Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Earth-shaking! From Abp. Vigano!

April 4th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Supplied by Lepanto Foundation:

“YOU HAVE SAID SO” – Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò

“Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Is it I, Master?” He said to him, “You have said so.”  (Mt 26, 20-25)

On March 25, the 2020 Pontifical Yearbook was published with a real novelty. It may seem like a typographical trifle, in the part dedicated to the reigning pontiff, but this is not the case. Until last year, in fact, Francis’s titles were listed at the top of the page, beginning with “Vicar of Christ”, “Successor of the Prince of the Apostles” etc., and ending with his birth name and a very brief biography.

In the new edition, on the other hand, the secular name JORGE MARIO BERGOGLIO stands out in large letters, followed by the biography, the date of election and the beginning of his “ministry as universal Pastor of the Church.” Separated by a dash and the words, “Historical titles,” all the titles of the Roman Pontiff are then listed, as if they were no longer an integral part of the Munus Petrinum that legitimizes the authority which the Church recognizes in the Pope.

This change in the layout and content of an official text of the Catholic Church cannot be ignored, nor is it possible to attribute it to a gesture of humility on the part of Francis, which is not in keeping with his name being so prominently featured. Instead, it seems possible to see in it the admission — passed over in silence — of a sort of usurpation, whereby it is not the “Servus servorum Dei” who reigns, but the person of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who has officially disavowed being the Vicar of Christ, the Successor of the Prince of the Apostles and the Supreme Pontiff, as if they were annoying trappings of the past: only mere “historical titles.”

An almost defiant gesture — one might say — in which Francis transcends every title. Or worse: an act to officially alter the Papacy, by which he no longer recognizes himself as guardian, but becomes master of the Church, free to demolish it from within without having to answer to anyone. In short, a tyrant.

May the significance of this most serious act not escape pastors and the faithful, for by it the sweet Christ on earth — as St. Catherine called the Pope — releases himself from his role as Vicarto proclaim himself, in a delirium of pride, absolute monarch even with respect to Christ.

We are approaching the sacred days of the Savior’s Passion, which commences in the Upper Room with the betrayal of one of the Twelve. It is not illegitimate to wonder whether the understanding words with which Bergoglio tried to rehabilitate Judas on June 16, 2016 were not a clumsy attempt to exonerate himself.

This chilling thought is further confirmed by the terrible decision to allow an almost universal ban of the public celebration of Easter, for the first time since the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

“The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed!” (Mt 26:24) 

+ Carlo Maria Vigano?, Archbishop 


Friday in Passion Week 2020

(Admin Note: April 3, 2020. Christ died on this date in 33 AD, at 3PM).

Additional Admin note: “You have said so” is found in the bible as approximately equivalent to our “You said it!” pronounced with gusto, and as underlining the truth of what is being admitted. Christ used it about Judas (Matthew 26:25) and with Caiaphas in Matthew 26:64. One can especially see in the latter reference the strength of the meaning as being a clear and strong admission of the truth. Those words were taken as admission (unto death) of Christ’s claiming to be the Son of God. They are not words to be taken lightly. One expects that Abp. Vigano means exactly what he has chosen as the title of this missive. In a human sense, we cannot rule out that Pope Francis meant to eliminate the Vicar of Christ title, or that it was an error in typesetting. In a larger sense, we also cannot rule out that there was heavenly intervention in removing the title. We must wait and see.


Priests are obligated re Last Rites for the dying

April 4th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Fr. Chad Ripperger Exorcist and Theologian

LifeSite News interviewed Fr. Chad Ripperger regarding a bishop’s inability to forbid a priest from offering the Last Rites.

The exorcist and theologian said priests are under an obligation to give the sacraments to Catholics in imminent danger of death “regardless of what their bishop says.”

With Catholics in ‘turmoil and anguish’ over unprecedented bans on confession, cancellation of public Masses, and the locking of churches due to the coronavirus pandemic, LifeSiteNews asked Fr. Ripperger for his comments and recommendations.

See full article here: 



April 3rd, 33AD at 3PM, Christ died

April 3rd, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris


The Bishops’ Betrayal

April 2nd, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

The linked article is just too important to be left only as a post on the Ticker. The author makes a solid case for why the bishops have grossly failed the people of God, and the following article from LifeSiteNews details the inappropriate and — yes– sinful laxity in Sacramental Responsibility…not feeding the flock at the appointed time.

Moreover, the seeds are being planted to damage the vital relationship and connection between the bishops and their own priests. Either priests will begin to see and act on their responsibilities, or they will succumb to the tone-deafness and fears of their prelates, and excuse their own failure to give sustenance to the flock as ‘obedience’ or fear.

John Chapter 21 recounts Christ’s saying to Peter: “Feed My lambs…Tend My sheep….Feed My sheep.” He didn’t add: “But when the going gets tough, lock the churches, get permission before you baptize anyone with a contagious disease, avoid personal risk and let people die without being anointed or confessed.” A great shame has descended upon the clergy at every level. And it is clericalism at its worst. How can God not hold them each personally responsible for every soul lost or damaged by what they withhold?

It seems that many young men are called to the priesthood for heroic reasons. For some, the bishops’ failure to act from the heart of Church Teaching must be a great disappointment.

Read Peter Bleyer’s article here:  Bishops betray Catholics in allowing sacraments to be deemed ‘non-essential’ in COVID-19 battle

Bleyer’s conclusion?

“The sacraments have been relegated to a priority below that of buying a hot dog bun.”


As an example, attached is the letter from the Bishop of Lubbock TX to his priests against hearing confession. It is followed by a late story in which the Bishop of Lubbock “flip-flopped” on his decision against confession when the TX governor declared church to be an essential service.

Thanks, Pilgrim.  To view more, click here: Read the rest of this entry »


Priest should follow his Conscience in Offering the Sacraments (supplemented)

March 30th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

LifeSite News:

Bishops’ ban on Sacraments during pandemic violates Church law,

priests can disobey: Canonist Philip Gray, JCL

Read the full story here:

Bp. Rozanski suspends Last Rites

See also more information on Bishops refusing to permit their priests to give the Last Rites (like Bp. Rozanski of Springfield, MA) here:

Abp. William Lori ‘shuts down’ Baltimore Archdiocese

“BALTIMORE, Maryland, March 31, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – By order of Archbishop William Lori, priests of the Archdiocese of Baltimore are forbidden from administering sacraments to the faithful unless “the individual is in danger of dying.” Funeral Masses have also been suspended. All churches of the archdiocese are now locked.” Archbishop Lori is the former chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.  Details here:


Abp. Charles Thompson of Indianapolis calls for “perfect contrition”

“Archbishop Charles Thompson of Indianapolis also stated in a March 24 directive that “individual confession should be postponed unless it is requested by one who is in imminent danger of death,” adding that “for all others, they are to be asked to rely on perfect contrition.” The advice is more dangerous than the virus. See more here:





The Heroic Bishop Strickland

March 29th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

It is being reported by Church Militant, among others, that Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas has refused to sign the Texas bishops’ statement permitting hospitals and similar institutions of ‘care’ to decide

    Bishop Joseph E.      Strickland, Tyler, TX

unilaterally how to ration life-saving equipment. Even such a thought opens the door for abominable kinds of abuse; it smells of rationing mortal sin. “Who gets to commit it and who doesn’t?” But sin is sin, and it is a sad situation when the majority of the successors of the Apostles, albeit in just one geographical area, presume to permit sin in the same tone as permitting eating meat on Friday!

Some reporters are seeing this as a type of civil war among the bishops, but it may just be a misunderstanding of what it really looks like when a true priest stands up for his conscience and for his flock. One headline states: “Bishop Strickland Stands Alone.” Then all the more, let us praise God for giving all the other Texas prelates a hero in their midst.

Bishop Strickland refused to back a declaration by the TCCB (Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops) to eliminate the legal penalties against healthcare rationing. That declaration would give hospitals the license to decide who gets to live and who gets to die among coronavirus-infected patients, without explanation and without legal accountability. For example, a key hospital (or diocesan) donor could receive the first ventilator available, just for financial reasons. Are financial reasons too far fetched? No. Texas Right to Life has reported that dioceses are investors in hospitals, and so can financially benefit. TCCB states:

“The TCCB is the administrative and lobbying arm of the Texas bishops and holds no canonical authority as an entity. The TCCB’s recent suggestions would effectively suspend all patient protections currently in law, violating the constitutional rights of vulnerable patients. Regrettably, this action is consistent for the TCCB, which holds interests in hospitals and has opposed patient protections and needed reforms to medical ethics laws for each of the last 12 sessions of the Texas Legislature…. Waiving all laws and standards of care does not further protect patients, but rather fosters quality of life value judgments about who should live and who should die, spreads anxiety and fear, and jeopardizes the lives of those needing care at hospitals.”

Texas Right to Life supports Bp. Strickland’s decision. They understand that giving healthcare providers a pass to allocate/ration equipment and/or services means that tomorrow it could decide there should be no treatment for Catholics, or for pro-lifers, or for children, depending on who is making the decision. Bp. Strickland also stood alone recently in calling for a probe into Catholic Relief Services, in its alleged support of contraceptives and abortion. That’s another hornet’s nest he has not avoided.

Reminder Regarding Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz! 

It is rare that a bishop chooses to stand alone and expresses loyalty to doctrine yet independence of mind and spirit, which is why I think so much from diocesan conferences appears weak and watered down.  But one such bishop with strength of character and loyalty to Church Teaching, as we see with Bp. Strickland, is the retired Bp. Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska. His declaration and statement of excommunication of Catholics in his diocese (1996) who are members of any one of more than a dozen organizations, including Planned Parenthood, can be found here:

Bp. Bruskewitz also stood up against the entire USCCB and prevailed. He was the only vote against submitting to mandatory audit reviews. He refused to surrender diocesan rights and just his one vote meant the proposed changes could not go forward as mandatory, only voluntary. Bp. Strickland will surely take heart. The Diocese of Lincoln during Bp. Bruskewitz’s period of service produced four bishops.

My only personal contact with Bp. Bruskewitz was on a Catholic Radio call-in show in 2012. It can be found here:

I do think it is important to give our support to such strong bishops. We can write to Bp. Strickland at:

The Most Reverend Joseph E. Strickland

Bishop of Tyler, Texas

1015 ESE Loop 323

Tyler, Texas 75701-9663



Please sign St. Augustine Academy Press’ PETITION to restore the Mass

March 28th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Please sign the petition and don’t sweat the details. They will get worked out by parish. If we have our Mass & Communion, we have it all!


Why Suspending Mass is VERY Bad News

March 25th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris


On March 16th, 2020, when Rochester Bishop Salvatore Matano announced suspension of all public Masses (and by implication the laity’s receiving Holy Communion as well,) I used the following title for my post: “Very bad news.”

At the time, I thought those three little words adequately described my reaction to the de facto privatization of Masses, and thought most Catholics who deeply love the Eucharist and Mass would feel the same. Loss of the daily Mass and Eucharist, to me, seemed to be tremendously “bad news.”

To be clear, I didn’t even question what had been my own immediate reaction and titling. So I was surprised when Ben Anderson challenged on a fortitude vs. prudence basis (I don’t know what I said that implied fortitude) and wanted me to defend what I said. (“Make an actual case if you’re going to take a stand like this.”) Our comments exchange can be found here:

Since I have a great deal of respect for Ben, his understanding and intelligence, I decided to wait at least a week to consider all aspects before answering. So, it’s time now to reply. And there is enough that I want to say on the subject that I’ve written this new post: “Why suspending Mass is VERY bad news.”  The post is divided into seven sections. What would you add or change? I invite full participation in the discussion. (If it is too much to read at one sitting, why not try one section per day?)


Seven Reasons why Suspending Mass is VERY Bad News:

  1. Loss of a Physical and Spiritual Intimacy
  2. Confirming the Church’s Loss of the Moral High Ground
  3. Hiding behind Group Opinion
  4. What happened to “Fear Not”?
  5. What about the Visionaries? Is this the End of the World?
  6. Why we Need the Freedom to Worship Our God as He Intends
  7. What about the Precedent Being Created?


1. Loss of a physical and spiritual intimacy

To begin, I am not saying that I carefully laid out all the pro vs. con reasons that privatizing all the Masses is “Very bad news.” Nor do I intend to debate how other people may feel. I cannot judge. But in the first moments in which I read the announcement I felt sick to my stomach, sad, outraged, angry and already starving for the Body of Christ. And it was only a few hours since I had received Communion. I also felt fear. If I barely get by now, receiving Him every day, how can I possibly survive for an unknown period of time without taking and eating the Holy Sacrament each day? How can I stay focused on the great Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the re-presentation of Calvary, the Daily Bread for which we are invited to pray, and for which Jesus bends low to fulfill?

Of course there is a Spiritual Communion, and there are many holy exercises that can help, like Rosary, Stations of the Cross, prayer and Bible reading, but don’t let anyone say it is the SAME. Or that it is ENOUGH. It is not. When the God of the Universe, our Creator Himself, chooses to lie upon my tongue, how can anything else substitute? He is the One who knew what we would need, and gifted Himself to us. Now we are barred from responding to His Initiative. It cannot be clearer that we, God’s children, are being kept from Him:

And they were bringing children to Him, that He might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it He was indignant, and said to them, ‘Let the children come to Me, do not hinder them;  for to such belongs the kingdom of God.’” Mark 10:13-14.   See also Matthew 19:13-14 and Luke 18:15-16.

The Gospels also say we are to become like children: “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Luke 18:17 (See also Mark 10:15).

Perhaps we are never more like children, coming to Jesus, than we are when we open our mouths to receive His own Body from the hands of His priest, whom we call “Father.” Now a great stumbling block has been placed in our path, a wedge which separates us from what we need for life itself. We ask for bread and receive a stone.

So, my first response was more of a personal nature, a deep sense of loss, and then a foreboding. Very bad news, indeed. But there was a second reason — what it says about the Church’s position in today’s world.


2. Confirming the Church’s Loss of the Moral High Ground

The world used to beat a path to the doors of the Catholic Church, to hear the opinions and pronouncements based on nearly 2000 years of consistent teaching. When something new came on the scene, non-Catholics and Catholics alike waited, and valued the insight. That is partly why so many other Christians and even Jews listened to Bishop Sheen’s teaching on “Life is Worth Living” every Tuesday night.

When was the moment that the high ground was lowered, beneath even the legalistic model for righteous civil governments? We might debate this matter incessantly, but I personally place it as happening thousands of feet in the air, on a media flight returning from World Youth Day in Brazil, when Pope Francis replied to a question about an active homosexual priest: “Who am I to judge?” It has been all downhill since then! At first many were delighted that a Pope might ‘ease’ the strictness of what had been taught for so many years. But other Christians certainly did not have in mind the worshipping of pagan statues in the Vatican Gardens or in Sacred Space. Slowly, since that ominous event, much more fear than delight has entered into the Vatican smoke. And watch what happens with euthanasia! (Even CV-19 might be an approach to euthanasia, attacking the older population as it does.)

The reason to make this point now is because civil governments have seized the moment to climb onto the higher ground, whatever is left of it, and make the effort to push the Church further down in the ‘world’s’ perception. Church hierarchy has enabled such demeaning of the Bride of Christ through its own misbehavior and sexual abuse perpetrated even at the highest levels. Now every state attorney general can find someone in any diocese to convict for sexual abuse of minors, and further wrest power from the Church through bankruptcy and dissolution of assets.

Thus emboldened, civil governments have gone after the inviolable Seal of Confession in a few court cases, with decisions at times against the Church. Christian bakers have been fined $100,000 for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. We are not far from treating spiritual counseling against homosexual lifestyle and even against transgenderism as being illegal, even felonies. Again, the priests in the confessional will be the target. Feminists also know it is an auspicious time to push for offices to which they have no right, all under the guise of civil rights. And governments at every level insist on funding the murder of the unborn, and even of the just born, ignoring completely matters of conscience based on Catholic Church teaching. So-called Catholics, like Biden and Pelosi, say they are Catholic but flaunt themselves as examples of being Catholic in spite of their obvious sins against the teachings of Christ’s Church. Supposed Catholics present their many sins as political rather than religious issues. Before there was the sexual abuse scandal, there was the utter failure of the Church to speak clearly and profoundly against abortion, and to excommunicate those who cause pubic scandal by their support of abortion. By 1973, the Church had already given up making a satisfactory moral effort to save innocent life. The worst of Vatican II was also exerting its influence.

The Catholic Church of the 1950’s would never have agreed to shut down Mass and Communion; proof is that they did not abandon Mass for the laity during the polio epidemic. That is not to ignore temporary shutting of Churches during the later part of the Spanish flu, in a country shaken over so much death, in and following WWI. The Catholic Church of the 2000’s seems not to have blinked an eye at being ordered by civil government to shut down the Mass and Communion. They appear to be paragons of facilitation and cooperation, except to their own laity. “Be obedient to government” has seemed to become a virtue in the current pandemic. The civil control over the Church is almost complete. No wonder Pope Francis was able to subvert the underground Catholics of China into obedience to the state. But Roman control of civil matters, in the first few centuries after Christ, shows clearly that obedience or lack thereof to civil authorities was an issue for which people died, often very cruelly. Rather than abandon their worship, they hid in the catacombs or became living human torches in the Gardens of Nero.

What are we afraid of in saying “No” to current civil government on matters of worship? This is not exactly a fire department inspection to make sure the extinguishers are current. This is about souls. It is ALL about souls. Look at what LifeSiteNews says about the Governor of Virginia’s using suspension of the Mass to persecute Catholics in particular:

What’s worse is that this is the same governor who has made it a Class 1 misdemeanor to go to Holy Mass.

That’s right — if you go to Mass in Virginia and there are more than 10 people in the church?  That is a maximum 12 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.

This oppression of people attending Mass is very bad news indeed.


3. Hiding behind group opinion

It is reasonable to admire and support the rapidity with which President Trump closed borders to protect America from the coronavirus. He had the power to do so, and took action. However, that should not be extended to any admiration for the rapidity with which the Catholic Church implemented secular demands voluntarily, and without the slightest show of resistance, input, negotiation or dispute from even a small minority of bishops. The bishops of the U.S. find it hard, even in an almost week-long meeting, to decide whether or not to make alterations to the so-called but illusory seamless garment by an unequivocal stance against abortion, as being the most important priority. So how did so many bishops, in about 48 hours, agree on the suspension of Masses in all dioceses in all 50 states, with remarkable uniformity of policy? I just do not “buy it” as being a perfect or even obvious solution.

Dioceses are unique – regarding style of leadership, geography, economics, political environment and so much more! Right in NYS the difference between the diocese of Ogdensburg and the archdiocese of New York would suggest one size does not fit all. Even in the same diocese, churches in a major metropolitan center may coexist with churches in more open and rural areas. But it does not follow that every single church in such a diocese should have the same policy. In some cases, the solution might be just to spread people out more throughout the church to minimize transmitting the virus. In other cases doubling or tripling the number of Masses to be said might be all that is needed to thin the crowd, especially during the week, allowing any of the Masses to satisfy for Sunday Obligation, and of course excusing from such obligation on the grounds of age and relative health. And there would be nothing wrong with insisting attendees at Mass wear face masks to protect others. So many good ideas and accommodations might have been made with dialogue and much more transparency.

The point is s not to get fixated on any particular strategy. The point is that it is just not ‘natural’ for these bishops to virtually agree with each other on such matters, all within 48 hours. It is difficult to believe that bishops didn’t just “Swallow the Kool-Aid” rather than push back against government which has come to dominate them; i.e. to which the bishops have given dominion. In the Ratzinger Report, Josef Cardinal Ratzinger pointed out the weaknesses of the national bishops’ conferences, especially in lack of courage and in watering down positions to the least common denominator.   See:

Furthermore, the USCCB has become infiltrated itself, and lost credibility, with scandalous connections like Catholic Relief Services and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (do a search for CRS and CCHD on this website.) The bishops have no authority as a group unless they all act together which is, in itself, a very difficult goal to achieve.

Personally, I do not believe that, behind the scenes, all the bishops of the USCCB voted to enact the same policies. I believe the policies were dictated by some ‘fraidy-cat’ committee without adequate thought or planning, or perhaps under undisclosed pressures from government or insurance companies. There seemed to be no preparation, which would have indicated a minimum of pre-planning. For example, hundreds of thousands of consecrated hosts remained in Tabernacles throughout the USA when the Monday, March 16th edict was issued; no planning had been made for how to handle the hosts which the laity were about to be forbidden to receive! Note the accompanying picture of a priest outside the church with a table holding a ciborium. Catholics are approaching one at a time to receive outside of the Church (under a canopy protecting from weather.)

Each bishop by virtue of his office has the ability to decide on his own how to implement policies specific to his diocese. That is his right as a bishop, a successor of the Apostles, not to be strong-armed by committees and other bishops. Those details in a diocese could then have been worked out by those who would know the parishioners the best – their own pastors! There is an irony in conferring upon a candidate for priestly ordination the power to forgive a mortal sin and protect a soul from hell, and the power to bring the Body and Blood of Christ to the altar, but not to decide how to handle these civil matters in his own parish!

The usurpation of real power from the bishops seems obvious, not just by government but also by other bishops, and that is very bad news, indeed.


4. What Happened to “Fear Not”?

So, at this point, I have shared some of what was on my mind when I saw the March 16th directive, but there was more. The “Be not afraid” and “Fear not” verses of the bible, seem to taunt church leadership which seems to be running scared. I’m not going to claim to not be fearful; that would be foolish. But there is a matter to be addressed about trusting in the Lord, Who also seems to have been left out of the decision. One quote which came quickly to mind in the ensuing hours of March 16th and 17th was:

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28. (See also Luke 12:4.) There does not seem to be any recognition that the disproportionality between our risk and Christ’s sacrifice has, in its heart, a challenge to pick up our own crosses, even in times of fear and plague. Instead there seems to be an assumption of being safe at all costs. If that is a requirement for pastors, to protect their parishioners from all calls for or expectations of heroic faith, no wonder so many homilies are just ‘feel good sonatas to our own sins.’ No wonder there is a vocations crisis.

Fear is directly linked to a loss of Faith. Five times in the Gospel of Matthew, Christ calls one or more of the Apostles “men of little faith.” That is what Christ said to the Apostles in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee.

“And He said to them, “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?” Then He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.”(Matthew 8:26) Christ identified the matter as insufficient Faith. We hear this verse often, but may not always see the incredible humor in the event. What we know of fishing boats in that age is that they were propelled by wind in their sails. When Christ stops the storm there is a “great calm.” A great calm means no propulsion for the boat. The apostles must now break out the oars and do the work themselves. When we don’t have the Faith to put it all in God’s Hands, we get the opportunity to “do it ourselves.” I imagine Christ’s going back to the cushion which Mark (Chapter 4, verses 38-40) tells us about, with a slight smile on His Face, letting them do the work of rowing themselves. Faith or blisters? A clear choice.
There seems to be lack of faith in this coronavirus situation being exhibited a fairly high levels. Whether the fear is for loss of health, or whether it is fear of the government taking over, is not the key issue. If there is ‘little faith’ what will restore it, except for more tests of our faith, restoring the strength of the salt? Weak faith is bad news, indeed.


5. What about the Visionaries? Is this the End of the World?

What is a bit unnerving in our times are the voices of multiple visionaries who warn some version of “When the Mass stops, the end is very near.” The idea that the Mass might stop, or morph into a form we don’t recognize, has not been much of a fear for those in our midst who are of ‘longer lifetimes.’ Besides, the Mass ‘stop’? How totally unlikely after two millennia! But, wait, isn’t that exactly what we are seeing since March 16th? Well, to be technical, the Mass didn’t stop; priests are still offering Mass (and probably with great attention in many cases) but the laity have ‘lost’ the Mass and we don’t know for how long or if ever. I wouldn’t parse the wording too much. This is an extraordinary event not seen in our lifetimes, except when government takes over and makes the Mass illegal.

We might wonder, then, what did Christ mean when He said to His Apostles: “… when the Son of Man comes will He find Faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8b) It doesn’t sound like something that might be said if Christ expects to find Faith on earth when He returns, which makes it even more difficult to expect to hold on tightly to the Faith we have, without sacrifice, especially The Daily Sacrifice. And isn’t that what the Israelites missed so much when they went into exile? And so, too, we are now in exile.

So, given we are to suffer through these times, one senses that we must be careful about seeing the loss of the Mass as one more Lenten offering (although the time does fit quite well.) Giving up Mass for Lent is not an admirable sacrifice. What saint was told to give up the Mass in order to deepen his spirituality, with any sense at all of credibility? I don’t know. But surely not many. What we can offer up is the pain of being victimized, not so much by coronavirus or even by the government, but of the pain of having our own Church take the Mass away from us. Then where can we turn for guidance? Most parishes have also ended confession, a horribly risky decision. If these are end times, we need confession more than ever. What priest wants to be responsible for holding back confession and the last rites from one of the souls in his care? To not be able to benefit from what Christ has given us is bad news, very bad news indeed.


6. Why We Need the Freedom to Worship Our God as He Intends

The battle between Moses and Pharaoh was about religious freedom for the Israelites, to go into the wilderness “a three days journey” and offer sacrifice. Moses links it also to the fear of plague:

“In Exodus 5:3 we read Moses words to Pharaoh: Then they said, ‘The God of the Hebrews has met with us; let us go, we pray, a three days journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our God, lest He fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.'”

They could not go where they wanted to go, because the Egyptian government wouldn’t let them, and so too for the government restrictions upon us. Can God intend any less toward us to whom He has given so much for our salvation, than being free to worship Him in the Mass and Eucharist? The Benedictus which is said in the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office) each morning mentions something worth our repeating to God in prayer, when we beg deliverance from the current situation:

“He swore to Abraham our father to grant us,

that free from fear, and saved from the hands of our foes,

we might serve Him in holiness and justice

all the days of our life in His presence.”

Regardless of who victimizes us, we still are called to pray to be rescued from this situation. And for our priests to be rescued too, lest through prolonged absence of the laity from Mass hearts harden. God can change it all. I love the quotes from the Old Testament about God’s arm not being “too short” to defend us (sometimes ‘hand’ is used instead of ‘arm.)’

“The LORD answered Moses, ‘Is the LORD’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.’” (Numbers 11:23)

“Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear.” (Isaiah 59:1)

We might consider whether or not obeying man rather than God will yield an even greater punishment. And that could be very bad news, indeed. God offers His great gift, and we stay away? The pelican tears flesh from its breast to feed the young, and we don’t open our mouths? Are we merely the victims of a misguided church policy, or of an opportunistic government? Or both? Will sham obedience increase our victimization even more?  This dilemma is very bad news, indeed.


7. What about the Precedent being Created?

The restrictions associated with Catholic Life in this crisis risk becoming the starting point for the next crisis. The message sent to the secular governing powers is likely to be surprise — surprise at how easy it was to stop public Masses and Communion, for a long and unidentified period of time, and how cooperative the bishops were, more even than the Chinese Underground clergy ordered by the Vatican. We should remember that the precedent being created also has the potential to hurt souls in the future, who are now more likely to be forced to obey civil restrictions already implicitly permitted by the Church.

But this is enough for now. Surely there is enough here to qualify as “very bad news?”


Is your parish live-streaming Daily Mass?

March 23rd, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris


If so, please let us know and we’ll publish the links. Just add as a comment here, or email to . We’ll need the link, the expected Mass time, parish or likely priest’s name if possible.

For solemnity of the Annunciation, view Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral:



Parking Lot Masses (Fr. Z):



Sheltering in Place Revisited

March 21st, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Several people recently have suggested that I re-post the four part series on Sheltering in Place. Actually, it is still on CF, and accessible through the search toolbar under “Sheltering.” But I will give here the links to make it easier. First, however, let me please set in time when it was written. It was after the 2016 election when, although we didn’t know much about Trump, we did realize that the most likely and fearsome candidate had not won, and there was some hope in the light at the end of the tunnel that perhaps egregious persecution of Christians by such things as $100,000 fine for refusing to bake a cake, might get closer examination and rejection. So, at that point the fear of such a government had not subsided, but it was not the driving force behind the posts.

Actually, it had a greater emphasis because of what was emerging from the Vatican. Pope Francis had already been Supreme Pontiff for 4 years, and we were seeing early warnings of where we are today. Changing the Our Father, suppressing traditional orders, changing the Catechism to reject capital punishment and the infamous, “Who am I to judge?” were early warning signals which did influence what I had written. The concept of sheltering in place was as much related to threatened changes in the Faith as to malificent civil or spiritual forces. But, in truth, it wasn’t even a ‘gleam in the eye’ that it could ever pertain to a plague, a pestilence, a pandemic. Nevertheless, I offer the following links, unchanged from where they were in 2017, for ideas to use in the current quarantine.

Links to “Sheltering in Place”

  • Part I in this series began as we should begin, with the importance of our personal commitment to the Faith. Without that, how can we go any further?
  • Part II explained the importance of holding onto truth, and to the resources (many pre-Vatican II) which might someday soon cease to be available, or be distorted in their content. The emphasis was on reading materials since many electronic resources might be unavailable if the grid goes down, or if religious subjects are censored.
  • Part III was entitled “The indispensible priest” with much emphasis on the Sacrament of Confession, and the need for access to a priest who is faithful to the true Catholic faith, and to his responsibility for souls. This part actually set the foundation for:
  • Part IV  “Get the Hell Out!”  This post is about getting rid of what we don’t need, what will injure us or those close to us, avoiding anything or anyone in authority who contradicts what the Church has always taught. Of course it means eliminating our own sin, as a primary responsibility, and as discussed in Part III. But it also means identifying who or what puts our own souls at risk and then getting those elements “the hell out” of our lives, so that we may hold deeply and strongly to the Faith. 

I would analogize Part IV as akin to the Jews ridding their homes of every crumb of leaven before Passover. However long this quarantine lasts, let’s help each other to be ready and emerge from the period in ever stronger Faith.

I hope that re-posting these links will be helpful in the current situation.


Bishops are “all over the map” (revised)

March 17th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

A close follower of CF (thank you, M) found a map constructed by Eric Sammons, showing in black the US dioceses which have shut down the public Mass. That top map is dated on March 16 th at 7:30 PM. The next map is dated March 17 th at 9:30 PM, just over a day apart. So, maybe it’s worth taking a Florida vacation now for spiritual survival?


On second thought, apparently a Florida vacation would not have accomplished much after all! 

It is now midnight, at the threshold of the Feast of St. Joseph, and every diocese in the USA has turned out the lights, literally and figuratively. The score in “We can fix this ourselves” vs. “Prayerful Trust in God” is 50:0. No U.S. diocese has chosen to rely fully on Christ, although a few may have come close.

LifeSiteNews recounted the words of wisdom of Cardinal Burke, one of the two remaining dubia cardinals, and one of the world’s foremost defenders of Catholic orthodoxy. His Eminence reminded Catholics of the power of prayer and God’s sovereignty: “The prolonged assault of the coronavirus naturally leads to sadness and fear, but we know that Christ is the Lord of nature and of history. Using natural means to defend ourselves against the pestilence, we do not forget our primary means of defense: prayer, especially the rosary and Eucharistic adoration.”

Implicit in the 50:0 score is an almost unspoken attribution of the devastatingly high death rate in Italy as somehow related to actions (or lack of action) by the laity in Italy and therefore they are ‘locked out’ in America and elsewhere too. It’s a selling out of trust in the laity; it is a kind of spiritual scapegoating. It is also a marvelous opportunity missed to truly deepen the faith of weaker Catholics by involving them in being part of the solution, and not the problem. 

But if not the laity’s fault, then where do we look for the cause? What I’d hinted at earlier seems on the increase; the reason for the Italian disproportion in fatalities involves, in some way, the Vatican’s selling out of the underground Catholics of China.  See Church Militant article:

The anxiety and angst of “suspending” Masses shows in correspondence of Abp. Alexander Sample of the Diocese of Portland OR. LifesiteNews reported just days ago that Sample had written to his flock: “The celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. It is in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that we encounter the mystery of our redemption, are nourished by God’s Word, and receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. For these reasons, the Church places a grave obligation for the faithful to participate at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.  This fulfills the Lord’s command to ‘keep holy the Sabbath.’” Sample, in so doing, courageously opposed Oregon’s governor, who had prohibited large public gatherings. However, within days, as the governor changed the maximum attendance from 25 to 10 persons, even Abp. Sample joined in the suspension of Masses, expressing great personal pain in doing so. For Abp. Sample’s correspondence, click here: Read the rest of this entry »


Church Militant weighs in on “Mass Confusion”

March 17th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

MASS CONFUSION (Excerpts only; please read the fully linked text)

… some bishops have issue[d] clear statements saying prudence and charity would demand that a person who is ill is dispensed from his or her Sunday obligation … other … bishops just canceled Masses wholesale, shuttered parishes and said little else beyond press release-sounding phrases….

[M]ass-confusion created in the minds of the faithful was, frankly, mind-numbing. Some were not sure if they were dispensed from the obligation, because it was never actually stated that they were. Some didn’t know if they showed up if they’d be turned away because there might be too many people in the Church…. Still others were getting mixed signals about if they could still receive Holy Communion on the tongue because their bishops strongly advised against it. Then they heard their bishops had illicitly forbidden it, while on social media they saw other bishops saying it was okay.  [N]o bishop has the authority to forbid reception on the tongue ….

Others just decided to dovetail their diocesan directives with their state governor’s guidelines of arbitrary crowd sizes …. Various Catholics … told us they just had made private arrangements with priest friends to offer a private Mass. The whole scene is surreal — a Church, in some aspects, going underground — private Masses, secret locations, or at least locations away from public scrutiny.

Frankly, the collective response was more reminiscent of a Keystone Cops movie than the calm, measured hand of authentic leadership… It took the Protestant President of the United States to call for a National Day of Prayer. The best the USCCB could come up with was a series of statements from various committees and subcommittees and a reflection from … Abp. José Gómez.

It doesn’t look like the U.S. hierarchy as a whole is going to provide any real leadership in this health crisis any more than they have provided any real leadership in the half-century, ongoing spiritual crisis — which means the faithful, to some degree, are going to have to fend for ourselves and figure this out on our own.

… the spiritual dimension of all this is actually more threatening than the physical.

Please support Church Militant 


Remnant: “The Church has lost Her Soul”

March 16th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

A “Must-Listen”

Sampling of Responses to this Sermon


Very Bad News

March 16th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

The Mass hasn’t left us; we’ve left the Mass. May God forgive all who have abandoned Him in our moment of greatest need.

Bishop Salvatore Matano has forbidden all public Masses. It is believed that the Albany, Buffalo and Syracuse Dioceses and all Ohio Dioceses have done the same. Bp. Matano does not mention restoration of the Mass, which is of course difficult to predict; however, other dioceses are reported to be saying it will not be before Easter. Here is the content of Bp. Matano’s letter:



There is so much no one can predict, but there is never any question of staying faithful to Jesus. What will happen to all those Tabernacles filled with the Sacred Hosts? Cannot we find a way in which the laity can be fed? What will happen to souls left without their spiritual food? How long will this Chastisement last?

Now the weakness of the hierarchy and the lack of courage of many years is being visited upon the flock, leading us to think not as God thinks, but as man thinks.

Father, please give us this day (and every day) our Daily Bread! Christ taught us to ask for this blessing.


Compare the above letter to the exhortation of Archbishop Vigano (please read):

The Archbishop finishes with the following words:   Open, throw open wide the doors to Christ! Open, throw open wide the doors of our churches so that the faithful may enter in, repent of their sins, participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and draw upon the treasury of graces that flow from the pierced Heart of Christ, our only Redeemer who can save us from sin and death.”

Perhaps it is even more surprising that those words are written by Abp. Vigano specifically in response to closing of the Churches in Italy (since partially reversed), where the death rate is so much higher than in the U.S.  And, how can we not notice the timing of multiple dioceses all announcing at essentially the same time? Choreographed announcements of fear. Cardinal Ratzinger was right when he wrote that bishops’ associations need to “refind personal courage again.” So, let’s consider, just how many people have died in the Diocese of Rochester from coronavirus to precipitate such a radical action?

Lifesite News reports a bishop in Michigan committed to keeping Mass on Sunday:

March 16, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Earl Boyea of the Catholic Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, is continuing Sunday Masses, has urged parishes to keep churches open, to bring Holy Communion to those self-isolating, and is encouraging Eucharistic Adoration and devotion to St. Joseph in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. See:


What kind of protection do we really need?

March 16th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

What kind of protection do we really need?  Isn’t it, most of all, the need to be protected from sin? And to protect the children too? Then why is this scandal tolerated in our midst?



Lepanto Institute has undertaken an in-depth study of  the continuing conflict between Church teaching and Catholic Relief Service’s flow of money, and their evidence points to CRS’s continued undermining of the moral teaching of the Catholic Church. Moreover, CRS also causes bishops and priests to be their agents by promoting Lenten rice bowl collections for CRS’s own nefarious purposes.

It is no excuse to say, e.g., that the rice bowl money doesn’t go to such purposes. Money is fungible. It doesn’t matter how they might segregate it on paper. A ‘dollar in’ is proportionately a ‘dollar out’ for every program CRS funds. Catholics in the pew, people of good heart, trust their pastors and bishops to understand this principle, and only to support what is moral. Especially when it influences children to participate.

What can we do? Certainly give absolutely nothing to the rice bowl collections. If someone has taken a rice bowl home, throw it out and drop the money already collected as extra into the Sunday collection. Or donate it to Church Militant, which has faithfully pursued correction of CRS’s moral laxity.

What else? Remember how just a few months ago we admired the young man from Austria who threw the pachamama idol off the bridge? Do we have anyone in each ‘rice-bowl parish’ with the courage to take and trash the rice bowls? (If you feel that needs to be confessed, perhaps it is better to confess that ‘sin’ anonymously in a parish without rice bowls?)

Furthermore, even if CRS were to word-smith and loop-hole its way out of the worst allegations against it, the perception of CRS’s supporting what the Catholic Church deems to be serious sin would not change. The perception of their courting evil is too embedded to be credibly and effectively changed at this point. What does that mean? It means that the image of CRS outlives even a future attempt to amend itself. That, my friends, is what we call scandal. A persistent, viral scandal.

Does anyone have other ideas to effectively remove this cancerous lesion in parishes? Please comment.


Additional Latin Masses Not Scheduled Yet

March 16th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

St. Patrick pray for us.

Ironically, it was on the Feast of St. Patrick

that the laity received the very bad news that they were no longer welcome

at any Mass in the Diocese of Rochester.

St. Patrick, great missionary to the people of God, pray for us.

Bishop Matano has banned anyone but the priest and deacon

from all Masses, Latin and English, due to coronavirus.

We will suspend listing the usual Latin Mass schedule until Masses are resumed.

Pray for all those who are without the Mass, for whatever reason.

We will also suspend the Latin Mass portion of the ticker during this time.



Votive Mass in Time of Pestilence 3/14/20

March 13th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

On Saturday morning, March 14th, at 11:00 A.M., a Traditional Latin Mass (low Mass) will be offered at St. Felix Church for relief from the pandemic corona virus. The celebrant is Fr. Peter Van Lieshout, pastor of St. Peter’s Parish. The address is 12 Hibbard Avenue, Clifton Springs, NY, 14432, just a few blocks off Route 96 (Thruway exit 43)

The Mass will be the votive Mass designed for times of pestilence, formally entitled the “Missa Pro Vitanda Mortalitate vel Tempore Pestilentiae.” Obviously (and thankfully) this is a Mass that is rarely celebrated. It is reasonable to think that many Catholics in past times lived their entire lives without ever attending this particular liturgy. Now is the time, the urgent time, to beseech the Creator for deliverance. We can easily imagine that this is also the same Mass which would have been celebrated during past crises, such as the bubonic plague, and perhaps — in more recent times — even the Spanish Flu of 1918.


Rochester Diocese guidelines during Coronavirus pandemic

March 12th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

 On St. Patrick’s Day a further revision was implemented by Bishop Matano: the suspension of all public Masses; in other words, priests say masses, but laity not allowed to attend. In practice since then, churches are locked during Mass so no one else can come in. The two objectives seem to be: 1) protect the priests (a dozen have died in Italy) from the laity, and 2) protect the laity from each other.

The full text of the St. Patrick’s Day policy pronouncement can be found here:


What follows below was based on the original release.

The following guidelines will remain in effect until further notice (from the Auburn Citizen):

• Catholics who are sick are asked to stay home.

• Those who feel at risk of exposure to the virus, especially the elderly and most vulnerable, are not obligated to attend Mass.

• The exchange of the sign of peace during Mass is suspended, and there is to be no holding of hands during the Lord’s prayer or any other time during Mass.

• Reception of the Precious Blood from the chalice is suspended.

• Instruction should be given to receive the Sacred Host without any unnecessary contact, such as in the hand, instead of on the tongue.

• Holy water fonts are to be emptied, cleaned and changed regularly, or removed entirely if deemed necessary.

• Only fresh water should be used for baptisms, and fonts are to be cleansed before and after every baptism.

• Attendees of Mass should sit appropriately in the interest of social distancing. If a Mass appears to risk having more than 500 people, or more than 50% of a church’s occupancy, it is advised that an additional Mass be scheduled to distribute the number of worshipers more evenly.

• All ministers should exercise good hygiene, particularly hand washing.

• Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned before and after Mass.

• “Those who are sick and desirous of the sacraments should have recourse to their priests, exercising prudence and charity,” Matano said.

Additionally, Matano said all calendar events should be assessed to determine which are essential and able to be held without difficulty. Education programs can receive guidance from the diocese’s Catholic Schools Office, which is located at Scheduled celebrations of the sacrament of confirmation through April 14 will be rescheduled as well.

For more information, visit


Cardinal Pell’s final trial has begun

March 10th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris


Cardinal Pell
arrives at Court

Cardinal Pell’s application for appeal has been heard;

Keep praying for truth & justice.


RESULT: judges ask for more documentation; reserve decision. 



Tragic Destruction of Religious Life continues

March 2nd, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Church Militant details the story of the Vatican’s abolishing a religious fraternity of traditionalist priests in Italy (summary excerpts shown below):


“The archdiocese of Ferrara-Comacchio announced that the Society of Apostolic Life Familia Christi (Family of Christ) has been suppressed by the Holy See following the conclusion of a canonical procedure that lasted for two years.” The decree was issued Dec. 13, 2019 and published Feb. 28, 2020.

“The priestly fraternity was assigned pastoral care of the parish of Santa Maria in Vado and the rectorate of the Basilica of the Prodigious Blood, the site of an extraordinary Eucharistic miracle which took place on March 28, 1171. When Fr. Pietro da Verona broke the host while celebrating Mass, a stream of blood gushed from it, so vigorous that it hit the vault above the altar. The traces of blood are visible to this day on the right side of the transept of the basilica.”

“Sources said that the suppression of Familia Christi was intended to stamp out the legacy of the previous archbishop, Luigi Negri, one of the last appointments of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.”

It was Negri, who had authorized and installed the Priestly Fraternity of the Familia Christi (FSFC) in the archdiocese of Ferrara-Comacchio….Negri publicly denounced Freemasonry, confronted the LGBT lobby, challenged Satanic sects in his archdiocese, … and condemned excessive solicitude for migrants when Italians in poverty were being neglected.”

See much more, here:  and beautiful site pictures as well. Support Church Militant also by signing up as a Premium User. Pray for priests.


See also background information on the subject diocese: