Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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Cleverly Cultivating the Faith in Children

March 28th, 2019, Promulgated by SamanthaGillenson

Hello dear readers! As it just so happens, my reason for writing this article is the very thing that has kept me away for so long – my daughter, Lucia.

Lucia Gillenson, now 6 months old (and ridiculously photogenic)

Now what in the world do I have to write about her that concerns passing on the Faith? Sneaky ways of doing it, of course!

Here are some clever ways to pass on the Faith to your children, which you can start as early as their infancy:

1: Play them sacred music to help them go to sleep.

To be honest, my husband and I discovered this one out of sheer desperation to get her to calm down at night for bedtime. Turns out, Gregorian chant = instant baby lullaby. There is something soothing about the music that Lucia LOVES and will instantly calm down for. It also instills an appreciation of sacred music early on in your child’s life! An unintended, hilarious side effect of this trick is that if you attend a mass where sacred music is used frequently, your baby will be the best behaved kid in the building because they will be calm and/or out like a light thanks to the chant.

2: Get your baby a teething rosary.

I kid you not, these things exist, and they are miraculous (at least to parents of a teething child). They are a properly constructed rosary, with all the proper beads and accents, but made out of a strong, chew-able material that will be soothing to your baby (and not a choking hazard). This rosary will last you a LONG time, due its solid construction, and is very affordable. Check out the link to the product, made by “Chews Life” (pun fully intended, I assume): HERE. They also make Miraculous Medal pacifier clips!

You may consider getting it blessed, but ask your priest for his opinion first, since your child will be going to town on it with their gums.

3. Read to your child books about the lives of the saints.

This cannot be recommended enough: read to your child about the Faith! This is also very effective for Catechesis at a young age. Your children will love the stories of saints, and they will learn the Faith over the many bedtime reading sessions that you will have. Here are some of the books that I recommend, but please do your own research as well:

“My Golden Book of Saints:” HERE.

“My First Catechism:” HERE.

“The Holy Rosary:” HERE.

I also recommend pretty much anything by St. Joseph’s Children’s Books. There is a wide variety of books to choose from, and your children will love them, whether they can read on their own already or not.

These are just some ways to pass on the Faith to your children, but please let me know of any other clever ways that you have found in the comments below!

Many thanks for your patience, and I hope that this helps.



Mortal Sin in Human Law – “Carthage” Must Be Destroyed

January 26th, 2019, Promulgated by SamanthaGillenson

(The following article was inspired in part by the homily of an unidentified priest of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, which was heard while attending mass for the March for Life in Washington DC. Father, while I do not know your name, I hope that you see this and know that I give credit where credit is due. I do not claim your idea of abortion and Carthage as my own! Many thanks for your timely and riveting homily. All other prose, analysis and commentary are my own.)

For those of you dear readers that happened to enjoy history class in your school years, the title above may strike you as familiar. You may remember that during the 2nd Century BC, Rome was at war with their rival city Carthage in the Third Punic War, and the above phrase was attributed to Cato the Elder, the Roman senator who infamously ended all of his oratory speeches with that statement. The real question is this – what was so important and heinous about Carthage that it had to be wiped off the face of the Earth?

The answer is the horrible Carthaginian practice of sacrificing human infants in worship to their pagan god. The people would enthusiastically throw their infants into a burning furnace as offerings to their pagan deity, without a qualm about the mortal sin that they were committing. So horrendous were these sacrificial ritual murders that the infamy of them survives to this day.

Today, we sadly continue the Carthaginian practice of sacrificing infants, but we do so before the innocent child is even born, and the sacrifice is made on the pagan altar of “convenience.” To date, an estimated 61 MILLION children have been murdered by the practice of abortion, and more continue to be threatened every day. Abortion, a mortal sin if knowingly done against the law of God, is our modern-day Carthage.

New York state just passed (on the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, no less) the so-called Reproductive Health Act (RHA), which states that abortion on demand is permitted if:

“…the patient is within twenty-four weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or there is an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life and health.”

I may not be a lawyer, but that sounds a lot like legal gobbledygook for “women should be able to have an abortion for any reason at any time.” Heck, they don’t even bother to define what “health” actually means or specifies in the law! It is totally subjective and up to the interpretation of the individual reader.

Not only that, but according to a study conducted in 2015, unborn babies may be able to survive outside the womb two weeks earlier than commonly thought, meaning any infant born at or after 22 weeks gestation has a chance to live, however small it may be.

For some perspective, here is a photo of a child born even earlier at 21 weeks, 4 days gestation:

Three weeks after birth

Child today (name withheld)

She is the youngest known survivor of premature birth, and she suffers no health problems. Under the RHA, she would have likely been deemed useless and left to die. Which, might I add, is ANOTHER lovely gem that this law now allows. If a child is born alive after an abortion procedure, life-saving action is now NO LONGER REQUIRED BY LAW. Think about it: a woman doesn’t want her baby and undergoes an abortion. The baby survives the ordeal and is born alive. Under the new law they can legally leave that baby to die AFTER BIRTH.

As if that weren’t horrible enough, with abortion officially stripped from NY State penal code, a person who assaults a pregnant woman with the intent to induce an abortion is NOT going to be able to be charged with a crime, which means that women who suffer domestic abuse will be particularly vulnerable. It also allows non-physicians to perform abortions, at great risk to the mother. So much for making abortion “safe, rare and legal.” (Not advocating for abortion in any way with this ironic statement.) There are many other evils to be had in this law, but they are far too numerous to recount in one article. I have provided sources for you all to use at your disposal if you wish.

Under the RHA, women’s safety is greatly reduced, the rights of children are negated, and the evil of Satan comes to the forefront of our everyday lives. With its passage, it brings pain and suffering, and it was hailed by the cheers of politicians, many of them Catholic, delighted that their precious “right” to abortion was given its place in the law.

On that note, I wish to speak directly to Governor Cuomo, to any other Catholics that may have participated in getting this sinful law passed, and ALL of the Bishops and Cardinals in the state of New York. I recognize that in doing so, I am taking great personal risk, being that I write without the use of a pen name. None the less, I must make my thoughts known charitably but without holding back. I encourage you dear readers to share this with your family and friends, and to make it known to your local politicians and clergy.

Politicians of the state of New York, by participating in this shameful event and facilitating its passage, you have committed grave mortal sin, and thus put yourselves at risk of eternal damnation. You may not think that this is of any consequence, but I can assure you that it is. No soul deserves to be damned, and I wouldn’t wish hell on anyone, not even on my worst enemy. But God’s justice will be given at the end of your lives, and you will all have to make an account for all the sins that you have committed before Him. If you are found to be still in a state of mortal sin, you will be cast into hell for all eternity, where you will suffer greatly. I beg you, literally for the love of God, REPENT and confess ALL your sins at the next available opportunity to a priest and receive absolution. Amend your lives and commit to never falling into ANY mortal sin again. By doing so, I pray that you will all achieve the Beatific Vision on the day that you pass from this life into eternity.

Bishops and Cardinals of the state of New York, I now speak to all of you. I implore you, DENOUNCE this sinful act and take disciplinary action against those Catholics who participated in its passage, for the good of their immortal souls. Enforce the Code of Canon Law and refuse holy communion to those who persist in publicly known mortal sin, and if necessary, excommunicate them for the sake of their eternal souls. We know that this is no harsh judgement, but rather a medicinal and charitable act for these souls. I caution you to do this soon, for as the legal axiom states, “silence implies consent.” I would not want any of you to appear complicit with this heinous law by your inaction. Therefore, act swiftly and without holding back! Sin should be given no quarter among your diocese, and your sheep look to you for guidance.

My dear readers, stand boldly and bravely against this law, and do everything you can to support the rights of the unborn. We are fighting a war now, a war for the souls of mankind. Hold nothing back, and don’t be afraid. Be kind and charitable in all things and do no harm in the cause of faith. If we do this, we will surely prevail, either with victory here on earth, or the glory of heaven after we die should we be in a state of grace. We must emulate St. Joan of Arc and her example, praying regarding being in the state of grace “If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me.”

Carthage must be destroyed in all of its forms. I say we start now, before it is too late.


Reproductive Health Act of 2019 – HERE

Reasons U.S. Women Have Abortions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives (2005) – HERE

Fetal Viability Study (2015) – HERE

Born at 21 weeks – HERE

Changes to Penal Law after RHA and abuse concerns- HERE

Opportunities for Grace

November 5th, 2018, Promulgated by SamanthaGillenson

Lucia Marie Gillenson – 6 weeks old

Dear readers of this venerable blog space, please forgive this absentee author. I have had my hands full with my new daughter as of late, much of the time quite literally. So, I hope that you will forgive my long hiatus from writing.

On that note, motherhood has certainly given me ample time to think about how different my life has become, including how much it has changed me and the way that I do day to day tasks. From realizing that a mother cannot go anywhere without first making sure that she has all the emergency diapers and formula that she could possibly need for an eternity stuffed into her diaper bag (you never have enough, no matter how much you prepare), to finding new ways to pray because you are silently begging the Lord that your inconsolable daughter will stop crying and conk out while you sit rocking her, bleary-eyed at 2 in the morning, motherhood is full of frustrations, amusements, and joys. But overall, I have found that it contains many more opportunities for me to grow, not just as a mother, but as a woman of Catholic faith.

I once heard a line in the movie “Evan Almighty” that sums things up pretty well. It is the sequel to the more well known “Bruce Almighty,” wherein God (played by Morgan Freeman) drops down into a man’s life (the titular Evan, played by Steve Carell), and proclaims that another great flood is coming and to build a new ark to save mankind. At first, Evan is skeptical about his newfound status as the famous Noah of old, but he eventually embraces his task, long hair, biblical clothes and a mysteriously appearing menagerie of animals included. His wife grows increasingly more concerned about his sudden transformation, and eventually leaves him and takes their children with her, scared for all of their safety and unable to cope with the ridicule being heaped on the family.

She eventually stops at a restaurant to get herself and her kids a meal, where she unknowingly runs into God, disguised as a waiter. As he inquires about her and learns more about her situation (as if he didn’t know it already), she laments about how her husband is convinced that God told him to build an ark, and that she doesn’t know how to handle it.

God then puts it to her this way: if a man prays for patience, does God magically give him patience? Or does God give him the opportunity to be patient? Or if another person prays for courage, does God give him courage or the opportunity to be courageous?

I can’t tell you how many times I had been given the opportunity to grow in grace and virtue through long nights of soothing and diaper changes, but sadly I regretfully had not taken them as I should. Instead, my poor husband has been on the receiving end of my harpy-like attitude due to sleep deprivation, and more than once have I slunk off into the confessional for it. Rather than grow in virtue, I instead chose to fester in vice. As a new mother, never has this cinematic exchange been more apropos.

So, with each new day and challenge that presents itself, I am committing to facing them well and utilizing each opportunity for grace that the Lord sends my way, instead of running away. No matter how many temptations to commit sin (as well as unexpected baby vomit fountains) arise, I am dead set on facing them as a Catholic woman of faith should… Not as if it were a curse, but rather a blessing.

To my dear husband… If you are reading this (and I don’t doubt it), please accept my apologies and my thanks for your putting up with all the times that I snapped at you instead of supported you. I wouldn’t be able to do this adventure without you.

Now I must be off. After all, my daughter probably has another surprise of the unpleasant variety waiting for me to take care of.

Jon, Lucia and I on the day of her baptism – October 14th, 2018
St. Kateri Tekakwitha – Latin Mass Community (Irondequoit, NY)

Fr. Anthony Amato on the Crisis – Featured on ChurchMilitant!

September 11th, 2018, Promulgated by SamanthaGillenson

A recent homily from Fr. Anthony Amato of the Diocese of Rochester has certainly made the rounds, and it has now been reported on and featured on the news website!

We have obtained permission to link to the article from Fr. Amato, and you can find the article and his homily here:

Fr. Amato is grateful for all of our prayers and support.

A Lone David vs. A Multitude of Goliaths – An Analysis of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò

August 30th, 2018, Promulgated by SamanthaGillenson


UPDATE: Archbishop Viganò has provided another interview through Dr. Aldo Maria Valli reacting to the release of his testimony, which can be read in English through LifeSiteNews HERE.

“To be, or not to be? That is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them?”

William Shakespeare – Hamlet’s Soliloquy

“The question then is whether ’tis nobler in the mind
To be well-liked but ineffectual, or moral but maligned?”

Lyrics inspired by Hamlet’s Soliloquy – copyright Starkid Productions, from the musical “Twisted”


This author is well aware of how well-circulated the letter released by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has become, so today’s article will not be dealing with the content of said letter. Rather, we will be examining the motives behind releasing such a letter to the public, and what stands to be gained from it (if anything at all).

What does it mean to do the right thing? To the well instructed Catholic, the answer seems obvious: speak the truth boldly and clearly, no matter what the consequence. But in many situations, we find that those who should speak do not for a myriad of reasons. We can never be fully sure of their motives, but it does make things rather tumultuous for the everyday lay Catholic in the trenches.

However, there are some that do shout out the truth with a clear and firm voice, despite where the consequences may take them. One of those voices is that of Archbishop Viganò, and he has had much to suffer both before and since coming out publicly against a vast swath of those he claims are complicit or directly involved with the clerical sex abuse crisis ravaging the Church today.

As could be expected in the aftermath of such an inflammatory and blunt document, many priests, bishops, and cardinals alike are speaking out against Viganò, claiming that his words are false and his claims baseless, even going to far as to accuse him of being complicit in cover up himself! (Some notably have even gone on to say that their only comment is “no comment,” incredibly.) But if we are to be intellectually honest with ourselves, we have to ask one question: what would a man stand to gain by lying about something so perverse and dire? The answer of course, is absolutely nothing. Viganò stood to lose everything by going public with his story, his reputation and name run through the mud, and his credibility questioned and ridiculed. This was a literal no-win situation for him, and yet he did it anyway. So, logically we must ask the next burning question: why?

An Italian journalist and prolific author by the name of Dr. Aldo Maria Valli was contacted by Archbishop Viganò and heard firsthand the reasoning behind his going public with these accusations. The original article about his encounters with Archbishop Viganò was first written in Italian, but an accurate English translation has been provided by OnePeterFive, which this author will be referencing for comments from both Aldo Maria Valli and Archbishop Viganò. The translated document can be found HERE. (This author also begs your indulgence with the long quotations from the article to follow, as they are integral to the Archbishop’s story.)

Dr. Valli hosted Viganò in his own home multiple times to hear his testimony, for the Archbishop was afraid of prying ears overhearing the sensitive subject matter and needed the Doctor’s help in telling his testimony.

Dr. Valli invited the Archbishop over for dinner to talk things over with his family present (and the Archbishop’s consent), and he was struck by the man’s calm but troubled demeanor:

“…Viganò immediately begins to talk. He is worried for the Church, afraid that at its highest levels there are persons who do not work to carry the Gospel of Jesus to the men and women of our time, but rather intend to create confusion and yield to the logic of the world. Then he begins to talk about his long experience in the Secretariate of State, as head of the Vatican City Governatorate, and as nuncio both in Nigeria and in the United States. He drops many names and speaks of many situations. Even I, who have been a Vatican journalist for more than twenty years, find it hard to follow him at times. But I do not interrupt him because I understand he needs to talk. My impression is that he is a man who is alone and sad because of what he sees happening all around him, but not bitter. In his words there is never one ugly word directed toward any of the many people he speaks about. The facts speak for themselves. At times he smiles and looks at me, as if to say, “What should I do? Is there a way out?”

… He is a man with a profound sense of duty. At least so it seems to me. After just a few minutes, there is a harmony established between us.

My wife, who is a catechist at our parish, and my daughters remain literally speechless as they listen to certain stories. I always say, only half-joking, that good Catholics should not know how things function in the highest levels of the hierarchy, and this evening’s conversation confirms that. However, I do not for a moment regret having invited the archbishop to my house. I believe that the sorrowful testimony of this man, of this elderly servant of the Church, is telling us something of importance – something which, even in the midst of pain and confusion, can help our life of faith.

The archbishop says, “I am 78 years old, and I am at the end of my life. The judgment of men does not interest me. The one judgment that counts is that of the good God. He will ask me what I have done for the Church of Christ, and I want to be able to respond to him that I defended her and served her even to the end.”

  • Aldo Maria Valli on Archbishop Viganò’s testimony.

Archbishop Viganò later took his leave, stating that he would contact Dr. Valli again should they need to speak once more, which occurred one month later. Dr. Valli once again offered the use of his home for privacy, which the Archbishop accepted. So once more, the Valli played host to him for dinner and testimony:

“…But once again, after saying the meal blessing, the archbishop is an overflowing river. So many stories, so many situations, so many names. But this time he focuses more on his years in America. He speaks of the McCarrick case, the ex-cardinal known to be guilty of the most serious abuses, and he makes it clear that everybody knew, in the USA and in the Vatican, for a long time, for years. But they covered it up.

I ask, “Truly everybody?”

With a nod of the head the archbishop responds yes: truly everybody.

I want to ask other questions, but it is not easy to insert myself into the uninterrupted flow of dates, memos, meetings, names.

The heart of the matter is that Pope Francis also knew, according to Viganò. And yet he allowed McCarrick to circulate undisturbed, making a joke of the bans imposed on him by Benedict XVI. Francis knew at least since March 2013, when Viganò himself, responding to a question asked by the Pope during a face-to-face meeting, told him that in the Vatican, there is a large dossier on McCarrick, and he needs to read it.

With respect to our previous encounter, there is the new development of the findings that have emerged from the grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania, and Viganò confirms that the image created by the findings is correct. The sexual abuses constitute a phenomenon more extensive than anyone could imagine, and it is not correct to speak of pedophilia, because the overwhelming majority of cases deal with homosexual priests who go hunting for teenage young men. It is more correct, says the archbishop, to speak about ephebophilia, if anything. But the main point is that the web of complicity, silence, cover-up, and reciprocal favors extends so far that there are no words to describe it, and it involves everyone at the highest levels, both in America and in Rome.

We sit there, once again, stunned. Because of my work, we had a sense that there was some of this, but for Catholics like us, born and raised in the womb of Mother Church, it is truly difficult to swallow such a mouthful.

My question is thus the most naïve of all: “Why?”

The response of the archbishop freezes my blood: “Because the cracks of which Paul VI spoke, from which he said the smoke of Satan would infiltrate the house of God, have become chasms. The devil is working overtime. And to not admit that, or to turn our face away from it, would be our greatest sin.”

  • Aldo Maria Valli on Archbishop Viganò’s testimony.

Dr. Valli and the Archbishop then set a day and time to meet to hand over the memoir which the Archbishop has written. Dr. Valli never discloses the location due to keeping the confidence of the Archbishop, but the following takes place:

“…The archbishop shows up with sunglasses on and a baseball cap. He asks that my first reading of the document be done in his presence, right in front of him, so that, he says, “if something does not convince you, we can discuss it immediately.”

I read the whole thing. There are eleven pages. He is amazed at how quickly I read it, and he looks at me: “Well?”

I say: “It is strong. Detailed. Well-written. A dramatic picture.”

He asks: “Will you publish it?”

“Monsignor, do you realize this is a bomb? What should we do?”

“I entrust it to you. Think about it.”

“Monsignor, do you know what they will say? That you want revenge. That you are full of resentment for having been dismissed from the Governatorate and other things. That you are the crow who leaked the Vatileaks papers. They will say that you are unstable, as well as a conservative of the worst kind.”

“I know, I know. But that doesn’t matter to me. The one thing that matters to me is to bring the truth to the surface, so that a purification can begin. At the point that we have reached, there is no other way.”

I am not anguished. Deep down inside me, I have already made the decision to publish it, because I feel that I can trust this man. But I ask myself, “What effect will this have on the simplest souls? On good Catholics? Is there not the risk of doing more evil than good?”

I realize that I have asked the question aloud, and the archbishop responds: “Think it over. Make a calm evaluation.” We shake hands. He takes off his dark glasses, and we look each other straight in the eye.

The fact that he does not force me, that he does not appear anxious to see me publish everything, makes me trust him even more. Is this a maneuver? Is he manipulating me?

At home I speak with Serena and the girls. Their advice is always very important for me. What should I do?

These are days of questions. I re-read the memoir. It is detailed, but of course it is Viganò’s version of events. I think readers will understand it. I will propose the archbishop’s version, after which, if anyone has contrary arguments, he will propose other versions.

My wife reminds me: “But if you publish it, they will think that, by the very fact of publishing it, you are on his side. Are you okay with that?”

Yes, I am. Will they judge me to be biased? Patience. After all, I am biased. When I am a reporter, I report the news, and that’s enough. I try to be as aseptic as possible. But in my blog, I am already clearly taking a position, and the readers know well what I think with regard to a certain turn that the Church has taken in recent years. If afterwards somebody will present me with documents that prove that Viganò is lying, or that his version of the facts is incomplete or incorrect, I will be more than happy to publish these as well.

I call the archbishop on the phone. I tell him my decision. We agree on the day and the hour of publication. He says that on the same day at the same hour the others will publish it as well. He has decided on Sunday, August 26 because the pope, returning from Dublin, will have a chance to reply to it by answering questions from journalists on the plane.

He alerts me that the daily newspaper La Verità has now been added to the list of those who will publish it. He tells me he has already purchased an airplane ticket. He will leave the country. He cannot tell me where he is going. I am not to look for him. His old cell phone number will no longer work. We say goodbye for the last time.

And so it happened. Not that the doubts inside me are over. Did I do good? Did I do evil? I continue to ask myself this. But I am serene. And I re-read the words that Archbishop Viganò wrote at the conclusion of his memoir: “Let’s all pray for the Church and for the Pope, remembering how many times he has asked us to pray for him. Let’s all renew our faith in the Church our Mother: I believe in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church! Christ will never abandon his Church! He has generated her in His Blood and he continuously reanimates her with His Spirit! Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us! Mary Virgin Queen, Mother of the King of glory, pray for us!”

–Aldo Maria Valli

True to his word, Archbishop Viganò has since left the country, and to date, no one is sure of his exact location. This author only knows that because of his testimony, he is fearful for his life, and fled his home for that purpose.

This author must ask you dear readers, does this seem like a man spinning a lie for personal gain? I will allow you to draw your own conclusions.

It truly takes a mountain of courage for a lone David to speak out against the multitude of Goliaths, and to do so at great risk to oneself and one’s reputation. This author will leave you with the lyrics presented at the beginning of this article for you to reflect upon:


“The question then is whether ’tis nobler in the mind
To be well-liked but ineffectual, or moral but maligned?”


That, my dear readers, is the question that we must all ask ourselves in the midst of this crisis – and determine our paths according to how we answer it.

Cleansing Fire is now (back) on Facebook!

August 26th, 2018, Promulgated by SamanthaGillenson

We here at Cleansing Fire have been thinking about how we could reach more people across the internet, and how to best get you the most up to date news and articles from our website. So, we have decided to open up a Facebook page for our website!

This page is being used as a trial balloon of sorts, as we know that many of our readers have and use Facebook each day to connect with the world and news around them. With this page, we hope to get you the latest news articles and posts from Cleansing Fire, while also reaching out to a broader audience among Catholics and non-Catholics from both Rochester and around the world.

Think about it: the latest news and updates from Cleansing Fire sent straight to your computer or mobile device! This page could be greatly beneficial to both expanding our audience, while also better informing you dear readers about what is new and upcoming on our website.

Please, go “like” and “follow” Cleansing Fire on Facebook, and spread the word to your friends! You will be happy that you did.

Author’s Note: We are aware that there is another Cleansing Fire page already in existence on Facebook. That page links to the previous “” website, which is no longer in use. For the sake of greater outreach to Catholics outside the Diocese of Rochester, we have since changed the name of the website to “” As such, we decided to make this page to fix that problem, provide a link to the current website, and to keep you dear readers in the know. We hope that you are happy with the results, and please privately message us on Facebook with your recommendations for the page. We will take the time to consider them and implement them as best as we can.

A “Word” on the Crisis: The Bishops’ Response

August 21st, 2018, Promulgated by SamanthaGillenson

“Truth is singular. Lies are words, words, and words.” – Doctor Who, copyright BBC, 2012.


While the preceding quote happens to come from a television show based in the realm of science fiction, this author happens to think that it is particularly applicable to the times that we Catholics are finding ourselves struggling through in our daily reality. We desperately search for and cling to words for comfort, hoping to find some solace in the letters on a page or the speech issued forth from lips of authority. When we finally do receive those words though, are they truly our panacea to the sickness of these horrendous, sinful crimes that have been committed in our diocese and throughout our beloved country? Or are they merely a placebo?


To know for sure, first we have to identify the root cause of the crisis. The easiest way to do that is to look at the statistics of the crimes committed, and then work backwards and find a clear pattern. (This also happens to be the way that the Spotlight team at the Boston Globe conducted their research prior to releasing their expose on the clerical sex abuse crisis that shook the Church in 2002.)


In the PA Grand Jury Report, there were 257 identified cases of predator priest activity. These cases are further broken down by the sex of the victim, which is then broken down by the age of the victim. Provided below is a graphic breakdown of all the gathered information according to these specifications (sourced from LifeSiteNews), after which I will break it down for clarity:




For the sake of organization, we will start with the first category presented, “Total Heterosexual Predation.” Of all 257 total cases documented, 58 cases consisted of priests preying on female victims. Of these 58 cases:

  • 15 cases (6% of total cases documented) were “pedophile” in nature (the victim is a pre-pubescent child).
  • 41 cases (16% of total cases) were “pederast” in nature (the victim is a pubescent, sexually developed child).
  • 2 cases (1% of total cases) were committed against adult female victims.

In total, we find that these 58 cases of priests preying on female victims to represent 23% of total cases documented.


Moving on, we come to the category of “Total Homosexual Predation.” This category accounts for 189 documented cases of priests preying on male victims. Of these 189 cases:

  • 29 cases (11% of total cases) were “pedophile” in nature (the victim is a pre-pubescent child).
  • 155 cases (60% of total cases) were “pederast” in nature (the victim is a pubescent, sexually developed child).
  • 5 cases (2% of total cases) were committed against adult male victims.

In total, we find that these 189 cases of priests preying on male victims to represent 74% of total cases documented.


The remaining 10 cases can be broken down into 9 cases of priests having or producing child pornography, and a singular case involving a priest with a male foot fetish.


The data clearly shows that the vast majority of cases are HOMOSEXUAL in nature, and most of those against sexually mature pubescent BOYS. So, with all of this data at hand, why are we not hearing these words from the letters and speeches of our bishops and cardinals?


Having collected a sample of Bishops and Cardinals letters and verbal responses to the PA Grand Jury Report, we can see what words they use in common, and more importantly, what words they do NOT use. (Please note that many prelates have not commented on the current crisis, or that this author is unable to find a reliable account of their words at this time. If you do not see a particular prelate listed, that is why.)


The following prelates’ words were used towards this sample:

  • Pope Francis (Using his letter addressing the crisis dated August 20th, 2018).
  • Cardinal Blase J. Cupich (Archdiocese of Chicago).
  • Archbishop Charles J. Chaput (Archdiocese of Philadelphia).
  • Archbishop Alexander K. Sample (Archdiocese of Portland, OR).
  • Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger (Diocese of Albany).
  • Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila (Archdiocese of Denver).
  • Bishop David J. Walkowiak (Diocese of Grand Rapids).
  • Bishop Robert C. Morlino (Diocese of Madison).
  • Bishop Salvatore R. Matano (Bishop of Rochester).


Using a simple find and search option in scanning the written documents, we can easily see the commonality of the words that these prelates use to describe the current crisis, and what they plan to do about it. The following are the number of times any particular word appears within their text, if at all:

word chart

  • Of all of the prelates, only TWO mention “homosexual” in their words, and of those, only Bishop Morlino uses it in the context of abuse by homosexual priests being the problem of the crisis. He also is the only prelate to use the words “pedophile” or “pedophilia” in ANY context. Pope Francis notably does not use ANY of these words in his letter.
  • Most of the prelates’ use “child” or “children” multiple times under multiple contexts, with only Bishop Scharfenberger not using them at all. Pope Francis only uses the word twice, both in the context of protecting children, ensuring their safety, and listening to their pain.
  • Surprisingly, HALF of the prelates sampled do not use the word “prayer” at all, with Archbishop Sample leading the pack with 10 uses. (Some of these came from citations of applicable prayers.) Pope Francis is the second most prolific user of the word, coming in with 7 uses, all in the context of offering prayer.
  • “Penance” is only used by three prelates, and then only sparingly: Archbishop Sample, Bishop Morlino, and Pope Francis. The Pope notably uses this word always in conjunction with the word “prayer,” i.e. offering prayer and penance.
  • Finally, the usage of the words “investigate(s)” and “investigation(s)” was used by a little over half of the prelates, with most of the context of those words being cooperation with current investigations by the USCCB. (Bishop Walkowiak is the ONLY prelate to use the word in the context of an investigation by his own diocese and cooperation with local authorities.) Pope Francis used these words ZERO times in his letter.


This analysis of words is not only brutal, but also damning. This author was frankly aghast as she researched and read through all of these documents to bring this information to you readers. If any of you would like for this author to send you the original documents so you can read them for yourselves, you are more than welcome to email me at, and they will be happily provided for you.


Most of the prelates call us to prayer in unity with Pope Francis, citing his recent letter to that effect dated August 20th, 2018. However, what is prayer without concrete action? We cannot expect to see change if we ourselves are not willing to act towards that change!


Sadly, most of the prelates sampled do not give concrete plans for what they will do to correct this widespread problem of homosexuality in the priesthood, with only Bishop Morlino outright stating that it is the cause of our current crisis.


Perhaps most damningly, Pope Francis himself gives NO reassurance that concrete plans and actions will be taken in the face of this crisis. Neither does he identify the root of the problem as homosexuality in the priesthood. Rather, he says this:


“Clericalism, whether fostered by priests themselves or by lay persons, leads to an excision in the ecclesial body that supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today.”


This is a disgrace coming from the mouth of the Vicar of Christ. (Notably, Cardinal Cupich also seems to be espousing the above claim.)


Dear readers, this author begs you to contact the bishops and cardinals (yes, even the Pope), and to tell them that they have your support to call out the crisis for what it truly is: a homosexual infiltration of the priesthood, preying upon innocents and actively being covered up by complicit clergy. This must be done PUBLICLY. Anything less would be a farce in the face of this terrible sin. Those guilty of such crimes (or those guilty of being complicit by help, covering up, or being knowingly silent) must be removed IMMEDIATELY and face canonical punishment as well as a civil trial by the local authorities. These predators, no matter how lowly or elevated they may be in the hierarchy in the Church, must be exposed and brought to justice. Such evils are NEVER to be tolerated, and we must shout from the pews, NO MORE.


In conclusion, dear readers, it is up to us, the laity to hold our authority figures accountable, and to make the future that we wish to see in our beloved Church. Christ our Savior is the Word made Flesh, and we must always proclaim that Word for all to hear. That includes standing up and taking action to see that his Church is well defended from those who would harm her, both from without and from within.


If we and the prelates don’t speak in defense of those who were victimized, we become complicit ourselves.


We must speak the Truth, the words of the Word made Flesh… or else we are left with little more than “words, words, and words.”

From Father’s Desk – A Commentary on Church History and the Current Crisis

August 16th, 2018, Promulgated by SamanthaGillenson


Today’s post will not be written by me, but rather by a priest friend of mine, who was my pastor back when I still lived in New Jersey before moving to the Rochester area. Let me give you a short introduction to him.

Fr. Brian Ditullio is from the Diocese of Patterson in New Jersey, ordained to the holy priesthood on May 27, 2006 by Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli. He is currently the Chaplain/Teacher at Saint Pope John XXIII HS, and he was previously the pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Swartswood, NJ. He is currently in residence at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Branchville, NJ.

I am personally honored to call Fr. Ditullio a friend and a confidant, and I am proud to present his words to you all today. From here on, I will turn things over to Father, and let his words do their work. If you wish to read more of his work, his homilies can be found on his personal blog,

By: Fr. Brian Ditullio, Diocese of Patterson, New Jersey

As many of you know, I have taught theology in an academic setting for three years, and one of my favorite classes to teach has been Church History. And, while it is incredibly fascinating, it also proves the fact that no matter how much we screw up the Church, the Holy Spirit still prevails.

Case in point, Pope Paul III, woke up one day and decided to call the Council of Trent. Now, most people think it was called as a result of the Protestant Reformation, and it was, but the larger purpose was because Martin Luther forced the Church to look at itself and see how far away it had gone. In fact, it is said, that Martin Luther, as a Catholic priest, overlooked a lot of things in the Church, but it was only until he went to Rome, when he saw liturgical abuses, parodies of Masses, and priests not living their call to celibacy, that he finally decided it was time to say something. Fun fact: (ask the students, they always loved the fun facts) there was a representative appointed by the pope to sell indulgences, where might that have been you ask? Why in Wittenberg, the same place, “ironically,” Martin Luther posted his famous 95 Theses.

Why do I mention the Council of Trent? Because, it was more than a Counter Reformation against the Protestants, it was a wake up call for the Church to change its ways. In fact, Pope Paul III was the least likely Pope to call for the Council. He was a father of multiple children, he was very close with a powerful, aristocratic family, known as the Farnese family, who helped him rise in ranks to become Pope, he was known to be very worldly, and his sister was one of Pope Alexander VI’s mistresses.

Yet, people took him seriously because he was willing to repent, he was willing to not just reform the Church, but to also reform himself. When I say he woke up, to use the slang the kids like to use he was “woke,” he realized the error of his ways and sought to change.

However, if Trent was strictly against the Protestant Movement, then there wouldn’t have been a desire to reform the clergy, to re-emphasize clerical celibacy, to form seminaries, to give the priests structure by “forcing” them to pray the Breviary, and by reigning in the bishops who would leave their diocese for months at a time. Incidentally one of the other things it did was create a Catechism, so as to create a simple guide to the Church’s teaching, which they encouraged the priests to use to teach the laity.

Ultimately, the Church saw that the indulgences were merely a symptom of a larger problem, which is why the Counter Reformation was not just the Council of Trent, but also the rise of the Jesuits, known as the foot soldiers to the pope, and, most important of all, spiritual renewal, a renewal that happened as a result of the great mystics like St.Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and St. Philip Neri, among others.

Why do I mention this? Because the Church recognized the problem and addressed it, the difference is that today the Church sees a problem and uses secular means to fix it. When that happens, you simply have cover-ups, payoffs and the like.

Think about this, the Church saw a problem, addressed the problem and fixed the problem, not by bureaucracy, but by prayer. The Counter Reformation created saints, and it was sainthood that saved the Church. The crisis always has different names, but it’s the same solution, for, as St. Josemaria Escriva says: “A secret, an open secret: these world crises are crises of saints.”

However, I think it was St. Alphonsus Liguori who put it well: “But what…if he saw our priests employed in mercantile affairs, acting as the servants of seculars…forgetful of the works of God; if, in a word, he saw them seeking, as St. Prosper says, ‘to advance in wealth, but not in virtue, and to acquire greater honors, but not greater sanctity… ‘What a misery,’ says St. Gregory, ‘to see so many priests seeking, not the merits of virtue, but the goods of this life!”

I know we have to avoid the simple solution to a complex problem, but it always seems that the crises in the Church is a symptom of a larger problem, and that problem back then is the same in 2018; if we don’t have holy priests, if we don’t have shepherds, those willing to do what is necessary for the laity to know his name, to hear his name, then we are simply spinning our wheels and speaking without doing or, in some cases, failing to listen to the Holy Spirit speaking in us.

Perhaps this is what is necessary for the Church to grow, maybe the Church has become stagnant, not because of declining numbers, not because of lack of vocations, but lack of holiness in the priest.

What that means is the good priests have to continue to be good, to strive for holiness, to look to the true Shepherd to learn his ways, and the bad shepherds have to either strive for holiness or make the difficult decision to give up their post and let another shepherd take his place.

These are simply my thoughts as I try to process everything, because it’s all so overwhelming, disappointing, and sad to see so many priests and bishops guilty of so much.

I’ll end with this, because it helps me put things in perspective. One day I had a conversation with a very holy priest who told me how one night he was visited by a demon or the devil. He was annoyed and frustrated by this visit, so he said to the demon: “I don’t understand what’s wrong, I’m just being a priest.” I then asked this priest what the demon’s response was. It was sobering. He said: “I know, and that is why I hate you the most.”


Personhood: That Magical Status Nobody Can Seem to Define!

July 12th, 2018, Promulgated by SamanthaGillenson


Long time no see, dear readers! Mea maxima culpa for being away for so long, but work was a necessary evil. This author was originally going to write on another topic, but given the flurry of internet fights going on over the Supreme Court Nominee and the possible overturn of Roe v. Wade, your absentee author felt this was a pertinent topic to write on, given the author’s own status of expecting her own bundle of joy in October. Now that she has the time to actually write on her maternity leave, said author is much obliged and happy to do so after so long of an absence from this venerable blog space.

So, down to the nitty-gritty: what is personhood? Definitively speaking, personhood is the status of being a person and having the rights according to said status. However, it gets a bit dicey when it comes to applying the status of person to a preborn child. (Note the use of preborn, which emphasizes the personhood of a child from the moment of their conception.)

Apparently in 1973 when they ruled on Roe v. Wade (and later on in 1992, with Planned Parenthood v. Casey), the American Supreme Court felt that in their oh so enlightened status, they could legislate from the bench and write it into constitutional law that a preborn child is not a “person.” They ruled that any unduly restrictive state regulation of abortion was unconstitutional (you know, because the Founding Fathers were apparently so concerned about the “right” of a mother to MURDER her preborn child for her own convenience, even though no language is actually written in the Constitution concerning this heinous act), and also ruled that states criminalizing abortion in most instances violated the mother’s right to privacy, which implicitly exists under the liberty guarantee of the “due process” clause of the 14th Amendment:

“…nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

Perhaps this author needs to get her eyes examined (it is honestly long overdue), but she can’t help but notice a small, probably insignificant detail written into the due process clause of the 14th Amendment…

“…nor shall any state deprive any person of LIFE…”

See the following viral video to illustrate this point, from a lovely pro-life woman in our neighboring country to the north, Canada:

How did the Supreme Court make such a disastrous error? Because unfortunately, in their aim to legislate from the bench the “right” to MURDER a preborn child as a matter of the mother’s convenience, they never took into account the fact that our Founding Fathers intended the meaning of the word “person” to include those citizens of the United States that were yet to be born! This is what is called “constitutional originalism,” and the two main streams of thought include:

  • The original intent theory, which holds that interpretation of a written constitution is (or should be) consistent with what was meant by those who drafted and ratified it. This is currently a minority view among originalists.
  • The original meaning theory, which is closely related to textualism, is the view that interpretation of a written constitution or law should be based on what reasonable persons living at the time of its adoption would have understood the ordinary meaning of the text to be. Most originalists, such as Scalia, are associated with this view.

In layman’s terms, this means that even if the matter of personhood is not explicitly defined in the Constitution, that because the Founding Fathers and the prevailing views at the time AUTOMATICALLY ASSUME the personhood of a preborn child from the moment of conception, that said preborn child has all of the God-given rights entailed to them by said personhood status!

Or if you want the short, SHORT version: the preborn baby has the same rights as born person, the right to LIFE in the due process cause protects their life, so NO ABORTION ALLOWED.

So, how do we go about enforcing said right to life in the constitution and the personhood of preborn children? The quickest way would be to have the President issue an Executive Order defining personhood explicitly and that it is effective from the moment of conception, but that would not be the most concrete method either. Executive orders are very limited in scope and power, so this is not the most feasible option.

What about getting a law to pass that defines personhood and when it starts? Sadly, that would likely not work either, given the current makeup of our politicians needed to pass said law with a simlple majority (218 – 435) in the House, and a simple majority (51 – 100) in the Senate, and then they BOTH have to agree on what language is presented in the bill in the first place! IF they agree, it goes to ANOTHER vote in the House and Senate, and only then, IF it passes, does it go to the desk of the President. Or, you could have an Amendment to the Constitution passed by two-third’s majority in both the House and the Senate, but this also has little to no chance of happening.(This author honestly got a headache from having to research our legislative process, it’s so convoluted.)

So what WOULD actually work? The best chance that a definition of personhood would have is to call what is known as a “Constitutional Convention.” Many of you readers may recognize this as what happened when they originally wrote the Constitution. What many people don’t know is that this is an alternate way of how amendments to the Constitution can get passed as well. A fine example of an amendment would be in regards to the institution and later repeal of Prohibition: the 18th Amendment enforced it in 1920, and it was later repealed with the 21st Amendment in 1933.

So how is a Constitutional Convention called? First, it needs to be called for by two-third’s (or 34 out of 50) of the state legislatures regarding the proposed amendment. Then the proposed amendment must be ratified by three-fourth’s (or 38 out of 50) states or their respective ratifying conventions. The personhood amendment would then become law and be written into the Constitution.

Is there an easy way to enshrine personhood into law? The simple answer is no, but it still must be done, for the preborn children of our country that have no voice under the law, and in memory of the millions of those preborn children murdered under the scourge of abortion “rights.”

Let’s get to it, people! (Yes, the pun is fully intended.) This personhood law is not going to make itself.

From the Pope’s Lips to Our Ears:

April 17th, 2018, Promulgated by SamanthaGillenson

pope pius ix

Thought I was going to quote Pope Francis right there, did you? Surprise!

In all seriousness, let’s all follow the advice of Pope Pius IX. Does this mean that we are abandoning or disrespecting the Petrine Office? Far from it. We are upholding it! Some scandalized Catholics have sadly abandoned the Barque of Peter in favor of schismatic communities or abandoned the Christian faith altogether. WE MUST NOT DO SO. We must hold strong, and in the face of scandal, reply to our Lord’s query of abandonment, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.”

We as faithful Catholics must follow and pass down the teachings of the Faith as passed down from Our Lord and His Church. Moreover, we must use a discerning ear to ferret out that which is NOT. In doing so, we will remain faithful to Christ and His Church.

We must pray for Pope Francis, that he may issue clarity regarding his confusing statements on the Faith. Until then, if he voices heterodoxy, DO NOT FOLLOW IT BLINDLY. Utilize the sensus catholicus, and we will be guided well. If we have any concerns regarding something Pope Francis has said or done, we should bring it up to a trusted priest. He would be more than happy to counsel us on the matter.

If I may, I humbly request that we all offer up our Masses for this intention:

For the conversion of Pope Francis, that he may issue clarity and strong teaching that will edify the Catholic Faithful, and exalt the Truth of Christ and of Holy Mother Church. Further, for the future Pope succeeding him to be orthodox and unyielding in the face of adversity from our fallen secular world.

Canon 915 ENFORCED!

February 22nd, 2018, Promulgated by SamanthaGillenson

God bless His Excellency Bishop Paprocki! Sen. Dick Durbin is now barred from Holy Communion until he repents and amends his ways.

Was this a result of the letter campaign? Honestly, I don’t know. But we can take heart that our letters are being seen and taken into account!

Keep praying folks, and pray that more Bishops and Cardinals will stand up and do the same!

When Duty Demands a Response

February 5th, 2018, Promulgated by SamanthaGillenson

There are times in our lives when our civic and religious duty as Catholics come together in spectacular fashion, such as the recent failure to pass the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” in the US Senate. To make the summary brief, the bill failed to pass with 51 out of 97 Senators opposing the bill, including 14 Catholics. To witness 14 Catholics vote against the teachings of their faith was a scandal and a shock, and must be dealt with in an appropriate manner.

Thus comes the response portion of our posting today. This author decided to personally write to each of these disgraceful Senator’s Bishops and Cardinals, explaining the result of the vote and respectfully asking them to enforce Canon 915 of Canon Law in regard to these Senators in their Diocese. For those who are not familiar with Canon 915, here is a brief summary:

Can.  915 – Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after  the  imposition or declaration of the penalty and          others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.

ScreenShot914Provided above is the original form letter composed to the Bishops and Cardinals, with the contact information saved as a mail merge address book. You are all encouraged to use this letter to write your own letters, and all that would be necessary for you to do is to save the address file and letter to your computer, and then open Microsoft Word. Click on the “Mailings” tab, and then click “Start Mail Merge.” There will be an option for a mail merge wizard to walk you through the process. Or, if you aren’t familiar or comfortable with that option, you can use the good old Copy/Paste method that has served us so well in this age of technology.

ScreenShot913In this era where sin is written into the law of man and the law of God cast out, it is our duty as Catholics to inform our prelates when something as heinous as this occurs, and to respectfully ask them to do their duty and prevent sacrilege from taking place. Whether or not they will do so is sadly unknown, but we have to do our part and keep an involved correspondence with our clergymen. To fail to do so would be to fail in our God-given duty, and we would be held accountable to Him. When our time comes, and we stand before Him in Judgment, we can at least look Him in the eye and say “I did my part.”

If you have any questions, please comment below. I will do my best to answer them in a timely manner.


The following text can be copied and used in a mail merge to write to the prelates. Click on “Read the rest of this entry”