Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘Diocese of Albany’

Caring about the Most Vulnerable

March 23rd, 2013, Promulgated by Diane Harris

On February 4th, I did a post which railed against the actions of the Diocesan Public Policy Committee in prioritizing that NYS should annually spend about $300 million for what is essentially baby sitting money to low income families, when the lives of babies were being threatened by Cuomo’s so-called “Reproductive Health Act,” (misleading naming as is the case for much legislative activity which should never see the light of day).  The following weekend (Feb. 9-10) those signatures were collected during Masses, and many people dutifully signed what they were handed.

However, the Festival for Freedom Committee (chaired by Deacon Claude Lester), which held a 2-week  USCCB-requested Fortnight for Freedom event last summer,  wanted to go further.   So, on the weekend of Feb. 16-17th, and for two weeks thereafter, signatures were collected in opposition to Gov. Cuomo’s attempts to recklessly expand abortion in NYS.   About 2.5x as many signatures were collected in that petitioning as had been collected for the “baby-sitting” money issue; i.e. a welcome contrast to recognizing that intrinsic evils are a much greater cause for timely opposition than merely distributing taxpayers’ monies on issues of prudential judgment.

In order that people could see they are not working in isolation, or become discouraged, the 879 names on the petition against Cuomo’s “Reproductive Health Act,”  have been posted inside St. Mary’s and St. Bridget’s Churches (i.e. St. Benedict’s Parish.)  Here is a picture of the display:


petitions NYS 001 bright

We do not stand alone in the Body of Christ; we stand together.  And there is no place for toleration of intrinsic evils, or for permitting Cuomo’s pending legislation to destroy life.  I do believe that Catholics need to see more of this kind of mutual support (including from their pastors and bishops) that we all stand together in support of Catholic Teaching.  Kudos to Bishop Cunningham who, it was reported, joined a recent trip to Albany!

It is good to know which of our brothers and sisters in the faith we can count on, and that is why such a display of names is important.  Committee members are hoping more of our churches will make this kind of effort.  There is no issue which should have more spiritual solidarity than the faithful speaking out and acting on behalf of the weakest and most vulnerable, the infant in the womb.  When the governor of a state (or the president of a country) threatens to enact more laws that will further lead to destruction of the most vulnerable human beings, it will not be surprising to see future legislation extended to such abominations as infanticide up to 2 years old, forced abortions especially of ‘less than perfect’ humans, forced sterilization, forced euthanasia, refusal of necessary medical treatment to avoid premature death, and worse.  Much worse.  And, make no mistake, anyone who can permit the killing of a baby in the womb most assuredly is capable of doing much worse.

We are blessed to still have opportunities to ACT.  The sooner people stand together in opposition to atrocities, the more likely they can postpone or avoid having to deal with the next atrocity bound to come.  The next action is a CandleLight Vigil in Albany on April 15th to oppose legislators who

  • so devalue life that they are willing to extend abortion right up to the time of delivery!
  • are so lacking in respect for the mother carrying the child that they are willing to let any old “health care provider” do the dirty work (as more doctors, remembering their oath, decline to do so.)
  • who are so disrespectful of parental rights that children who can’t go on a school bustrip without parental permission can nevertheless have an abortion without a parent’s knowledge or consent!
  • And who willingly undermine the conscience rights of everyone and erode the very essence of the Bill of Rights!

NYS under Andrew Cuomo, is already the Abortion Capital of the U.S.   Abortion up until delivery would make it the Infanticide Capital as well!

Deacon Claude Lester is coordinating the diocesan-wide bus convoy to Albany.  Buses will leave Monday morning, April 15th,   from various points in the 12-county Rochester Diocese, and return that evening.  Cost is $25 for adults, $15 for students.  At about 2:30 PM there will be a visit to legislators, delivering  petitions, showing widespread resistance to the Cuomo catastrophic legislation, followed by CandleLight Vigil and prayer.  Contacts: or phone 585-750-7524.   Reservations and  payment  (Visa or Mastercard or checks sent to Festival for Freedom, PO Box 196, Canandaigua, NY 14424) must be received by Thursday, April 11, 2013.  See also

It is better to light one candle at the Albany Vigil

than to curse the darkness when the lights of life go out.

candles cropped


Bishop Hubbard Speaks Up

July 27th, 2011, Promulgated by benanderson

Bishop Hubbard finally speaks up on contrary-to-nature-unions?  Of course not.  This was posted today on the New York State Catholic Conference’s facebook page:

“A just framework for future budgets cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons. It requires shared sacrifice by all, including raising adequate revenues, eliminating unnecessary military and other spending, and addressing the long-term costs of health insurance and retirement programs fairly.” — Bishops Hubbard and Blaire’s letter to the House of Representatives

Is this honestly and accurately representing the current situation? Is our current debt crisis really about America not treating the poor compassionately enough? Really? Maybe you believe that to be true, but even if you do, you have to admit that there is plenty of room for debate. Why must the USCCB ALWAYS vote democrat on fiscal issues? Rev. Robert A. Sirico offers an alternate view:

There are three important things any legislator must base his decisions on: First, our responsibility to future generations requires that we keep our fiscal house in order. Second, the dignity of individual citizens must be protected by allowing wealth-creating institutions to flourish and respecting the importance of voluntary charitable associations. Third, he should remember the limits of the federal government as set forth in the Constitution.

Speaking of Bishop Hubbard, Thomas Peters reported today that he will be celebrating mass for a dissenting gay/lesbian group. Remember just a few weeks ago when the New York State bishops pretended to defend marriage and people actually believed them?

Also speaking of the USCCB, I’ve heard people mention that they have a copyright on the Bible and actually enforce it. I was finally curious enough, so I checked it out. This is the nearly unbelievable text I found on their site:

Permission must be requested for use of more than 5,000 words from the NAB (or when the use comprises more than 40% of a single book of the Bible or more than 40% of the proposed work).

And they expect rational people to take this organization seriously?

In other news, World Youth Day hasreleased a statement pointing out that one group out of likely hundreds of groups that will be opportunistically present during World Youth Day in Madrid is not “official” and not “accredited.” RealCatholicTV and Michael Voris. Go figure.

Archbishop Dolan and Bishop Hubbard @ Press Conference

March 8th, 2011, Promulgated by benanderson

I’m not sure what Archbishop Dolan’s position on Gov. Cuomo receiving communion is (please share in the comments if you have any info). In a recent press conference he doesn’t state his position when asked, saying it’s “not the time and place”. Meanwhile Bishop Hubbard pounces on the opportunity to give his opinion, while not addressing the actual issues that Peters raised. Nevertheless, pray for all bishops – this clip gives us a glimpse into the intense pressure of the life of a bishop.

The relevant clip from this Q&A session starts at the 3:00 mark and runs to about 5:40.

Cuomo Snubs Bishops

March 4th, 2011, Promulgated by benanderson

As reported by

Apparently stung by a Vatican adviser’s slap at his lifestyle, Gov. Cuomo has declared a holy war [sensationalize much?] with the Catholic Church – saying he’s too busy to meet the state’s bishops here next week.

The Catholic governor, recently roasted over his live-in girlfriend, declared his schedule too crowded to squeeze in Archbishop Timothy Dolan and the other prelates.

The group arrives here next week for the state’s annual Catholic Conference – and historically meets with the governor to discuss a variety of issues.

Conference officials said they reached out to Cuomo about a month ago and got word only Wednesday that he couldn’t make it.

I find this ongoing story fascinating. I’ll bet most progressives will use it to say, “See, I told you so. You shouldn’t have been so mean to Cuomo – now you’ve scared him away.” I believe Peter’s comments (if that’s really what caused the cancellation – the article has no proof of that) actually played out as it should have. Cuomo’s true colors have been exposed. It might force people to actually reflect on what it means to call yourself Catholic. He is always welcome back when he goes to confession and stops living with his concubine. Our bishops must pick up their crosses and follow Our Lord. If that cross is a snub by the gov., then so be it.

Ed Peters is a True Hero

February 25th, 2011, Promulgated by benanderson

Ed Peters is a 21st century hero of our Church.  Why, you ask?  For putting truth and justice above fears of rebuke and ridicule.  He has faced the rebukes of the Diocese of Albany (and Rochester) and not backed down.  I pray that our local hierarchical Church would one day be filled with men with half the courage he has.  This controversy was all over the news yesterday – from Whoopi’s comments, to Cuomo, to the Diocese of Albany.  Peters’ blog was even mentioned by name in the D&C yesterday.  It doesn’t do justice to snip any parts of Peters’ last response hear.  It’s short – go read it:

Albany’s Understanding of Receiving the Eucharist

February 24th, 2011, Promulgated by benanderson

This CNS article gives some background for how we get into messes like Cuomo receiving the Eucharist (as reported early by Mike)

Father Adam Forno occasionally notices parishioners skipping the Eucharist at St. John the Evangelist and St. Joseph parish in Rensselaer, where he is pastor. [Fr. Forno sees this as a bad thing. Another pastor might delight in seeing this.]

Sometimes, a Massgoer doesn’t receive Communion because he or she has remarried without having a first marriage annulled. Other times, it is because of personal shame. [ There’s several reasons for not receiving communion. It’s perfectly acceptable to abstain from the Eucharist. It’s the fact that we make such a big deal out of people not receiving that places pressure on those who should not receive to feel awkward if they don’t. I know a friend who will every once in a while just abstain for the reason of making others feel comfortable with seeing someone stay in the pew.]

“We’ve got some people who just feel they’re not worthy,” Father Forno explained. “People have a strong sense of not being in right relationship with God, and so they honor that by not going to Communion as they were taught. But my sense is that you need Communion more than ever then.” [perhaps, but they should be encouraged to do what they need to do first and then receive in a state of grace (which Fr. Forno does mention later)]

Several pastors throughout the Albany Diocese said they have spotted handfuls of Catholics at their parishes abstaining from the Eucharist, occasionally or habitually. They noted that many parishioners falsely believe being divorced or forgetting to pray are reasons to abstain. [Is it so hard to make this statement more explicit? If you’re divorced and remarried and currently living a full married life, then that is not a false belief. You would be correct to abstain.  If you’re civilly divorced and living a chaste life, then that doesn’t disqualify you. Forgetting to pray sounds perhaps a bit extreme, but should they be pressured to receive if they don’t feel properly disposed?]

Massgoers who stay seated during Communion present pastors and parish leaders with complex tasks of spiritual guidance. [I can’t imagine it’s easy.] Whenever possible, parish leaders are advised to teach about church rules but help people differentiate between mortal and venial sin.

“It calls for such pastoral nuancing,” Father Forno said. “It’s not black and white.”

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, parishioners who are “aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive holy Communion, even if (they experience) deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless (they have) a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession.”

For a sin to be considered mortal, its object must be grave matter and it must be committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent, according to the catechism.

Often, people falsely believe they are in a state of mortal sin because their actions contradict church teaching, said Father Peter Sullivan, assistant judicial vicar to Albany Bishop Howard J. Hubbard. [Heads are buried in the ground here – much more often people are wrong about thinking they are NOT in a state of mortal sin when they actually are.]

Father Sullivan said pastors and spiritual directors should counsel people based on their individual situations. He offered the example of 19th-century Eskimos leaving their elders to die on the ice to prevent them from experiencing long, excruciating deaths without the aid of morphine: Today, this might be considered murder; back then, it was mercy. [gotta love these edge cases.]

“You need to go to Communion, and you can do so very humbly. You’re not doing this with pride; you’re doing this out of a need and out of a command.”

Father Forno recalled the prayer recited immediately before receiving Communion: “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”

“If we say those words and believe it,” he said, “then the Lord should be able to heal (us).” [Certainly the Lord is able to, but we’re Catholics; which means we believe our Lord would want us to follow Church teaching.   Saying the Lord is capable of working good in a bad situation doesn’t mean we should put ourselves in that bad situation. ]

Marianne Lee, a parish eucharistic minister, agrees that few “sit out” Communion, but older Catholics might be influenced by the culture of their youth, when people went to confession more frequently. [those pre-V2 folks STILL haven’t gotten with the times, have they?  We better keep harping on them.]

“There are still some people who feel they need to have the sacrament of reconciliation before they receive,” Lee said. [If you’re in the state of grace it would be wrong to say you NEED the sacrament of reconciliation before receiving, but perhaps they know they don’t need it and merely prefer it. Should we be judging these people?]

Father Paul Catena, pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Margaretville, said he often faces the task of making people aware of outstanding sins. But approaching them about the need for confession before receiving Communion is no easy task. [I don’t suppose it is.]

“It’s hard to go up to somebody and say they shouldn’t,” Father Catena said. “I think every priest struggles with, ‘What do I say? When do I say it?’ The best I can do is try to teach over time.” [I’m sure it’s not easy but, people must be properly informed.  This article makes the question of “who can receive communion” seem like a mystery that no one knows the answer to .]

Christianity, he said, is about continual conversion; followers should always learn and grow in faith.

Church teachings can also confuse Catholics. “They’re not easy to understand,” Father Catena said. “It takes time and effort to understand the teachings, and it takes a certain openness.” [It’s really not that hard to understand. Read this article:

and you’ll know most of what you need to. Why do we pretend that Church teaching is just so hard and so nuanced? It really isn’t all that complicated. I think we’ve got another trilemma on our hands here. Either 1) they are stupid 2) they think you are stupid 3) or they don’t agree with Church teaching.]