Cleansing Fire

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Posts Tagged ‘Fr. Timothy Niven’

When Fr. Radcliffe Came to Rochester

September 29th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

On Church Militant TV, Michael Voris has just named some names, and one is a person whom he calls “The Sodomy Priest,”

Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, OP shown on Church Militant Special Report Sept. 29, 2014

Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, OP shown on Church Militant Special Report Sept. 29, 2014

Father Timothy Radcliffe, Dominican Friar, who has apparently just recently free-wheeled his opinions through the Diocese of San Diego, including at its Catholic University, preaching same-sex “love.”  That name may sound familiar to some in the Rochester Diocese.  In January 2010,  Father Timothy Niven, Pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in Victor, brought Father Radcliffe to lead a “retreat for several parishes.”  I wrote about this questionable presence in a newsletter I did that month, called “It Really Matters,” questioning how this could happen, and warning those hundreds of families who received the newsletter (see blue type, below).  San Diego may seem far away from our interests here in Rochester, but not so!  While the content of the presentations may have been quite different, it is highly questionable for any pastor or bishop to bring such a person into the Diocese, and I would wager it could not happen today under our new bishop.  Give thanks for a shepherd’s protection of the flock!

Here’s what the newsletter said in January 2010 (click on Read the Rest) to finish the article:

Concerns about NW Ontario Retreat

We might indeed wonder “What in the world is Fr. Niven thinking?” by his hosting a person seen as a noted advocate for ordaining homosexual men to the priesthood, to allow him to give four ‘retreat’ presentations (8 HOURS!) at St. Patrick in Victor!  Since announcement of this event was in the Canandaigua [St. Mary’s] Bulletin, and since 75% of our people from St. Mary Parish in Rushville now go there, it is indeed a case of being a brother’s (or sister’s) keeper to inform each other of occasions of sin or scandal of which we may not be aware. 

The speaker, Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, is a Dominican who spent 10 years as the Master General of the Order and has surprisingly impressive credentials, but that should not influence souls, as God is impressed with the heart, not with worldly accomplishments, even in the church order.  Rather, we should especially be on guard against those who come in sheep’s clothing of honorary doctorates, and glossy titles like “Provincial of the English Province”, and “President of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors”.  Fr. Radcliffe, as an itinerant preacher, has his next stop in Victor, NY.  Faithful Catholics and those trying to sincerely understand and follow the church’s teaching on homosexuality or “same sex attraction” especially as it applies to the Catholic Clergy, should either avoid Fr. Radcliffe’s talk or be especially on guard to his message.  One needs to be careful in expressing opinion in the church not to deviate from the church’s legitimate teaching.  And, we might say, that laity in choosing which retreats or seminars or other spiritual events to attend should be particularly careful to avoid speakers who do not adhere to the church’s own guidelines.

Canon Law 752: “Although not an assent of faith, a religious submission of the intellect and will must be given to a doctrine which the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops declares concerning faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim it by definitive act; therefore, the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it.”  

How, then, would it not be prudent to avoid Fr. Radcliffe? He wrote an article for the Tablet (UK) expressing his own opinions in disagreement with the Instruction from Rome.  In November 2005 [Pope Benedict], the Church promulgated the   “Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders.”   The Instruction from Rome addressed whether to admit to the seminary and to holy orders candidates who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies.  “The candidate to the ordained ministry… must … relate correctly to both men and women, developing in him a true sense of spiritual fatherhood towards the Church community that will be entrusted to him.”  (Father Radcliffe writes: “…spiritual fatherhood?  This is not a concept with which I am familiar.”   How surprising, as St. Paul clearly speaks of his spiritual fatherhood of his flock.)  

The Instruction from Rome (more…)

No Civil “Right” to do “Wrong” — Part #4

June 17th, 2011, Promulgated by Diane Harris

In the prior posting I promised to get back to the individual priest issues this time.  There are two situations which I wrote about in the Newsletter It Really Matters:  about Fr. Charles Curran, and about Fr. Timothy Niven’s hosting Fr. Timothy Radcliffe.

In August 2008 we noted that Fr. Curran was speaking at Transfiguration, and we questioned the wisdom in allowing him to do so.  However, since we’d written much which was justifiably critical of Our Lady of the Lakes (OLOL), we used this particular occasion to praise Fr. Ring’s not allowing his parish bulletin to carry notice of the talk.  That snippet said:

We see so much that is wrong; perhaps when we get a chance to compliment — no matter who it is — we do well to take the opportunity, although omissions are often harder to notice than commissions.  Yet the facts, the egregious facts about Fr. Curran, should not be ignored.  That his faculties to teach were removed says, in one sense, all that should be necessary to say if he were under a Bishop to whom that was an issue.  But we even have the local pseudo-seminary giving him accolades, and that speaks more loudly than papal criticism apparently.  No wonder prospective seminarians could get tainted.

Jeff Ziegler in his article “The Barren Fig Tree” (elsewhere reviewed and linked on Cleansing Fire), quoted James Likoudis, who served as president of Catholics United for the Faith (CUF) from 1988 to 1994:  “The Diocese of Rochester is known throughout the nation as one of the most liberal and modernist dioceses, where there has been a collapse of authentic Catholic catechesis and a policy of deliberately devaluing the priesthood in favor of feminization of the liturgy and promotion of lay ecclesial ministries.”  

Likoudis continues:  “Rochester is the diocese where the architect of the sexual revolution in the Church (Father Charles E. Curran) remains a ‘priest in good standing’ despite his continuing to shred Catholic moral theology.”   Ziegler’s point regarding vocations seemed to be that who the bishop is, his own level of obedience to Catholic teaching, will either inspire a young man to become a priest or not, as it is to that very bishop he will owe his obedience.

Since Father Curran could no longer teach in a Catholic institution, he went to SMU (Southern Methodist University) to teach and use it as a platform for his aberrant permissiveness.   To get a peek into his own morality, he waited until days before the death of Pope John Paul II to publish a book viciously attacking the Holy Father.  And his version of the Holy Father seems a mere prop to use to expound his revisionist and simplistic arguments for lack of sexual restraint, or the semblance of morality.  For more analysis and review of Father Curran’s work, see:   In my opinion, this is an immoral theologian criticizing one of the world’s greatest moral theologians.  With this backdrop, what possible justification can Bishop Matthew Clark have to turn Father Curran loose on an unsuspecting parish audience?  Where does such shepherding of souls lead?  I think we know.

That the careful review of JP II’s moral theology, life and writings led in record time to his beatification, speaks reams about the baseless criticism of a priest who had to leave his own diocese and Catholic institutions to find advocates to employ him.  God have mercy on him, and especially on the souls he leads astray.  And on the bishop who provides audiences for his false teaching.

Next we have the Case of Father Timothy Radcliffe.  For that situation, the two-column article from It Really Matters is reproduced below.  The Bishop also provides a persistent stage for the homosexual message, but there is an additional twist to be noted here.  Back in November 2005, when Pope Benedict XVI was about to issue another definitive pronouncement against homosexuals becoming priests, LifeSiteNews reported the following  by John-Henry Westen:

“VATICAN, November 14, 2005 ( – As the publication of the new Vatican document on homosexuality and the Catholic priesthood is about to be published at the end of the month, several Catholic leaders including an American bishop have publicly stated their views against the long-standing Vatican position against ordaining men with homosexual inclinations to the priesthood.  Rochester, NY, Bishop Matthew H. Clark, was the latest to come out in favour of homosexual priests in a column in his diocesan paper Saturday. [This is the one this blog post covered in Part #3 of this thread.]

“Homosexual priests in Canada and the United States have condemned the Church’s position in mostly anonymous statements to the media.  However some US and Canadian priests have also identified themselves while publicizing their rejection of the Catholic position on the matter.  In recent weeks the former head of one of the largest religious orders in the Catholic Church did so, and his statements are closely followed by those of Bishop Clark. 

Rev. Timothy Radcliffe, the international leader of the Dominican Order from 1992 to 2001, last week slammed any suggestion of barring homosexuals from the priesthood, and suggested barring “homophobes” instead.  “Any deep-rooted prejudice against others, such as homophobia or misogyny, would be grounds for rejecting a candidate for the priesthood, but not their sexual orientation,” he said. (see coverage: )”

Aha! this is significant insight into just “how it works.”  Bishop Clark’s invitations to outside speakers don’t seem either random or reflective of the needs of his flock, but again he gives the stage to an outcast from the Church’s teaching, and puts him with one of the sympathetic diocesan priests (noted in his Intercessions when in OLOL.)  Father Niven will also be the subject of a future thread on his role in destroying St. Mary Rushville illegitimately.  But for now, we focus on the article in It Really Matters, in January 2010 about what was supposed to be a pre-Lenten series of talks for the people from at least six churches; i.e. the NW Ontario Planning Group:

























































Finally, and probably obviously, all invited speakers need to be watched and warnings posted here and wherever else possible when the invitee claims to be Catholic but is heretical with respect to any teaching of the Catholic Church.  (Why, oh why, should it be necessary to remind the hierarchy?)  For example, watch whom Bishop Clark invites to give missionary appeals.   Even up to several years ago, I would just write a check.  But now, I won’t, without a thorough checkout in advance of the appeal, but look what happened last year (this too is a newsletter excerpt, from August 2010): 

“Adrian Dominicans Warning:  Recently in several churches, including St. Michael (Penn Yan) and St. Theresa (Stanley), members of the Adrian Dominican order from Michigan were permitted to take the pulpit on Sunday morning to fund-raise.  This cannot happen without the Bishop’s specific directive.  There are two concerns.  First, only an ordained (priest or deacon) is permitted to preach a homily (although announcements can be made before or at the end of Mass by laity), and also of great concern is that the Adrian Dominican Order signed the support document (in opposition to the position of the US Council of Catholic Bishops) for Obamacare legislation.  It hardly seems fair for the faithful not to be told in advance of such affiliation.”



$hepherds $hearing $heep — Part 5: Case cont’d: “Planning Damage”

May 13th, 2011, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Reminder: blue text is update to the “Case Study: St. Mary Rushville”, appended to the letter to Mr. Cuomo.  See $hepherds $hearing $heep — Part 2 for the letter to Mr. Cuomo, and Parts 3&4 for the beginning of this “Case Study,” of St. Mary in Rushville, NY.

Planning Group was managed to the detriment of parishes for which the pastor was a Trustee:

  1. In August 2003 a new planning group was convened for further consolidation of parishes.  Parish councils (advisory to the pastor) were asked to name 2 members to the planning group for each parish.  The pastor then replaced 3 of the 4 named by the joint council of St. Mary / St. Theresa.  One from St. Mary was actively involved and removed with no notice.  The person with whom he was replaced would ultimately become one of the current Trustees against whom complaint is made (see Trustees section above).  When the other representative moved away, St. Mary ended up with only the one representative, the one appointed personally by the pastor, was not allowed to name a replacement, and thus had less influence and vote than otherwise it should have had. 
  2. Forums for discussion were held only at the two churches which were planned to definitely stay open, denying parishioners the right to input for their own parish, to hear and exchange with other parishioners.  Even if they tried to participate at the larger parishes, their voices were minimal by comparison.
  3. Two and a half years after the planning began, there finally was an analysis by the business manager of the financial picture of combining parishes, just minutes before a vote was to be taken.  Later it was seen that his data were erroneous, showing losses where there was actually positive income for configurations which the pastor did not favor.  Even when brought to his attention, it was never corrected, so members of all parish councils, some of whom were Trustees, were misled by seriously wrong financial analysis.  The auditors agreed when it was shown to them but they said this was outside the area for which they were hired.
  4. At the “final” planning meeting, St. Mary and St. Theresa expressed the unanimous will of their council members to close neither parish, but to rotate Masses between them as long as each was financially solvent.  The final report to the bishop lied about this conclusion and presented it as a “choosing” between the parishes, with one to be closed.  The bishop accepted that write-up even though it was untrue and disputed.
  5. The pastor had persistently promised council members that the savings would stay with each parish.  At the last meeting, the final plan presented had no such provision.  Funds which were collected for St. Januarius roof, for example, have met an ambiguous fate.
  6. For the final decision on whether to close St. Mary or St. Theresa, the pastor asked the Parish Council members to all agree in advance to accept whatever the recommendation would be of an outside consultant who would know “nothing” of the OLOL situation.  The council unwisely agreed.  Then the pastor used a priest friend of his [Fr. Timothy Niven]  who had once been under his supervision at St. Januarius, who knew well the OLOL situation, and against all objective data to the contrary (some data he received also was untrue), gave the recommendation that the pastor wanted, which was to close St. Mary.  St. Theresa had less than $10,000 in savings, and St. Mary had more than $100,000, adding to the perception that the church closures are not about priest shortages (there are plenty of priests available in OLOL) but about cash.  The result was announced in May 2009. 

At another time there will be far more to say on the pastoral planning debacle; but, for now, this is simply what was included in the letter to Andrew Cuomo, and thus limited principally to financial aspects.