Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘Audio’

Not Good, But Not a Gamechanger

May 22nd, 2015, Promulgated by Ludwig

Like many of you, I was distressed to learn of the appointment of Father Timothy Radcliffe to an advisory role on the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Also among the distressed was Al Kresta – revert to the faith and host of Kresta in the Afternoon on Ave Maria Radio.

Since discovering Kresta just a few months ago, I’ve been absolutely hooked. He provides a truly informed perspective on current events that I don’t find anywhere else on radio.

Since his local affiliate only carries the first hour of his program, most CF readers may have missed this segment from the second hour of his Monday, May 18 showKresta Comments: Pope Francis Appoints Pro-Gay Marriage Dominican to Pontifical Academy…What Are We to Think?

For context, Kresta spends the preceding segment recapping Radcliffe’s scandalous statements, with particular focus and criticism on this quote:

How does all of this bear on the question of gay sexuality? We cannot begin with the question of whether it is permitted or forbidden! We must ask what it means, and how far it is Eucharistic. Certainly it can be generous, vulnerable, tender, mutual and non-violent. So in many ways, I would think that it can be expressive of Christ’s self-gift.

Listen to Kresta’s response to the appointment below:

00:00 Introduction
00:58 Bad appointments aren’t new: Bishop Kenneth Untener and The Rainbow Bishop
03:16 What is the role of a consultor?
06:05 Further critique of Radcliffe’s statements and their logical conclusion
08:30 Problems with the appointment: The dialog turns to internal matters
09:32 Pray for Pope Francis: Remembering the admonition to sin no more
11:24 Stray afterthought on speculative theologians

Prof. Cook’s St. Francis Lecture

October 4th, 2012, Promulgated by b a

Originally posted on 2011-01-31. Bumping to the front page today for the feast of St. Francis.

With Prof. Cook’s permission we’re pleased to share his recent lecture.  I thought the lecture was excellent and definitely worth listening to.  Afterwards my friend asked him if he was familiar with the Assisi Institute here in Rochester.  He was not familiar with it, but when my friend explained its syncretic nature he emphatically remarked (my paraphrasing), “Francis never doubted the pope to be the vicar of Christ.  He never questioned the doctrines of the Church and there is no proof to say he was anything but an orthodox Catholic.”  Here’s the audio (the very beginning is the intro which didn’t come through that well – once Prof Cook starts it gets better:


AUDIO: How to Extinguish the Fire of Anger

August 17th, 2011, Promulgated by b a

Another stellar homily from Audio Sancto that is very pertinent to all of us.


Joyful Orthodoxy

June 26th, 2011, Promulgated by b a

What’s better than orthodoxy? JOYFUL orthodoxy! Here’s an audio snip I enjoyed from the recent Calling all Catholics show.

[if you don’t see an audio player and you’re on the site, click the article title “Joyful Orthodoxy” link]

I will concur with what Justin Miller said that there ARE good Catholic groups in Rochester (eg the St. Titus Fellowship he mentioned). They might be more difficult to find than the bad Catholic groups, but they do exist and are waiting for you. If you are not involved – get involved. Don’t let negativity bring you down. If you decide to stay in an unorthodox parish or group to battle for Our Lord remember to rejoice in your sufferings (see the CF banner above). If your parish community continuously brings you down – leave. There is nothing un-Catholic about wiping the dust from your sandals and moving on. If this blog is your only connection to the Catholic community besides mass attendance, step away from the keyboard and seek out some orthodox companions.

And remember – contrary to popular opinion, progressives and liberals do not have a trademark on smiling 🙂
photo credit: Charlie P Clark
Disclaimer: I am NOT endorsing the false stereotype that orthodox Catholics don’t smile enough and are angry and bitter. I think it’s just good to remind ourselves to be joyful and encourage each other from time to time.

Romans 15: 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. 14 I myself am satisfied about you, my brethren, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another.

If you’re looking for a group or a parish, find one you can trust and that won’t be at odds with Church teaching. A very legitimate question should be, “Do you follow Magisterial teaching?” There is nothing in the world wrong with asking such a question. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also interact with people who have differing world views. That’s also important. But having close connections with other orthodox Catholics is much more important.

Somewhat related, I was listening to Dr. Paul Kengor on the 6/17 show of Catholic Answers Live and he fielded a question in which the caller asserted that a professor from Grove City College said, “at no point in scripture did Christ actually identify himself as God.” Dr. Kengor didn’t respond by saying, “hmmm, well the thing is this” or “we have room for lots of opinions here” or “I can’t possibly know what the other professors are teaching”. He had enough confidence in his colleagues to take the caller on directly and said, “Believe me, believe me – it definitely wasn’t here. No way – not here!”

[if you don’t see an audio player and you’re on the site, click the article title “Joyful Orthodoxy” link]

note: Grove City College is a protestant college and I’m not saying their orthodoxy is the same as our orthodoxy, but the point is that it is quite possible the weed out dissenting opinions and actually have some confidence in your organization. Pray that one day a bishop of Rochester would be able to answer a question with such certainty.

AUDIO: Fr. Mayer and Seminarian Justin Miller

June 23rd, 2011, Promulgated by b a

Here’s the audio from Calling All Catholic’s podcast featuring Fr. Mike Mayer and Justin Miller on vocations and the process of becoming a priest:
Great job, fellas!

Fr. Poblocki on Butt-Baptism and Lay Blessings at Mass +more

June 1st, 2011, Promulgated by b a

Fr. Poblocki fielded a couple of interesting questions the other day on Calling All Catholics. The first deals with butt-baptism.  According to himsuch a baptism is not valid. Parents are being deceived into thinking their children are being baptized when in fact they are not. For those who call us nitpicky and whiny, please explain to me how exactly this is no big deal.

UPDATE 2011-06-04 06:22 AM:

I posed the question to Fr. Poblocki because of a discussion thread had on a post by Hopefull on May 10th, 2011.  That’s where the discussion really started.

For documentation to back up what Fr. Poblocki said, here are some links to this thread’s comment section (which turned into quite the back and forth banter):

  • Mike clipped a Fr Z post here
  • Diane gives plenty of resources here
  • So, it is possible that butt baptisms are valid, but not probable.  Perhaps Rome will need to rule for certain at some point.  Diane gives an example of how to request such a ruling here.


The second (not nearly on the same level), but nevertheless something more Catholics should know – lay people should not be blessing people at mass.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bless your children. In fact you should. Here’s a good link Choir sent me a while back:
Bless Your Children

Totally unrelated – my wife and I finally finished the movie “Clare and Francis” (it took us about 3 weeks to get through this 3-hour movie). I can’t tell you how accurate it was, but it certainly got me more interested in a Saint I don’t know much about (not much more than what I learned from Prof. Cook’s lecture). For anyone out there who gets overly distraught about the many bad news type stories – remember to simply live a life of holiness. That’s all God wants of us and that is how real change happens – Holiness!  Sometimes God calls us to stand up for Truth, but we must never let it discourage us. For what could be more joyful than standing up for Our Lord?

And finally, check out Fr. Z’s post “Don’t Be Afraid to Be Pious“. How true it is that we are often afraid of being too pious because we don’t want to give the impression of being holier-than-thou. In fact, being pious should actually send the opposite message – we are a people constantly in need of God’s grace. Along similar lines, have a look at Fr. Mike Mayer’s post on “Don’t Be Afraid to Evangelize“.  I better stop there cause I’m winding all over the place 😉

Pharisee! (Fr. Rick Poblocki style)

May 14th, 2011, Promulgated by b a

What’s the best way to spend a commute home?  By calling Calling all Catholics on The Station of the Cross (1460AM and home of iCatholicRadio). I asked Fr. Rick about being a pharisee and then I threw in a bonus question as well. If you call the radio and would be interested in having it posted – shoot me an email and let me know.

Speaking of The Station, if you’re not getting their monthly newsletters, be sure to sign up.

A couple more thoughts on the charge of being pharisaical or uncharitable…
see here:

and here:

Perhaps I’ll make this the go-to page when people charge us of being pharisees. If you have any other links or comments in this regard – post them in the comments. Thanks!

Calling All Catholics w/ Fr. Mike Mayer

May 7th, 2011, Promulgated by b a

This past Wednesday (Star Wars Day), Rochester’s own Fr. Mike Mayer ( was on 1460’s Calling All Catholics.  Fr. Mayer did a bang up job and I hope they’re planning on having him back.  His zeal for evangelization is exciting and I pray that his priesthood here in the DOR will be a long one.


Fr. Poblocki on Missing Mass

March 7th, 2011, Promulgated by b a

Continuing in a recent discussion on missing mass, I asked a question of Fr. Rick Poblocki.  Have a listen:


First Century Jewish Religious Education

February 24th, 2011, Promulgated by b a

Bishop Clark (from The Fire in the Thornbush – I’ll have more on this later):

“Jesus treated women as human beings in an age which forbade the religious education of women”

Fr. Rick Poblocki:


Catholic Radio Rocks

February 10th, 2011, Promulgated by b a

Welcome home, Alice!  You’re asking questions of the right people.  I wonder how many stories, like Alice’s, are out there (I myself am one).  Behold the power of Catholic Radio!

And topical to our recent debate on the Latin mass.  There’s just too many gems in this show to pull one snippet out:

I haven’t yet listened to this show w/ Cardinal Arinze, but I’m sure it won’t disappoint.

All three of these shows were broadcast in the last week.  If you’re not listening to Catholic Radio, you’re really missing out.

Sharing the Pulpit w/ Protestants?

February 2nd, 2011, Promulgated by b a

Yesterday on The Station of the Cross’s (1460 AM) “Calling All Catholics” show, Fr Rick Poblocki fielded an interesting question pertaining to a local pastor sharing his pulpit with a non-Catholic minister for Christian unity week. “Calling All Catholics” is a great resource and is super easy to ask questions. You can do so by calling 1-877-511-5483 (1-877-511-LIVE), via facebook, or via email. Here’s the audio:


Don’t Be Discouraged….

January 13th, 2011, Promulgated by b a

scandal might actually validate the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  This audio clip is from the 2011-01-11 show where Patrick Coffin talks about his audio set “Getting Started w/ Apologetics”.  Also of interest this week on CA Live is the 2011-01-10 show featuring Jerry Usher talking about his website


Sr. Pat on Sexual Ethics (part 6)

July 21st, 2010, Promulgated by b a


This is the last installment of the “Sr. Pat on Sexual Ethics” series.  This is the longest clip (15 min.).  You can also listen to (or download) the session in its entirety near the end of the post.  Let’s just get right to it.


Papal infallibility as it relates to Moral theology

  • David Reed, Papal infallibility is “Celebration of consensus”
  • Bishop McQuaid, did not vote on infallibility (not questioning his courage?)
  • This is somewhat on topic, somewhat not. As Sr. Pat says, we shouldn’t treat teachings that aren’t given papal infallibility as optional. And that is somewhat fitting because the “sure norm” CCC flies in the face of what Sr. Pat is proposing.

Polygamy question

  • Polygamy is bad for children (only reason it’s bad?)
  • Why can’t church stretch for African culture?

BDA’s question whether you could relate that to town of Corinth?

  • “Not familiar with struggles of Corinth”. Really? I find that hard to believe.
  • “Not sure a parallel can be drawn”
  • It’s not a perfect analogy, but analogies are never are. My point in bringing up Corinth was that the Church shouldn’t pander to the world, but instead should call the world to rise above its immorality. The idea that things are different now and we need a new perspective because Jesus didn’t anticipate the 21st century is just bogus.
  • Our honest friend says it’s different because of the religious connection. I disagree because I think everything is religious. And that’s one reason why “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual” doesn’t make sense. Religion encompasses everything and everything we do is about religion. Some people may say they don’t have a religion, but alas, they do. They just call it by a different name, like atheism, or hedonism, or materialism, or secular humanism.


does the Church continue to teach as she always has? yes
are people (trained theologians) questioning? yes

every 5 years bishops go to Rome and report on their problems
I’m assuming that the main questions are those about, “please change Church teaching

Really? I will offer another speculation. I would speculate that the majority of contact to Rome from the laity (whether funneled through a bishop or direct) is complaints about heterodox nonsense. But, of course, I have no evidence for that so it’s only speculation.

every church is questioning this stuff

no – not every one. Conservative Evangelicalism has stood strong. It’s only the mainline Protestant denoms that have liberalized. And just like the Catholic left is slowly dying away while the right is growing, so it is with Evangelicalism. This is the Evangelical Catholic Debt.

Jim Keenan, Theologian Jesuit Priest?

“another good topic? annulments.”  So topics that are good for discussion are ones in which people like to complain about Church teaching? How bout we talk about positive aspects (although I’m not conceding that TOB isn’t very positive), like Church history, the Saints, the Eucharist, living a prayerful and faithful life, etc.

And again, here’s the flyer I handed out. Notice that Neil Young’s Helpless is playing in the background. That’s a good way to describe Catholicism in the Diocese of Rochester until these progressivist ideas are put in the garbage where they belong. As the flyers are going around, you can faintly hear it from Sr. Pat’s own lips, “this is authentic Church teaching”.

The major rebuttal I have to Sr. Pat’s entire message is that Jesus calls us to conversion. This is not merely a recognition of his lordship, but it requires an aggressive act of the will. This conversion is not our own doing – the power comes from God. But we must allow him to work. If we put up our defenses and say, “I will not allow God to change me”, then we have no hope. Sr. Pat’s message is sad. It lacks the message of the Gospel. It lacks God’s offer of redemption because it refuses to admit the need to be redeemed. Jesus actual message is so obviously missing from Sr. Pat’s message. Here’s but one example. Read the Gospels for 15 minutes and you’ll find many more. This is the story of the rich man who couldn’t give up his great wealth to follow Jesus. I believe the common understanding is that we all have things we cling to that we must be willing to give up for God. Notice that Jesus does not run after the man saying, “no – don’t go. we’ll find a way to accommodate you.”

Mark 10

21Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

24The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is[e] to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

26The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

27Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

28Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!”

29″I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

My personal favorite money quote from Sr. Pat. This, I believe, tells the whole story of what she believes:

Church is a long way away from recognizing the sacramentality of same-sex marriage

So you see, she is presuming that “same-sex marriages” are already sacramental, but that the Church just doesn’t recognize them. For those people that agree with her on this, I would just say, “fine, but go promote your ideas elsewhere. You are lying in that you are falsely advertising. If I urinate in a coke bottle and attempt to sell it as bona-fide coca cola, do you think that the Coca-Cola Company might have something to say about that?”

So, why does someone like Sr. Pat remain a Catholic? Why not be Anglican? Why even be a Christian? Allow me to speculate. There is in every person a desire to do good, to reach beyond oneself and work for a cause that is a greater good. People like Sr. Pat think that the greater good is to reform the Church. I’ve used the following passage before and I think it hits the nail on the head. It is from a recent novel, “The Death of a Pope”. What’s really scary about this character’s rant is that he sounds eerily similar to something you’d read in many of the mainstream “Catholic” circulars.

‘That is the tragedy of the Catholic Church. It could be – it could be – the most powerful, the most effective agency for bringing justice to the world, but always the charism of thousands is thwarted by the diktat of one or two old men.’… ‘the infallible interpreter of God’s will on matters as abstruse as the Immaculate Conception and as banal as condoms’

‘But we cannot escape the fact – those of us raised in the Catholic faith – that our Church has a huge influence in the world, for good or for evil, and that influence depends on the mentality of one old man who puts another old man in charge of the Holy Office and appoints other like-minded old men as cardinals who in turn will choose another old man who thinks like them to be the next pope! It is an unending cycle of senility and reaction that brings misery to the world!”

How does sexuality relate to this desire to change the entire direction of the Catholic Church? See Mike’s comment in the part 1.

What we’re up against is not benign, but malignant. The Bishop makes very ambiguous statements to the public (scroll down that page for some very well written responses). Many people read his words and think, “there’s nothing wrong with that – he’s so loving”, and there’s certainly truth in that. But many don’t realize what is going on behind the scenes. I hope to have presented some of that to you and “raised awareness” about heretical teachings. I hope that I’ve also provided enough resources for encouragement. The Catholic Church isn’t simply saying NO to promiscuous sex, it’s saying YES to God. That YES is true happiness. Yes, it’s pretty depressing when you think how bad things have gotten here in Rochester, but keep praying because the winds are changing. Many areas of the country are witnessing a revival of orthodox Catholicism. In just a few short years, we might be able to look back and say that we’ve turned the corner.

Want to know why Catholicism has been plummeting in the area? Watch Archbishop Dolan’s press conference. Many, many excuses, “the culture is different. People used to go to mass on Sundays and now they don’t”. Granted external cultural forces have been strong and certainly contributed to declining attendance, but teaching secular humanism and calling it Catholicism isn’t going to make anyone wake up early on Sunday. If I were an honest young person looking for some guidance and I went to this TOT where I heard nothing about God, prayer, fasting, Eucharist, or Church and instead only heard people proposing that any lifestyle is acceptable, then I would not go back to TOT. I might go back to the bar, but not with the same intentions. Try preaching the Gospel instead – it’ll work wonders!

I’d also encourage those that are able to show up at diocesen events like TOT. Let’s not just sit back and complain. Let’s meet these heresies head on. And now for a WWCS (what-would-chesterton-say) moment:

In short, the rational human faith must armor itself with prejudice in an age of prejudices, just as it armoured itself with logic in an age of logic. But the difference between the two mental methods is marked and unmistakable. The essential of the difference is this: that prejudices are divergent, whereas creeds are always in collision. Believers bump into each other; whereas bigots keep out of each other’s way. A creed is a collective thing, and even its sins are sociable. A prejudice is a private thing, and even its tolerance is misanthropic. So it is with our existing divisions. They keep out of each other’s way; the Tory paper and the Radical paper do not answer each other; they ignore each other. Genuine controversy, fair cut and thrust before a common audience, has become in our special epoch very rare. For the sincere controversialist is above all things a good listener. The really burning enthusiast never interrupts; he listens to the enemy’s arguments as eagerly as a spy would listen to the enemy’s arrangements. But if you attempt an actual argument with a modern paper of opposite politics, you will find that no medium is admitted between violence and evasion. You will have no answer except slanging or silence. A modern editor must not have that eager ear that goes with the honest tongue. He may be deaf and silent; and that is called dignity. Or he may be deaf and noisy; and that is called slashing journalism. In neither case is there any controversy; for the whole object of modern party combatants is to charge out of earshot.

<<fr loya>>” width=”347″ height=”864″ /><br />
Want to know more about Theology of the Body? Don’t miss one of these events!</p>
<p>The Church’s authentic teaching on human sexuality is a hidden treasue. It is not something to be ashamed of, but rather when embraced and lived out daily, helps us to be the people God created us to be.</p>
<p>“When you decide to firmly live a clean life. Chastity will not be a burden on you; It will be a crown of triumph.” – St. Josemaria Escriva</p>
<p><strong>Audio</strong><br />
<a href= (search for “chastity”)

If You Really Loved Me: 100 Questions on Dating, Relationships, and Sexual Purity by Jason Evert

Sex Au Naturel: What It Is And Why It’s Good For Your Marriage by Patrick Coffin

Good News About Sex and Marriage: Answers to Your Honest Questions About Catholic Teaching by Christopher West

Theology of the Body by John Paul the Great

Web Sites (search for “chastity”)

And finally the session in its entirety:


Sr. Pat on Sexual Ethics (part 5)

July 16th, 2010, Promulgated by b a


WARNING: Don’t listen to this if you’re about to go to bed or drive a motorized vehicle. Make sure you leave yourself some time for an activity to get your mind off of the nunsense you’re about to hear.

And now onto Sr. Pat on interpreting scripture. Remember, folks, this isn’t just some random lady off the street. This is the president of St. Bernard’s – the person responsible for training many of our parish leaders – your CMA dollars hard at work. If you’re reading this and you think I’m being too much of a stickler please let me know. As I’ve said many time, my theological viewpoint is simply catholic. If I am saying anything out of line with Church teaching, I’d like to know.

If your interpretation of scripture is, this is absolutely and directly to me God’s word I don’t think there’s any question beyond that … There are those interpreters of scripture though that say the Hebrew Bible is a collection of books as is the new testament a collection of books with certain agenda in mind, and so the interpretation of those 6 passages has become one of the points of discussion in this conversation

quoting Casey Lopata, “Had the knowledge been available to the writers (of the Bible)….we didn’t choose a sexual orientation….we just are….” “if they had known what contemporary theology and contemporary psychology would have known…”

update: Casey Lopata is a key member of Fortunate Families. On the face of it, this seems like it could be a truly commendable ministry. People who either have SSA themselves or who have a close family member with SSA should certainly have a place to turn. However, from looking through the Fortunate Families website, it seems they take it a step further and condone the homosexual lifestyle. This is a free country and people are free to do that. Once you start doing that, you must be honest and realize that you’d have to repudiate your Catholic faith. Catholicism and the homosexual lifestyle are mutually exclusive. As with all people, we Catholics believe that our sexuality is so ingrained into who we are and that it is so beautiful that it can only be truly expressed in marriage. The close relationship between the diocese and organizations like this is very suspect.

I do not hold that God wrote the books of the Bible Bible.

BDA is getting a little fired up, “That’s a fundamental denial of the Catholic faith”
Before we get too crazy with this quote (as BDA did), let’s admit that in a certain sense we agree. We don’t believe that God dropped the books of scripture out of the sky and I think that’s what she’s getting at here. However, given the context of the rest of her statements, I do get the sense that she means this in a more literal way than would be acceptable for a Catholic

BDA still fired up and perhaps reaching a little when he says, “that’s not Catholic”.  Perhaps her literal words would be considered acceptable Church teaching – I don’t have time to grapple with that.  But there are things that she seems to be implying that aren’t inline with Catholicism:

  • she seems to be implying that she doesn’t believe in Biblical inerrancy
  • she seems to be implying that Paul did not write the epistles traditionally ascribed to him
  • she seems to be implying that individuals are free to interpret scripture apart from Magisterial teaching authority

I’ll comment more on these points as we go.

Next we really slide into biblical relativism

another commenter, “I feel bad for Lot’s wife”

and the typical “head coverings” text often quoted by non-Christians to prove that we’re not consistent with Scripture.  Of course, there are answers to all of these questions.

Someone in the crowd mentions Dei Verbum.  The church doesn’t provide interpretations of everything in the Bible.   “That’s not a Catholic way of viewing Scripture.”

They’re starting to attack a straw man here because that’s not really what I was saying.  Let me be clear that quoting Dei Verbum is a good thing.  However, Dei Verbum does not say that we can interpret scriptures however we want.  The Catholic Church teaches biblical inerrancy. This doesn’t mean we take a literalist view of scripture, but we do believe that we must hold to a literal interpretation. We hold that the original intent of the author is the infallible word of God. Sometimes this “original intent” is disputed. For example, perhaps the authors of Jonah and/or Job originally meant it to be a fictional tale. The creation story also may have been  meant to be taken figuratively. This doesn’t mean, though, that the Bible contains mistakes, it simply means that we have to take into account many factors when reading scripture. We need to understand the context and the author’s original intent.  When an epistle of the New Testament starts off with “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus,” it’s pretty clear that the author is claiming to be Paul (not a community of believers).  When Paul says something like “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body”, it’s pretty clear what he means. So, if Paul did not write the epistles attributed to him and he put certain restrictions on sexuality that are no longer valid, I don’t know how you can square that with Church teaching. Even if you were free to step out of bounds of Church teaching and say that Paul didn’t write the epistles, most liberal scholars admit to at least 7 of the Pauline Epistles as being authentic.

A good and honest question from Christopher, “I’m just confused how do “we interpret the Bible”, I just thought the Church was there to help us interpret the Bible because the Bible says that the Church is the “pillar and foundation of Truth” and the protestants hold a different viewpoint on that…..?

Don’t take up James Hanigan’s book (previously he was a good standing Catholic)… Don’t even look at the scripture, just keep on looking at the teachings…

I’ve heard this take on “turn the other cheek before” and I would agree that is is very enlightening. However, that applies to one particular quote of Jesus. You can’t jump to the conclusion that because one quote of Jesus is often misinterpreted that I can now interpret any other passage of scripture however I want.

Some people say the Bible is still being interpreted by the people of God… ya’ll have a different.. and that’s fine

I appreciate the inclusivity she offers. However, we are Catholics. We have boundaries on what we’re allowed to hold to (and especially teach to others). Sr. Pat has overstepped those bounds and more importantly presented official church teaching incompletely and in a very negative light.

let’s keep looking at scripture and uncovering what’s there

I’d agree in the sense that we should continually delve into scripture so as to drill deeper and deeper and make it a part of our everyday lives. But that’s a significantly different thing than saying we should stare at scripture until our vision blurs and we can make the words say whatever we want them to.

Some other random articles I found while researching this topic:

For the youngins trying to rationalize having sex:

For those trying to present the case that you can be both Catholic and supportive of the homosexual lifestyle:

Doctrine vs Discipline
The Slippery Slope of Sexual Sin
What Is Biblical Criticism—and Should We Trust It?

Biblical Criticism

Sr. Pat on Sexual Ethics (part 4)

July 14th, 2010, Promulgated by b a


I’ll not comment as much before this clip as the discussion w/in the actual session is starting to liven up. We start with a question from Christopher, who is an active commenter to the blog and forum.

I don’t know much about Charles Curran except that he’s a dissenter and that I prayed for him on Sunday. Perhaps someone in the comments can enlighten us or provide a link.

Other interesting notes from a friend who helped me transcribe this series

30:00 – Sr. Pat looks around for other questions but BDA (bull-dog-apologist) is only one holding hand up, “Question from someone else who hasn’t spoken?” LOL

If you’re still depressed, go pray a decade of the Sorrowful Mysteries and remember that our suffering is minor compared to that of Our Lady and Our Lord!

Sr. Pat on Sexual Ethics (part 3)

July 12th, 2010, Promulgated by b a


So far in this series, we’ve gotten some great insights and discussions in the comments. I thank all the comment contributors for that and hope that you keep it up. I’m no expert theologian or anything. I’m just a guy who has read a few Church documents and scratch my head when I hear Church leaders teach something to the contrary. I think Gen mentioned somewhere, “don’t shoot the messenger, people, we’re only regurgitating what YOUR Church teaches.”

I’ll also note that we don’t claim to be any holier than anyone else (Sr. Pat, Bishop Clark, etc). Often times here at CF, we get accused of having a holier-than-thou attitude. Actually, I believe it’s quite the contrary. An analogy used by Catholic Answers Patrick Coffin (I think first proposed by Frank Sheed) when Protestants say Catholicism isn’t true because they personally know some Catholics who aren’t very Christian, “don’t judge the medicine by the people who don’t take it.” Extending this medical analogy a little further, I’d say that we here at CF are simply people who are acknowledging that we are sick. We are in need of a doctor. We have taken the medicine and it is good. We can attest to the change the good doctor has brought about in our lives and we wish to share that medicine with the world. This is the paradox of Christianity. More than any other religion, Christianity recognizes that man has been mortally wounded. GK Chesterton says that original sin is the only provable Christian doctrine. The story, however, doesn’t end there. God has offered us His son and by accepting his saving grace we have the opportunity of allowing Him to transform us into His likeness. This grace is not merely imputed as Luther believed, but it is infused into our very nature. This transformation starts while we are here on earth. So the paradox is that Christ calls us to what seems like the impossible:

Mark 8:31-38
34Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever wants to save his life[c] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 38If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

but He always gives us the grace to follow His will:

Matthew 11:29-30
29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

A few more random observations before we jump into the audio… I’ve been pondering how the Gospel changes if one were to concede to the world on moral issues and cower away from tasks that might seem difficult on the outside. I offer you a few analogies. You can make up your mind whether these might relate or not.

Blind Man: “Sir, I cannot see”
Jesus: “Stand up, walk, and hold your head up high for you have no need of sight. You are just fine the way you are.”

The apostles response to the Holy Spirit at Pentecost:
“No, Holy Spirit, we can’t possibly do what you’re suggesting. That sounds much too difficult. Have you really thought this through?”

Here’s a clip from the 2nd hour of the 07/02 show of CA Live I thought relevant:

One of the ways I feed myself spiritually is by listening to the mass readings via podcast. Each day (especially today) as I’m listening I think, “wow! this is so fitting to our situation here in Rochester.” Isn’t it funny how scripture, when taken as a whole, can really illuminate everything?

Forgive me for going on and on. As both anon and Richard mentioned, it’s like “shooting fish in a barrel”. We could spend all day pointing out her errors, but alas, onto the next clip. Don’t forget as you listen to this that this is your CMA money hard at work and that this is the president of St. Bernard’s, the person responsible for educating many of our diocesan leaders.

questions not just w/in the Catholic church, but also the anglican church, the presbyterian church, the methodist church…

Everyone else is doing it, so why don’t we? I’ll also note that splits in these churches is the Catholic Church’s glory. Jesus prayed that they all may be one. The more they split, the more convincing the Catholic Church becomes.

sexually mature at 13

Just because you can means you should?

maybe fornication is ok if it’s between two people who intend to get married

“Far graver is it to corrupt the faith that is the life of the soul than to counterfeit the money that sustains temporal life.” -St. Thomas Aquinas

more talented adults go to grad school and so on

I think it’s debatable whether the more talented people go on to grad school or whether those people aren’t ready to start life 🙂 Ok – that’s a gross over-generalization, but I think our society too often gives credence to people with long titles.

Eventually this session opens up with to some questions. I’ll be discussing some of these questions and comments as we move along. To make it easier to write out, I’ll assign names to a couple of the voices in the crowd. The voice of the “are we ever?” response as to when are we psychologically and economically ready to get married, we’ll call BDA (bull-dog-apologist) for short. His wife can attest to the truth in the “are we ever?” comment.

marriages used to only last 15 years. Now they are lasting much longer

Let no man put asunder. The God-man creator of the universe couldn’t have anticipated this.

we all recognize marriages break down

Marriages don’t break down. People break down. There are a million and one resources out there now to build up marriages. I’ve included a video below of just one of these. Marriage can be difficult (I know), but God can help. He always does!

I teach from a book now….’Reason in search of faith” Richard Buller

I couldn’t find the man or his book with a quick google and amazon search. Anyone familiar?

the church has always taken as its primary source of human reason (natural law), but in the last 40 years the Church had to say, “moral theologians you ought to get a Bible and read it once in a while

Two falsehoods in one statement! The primary source of the Church is human reason? And she endorses the anti-Catholic myth that prior to V2 Catholics were discouraged to read the Bible. This is quit comical. Her theology is based on the fashions of the times and on an APA decision that was highly politicized, but since she’s trying to claim that the “old theology” was only based on natural law (and not the Bible), she tries to claim that the Bible was discouraged prior to 40 years ago. This is just getting pathetic.

BDA: Are you familiar with the theology of the body?

A little bit. Rooted in natural law and mainly in the physicality of sex.

No, actually JP2 drills much deeper than that. Get the book!

3 times now she’s mentioned the APA. I’m beginning to think perhaps she does believe in divine revelation – just from a different source.


Suggested Campfire Kindling: “Reason in search of faith” Richard Buller (sp?)

Sr. Pat on Sexual Ethics (part 2)

July 10th, 2010, Promulgated by b a


Picking up “after midnight”, we remember Sr. Pat having described in full the Church’s teaching (and their sources) on sexuality in less than 15 min and with no mention of God’s revelation, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the fact that these issues (masturbation, homosexuality, and contraception) are not new and have been around since the beginning of time, or the teaching of Pope John Paul the Great.  She’s now about to egg on the crowd to have her speak to the “questions” that naturally arise.  Before we continue, I have a few comments.

In the previous post, and intermittently throughout this series, we’ll hear Sr. Pat mention her desire that everyone attend St. Bernard’s.  I would highly discourage anyone from doing so or participating in any other educational programs endorsed by the DOR.

On a somewhat related topic, I’m sure many of us have read Bishop Clark’s latest Along the Way column in the Catholic Courier.  In the spirit of openness and dialogue which is supposedly promoted by the DOR and by Sr. Pat, I made this comment on the Catholic Courier’s facebook page.

I believe the Bishop’s statement is somewhat (purposefully?) ambiguous and that he should clarify exactly what he means.  If he means that we should love homosexuals while not condoning their lifestyle, then he should explicitly say so.  I think we’re all a little confused, though, when one of his most prominent leaders (the president of St. Bernard’s seminary) clearly teaches things that aren’t in line with Church teaching
<<inserted link to Sr. Pat on Sexual Ethics (part 1)>>

The above quote is paraphrased based on my memory as they quickly deleted my comment.  I guess they’re not as open to dialogue as they claim they are.  Perhaps I will try next to leave a comment on the Catholic Courier’s main site.  Perhaps others will try to do so as well.

update: When I originally posted this I missed the fact that there are comments questioning the bishops column on the Catholic Courier’s site. This was pointed out by Nerina in the comments below. My apologies for overlooking this.

Enough hullabaloo, let’s cut to the chase.  This next snippet isn’t quite as long as the first as I’d like to dissect it a little more and allow for our readers to offer some more insightful comments.


note: The following quotes are all paraphrases. I don’t have the time to make sure they’re all 100% correct and since I have included the source, you can hear for yourself.

If you want me to, but I wouldn’t force this on you….Certain questions have arisen about that teaching…..from society and even from people within the church…and even from theologians and pastors…Maybe this ethic needs to be stretched a little

Oh, please, Sr. Pat, please don’t spare us from your wise and enlightening dissenting opinions.

aren’t you all in college, where life is happening?  Everything new is emerging?

There is nothing new under the sun

Doesn’t natural law dwell too much on physical, doesn’t attend to emotional.

There are answers to this in Theology of the Body.  Get the book. I would think a PhD moral theologian would be interested in in what her Holy Father has to say.

Notice that all of her dissenting questions are based on a false premise. Sr. Pat incompletely described why the Church teaches what she teaches thus it becomes much easier to present arguments for why the Church could be wrong.

grandparents wouldn’t receive counseling

huh?  Not sure where she’s going with this except that she’s trying to group together everything before 1973 as “bad”. Just to be clear, people who hold to traditional Christian morality are capable of incorporating newer techniques.

Let’s play golf, let’s have cocktails

Again, huh? I’m guessing again this is only said to imply that all people and ideas prior to the Vatican II were ignoramuses.

1973 American psych institute “Gay and lesbian people are as normal as straight people”

Yeah, so what? Even if that statement is true, it still doesn’t imply that the Church should change it’s teaching. It’s “normal” for me to be attracted to a clantily scad woman walking down the street, but that doesn’t mean I should give into my inhibitions.

Adds dimension that the church is not quite ready to handle

hmmm… “not ready to handle”. I’m getting tired of responding to these statements. Perhaps others can pick it up in the comments. I would say that this is somewhat falsely portraying Church teaching. Since saying people are “asking questions” is a good way to hide behind making allegations, I’ll ask a question… “when do such false statements become slanderous?” see: slander-what-it-is-and-what-it-isnt

The Ten Worst “Catholic” Hymns

July 9th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

I found this immeasurably affirming.

Keep in mind that Cleansing Fire has rewritten several of these to reflect our “subversive demeanor.” We will hopefully be recording these within the next several months.

Sr. Pat on Sexual Ethics (part 1)

July 8th, 2010, Promulgated by b a


UPDATE: If you want to cut to the chase and listen to the full audio, here it is:
If you want a transcript, click here.

Last night I had the joy of attending my second Theology on Tap session. Although Sheridan’s Irish Pub was a good host, I must say that the content was not nearly as good as the one I attended last year. Instead of making this one long post which would probably take me weeks to do and bore you all to death, I’m going to follow Bernie’s lead and post it as a series.

In one discussion I had after the session ended, this person (with whom I enjoyed talking) mentioned to me that they were surprised that someone of my theological viewpoint would be found in a bar.  I assured them of my love for beer and in that spirit I am currently sipping a Genny Cream Ale as I write this.  That’s right folks – only the best for this CF blogger.  I should also note that my specific theological viewpoint is simply Catholic.

This Theology on Tap session featured as the speaker Sr. Patricia Schoelles, PhD, SSJ. Sr. Pat is the president of St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry.  Remember folks, your CMA dollars are hard at work here.  This is the person responsible for training many of our parish leaders.  From what I heard from Sr. Pat, it seems as though she does not see the Catholic Church as a holy institution created and sustained by an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God.  Instead, she presents it as a man-made institution as an end in and of itself.  If you’re skeptical of the assertion I’ve just made, rest assured that you will have the opportunity to come to your own conclusion as you listen for yourself.

My reason for attending this session was twofold; 1) to see if St. Bernard’s teaching is really as suspect as I’ve heard people say it is and  2) to share the positive impact that John Paul II’s Theology of the Body has had on my life. To accomplish the latter, I printed out 30 copies of this flyer.

Sr. Pat will say a few things that are problematic and don’t square with Church teaching.  I will address those things as we work through this series.  However, I think what’s much more problematic is not what she said, but what she didn’t say.  An analogy can be made to sins of commission versus sins of omission.  Consistent with most of the messages presented by this diocese, God is an afterthought.  In my life experience thus far I can tell you that when I take my eyes off of Jesus and focus only on the problem at hand I find myself faltering just as St. Peter did.  I’m as baffled now, as I was then, as to how a Catholic can give a talk on sexual ethics w/out even mentioning John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, but that’s exactly what Sr. Pat did. She presents Church teaching in about the most negative light you possibly could.

Without further ado, let’s get to it.  This introductory audio clip will probably be the longest in this series.  Sr. Pat has already begun talking before the audio recorder was turned on, but if I remember correctly I don’t believe we missed much.  At the end of the series, I’ll post the session in its entirety.  Don’t be turned off by the quality of the audio at the beginning.  It either gets better or your ears will adjust.


So there you have it, folks. The 70s called – they want their theology back. According to Sr. Pat, there are 2 sources for the Church’s teaching on human sexuality:

1) Order of the Entity.  (the good of society and economics)

2) Natural Law.  And of course this was an extremely primitive and medieval understanding of natural law unenlightened with the biological and psychological scientific data that we have available for our use today.

I assume most of us are educated enough to realize what’s missing here, but I’ll let you chew on it first.  Feel free to offer your opinions in the comments.  Here’s a hint to get us started.

You may also have noticed Jefferson Airplane’s Somebody to Love playing in the background:

When the truth is found to be lies
and all the joys within you dies
don’t you want somebody to love
don’t you need somebody to love
wouldn’t you love somebody to love
you better find somebody to love

Why, yes, I do want somebody to love and I’m sure glad He loved me first.  His name, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth.  As I listen to this again, I find myself paying more attention to the background music.  Another very fitting message you’ll hear is from the book of Ecclesiastes in the Byrds’ rendition of Turn! Turn! Turn!.  Surely the hosts preplanned this music!