Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Feeling angry and betrayed!

August 2nd, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

We were 75 days without Holy Communion. Our Daily Bread! And it was like starving. It wasn’t just “like” starving, it WAS starving. Instead of being a nutrient to our souls in a time of great anxiety, a stabilizing force to our families and communities in their duress, and a strengthening of our own faith, the lack of the Body and Blood of Christ contributed to the pain, the misery, the affliction. We as Catholics were less than we could have been during such a difficult period due to our weakness from starving souls.

We blamed the Chinese for the Wuhan Virus, appropriately so. We blamed the transparent motives of obvious political forces trying to destroy our country. We blamed the talking media heads for often contradictory healthcare advice and for pushing blatant errors in their widely touted opinions. And of course we blamed the governor of NY for violating appropriate and long standing boundaries between Church and State, and for causing so many needless nursing home deaths. When we did blame the Church, it was mostly about our resenting bishops’ surrendering to civil directives and lack of courage among the clergy at every level, especially in the episcopacy. What we most credited and praised were the priests who risked themselves to anoint COVID patients, and front line medical responders and caretakers, who put themselves at risk to help others.

Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  John 15:13


Thomistic Institute Guidelines

Recently I peered into the Guidelines issued by the Thomistic Institute at the USCCB’s request, virtually completely accepted by dioceses and parishes, and which continue to prevail at large. Up until now I have just accepted the party line of what we can and cannot do, but lately I decided to read those Guidelines myself. If you want to do the same, those Thomistic Guidelines can be found here, for version 1.2 (May 7th) :

My feeling anger and betrayal is piqued by pages 22-24, and which are technically still applicable since not revoked. The relevant material from just those particular pages is posted in blue under the continuation “Read the Rest…”  at the end of this post. The title says it all: Distribution of Holy Communion to Individuals outside of Mass (may be done while observing strict limits to the size of public gatherings).

Read the document yourself and see if it doesn’t convey to you the implication (at least) that we could have been receiving Holy Communion even though “Public Masses” were shut down. If so, it surely raises the question of why we were soul-starved for 75 days if at least an occasional Communion had been allowed. And, we could have then been receiving all those hosts in the Tabernacles of the parishes, when the edict against Public Mass came down on a Monday, following the usual Sunday consecration.  If indeed we could have received Communion, wasn’t that a better alternative than a priest consuming those hosts in private Masses over the first few weeks? Or worse, destroying those hosts and thus revealing a sacrilegious attitude toward the Real Presence? 

Why was the alternative of receiving Holy Communion not presented to us as a possibility during those 75 days of starving in the bunker?  I have no doubt there are and will be, now that time has passed, some ‘logical explanation’ that was hidden during the quarantine. Remember, the Thomistic Guidelines were released May 7, version 1.2. That was a few weeks before public Mass was reopened in most parishes. It also begs the question of what is in the earlier versions of the Thomistic Institute document, to which I have not yet found access. Finally, the entire matter should be considered within the context of the right (yes RIGHT) of the laity to the Sacraments, which is clearly stated in Canon Law and which was ignored profusely:



If one needs further clarification of those rights, consider Canon 212, part 2:

It is about NEED, and we certainly were needy! Looking at the May 7th Guidelines of the Thomistic Institute (and perhaps some of earlier date?), upon which the USCCB and diocesan implementations were based, we read how even during the recent times of suspended public Masses there was provision to receive Communion! The reception process for a group (10 at a time, group after group) is explained in the Appendix to the Guidelines, but there is no minimum number of recipients, so it appears priests could have given us individual Communion. But apparently they didn’t because either they didn’t want to, were ordered not to (the obedience thing), just didn’t know they could, didn’t adequately research the possibility on our behalf, or some other opaque reason of which we are unaware? And haven’t yet told us the truth or at least communicated reasons which could give us some comfort? When does pastoral need get considered? What about a lock-down of one thousand, two hundred and sixty days? This is an important matter because what has happened during this lock-down, from Church policy, to relationship with civil authorities, to communication with the Faithful, becomes the text book for the next lock-down, i.e. abandonment of the Eucharist for the Faithful in times of crisis, and so begs the need to focus on the issues. (This paragraph was revised for clarity/reposted.)

For those who intentionally withheld from their flocks the Holy Communion that could have been given, I believe they are gravely in violation of Canon Law and have failed in the virtues of courage and charity as well. I hope they will realize the seriousness of what has occurred, confess and begin again to fully care for souls. Otherwise the dilemma we now have to live with is compounded by non-repentance on one side, and feeling betrayed on the other.


Other Considerations

But I do not mean to paint all pastors and bishops with the same brush. There was heroism of heart as well, charity for those suffering the loss of what Christ Himself gave to us to sustain us in just such a trial as we endured. As I have spoken to people from a few parishes so far, as I prepared to write these words, most were denied — by not all! I now know a few names of priests who quietly communicated some souls who particularly suffered from the loss of the Eucharist. I say bravo for their courage and charity.

More important from a practical point of view is making sure, when the next virus strikes (The Book of Revelation prophesies multiple plagues), we are not denied what we need most, food for our souls. When I wrote the series of posts on “Sheltering in Place” I mentioned how indispensable it is to have a priest we can trust and who can care for our needs at such a difficult time. What I had not sufficiently considered was the need to have such a relationship PLUS minimal access to several priests, in case the one is lost to martyrdom, transfer, or just lost to fear or other pressures. I hope to learn more of the identity of those priests who were willing to communicate souls during those 75 days of starving, unabashedly for my own sake and always for the good of souls and the honor and glory of God . 

Elsewhere on CF I have raised the question if we the laity were being quarantined from our pastors, or our pastors were being quarantined from us. It is as if we just had a shakedown cruise to see if the ship holds together or it needs some rehabilitation, repair and refitting for the storm that lies ahead. What we found out, also about the civil agendae and now the emerging local persecutions, we needed to know. Now we need to do, promptly,  what is required to be seaworthy.

Meanwhile, I am still angry and feeling betrayed, but I’m working on it.

Click below to read the Appendix to the Thomistic Guidelines regarding Communion.


Read the rest of this entry »


Blessed Sacrament Returns to a Rightful Throne

July 30th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Yet another milestone is achieved in the Rochester Diocese! May others take encouragement to do the same.

Cleansing Fire has been told that thanks to Fr. George Heyman’s commitment and leadership, the support of the Knights of Columbus, and the prayers and sacrifices of the parish community, the Tabernacle of the church of the Assumption in Fairport has been finally relocated to the proper location and the goal to return Christ to the center of the Sanctuary has been achieved.



Previously,  the Tabernacle had been located in the chapel, walled off from the Sanctuary for many years. 

Sadly, Christ was hidden from the view of Mass goers in the main church during that time. 


Interactive Map from Complicit Clergy

July 18th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris



Interactive Map of Attacks on Catholics


Distinguishing Priest Believers from Priest Non-Believers

July 14th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

In another horrendous abuse of the Eucharist, a priest in Hattiesburg, MS devises a scheme in which families hold their own hosts during the consecration and self-communicate. Father Tommy Conway, pastor of Saint Fabian Catholic Church in the Diocese of Biloxi, apparently has distributed “sacred vessels” to the families in his parish, and unconsecrated hosts in zip-lock bags. The heads of household are to hold hosts during the consecration and then distribute Communion to their families. (The model anticipates all families have two adult parents plus children.) This communion absurdity is what happens when receiving in the hand is ‘no big deal!’

Why is such abuse happening?

One reasonably may speculate that while some churches may be ready to return to Sunday Mass, clearly some pastors are not! Instead of brain-storming ways to make the reception of the Eucharist all the more reverent for the time and sacrament foregone during the shut-down, some pastors seem to be concentrating on engineering clever ways to avoid all germs and lawsuits in case a parishioner does get sick, for any reason. More and more, it looks like spreading the sins of irreverence, sacrilege and scandal to parochial vicars, staff, and to the laity, reducing a congregation to a lifeless Protestant bread scenario. More and more, it looks like obeisance of cowards to a civil government which lacks the ability or right to enforce without such cowardly cooperation. More and more, it looks like protecting the corporate entity of the church, rather than the Sacred Body of Christ.

What is wrong with these pastors?

Perhaps these pastors have been traumatized by the shut-down? Maybe they are fearful of “catching the COVID” themselves? Perhaps they have slipped into so much sin in their machinations against the Eucharist that they no longer know how to recover their belief? But the deeper and greater reason for such failure is more likely to be that those pastors have lost their Faith that the Eucharist really and truly is the Body of Christ. If one truly believed, it would be impossible to put Christ in a bag, to place families between the priest and his confection of the Eucharist, to pinch the precious host with tweezers or any other tool, to drop the consecrated host into the hands of a recipient, to deny the communicant’s right to receive the Eucharist on the tongue.

It’s Really about Unbelieving Priests:

If one truly believed that the consecrated host is the Body of Christ, it would be impossible to act in such an egregious manner. Much commentary has been made on the loss of belief in the Real Presence by the laity, but what about by clerics? These ‘celebrants’ cannot possibly believe they are confecting the true Presence of Christ and then use bags, tools, or ‘intermediaries’ in the consecration. It is a debacle. It is a sin. They are the cause of lost faith in the Real Presence.

Perhaps they truly have forgotten (or are exposing their own ‘never knew’ limitations in) the fundamentals of the Catholic Faith? Those ‘celebrants’ expose their own lack of trust in Christ and His Teachings when it is about protecting themselves rather than the Eucharist or the good of souls.

What can the laity do?

The number one thing which laity can do is to refuse to participate in such sin and disbelief. Stay in the pew, but don’t get up for Communion. Write to the bishop and register your complaint. Warn other souls. Pray for conversions of heart to cherish Christ’s Eucharistic gift to us. Do not compromise just because a priest is compromising himself. Pray for deeper personal faith for self, family and friends.


The Biloxi story can be found here:


The Rochester story can be found here:


And now the ArchDiocese of Minneapolis has joined the shameful plastic bag bandwagon:


The Beauty of the Priesthood

July 11th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

May we each have just such a priest in our lives, especially at the end.

Idea: read the full story on the link below, by Peter Jesserer Smith, and send the CF link to a priest you think is “just such a priest as this.”


Syracuse Diocese saves a church, cares for souls

July 9th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

The beautiful Church of St. Mary of the Assumption in Oswego, NY had not held Mass since January, as it awaited a decision from the Vatican on whether or not it could become an Oratory, a Latin Mass Center, and of course while also weathering the COVID-19 storm. The good news was publicized May 21st, with the announcement that the Church would become an Oratory, a personal parish (as separate from a territorial parish.) And the new parish would become a Latin Mass Center. Its first Mass was celebrated last Sunday, July 5th, by Syracuse’s new Bishop Douglas Lucia, who offered a Novus Ordo ad orientem Mass, with a large serving of Latin. The July schedule calls for the Traditional Latin Mass on July 12 and July 26th, all at noon. And on July 19th, it is expected, tentatively, that Bp. Lucia will again offer a Novus Ordo ad orientem, with largely Latin content.



Bishop Lucia was joined by Father James Schultz, pastor of three territorial parishes in Oswego County, and the newly appointed parochial administrator of St. Mary’s Oratory. As an Oratory, St. Mary’s “will be supported by its current assets and by free-will donations,” Bishop Lucia said.  He also spoke about the future care of the parish. Canon Matthew Talarico, provincial superior of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, will visit St. Mary’s Aug. 4th, and Bishop Lucia’s hope is “to entrust the parish to the Institute’s care.” The society would “become responsible for the apostolate of the Extraordinary Form [of the Mass] in the Diocese….” The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest is a Society of Apostolic Life founded in 1990. Its provincial headquarters in the U.S. is at the Shrine of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in Chicago, IL. The Institute’s motherhouse is in Gricigliano, in the Archdiocese of Florence, Italy.  It is reported that the Institute “celebrates the classical Roman Liturgy, the ‘Latin Mass,’ in its traditional form;” i.e. The Mass of the Ages.

Bishop Lucia announced in May that he would establish St. Mary’s as a personal parish and oratory. “Personal parish” is a canonical term that means the parish will have no territory attached to it except the land on which it is built; “oratory” designates a place of prayer. The bishop’s decision came seven months after he announced he would suspend the 2019 merger of Oswego parishes and conduct a review of the process that led to their merger. The review came after the St. Mary of the Assumption Preservation Group in July 2019 submitted to Cardinal Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy, an appeal asking for a review of the process. Christ the Good Shepherd Parish remains Oswego’s territorial parish, “here to serve all the people of Oswego,” said Bp. Lucia. (Excerpts are from

A congregation of about 160 enthusiastic worshipers attended the July 5  Mass.










CHURCH IS OPEN Monday through Friday 12-3PM


Sunday July  5 th –  Noon Mass with Bishop Lucia – Novus Ordo Latin, ad orientem

Sunday July 12th – Noon Traditional Latin Mass with Fr. Schultz

Sunday July 19th – Noon Mass expected with Bishop Lucia – Novus Ordo Latin

Sunday July 26th – Noon Traditional Latin Mass with Fr. Schultz

To find the Mass schedule and register to attend a liturgy, visit or contact Kristie Pauldine, President of the St. Mary of the Assumption Preservation Group and office manager of St. Mary’s at (315) 343-3953, or email to



First Encounter

July 5th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Just as we are born with a certain DNA of the body, in some way it seems we are also born with a certain “DNA” of soul; i.e. that God hasn’t created an assembly line of identical “souls” to put into varied bodies, but rather that each one of us is totally special, and in a completely unique relationship to God, and to the work which He offers us to do. Although we can hardly fathom the intimacy of God to each soul, and of each soul to God, it seems to be totally original, unique and irreplaceable. Perhaps we best gain a sense of who we are to ourselves when we begin to gain a sense of how God sees and relates to us, a sense of what we do right and in how we repent for what we do wrong, i.e. in becoming aware of and responsive to the protection by that still, small inner voice.

I was in first grade when I first encountered a call to respond to God’s insistent presence within myself, in a moment of need for protection of my soul.  It might also be called a first encounter with conscience, not in the sense of living up to demands of parents or teachers, but in the sense of standing against wrong, however uncomfortable. And, if such a subject is of interest to you, this is how it happened.

As best I can reconstruct, the event I want to describe happened very soon after Christmas, so I know I had just turned six years old. My great delight in first grade was encountering the alphabet, and that words could be made from letters.  So when my mother gave my father monogrammed handkerchiefs for Christmas and, since I had just learned the alphabet, I was entranced by the idea of a monogram! I had the same initials as my father: “DCQ”.  I liked some letters better than others, but my favorite was the “Q.” Not many words begin with or use the “Q” but I liked having a different initial from others in my class.  I learned to make the “Q” very carefully, so it would be a real letter and not just a big number “2.” (Yes, “in those days” we went right to cursive.) So,when I saw my father’s gift, I thought a monogrammed handkerchief would be a very fine thing to have for myself.

To set the stage further, I think the following events must actually have happened during Christmas recess since my father was not home (being at work) and I obviously was on some vacation from first grade. My mother had chores to do, and one of them was paying the bills. She was quite proud, for a woman of her generation, to have graduated from high school, landed a big NYC secretarial job, and married the boss.  When she married she “retired,” and was given the office typewriter, a symbol to her of what she had achieved and of the esteem in which she was held. She enjoyed continuing to use her typewriter at home, addressing envelopes for mailing the household bill payments, and writing cover letters with the proper headings and salutations, whether it was serious business, to family, or just mundane  “To whom it may concern” correspondence.

My mother’s typewriter was a large, shiny black Smith Corona, the kind with the round glass keys that had to be pressed very hard to type anything.  Standing beside her, I watched with awe as she pressed a key, and a letter came out.  A letter of the alphabet just like I’d learned in school!

When she left to go into the kitchen, probably to start dinner, my moment of opportunity had arrived! I didn’t ask permission; I was sure she’d be proud of my also being able to type. Or, perhaps I didn’t ask because something in me knew not to ask a question for which I’d have to obey the answer of ‘no’! All I could see clearly was that it was my big chance to have monogrammed handkerchiefs, just like my father. And surprise everybody!

So I stuffed Kleenex into the typewriter under the roller and pushed it up until it was where the keys would hit, and began to type my initials.  I found the “D” and hit the key hard. It stuck in the tissue. Then I tried the “C.”  It stuck to the “D” and to the Kleenex. Quickly, the roller and platen seized up, the keys stuck deep into the tissue, and the harder I tried to quietly free the mess, the more the Kleenex shredded, the ribbon got twisted around the keys, and I got smeared with ink.  Oh, too bad!  I was wearing my new embroidered dress my mother had made for me. I think I tried to wipe the ink off with the tablecloth or my dress, because it seemed to be everywhere – big black smears across delicate embroidery. Maybe the “Q” to the rescue? No, it got stuck too. While I was trying to at least free the “Q,” a shriek told me that my mother was back in the room, and that I was found out.

I was mortified and scared to death.  My mother was patient with many things I did, an abundance of which made a “mess,” but I guess this was one typewriter too far.  Her typewriter!  As she tried to repair the damage, it seemed to get worse, and she was alternately crying and angry and I was just stricken. She feared her typewriter was lost forever.  “I’m so sorry,” I kept saying.  She told me never to touch her typewriter again. “Okay.” “Promise me.” I promised.  Then, something startling happened, which I know today she didn’t mean as anything wrong. My mother, a convert to Catholicism, said: “Kneel down and tell me you are sorry.”  I froze.  “I can’t,” I whimpered.  “Kneel down,” she insisted.  And I said from some place deep inside myself, someplace I think I had never been before, and which I didn’t know existed until that moment: “I can’t.  I can only kneel to God.”  She stared at me.  Her eyes filled up with tears.  Mine too. Our eyes met, and held. She heard what I said. I trembled in uncertainty as to what would happen next. Then she said, softly, “Okay.”

The most startling moment for me in that experience wasn’t the mess, or my mother’s anger, or my own fear.  It was an “all-of-a-sudden” force from within, a warning, an insistence, a resistance – that something very big was at stake, and that if I had knelt down I would have passed some very dangerous point.  Was it my guardian angel, big and beautiful like the one protecting the little children on the bridge in that classic picture?  Was it God holding on to me?  I may not understand the details in this lifetime, but I have no doubt that this was my first experience of an intervention of conscience, which I had no desire to resist.

God bless Sister Thomas Gregory, O.P., my first grade teacher, who in three months had done a fine job in properly ordering adoration and the alphabet.


Why do I write this now? It’s because of the news stories covering US Congressional leaders kneeling to the Black Lives Matter demands. Their common sense is less than that of a six year old. How could their souls ever be sensitive enough to see how wrong it is to kneel to anything but God, when they vote to kill at birth babies who survive abortion? We can see how, compromising to more and more serious sins, makes kneeling to any force other than God seem like nothing by comparison. Yet there is no comparison. It begins with the first commandment. And such discernment is a gift from God. I struggled with how to write something about the kneeling in the BLM situation, and thought that perhaps I could explain best by sharing this little story, and to pray for continued protection in kneeling to nothing and no one, except Almighty God. Amen?




Heresy among the Hierarchy? Part VI: vs. Revelation

June 27th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

This post is the conclusion of the 6-part examination of Sacred Scripture for indications that God does sometimes send plague or famine to call our attention to His Teaching, and to protect our souls. What provoked this series of posts was prominent members of the Catholic Hierarchy’s denying that plague may be sent by God.  Since we began with Part I in early May, the incidence of such “plague denial” seems to have ebbed. Nevertheless, the prophecy of the Book of Revelation is an entirely different genre, and would be worth completing the project if only for that reason.

Revelation (aka The Apocalypse) is admittedly a difficult book, yet deeply and widely of interest. And it has been given to us for a reason. Are we seeing signs of the end-times in current events? How would we recognize a fulfillment if it occurred? I hope in a future post to link Jesus’ own answers to the Apostles’ end-times questions to what we are seeing today. But first, let’s complete the inventory of the 13 plague and/or famine references in the John the Evangelist’s Book of Revelation.

Rev 6:8

“And I saw, and behold, a pale horse, and its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him; and they were given power over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.”

 Rev 9:18

“By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulphur issuing from their mouths.”

 Rev 9:20

“.”The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot either see or hear or walk;”

Rev 11:6

“They have power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to smite the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.”

Rev 15:1

“Then I saw another portent in heaven, great and wonderful, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is ended.”

Rev 15:6

“… and out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues, robed in pure bright linen, and their breasts girded with golden girdles.”

 Rev 15:8

“…and the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were ended.”

 Rev 16:9

“… men were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues, and they did not repent and give Him glory.”

  Rev 16:21

“… and great hailstones, heavy as a hundred-weight, dropped on men from heaven, till men cursed God for the plague of the hail, so fearful was that plague.”

 Rev 18:4

“Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, My people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues;”

 Rev 18:8

“… so shall her plagues come in a single day, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she shall be burned with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.”

 Rev 21:9

“Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

 Rev 22:18-19

“I warn every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if any one adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”


Preparing to Study Revelation:

Those who are interested in understanding Revelation more deeply have several options, some of which are obvious. Get a good bible with extensive footnotes which explains some of the symbolism used; and read one or more study texts that deep dives into particular subjects. This won’t give all the answers, but will make us a bit more comfortable regarding much that is recounted in Revelation, and in moving around among the chapters.

But also notice there is something in Revelation which is not in any other biblical book. Chapter 1:3: “Blessed is he who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written therein; for the time is near.”  If John believed the time was near more than 1900 years ago, how much nearer the time is today!  We are invited to read aloud, and to ‘hear.’ It would seem to make sense, in seriously studying Revelation, to have both read the book aloud, as to have also heard the book read aloud. One might suspect that even more will be revealed through the power of the oral words, especially if read aloud carefully by a priest from the pulpit!  (Deacons were set aside to do other work in the Church, while the Apostles preached the Word of God.)  Such preaching might well have been the way the early hearers of Revelation became acquainted with end-times Prophecy.

(The end of the 6 part post on plague and famine at the Hand of God.)



Jesus in Baggies at St. John of Rochester

June 25th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Here is the link to Sunday Mass, June 14th, at St. John of Rochester in Fairport. (Edit clarifications have been made to original text posted.)


The above link requires selecting the June 14 (Corpus Christi) Mass.  Some viewers have had trouble getting to the particular Corpus Christi Mass on which we are focusing. If you do not find at 44:50 the beginning of Instructions for Communion, you are viewing the ‘wrong’ Mass. If you have problems, please note the picture of the celebrant posted to help you identify the subject Mass.

This blog reporting goes back to the very roots of abuses seen in the Diocese of Rochester when Cleansing Fire first started (and which are archived still on this site.) Anyone familiar with the exact wording of the Novus Ordo quickly notices the word changes and the drama of presentation which color the Mass at St. John’s Rochester.

Whatever happened to “do the red; say the black” which appeals to the priests most humble in their celebration of the Holy Eucharist? St. John’s of Rochester is much more like a dramatic reading on a stage, and I had to keep wondering “Is this Catholic?”

And, regarding color, one wonders about the background behind the Crucifix which is behind the main altar. To someone unfamiliar with St. John’s politics, I must say it looks a lot like LGBTetc endorsement, and one suspects that the last half of Romans Chapter 1 may not often be preached at St. John’s. We don’t know whether the colors and prominence are intended to suggest LGBTetc or not, but it seems irresponsible to create the illusion of confusion. (Similarly, a dear priest friend of mine from Africa found a chasuble and stole, soon after he arrived, in the sacristy of another prominent DoR Church and he used it for Mass, only to be told it was a ‘plant’ of the relevant same-sex colors and he had fallen for it! When alerted, he never wore it again, but no one seemed to know how those non-liturgical colors had suddenly “appeared” in the sacristy.)

Such ‘other’ concerns are dwarfed by St. John Rochester’s Communion Rules, which begin around the 44th minute on the video. There we hear what is effectively a slam against all priests who carefully and faithfully deliver the Holy Host onto parishioners’ tongues. The celebrant at St. John’s Mass says: There is no hygienic way of giving communion on the tongue.” (46:11)

There we also hear an allegation against all the experts who say either the hand and tongue are equivalent risks, or that the tongue is even safer because it has been in the mouth covered by a mask, unlike the hands which open doors and touch pews. Try THAT with your tongue! But the people of St. John’s seemed, on the video, to embrace (or at least obey) the clericalist leadership all the way, even to the celebrant’s violating Catholics’ rights under Redemptionis Sacramentum, which documents the right of all Communion recipients to receive “either in the hand or on the tongue” at their choice (except in the Latin Mass where all communicants receive kneeling and on the tongue.)

Now we come to the headline grabber. Communion instructions begin at 44:50. If a Mass attendee at St. John’s has someone at home (or a friend or neighbor) “unable to be here,” he or she is welcome to bring Communion to that person. All they need to do is tell the “Communion minister” how many hosts they want, and the “minister” counts them out and, using what looks like tweezers, drops those hosts into a plastic bag! Jesus goes into the baggie! I shudder to think of the tiny fragments that must remain in the bag, of how the Lord is handled, carried in pockets and purses, maybe forgotten in the laundry by that friend or neighbor. And that ‘friend or neighbor’ is of concern too. Since when are we encouraged to bring Communion to unidentified recipients? It has been pointed out to me by a viewer that this weekend (June 20-21) is seeing a major increase in demonic activities and demonstrations. Wholesale giving out of hosts to unknown recipients risks demonic use of the Most Holy.








The pictures above show the celebrant (acting as a ‘Communion minister’) counting out the hosts one-by-one, using a tweezers -like device, and passing on the bag to the person to be entrusted with the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. How can parishioners, who have just heard a significant part of John Chapter 6 read in the Gospel, ON THE SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI, actually participate in bagging Jesus?  I would like to see a Crusade to free the Divine Host-age.

This picture below follows a presentation (22:40) by a woman named Barb after the celebrant’s remarks following the Gospel. Didn’t we do away with sneaking women, lectors or not, into doing part of the homily (or using homily time) during Bishop Clark’s reign? It’s baaaack! Notice they are just starting to rise to give her a standing ovation. Well, there’s no ovation due to St. John’s of Rochester, in my opinion. It’s a travesty.





Post Script: Here are three pictures from Fr. Bradshaw’s Mass which illustrate the result of fumbling the tweezers. Priests who have given Communion for decades are still susceptible to fumbling when using a new tool at such a solemn moment. It is interesting to note the glow around the dropping host in the first picture below. (See comment #13)


People I’m grateful are not my Shepherd!

June 17th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

During this Wuhan corona quarantine some religious leaders have shown their best sides, others their worst. Some have risen to the challenge, some cower in fear. Some nurture; some exploit. Now we know a lot more about some of our shepherds and pastors, and some of it isn’t pretty. But it is easier to change one’s parish than to change our diocese, so at least we’ve been warned to be very, very careful about certain “leaders.” We might even propose that the worst of what we hear may be the Lord revealing to us what we need to know for the good of our souls, that from which we need to protect ourselves.

We do need to stop and consider whether or not it is appropriate to identify the risks and help others to avoid harm.  It is not so much requiring we keep silence in order to be adequately charitable, as much as it is a matter of sharing with brothers and sisters in the faith what we or others have discerned, so that collectively we might be warned to avoid the pitfalls.

Abp. Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C.


Cardinal Blaise J. Cupich of Chicago, Ill.


Abp. Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile, Ala.


I have discussed with some friends whom they would put on top of their least desirable bishops’ list.  There’s no point in mentioning their choices, as they can comment on this post. And different people have, understandably, different opinions, maybe based on different needs or experiences. The point is that we are not judging their souls, which we have no right to do, only evaluating the fruit (or lack of it) that we can publicly see. That is called discernment.

Finally, I’ve been asked if I also plan to list the top three prelates I’d most welcome to head any diocese in which I might reside. The answer is ‘no’ because there is so much that we don’t know or can’t see, and “it’s not over, until it’s over.” Meanwhile, there is no point in provoking demonic actions against good, solid bishops, risking pain of the kind Job suffered.


Mat 16:3

“And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”

‘Celebrating’ the substantial ‘reopening’ of the Mass in local Catholic churches

June 11th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

This is a very special weekend for those whose churches are substantially ‘reopening.’ They may never have ‘closed’ in the mind of the priests who said daily Mass without the faithful in the pews. But, regardless of the details of masks, mandatory distancing, 25% capacity restrictions,  or suspension for the time being of the obligation of Sunday worship, we are now going back inside the doors and worshiping Him from Whom all blessings flow. And, to be reconnected physically and liturgically to the Vine, is a very big moment.

It is too easy a reaction to simply wipe our 98.6 degree brows, and let out a big sigh behind the stuffy mask, that life is on the way to ‘returning to normal’, so “Let’s get on with life.” While true in one sense, nevertheless it is an opportunity for much more. It is an opportunity for gratitude — not gratitude to the state, the diocese, the activists, or the people who worked hard to adjust to changes on the fly as best they could. No, it is an opportunity, above all, to give thanks to a Good God who has not left us orphans. And if our family members and friends survived, especially the most vulnerable, that too is a reason for gratitude. It could have gone the other way, as it did for over 100,000 people in the U.S. Let what we suffered not be diminished by trying to recreate the prior normal, but rather let’s give thanks in ways which matter most to God, from deep in our hearts, looking past where we were to where we are going now. To just return to where we were is to miss the entire point of the opportunity God gave to us (and which many of us understandably received somewhat unwillingly) to use the blessing hidden in the pain.

In time, we may understand more of what has occurred, but the moment of gratitude may well have faded by then. What has happened did not occur without at least God’s permissive Will, even if we don’t yet know how it all fits in the Divine Plan. Gratitude helps to break open understanding, even if accompanied by a big OUCH!

The implication that gratitude is needed is shown in the holy ‘coincidence’ that our liberation weekend is that of Corpus Christi; i.e. the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. It turns our perception around a bit to understand that much as we crave receiving the Holy Sacrament, Jesus yearns even more to come to us. What He has deprived us of receiving, He has also deprived Himself of giving. What does that mean for God, whose constrained love  is even more powerful than we can imagine? And what is He now asking of us? 

The name “Eucharist” gives us the clue. “Eucharisto” in the Greek means “I give thanks” and that is why this weekend’s feast of the Eucharist hints that perhaps the right approach for us is to give thanks, for the Eucharist above all, especially for those for whom receiving the Eucharist for the first time in weeks or months is a cherished reunion with our Beloved. There is no Catholic for whom receiving the Eucharist can’t be more that we already experienced prior to the shutdown. We have the opportunity to aspire to even more, to as much as the Lord is willing to entrust to us. And such aspiration is, in itself, gratitude.

There are some who even, prior to the shutdown, lost a deep Eucharistic connection in their souls. Sometimes, lack of ‘feeling’ or ’emotion’ makes a person think that is evidence that Christ isn’t really present in the consecrated host; but ‘belief’ is not a feeling or emotion. Some of those who report that they no longer believe in the Real Presence of Christ — Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity — deeply want to recover the experience of the holy and don’t know how to begin. One of the most beautiful expressions of gratitude which those souls could give right now is to quietly acknowledge what they have lost, and beg for a renewed ability to embrace the Divine Truth of the Eucharist. Christ often asks in the Gospels “What would you have Me do for you?” We must ask. And also it is good to ask the priest in confession to pray for us too.

How long does one persist in this effort? It would seem at least as long as the Eucharistic Fast to which we have just been subjected. A worthy effort (i.e. a way of ‘asking’) is to attend also at least one weekday Mass each week, as it is quite different from all the distractions of a Sunday Mass. One sign during such a time that we are on the right path is noticing, after maybe a few weeks, a personal increase in reverence toward receiving the Holy Eucharist.

We can all begin by being grateful for the ability to be grateful, especially for this divinely orchestrated reassembly on — of all times — the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. It is an invitation to all Catholics to ask for even more spiritually than we had previously. Gratitude opens the way.



What a Righteous Relationship of Church and State might look like ….

June 10th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Abp. Vigano’s letter to President Trump

President Trump’s Tweet to the World…reads-it?

Abp. Vigano’s Letter on liberation from ‘false teachings’ from and since Vatican II

Faithful German cleric adds voice against receiving Communion in the hand

It seems like the floodgates of truth and courage are about to swing wide open. Let’s do our part and pray!



Shameful “Science”

June 9th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Shameful “Science” has just caused the death of many people from the deadly Wuhan virus. Whether politically motivated or financially motivated is still hard to determine, but the raw facts are clear. Early in the American invasion by China’s manufactured virus, there were efforts to apply drugs to treatment of the victims of the virus, drugs which had enjoyed some success against earlier viruses. It didn’t take long before good results were announced, and President Trump was one of the first people to mention the application and hold out hope in what seemed like an extremely virulent and almost untreatable disease. The drug was developed against malaria in the 1940’s and its history showed efficacy and few long term side effects. The drug is inexpensive and readily available, so why not use it and treat as many as possible?

The answer seems to be that what was enthusiasm on one hand met with unreasonable opposition on the other hand. For example, NY’s Governor Cuomo, issuing all his own rules and regs without most normal government processes, took it on himself to say only virus suffers enrolled in a study would be allowed to use the drug in NY. Other states followed suit. Patients died who could have been saved, like the elderly in nursing homes, for whom Cuomo  wrote a death sentence without reprieve, by ordering the nursing homes to accept COVID patients, even though unprepared to do so. Cuomo also whined about needing thousands more ventilators, which were mostly ineffective against the disease. Governors playing scientist are only one step away from playing God. And Cuomo’s push for legislation to end a baby’s life after birth or after a failed abortion already show he’s been ‘playing God’ for quite a while.

President Trump, on the other hand, clearly had some access to the truth of the matter, as he never stopped calling for use of the anti-malarial, even when he was denounced as trying to leverage the situation for personal financial gain. Finally, he even put himself on the line to make the point that he must have had access to credible scientific studies. And that got political attention, big time. Who was behind mis-characterizing the anti-malarial as dangerous or ineffective? Did it involve Bill Gates who unabashedly was promoting vaccine plus the mark of the beast to make billions more for himself? Finally some truth about exploitative studies on other Gates ‘clinicals’ in poor and undeveloped countries was strongly rumored, and the damage done in such clinicals hit the press. Gates himself acknowledged that a million people could die just from a vaccine; but, remember, he is on the side of reducing world population by billions too! Apparently there is big money in death, provided one is not the person who dies.

We can’t know yet whether the strategy of an inexpensive and effective drug,  already on the market for more than half a century, provoked drug manufacturers to rant against the anti-malarial or not, to spread false rumors until they had caught up in their R&D development with a profitable vaccine or not, or whether the major attack on the drug was motivated by Cuomo and others disagreeing with any strategy with a Trump byline. But what should matter to scientists and decision makers is truth — always the truth. Yet the well known Lancet Journal accepted an apparently falsified claim against the anti-malarial, by incompetent workers (hardly deserving to be called scientists) in a highly suspect company with few credentials. If President Trump had not pursued the case for those suffering from COVID, at his own personal risk and belief, we would likely never know that the Lancet’s “scientific paper” was simply an adverse marketing fiction to give advantage to a patentable drug under big Pharm development.

Lying scientists hits close to home, and to what I wrote on CF related to Laudato Si in 2015, as the only reason for any seriousness being given to climate change arguments. In my opinion, the myth of climate change cannot be separated from the alleged fraud of Michael E Mann’s global warming “hockey stick.” A scientist who falsifies data is an abomination to all those who do ‘good science,’  valuing the truth wherever it leads. Don’t believe it happened? Check out Mark Steyn’s “A Disgrace to the Profession.” 

I am of the opinion that if President Trump had not taken the risk personally of using the anti-malarial, it would still be banned from use on the technicality that it hadn’t been tested long enough, and we’d never know the lie behind the misuse of science. Here are three articles which go well beyond the opinion I have shared here, and shake the substance of scientific decisions to their very core. Without truth, “science” is nothing.

“Spectacular Results”

“Proven safe and inexpensive”

“Lancet retracts study”

“Ripple effect of bad science against Catholics”


A Warning from a Future Saint

June 6th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

The following words by the then-Cardinal Wojtyla were reported to have been given in an address during the Eucharistic Congress in August 1976 for the Bicentennial celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Almost 44 years ago, yet it seems to be so profoundly prophetic for our own times:

“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think that the wide circle of the American Society, or the whole wide circle of the Christian Community, realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist. The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God’s Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously…” 



Heresy among the Hierarchy? Part V: Psalms, Gospels & ACTS

June 4th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

This is the fifth part in a six part series using Sacred Scripture to defend against allegations by some members of the Catholic hierarchy who wrongly assert that God does not send plague, pestilence and famine to show His righteous indignation and, ultimately, for the good of souls.

The first four parts can be found by clicking the relevant link:

This Part V will cover the few mentions in Psalms and in the Gospels and ACTS. The next and final section, Part VI, will be vs. Revelation, which of course exposes from the somewhat different perspective of the end times, rather than as a punishment to be endured and from which to repent and recover; then, the call to repentance is much more for saving our souls, rather than our bodies. (The vs. in the titles indicates that the position of heretical hierarchs, disavowing God’s very relevant role;  versus means being against what is explicitly revealed in Sacred Scripture.)

There is no claim in these excerpts to comprehensively cover ALL the mentions of plague, pestilence and/or famine. For example, the Book of Ruth records there was a famine in the land, which led Naomi, and her husband and sons to migrate to seek food, but we don’t know what caused the famine. Therefore it, and other verses, are left out where the plague or famine isn’t presented as retribution from God, or assertion of the Power of God. That is, of course, not to ignore that everything that happens does so within the permissive Will of God, to allow punishment or to protect.



Psalm 33:19: “…that He may deliver their soul from death, and keep them alive in famine.”

Psalm 37:19: “…they are not put to shame in evil times, in the days of famine they have abundance.”

Psalm 38:11: “My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague, and my kinsmen stand afar off.”

Psalm 78:50: “He made a path for His anger; He did not spare them from death, but gave their lives over to the plague.”

Psalm 91:3:  “For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence;…”

Psalm 91:6 :  “…nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.”

Psalm 105:16:  “… When He summoned a famine on the land, and broke every staff of bread, ….”

Psalms 106:29-30:   “… they provoked the LORD to anger with their doings, and a plague broke out among them. Then Phin’ehas stood up and interposed, and the plague was stayed (and that has been reckoned to him as righteousness….)”


Gospels, ACTS, Romans

Many of the Gospel verses mentioning plagues and famines include end times warnings, or demonstrate Christ’s (God’s) power over plague and famine.

Matt 24:7:  “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places…”

Mark 13:8:  “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places, there will be famines; this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs.”

Luke 7:21: In that hour He cured many of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many that were blind He bestowed sight.”

Luke 15:14: “And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want.”

Luke 21:11:    “… there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.”

Acts 11:28:  “And one of them named Ag’abus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world; and this took place in the days of Claudius.”


And, although not part of the Gospels or ACTS, it seems well to end on the quote from Romans which elevates our Hope:

Rom 8:35: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”

Next and Last: Revelation (Apocalypse)


TX Bp: “Catholics can’t vote for pro-abort candidates”

May 26th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris


Abortion advocates ‘not acceptable for leadership in our society’

TYLER, Texas ( –  EXCERPTS: “The most important foundational teaching and principle of Catholic Social Teaching is that every human life is sacred from conception to natural death,” says  Bp. Joseph Strickland of Tyler TX . “… they have an inherent dignity at every age and stage of their lives. … This truth is what informs our respect for every human life, whether that life is found in the first home of the womb, a wheelchair, a jail cell, a hospital room, a hospice, a senior center, a soup kitchen or on a refugee boat,” the bishop teaches.

Strickland provides an answer to those who consider abortion simply one issue among many in the world of politics. “The Right to Life position is, in one sense, not about an ‘issue’ at all,” he says. “The Pro-Life position is also a worldview, a lens through which we should view every political, cultural, social, and economic issue,” he continues, touching on the supernatural virtue of faith. “It should inform every aspect of our participation in society, especially the exercise of our citizenship.” That exercise of citizenship includes voting. Strickland recognizes that voting is a moral act, … not exempt from moral judgment.

“… it is impossible to enjoy any right without life.” The bishop’s words match the logic of the Declaration of Independence … life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness: One cannot pursue happiness without liberty, and one cannot enjoy liberty without life.

“Every procured abortion is the taking of innocent human life and is always and everywhere intrinsically immoral,” Strickland continues. “… there are no possible intentions or circumstances that could ever make the act of abortion good or morally acceptable. “Our absolute opposition to legalized abortion must be the first of the pre-eminent issues we consider in voting…”  Any candidate or political party which promotes abortion is precluded from any further consideration for a Catholic voter.  Even if a voter likes a candidate’s views on health care, immigration, education, taxes and the economy,  if the candidate supports abortion they are disqualified.

Strickland underscores the truth that people with good will and a well formed conscience could not possibly vote for someone who supports killing the innocent — at any stage of life. Hence, he notes, it is unacceptable for a Catholic to vote for someone who supports abortion.


The Mass: public or private?

May 26th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Note: the following discussion uses the contemporary (Covid-19 plague) jargon related to private and public Masses. While it is true that the words “sine populo” (“without the people”) has been used in the past to mean a private Mass, in practice the ‘understanding’ of the words has changed since March 17th, when the Catholic Church herself began using the words ‘public’ and ‘private’ to express with more clarity what the people have been experiencing.  It seems doubtful that the prior usage will return among the laity.

When a priest celebrates Mass, and locks the doors so no one else can get in, we call it a PRIVATE Mass.

When a priest celebrates Mass with unlocked doors, open to the world, we call it a PUBLIC Mass, even if no one shows up.

What is it called when a priest celebrates Mass and permits 9 other people to attend, in a locked Church to which no one else will be admitted? Semi-private? Semi-public?

No. It is still a private Mass as the laity understands it. Let’s not be misled by the illusion that many churches now have “public Masses.” No, they do not. They still are having private Masses which almost nobody is allowed to attend. And the people not admitted may feel worse than when nobody else was admitted.


It doesn’t matter if locking doors is on the priest’s own initiative, or on his bishop’s order, or on order of the governor of a state or the mayor of a backwater town. When Mass is being said with the doors locked, and you are on the outside and unable to get in, it is a private Mass and you are not invited. Let’s not complicate reality by calling those Masses “public,” as if progress had been made. Personal credibility demands we speak the truth.

What do you think? Some bishops are voluntarily delaying another week or two for often undisclosed reasons. Kudos to the ones objecting to the government’s man-handling the sacred worship, and creating distraction from the holy. Better that the bottom line should be “We will again hold public Mass when we are really ready to do so without compromise and with proper obedience and reverence to what the Catholic Church defines Mass should be.”

When President Trump called for the opening of churches last Friday, May 22, he said he was addressing the need of  ‘millions’ of people. He certainly won’t be getting access for “millions” at 10 people per church!

So you want to do more?

Here’s an idea: how about having a Mass said in Thanksgiving for Donald Trump’s forcing the reopening of Churches?




Trump to gov’s: Open the Churches!

May 22nd, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris
When we read through the following LifeSiteNews coverage, it quickly becomes obvious that 10 people in a church which holds hundreds is not what President Trump has in mind when he focuses on “millions of Americans” to whom he is responding and for whom he is reopening their Churches. If the Catholic Church settles for such crumbs under the table, for our Lord and Savior being mishandled as tokenism and as if He were a contagious disease, the Church will regret that move for generations. Trump called for an immediate opening; i.e. THIS weekend, May 23-24, 2020. We must not miss fully responding to such a vital offer, while we still have time.

Trump demands states let churches re-open: ‘If they don’t do it, I will override the governors’

‘The people are demanding to go to church and synagogue, go to their mosque – many millions of Americans embrace worship as an essential part of life,’ said Trump.

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 22, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – President Donald Trump today declared houses of worship “essential places that provide essential services,” saying they should be opened up right away and governors who get in the way will have to answer to him.

“Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but have left out churches and other houses of worship. It’s not right,” said Trump. “So I’m correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential. The people are demanding to go to church and synagogue, go to their mosque – many millions of Americans embrace worship as an essential part of life.”

Many people of faith have complained that draconian coronavirus lockdowns unfairly targeted churches. Pastors who have held “parking lot” services during which parishioners stayed in their cars have been fined. One California county banned singing during live-streamed church services. When the Knoxville, Tennessee government began to allow people to go to church again, it told churches, “[t]he physical taking of communion/sacrament should not be performed due to the serial breaking of physical distancing across a congregation.” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan banned Catholic priests from going within six feet of their parishioners.

In Virginia, Lighthouse Fellowship conducted a worship service with a congregation of 16 people practicing so-called social distancing in a facility that seats more than 200. The pastor faces a year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. The Trump administration Department of Justice issued a Statement of Interest siding with the church, writing, “there is no pandemic exception to the Constitution and its Bill of Rights.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy even told Tucker Carlson that he “wasn’t thinking of the Bill of Rights” when he banned religious gatherings. “That’s above my paygrade,” he said.The governor defended keeping liquor stores open while closing churches as important to his citizens’ mental health.  Shutting down liquor stores would have led to “unintended mental health and addiction prices to pay, unintended consequences,” he said.  A rabbi and a Catholic priest are suing Murphy over his order. A number of lawsuits in other states have been filed as well.

Trump emphasized, “I call upon governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open right now. If there’s any question, they’re gonna have to call me, but they’re not gonna be successful in that call. These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united.”

Trump began his press conference by thanking the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and saying the CDC would be releasing guidelines for religious gatherings soon. He said he trusts faith leaders to take proper steps to protect the health of their congregations.

“The ministers, pastors, rabbis, imams, and other faith leaders will make sure that their congregations are safe as they gather and pray,” said Trump. “I know them well. They love their congregations. They love their people. They don’t want anything bad to happen to them or to anybody else.”

He concluded, “The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, for this weekend. If they don’t do it, I will override the governors. In America, we need more prayer, not less.”

While many Protestant churches have responded to the coronavirus panic and subsequent shutdowns with “parking lot” services, every single Catholic diocese in the U.S. cancelled public Masses and some even banned the Last Rites. Dioceses around the country are slowly beginning to open their churches back up, although Holy Communion and other sacraments remain inaccessible to millions of American Catholics. The Catholic bishops of Minnesota along with Lutheran leaders announced this week that they will resume worship services on May 26 despite Governor Walz’s current COVID-19 executive order which allows retailers to operate at 50 percent capacity but caps church worship services at 10 people. They are backed by the lawyers at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

In California, hundreds of pastors plan to defy Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ban on religious gatherings on May 31.


What day is it?

May 21st, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

“What day is it?” is one of the first questions the medical screener in the emergency room might ask to see if the patient is well-oriented. So, too, a post surgical nurse might ask the same question to assess recovery. And the medic evaluating an accident victim at the site might ask something similar to help with the triage. The right answer matters. However, if confronted by such a question next Sunday, a few days from now, it might be a head-scratching experience for the medic to hear “Well it must be Ascension Thursday!”

Ash Wednesday can’t be on a Saturday. Holy Thursday can’t be on a Sunday. And certainly there is only one day of the week for Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Right?

Except, apparently, for Ascension Thursday. Today.  A Solemnity. In many dioceses it is celebrated not on Thursday, 40 days after Christ’s Resurrection, but on the following Sunday, 43 days later.  And that makes Pentecost 7 days after the Ascension rather than 10, which leaves not enough time for the first 9-day novena!

I am grateful that is one change that the Diocese of Rochester hasn’t made. Rather than argue from Scripture or even Hebrew tradition, it seems more important to wonder about WHY Thursday was moved to Sunday. Until a much more profound excuse is offered, I’ll retain the opinion that it seems more for the convenience of man than of honoring God. Are those who bemoaned losing Masses for most of Lent and Eastertide now pleased to have one less Mass of Obligation?  Today is a good day to examine conscience on that question, as practice so often degrades to making our lives simpler and giving less to God.

For those interested in not getting a two-fer on Sunday, here is a link to a 7PM Mass tonight celebrating Ascension Thursday.

Why not post your own links to your local Ascension Thursday Mass?

And for those who wonder if Thursday isn’t on Sunday, what is? The answer is “The 7th Sunday of Easter.”



Msgr. Charles Pope’s thoughtful call to restart public Masses

May 18th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Msgr. Charles Pope, well known for his regular appearances on EWTN’s Morning Glory Show, was himself a serious victim earlier this year of COVID-19 (which we should be regularly calling a plague instead of just a ‘virus’). He has had plenty of opportunity and understanding to have an opinion on the reopening of Holy Mass to the public.  LifeSiteNews has covered Msgr. Pope’s recommendations here.

It is time now for Cleansing Fire’s readers to begin offering their opinions and concerns. Please read the full article re Msgr. Pope first; it will help our communication. Especially (but not solely) I extend that offer to our followers in the Diocese of Rochester, NY, where CF first sprang up with its own voice a decade ago. Time to input on restarting Masses for the flock is now.

In the next few days, I also will offer some thoughts, but don’t want to hold up dissemination of Msgr. Pope’s writing while I do my own.

Excerpts from Msgr. Pope’s Call to resume public Masses

“I accept that some degree of protective measures is necessary to protect the vulnerable and to minimize the spread of the disease…. I am sympathetic … that the ‘cure should not be worse than the disease.’”

“For a Catholic, living means the Holy Mass, receiving the sacraments and gathering for communal worship.” … we must face our fears and accept that illness, suffering and death are a part of life in this world we call “Paradise Lost.” Life is filled with countless risks; …. To be cognizant of risks and to try to minimize them is wise but to avoid all risk is neither possible nor healthy.”

” For believers, trusting in God’s care and in what he has provided to keep us healthy plays an important part in overcoming our fear.”

“We have to accept the hard truth that people die. They die of many things, COVID-19 among them…. It is alarming to me as a priest and believer how little we as a Church have had to say about death. Death is a reality, but it is not something we should excessively fear. Christ

Msgr. Charles Pope

conquered death and made it a doorway to the glory of Heaven for the faithful.”

“We all have a natural fear of death, especially the dying process itself, but as Christians we are taught to confront and conquer our fear of death. The grace to do so has been given to us by Christ…. Death is not the end; it is a birth unto new life. For the faithful Christian, the day of our death is the greatest day of our life.” 

“… far more than grieving is going on in this current situation. What we have today is a gripping fear that so dreads suffering and death that almost everything else must be sacrificed…. Much of this, I am convinced, is because in this increasingly secular world, suffering and death have lost their meaning.”

“… the widespread, gripping fear in the face of this virus is unprecedented in my lifetime. I have never seen anything like it. Its worldwide scope tells me that it is demonic in origin, and thus the Church must speak more vigorously to exorcize the demons of fear. Instead we have remained strangely quiet.”

“We have allowed … bullying and misrepresentation of our views to silence us… the paralyzing fear manifest in the news reports and displayed by many Americans is destructive as well as unbecoming.”


Please read the whole article at the link first shown above.

I will only add here, for now, that Msgr. Pope’s identification of paralysis by fear of death is a good explanation, IMO, of the frozen inability to act soundly by many prelates, who fail themselves, their priests, their missions and their flocks by essentially doing nothing, and would prefer to be led by the leash of government around their necks than by their own defective or cowardly consciences. See open letter to the bishops who have shut down their dioceses:

More soon.