Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Author Archive

Mary of Nazareth – The Movie

November 29th, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

Mary of Nazareth  Is coming to Auburn, NY compliments of the good folks at St. Joseph’s School. Tickets are $10 at the door (if available) and $8 in advance. The move is being shown at the Finger Lakes Mall Theater in Auburn, NY Friday, December 6 at 6 PM and Saturday, December 7th at 2 PM. This is a fabulous way to kick start your Advent virtue development and help out Catholic Education at the same time.

Call St. Joseph’s School at (315) 253-8327 or email for tickets and information.

Those attending Saturday afternoon showing may be interested in celebrating the Vigil of the 2nd Sunday of Advent following the movie at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Auburn. St. Mary’s Church celebrates a very moving and beautiful liturgy, has a wonderful architecture, organ and choir.

This movie is marketed by the same folks that brought For Greater Glory to the Festival for Freedom – Carmel Communications.



The Franciscan Narrative on Divorce and Remarriage

November 12th, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

Francis has convened a gathering of bishops to study the pastoral care of those (and there are many) who are divorced and remarried. This has understandably caused some speculation on a potential reform of the teaching that divorced and remarried Catholics may not be admitted to Holy Communion (nor may they be baptized, confirmed, etc. ). We all know people in this state.  It is a hard, but necessary teaching.

I have been in that state and it was hardly easy and one accurately feels outside of the Church. Because all one can do is sit in a pew. But sitting in that pew, I grew and learned of the immense blessing that marriage is and how it is necessary for anyone to take marriage with the utmost seriousness.

Some bishops in Germany suggested that there is a pastoral work-around to annulment. The Congregation for Doctrine and the Faith replied here. (Re) Stating that there is no provision for the admission of the civilly remarried to Holy Communion. The letter itself, even written in the stilted Vatican language and tone, is a beautiful witness to marriage.

This is an action of the magisterium of Francis which is totally coherent with Blessed JPII, Benedict and every other pope that has graced the Chair of Peter.  His style may focus on a different point but his content is the unchanging truths of Catholicism.


At Roman noon, the news arrived…

November 6th, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

Bishop Matano is an excellent choice for our beleaguered flock. Francis has sent us an excellent Bishop; an accomplished canonist and a mature leader. He is doctrinally sound and was carefully chosen.

Quoting the best insider in Catholicism –

After reports of recent meetings with Cardinal Seán O’Malley (on top of being the North American member of the “C-8,” the metropolitan responsible for Vermont) and the Nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò – who was said to have flown into Burlington over the last month – Matano was initially buzzed about for the Connecticut seat before its announcement last week. Now, those indications can be seen as evidence of the delicacy and import with which at least some in Rome view this appointment. (emphasis mine).

Delicacy and import…let that sink in…Delicacy and Import.

This might seem to clash with the fuzzy and sometimes squishy “Franciscian Narrative” so popular in the MSM…but is does not in the least.  The last 5 or 6 U.S. Bishops have several points in common (1) Doctrinally Sound (2) Courageous in the face of morality of our time (3) a firm pastor of souls (4) respectful of the Extraordinary Form (4) Sound liturgies (5) accomplished leader.  That is the authentic “Franciscan Narrative”  – the Magisterium in action; folks – the rest are “remarks on a plane”.

To all that have been in the trenches of Catholicism for decades, surviving on meager rations. Thanks. I left here in 1979 and returned a few years ago. The changes were hard to swallow, I have witnessed terrible suffering and many have left, some for good. Heartbreaking.  Thanks for your fidelity. To all those that suffered for good, implored Rome for suffrage – for your right to a decent liturgy and Sacraments, for the simple following of Canon Law; Thanks. For all those who fasted, prayed, and documented the history of these historic 12,000 days; Thanks. To all those who offered time and treasure to keep the flicker of Catholicism glowing on these windswept shore – offering catechesis in your home, demanding authentic formation of the young and a Catholic pastoral model; your day has come. Thanks. To those who were humiliated, ostracized and mocked for the sake of the Kingdom; Thanks. Your reward awaits. To the simple Catholic who was bullied into thinking that the Rosary, a veil, Adoration, Confession, reverence and liturgical tradition was backward, stupid or gone for good; Thanks. You persevered and followed your conscience. You are a witness to these things.

The time is now to embrace not traditional, not conservative, not orthodox but authentic Roman Catholicism with all her glory – which incorporates all those labels and then some. A new spring has sprung in the New York autumn and on the heels of the first frost, a wind from the east has warmed us. Francis has blessed us and has sent up a pastor that is the fruit of his prayer. The time for a new Evangelization has arrived.  I hesitate to say “with malice toward none and charity towards all…” but to a certain extent, it fits. As for me I will simply be Catholic, and joyfully so. I will continue with my vocation with a new fervor. I will give with greater depth. I will pray with deeper zeal. I will encourage the Sacraments and frequent them. I will bring and suggest and FUND what I have discovered as “best practices” in places I visit. I will support and encourage Bishop Matano who has a difficult ministry before him.

We have been blessed.

See Rocco Palmo’s insights here (may need to scroll down). Excellent and fair insights.

“Bernie” Jumps the Line…New Archbishop Coadjutor in Newark, NJ

September 25th, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

This likely represents the first authentic “Franciscan” appointment and the appointment engine is back in gear.

The Archdiocese of Newark is very, very troubled. Archbishop Myers is 72…typical retirement is 75ish. His axillary bishops are 70+. Francis is bringing in a young (54 years) bishop help out as coadjutor. A coadjutor immediately takes office at the time of retirement or death of the reigning bishop. He is a sort of bishop in waiting.

I am comforted by this appointment knowing that we too will get a “shepherd who smells like his sheep”. To me, this is a stellar appointment to a very troubled place. In time, we will get the same level of attention and hopefully, an bishop of similar quality.

Rocco, as always, does the heavy lifting and places this all into his interesting perspective.

Pray for Francis and it is never too early to pray for our new bishop – he’s out there some place.


Francis and the New Evangelization

September 21st, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

Paul in his preaching in Acts evangelizes the pagan world. This ultimately led to the conversion of my barbarian ancestors. Paul in his letters outlines the timeless doctrines of Catholicism were later codified in the Scriptures.  Paul had a very particular pattern – he preached the love of Christ and the glory of the Resurrection and following personal conversion, he introduced doctrine.

Paul, the first and greatest missionary, was undeniably successful.

Paul’s model follows the “great Commission” of Matthew 28:19 and 20:

“Go, therefore,and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

So the final words of Christ are baptize then teach. That is the formula.

To baptize, the recipient repents, desires the love of Christ and requests baptism.  Following this, doctrine is properly introduced.  Francis accurately illuminates how we stress the doctrine and not the love. This is contrary to the successful method of Paul and the very words of the Gospel. Francis’ refocused strategy does not dilute the doctrine –  it is obvious that all non-martial sex, abortion, contraception, is and always has been sin. However, it does refocus and reorder the evangelistic methodology. Francis also focuses  much on “what we have failed to do” especially with respect to the poor because sins of omission clearly impede Heaven (Matthew 25:31).

The metaphysical and natural law arguments against the sins of our time does not compare to the love of Christ and his mercy towards sinners. Metaphysics converts few, if any.  The love and mercy of Christ converts all and, to be frank, the vast majority of Catholics’ grasp of metaphysics and natural law is in a word, lacking.

Francis, in his America interview stresses the nuts and bolts of evangelization which is as unchanging as the doctrine. Francis illuminates our abject failure in evangelization and the need to examine our methods. Francis calls us to preach the love of Christ and his mercy and to not be distracted by the sins of the era (which are the sins of the Corinthians).

For a convert to ask for the grace of repentance, one first needs to know and desire the love and mercy of Christ. Following repentance and coupled to the love and mercy of Christ, then – and only then – can moral doctrine be taught and received.  Reverse it and we are simply a moralistic echo chamber speaking only to edify ourselves. After examining my own efforts, and speaking first to myself, this is the state of evangelism in the West.

All the evils of our time are the evils of all time – for certain Paul wrote of homosexuality, adultery, non-marital sex, idolatry and perversions of all stripes. But – and this is KEY – he wrote these teachings to the converted. We (and I)  have largely failed in my metaphysical and natural law defenses of the Church to the non-believer. In stressing the natural law, I necessarily dilute the love and mercy of Christ. I only have so many words and so many minutes with each person.

Of course, just yesterday, Francis delivered a very doctrinal address to Matercare (the converted):

The human fragility in each of us is invited to recognize the face of the Lord, who in his human flesh experienced the indifference and loneliness that often condemn the poorest, both in countries in the developing world, and in affluent societies. Every child not allowed to be born, but unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, the Lord’s face, inasmuch as before he was born, and while born, he experiences the rejection of the world.

The fools of our era consider this some kind of olive branch to Catholic conservatives. Not so! Francis is far, far from being such a simple panderer.

Francis is not denying or diluting anything – he can not.  Francis is attempting to direct the best educated and most highly formed Catholics in history to focus their energies on the love and mercy of Christ to an unloved and justly condemned population dying in sin. They know that they are in sin. They know they are justly condemned. They do not know that the decision to repent is the first act of faith and hope of a new Christian who will always receive the mercy they ask for. Our knowledge-based culture lacks love, not reason. Francis focuses on love, not reason – he is trying to fill a gap that he sees.

Francis challenges us to well, simply follow the Gospel method. First share the Good News of the Resurrection and the love and mercy of Christ.  Francis teaches that the methodology, the order of events – repentance, baptism and teaching matters and it does. Francis see that we lack love and mercy, not metaphysics and natural law.

Quoting a former colleague at the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person, Marcus Grompe, “God is love. If we don’t convey that message convincingly, discussion of moral truth will never even reach the agenda.”  This is the teaching of Francis in one sentence and is the essence of evangelization of the “Franciscan Era”. The “new” Evangelization is a change in focus, not content.

EWTN Nightly News – A Hit in the Making

September 4th, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

I have long been a  both a fan and a critic of EWTN. A fan of its doctrinal orthodoxy, liturgy and catechetics.  A critic of its mediocre production values and its consistent focus on catechesis to the near exclusion of most everything else. My criticism is not directed to the content but the presentation. The EWTN Nightly (at the present weekly) News is a refreshing change for the better.  The production values are on par with any media outlet – CNN, Fox, NBC. The lighting and sound are excellent and if this show represents their “first draft” well, move over MSM; EWTN is here.

Colleen Carol-Campbell (whose essays and columns I admire greatly) has made a great transition to TV news media. She is very sharp, nimble on her feet and not afraid to ask direct questions after actually listening to the previous answer. Which is very rare.

Two thumbs up to an excellent first draft of a Catholic-centric news program.



The Graduation Speech Not Given

August 23rd, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

It was my pleasure last June to attend the commencement exercises of Tyburn Academy of Mary Immaculate, an independent Catholic School in Auburn, New York. It was a splendid day. The new alumni boasted a 100% acceptance rate from colleges that they desired to attend and scholarships averaging over $40,000 per student.

The oratory was superb. Of course, this is something one would expect from a rising, top-flight Catholic college prep school that is classically focused. The graduation speaker was Dr. William Fahey, President of Thomas More College (a gem of a Catholic College) who delivered one for the ages. It was tight, on point, timely, connected the history of Tyburn Hill, the school and the current era; it was funny and provocative, and best of all roughly 1000 words.

He also remarked that graduation speeches are the hardest to write.

Which got me thinking – with three teens of my own, plus another six nieces and nephews in college; what would I say to their class? What is my “final say”? The likelihood is nearly zero that such an invitation is forthcoming, to me. But the exercist is worthwhile.  

I know that two months in the internet are equivalent of a century in real time. But I hope this same advice can be recycled in August when most students leave home for college and the military.

So here goes the graduation speech that was never given –

Good evening and congratulations to the Class of 2013!

I graduated high school almost thirty years ago (which sounds like a much longer span of time than it actually feels) so naturally when I started to write this address I thought back to my own high school commencement ceremony, or what little I remember of it. Particularly I tried to recall the invited speaker we had that year and what pearls of wisdom he imparted, so that I could frankly plagiarize them and pass his pithy truths off as my own.

The problem is, I can’t remember anything he told us and he died about five years ago.

Commencement addresses should follow the advice I received for a good Confession – be brutal, be brief and be done. Especially on the second point – because the last thing I want is you cooking in your polyester gowns like some boil in the bag meal.

I can’t convey to you what an honor it is to be invited to share this day with you all, which, with the possible exception of this address, is likely one of the most important and memorable days of your life.  So when I sat down to write this speech, I had only two goals in mind.  First is to give you real advice that you can actually carry with you for the long road ahead and second goal is to keep it short.

Now, as a high school Senior, you probably already know that the world is teeming with people all too eager to give you advice. Much of the advice from adults seems to be strangely centered on how proud we are of you (and we are proud, very proud) and where you should go from here – and by extension where you should go from there. Clearly people of good will have strong feelings about such things.

But the idea of giving you all advice outside the realm of the purely practical does feel a little presumptuous. After all, who am I but a near do well blogger, a marginal catechist and an itinerant physicist – qualifications that actually qualify one for a very narrow scope.   The world is constantly changing—maybe now more than ever before—and I can’t pretend that I know the future.  Therefore, I only have one piece of advice and it is brutal, brief and blunt:

Remember who you are in this moment.

And who, exactly is that? At this moment you are a senior, just moments away from your first degree. You are proud, and you should be. You are excited; and you should be. You are a little apprehensive about what comes next – and you should be. Such feelings are totally just and totally normal. Finally, and most importantly, you are idealistic and believe that you can do anything and change the world.

Remember who you are in this moment.

So where do we go from here? Soon, we will all depart in dozens of directions and the intersections of our lives going forward will be different.   I’m sure there are a host of reasons, phrased in a number of different ways—but I think, and I hope, that it all boils down to this: you are idealistic because you want to help make the world a better place.  This seems like the most obvious thing and is the source of the motivation that will power you through years of military hardship and long hours of work and study. You want to change the world for the better by placing your unique mark on it.

Remember who you are in this moment.

Adults, particularly the more cynical ones, will speak of idealism as though it’s a bad thing, some sort of marker for naiveté and immaturity.  But I’m going to tell you this idealism is never a bad thing.  And this idealism seasoned with a lively faith, education and experience maybe one of the very best characteristics a Christian can have and our only hope so you must –

Remember who you are in this moment.  

You are a on the cusp of doing great things.  A few of these great things will be large acts, the majority of them will be small, but all of them will stem from who you are in this moment, someone with the faith, energy, idealism and work ethic to make the world a better place. With all the pomp and circumstance of this particular day and all those days that precede and proceed from this place, it seems like the concept of idealism and service would be difficult to forget.  But believe me when I tell you that forgetting is the easiest thing in the world.  I have forgotten it many times myself.

Because there will come a night when you’re going to feel beaten down and tired and regretful of having ever gone to college, work or service in the first place. Suffering will visit you. And right when you manage to finally sit down, for the first time you had a chance to sit down all day, some jerk yell at you for taking “their” seat, a roommate will drink your last Coke, someone else will criticize your best efforts and yet another mock your faith, heritage or roots – maybe all at the same time.

And right then, you will forget who you are in this moment.

Or you will have a boss, sergeant, co-worker or professor who will push all of your buttons and play you like a fiddle.  They will be loud and belligerent and unappreciative. You may be bullied. They will say things that make you feel inadequate ignoring the hours and hours of work you’ve put in trying to please them. They will make you cold, angry and unsympathetic; and when that happens, you will forget who you are in this moment and run the risk of becoming a cynic.

Cynicism is a deformity.  It is a shell that certain adults build around themselves after they feel that they’ve worked too hard, seen too much, been burned too many times.  It’s a way for some to loudly broadcast to their colleagues and to the world at large that they’re so expert in the human condition that nothing surprises them anymore.

This is a perfectly human response and it is the fruit of concupiscence.

Don’t be that person.  You are not that person. You were not baptized, confirmed and religiously educated to become that person. Don’t be the cynic.  Be for the rest of your life as you are today, someone who doesn’t tuck their idealism – or stated differently their mission received through Faith and Reason – away like some relic of your years of primary formation, but authentically wears it front and center.

All I ask of you is this –

Remember who you are in this moment.  

We’re Number 2!

July 31st, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

With the appointment of Brooklyn Auxiliary Most Reverend Frank Caggiano as the Fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, the DoR is number 2 on the American list of Episcopal vacancies behind Portland Maine who has been vacant since May, 2012 (14 months). We have been vacant since September, 2012 (10 months).

Francis has been very active; averaging about 3 appointments per day, even in the summer.

Thomas Peters – The “American Papist”

July 17th, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

Thom Peters is a fine young theologian who offers his life for the service of the culture via mainly Catholic Vote. I have been following his work for years having been introduced to it by his father Ed Peters,  a Canon Lawyer. Thomas was recently married and he is a stalwart, courageous voice for marriage.  He has suffered many a “slings and arrow” on behalf of the truth. He has used his theology degrees not as a priest, brother or teacher but as a fighter in the public square on behalf of truth. He is a very well formed layman in the midst of the culture.

He is under 30 years old.

Yesterday he sustained a fractured 5th cervical vertebrae – a broken neck –  in a swimming accident.  He is in critical condition at the University of Maryland “Shock-Trauma” Center in Baltimore. His father reports he can move his right arm and he is responding well to the initial course of treatment. His lungs “are filled with water” and I suppose he nearly drowned.

This young man is a fearless apostle. Dedicated. Holy. Courageous. He is facing the battles of the culture head on. Now, he is facing a battle for his very life. We should all stop now and offer a prayer for his healing and the consolation of his new wife and of course his family. So many of us have children and in an instant everything can change.

God is a merciful God and he hears our prayers.  Pray for Thom now.

Wegiel Responds in ~600 Words to Critics of Evangelical Catholicism

July 17th, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

Just adding to the discussion without comment (because I am yet to read it).  This is how he sees this work (and as a long time reader of his works) how he actually sees the Church:

For my further suggestion is that Evangelical Catholicism is not some 50-yard line between Catholic left and Catholic right, but a vision of Church far beyond those polarities. If that’s “idiosyncratic” or “odd,” then so were John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and so is Francis, the evangelical pope from the far end of the earth.

Review it in its original form here.

On the Problem of Catechesis…

July 11th, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

In an earlier post, the incomparable DAZ posed to me this question – How is it we lost the urgency to evangelize with conversion to Christ and incorporation into his Catholic Church as the goal?

I burned 300 words or so in reply.

Yesterday, I stumbled upon the precise answer. Barbara Nicolosi (among the sharpest minds around) is one of my favorite bloggers, especially when she is mad. I love Nicolosi when she is mad. She is at her purest when angry.  Plus, she is a gifted writer…. 

At the moment, Nicolosi is righteously angry about the state of Catechesis in the U.S.A.  She sums up perfectly (and with better prose) my stance.

Here is Ms. Nicolosi’s usual hangout. If you care anything about Catholics in the Arts and Media she should be your go to gal. I have read her work for years.

Her RICA program is probably the most muscular RCIA program ever. Obviously designed for rather well educated converts, her classical approach is quintessentially Catholic and what one learns from Barbara is to meet people where they are and take them with you.

An Open Letter to Sam Adams – Christian Brewer & Patriot

July 10th, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

Edit 07/13/2013 – the commercial is here (fixed broken link).

Dear Sam –

We go back further than my wife and children; to my care-free days as a sailor with a 30 inch waist. We met one spring night in Faneuil Hall, Boston. I was on liberty from Newport, Rhode Island and was hitting the town, sailor-style with a pocket full of payday cash ready to paint the town Boston Red-Sox Red.

And you did not disappoint.

Of course, you remember our falling out in 2002 over the Cathedral incident, in St. Patrick’s no less. It was over the top and sacrilegious, highly offensive to Catholics and New Yorkers alike.  It took me a long time to forgive you, but I did and I continued to almost this day to sample your excellent brews and look forward to the seasonal specialties.

Sam, you know that we are both Christian Patriots. Of course, you are the greater; who can trump signing the Declaration of Independence? You were much tougher too – saying stuff like:

“If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

Very tough talk.

It is time for some tough talk. You see, the company that bears your name corrupts your legacy as a Christian warrior – patriot. Tthat company now takes it upon itself to edit the very Declaration of Independence you signed pledging nothing less than “your sacred honor”.


Look. We do not hold complete theological agreement. However, we both hold and are subject to the Natural Law, which in part acknowledges that the rights we both fought for come from the “Creator” and are protect by civilization and not the other way around.  Now I will be the first to admit that we are at a tipping point in American history, we have lost the “fire” for the freedoms we fought for. Today, your company fears, not the Crown but  a vocal minority of secularists who are so offended by the idea of God that they cannot bear to even hear his name, quote his Word or even quote a 237 year old document you signed referring to the Creator as the source of Natural Rights – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Of course, your boys in Beantown have “lawyered up”  stating that it was not their fault that they redacted the Declaration of Independence, they were simply being obedient to the “Beer Institute” – in a sense “licking the hand” that feeds them. I hope that their chains are, as you say, light.

“We adhere to an advertising code, established by the Beer Institute – a beer industry trade organization – that states, ‘Beer advertising and marketing materials should not include religion or religious themes. We agree with that, and we follow these guidelines and approach our marketing with the utmost responsibility.”

I hardly need to remind you of the rich religious history of our beloved brew. Indeed, the most sought after beer today Chimay, is from a Trappist Monastery. Guinness has solid Catholic values. Ommegang Abby makes fine brews and Marin Brewing Company’s Witty Monk and Altar Boy Beers are best sellers. Who can deny New Belgian’s Lips of Faith? All of these breweries are members of the Beer Institute but they are apparently not so concerned about the Beer Institute’s advertising guidelines.

When you talk to your people they will blame market forces for Sam Adams’ decision to secularize its messaging to the point of redacting the Declaration of Independence on July 4th.  But that doesn’t really add up. The most natural thing to avoid controversy would be to leave the text of the Declaration intact, especially when linking the text thematically to you!  To redact the text as the commercial does is to, as the backlash makes clear, run the risk of alienating a huge swath of potential customers.

Which is B as in Boston S as in Sox…

Sam, this is less about a decision to avoid controversy for fear of alienating a consumer base than it is an expression of a corporate culture bearing your name that embraces a radical secularism and is tone deaf to the point of editing one of our nation’s most significant documents. It has more to do with a secular political and social sensibility than it does with economic savvy.

In such a radical separation of faith from public life, Sam Adams the beer company has done something that Sam Adams the Patriot would never have stood for because on July 4, 1776 you said:

“We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom all alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and with a propitious eye beholds his subjects assuming that freedom of thought, and dignity of self-direction which He bestowed on them. From the rising to the setting sun, may His kingdom come.”

Sam Adams – Christian Brewer, Patriot and Warrior, please call your office.

The Beginning of the End of the American Experiment

June 26th, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

I was hoping to offer a light piece today on launching Catholic High graduates into the deep. But the Supreme Court intervened…

With today’s Supreme Court rulings, we have now reached a point in American history where the Judeo-Christian story has been rejected as being unintelligible to a significant portion of our citizenry and also, apparently, to our judiciary.  Some would argue that this is the inevitable “progress” of history, while others would argue that the decline of commonly-held moral standards is the result of the creep of inexorable decadence and cultural decline.

The American experiment worked because no matter your origins, you entered into a Judeo-Christian cultural foundation that while espousing no State religion, did favor the philosophical natural law and revered the universal tenants of all Sacred Scripture. We also prayed…”so help me God”, hired chaplains for the military, invoked God’s Blessing “God Bless America” and last but not least, we were not very sentimental.

For example, it has often been pointed out to Christians by proponents of same-sex marriage that Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in adultery, who was engaged in a sexual activity which at the time was treated as a capital offense.  However the conclusion of that story is not Christ patting the woman on the head and saying, “Go back to doing whatever you were doing.”  Rather, He commands her, “Go, and sin no more,” in one action completing two acts – granting forgiveness but calling sin a sin, never pretending that what she was doing was morally acceptable.   That, and not the rabid crowd slowly shuffling away, is the real message of the encounter of John Chapter 8.  Yet its meaning has been lost in our Sex and the City based morality coupled with the notion that “nice guys always get to heaven”.

In choosing to treat a relationship between consenting adults – which is often really just a euphemism for sexual incontinence – as the ground in which marriage must be based, we have also forgotten that mankind was created in God’s image.  ”Male and female He created them,” we are told of our first parents, their complementarity being a reflection God.  We are now entering a period in which, through science and technology, we will soon be able to create in OUR own image, without having a male and female at all.

As America races into the future we are tearing down the narratives which kept human beings from descending back into the barbaric chaos from which our ancestors emerged and we are set on silencing those who warn of the implications of abandoning fundamental principles regarding life, family, and society; the bulwark of culture.

Of course the paradox of today’s Supreme Court decisions is that in granting rights to one group, another will now become the object of persecution.  For if you believe the honeyed assurances of those who insist that orthodox Christians and Jews will be left to believe and practice as we choose, I would suggest that you are very easily deceived.  No doubt far too many people will go along to get along, even though the Church Herself will not.  Somehow, Catholics who remain true to the Faith have always managed to survive, and will survive this as well.  One takes the long view that the Catholic Church has outlasted the Romans, the Huns, the Moors, Henry VIII, the Ottomans, the Shogun, Napoleon, and the Soviets, so this is simply another bumpy period in our long history.

As a child I often wondered if I could be a martyr. Frankly, quoting Flannery O’Connor – “I could never be a saint, but I could be a martyr if they killed me quick.” I know one thing as an adult – they never kill you quick.

The time of persecution nears. All professional licenses are privileges of society and they do not give licenses to bigots. Get ready to bow down lawyers, CPAs, business owners, doctors and nurses. Get ready to surrender those teaching certificates Catholic teachers. Get ready to pay property taxes Catholic Churches and Schools. Accept the “Core Curriculum” which includes homosexuality as a good or simply close. Be ready to lose your charitable status Church. Once there is a ghetto or two of orthodox Christians left the axe will come as it always does.  

Review the history of the Soviets, Cuba, China, Vietnam and Nazi Germany. The script is overused and time and again we (re)state time and again “Never Again” to deaf ears.

It is often said that the story of history is written by the victors, and perhaps today, the forces which have persuaded a majority of the Justices – six of whom are baptized Catholics – that the marriage covenant and mutually agreeable sexual play are morally and legally equivalent are in the process of writing a new history while simultaneously rejecting the history of marriage and family. In the end – a century from now, the fallout from this decision will prove as inscrutable to future generations as is the fact that the goofy Prince Charles will soon be the actual head of the  Church of England someday!

For certain, the Catholic Church will still be here, but America as we know it may well not be.  After all, England seized all the Catholic properties and today the greatest human empire – so vast that the sun new set on the Crown – is a handful of meaningless islands with a Church that is running into Catholicism so fast that we had to make special accommodations. Until this decade an English citizen who happened to be Catholic could not be Prime Minister, a Member of Parliament or marry a Royal. That is almost 500 years of religious persecution from America’s closest ally.

What will come of this? Well item one as I see it is this – Catholics in business will be forced to accommodate and recognize same sex marriages. Maybe the K of C will have to rent their hall to a same sex couple or a Church will be forced to marry homosexuals. That will lead to what I mentioned at the 2012 Fortnight of Freedom – material schism with the  American Catholic Church versus the Roman Catholic Church.


The American Catholic Church will have the smells and bells we so love so much. It will have lots of nice folks; good civilized thinking folks in the pews. It will be filled with sensitive and sentimental types who think that Tommy and Peter are such nice boys! And they do so much!It will have catholic schools with same-sex prom dates.  How can two nice guys sin and lose eternal life? It will have fine liturgies and great property. But the American Catholic Church will simply be a gilded sepulcher. Beautiful to the senses yet filled with decay.

The remnant Church, the few that refuse to concede the primordial nature of marriage, the words of the Hebrew Scripture, Paul and the Catechism will be reviled, insulted and persecuted. They will be taxed into non-existence and her members will be regarded as irrelevant bigots. Schools and Churches will close. Catholic mayors and Judges will be forced to marry homosexuals against their conscience or risk job or jail and many, many, many will apostate in every trade and position from Bishop to homemaker.  “Prudence” will be the new cowardice.

We will be faced with persecution. It comes with the baptism – where you “die with Christ”.  Some may experience that death in actual time and space. Many will be “white” martyrs – those who suffer loss, disdain and ridicule. Christ asked us to “pray that you are not put to the test” and when the test comes remember “I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers.”

For the second time in my life (the first being abortion in 1973) my country has spit in the eye of every religious tradition known to man and every piece of religious scripture ever written – be it by Hebrews, Christians or Muslims. Natural marriage – an institution that predates all of religion and civilization shares the stage with an institution predicated on self fulfillment and mutually agreeable sex play.  To think that we will survive this culturally is pure folly. The first shot across the bow will be in the schools.

But for certain, the Church founded by Jesus Christ will survive this – as it has survived worse.   St. John Fisher facing the executioner sums in one sentence the prayer of all aware Christians  – In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum.

In you Lord I have hope, never let me be confounded.

Thoughts on the Former Bishop of Rochester

June 22nd, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

Today marks the Feast Days of both St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, two of the great English saints to challenge King Henry VIII and in the process lost everything, including their heads.  While at present Sir Thomas More is perhaps the better known of the two, thanks to there being more literary and cinematic treatments of his life, Cardinal Fisher is a figure whose life provides us with a number of points on which to reflect.

I will refer to him as “Cardinal” Fisher, even though he is often referred to simply as “Bishop”.  The esteemed Catholic Encyclopedia lists him as a Cardinal. Pope Paul III raised him to the cardinalate, but Henry VIII refused to allow the cardinal’s hat to arrive from Rome, promising instead to send the Pope the cardinal’s head.  Not having received the “red hat” technically he is not a cardinal. But in this  blog post I reject this harrying act of Henry VII, one of the great turds of history, and deferring to the wishes of Pope Paul III consider Bishop Fisher a Cardinal.

The parallels between His Eminence and his namesake, John the Baptist, is a tapestry that only the Holy Spirit could weave. Like the Baptist challenging King Herod’s marriage, Cardinal Fisher dared to dispute Henry’s divorce of Queen Catherine of Aragon and marriage to his concubine, Anne Boelyn, speaking out about the sacramental nature of marriage, and later against Henry’s attempt to make himself head of the Church in England.  The symbolic parallels were certainly even more apparent in the Cardinal’s own day, when the Faith was much more integrated into daily life than it is at present.  In fact, Cardinal Fisher was executed on this date in 1535 specifically because Henry did not want the Cardinal to be executed on the Vigil of his patron saint (by name) The Vigil of the Nativity of  St. John the Baptist’s (June 23rd).   

During his trial, Cardinal Fisher was challenged for being singularly obstinate; the sine qua non of any martyr’s accusation and trial – given that all of the other English bishops had given in to Henry’s demands.  To this the cardinal replied, that, having on his side “all the other bishops and all of the Catholics of the world, from Christ’s Ascension until now, joined with the entire consent of Christ’s universal Church, he must account his own side much the surer.”

Needless to say, such statements did not help him much with those assembled for the purpose of killing him.

After the sentence had been passed, the Cardinal made a closing statement proclaiming his innocence, asking forgiveness of those who condemned them, and paraphrasing the words of Christ as he did so, “for I think, they know not what they have done.”   He also left Henry with a warning, which unfortunately went unheeded. If the King will now adventure himself in proceeding in this strange and unwonted case, no doubt but he shall deeply incur the grievous displeasure of Almighty God, to the great damage of his own soul, and that of many others, and to the utter ruin of this realm committed to his charge. “

It would be a great thing if more of the bishops in this country, where things are getting to a very bad place indeed with respect to moral relativism, would pray to Cardinal Fisher for his intercession, and follow his example.  So often St. Thomas More is held up to those of us who are lay professionals as a model whom we ought to follow, in standing up and saying, “No.”  Yet let not our prelates forget the example of his friend, Cardinal Fisher who, alone among his synod, stood up and called a spade a spade, as he was consecrated to do.

Prayer of St. John Fisher:

Good Lord, set in thy Church
strong and mightly pillars
that may suffer and endure great labours,
which also shall not fear persecution,
neither death,
but always suffer with a good will,
slanders, shame and all kinds of torments,
for the glory and praise of thy holy Name.

By this manner, good Lord,
the truth of thy Gospel
shall be preached throughout the world.

Therefor, merciful Lord,
exercise thy mercy,
show it indeed upon thy Church.


The Passing of A Great Catholic Layman…

June 17th, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

Edmund Pellegrino, MD, MACP passed away peacefully in his sleep June 13, 2013. He was a fabulous gentleman, astute clinician and very capable administrator. I knew him when he was the Chair of the President’s Council on Bioethics during the Bush (43) years as he often attended the Westchester Institute’s Scholar’s Forums. He published almost 600 papers and book chapters and was an unashamed and unabashed Catholic in the Public Square.  Many consider him the “Father of Bioethics”. UNESCO Chair Fellow Fr. Joseph Tham, MD, PhD, LC posted this recollection of Dr. Pellegrino.

My memories are much simpler – a humble, good and devout man who did his best to preach the Gospel with the deeds of his life and the words of his manuscripts. He was almost always  in a largely hostile and unfriendly environment.  He stood for the good – was an early proponent of the concept of human dignity in bioethics, fought euthanasia, fought embryo-destructive stem cell research and fought against human cloning years before the Church published a sentence on the topic.  He applied Faith and Reason to these topics independently while the Church caught up.

While unknown to many, he was an opponent of the Culture of Death long before Blessed John Paul II coined the term. I pray for the repose of his soul and hope that our Lord greets him with joy and mercy. He served the Church and the Culture with vigor to the very end.

Jann Armantrout Calls for Catholics to Again Gather in Albany June 12th

May 30th, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

Jann Armantrout reports that the NYS Catholic Conference is making headway in opposing Cuomo expansion of abortion bills in the NYS Senate and Assembly. As always our opposition is better funded and outnumbers us. The road to stopping (or in NY stalling) abortion is long, hot, dry and tiring. Yet, this is the battle of our era and we need to meet the opposition head on with faith, hope and charity (and a fair amount of reason).

NARAL was at the Capital last week and is planning a rally with those bastions of chastity, the B-List stars of the obnoxious “Sex and the City” . We can not allow these agents of abortion promotion to make this State more abortion-friendly than it already is. As is typical our approach will be dignified, faithful and virtuous.

Kathy Gallagher is requesting a DoR laity presence at the Capital on June 12th for a rally, some lobbying and to make our presence known in the gallery of the NYS Senate. The Archdiocese of New York is sending two buses. In light of our extensive efforts on April 15, Jann is asking for 48 of the Faithful from the DoR.

You should plan to be in Albany at 2:00 PM on June 12th. The location where you will meet up with the NYS Catholic Conference will be announced later and you will be assigned a particular task – lobby a legislator, sit in the gallery, etc.  Everything should be completed by 5 PM that day.

Report back to Jann your interest. She may charter a bus ($25 per person) if enough want to ride it. You can drive your car as well.

I KNOW that countless persons have given much more than me to this cause in every tangible manner – prayers, blood, sweat, tears and of course, cash. I hate to ask – but I must. I hate too to write about abortion, get tweets about abortion, hear about abortion at the U.N., the abortion list is endless. But the fight is yet to be won and we need to finish strong and with apostolic clarity.

Form a group, make a plan to get to the Capital, iron your best shirt and get into the fray! Trade some metaphorical elbows in the hall for the lives of those yet to be born. When the history of this sad chapter is closed, you can tell your grandchildren that you fought for life and offered your witness on the “Albany Front” – facing the toughest, and most hard-core, and best funded proponents of abortion on June 12, 2013 – The Feast of the 108 Polish Martyrs of WWII.

Maybe we can ask for the special intercession of Blessed Marianna Biernack, one of the 108, a Catholic laywoman who offered her life for her unborn grandchild and was executed instead of her pregnant daughter-in-law in April, 1943.

Get thee to Albany!

Contact Jann at and tell her how many of your friends she can count on in this final battle of the legislative year.  May God Bless your work!


Excellent Addition at the USCCB!

May 29th, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

Father Peter Ryan, S.J. has been  appointed executive director of the Secretariat of Doctrine and Canonical Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).  I have known Fr. Peter for some time and was a Fellow at the (now closed) Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person with him.  All I can say is that Fr. Peter is a holy priest, gifted theologian & philosopher and one fine gentleman. He will prove to be a solid and reliable asset to the USCCB and I am overjoyed at this appointment. His gifts need to be shared with a larger community.

He has an amazing education and resume. He is profoundly gifted, a great orator and preacher. But at the end of the day, every day he is simply a humble, good and holy priest who listens well. I am a better person for simply knowing him in the all too short season we shared at the Westchester Institute.  I will be offering prayers of thanksgiving and support for him in this important role he was asked to assume and ask you to do the same.

Edited to add at 2056 May 29, 2013 – Fr. Peter Ryan, S.J. is a board member of the Cardinal Newman Society.

UPDATE May 30, 2013:      It seems that First Things has picked up the story from the from the National Catholic Reporter, who predictably is disappointed in the selection of Fr. Peter because he actually promotes the radical (in their words “conventional”) notion that marriage is for life.

Thanks be to God.

BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO! Bishop Emeritus Matthew Clark

May 4th, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

Major kudos to Bishop Matthew Clark and the DoR staff that made this happen. It is a joy to witness, even if only through media one being Christ and bringing Christ to the poor in spirit and the sick in our midst.

Prayers too for the recovery of Officer Day and for Miss Erin Day, who received her First Holy Communion from the hands of Bishop Clark.  May you always walk in the company of Christ and experience complete healing.


Among the Last Acts of BXVI and among the First Acts of Francis…

April 8th, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

Just about the last thing Benedict XVI did before he departed for his final pilgrimage was to make a bit of purple rain fall in my former home town of Atlanta, Georgia, elevating no less than three of my former pastors to “Chaplains of His Holiness” – Monsignors. This was a warm thanks and a welcome salute to these dedicated men in black whose pastoral hallmarks include doctrinal fidelity, meaningful liturgy, perpetual Adoration and widely available sacramental Confession.

Now I note with great interest that among the first acts of actual governance of Francis in the U.S. are the appointment of two bishops in the midwest – both alumni of the Diocese of Lincoln and proteges of the retired Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz. Under his (+Bruskewitz’s) leadership, the Diocese of Peoria thrived –  vocations exploded and there were zero reported acts of sexual predation of minors.  So one can suspect that these new appointments have been well prepared. Quite obviously, these appointments were in the works prior to Francis’ election, but none the less they are the first to my knowledge acts of governance that applies directly to our side of the pond.

Blessings and prayers for Bishop Michael Owen Jackels, the new Archbishop of Dubuque, Iowa and Msgr. John Folda, the next Bishop of Fargo, North Dakota. I continue to wait and pray with hope for our turn at the top of Francis’ in box…

A Case Study – McQuaid’s International Scandal

April 4th, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

One week ago, this sad story of disorder and sinful accommodations broke in the local media. A local media accustomed to a divided Church in retreat and recession.

But when James Martin, SJ tweeted “Jesuit High School Allows Male Couple to Attend Dance. I would like to let a ray of light enter…” to his 23,000+ followers, he inadvertently set off a series of events that made this an international scandal, holding up McQuaid, the Diocese and the Church for disdain, ridicule and confusion.  Fr. Martin’s tweet linked to a magazine that glamorizes homosexual behavior – so I will not link it here.   Fr. Martin is a popular author who is an editor of America (a Jesuit Magazine) and a contributor to the Huffington Post.  The Huffington Post picked up the thread quickly.  It also was also noted by popular Catholic bloggers like  the Deacon’s Bench and In Light of the Law. Not surprisingly, McQuaid’s Facebook page is continually scrubbed and allows only positive, pro-McQuaid and pro-gay behavior postings.  (edit 4/5/13) Commentary on the McQuaid Facebook page has been removed from the timeline and relegated to a “Recent Posts by Others” box that allows the five most recent posts to be viewed independent of the timeline whose last posting is dated March 27th. 

Cleansing Fire of course, led the local reportage here and here and hosted a lively commentary. The  Catholic Courier – who to date has garnered just two comments also picked up the story. Of course,  Fr. Salmon’s letter stands for itself and the school and is now entrenched in the annals of the internet, available 24/7 as a testament to a twisted Gospel and a particularly unique brand of relativism.

Articles in the Washington Times and the National Catholic Register (owned by EWTN) give this story a wide notice. Google searches for McQuaid Gay Prom reveal this – Monday 4/1 – 869 hits, Tuesday 4/2 – 3811 hits Wednesday 4/3 – 28,800 hits, Wednesday night 258,000 hits.  This is as viral as it gets…

The preponderance of the comments and there are quite literally thousands of comments, demonstrate the depth of the scandal and confusion. The vast majority are anti-Catholic and anti-Jesuit; casting aspersions on both. On the same-sex attracted sites, commentators celebrate how someday same sex marriage will occur in the Church and of course resurrect the sad experiences of the priestly abuse of children, attributing it largely to homosexual priests grooming children. Uniquely, this letter managed to not only scandalize faithful Catholics, it also scandalized active homosexuals. Rarely does one find a scandal so deep and vast.

The McQuaid  scandal fuels and gives comfort to anti-Catholic bigotry like this at George Washington University.

At the end of the day, this is not about a nouveau interpretation of Catholic teachings that twist the Gospel message of acceptance of persons into the acceptance sin. The tacit approval of homosexual dating is by its very premise dysfunctional. It is well understood that dating is by design and intent a heterosexual action that leads to courtship and marriage. This is a the universal experience of all in the vocation of marriage. For centuries – special friendships recognized publicly lead to dating.  Courtship behaviors (dancing & dining, dressing to attract and please) lead inextricably to marriage and sexual intimacy – although today not necessarily in that order. A prom is decidedly an educational event where heterosexual persons learn how to date and court with dignity. It is rightly sponsored and supervised by the school as part of their educational mission.

By facilitating same sex dating behaviors the McQuaid family compounds the burdensome inclination of homosexuality. It is a heavy, treacherous cross that disproportionately leads to a premature death. Homosexual dating and courtship behaviors in the context of a prom become a near occasion of sin in every case.  Such behaviors in the homosexual can only lead to sin; and from sin, despair. Then death.  There is no “good” end to homosexual dating. This action by McQuiad officials – President, Board, Parents and Benefactors – make them  culpable in sin of the children and the international scandal that is, at this writing growing unabated.

The board,  parents and benefactor reactions (actually non-reactions) are typical of well heeled prestigious non-profits. They self-select tame and malleable persons who are incapable of confronting the normally unpleasant situations that arise with governance and oversight responsibilities. They find refuge, and indeed success, in systems that rewards (1) vanity toward appearances and image (2) an aversion to conflict  elevating  collegiality over truth and; (3) the acceptance of an advantageous lie now and then…

That is the Board, Parents, Benefactors and Alumni in a nutshell.

Father Salmon and the Board, Parents and Students he leads are free to genuflect to the winds of popular culture and I expect the McQuaid Board to wall up in silence.  McQuiad is a juggernaut with hundreds of donors that give millions of dollars.  Quite literally, they are richer than the local Church. It is a case of “my mother, drunk or sober” and the whole dysfunctional family will rise up in unison to defend her – all the while putting more gin in the kool aid to shut her up. McQuaid is the premier prep school and the hope, sentimentality and  pride of most parents, benefactors and board members trumps any transient discomfort over something as abstract as the soul of  a gay kid or two dating; after all a Jesuit Priest said this is a “ray of light”. For most it is about getting a big D-1 ride (over $111 million last year in scholarships) at a prestigious school, a nice table at the gala and a good foursome at the alumni golf outing.  When it comes to grooming, McQuaid is second to none and they do it vertex to base.  Everyone will simply pinch their nose and move on…

The Bishop (even if we had one) is largely powerless. He could close the chapel, disallow Jesuit service in the DoR,  and he could rail against them in homilies and editorials. None of which means much and such acts are rarely undertaken. Corporate and cultural sin is always deeply entrenched. Many of the same McQuaid benefactors are also those who built the Cathedral and funded the under-funded priestly retirement fund. Money speaks a language that does not have words but is not devoid of meaning.  Look at the 23 people who are million dollar plus donors and the 20 people who are $250,000 to $500,000 donors and one will quickly recognize that it is a who’s who of DoR philanthropy. There will be silence from Buffalo Road; of this you can be certain.

Yet the Church is not about philanthropy. No matter what, at some level the mission of McQuaid intersects with the mission of the Church. This mission is about redemption and holiness. At the end of the day there is only this for every one of us – Heaven or Hell, goodness or despair.

Matthew 19 clarifies everything:

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.  Woe to the world because of things that cause sin! Such things must come, but woe to the one through whom they come!

Pray for the conversion of Fr. Salmon and the McQuaid community that he leads and controls.