Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘DoR Catholic Courier’

Catholic Courier: Just a Bunch of Stuff

October 13th, 2012, Promulgated by b a

Certainly there is value in having a publication for stories like this, but stories like this one coming from a “Catholic” paper are a bit questionable.

Participants were given handouts that made strong points about war and violence, noting that 60 percent of the United States’ federal budget is spent on the military — while such vital needs as health care, education, housing and urban development, and environmental protection all come out of the remaining 40 percent.

Well that’s just a bunch of stuff. Some might even call it mularky. A quick googling shows that military spending is in the 20-30% range as is spending on health care programs. So the Courier prints bad numbers because they relied on some liberal propaganda… that’s forgivable and I understand it’s hard to fact check everything. That’s where being able to comment on articles is really beneficial. Someone might write something like, “hey, I think those numbers are wrong – can you check it out?” In fact, that’s a comment I just made. Will it make it though moderation? My experience says no. A self respecting journalistic institution ought to be open to the facts. But not the award winning Catholic Courier. Instead they simply delete comments that disagree with the liberal agenda. Or maybe they just delete everything I write. You tell me – have you had comments not make it though moderation? Before you click submit, save the text of the comment, the url of the article you’re commenting on, the date, and send it to me or post it here. I’d like to offer another outlet for comments on Catholic Courier articles.

Here’s another comment I left not too long ago that didn’t make it through. The article was “Caretaker role intended to watch over diocese”. The portion I was commenting on was this:

Father Hart, who was one of two diocesan vicars general and also moderator of the diocesan Pastoral Center under Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark, noted that the appointment of an apostolic administrator in a vacant see is not unusual. For instance, he noted that Archbishop Alexander Brunett, archbishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of Seattle, was recently appointed apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Oakland, Calif. And closer to home, Bishop Robert J. Malone of Buffalo also continues to watch over his former diocese of Portland, Maine, Father Hart noted.

my comment was something like this (paraphrasing as I didn’t take my own advice above of saving the text before I submitted).

Actually, neither of those cases are quite like the one we had in Rochester. In both of those cases, the bishops’ seats were empty because they had been appointed for work elsewhere. In the case of Rochester, our Bishop wasn’t heading anywhere else – he was simply retiring. I do believe it’s a misnomer to say this situation wasn’t quite unusual.

Some might say, “well, they just don’t like controversy. It should just be a feel-good paper and not lower itself to arguments within the flock.” Well, that’s just find and dandy except for the fact that this paper has no problem scolding authentic Catholicism over and over again. For a quick example, here’s a comment on the article “Pope accepts Bishop Clark’s resignation, appoints Syracuse Bishop as apostolic administrator”, :

by Don Muench on September 21, 2012, 11:19 PM
Of course, we’ll never get an explanation for this rather unusual (to put it mildly) transition. Suffice it to say that this arrangement appears to be an insensitive, hamhanded and disrespectful treatment of the Faithful in our Diocese and of our Bishop.

So let’s recap the Courier’s comment policy:

  • not acceptable:  Questioning liberal “facts”
  • perfectly acceptable:   Calling the pope insensitive, hamhanded, and disrespectful

And don’t forget that they continue to publish articles by this guy.

Related article here.

side note: for those who don’t have time to research every local candidate and thus consider themselves unworthy of voting, here’s the cliff notes for you:


Counter Courier

September 10th, 2011, Promulgated by JBCatholic

As many of you are well aware we await the coming of the new translation of the Roman Missal this coming Advent season.  This has prompted the Diocese of Rochester (DOR), which is to be expected, to issue several statements concerning the roll-out of the changes which are at hand.

While this  article from the Catholic Courier is a month old, I would like to begin a series of articles loosely titled “Counter Courier.”  In them, as you can well gather, I will examine a given article pointing out errors, and filling in data that might prove enriching to you the reader.

In the article listed at the bottom of this text, Mike Latona, the author, speaks about the efforts of Father Robert Kennedy (chair of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission) in preparing the priest of our diocese to implement the new translation. He begins, (all italics are my own)

“It might not seem that speaking from prepared text could be a daunting task. Yet when the words have been crafted to lead people toward deeper relationships with God, it’s crucial they be uttered with clarity and conviction rather than monotones and hesitations.”

Father Kennedy further questions the priests,

How can I (we) pray this with some kind of meaning?”

And goes on saying,

“(The) priests’ responsibilities will go beyond simply reciting words while leading their congregations in prayer.” And, “My concern when we do this all new is (that) we’re going to sort of be glued to the page. But what we do at liturgy is more than just reading liturgy.”

What then are we to gather the priests’ role or responsibilities are within the context of the Mass?  Is their chief purpose to inspire the laity who has gathered for Mass?  Or perhaps to sell the prayers with conviction?  Or maybe his job is to convince God that they really mean the prayers they pray?  With all candor, the sentiments conveyed in the above quote are not done (more than likely) out of malice or ill will, but rather, from a desire to instill in the faithful belief in the prayers and to convey in the hearts and mind of the gathered community a deep love for God.

However, we must ask, is this really the point of the prayers, or for that matter of the Mass? The answer is simple, “No.”  Priests fill both an awesome yet simple role, to be an alter Christus, another Christ. It is within this role that the personality of the individual must be absorbed into the person-hood of Christ.  It should not matter where you go to Mass, or who the priest is, the Mass and the prayers are the same.

The message from Fr. Kennedy seems quite different.  The personality of the priest and the personal touches he will add to the prayers is what, “give(s) it some kind of meaning.”

I have posted two different pictures just to make a visual of a point I’d like to make.

In the first we see a priest offering an Extra Ordinary form Mass in a fiddleback style chasuble.  In the traditional rite, each priest while receiving their training in seminary was taught very precise gestures and how to perform them.  For the most part the lay faithful present at the Mass, except those who view the priest at an angle, were unable to see the gestures and movements of the priest which are by–in-large out of view.  The priests’ words and movements , while hidden from the ears and eyes of the faithful, are directed toward their intended “audience” or object of the Mass, namely Almighty God.

In contrast, the above picture shows a Catholic priest offering an Ordinary Form Mass where his arms are extended in an exaggerated orans position.  Every movement, gesture and word being watched and heard by his intended “audience.”

In the first picture, the notion of the priest praying the words of the prayers with an audible or outward conviction seems almost absurd.  God desires His priests to come before Him inwardly disposed with hearts, minds and souls which have been shaped through living the Liturgy in the Mass and the Divine Office.  In the second picture the priest has become a conductor, leading the faithful in praying the prayers “with clarity and conviction.”  Without this role being filled the prayers would apparently have no  meaning according to Father Kennedy.

The issue, really, is not how the prayers are said, but to whom they are said.  For whose benefit are they being spoken? In the article Fr. Mull says,

Despite the many adjustments in store, Father Mull said he feels his challenge isn’t as steep as the one priests confronted immediately following the Second Vatican Council: “Those changes were much more difficult,” he remarked, noting that it was much harder to adapt “if you faced the wall for 25 years and now you were facing the congregation, if you said the Mass in Latin and now it was in English.”

This is an interesting statement, and by the word interesting I really mean appalling.  For, I would not call the Eucharistic presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Tabernacle, “the wall”!  As crazy as this statement may be, it is reflective of where this diocese currently is, and the long road ahead of us.  This road will be marked by small transitions like the one we will receive this Advent.  The gift by the way will not come via a flawless and impassioned recitation of the prayers, but rather, because the words of the mass are fitting for that which they convey and the Sacrament it confects.

Sentire Cum Ecclesia



Link to article: Catholic Courier

In case you’re interested: To aid in the adjustment process, Father Kennedy said he’s referring priests to a special area of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website at, which includes the updated Eucharistic prayers as well as prayers for the Advent and Christmas seasons.






Catholic Courier’s Comment Policy (Diocesan Controlled Media)

May 15th, 2011, Promulgated by b a

If you’ve ever attempted to leave a comment on the Catholic Courier’s website, you’ll find that your comment is judged against some pretty strict criteria to determine whether it merits publication on their site.  I’ve left a few comments from time to time – some have made it through while others haven’t.  I always try to be respectful, but don’t hold back my opinions.  I’ve also never had any luck with their subscribe button.  So, if I’ve wanted to follow up to see if my comment actually made it through, I have to make a note to myself to check back in a few days.  On September 13th 2010, I contacted Karen Franz (General Manager/Editor of the Catholic Courier) asking her what their comment policy was so I wouldn’t waste my time writing comments that wouldn’t get published.  She responded with a long, convoluted policy which seemed to me rather at odds with Bishop Clark’s continually expressed desire of wanting to truly “listen” to his people (especially outsiders).  I would post that policy, but Karen mentioned it was an informal policy meant only to help me as an author of comments.  Their official comment policy was still working it’s way through the attorney’s office.  Over the last couple of weeks, I went through the routine again.  I had left a couple of innocuous comments which included links (one comment linked to this site – another linked to Elizabeth Scalia’s site).  When inquiring of Karen why my comments were not published, she said I violated the part of the policy that restricts “linking out to anything other than a recognized news (vs. opinion) site”.  I responded by asking a few questions (red text was not in my message)

  1. Does the “strictly news reporting” restriction apply only to the article being linked or the entire site on which the link exists?
  2. Do you have criteria for what constitutes “strictly news reporting”?
  3. Does the Catholic Courier publish anything other than “strictly news reporting”? [what I’m wondering between questions #1 and #3 is if a link to is permitted in a comment on a article]
  4. Are you aware of any other online media that enforces a similar policy?
  5. May I have an official public statement from you in regard to the CatholicCouriers’s comment policy on one of my opinion friendly websites?

She responded by saying their comment policy remains under review.  When the policy is ready, it will posted it on their site (this is now 8 months after my initial inquiry).

In the spirit of not wanting to be misinterpreted – let me clarify.  The Catholic Courier does some really great work.  They have some really talented writers.  Besides what I believe to be an archaic and controlling comment policy, I think there is also a problem with a lack of the “freedom of the press”.  Where can one get the full and balanced story of the Diocese of Rochester?  The Catholic Courier is controlled by and funded (through a mandatory parish tax) by the diocese.  When they attempt to tackle a real issue, such as they did with their somewhat recent Polarization series, it is left completely one-sided.  One gets a sense that they were almost written by left-leaning Bishop Clark and Fr. Hart.  If one turns to the local media outlets like the D&C or TV news, you’re left with a major simplification of complex issues (usually along of the lines of “The Catholic Church continues to decline because of it’s clinging to old and tired ways”).  We certainly express opinions here at CleansingFire, but I think I speak for all of us when I say we truly desire to serve and tell the truth – nothing else.  Here I’ll fall back on a comment Mike made that actually made it through the CC’s comment policy (link and all):

Mr. Latona quotes from an article by the late Father John Hardon, S.J. I find it interesting that this article ends with the following words:

“The holder of the Petrine Office is the direct descendent of Peter to whom were handed the keys of the kingdom. His mandate is clear; our duty as Roman Catholics is to adhere to both the letter and the Spirit as the Holy Father delineates them for us, not pick and choose those aspects of Catholicism more to our liking. As 2 John 9 reminds us, anyone who ‘does not remain rooted in the teaching of Christ does not possess God, while anyone who remains rooted in the teaching possesses both Father and the Son.'”

I know of no local blogger who wants anything more – or less! – than this.


So-Called Ecumenism at the Expense of Evangelization

March 31st, 2011, Promulgated by Abaccio

You’ve heard this story before…some arm of the Diocese of Rochester supporting other religions ahead of our own.

You heard it when Bishop Clark hosted an ecumenical prayer service in our cathedral in which the name of Christ was never mentioned.  You heard it when the diocese posted a video on youtube that seems to promote the idea that Judaism, Islam, and all forms of Christianity are essentially the same basic thing. You heard it when Fr. Callan over at Corpus Christi brought his congregation to a protestant service in lieu of Mass one Sunday.  You heard it when the youth at the 2008 Diocesan Youth Convention were sent to the Rochester Islamic Center to learn about and witness Muslim prayer.  You heard about it when Sr. Joan unearthed these “ecumenical” lenten plans.  You heard it when Fr Tanck had a Catholic-Sikh dialogue in which men wore their headdresses in a Catholic Church.  Yes, you’ve heard this story before.

Does it surprise you then, to see this article linked on Facebook by the Catholic Courier?  All the Courier page shows is the title: “Finding Faith.”  This would be a lovely thing to post, were it discussing a conversion story of an RIT student, or spoke of how to maintain a Catholic faith under the attack of a secular university.  It doesn’t do that.  It barely mentions Catholicism at all–the only reference to the Catholic Newman Community on campus is to note their fund-raising for the Special Olympics.  Instead, this article speaks of a “seven-year research study [which] showed that although students’ religious involvement declines during college, their spirituality grows. Students become more caring, more tolerant and more connected with others.” Now, I hate to be the voice of reason here, but REALLY?  The Diocesan newspaper is supporting the idea of SBNR?  I’m sorry to be the one to burst your bubble, dear reader, but “tolerance” is not one of the ten commandments.  Neither is a superficial connectedness.

It speaks of Muslim Ablutions, of the Jewish Hillel services (in which “many of the students are looking for a cultural experience more than a religious experience.”  Yes, they are indeed “Finding Faith.”)  It speaks of the booming Lutheran community (now ten members strong!) and other protestant “interdenominational” groups.  But never once does it speak of Catholicism in a meaningful way.  Not a single picture shows a Catholic Mass, nor anything remotely Catholic.  But, you know what?  Perhaps it’s better this way.  They might have shown RIT Newman Chaplain Fr. Hunt, who once “processed into mass behind the cross wearing the Mickey Mouse hat and a gold masquerade mask. Once the singing stopped, the first thing he did was blow a kazoo and say, ‘Happy Mardi Gras.'”  You can see his tie-dyed chasuble and the super-soaker he used for the Asperges.

You’ve heard this story before, folks.  As always, the Diocese does a better job promoting other religions than it does promoting the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.   Instead of preaching the truth (things like the “outside the Church, there is no salvation”), the Diocese and its employees find ways to promote syncretism and false ecumenism.  True ecumenism, rather, must be firmly rooted in the truth.  The point of ecumenism is not to produce wishy-washy theology that says “each religion is as good as the next,” but rather conversion.  Thanks, Catholic Courier.  This has been edifying.

Blogging and the Courier

January 2nd, 2011, Promulgated by Abaccio

The Catholic Courier’s facebook page recently asked,

Are you familiar with the Catholic Courier’s blogs? Let us know what topics or bloggers you would like us to feature in the future.

For some reason, I don’t think Cleansing Fire will be featured by the Catholic Courier.

That said, in the month of December:

The Catholic Courier Blogs featured 10 posts.

Cleansing Fire featured 101 posts.

Perhaps the Diocese of Rochester might consider replacing what’s failing (banal, modernist heterodoxy) with what’s growing  (traditional, joyful orthodoxy).  Just a thought.

Catholic Courier – Fishwrap Aspirant

December 28th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

When you think of all the opportunities to genuinely “celebrate diversity” in the Diocese of Rochester, you’d think that the Catholic Courier would be right there letting

In the eyes of the Diocese, **not** something worthy to announce in the Courier

people know about everything that would possibly fit into that area of religious activity. Well, not so.

Many of you will recall the glorious Rosary for Priestly Vocations that the Knights of Columbus sponsored at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in November. See here, here, and here for a refresher. Many of you were probably in attendance for such a beautiful and majestic occasion. After all, it’s not everyday that you have twelve altar boys, a properly vested priest, a Gregorian schola, and some of the most precious treasures of the Church’s store of sacred music. Many people and organizations publicized the event: St. Anne Church, Our Lady of Lourdes, Holy Cross, Our Lady of Victory, the Latin Mass Community, Christ the King, St. Cecilia, the Carmelite Monastery, WHIC (Catholic Radio) and the list goes on and on. Alas, one entity which did not publicize the event was the Catholic Courier. Many people wrote to us saying that they had left messages for the Courier staffers to mention the service, but not one of these was ever actually posted on their site. No fewer than six people contacted the Courier to say, “hey, a bunch of Catholic are getting together to pray the Rosary – why don’t you let even more know about it?”

Well, we got over it. “Onward and upward,” as they say. After all, they were probably really busy with more important news items.

Now comes this little gem, as advertised on the Catholic Courier: “Communal Recitation of the Rosary

And guess which parish is hosting this weekly occurrence? St. Mary’s Downtown – the same parish which laughs in the face of the Church’s doctrines and rubrics, and whose administrator’s qualifications to be a pastoral administrator are questionable, to say the least.  This is the same parish that was given a transgendered crucifix under the watch of Sr. Joan Sobala. This is the same parish that supports gay couples and their sinful lifetyles. So naturally it’s the perfect parish to plaster all over the internet, the Courier touting it as a  model Catholic institution.

St. Mary's Downtown - aka "more of the same stale liturgical philosophy we've been spoon-fed since 1970"

Where was the coverage for St. Thomas? Hundreds of people attended that service, and the ceremonial aspects of that evening were unsurpassed by any liturgical function this diocese has seen in decades. Were they passed over because they were angered when a non-Catholic invaded their sanctuary during Mass? Were they passed over because they knelt for Communion? (Oh no! God forbid!) Were they passed over because they practice their faith without politicking and dissent from Church teaching? Or perhaps they were ignored by the Courier for simply being an indication of an inconvenient truth. What is this inconvenient truth? It’s called “dynamic orthodoxy.”

After all, it would serve to castrate the already emasculated Diocesan institutions if there were an event which upheld the dignity of the celibate male priesthood.

It’s rather pathetic the depths to which the Courier will sink just to keep pushing it’s 1970’s mentality on people who are trying to move forward and embrace genuine ecclesial renewal.

Further proof that duplicity reigns supreme in this Diocese. St. John Fisher, pray for us.

Shallow Catechesis in the Courier

August 5th, 2010, Promulgated by Nerina

Rarely have I read a more shallow or spiritually bereft column than “Keeping marriages strong while raising kids,”  by Therese J. Borchard in the August print edition of the Catholic Courier.  In it, Borchard attempts to explain why marriages undergo a change following the arrival of a child.   She quotes Tara Parker-Pope of The New York Times who says:

“One of the more uncomfortable findings of the scientific study of marriage is the negative effect children can have on previously happy relationships.  Despite the popular notion that children bring couples closer, several studies have shown that marital satisfaction and happiness typically plummet with the arrival of the first baby.”

Ms. Borchard goes on to speculate why this shift takes place.  She chalks it up to: stress, financial burdens, time constraints and “too much to do in too little time (and very little of it dedicated to pleasurable activities as a couple)”- i.e. the arrival of children forces adults to be…adults. Parenthetically,  I would add to her list that new parents today, being too often denied heroic witness to the vocation of marriage and family, are unwilling to accept the changes that come with parenthood.  When a couple welcomes a baby, it becomes evident, sometimes painfully,  that their needs are no longer paramount.  Even parents with a secular view know that life with a child is significantly different.

What is lacking in this article is a discussion about marriage and family as a distinct vocation – or a means of strengthening our relationship with each other and with God.  Instead, the author focuses on secular studies, gloomy predictions about life with children (stressful, unhappy, damaging to marriages) and shallow suggestions for surviving the intervening years between being childless and facing the “empty nest.”  It is a shame that so many opportunities for true catechesis go to waste in our diocesan newspaper.  Imagine if she had focused, instead, on John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio:

At a moment of history in which the family is the object of numerous forces that seek to destroy it or in some way to deform it, and aware that the well-being of society and her own good are intimately tied to the good of the family [7], the Church perceives in a more urgent and compelling way her mission of proclaiming to all people the plan of God for marriage and the family, ensuring their full vitality and human and Christian development, and thus contributing to the renewal of society and of the people of God (#3).


When they become parents, spouses receive from God the gift of a new responsibility. Their parental love is called to become for the children the visible sign of the very love of God, “from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named” [36].(#14).

Parents are to become “the visible sign of the very love of God.”  And we know how God loves – unto death.  Without measure.  Without concern for self, but concern for other.  We keep our marriages strong by looking to the crucifix, opening our arms wide in imitation of Christ, and loving our spouses and children until we no longer live, but only Christ lives in us.

But, no.  The reader is treated to shallow advice heard daily on Oprah or seen in Good Housekeeping:” keep a date night”, “pick the bigger battles”, and “be nice to each other.”  Certainly there is nothing wrong with any of these suggestions, but they lack the depth of our rich Catholic teaching that continues to be mined and presented in new ways (e.g. Theology of the Body).  All I can say is that having children has fundamentally changed both my husband and me.  I’d like to think that we are both less selfish, more patient and more giving.  We have been forced to rely on each other – and more importantly,on God –  in ways that a childless life would not afford.  (Note well, I am making no comment on those without children.  I learned long ago that there are many stories and many reasons for childless couples and I make no judgment.)  What I am saying  is that God granted us the gift of children for a reason.  And it wasn’t just to “survive” parenting, but to flourish and grow and to place our trust in God and His plans for our life.

Pray for my husband and me that we serve Him well.

In His Peace,