


It is not a particularly modern thought, and becoming less so all the time: “De mortuis nihil nisi bonum.”  The expression is a translation into Latin of the Greek expression attributed to Chilon of Sparta around 600 BC. It is also called a “mortuary aphorism,” now translated into English as “Of the dead nothing but good [should be said.]”

In the last few days there have been some disturbing announcements (can hardly be called news when the allegations are about pre-1979 events, and half the people accused are dead.) Avoiding the secular media, the following links relate to Church Militant’s reporting of matters related to a very few priests or former priests in the Dioceses of Buffalo and Rochester:

Dispositions reported by the Diocese of Rochester can be found on the DoR website, and here:  and was updated April 23, 2018. (Added here, in this post, on June 9, 2018.)

Update 6/11 : Full text of DoR response to June 6, 2018 press conference can be found here:

Moreover, concurrently, there is a statewide issue in New York reported on April 30th in a Memorandum of Opposition to the proposed Assembly Bill 5885-A, related to civil and criminal changes regarding the statute of limitations in cases of sexual abuse of children. It is somewhat difficult to see the two matters as unrelated, especially in timing, and therefore it is worth studying each. For additional information, click on “Read the rest of this entry” below to read June 5, 2018 statement of the NYS Conference of Catholic Bishops on those legislative matters.

However, other than bringing forward specific information, when reliably available, Cleansing Fire’s policy on comments will continue to be the one implemented by Dr. K on December 12, 2010, regarding the situation with then Fr. Dennis Shaw:

Most simply said, the acceptability of comments should rely on Christ’s words in Luke 6:37 (whether the subject is dead or not): “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Meanwhile, let’s be encouraged to pray for everyone involved (that is, all of us in the Body of Christ), for the Church, and especially for any victims.


For Immediate Release:

June 5, 2018


Former Court of Appeals Judge: Child Victims Act Shields Public Entities in Lookback

The proposed Child Victims Act creates two unequal classes of sexual abuse victims – those who would be granted another opportunity to sue and those who would be granted no such opportunity, according to a former judge of New York State’s top court.

The Child Victims Act (A5885-A/S6575) bill, sponsored by Sen. Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, would shield public schools and municipalities from lawsuits for past sexual abuse claims while holding private schools, religious organizations and charities accountable, according to a new analysis authored by Susan Phillips Read, former Associate Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court.

The bill proposes to extend both the prospective civil and criminal statutes of limitations for claims of child sexual abuse. It would also create a controversial one-year window to revive time-barred claims of abuse from decades past. Whether this retroactive window applies to public institutions was the question Judge Read was asked to address in her brief. “My answer is ‘No,’” she stated unequivocally.

To illustrate her point, Judge Read wrote: “For example, if this bill were enacted into law, a 34-year old man whose high school wrestling coach sexually abused him 20 years ago would not be time-barred from recovering damages from his high school if the man attended a private school and sued within the one-year window, but he would be precluded from recovering damages if he attended a public school instead of a private school.”

Richard E. Barnes, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference, which solicited the analysis, said the Hoylman/Rosenthal bill creates an indefensible double standard in its disparate treatment of public and private institutions.

“In claiming to remedy an injustice, Sen. Hoylman and Assembly Member Rosenthal would create a pernicious further injustice, one perpetrated by the state Legislature on many survivors. While the sponsors have professed that their bill does not shield public schools from exposure, Judge Read’s comprehensive analysis clearly shows otherwise.”

“Tragically, a child abused in a public school and a child abused in a private school is still a child abused. He or she should be entitled to identical legal remedies. We understand the sponsors’ desire to shield public schools and government agencies from potentially billions of dollars in liability, but that concern, while valid, cannot justify unequal treatment of survivors and public and private institutions.”

The reason for the disparity is that the state grants public entities a layer of protection from civil lawsuits for which private institutions are not eligible. State law requires plaintiffs to file a “notice of claim” declaring an intention to sue within 90 days of an incident. Failure to do so renders a claim forever time barred, regardless of the statute of limitations. While the Hoylman/Rosenthal bill removes notice of claim protections in the sections of the bill that address future abuse cases, it is silent on the matter in Section 3, which is the only section of the bill that would create a one-year window to file lawsuits otherwise barred by the statute of limitations.

“It is unlikely that a New York court would consider the omission as anything other than intentional,” Judge Read wrote.

Judge Read said if the bill is enacted as drafted, survivors who wish to sue public entities “will end up without a remedy as happened in California.” She explained that in that state in 2002, after the Legislature passed a retroactive window which sponsors claimed was all-inclusive, the California Supreme Court ruled that a school district could not be sued because the victim did not file a timely notice of claim as required by California statute.

A decade later, when the California Legislature again passed a similar window bill that again did not remove the notice of claim barrier, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown vetoed it, stating in his veto message that the new bill “does not change the significant inequity that exists between public and private entities.” He concluded, “This extraordinary extension of the statute of limitations, which legislators chose not to apply to public institutions, is simply too open-ended and unfair.”

“Sexual abuse is a crime that is not confined to private institutions. We as a society have a moral obligation to prevent it and to punish abusers,” Mr. Barnes said. “Doing so requires a comprehensive approach that treats all victims and survivors equally and holds public and private institutions equally accountable. The New York State Legislature must not pass and Governor Cuomo must not sign any bill that would create two classes of victims.”

The Catholic Conference represents the Bishops of New York State in matters of public policy.


Dennis Poust

Director of Communications

NYS Catholic Conference

518.434.6195 (office)

518.225.4882 (mobile)





2 Responses to “Judge not …”

  1. avatar Hopefull says:

    I would like to weigh in again on the matter of vesting, which I posted about last Fall in

    As I mentioned then, the cincture represents commitment to chastity by the priest, yet it seems that a fair number of DoR priests dispense with wearing the cincture! How can they do that? I’d understand if perhaps a priest had recent abdominal surgery, but otherwise I don’t see a reason for deliberately omitting the cincture, and presumably thereby also skipping the prescribed prayer: “…. Gird me, O Lord, with the cincture of purity, and quench in my heart the fire of concupiscence, that the virtue of continence and chastity may abide in me.”

    I’m going to go further out on the limb here and say that at a time when the diocese is under a new siege (as described in the above post) priests should not be sending mixed signals about their faithfulness to vows, commitment and expected behavior. It is not the time to nitpick loopholes, or try to ‘get away’ with something. What did you wear when you were vested at your ordination, Father? And what has happened for you to decide you don’t need or want the external statement of your commitment to chastity? What signal are you sending about a variety of areas of obedience?

    Is your dispensing with the cincture supposed to make parents feel more comfortable with your access to their children? to peace of mind in enrolling them in a Catholic school? With your preaching of doctrine and commitment? Please get real. The cincture lapse could one day be introduced as a visible evidence in court of your flaunting your commitment to celibacy and chastity. If priests won’t wear the cincture, I can only hope that our good bishop will absolutely require it, even if only to protect the patrimony of the diocese. Moreover, he really deserves support in his role, not arrogant display of self-centered re-interpretation or hair-splitting.

  2. avatar raymondfrice says:

    You are correct

Leave a Reply

Log in | Register

You must be logged in to post a comment.

-Return to main page-