Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘DoR History’

The Dire Dis-service of the DoR Public Policy Committee

February 4th, 2013, Promulgated by Diane Harris

A lead story on the NYS Catholic Conference website  is the call for faithful Catholics to strongly oppose Gov. Cuomo’s NYS Abortion Expansion Bill, S-438.  And the timing is urgent, as it could come out of committee within days.  The Public Policy Day in Albany is not until March, and the track record of passing bills behind closed doors, sometimes in the dead of night, and without public input, is special cause for concern. 

So what is the Diocese of Rochester’s public policy priority now?  You will see it next weekend, on February 9-10th when pew petitions will ignore the threat of a seriously expanded intrinsic evil, and instead advocate for money, to subsidize some families’ child-care, which DoR reports can cost “up to $14,000 per year.”  Myriad questions are left unanswered, including who would be eligible and for how much and if this would simply route income to parents and grandparents who already take care of those children.  But there are much greater matters than the details of the pew petition.  There has seemed to be an attitude for years that the people in the pew get handed a petition to sign, whether they know the details or not, and they will simply pay, pray and obey.  After the Fortnight for Freedom last year, hopefully we won’t ever be quite the same again in not questioning how so much emphasis is put on matters of prudential judgment (often equated to tax dollars), when intrinsic evils flourish unchallenged.

The intrinsic evil flourishing right now is the ever-deepening intrinsic evil of abortion, right up to the moment of birth.  And, unless we deceive ourselves, we should already know that there are movements afoot in Europe to allow murder of children up to two years after birth.  Can anyone seriously believe that atrocity won’t be next down the slippery slope?

The Diocese of Rochester’s Public Policy Committee isn’t putting a petition in the pew to prevent Cuomo’s bullying his way into the killing of more babies; it is rather using the petitioning opportunity to call for funds for baby sitting rather than to defeat S-438.  Child care is important, but such subsidies are not nearly as important as keeping babies alive in the first place.  To read the full call from The NYS Catholic Conference to oppose S-438, go here.  Or simply consider the contrast of the excerpt from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse to excerpts from the DoR website and from a DoR church (Resurrection in Fairport): 

From Syracuse Cathedral Bulletin 2-3-13

From the Syracuse Cathedral Bulletin


This guidance in Syracuse is against an intrinsic evil (thus, is a morally binding teaching).  The DoR’s public policy is regarding  a matter of “prudential judgment” (i.e. validly open to lay, well-formed opinion).  There is no real comparison.

DoR Public Policy February, 2013

DoR Public Policy
February, 2013

New York State Catholic Conference calls itself the “Official Voice of the Catholic Church in the Empire State” and a unified Voice for all New York State Catholics.  How can the Rochester Diocese’s priorities be so different from the statewide priority?   The New York State Catholic Conference represents the Bishops of the state in working with government to shape laws and policies that pursue social justice, respect for life and the common good.  

What message will the governor and his legislators get when subsidizing day care is the matter for petitions, but S-438 is not?  What message do Catholics get? 

As the conference states:  “This bill does not simply “update” New York law or codify Roe vs. Wade. It would usher in extreme and sweeping changes to abortion policy in New York State.  The bill would permit unlimited late-term abortion on demand.

Current state law says abortions are legal in New York through 24 weeks of pregnancy (Article 125 Penal Law), but outlawed after that unless they are necessary to save a woman’s life.  This bill would repeal that law and insert a “health” exception, broadly interpreted by the courts to include age, economic, social and emotional factors. It is an exception that will allow more third-trimester abortions in New York State, a policy which the public strongly disapproves.

This ignores the state’s legitimate interest in protecting the lives of fully formed children in the womb, and ignores the will of a majority of New Yorkers who oppose late-term abortion.   

The bill would endanger the lives of women by allowing non-physicians to perform abortions.  While current law states that only a “duly licensed physician” may perform an abortion, this bill would allow any “licensed health care practitioner” to perform the procedure prior to viability. This dangerous and extreme change clearly puts women’s health at risk, and mirrors a national abortion strategy to permit non-doctors to perform abortions due to the declining number of physicians willing to do so. 

The bill would preclude any future reasonable regulations of abortion. It would establish a “fundamental right of privacy” within New York State law, encompassing the right “to terminate a pregnancy,” even though the Supreme Court has rejected, numerous times, classifying abortion as a “fundamental right.”  Therefore, it is impossible to say that this legislation simply “codifies Roe vs. Wade” in New York law. It goes well beyond Roe.

The Court has said that states may regulate abortion, as long as those regulations do not place an “undue burden” on the right to an abortion.  This bill says that abortion is fundamental and thus untouchable – no regulations on abortion, ever.  No parental notification for minors’ abortions, no limits on taxpayer funding of abortion, no limits on late-term abortions, no informed consent for pregnant women seeking abortion.  None of the common sense regulations enacted by the vast majority of states and supported by large majorities of the public would be allowed in New York.   

The bill endangers the religious liberty of Catholic hospitals and other institutions. While the bill contains limited conscience protection, that protection is ambiguous and inadequate and is extended only to individual health providers who do not wish to “provide” abortions (protection that is already guaranteed by Civil Rights law.) What is not provided in the bill are protections for institutional providers, such as religious hospitals and other agencies that do not wish to be involved with abortion.

The bill declares that “the state shall not discriminate” against the exercise of the fundamental right to abortion in the “provision of benefits, facilities, services or information.”  In other words, it would permit state regulators, such as the State Health Department or State Insurance Department, to require support for abortion from any agency or institution licensed or funded by the state.  The bill could be used to undermine the state’s maternity programs. In a similar way, these beneficial programs, which are working well to reduce infant mortality, could be ruled “discriminatory” for favoring childbirth over abortion, and be denied state benefits if this bill were to become law.

The abortion expansion bill is uncompromising in its terms and extremely sweeping in scope. The bill goes against the increasingly pro-life sentiment in this country, as evidenced by the most recent Marist poll (December 2012) which found that more than 8 in 10 Americans favor significant restrictions on abortion. The Gallup Organization (May 2011)  found that only 27% of Americans believe abortion should be legal under all circumstances. The majority of American adults (61%) believe abortion should either be more strictly limited than current law or not permitted at all. Not only does the bill defy public opinion, but it also defies common sense.

New York State remains the abortion capital of the nation with the highest abortion rate of any state. New York City’s abortion rate remains at 40%, with some geographic regions within the city at 60%. The reality is that no woman is without ample opportunity for an abortion in New York State. Rather than voting on a bill that will increase the tragedy of abortion, we urge policy makers to look at constructive ways to reduce abortion and truly make abortion “rare.” We strongly urge you to oppose the abortion expansion bill.”  

Resurrection Church Bulletin 2-3-13

Resurrection Church Bulletin

Contrast the well-thought out, explict arguments from the Catholic Conference, above,  to the bulletin letter from Sr. Joan Cawley, the Pastoral Administrator who is  head of Resurrection Parish:

Resurrection Church Bulletin 2-3-13

Resurrection Church Bulletin 2-3-13







Next weekend (February 9th and 10th) we will be asked to sign a petition at Mass, not to stop the killing of babies, but to dole out money on nebulous and unspecified terms for child care.  It is not merely a matter of disordered priorities, but it is a matter of truly misleading the people in the pews who reasonably may rely that a diocesan committee of dedicated souls has examined all the issues and made a reasoned and holy choice.  Such a priority impairs the very trust that should exist among the people  of God.

What should we do?  Certainly contacting our legislators to oppose S-438 is called for, lest our silence become endorsement.  Certainly spreading the word to others is crucial too.  But to let the misdirection of the DoR Public Policy Committee go unchallenged is wrong.  At a minimum, it seems reasonable to take the petition in the pew and mark it up to fit our convictions.  How about “Kill S-438; NOT BABIES!”




Added since original posting:   Here are two links for more information in opposition to S-438: 

Here is a good article from the Ithaca Journal:

Here is a good letter to the editor from Syracuse:

In contrast to the above links from the secular papers, we have the Catholic Courier on-line yesterday (2/4/13) with its article entitled “Petition calls for quality child care” by Mike Latona, completely ignoring the expansion of abortion through S-438.  It begins: “In an era when good investment returns are increasingly hard to attain….” and that shows the whole orientation—urging Cuomo et al to invest our (taxpayers’) money of $300 million annually in child care subsidies, while other children are being murdered in the womb.  And we are expected to believe in the relevance of THAT public policy?  I think not.  What is the purpose?  Give up on S-438 for a financial incentive?  I hope not.  Support a diversion of attention away from fighting intrinsic evil?  I dare not.

It is interesting that the DoR “argument” states that  “a full-time worker earning the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour makes only $15,080 annually”, ignoring that if there isn’t someone home to take care of children, shouldn’t (in many, not all, cases) TWO WAGE EARNERS salaries be used?  A convenient oversight.  Also, the child care cost has been down-pedalled a bit from the DoR website  to  “$8,000 for preschool child care and up to $12,000 for infants.” Some fact checking after the fact?   No references were given to the other so-called claims, either, so we don’t have the information to either verify or to dispute. 

Oh, DoR did mention 2 other initiatives as well.  Neither one was to defeat S-438.   The link is  if you can stomach it.

A picture is worth a thousand words

October 17th, 2012, Promulgated by Dr. K

Below is a collage of photographs detailing the 33-year tenure of Bishop Matthew Clark, and the downward spiral of the Diocese of Rochester that took place during his reign. Have fun identifying the various events and personalities. To see the full size collage, click on the image below.

Click on the image to enlarge

Advice from Bishop Kearney

September 28th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

Many thanks to Francis Mary for sharing this with us back in October. It was very well-received, so I’ve bumped it back to the top now:



“Put that in a safe place. We’ll be using it again someday.”

– Bishop James E. Kearney, watching an assistant switch the 1962 Missale Romanum with the newly-implemented Sacramentary

First Mass of Father Scott B. Caton

June 13th, 2011, Promulgated by Bernie

The first Mass offered by newly ordained Father Scott Caton was the Mass of Pentecost celebrated yesterday, June 12, 2011, 4:00 PM, St. Michael’s Church, Rochester.

(Click onthe picture for a clearer image)

(left) Father Paul Gitau, (center) Father Caton, (right) Father Ronald Antinarelli

You don’t need to book an overseas trip to go on a pilgrimage

May 20th, 2011, Promulgated by Bernie

From Our Sunday Visitor

by Mary DeTurris Poust

It’s easy to turn the idea of a pilgrimage into something larger than life. We imagine Lourdes, the Holy Land, Rome, Assisi, and file our pilgrimage plans away on some sort of spiritual bucket list, thinking we have to wait until we’ve saved enough money or vacation time to make it happen.  

But the truth is that pilgrimage doesn’t require a passport, or even a long-distance drive. There are plenty of opportunities to become pilgrims without leaving the confines of our own diocese, state or country. In fact, true pilgrimage doesn’t …

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Bishop Clark on the Traditional Latin Mass

March 14th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

In 1991, Bishop Clark outlined five reasons why he was not inclined to permit the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass in his Diocese. In order, they are as follows:

1) There is a grave concern about offering the Mass according to one ritual while not offering the other sacraments according to that same ritual.

2) I do not see that granting this permission would be a unifying act, but on the contrary I see it as divisive to our Catholic community

3) The necessity of designating a priest (or various priests) to celebrate this Mass only at particular churches at a particular time seems to signal something different or odd about the celebration. it seems that the Holy Father’s permission indicates this should be an exception and not the norm which can cause confusion for the faithful.

4) While at various times I have received request for this Mass, I have never found a large number of people who wish to celebrate it. If there were a large number of people, I would have to question their acceptance of the liturgical changes which have already been authorized.

5) We are still in a period of transition from the Second Vatican Council. People have not yet discovered the richness of the liturgical changes. I fear to grant this permission now would further inhibit the development of the faithful’s experience of this liturgical richness.

Of course, since the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum was released by Pope Benedict in 2007, these excuses are officially irrelevant. However, they betray the one-way street that is Bishop Clark’s liberalism as regards the Holy Mass.

In the first point, Bishop Clark says that he is not comfortable with having Latin Mass without all the other sacraments (Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, etc.) in the same ritual. There is a simple solution – offer the ritual in its entirety. Many dioceses have parishes dedicated solely to the Extraordinary Form of worship, from Mass to Vespers, from Benediction to Marriage. It would take practically no effort to designate a parish in the Diocese as the “Traditional Latin Mass Parish,” which would be staffed by a priest and run as an individual parish, not a “community” reliant on the generosity of a mother parish. God knows there’s a multitude of abandoned churches in our diocese which would serve as suitable homes for such an endeavor. Again we see in this first point the same flawed logic we see in almost every decision which comes from Buffalo Road. Rather than address a problem head-on and in a proactive way, the Diocese takes the route of least resistance, making no effort to save a damaged limb, and instead, just hacking it off “for the good of the whole.”

The second point Bishop Clark makes is that he thinks the Latin Mass serves as a divider, not a unifier. The only reason this point would have any validity is because of the campaign disobedient bishops took in the years after the Council. They read the documents, not with the intention of understanding them, but with the desire to twist and manipulate them into what they wanted. People who were still inclined towards the older forms of prayer were labeled as reactionaries, as angry conservatives, as superstitious morons, and as Catholics standing in the way of progress. After almost thirty years of this brainwashing, Bishop Clark came out with this argument, that the Latin Mass causes discord. No, the Mass does not cause division and scattering of the flock – inept leadership does that. I can guarantee you that more people are angry with the Bishop over closed schools, closed parishes, forced clusterings, and the like, than over the possibility of attending a Latin Mass. A genuinely pastoral bishop looks at the needs of his flock and meets them. He does not dismiss their needs as being detrimental to unity. Does the Bishop not realize that it isn’t the liturgical preferences of “traditional” Catholics that causes division, but the childish and blasphemous tinkering they see with the Mass in almost every single parish, diocese-wide? Can the bishop honestly think that more people will be offended over ad orientem worship than a flamingly gay liturgical dancer parading around the sanctuary of the cathedral? That’s rubbish, and you can bet that Bishop Clark knows this. Each of these points stands, not as a logical opposition to a minority, but a fearful oppression of a movement bigger than any one man, whether or not he is blessed to wear the miter.

The third point continues the pattern of Bishop Clark’s fear-made-policy. “The necessity of designating a priest (or various priests) to celebrate this Mass only at particular churches at a particular time seems to signal something different or odd about the celebration. it seems that the Holy Father’s permission indicates this should be an exception and not the norm which can cause confusion for the faithful.” Is it really that confusing to Joe Layperson if he is given the choice of going to Mass in English or Latin? God forbid someone in the pew actually be confronted with a choice and ability to think for himself! The Bishop is right, though, that the setting aside of a specific priest, time-slot, and worship space could mark something as unique, different, and odd. Let’s recall the African Mass, the Carribbean Mass, the Rainbow Sash Mass(es), the various LifeTeen Masses around the Diocese, the Lithuanian Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes, the Korean Mass at St. Anne, the Vietnamese Mass at St. Helen, the Spanish Masses at city parishes, the Italian Mass(es), and the Latin Mass. Oh, yeah, that last one really stands out, doesn’t it?

The fourth of Bishop Clark’s theses is “While at various times I have received request for this Mass, I have never found a large number of people who wish to celebrate it. If there were a large number of people, I would have to question their acceptance of the liturgical changes which have already been authorized.” As one of the CF staff members mentioned, this is just ludicrous. The Bishop doesn’t recognize the needs of several hundred Catholics wanting traditional liturgy, but if he does recognize that there are, in fact, hundreds, he would have serious doubts about their being non-schismatics. The whole point here is that people are entitled and encouraged to ask for the Traditional Latin Mass, and they were (and are) entitled and encouraged by none other than the late Pope John Paul II and our current pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI. If a pope allows something, a Catholic who pursues that “something” can in no way be a schismatic or some sort of liturgical reactionary. It’s like saying that if people go to Starbucks and ask for tea instead of coffee, they wouldn’t be served tea until enough people asked for it, and then when enough people asked for it, they’d be ushered out the door because they’re obviously not in-line with the current coffee-drinking regime. Anyone who’s ever gone into Starbucks knows that they serve coffee and tea, and there are no bitter debates between customers as to which is better, which is more stimulating, or which is more edifying. It’s called “mutual enrichment.”

The fifth point is like the other four. “We are still in a period of transition from the Second Vatican Council. People have not yet discovered the richness of the liturgical changes. I fear to grant this permission now would further inhibit the development of the faithful’s experience of this liturgical richness.” Yes, we are in a period of transition. It’s just like the period of transition we saw after Trent, the period of transition after Nicea, after Ephesus, after Constance. Every Council of the Church results in a period of implementation which isn’t sorted out until around 100 years after the close of the particular Council in question. However, we need to realize that the Church does not change quickly. After all, it’s a 2,000 year-old institution, and the only form of governance not to have been changed or toppled since its creation. For 1,500 years, the Mass was in Latin. And then, over the span of less than a decade, we saw changes which completely re-created Catholic liturgical life. Masses were turned around, altars pulled forward, tabernacles put to the side, prayers translated into the vernacular, and so on. That is not organic growth. Nor is it an “experience of liturgical richness” as Bishop Clark calls it. It was a rush to do away with something seen as too archaic to be relevant. Why did it not seem archaic to our ancestors in the 1800’s?

But that’s not the point. Rather, the issue in this fifth point is that Bishop Clark sees the return of the Latin Mass as a step backward, not forward. This mentality is stuck in 1970, whereas the Church has universally kept advancing towards a proper implementation of the Second Vatican Council. Pope Benedict is a champion of this, offering solemn Masses in the Ordinary Form, Masses where reverence is the norm. Bishop Clark’s Masses have innovation as the sole norm, with women in albs replacing priests, with “inclusive language” which includes everyone except God Himself. There is so much one could say about all of this, but in closing, I’ll quote Pope Benedict XVI on the importance of the Traditional Latin Mass. Let’s just compare this with the five reasons Bishop Clark gave for denying the Mass all those years ago.

“In some regions, no small numbers of faithful adhered and continue to adhere with great love and affection to the earlier liturgical forms.”

“The Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same ‘Lex orandi,’ and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church’s Lex orandi will in no any way lead to a division in the Church’s ‘Lex credendi’ (Law of belief). They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite.”

“In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962.”

“It is known, in fact, that the Latin liturgy of the Church in its various forms, in each century of the Christian era, has been a spur to the spiritual life of many saints, has reinforced many peoples in the virtue of religion and fecundated their piety.”

That’s what a pastor sounds like.

Re: Summorum Pontificum and its Implementation

February 1st, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

The Apostolic Nuncio to the Antilles Islands, Archbishop Thomas E. Gullickson, delivered a homily this past weekend which is relevant for the Church universal, but which is even more relevant to those of us who are in dioceses whose ordinaries are not “living in the spirit of the Motu Proprio.” Below are his comments with my commentary:

Why, even three years after the issuance of Summorum Pontificum (just to name one example), are well-meaning lay folk still treated with such great disdain by no less than bishops, bishops in communion (of heart, soul, mind and strength?) with the Successor of St. Peter when they ask for Mass in Latin? (Did you hear that? I think it was Bishop Clark dropping his crozier in stunned disbelief.) Is this anything other than blind hypocrisy (the plank!)? You tolerate no small amount of bad taste, bad music and caprice, while begrudging some few a port in the storm of liturgical abuse which seems not to want to subside? (It seems as if Archbishop Gullickson is keenly aware of the disobedience of certain bishops across the world. Just think – in some places, Catholics have bishops who actually embrace zealous and passion-filled orthodoxy, and urge their faithful to do the same. Would that Rochester could claim this phenomenon.) Can we be after His own Heart and not just claim to be members of Christ’s Body while still acting so at odds with the example set by the Holy One of God, meek and humble of heart? Such prelates are at counter or cross purposes to the sense in which the Church wants to go (and yet we’re the ones who are called “bitter reactionaries); they are ignoring what the Spirit is saying to the Churches and doing so with a backhand to some who are branded common and contemptible, but certainly not in the eyes of Christ… Let me say it more clearly! My issue is with the contempt shown for an outstretched hand, contempt such as would not be shown toward someone asking for some other benefit.

When the Holy Father speaks of his will to see these two forms of the Roman Rite (ordinary and extraordinary) enrich each other, when he and others express eagerness for a recovery of the sense of the sacred in our churches and in how we worship, I am convinced that he has indicated the true nature of the rupture which has indeed occurred and needs to be mended or healed. You would think that those in communion with the Pope would seek to understand him and embrace his point of view. There is too much room for caprice and hence the need to reform contemporary Catholic worship. This is evidenced time and again, by way of one example, in the sense of helplessness many priests experience when confronted by musical groups moving into church with inappropriate repertoires, not to mention the dance and puppet troupes which should have been banished long ago. If a bishop does not want to discipline at least he can respect and foster those seeking good order. (I would write something more, but this fellow has said it all and said it perfectly.)

People sometimes accuse Cleansing Fire of judging the Bishop of Rochester, some of his priests, nuns, lay ministers, etc. No. We judge their actions. God alone judges souls. However, as the “Spirit of Vatican II” becomes clarified and implemented by good and holy men and women, we see that reality is standing in judgment of Bishop Clark. And guess what, folks – reality is Truth.

The Vortex – Bishop Sheen Edition

October 22nd, 2010, Promulgated by Choir

Bishop Sheen on the Devil

August 4th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

This man’s theological brilliance is astounding. His insights are profound. Bishops and priests can still learn from his example, as can we all. It’s a shame that so many clerics have turned away from preaching about Satan, about Hell, about suffering and sin. Sheen makes a remark in the first part below to the effect of, “We stopped praying our beads, and the hippies started wearing them. We stopped talking about the demonic, and the psychiatrists picked it up.” How true. We turn our back on what makes us truly Catholic, and that piece of our identity become fair play for those who are hostile towards the Faith.

The devil is real, folks. You better believe it. It’s when we are complacent in our duties of faith, hope, and charity, when we feel secure in our actions, that Satan comes to us, and manipulates us. Don’t for a moment think that you’re above it – you’re not. However, your prayers are. The thing most repugnant to Satan is the beauty of our prayer, the beauty of the saints, and the source of both beauties, the Holy Mass.

I will post parts 3 and 4 this weekend.

To Save a Slice

July 8th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

I was browsing Facebook this morning, and I saw the following:

The liberals can admire the venerable nature of a dead tree that was 150 years old, but they can’t realize the venerable nature of Holy Mother Church. Liz says that it’s “comforting to save a part of that great tree.” Why is it that a fallen tree in Genesee Valley park and a fallen tree of the Sisters of St. Joseph attract more sympathy from the liberals than the death of the Traditional Latin Mass? That tree was vastly older than these two, and vastly more beautiful, and also is being resurrected via Pope Benedict.

Note also the absolutely massive metaphor in Ray’s words: “A landmark tree collapsed after standing for more than 150 years; experts say the roots gave way.” If I really need to draw it out for you, there’s something wrong here.

By the way, I have a suspicion that the reason the SSJ’s saved a slice of their 100-year-old tree was so that they can still hold their pagan sacrifices in its presence. Now you know what really happens to the orthodox seminarians who get rejected.

Nostalgia for Bishop McQuaid

May 18th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid, the Jesuit high school’s namesake, has been dead for one century. He was the first Bishop of Rochester, and made this diocese into a cradle for Catholicity. He opened scores of churches, schools, orphanages, and other Catholic institutions. He formed St. Bernard’s Seminary, along with St. Andrew’s, which was a minor seminary. He elevated Rochester’s Catholic population from being small, weak, and almost priest-less, to something which was associated with the very fabric of the city.

But alas, his vision of Rochester has died. Below are some photographs, one showing Bishop McQuaid lying in state in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in downtown Rochester, and others showing the funeral and the procession to his grave for burial. In the words of St. Thomas More, “Yes, death comes for us all. Even for kings does he come.”

Click on the links to view the photos:

Nostalgia for St. Patrick’s Cathedral

May 18th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

No, not the one in Manhattan. I’m talking about Rochester’s original cathedral, St. Patrick’s, now a parking lot due to shifting demographics, Kodak’s expansion, and the diocesan coffers.

This photo shows the consecration of Bishop Hanna in 1912. Note how the entire left hand portion of the image is filled to capacity with priests and seminarians in their cassocks, and how the lay people are dressed respectfully and in a dignified manner. No jean shorts and tie dye here.

Now any function at the cathedral, Sacred Heart, is accompanied with gay politicking and celebrations of “diversity” when there is no genuine diversity to be had.

Nostalgia And St. Joseph’s

May 18th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

I was browsing various sites for images not yet shared with you on this site. Below is one I particularly liked, showing St. Joseph’s, now burned-down and turned into a park, as seen from East Avenue in downtown Rochester. You can really get a sense as to how grand that church was, as well as how beautiful and prosperous downtown was back then. Anyone that goes to Our Lady of Victory, Blessed Sacrament, Corpus Christi, etc. knows what a daunting prospect it is to launch oneself into the bowels of urban depravity for the sake of Mass. Note that above the street are the wires and guide-lines for the trolleys which once traversed Rochester. They were discontinued in 1936, and the subway followed suit in the late 50’s.

St. Thomas the Apostle Decision Expected Tomorrow

May 9th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

A very reliable source has informed us that the bishop has scheduled a meeting tomorrow with the various relevant priests (i.e. Fr.’s Horan, Tanck, Leone, Belligotti, etc.) to discuss the matter of the Irondequoit Suppression, as I call it. There is a strong chance that in 36 hours, we will know the fate of STA. At that time, we will either celebrate the reign of common sense, or mobilize against the forces of ignorance.

Pray for Bishop Clark, and for his priests, that they harden not their hearts, but that zeal for God’s house may consume them.

Below are several photographs emailed to me by a friend of the blog and future staffer. They show the original “crypt church” used by the parishioners, the construction of the current majestic structure, and the solemn dedication of that same building. Note the following: many nuns in full habit, many servers in cassock and surplice, priests vested correctly and tastefully, piety on the part of the parishioners, and the clear and undeniable continuation of Tradition with a distinctly modern renewal. How beautiful this diocese once was, and imagine how beautiful it will one day be again!

“Hardly Seems In Danger of Closing”

March 9th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

Those were the words written a little over ten years ago in the Rochester Catholic Courier about Our Lady of Mercy parish in Greece. As most of our readers probably know by now, Our Lady of Mercy will close this June. Back in the late 1990s, Mercy was small, but a stable parish. The community even decided to renovate their church, and did so in 2001-2. The parish held a re-dedication Mass with Bishop Clark on June 16th, 2002. The party did not last for long. The small Mercy membership grew even smaller as the decade wore on. Their problems were exacerbated by the loss of Kodak jobs and the relocation of Catholics from the area.

Mercy’s Catholic school closed back in 1980.

Today I did a little digging through my hefty (and I mean hefty) DoR document archive, and came across an old Courier article about Our Lady of Mercy parish. Below is a snippet of the 1997/8 parish profile written about Mercy:

“Our Lady of Mercy, Rochester
By Rob Cullivan

Staff writer

GREECE ? Although Our Lady of Mercy Church may seem just another center of diocesan Catholic life, it?s far more to Rose Anuszkiewicz, a member of the parish?s Resurrection Choir that sings at funeral Masses.

“I hope we never close Our Lady of Mercy because Our Lady of Mercy is my second home,” she said.

A parish of 900 families that will celebrate its 40th year in 1998 hardly seems in danger of closing. Headed by its new pastor, Father Stan Kacprzak, Our Lady of Mercy boasts a number of social and spiritual ministries to both the community and its own members.

Father Kacprzak, who has also served at the Greece parishes of Our Mother of Sorrows and St. John the Evangelist, came to Our Lady of Mercy in December. He spoke highly of his new parish.

“What I?m doing this first year is seeing what?s here ? which is a wealth of community and generosity,” he said.” “

How times change. Our Lady of Mercy’s closing Mass will be held June 27th.

Part 4 — Bishop Sheen

October 30th, 2009, Promulgated by Choir

The next day, Cardinal Spellman, more than forty visiting bishops, politicians, friends of the bishop, area clergy of all denominations, packed Sacred Heart Cathedral for the 90 minute installation ceremony. The installation luncheon was held at the old Manger Hotel. Four thousand people attended a civic welcome in the ten-thousand-seat War Memorial. Cardinal Spellman returned to New York immediately after the installation service.

Soon the new bishop was traveling throughout the diocese, visiting institutions and parishes. He traveled to St. Francis deSales Church in Geneva and had a pleasant conversation with assistant pastor, Father Michael C. Hogan. Sheen soon summoned Hogan to Rochester and named him his secretary. Hogan handled a variety of administrative chores and managed appointments, but he acted principally as the bishop’s chauffeur. Sheen brought his personal cook with him from New York and played tennis twice a week and rode a stationary bicycle in his apartment.

Whenever Sheen traveled, he invited people to write to him. They did, and Hogan was overwhelmed with mail, so he and another priest devised form letters to handle the deluge. The people soon caught on.

On the very first day of Hogan’s employment, a fire destroyed St. Philip Neri’s parish, killing the 77 year old priest, Father George Weinmann, who had tried to rescue the Blessed Sacrament, and a 26-year old nun, Sister Lillian Marie SSND, who attempted to help him. Some students had committed arson. Hogan drove Sheen to the scene. The bishop was aghast to learn that the priest had left $7 million in stocks he had forgotten about and had not made out a ill. The state took most of the money. The tabernacle is today in the renovated Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Sheen offered a series of retreat talks at the Masonic Auditorium on East Main Street, very few people showed up and Fulton was furious. “The whole world comes to hear Fulton Sheen,” he said privately, “except his own diocese.”

As part of his determination to implement the teachings of Vatican II, Sheen sought to create a curia, aboard of counselors to advise him, and he chose to be democratic by asking all the diocesan priests to nominate three priests. He appointed several priests to serve as vicars in administration or in geographical districts. A lay administrative committee had been named to handle financial affairs of the diocese. He appointed a vicar of pastoral planning, vicar of religious education and two territorial (with jurisdiction) vicars. Throughout the diocese, with Sheen’s approval, parishes began founding lay boards of education and lay advisory councils. Sheen changed the name of the Rochester Chancery, which he thought bureaucratic and impersonal, to the “Pastoral Office.” The new bishop meant what he said about democracy in the diocese. Or so it seemed.

Without consulting anyone, Sheen announced the closing of the Most Precious Blood School in Rochester, attended largely by Italians. When Sheen appeared at the new Becket Hall to bless it, a crowd of Italians were waiting for him. Angry people pounded on his car and waved signs. Some shouted “You son of a bitch” and worse. Sheen locked his car doors and would not emerge until the vehicle was safely inside the institution’s garage. The bishop was greatly shaken. He ordered the school reopened the following day.

Sheen had bold plans for the seminary. In time, a number of non-Catholic professors would be hired. At one point, the bishop wrote a letter to eighty of the world’s leading theologians, inviting them to come to teach at St. Bernard’s. A few responded and faculty were hired from Italy, England and Belgium. The regular faculty wondered where the money was coming from. Some faculty members were worried about retaining their jobs.

Later that year, Protestants were hired to teach pastoral and preaching skills. Psychological testing was employed in order to weed out seminarians who might be emotionally or otherwise unfit. A board of seven laypersons – four men and three women – was created to “assist the seminary authorities in the selection of fit candidates for the altar.” The lay board, Sheen said proudly, was the first of its kind in a Catholic seminary in the United States. The seminary rector, Father Joseph P. Brennan and the faculty were not consulted in advance about the lay board. Brennan invited the bishop and the board members to a get acquainted dinner at the seminary. After dinner, Sheen made a few suggestions and then heard a polite rebuttal from faculty members eager to maintain their prerogatives. Sheen was disenchanted by the women during the first meeting, so he invited only men to the next meeting. He never called the board together again. Some clergy began grumbling about his lack of administrative skills.

Sheen changed the name of the faltering St. Andrew’s Minor Seminary to King’s Preparatory Seminary and made it a co-educational high school. Its aim would be the education of leaders, a “spiritual elite.” These raised eyebrows throughout the diocese. Things did not work out, and King’s Prep closed in 1970.

Sheen was vitally interested in the spiritual welfare of his people. He advised priests and seminarians to adopt his Holy Hour practice. He welcomed the Cursillo movement, urged families to read scripture and acts of self-denial. He initiated Home Masses, giving priests permission to celebrate Mass in private homes during evening hours on weekdays. Sheen took the lead himself, saying Mass in the homes of both blacks and Hispanics and afterwards visiting with attendees.

One day, as the bishop was in Wayland. He bought ice-cream cones for about twenty or thirty children when a little girl came up to him and asked him to visit her sister. “Yes, where is she?” asked Sheen. “She’s dead; she is in the undertaker’s parlor.” Sheen and Hogan (his secretary) went to the funeral home and saw the little seven-year-old girl who had been hit by a car. Sheen wrote later, “She looked alive and appeared like an angel.” Fulton consoled the family, telling them that a great good would come from the accident. In time, two conversions resulted from Sheen’s compassion. He later made a special trip from New York to Rochester to baptize one of the converts.

Below is a 1967 picture of Sheen at the St. Joseph House of Hospitality.

More pictures of SSPP

October 26th, 2009, Promulgated by Choir

One good piece of news is that the Egyptian Coptics want to put back the full altar rail. Why? To delineate the sacred from the secular. Seems to me, we as Catholics did this once upon a time. Has anyone notice how few changes any of the Eastern Catholic churches made after the Second Vatican Council.

Interior Pictures of Saint Peter and Pauls

October 26th, 2009, Promulgated by Choir

This pictures are courtesy of Joe Delaney. They were taken on October 18th, the day of our tour. I will post more later, probably tomorrow. Enjoy!

Bishop Sheen – Part 3

October 23rd, 2009, Promulgated by Choir

On October 26, 1966, Pope Paul VI officially named Fulton Sheen bishop of Rochester. It was shocking, front-page news. Sheen was 71 and lacked parish and administrative experience. He was now to leave the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, where he had been a striking success.

Cardinal Spellman had ended the more than ten years of intense personal struggle by finally banishing his famous adversary from the Archdiocese of New York. Rochester was the revenge that Spellman had promised all those years ago. Once Vatican II was over, Spellman began to think seriously about evening the score.

Spellman knew that removing his antagonist would not be easy. Fulton was highly popular with Vatican Propagation officials due to his fund-raising abilities, and he was know to be on excellent terms with Pope Paul VI.


Sheen was summoned to Rome and there was given his choice of several positions. He later told a priest he was offered two archdioceses and five dioceses. He selected Rochester, no doubt because of its close proximity to New York City.

Rochester was a good choice because it was ripe for change. Bishop James E. Kearney was nearly eighty-two years old and had led the diocese since 1937. To pave the way for Sheen, Spellman quietly had the Vatican, on March 9 (a month before Fulton was summoned to Rome), transfer the auxiliary bishop of Rochester, Lawrence Casey to Paterson, New Jersey. Bishop John Joseph Boardman, who had accepted the position in Paterson three days earlier, found the offer retracted. Spellman had a long acquaintance with both Kearney and Casey, and knew that Kearney was highly dependent upon his young auxiliary. Once Casey was gone, Kearney would retire willingly.

Just over two weeks after Spellman announced is own continuation in office, he called a press conference at his residence to announce Sheen’s appointment to Rochester. Spellman declared, “Just as every priest looks forward to the day when he can be a pastor, so I am sure, every bishop dreams of having a diocese of his own- not because of worldly ambition, but simply because a bishop by calling is a shepherd, and a shepherd seeks a flock.” Fulton claimed he had first learned of the appointment two days earlier, saying, “I am a soldier in the army of the church. The general has told me to go to Rochester and I love it.” He added, “I am a lover of souls, and in Rochester I will be even closer to priests and people.”


Fulton fed the media more blarney about his new position, claiming that Spellman told him he had not known of the appointment beforehand. Sheen promised to implement the reforms of Vatican II quickly. “It will be a pastoral administration,” Fulton said, prompting the reporter to add that the bishop was “apparently all set to remold Rochester into a demonstration diocese of his church in America.”

Spellman, the auxiliary bishops of the archdiocese, and nearly 3,000 worshipers were at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on December 11 to hear Sheen give his farewell sermons. Whatever bitterness he felt was thoroughly disguised. Nothing of the rancor between the two men surfaced in the media. But Msgr. George A. Kelly, who had worked closely with Spellman for many years, said later that it was common knowledge among insiders that the cardinal had pulled the strings to get Sheen sent to Rochester in order to prevent the bishop from becoming his successor.


Bishop James Kearney, who had guided the diocese through World War II, the peak of the Cold War, and now into the revolutionary 1960s, was much beloved. He was a good speaker with a lively Irish wit, a genial civic leader, a spiritual guide intensely devoted to Mary, and a skilled brick-and-mortar man. Between 1950 and 1965 he established 22 new parishes. By the end of 1966, the diocese had 13 diocesan or private high schools within its boundaries, with 10,350 students.

Another change affecting the diocese was a shift in the area’s ethnic composition. Blacks and Puerto Ricans had been moving into the area in sizable numbers since the 1950s. In April of 1964, a census showed 33,492 non-whites in Monroe County, almost all of them living in the city of Rochester. St. Bernard’s Seminary had no black students. The number of black Catholics was small. Sensitive to the civil rights movement, a Catholic Interracial Council (CIC) of Rochester, a lay organization, was created in 1960, to uphold the condemnation of racial discrimination issued by the American bishops in 1958.

The majority of the Puerto Ricans were Catholic, and as early as 1954 the diocese had begun taking steps to assist them. In 1963, a Catholic family opened the St. Martin de Porres Center to do settlement work among Puerto Ricans, in cooperation with Rochester Catholic Charities. Two Spanish-speaking priests were hired, and several diocesan priests and seminarians learned Spanish.

Still, the diocese as a whole was know widely to be conservative and self-satisfied. St. Bernard’s Seminary was known as “the Rock,” one of the strictest, most intellectually demanding, and most conservative seminaries anywhere.

Sheen’s formal arrival was on December 14, 1966. He said, “I have an ardent desire to spend myself and to be spent, to get my arms around Rochester.” Sheen spent his first evening in the dicoese at St. Bernard’s Seminary with the students. He told them, the roots of the diocese were in its seminary. One student, Joe Hart, later remembered how Sheen paused and started “for perhaps found seconds, that seemed like forever” when you were being introduced. It was as though he were looking through you, Hart said later.

To be continued with the installation. I hope you all are enjoying these installments.

St. Joseph Church – Clearing Away the Rubble

October 22nd, 2009, Promulgated by Dr. K

More amazing images of St. Joseph Church from local author, Rich Marcisewski. This set shows workers clearing away the rubble as part of the process of creating the St. Joseph park.