Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘Heroic Hierarchy’ — Please VOTE!

May 23rd, 2014, Promulgated by Hopefull

If you scroll to the bottom of the right hand column on Cleansing Fire, you will find a number of links to “Friends of Orthodoxy.”  What do you think?  Should become one of the links?  Please VOTE!  Here is a very recent story on that site, with already 527 Thumbs-Up.  Aaaahhh! The Shepherd protecting the flock!

Bishop Paprocki Confirms “Womenpriest’s” Excommunication

Be Warned: Catholics Attending “Womenpriests” Services Incur

Automatic Excommunication

Statement from Bishop Thomas John Paprocki

Regarding Attempted Ordination and Invalid “Masses”

“Please be advised that Ms. Mary F. Keldermans of Springfield, Illinois, Woman Priest Excommunicated crophas attempted to be ordained a priest for “Roman Catholic Womenpriests, Inc.” in a ceremony at the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Springfield on May 5, 2014.  As a result, she has incurred an automatic excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See.

Please note also that a schismatic group called “Holy Family Inclusive Catholic Community” is being formed here in Springfield and is planning to conduct liturgical services at the Congregational Church UCC, West College Avenue, Jacksonville, Illinois.   The Christian faithful are cautioned that this attempted ordination and these purported “Masses” are invalid. Those who knowingly and intentionally participate in these schismatic activities also incur automatic excommunication in accord with canons 751 and 1364, with due regard for canons 1321-1324 of the Code of Canon Law.”

See more at:

Daily Prayer for Priests

O my Jesus, I beg You on behalf of the whole Church … give us holy priests. You yourself maintain them in holiness.

O Divine and Great High Priest, may the power of Your mercy accompany them everywhere and protect them from the devil’s traps and snares, which are continually being set for the souls of priests.

May the power of Your Mercy, O Lord, shatter and bring to naught all that might tarnish the sanctity of priest, for You can do all things. – St. Faustina (Diary, 1052)

Week 18 in Catholic Media, 2014

April 28th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

More Heroic Hierarchy

This week Cameroon Cardinal Christian Tumi, archbishop emeritus of Douala, was interviewed by LifeSiteNews just after the canonization of St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII.  He confirmed that pro-abortion politicians should not be given Communion in an article by Patrick B. Craine (April 28, 2014) from Rome.


Cardinal Christian Tumi, archbishop emeritus of Douala, Cameroon

“Abortion is a crime. Yes, a crime. It’s murder, really. So there’s no doubt about it,” he said.   “Treat evil as evil….If somebody’s in [mortal] sin, he should be denied Communion,” he said.   Tumi rejected the notion that denying a politician Communion turns the Eucharist into a political weapon, “as some U.S. cardinals have argued. …It’s not a weapon. You are free to come or not to come. If you do not fulfill the conditions, it is not the Church that refuses,” he explained. “It is the person himself who refuses by not fulfilling the conditions required to go to Communion.”  He said if he knows the person is in mortal sin, and “if it is public,” then “I cannot do that in conscience.  But if I do not know, and the person knows and goes to Communion, that’s his or her problem,” he said.

“Though some bishops and cardinals have opposed the use of the canon, the Vatican has been clear in upholding it.”  Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in 2004:  “Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.”

When “these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,” and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it” (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration “Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics” [2002], nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgement on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.”

U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke has been the most prominent defender of canon 915. In an interview last month by LifeSiteNews, Burke insisted denying Communion when required is not about punishment but charity.  “The priest’s refusal to give Holy Communion is a prime act of pastoral charity, helping the person in question to avoid sacrilege and safeguarding the other faithful from scandal,” he explained.

So we add the name of Cameroon’s Cardinal Tumi to the “Heroic Hierarchy” list.  It is one thing to enforce such discipline after a national organization of bishops has affirmed by committee action; it is quite another to be virtually standing alone because of the silence of so many other bishops and Cardinals.  What follows is a list of “Heroic Hierarchy” already named in 2014 in these NEWS stories.  Perhaps you know of more to add?  Scroll to the bottom for a “Question of the Week” for further discussion.

Heroic Hierarchy

Week 17:  Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins who publicly criticized the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) after it announced last month it would march in Toronto’s WorldPride parade this summer.

Week 14:  Bishop Paul Kariuki Njiru, chairman of the Catholic Health Commission of Kenya who wrote a letter urging that donations to “Free the Children” be discontinued because  the charity offers and promotes “family planning” in its clinics and programs.

Week 13:  Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Jos who, in his opening remarks at the Nigerian bishops’ recent plenary meeting,  made a strong defense  for a bill banning same-sex “marriage.”

Week 12:  In the same week both Cardinal Carlo Caffara of Bologna and Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, announced that not even a pope can change Catholic teaching or practice on marriage/divorce/remarriage regarding admission to the Eucharist.  (The following week, Cardinal O’Malley spoke similarly).

Week 11:  There were three heroic hierarchy cited:   Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth England calling for denying the Eucharist to those in same-sex unions as an “act of mercy”,  Bishop Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa who sponsored a repentant homosexual speaker to inform the flock on the devastating harm of such relationships, and Belize’s Bishop Dorick Wright who issued a directive to the country’s Catholic schools stating that ‘organizations whose activities and positions are actively opposed to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, and which endanger the souls of the People of God, cannot be welcomed under any circumstances in our schools.’   “Stressing that Planned Parenthood is an international billion-dollar business that profits from the killing of babies through abortion, Bishop Wright said, “…the operational arm in Belize of International Planned Parenthood, is an instrument of the most serious crimes against life and our Christian morality.’”

Week 7:  Archbishop of New Orleans, Gregory M. Aymond, announced a boycott of all businesses which in any way participate in or facilitate the erection of a new $4.2 million Planned Parenthood abortion facility.

Week 5:  Buffalo’s Bishop Richard Malone has shot back after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo suggested “extreme conservatives“, including pro-lifers and pro-family advocates, have no place in … New York.   In a video posted on his diocesan website … Bp. Malone said Cuomo’s “rant” was itself extremist:  ‘I think that comment is the best example of extremism I’ve heard for a long time.  At first it was so outrageous it made me laugh.  Then it made me deeply concerned,” he continued.  “New York State already has the highest rate of abortions in the country,” Bishop Malone stated. ‘The governor, and those who support him on this position, want to make us the abortion capital of the country.”

Question(s) of the Week:

V. P. Biden blesses himself after receiving communion at St. Patrick's. Cardinal Dolan looks the other way.

A pastor and his bishop have the responsibility for enforcing the appropriate Canons, but sometimes the person flaunting Church Teaching may go to an Extraordinary Eucharistic minister who is less aware or even more afraid of refusing the Sacred Species.   Is this an abuse of the laity?  Is it being used to avoid the necessary discipline?  Should laity faced with such a situation simply refuse to act as Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers until the pastor and/or local bishop enforce the Canons?  The question is made manifest by the picture of Cardinal Dolan ignoring Joe Biden’s reception of Communion.  What do you think?  Are lay ministers of communion enabling some of this abuse by giving pastors and their superiors “a way out?”  What should they do?  What would you do?


Week 17 in Catholic Media, 2014

April 23rd, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

A Reflection on Why the NEWS is being posted on Cleansing Fire … you deserve an answer.

There was a time, not that many months ago, when CF was heavily focused on what was hurting souls in the Rochester Diocese, on documenting the need for action, and on mutual commiseration.  Time moves on.  We have been blessed with a new Bishop who is easily seen as an answer to prior prayers, and deserving of our continuing prayers of support.  Such change inevitably begs the question:  “Is there still a need for Cleansing Fire?”  Fair and faithful people may choose to disagree. Those who say ‘no’ will inevitably leave the site, moving on to where their interests lie now.  Others will see an opportunity to transcend the past, and leverage the skills, information and contacts established during our previous activity.   Some will step up to more involvement and participation.  (There are other alternatives, of course, but let’s focus on these for now.)

Were the Body of Christ simply an organization of mutual geographic interest,  or were it simply a social club which meets on Sundays, the answer would be less complex.   When our preoccupation was intense on our local problems, it was easier to overlook what was happening elsewhere.  But the Body of Christ exceeds a billion people today, and what happens to a brother or sister in Syria, Ukraine or Toronto does matter.  Moreover, what happens there today may well be an early warning system to us of an impending threat to the practice of our own faith.  If we had truly noticed, it would have been obvious that Canada has been, for the last five years at least, a proving ground for egregious undermining of the Catholic Faith, and those practices have easily flowed south across the border.   So, perhaps it is time to notice.  Do we really think involuntary euthanasia in Belgium (and being lobbied in Montreal) isn’t an impending threat?  Or obligatory abortion of less than fully healthy unborn children isn’t the interest of a government controlling or rationing medical expenses?  Or that suppression of Religious Truth won’t be implemented by arrests of priests for teaching Romans Chapter 1 or the Catechism from the pulpit, or that their counseling a repentant same-sex activist in the confessional won’t be seen as illegal reparative therapy?   The threats are obvious, and much more far-reaching than in any particular diocese.  Self-induced blindness is not morally defensible. 

The next logical question is whether or not such threats have more of a political than faith-based nature?  While not denying the political implications, the ultimate threat is to souls, hence the argument for continuing and enhancing the work of Cleansing Fire.  There are three very real areas in which faithful Catholics should strive to make a difference in their own areas of responsibility, even when it seems to be a losing battle (but we do know Who wins the war!):

1. Witness (=definition of martyr) by the hierarchy — elsewhere in these NEWS posts we have occasionally mentioned “heroic hierarchy” deserving of accolades for their faithfulness in difficult times.  Many more than we know or can mention have lost their lives in war-torn countries, or endured prison and torture by religious persecutors.  One can ask how some clergy can surrender their lives for Christ, while in our own country there are shepherds who will not even speak from the pulpit against abortion,   who allow political figures who propagate evils against the souls of the flock to participate unworthily in the Eucharist (against Canon Law and Church teaching), and who cause confusion and scandal as they bask in media sunshine with obtuse and unclear language, rather than provide clarity of teaching.

2. Protection of Catholic Services and Teaching Institutions — Catholic hospitals have sometimes merged with secular hospitals, insidiously referring for contraception and abortion while keeping the name “Catholic” inked on the door.   Some Catholic colleges have populated their public stage with anti-Christ figures and reprehensible practices at graduations and other events,  allowing alleged Catholics to rip the fabric of Catholicism asunder and denigrate Church teachings. Even Catholic High Schools are entering the fray, with parents and children openly rejecting the Church’s teaching on same-sex relationships, utterly rejecting the Truth of Catholic Education.  Meanwhile, at a time faithful teaching is most needed, Catholic schools close, or sell out to the Core Curriculum, or staff with people whose lifestyles are a blatant rejection of Catholicism.  Funding is given to charities which promulgate abortion, contraception and/or homosexual lifestyle, even weakening the moral ethic of other countries.  Most threatened is the family, with home schoolers persecuted, and children snatched from parents who are trying to teach Christian principles.

3.   Sanctification of the Laity —  the failure of some members of the hierarchy to rule as Catholics (yes, the red of the Cardinal’s attire does connote being willing to bleed for the Church, to death) and their failure to protect the sustaining institutions that teach either directly or by example, inevitably lead to a loss of sanctification of the laity.  When the laity sees a notorious public figure honored by Church hierarchy or its institutions, for example, members easily excuse themselves from righteous demands for obedience and virtue.  Parents who support and even encourage their children in same-sex attraction, or procure contraceptives and  abortions for themselves, family or friends,  pass on that teaching to the next generation.  Parishioners who easily skip Mass to go to sports events, and question even the Real Presence, can more easily “shop” around for a “feel-good” church with great musical performances and undemanding scripture reading.  Then, as more churches close, or become unrecognizable as Catholic, those in the pew find an anonymity or malaise, facilitating the cafeteria culture.  

The NEWS articles on CF tend to be in those three areas, as either good examples or bad examples.  Such articles tend not to focus on the individual sins of those seeking to draw attention to themselves, like protesters, or people making public displays for the news media,  who destroy pro-life displays, pour urine on a bishop or use public nudity to garner headlines.  Those are not our subjects (though we have been asked a few times why such stories aren’t being covered.)  Rather the interest is more on major trends, threats and tests of our faith, heralding the path of persecution, but without any particular concern for a diocesan boundary.  We,  the Body of Christ, have good enough reason to be concerned, and good enough reason to share the preaching of one Catholic-pressured-into-being-an-Anglican-priest figure, John Donne, from Elizabethan England (his brother died a Catholic martyr), who seemed to have his own regrets.   His particular sermon on our inter-dependence became the famous poem we know as “No Man is an Island.”  It fully applies to the Body of Christ:

No Man Is An Island

No man is an island, Entire of itself,

Every man is a piece of the continent,

A part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less.

As well as if a promontory were.

As well as if a manor of thy friend’s

Or of thine own were:

Any man’s death diminishes me,

Because I am involved in mankind,

And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;

It tolls for thee.

John Donne

 And, for Easter Week, here are three encouraging and even uplifting stories from LifeSiteNews:

Toronto Cardinal criticizes Catholic teachers’ union decision to march in Pride parade

Hundreds of pro-life Catholics give public witness in San Diego on Good Friday

Unborn child has ‘inalienable’ right to life ‘at all stages of development’: Alabama Supreme Court

And these headlines show an additional reason it is important to keep Catholic Teaching in the public square — because it leads as well to sanctification of the nation, making it a better place for souls to be saved.  Thus, the Alabama Supreme Court decision, and others like it, need hierarchical witness, persistent teaching, and support of those seeking holiness.  Let us just do our part.  It is a privilege, not a burden.  Amen?

Week 14 in Catholic Media, 2014

April 9th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Starting next week, I will experiment with daily adds, i.e. more of a real-time post to the week’s news, updating the POST as the week progresses, which means more of a chronology as it occurs.  It will be an experiment to see if more people engage with the subjects, and which kind of posts create more interest.  COMMENTS are always welcome.

Kenyan bishops call on Catholics to stop funding the contraception-providing ‘Free the Children’ clinic 

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 31, 2014 ( by Peter Baklinski – Kenya’s bishops have called on Catholics in Canada and the USA to cease funding a clinic in their country run by secular charity Free the Children, which frequently partners with Catholic schools, because the clinic provides contraceptives…. “Considering the evil caused to families and society in Kenya by the use of contraception, Catholic Bishops in Kenya through Catholic Health Commission of KCCB request that donors in Canada and the United States direct their generosity to Catholic health facilities and not to contraception-distributing institutions and programmes such as Free the Children’s Baraka Medical Centre,” the bishops state in a March 26 letter addressed to one Ottawa resident and other “Christians of good will.”   Also see article  Kenyan bishops fear tetanus vaccine campaign is aimed to sterilize women

Catholic hospital that hosts abortion-referring center proposes removing pro-life Catholic trustees

LONDON, March 31, 2014 ( by John-Henry Westen – The Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth, which calls itself “the UK’s premier CatholicHospital,” is attempting to remove from it’s Trustee Company several orthodox Catholics. The hospital, despite

Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth, London

Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth, London

 taking “great pride” in its “Catholic ethos,” hosts a National Health Service clinic that refers women for abortions.  The Board of Trustees Company is expected to … end the hospital’s one hundred and fifty year relationship with the Order of Malta, … that the Board of Trustees Company will be reduced from 22 to 15 members, with all five representatives of the Order of Malta … losing their places on the board.  …. The matter was referred to the Holy See and an investigation was opened …. The hospital was known to be regularly performing “gender reassignment” surgery and concerns had been raised that the hospital was also providing referrals for abortion and providing a range of contraceptives, including those with a potential abortifacient effect, such as the “morning after pill.” ….  Lord Bridgeman suggested that the crisis could be resolved through the “secularisation of the Hospital’s constitution by removal of the Cardinal’s ‘ethics clause.’” The hospital would then become a secular institution “in the Catholic tradition,” which would mean that it was under no obligation to refrain from prescribing contraceptives, performing abortions, or carrying out “gender reassignments.”  Despite hosting an NHS clinic that prescribes contraceptives and refers for abortions, the hospital of SS John and Elizabeth still retains its official status as a Catholic institution. Campaigners have long called for the Archdiocese of Westminster to take action to ensure that the hospital retains an authentic Catholic ethos, which is inseparable from full adhesion [sic] to the moral law.

Furor at Catholic high school after nun presents Church teaching on homosexuality

CHARLOTTE, NC, April 2, 2014 ( by Kirsten Andersen– “A North Carolina Roman Catholic [high] school [met] to address the concerns of parents and students who say they are outraged about remarks a visiting nun made criticizing homosexuality, divorce, and sex outside of marriage during a recent speech.  Dominican Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, who often speaks to high school and college-age students on matters of sexuality, gave an hour-long presentation to students at Charlotte Catholic High School on March 21 called ‘Masculinity and Femininity: Difference and Gift.’   She [reportedly] spent about half her allotted time discussing homosexuality, blaming its rising influence in part on fatherless homes created by divorce and extramarital sex.  Sister Laurel is a member of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, often called the Nashville Dominicans, which is an order known for its fidelity to the Magisterium.”

charlotte_catholic-240x180“… students …  reacted to her remarks with shock and anger, launching both an online petition and a letter-writing campaign calling the sister’s words ‘offensive and unnecessarily derogatory.'”  Visit the above link to read the insipid, uncatechized comments, and more blaming of Pope Francis’s compassionate remarks as approving sin.   “Parents have supplemented the students’ petition with an e-mail campaign targeting the Diocese of Charlotte, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Vatican with complaints about Sr. Jane’s speech.  Parents, alumni and students involved in the petition and letter writing campaigns are demanding that the school and Church apologize.”

“But not all students were upset by the nun’s presentation.  A group of students who adhere to Catholic teaching on sexuality have launched a counter-petition condemning the protesters’ actions.  ‘We are outraged that the topics talked about are being debated within a community where the shared faith teaches us what truly is holy and that anyone would stand up against a nun, who has given her life for the Lord, and blantly [sic] deny God’s teachings,’ the petition reads.”

“Reaction from local Church officials has been largely supportive of Sister Jane.

  • “Fr. Tim Reid, pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, sent out a mass email which said in part, ‘She represented well the Catholic positions on marriage, sex, same-sex attraction and proper gender roles. … The Church has already lost too many generations of Catholic schools students to … a very muddled and watered-down faith.'”
  • “Fr. Roger Arnsparger, diocesan vicar for education, stated, ‘Our students are bombarded with confusing messages about sexuality. Our task in religious formation is always to help people understand the meaning of love and relationships.'”

It would be incomplete to run this story without reporting results from the April 2nd meeting:

Charlotte diocese backs nun who gave school talk promoting Church teaching on homosexuality

CHARLOTTE, NC, April 7, 2014 ( by Kirsten Andersen – “The bishop of Charlotte is backing a Dominican nun who has been at the center of a fiery controversy since last month when she gave a speech promoting Catholic teaching on sexuality to students at Charlotte Catholic High School.

Sister Jane Dominic Laurel

Sister Jane Dominic Laurel

After a public meeting with diocesan and school officials turned ugly, with parents and students alike shouting at administrators over what they perceived as ‘hateful’ remarks criticizing homosexual behavior, divorce and extra-marital sex, a spokesman for the diocese told LifeSiteNews that the nun in question, Sr. Jane Dominic Laurel, did nothing wrong and will be welcome to speak on the issue again if she chooses.”

“’Nothing in Sister’s talk opposed Church teaching,’ Diocese of Charlotte Communications Director David Hains told LifeSiteNews in an email. ‘Sister would be welcomed to speak in the diocese in the future.’”

“Hains said Bishop Peter Jugis is expected to make further public comment on the situation soon.   Sr. Laurel’s critics have complained about a section of her talk in which she discussed scientific findings related to the causes of homosexuality. “

“’I was in attendance at the same presentation when given on Long Island, NY a few months ago,’ Dr. Gerard Nadal told LifeSiteNews.  ‘In that meeting, Sister Jane gave medical and scientific data that came from reputable sources and were presented as examples of the consequences for human behavior that contravenes the moral magisterium of the Church. As a Ph.D. in medical science, and as a Catholic schooled extensively in my faith, I saw no contradictions, but rather a seamless presentation.’”

“The Diocese of Charlotte’s newspaper, the Catholic News-Herald, reported that the meeting was acrimonious, with those who dared to speak out in support of Sr. Laurel or the Church being shouted down by an angry mob.  The paper’s sources called the atmosphere ‘disrespectful’ and ‘hate-filled.’  Fr. Kauth said he brought Sr. Laurel to the school because he felt students at Charlotte Catholic had been poorly catechized and were suffering from spiritual darkness, particularly around the issue of sexuality.   To read Fr. Kauth’s full statement regarding Sr. Laurel’s presentation click here .”

And let us pray for courageous people like Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, and the clergy who backed her up, for their Christ-like witness.

Week 13 in Catholic Media, 2014

March 31st, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Nine weeks ago, in Week 04, we ran a story here about the role of priests in the civil disturbance / uprising / revolution (all depending on ScreenShot059one’s viewpoint) in the Ukraine.  Much has occurred since, resulting in Russia’s annexing Crimea.  But even if the Russian machine has technically stopped at the remainder of the Ukraine’s frontier, it is far from over.  And the recriminations between the Russian Orthodox hierarchy and the “Uniates,” seen as Western-leaning and favoring Rome, probably has barely begun.   So we add another news source to the CF site: (from Italy, but available in English.)

If you have a few minutes, it is worth a read just for a little exposure to the enormous and intertwined complexity of the issue.  The latest edition isn’t pulling any punches.  An excerpt of the article is shown above, and expounds on the religious intrigue.

Key provisions of Texas pro-life law upheld by appeals court

NEW ORLEANS, LA, March 27, 2014 ( by Ben Johnson– Two key provisions of Texas’ hotly debated pro-life law have been upheld by an all-female panel of judges from a U.S. Appeals Court … The panel of judges from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles and to follow the FDA-approved use of abortion-inducing drugs “on its face does not impose an undue burden on the life and health of a woman.”

A group of Texas abortion providers filed Planned Parenthood v. Gregory Abbott to challenge these aspects of H.B. 2, the bill Governor Rick Perry signed into law after a marathon filibuster by State Senator Wendy Davis.  The abortion giant, aided by the ACLU, did not challenge the law’s limiting of abortion to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, nor its provision requiring abortion facilities to meet the same health and safety standards as other ambulatory surgical centers.  But it did state that the other provisions would close abortion offices and effectively deny Texas women the ability to obtain an abortion.  The ruling allows the law to go into effect in its entirety.  There is no question the law has devastated the abortion industry [in Texas].

Cardinal O’Malley: “The Church will not change her teaching”

Sean Cardinal O'Malley

Sean Cardinal O’Malley

ROME Mar 24, 2014 13:59 EST ( by Hilary White

One of Pope Francis’ council of eight cardinals has denied that the Church will ever change its teaching or practice on divorce and civil remarriage.  Cardinal Sean O’Malley … told an American newspaper that any rumours that the Church will admit divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to Holy Communion without changing their lifestyles are untrue.  The National Catholic Register quotes the Cardinal saying “The Church will not change her teaching on the indissolubility of marriage.”

 Nigerian bishops defend same-sex ‘marriage’ ban

ABUJA, Nigeria, March 25, 2014 ( by Thaddeus Baklinski

Archbishop Kaigama of Nigeria

Archbishop Kaigama of Nigeria

The president of the Nigerian Catholic Bishops’ Conference has made a strong defense of the bishops’ support for a bill banning same-sex “marriage” against critics who allege the bishops’ position is out of touch with Pope Francis.    “It is a mischievous and faulty generalization to reason that because we resist same-sex ‘marriage’ we differ from our Pope, who said, ‘If a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge?’”  Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Jos said in his opening remarks at the bishops’ recent plenary meeting.

“The position of the Catholic Church in Nigeria in respect of same sex union and other moral vices is in consonance with that of the universal Church and in conformity with the social teachings of the Church,” Archbishop Kaigama said.  “Our compassion for the weak, the marginalized and those who suffer discrimination is unwavering and uncompromising. We minister to all,” he said, stressing that, “Nigerian Catholics do not hate men and women who are of biologically gay orientation, but strongly affirm that gay unions or ‘marriages’ are simply not in conformity with our Christian theology or traditional Nigerian morality.”
In a letter to Jonathan, the bishops had praised the government’s decision “not to bow to international pressure in the promotion of unethical and immoral practices of same sex union and other related vices.”  They called the government’s stand “a courageous one and a clear indication of the ability of our great country to stand shoulders high in the protection of our Nigerian and African most valued cultures of the institution of marriage and protection of the dignity of the human person.”  In his remarks at the bishops’ plenary, Archbishop Kaigama said they sent the letter “to uphold the age-long biblical and traditional morality of our people that marriage has always been a union between a man and a woman.”

“Same-sex unions or so-called ‘marriages’ are alien to us and we resist the idea but we will always extend compassion of Christ to men and women with biological orientation that is gay or lesbian and defend their rights just as we have constantly defended the rights of all persons discriminated against,” … “We stand for the promotion and protection of human rights which are consistent with our religious and cultural values. Legalizing same-sex ‘marriage’ will open the flood gates to so many moral issues that can seriously compromise our African culture and becloud our evangelization efforts in Nigeria.”

Week 12 in Catholic Media, 2014

March 24th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Knowing What is Important, and What is True:  One Story and a Broader Context

The hype around Pope Francis continues, with pop-culture still positioning him as being on the brink of changing much that is Catholic to conform more to the secular wish-list.  The UN has taken a position that the Church should “change” its teaching, as if that were possible, on same-sex marriage and on abortion, for example.  Sniping from the side-lines against Church Teaching is nothing new, even from within the Church, of which German Cardinal Kasper is only the most recent example of rubbing two sticks together to spark the flame of dissent.  And, realistically, that exactly describes the recent push by Cardinal Kasper to urge a ‘methodology’ for return of divorced and remarried Catholics to full Communion.  We won’t know the damage of Cardinal Kasper’s efforts until the smoke clears, but his addressing the College of Cardinals would seem to have added some inappropriate level of legitimacy, raising further concerns, and increasing the need for urgent clarification.  Partly, those who advocate changing Christ’s Teaching for His Church seem to gain some secular popularity, much like the unjust steward in the Bible Story, who hoped to be welcomed into the houses of those to whom he gave what was not his to give.

The Rochester Diocese over the years has not been a stranger to that phenomenon.  One of the most horrific and long term examples has been Father Charles Curran’s advocacy for a wide range of sexual permissiveness in contradiction to the Church’s moral teaching.  Although his mandatum to teach at Catholic colleges and universities was revoked (sending him off to a Methodist University to teach), he has long been beknighted by St. Bernard’s and, on occasion, invited to preach even to the unsuspecting people in the pew!  The damage done to souls, especially in Father Curran’s encouraging contraception during the waning days of Vatican II, is known only to God.

If we had to name the age we are in,  it might be called “The Licensing of Personal Sin,” which is greatly attractive to those who want to be validated in their own sin by mutual permissiveness.  What is especially disconcerting is when members of Church Hierarchy become the perpetrators rather than the defenders.    And it is surprising that more key members of the hierarchy are not speaking out strongly in support of Church Teaching in the subject matter addressed by Cardinal Walter Kasper to the College of Cardinals, under the guise of “pastoral care.” One has to wonder why there hasn’t been a very outspoken rejection of Cardinal Kasper, among other Cardinals in particular.  But we have two!

Two members of the Heroic Hierarchy who spoke out in defense of Church Teaching last week:

LifeSiteNews’ Hilary White reported:  “Italian cardinal says allowing Communion for civilly remarried is impossible”  ROME, March 17, 2014  – “Not even a pope can change Catholic teaching or practice on marriage, including on the prohibition against reception of Communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, a prominent Italian prelate has said.  carlo_caffarra1-240x193 Cardinal Carlo Caffara, the cardinal archbishop of Bologna, told an Italian newspaper this weekend that this teaching comes to the Church from Christ Himself and cannot be changed by anyone, either by a pope or a synod.  [Cardinal] Caffara said, ‘Do not touch the marriage of Christ. It cannot be judged case by case; you do not bless a divorce and hypocrisy is not ‘merciful.  The popes have always taught that the power of the Pope does not come to this: over a ratified and consummated marriage, the Pope has no power,’ said the cardinal.”

The Catholic Church, following the words of Christ, does not recognize divorce, and in the eyes of the Church, a person who has been married, divorces and obtains a second marriage in the civil sphere, is committing the mortal sin of adultery. The teaching of the Catholic Church has always been that a Catholic in an objective state of mortal sin cannot receive Holy Communion until he has repented, given up the sin in question and received sacramental absolution in confession.  According to Cardinal Caffara, “If the Church admits [them to] the Eucharist, we must give an opinion on the legality of the second marriage. It is logical. But then what about the first marriage?  The second [marriage] cannot be a true second marriage, since bigamy is against the word of the Lord.”

ScreenShot045Another prominent figure taking a strong stand in defense of Church Teaching is Raymond Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura.  The blogspot “rorate-caeli” quotes Cardinal Burke in an interview by Raymond Arroyo: “There are many difficulties with the text of Cardinal Kasper in addressing the College of Cardinals [at the Synod Preparation meeting]… it’s a error…. I trust that the error of his approach will become ever clearer.”  In the 2 minute video, Cardinal Burke states:  “…it’s creating a great deal of potential disillusionment….we are talking about the very words of Christ Himself….He taught the indissolubility of marriage….”  He confirmed there was much disagreement at the meeting too.

For a detailed rebuttal of Cardinal Kasper’s proposal, see the Zenit Report of the arguments of a renowned theology scholar, Professor (Father) Juan Jose Perez Soba, Ordinary Professor of the Pastoral Theology of Matrimony and the Family at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for the study of Marriage and the family at the Lateran University, Rome, pointing out multiple weaknesses in Cardinal Kasper’s arguments.  His expose’ deserves close reading, but here are some significant quotes disassembling Cardinal Kasper’s proposals:

“An unjust mercy is not truly mercy. One cannot undermine human dignity in the name of mercy. Consequently, to speak of mercy in the context of marriage one must first understand precisely the reality, born out of  human dignity, which is involved in this institution. There could be no true mercy, if one were to attack that reality. This reality, this good, is what the Christian tradition calls the bond of marriage, and it is precisely this bond that imparts the property of indissolubility  to marriage.”

“It is  …  surprising to observe that the Cardinal [Kasper], referring to this indissoluble bond which he attributes to St. Augustine, makes no mention whatsoever of the link between  marriage’s indissolubility and its foundation which is of divine origin. “

“The protection of this bond, even to the point of indissolubility is, therefore, the way in which God offers his mercy in marriage.”

“It is clear, however, that, for a Christian who wishes to live his or her faith, establishing a new relationship over and against the ‘sacred bond’ of marriage is an act of grave injustice against the divine bond which is already in existence.”

“This consideration is so important that Blessed John Paul II himself mentioned it in his catechesis on human love, referring to ‘the redemption of the heart’ to indicate the presence of grace in marriage which makes it possible to live out the demands of this vocation…. Analogously, Benedict XVI confirmed that ‘Marriage based on exclusive and definitive love becomes the icon of the relationship between God and his people and vice versa. God’s way of loving becomes the measure of human love.'”

The line of reasons explained above is not unfamiliar because it originates in the last two pontificates. Both of which gave ample consideration to the role that mercy plays in the New Evangelization. [Kasper’s] singular absence of any trace or allusion to this teaching [of the last two popes is] all the more puzzling [until] one in fact finds phrase lifted word for word from the book that Kasper wrote about the family more than thirty years ago (in 1978) and whose argument he follows, and from which he takes the proposal which he is now presenting…. Kasper’s recent address is, therefore, an old formulation, which predates Familiaris Consortio and which ignores almost all of the intervening magisterial teaching and theological scholarshipThe author states that [Kasper’s argument] threatens to wreak havoc in the Church. “

“It is simply wrong to present this question as a matter of pastoral tolerance which does not extend beyond a casuistic debate between rigorism and laxity.  In reality, this question puts under discussion the already settled doctrinal patrimony of the Church that is unanimously witnessed to by more than a thousand years of the Church’s Tradition.”

“By way of a conclusion one can observe that is seems evident that Kasper’s address puts in question the existence or otherwise of the indissoluble bond of matrimony; this, however, is no longer just a pastoral argument. …. In short, theologically speaking, Cardinal Kasper’s proposal is a misstep because he has hidden the underlying question. In reality he has opened a profound doctrinal question and it is necessary that every bishop who will participate at the Synod understands the key elements, and their implications….”

Without prompt correction, there is a threat to souls who are caught up in unrealistic hoping for impossible change, or even leaping ahead to take a decision themselves, expecting their situation will change.  (Just like the contraception position endorsed by Father Curran, with people marrying under the assumption that Pope Paul VI would approve “the pill.” )  But one aid to rationality (not rationalization!) is a biblical quote which brings focus to the Cardinal Kasper discussion and to the perspective of what will or will not happen; i.e. the guidance from St. Paul to the Galatians 1: 6-12.   St. Paul wrote:

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel–not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of  Christ.  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again, if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.  Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of  God?  Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ.  For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel.  For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”

The hierarchical split between powerful Church leaders is apparent, and both can’t be proclaiming what St. Paul called the Gospel of Christ.   Such splits are exactly the way heretical breakaway sects begin.   There is no point in linking to articles where members of the hierarchy have come out in support of Cardinal Kasper, since that would merely be scattering false rumors and more angst.

But a few inane quotes might be useful.   One Italian archbishop told local media last week that he felt the “new paradigm” would shortly lead to the Church accepting both homosexuality and heterosexual cohabitation and premarital sex, and another outlet reported the quote:   ‘I have seen and experienced many situations … and I am convinced that it is time for Christians to open themselves to diversity.’”  LifeSiteNews last week reported:  “Two Catholic bishops in the UK have expressed hope that the upcoming Extraordinary Synod on the Family, to be held in Rome in October, will bring about massive changes to the Church’s approach to marriage and human sexuality.”

Let us all pray for the Unity for which Christ prayed the night before His Passion.


Week 11 in Catholic Media, 2014

March 19th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

The following highlights and links are all from LifeSiteNews, an organization truly worthy of our financial support: and here is the link for contributions:    At this point in their fundraising campaign they have raised only $24,000 of the needed $150,000.  It would be a shame to lose such accurate and timely reporting, when there is virtually no source of current events reporting (let alone Catholic!) that does anything near the breadth and depth of what LfeSiteNews does, and all minus the fluff.  Just the prompt FACTS.  And they have faced enormous risks in the courtroom, corporately and personally, to continue such daily reporting.  Please think about it.





And the world became still a little bit more dangerous for babes in the womb last week:

ROME, March 10, 2014:  “The International Planned Parenthood Federation has scored a major victory against conscientious objection laws in Italy at the Council of Europe. The council’s European Committee of Social Rights voted …  to uphold IPPF’s complaint against Italy that too many doctors are allowed to refuse to participate in abortion.”

LONDON, March 10, 2014:– “Amnesty International, an organization founded to defend those imprisoned for political crimes and to fight human rights abuses, launched a new campaign last week dedicated to promoting unrestricted access to abortion.  The global campaign … was launched … in response to what the increasingly pro-abortion and homosexualist lobby group says is the failure of governments around the world to defend sexual and reproductive rights.”

NEW YORK CITY, March 13, 2014:– “Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton believes it is a ‘bedrock truth’ that abortion restrictions hamper human progress, and any efforts to improve women’s rights must begin with increased access to contraception and abortion.  Addressing the United Nations for International Women’s Day, Clinton told her audience, ‘There is one lesson from the past, in particular, that we cannot afford to ignore: You cannot make progress on gender equality or broader human development, without safeguarding women’s reproductive health and rights.  That is a bedrock truth.’  … Clinton said that even the United States, which has some of the most lenient abortion laws of any developed Western nation, falls short when it comes to giving women free access to abortion-on-demand.  ‘This remains the great unfinished business of the 21st century,’ Clinton said. ‘No country in the world, including my own, has achieved full participation.'”

International Bullying of African Countries prohibiting same-sex “marriage” / National Sovereignty Threatened

ABUJA, Nigeria, March 14, 2014: – “European Parliament voted to recommend heavy economic sanctions, the denial of travel visas, the withdrawing of foreign aid, as well as force the isolation from the international community of African nations that refuse to heel to the EU’s homosexual agenda.  During the debate at the European Parliament, French socialists … laid blame for the pro-family laws in Nigeria and Uganda on ‘evangelists from the United States.’   Addressing the UN delegation in Nigeria, the attorney general of the Nigerian federal government, Mohammed Adoke, emphasized that Nigeria’s laws ‘do not criminalize individual sexual orientation,’ but explained that the focus of the law is ‘the discouragement of same-sex marriage which is a reflection of the overwhelming beliefs and cultural values of the Nigerian people.'”

In a 2013 national opinion poll, 92 percent of Nigerians polled rejected same-sex “marriage.”  The Nigerian Catholic bishops and the Muslim community in Nigeria also publicly supported the law as a reflection of their cultural beliefs and as an integral part of the defense of Nigeria’s moral health.  The bill, called the “Same-sex Marriage Prohibition Act” was signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan in January.  Since then, the EU, a vast array of international organizations and the United Nations have attempted to force the international community to take drastic measures in order to impose the homosexual agenda upon Nigeria and other African nations that have resisted the push to normalize homosexual conduct.  The Nigerian law prohibits homosexual marriages or unions, adoption by homosexuals, and the dissemination of homosexual propaganda.

Mr. Mohammed emphasized that far from being something that Nigerians desire, the promotion and normalization of homosexuality could ‘bring down any government should the government toy with the opinion of the vast majority of the people.’  The UN High Commissioner stated that the Nigerian law ‘may deter LGBT persons from taking up HIV education, prevention treatment and care services as well as civil society and religious groups from implementing such services.’  Yet [the article states] scientific findings show that ‘no other group of comparable size in society experiences such intense and widespread pathology’ as homosexuals.”

“On a day when the European Parliament still could not come to any consensus on the imposition of any real sanctions on Russia for the geopolitical crisis in Crimea, it appeared clear that the European Union would continue to attempt to force African nations to adopt its homosexual agenda with every tool at its disposal, including harsh economic sanctions.”

Catholics Causing Scandal

TORONTO, March 11, 2014 – “The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association took another step in its promotion of the homosexual agenda Monday as it announced it would march in Toronto’s WorldPride parade on June 29.  The association, which represents the province’s 45,000 teachers and plays a large role in their professional and spiritual formation, passed a motion this weekend to organize a delegation for the homosexual activist event.”

OTTAWA, March 11, 2014 – “As the Ottawa Catholic School Board defends their partnership with Free the Children and refuses to answer parents’ questions about whether the secular charity distributes contraceptives in the developing world, LifeSiteNews obtained a letter Free the Children sent to the school board in October admitting one of its clinics does in fact ‘stock and provide contraceptives to patients.’  Critics are calling it a ‘cover up’ and a “major Catholic scandal,’ and accuse the school board of knowingly ‘cooperating with evil.'”

Access to School Information

March 12, 2014 (STOPP) – LifeSiteNews reported that it hears “almost weekly from anxious parents who want to know whether Planned Parenthood is in their children’s school. Some have already started making phone calls and sending letters to the school district … Others are at a loss where to start.  Here is their resource to help you find quick answers about the prevalence, source, and format of sex education in your geographical area.

Courageous Catholic Hierarchy

Bishop Philip Egan

Bishop Philip Egan

PORTSMOUTH, England, March 13, 2014 – “When people are not in communion with the Catholic Church  on such a central thing as the value of life of the unborn child and also in terms of the teachings of the church on marriage and family life –they are voting in favor of same-sex marriage – then they shouldn’t be receiving Holy Communion,” said Portsmouth Bishop Philip Egan in a wide-ranging on-camera interview….  Bishop Egan explained that rather than a punitive measure, the denial of Holy Communion is ‘always an act of mercy.’  It is done, he said, ‘with the hope and prayer that that person can be wooed back into full communion with the Church ….  Nobody is forced to be Catholic. We’re called by Christ and He’s chosen us, it’s a free choice. We live under the word of God. It’s not my truth, its God’s truth,’ he said. … One would hope that in that case it would encourage someone to come back to seek communion with the Lord with the truth and say I’m sorry I got lost.””

Bishop Robert Vasa

Bishop Robert Vasa

SANTA ROSA, CA, March 13, 2014  – “Courage,” an official apostolate of the Roman Catholic Church, often faces criticism from Catholics and non-Catholics who believe it is a harmful part of the Church’s doctrine on marriage. In Santa Rosa, California, however, Bishop Robert Vasa is ignoring these criticisms in their entirety.  Last week, Vasa sponsored a program that included a presentation by former homosexual porn actor Joseph Sciambra to the local arm of Courage.  Sciambra, who has a book on his experiences and how they led him to embrace the Church, believes that homosexual relationships are devastatingly harmful to the bodies and souls of men who engage in sex with other men.

Critics of Bishop Vasa and Sciambra have abounded. However, the bishop has been a source of relief to serious Catholics. While critics say that having an abstinent man with same-sex attractions present to Courage harms acceptance of homosexuals in the Church, orthodox Catholics find the push against the permissive American culture a welcome change.   Bishop Vasa’s prioritization of Church teachings over public opinion is nothing new. For years, he has emphasized Church teachings about sexual morality and life, and has long been a leader among orthodox Catholics for his adherence to Church doctrine.

Bishop Dorick Wright

Bishop Dorick Wright

BELIZE CITY, March 14, 2014 – “Belize’s Roman Catholic Bishop Dorick Wright issued a directive to the country’s Catholic schools stating that ‘organizations whose activities and positions are actively opposed to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, and which endanger the souls of the People of God, cannot be welcomed under any circumstances in our schools.’  The bishop’s letter specifically named the Belize Family Life Association (BFLA), the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM), the National AIDS Commission and the Red Cross program called ‘Together We Can,’ according to Amandala News.  Bishop Wright charged these groups with promoting ‘the First World’s errors and problems’ among ‘unsuspecting people,’ such as the notion of ‘sexual rights’ among children, as well as abortion and homosexuality, and warned that they ‘foster programs that ultimately undermine our Catholic values.’”

“These organizations often present themselves as champions of some apparent good, whether it be to educate on sexuality and reproductive rights, AIDS, or to administer certain medical treatments or shots to our children, but despite some apparent good, you must, nevertheless, respectfully decline any and all invitation or association with any such organizations. I make this directive to all local managers of Catholic Schools, assistant local managers, all administrators, principals and teachers,” Bishop Wright said.

“Stressing that Planned Parenthood is an international billion-dollar business that profits from the killing of babies through abortion, Bishop Wright said, ‘BFLA, the operational arm in Belize of International Planned Parenthood, is an instrument of the most serious crimes against life and our Christian morality.’  He also warned school officials that, ‘BFLA’s entreaties are sometimes made in such a way to confuse us, fooling some to believe that their work is endorsed by the Church…. Besides whatever good they might do,’ the bishop stated, ‘they nevertheless promote ‘sexual rights’ for children as young as 10 years of age, including a supposed ‘right to privacy’ from even their own parents and guardians, and in particular, their right to abortion without parental notification…. This agenda of sodomy, abortion, and sexual gender redefinition is seeking to radically change Belize’s Christian character.  I call on all of you to be vigilant with me against this threat to Belize’s moral foundations and family values.’”


Week 07 in Catholic Media, 2014

February 16th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Good NewsScreenShot348

1)  Moral Strength in Africa: we are seeing a backlash in Africa, missing from many other parts of the world, against being forced by the West to follow its opinions on abortion and contraception for the sake of money.  (revised)  Nigeria recently passed strong legislation which the Canadian government blamed for its withdrawal an invitation to the Nigerian President.  Last summer President Obama also pressured the Kenyan and Sengalese governments to see same-sex marriage the way he does, as a “right,” with the implicit threat of more pressure from the U. S. if those countries don’t give in.  Is the U.S. is becoming “bully of the world?” In related news, the Nigerian archbishop states that the Church will not compromise its moral teachings to placate Western elite; story can be viewed here.

2.  Baby born to ‘brain-dead’ womanIn the sad death of a Canadian woman, new life was created, as her husband fought for the courts to keep her alive long enough that a healthy son could be delivered by Caesarian section.   This case contrasts sharply with that of a Texas man who sued to force the state to remove his similarly ‘brain-dead’ wife from life support, killing the baby, also at 22 weeks.

3. Catholic archbishop leads boycott of businesses building Planned Parenthood abortion facility:  Kudos to the Archbishop of New Orleans, Gregory M. Aymond, for leading a boycott of all businesses which in any way participate in or facilitate the erection of a new $4.2 million Planned Parenthood abortion facility.   He wrote: “Every person and organization involved in the acquisition, preparation and construction of this or any abortion facility… are cooperating with the evil that will take place there”Abp. Gregory Aymond ….. The archdiocese and affiliated organizations, including schools, nursing homes, and churches, “will strive in [their] privately funded work not to enter into business relationships with any person or organization that participates in actions that are essential to making this abortion facility a reality…. Our fidelity to Church teaching and our conscience necessitates this stance….There is no justification, including economic hardship that will make a direct or indirect relationship with Planned Parenthood, or any abortion provider, acceptable,” he said. The archbishop explained that scandal is considered by the Church to be “a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.” 

Bad News

When Courts and governments become instruments of Satan, those in its jurisdiction become the victims.  Here are a few recent ways that courts and governments may be seen to have betrayed those who rely on their decisions:

1)  Refusal to enforce prostitution laws In the recent trend of refusing to enforce laws against long-accepted immoral behavior, and passing legislation to legitimize everything from same-sex marriage to abortion and euthanasia, the Canadian Province of Ontario and other jurisdictions have announced they will stop enforcing prostitution laws.

2) Prevent Goodness: And the flip side of pushing evil into the world is action by the courts to prevent goodness from showing, ScreenShot008as North Carolina’s ‘choose life’ license plates are ruled unconstitutional by a U.S. Appeals Court. 

 3) Judge’s ruling that Kentucky must recognize foreign gay ‘marriages’ may open door to polygamy

4) Obama-appointed federal judge strikes down Virginia’s same-sex ‘marriage’ ban.

 5) Nevada’s governor and attorney general stated that they would cease to defend the state’s marriage amendment,  becoming one more jurisdiction ignoring the will of the people.  These individuals, who defended the law just last month, had previously filed in support of the amendment in November 2012.  The law was challenged by eight same-sex couples and these officials caved.

 6) Belgium Parliament passes law allowing children to be euthanized.  How many steps will there be before children born with birth defects will be included?  How many steps after that will it be mandated that such “imperfect” people must be euthanized, to remove the burden from the state.  Slippery slopes only go DOWNHILL.

7) At least ten Catholic colleges will host Vagina Monologues in 2014  The only force capable of speaking out strongly against the perversions of justice is the Catholic Church.  We see a good example of that by the Archbishop of New Orleans in one of the “Good News” articles above.  Unfortunately, much more is needed, from individual Catholics, Catholic institutions and its hierarchy.  These icons are often only one step away from or now undermining their own faith.  Newest additions to that Wall of Shame are the Catholic colleges and universities hosting dissident speakers and events, gay proms and pornographic entertainment.  And in the Province of Ontario, a Catholic School Board sponsored a lecture on how to oppose Catholic Moral Teachings:

Good News or Bad News?

And then there are events which seem good or bad on their surface, but often need “wait and see” to determine the effect.

1. Facebook users can now choose between 50 new ‘gender identity’ optionsThis one is definitely worth the click.  Bet you couldn’t have thought up a dozen options, let alone 50?  “Male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 5:2.  This one which almost made it onto the “bad” list above was propagated by Facebook this week.  It has a question mark only because of the associated question:  Reaching the billions claimed to use Facebook, will this drama finally point to an absurdity against which the reasonable mind rebels? or is it only one more instance of institutionalized social change?  If the change endures, then perhaps we should expect much longer driver’s licenses, on which we will have dozens of gender options, and which will need to be carried as a rolled up scroll over our sun visor?  The quest for absurdity knows no limits.

2. The Guttmacher Institute recently put out a study documenting the decline in abortions.  Father Pavone, of Priests for Life, replied that “A Decline in abortions, for whatever reason, leads us closer to our goal.”  What could possibly not be “Good News” about this announcement?  It is merely a question of truly analyzing and ‘getting behind’ the numbers.  It is very good news, of course, that the number of abortions are declining, and while the Gosnell horrors and increasing web of regulations doubtless play a part, we should be very sure that the gross visible bloodshed and risk of the abortuary isn’t being eclipsed by the more hidden abortion caused by an abortifacient.  I am not convinced that the data yet compensates for the new means of abortion, newer, cleaner, dead baby nonetheless.  So “for whatever reason,” is true only if displacement to a more secret killing away from the mass media and individual conscience sensibilities is not the cause.  Otherwise, it would not be leading us closer to our goal.  Note — this is not to dispute that there is a real decline, only how much.  Because if/when the data for abortifacients catches up, it could then appear as an increase yet not be one.  Worth keeping an eye on.

3. Pope Francis to Archbishop Chaput: Bring Your A-Game to Rome:  How in the world could this NOT be seen as good news?  The simplest answer is “Because we don’t know what it means, yet.”  ABP ChaputMany apostolates in the Church are directly authorized by a Diocese.  Many are not.  (For example, one might consider this blog to be a lay apostolate, a response by good-conscienced, well-meaning people to a need of their brothers and sisters in the faith. Church Militant TV, on a much bigger playing field, may also be seen the same way.  What does organizing the lay effort mean?  More control by the Church?  or more opportunities for lay people to be free to contribute their gifts?  What does it mean when one thinks of how pastoral administrators have ‘taken over’ in recent years?  A super-laity, imposter clergy?  or a self-actualization of all Catholics?  Are additional involved laity going to be more people to get a salary?  or move current paid positions into volunteer efforts?  If, as the article suggests, some “Curia of the Laity” is on the horizon, is it for unleashing the power of the individual lay Catholic, or for controlling it?  Will this unblock past obstructions in the Curia to being responsive to laity? or just become one more impediment?  These words are not claiming either, or even some other yet-unarticulated concern.  It is simply to say that not all nice-sounding announcements result in what we hope for.  One can ask “What has impaired this way of achieving such lay objectives for many years now?”  And one can also ask if this will lead to a dangerous level of clout in the hands of regional conferences, or will it, at last, direct their activities where needed and productive.  Let’s wait and see.  Meanwhile, here is the link to the article on Pope Francis’s calling on Archbishop Chaput:  (A rather pro-personality piece for Abp. Chaput.)

Excerpts:  [Abp. Chaput will be] part of a team that will advise Pope Francis on how the lay faithful can more effectively contribute to the life and mission of the Church.   the Pontifical Council for the Laity could end up becoming more than  just a ScreenShot346Vatican “think tank” and have some real authority (beyond its current role in approving and supervising the Church’s lay apostolates), if it turns into a proposed Congregation for the Laity, much like the existing congregations for bishops, clergy and religious …. when Archbishop Chaput comes to Rome, his new task will be not only promoting the laity, but also helping the Holy Father tear down the spirit of clericalism in the Church, which has been identified by Pope Francis as a major wall to evangelization.” 

Week 05 in Catholic Media, 2014

February 3rd, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

What does one say about an upside-down week in which Pope Francis is on the cover of Rolling Stone, California postpones enforcing mandatory co-ed restrooms, the Pentagon allows wearing of turbans and headscarves for religious purposes in the military, the NYS Governor goes on a childish rant heard ’round the world, and animal rights activists ask Pope Francis to stop releasing doves, which were being killed by swooping predators.  Perhaps the less said, the better.  (But scroll to the very bottom of this post if you have something to say about the Courier’s (CNS) front page lead article today fawning over Obama’s State of the Union Address.  Because a number of contributors to Cleansing Fire seemingly have been blocked by DoR in commenting on Courier articles, I hope that these weekly news reports will be a place for their comments too.)

In an upside down world, it is sometimes easy to forget, or not notice, how many individuals and organizations are working and praying 24/7/365 for a holier world.  It was obvious on January 22, as the pro-life forces flowed into and through the streets of the nation’s Capitol in protest of government-driven killing in the womb, and it continues to be obvious every day in print.  Consider the good work being done by the Becket Fund, for example, as recounted in the January 28th correspondence from






“Dear Friends,

As you may know, … the Supreme Court ruled that our client, the Little Sisters of the Poor, would be protected from crushing IRS fines while we continue to fight for them in the Tenth Circuit.  Not one member of the Court dissented from the order.  At once, we felt relieved for the Sisters.  No fines.  For now. We were also overjoyed … that the Sisters would not have to sign a government “permission slip” that is in direct violation of the Sister’s religious beliefs. 

 But, there are a lot of hurdles ahead. And, for the sake of the Sisters’ work and every American’s religious freedom, we need to overcome them.  The “permission slip” or certification, is something worth considering for a moment since you will hear a lot about it in the months to come.  In broad strokes, the certification specifies that the Sisters oppose contraceptives and potentially life terminating drugs. This part is true. However—and this is the big however–it also authorizes, directs, and legally binds others to provide these drugs.  The government says the Little Sisters should sign and distribute the authorization form because “at this time” the government has not yet figured out how to force Christian Brothers to distribute the drugs.  But the government also emphasizes that it is still considering ways to force Christian Brothers and other third parties to act on the Sisters’ forms.  And the Little Sisters simply can’t authorize, direct, and bind people to provide contraceptives–they can’t help with the government’s contraceptive delivery scheme at all–even if the government says the system doesn’t work just yet.

Instead of protecting the Little Sisters’ religious liberty, the government has mocked their stance by characterizing  Little SistersA their courage, in court, as a fight against “invisible dragons.”  …  Just yesterday, Bill Mumma and I went to visit the Little Sisters of the Poor in their home in Baltimore. It was the most special day I have experienced in my almost 16 years at Becket.  The Little Sisters aren’t kidding when they say they go begging in order to provide for their residents. They truly devote all of their skills and talents to find every unique and possible way to make their residents feel loved and at home. They showed us how to be joyful and grateful despite having limited resources.  Their overwhelming gratitude towards us was humbling and a great reminder of why we do what we do.

And with this reminder, we will continue to fight for the Sisters in the Court of Law and in the court of public opinion. If the government is willing to do this to the Little Sisters, what will they do to the rest of the faithful?  … It is important for the American people to know what is happening to the Sisters and to religious liberty in this country.”

The Becket letter also gave an update on their support of Hobby Lobby, and the 50 amici briefs already filed.  Twenty individual states, religious leaders and legal scholars are supporting that challenge to the HHS Mandate, including 107 bipartisan members of Congress representing 34 states.  Religious groups are diverse, including the USCCB, the Orthodox Union, a leading Orthodox Jewish association, Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, a Santeria church that won a 9-0 Supreme Court victory under the Free Exercise Clause, Hindus,  The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Prison Fellowship Ministry, Anglican Church in North America, Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities, and Democrats for Life.  The oral argument is March 25.

It’s not about Politics; it’s about knowing right from wrong.  But, on the Eastern Front: ….ScreenShot348

This past week the House of Representatives passed the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” by a vote which included 6 “pro-life”  Democrat votes, and 221 yea votes from all Republicans, except one.  Ordinarily, we might not notice one breakaway Congressman, except this one happens to be in our backyard.  Representative Richard Hanna is from the 22nd Congressional District, east of Syracuse and stretching from Lake Ontario to Binghamton.  This relevant local story was surprisingly picked up on January 29th by LifeSiteNews by Dustin Siggins,  and with better coverage than many of our local newspapers.

Besides being the only Republican to vote against this pro-life measure, Mr. Hanna was just casting one more  in a string of his pro-abortion votes.  “He opposed an amendment to defund Planned Parenthood in 2011, and was one of two Republicans who opposed a bill that would allow doctors and hospitals to turn away women seeking an abortion. In June 2013, he opposed a ban on most late-term abortions that passed the House,”  LifeSiteNews reported, adding: “First elected in 2010, Hanna lost the backing of the influential Conservative Party of New York in his re-election campaign in 2012.  State Party Chairman Michael Long told that ‘the Conservative Party of New York is very supportive of the pro-life movement, and therefore does not believe citizens’ tax money should go to pay for abortions.  His vote on H.R. 7 is a clear example of why he does not have our endorsement.’”

LifeSiteNews adds:  “Hanna’s vote comes less than a week after the Republican National Committee (RNC) urged candidates and all other Republicans to stand for life. Between 40 and 60 members of the RNC attended last week’s March for Life, including Chairman Rience Priebus.”  Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, HR 7  is unlikely to pass in the Senate.  If it does, President Obama has threatened to veto it.

 Meanwhile, on our Western Front:

 1)  Buffalo bishop slams Cuomo’s ‘rant’, says NY’s governor is the ‘extremist’

by Thaddeus Baklinski, Jan. 27th (see also VIDEO in the link.)

“Buffalo’s Bishop Richard Malone has shot back after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo suggested “extreme conservatives“, including pro-lifers and pro-family advocates, have no place in … New York.  In a video posted on his diocesan website …, Bp. Malone said Cuomo’s “rant” was itself extremist.  ‘The governor of New York State actually said there is no place for us, if we are pro-life, in the State of New York,’ says the bishop.  ‘I think that comment is the best example of extremism I’ve heard for a long time.  At first it was so outrageous it made me laugh.  Then it made me deeply concerned,’ he continued.  ‘New York State already has the highest rate of abortions in the country,’ Bishop Malone stated. ‘The governor, and those who support him on this position, want to make us the abortion capital of the country.'”

“Cuomo’s statements, in which he also included pro-gun lobbyists as extremists, provoked a strong backlash from pro-life leaders and other conservatives, who took offense at Cuomo’s suggestion that, as quoted in the headline of the New York Post,  conservatives should ‘Leave NY!'”

 2) Saving St. Ann’s:  Source:  Buffalo News, reported in CathNewsUSA Jan. 27th.

The following is an opinion piece from the Buffalo News, reported in CathNews USA, which has ramifications not only for the Diocese of Buffalo, but also for a number of other dioceses as well, including Rochester.  It is excerpted, but not reworded, leaving its tone intact.





(citing the Buffalo News) “There are times when it pays to take a step back, take a breath and consider the long view.  For the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, which has been on a misguided campaign to erase an important architectural and cultural landmark from Buffalo’s streetscape since 2012, that time is now.  Earlier this month, a tenacious group of former parishioners from St. Ann’s Church and Shrine on Broadway won an important legal battle, when a Vatican court decreed that the church could not be deconsecrated – a demotion in religious status that would have allowed the diocese to demolish it.”

“The decree from the Vatican, which knows a little something about the importance of preserving churches as cultural and architectural treasures, should have given pause to the Diocese of Buffalo.  At minimum, it should have caused local Catholic leaders to reconsider their plan to tear down the priceless 1886 structure, which grew out of a 2013 analysis that put the cost of repairing the building at as high as $12.4 million.  But in a decision that boggles the mind, the diocese appealed the decree, charging ahead with its plan to reduce the church to rubble and leaving its immediate future in limbo….”

“In a release announcing its decision to appeal the Vatican decree, the Diocese of Buffalo paints a picture of a building that is far beyond repair. StAnnsChurch-300x183But former parishioner Martin Ederer, a SUNY Buffalo State professor and expert on the history of Buffalo’s Catholic churches, argued for taking a longer view.  ‘We’ve been very clear from our side that we don’t disagree that there’s some significant work that needs to be done there,’ Ederer said. He suggested a gradual, European-style approach to repairing the European-style church, which begins by addressing the most vital safety concerns and then unfolds in phases over a decade or more as the burgeoning downtown development inevitably stretches eastward.  ‘I think the diocesan approach is more to lock the church and do all the repairs within the span of a year or two and then reopen it perfect and pristine. I don’t know if there’s a right or wrong answer, but there is a philosophical difference,’ Ederer said. ‘Sometimes projects worth doing are going to take a lot of time.’”

“In response to a request for more information on the philosophy of the diocese, communications manager Kristina M. Connell wrote in an email that ‘the church is still closed due to safety issues/concerns, the diocese is not able to sell the church and the church cannot be razed.’ She declined to provide a copy of the Vatican decree.  It doesn’t take an expert to see whose approach makes more sense. It’s a false dichotomy to suggest, as the Diocese of Buffalo has done, that the only viable options are to immediately repair the building or knock it down. It would be much more logical to develop a long-term strategic plan, in tandem with former parishioners like Ederer, to repair the physical state of the church and develop it into a cultural as well as religious destination.”

“In an era of declining population and shrinking parishes, this is sure to be a great challenge. But it is not insurmountable. In fact, if the diocese, the City of Buffalo, the proud supporters of St. Ann’s and the city’s active preservationists teamed up, it could become a model preservation project.  ‘At this point, well, the diocese owns it and we’re Catholics, and the bishop is our shepherd and we’re his people,’ Ederer said. ‘We always try to proceed in charity and we hope to continue to do so. That’s always our hope. It’s always our intention and it’s always easier to collaborate on things than to butt heads.’  It would be great to see the diocese come around to that way of thinking, to see things not only in terms of its current fiscal year but in the grand scope of the region’s history.   No less powerful an institution than the Vatican, now in the midst of its own renaissance of historical consciousness, has encouraged it to do just that. The advice is worth heeding.”

Comments on this week’s digital Courier? Catholic News Service’s Lead Story?

There seems to be a need for some place to offer commentary on Diocesan Courier articles, since some people have found their comments apparently blocked, perhaps by IP address.  We won’t comment on motives for blocking, only on the obvious — if one repeatedly offers comments which just don’t show up on-line, we assume they are being blocked.  So to provide a forum for such discussion, this weekly NEWS section might be the place to do so.  What do you think?   I’ll go first — I found the Catholic News Service article, run on the front page on February 3rd, about Obama’s State of the Union address, to be unrealistic, fawning, politically coercive and naive.  Perhaps the writers of the CNS article haven’t noticed, but this is the same administration which is forcing the HHS mandate on Catholics, ramping up abortion, giving away contraceptives, pushing gay marriage, forcing the Church out of adoption services, ignoring conscience rights and harassing home schoolers.  Euthanasia is expected next on the agenda.

Obama and his programs can realistically be called the worst persecution of Catholics since the founding of our country.  The Catholic praise heaped on his speech, and directly on his words and strategies, is scandalous in my opinion, confuses the faithful, and weakens resolve and encourages more persecution.  No wonder this administration acts like it can step all over Catholics.  It can and does.  Often.   Ignoring matters of intrinsic evil to concentrate on prudential judgment areas does a real disservice to those who are unreservedly fighting for the moral teachings of our Church.

At LEAST there should have been a substantive criticism of what Obama DIDN’T say, or meaningful alternative opinions to balance the article.  Or how about some recognition that all those banal give-away strategies, advanced for half a century, just don’t work?  If they did, the situation would be improving rather than going steadily down hill.   But, no, once again the Democratic agenda is front and center as if it were Catholic tenet.    Whatever happened to the basics: “Secure our borders. Stop the socialistic redistribution of wealth.  Cease undermining our country.  Hold people responsible.  Put them to work. ”  Whatever happened to 2 Thessalonians 3:10: “If any one will not work, let him not eat.”   This criticism is about the CNS, which seems to have forgotten its roots, or been victim of a liberal hijacking.  Unfortunately, when diocesan media use such materials it only encourages more such biased reporting, and impairs its own credibility.