Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘Nancy’

A picture is worth a thousand words

October 17th, 2012, Promulgated by Dr. K

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

Click on the image to enlarge

Alternative Liturgy for the Establishment of a Parish Minister Person

August 23rd, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

The following comes from Fr. Longenecker’s “Standing on My Head.” Oddly enough, I think this liturgy may be found in Sr. MaryAnn Binsack’s little white binder.

Alternative Liturgy for the Establishment of a Parish Minister Person

Remember: Say the Black Do the Red

The people who are church gather in the shared worship space while singing a suitable hymn, protest song or praise anthem. Suggested music choices are We are Gathering in this Place, We Would Rather Gather, Gather them In,  Bill Gaither’s Trio, Let Us Blather as We Gather, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, I Dreamed a Dream, and other suitable songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Oscar Hammerstein.

The Bishop Shall process into the shared worship space with the Parish Minister Person. The Parish Minister Person shall be suitably attired in a soutane of light blue, a surplice and not-a-stole. A saturno of matching hue may be worn by the Parish Minister Person. The Presiding Person (previously known as ‘the Bishop’ shall wear a cope and miter (unless he feels that these garments may be offensive and seem hierarchical to the Parish Minister Person) Other vestments may be worn by appropriate ministers. A procession by as many lay persons as possible is to be desired. These persons shall represent every group and ministry within the parish. When all are in their place in the shared worship space the Presiding Person stands before them.

Presiding Person: The Lord be with you. How are you all doing today? Have you heard the one about the priest who went into a bar riding a camel? Another opening crowd pleasing joke may be used according to the discretion of the presiding person and the liturgical season of the year.

Parish Minister Person: That is a good one Presiding Person, and may the Lord be with you too.

Presiding Person: Brothers and Sisters we have gathered here to welcome N. as your new Parish Minister Person.

All: It is meet and right so to do.

Presiding Person: I am sure N. has met all the requirements of my divine office to be appointed as the Parish Minister Person. N. has completed the training that is set before him/her and he/she subscribes to the same view of church as I do, so I now ask you as the people of God who are church: Do you think that N. is a very nice person and would you like him/her to by your new Parish Minister Person?

All: We do like N. very much.

Presiding Person: N. are you willing to take on the duties of being this Parish Minister Person?

Parish Minister Person: I am willing.

Presiding Person: Do you accept that you are not a priest or a deacon, and that you shall only pretend to be one all the days of your life?

Parish Minister Person: It is meet and right so to do.

Presiding Person: Do you promise to faithfully complete your duties by dressing as a priest, behaving as a priest and doing everything a priest can do in order to deceive the faithful and usher in as soon as possible the new Vatican 3 church that all of us long for?

Parish Minister Person: With the help of God I will.

The Parish  Minister Person then stands before the Presiding Person who kneels and kisses his/her ring thus symbolizing the submission of the Presiding Person and all hierarchical, patriarchal type people to the will of the people of God who are church.

Parish Minister Person: (for he/she is now in charge) Let us all share together the sign of Peace.

The people who are church exchange the sign of peace among themselves while a suitable hymn or protest song is chanted. A liturgical procession/dance may now take place if the local custom and room in the shared worship space allows. The procession/dance should involve carrying the newly anointed Parish Minister Person at shoulder height in the seda gestatoria accompanied by bearers of the peacock fans, but if the parish have not such accouterments they may use a kitchen chair and rainbow banners. This shall be done unless the Parish Minister Person be of overlarge girth in which case he/she may be conveyed in a wheelchair suitably decorated in liturgical colors. During the procession/dance the Presiding Person should lie prostrate. On return to the sanctuary the Parish Minister Person says with arms extended:

Parish Minister Person: The Lord be with You

All: And also with you!

Parish Minister Person: I may not bless you so instead let us all say:

All: May the road rise up to meet us, May the sun always be at our back, and may the Irish eyes be smiling until we meet again, and now may God the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer be with us forever more. AMEN.

The Parish Minister Person then removes the miter of the Presiding Person and imposes a large amount of ashes on the head of the Presiding Person as a sign of rejection of hierarchy and patriarchy. The Presiding Person then rends his garments (care should be taken that the Presiding Person is suitably attired in discreet undergarments so that the people who are church may not descend into levity) 

The Presiding Person now divested leads the procession to show penitence for being a hierarchical patriarchal sort of person. The Parish Minister Person shall be carried on the seda gestatoria surrounded by the bearers of the peacock fans, or rainbow banners as appropriate to the members there present. At the door of the shared worship space the Parish Minister Person, with arms extended shall say:

Parish Minister Person: All We Are Saying is…

All: …Give Peace a Chance.

Apostatizing in Place: A Book Review

August 19th, 2011, Promulgated by Bernie

Catholic and Feminist: The Surprising History of the American Catholic Feminist Movement. By Mary J. Henold. University of North Carolina Press. 291 pages. $32.

The following is from a book review by Anne Barbeau Gardiner, a Contributing Editor of the New Oxford Review, is Professor Emerita of English at John Jay College of the City University of New York. She has published on Dryden, Milton, and Swift, as well as on Catholics of the seventeenth century.


… When Catholic feminists speak of their commitment to the Church, they equivocate; it turns out they mean the “people,” not the “institution.” Indeed, Catholic feminists constantly reduce the Magisterium to an “institution.” They have their own understanding of Catholicism and see themselves as free to choose what to “believe” and what to “abandon.” This is not cafeteria Catholicism, but something different, for they are guided in their choices by a primary loyalty to feminism. Donna Quinn, one of the leading feminist nuns in the 1970s, represents many of them when she declares, “This is my church, this is my tradition. I love this church. I want to change it.” Then she adds, “I have never rejected anything in the feminist movement…. I love the word ‘feminism,’ I have put that first.” Yes, first. This is the idol to which Catholic feminists have been willing to sacrifice the Church.

At the 1975 Detroit Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC), the “pivotal event” of the Catholic feminist movement in the 1970s, theologian Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza spoke of our Church needing “a radical conversion.” Feminists like her choose to remain Catholic as a means to an end. Their strategy is called defecting in place, but it may more fittingly be called apostatizing in place.

Throughout Catholic and Feminist: The Surprising History of the American Catholic Feminist Movement, Henold reveals how Catholic feminists have taken a utilitarian approach to religion, using the Church’s sacred language, symbols, and traditions as a “means of understanding and structuring their feminism.” Yes, a means to an end. To begin with, they wanted women priests, Henold says, because they needed …


To read more: This is from an article in the current issue of the New Oxford Review. You will probably need to subscribe in order to read the rest of the column. Do subscribe. The NOR has excellent articles every month. In addition you will get terrific news feeds every morning with excellent links to featured articles from its past issues.

What Other Job Allows an Employee to Give Themselves a Promotion?

May 21st, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

Last year, Nancy DeRycke arrogantly anointed herself the “Pastoral Leader” of Church of the Good Shepherd. Now the pastoral administrator of St. Anne/Our Lady of Lourdes, Sr. Joan Sobala SSJ, has done the same.

From the latest St. Anne bulletin:

Does Sr. Joan Sobala have permission from Bishop Clark to change her title, or has she done this on her own non-existent authority? Keep in mind that the two Diocese of Rochester laywomen to have promoted themselves to “Pastoral Leader” (Sr. Sobala and Ms. DeRycke) are affiliated with the Women’s Ordination Conference.

The following directives from Ecclesiae de Mysterio are relevant here:

“It is unlawful for the non-ordained faithful to assume titles such as “pastor”, “chaplain”, “coordinator”, ” moderator” or other such similar titles which can confuse their role and that of the Pastor, who is always a Bishop or Priest. (58)”


(58) Such examples should include all those linguistic expressions: which in languages of the various countries, are similar or equal and indicate a directive role of leadership or such vicarious activity.”

One more year until these priestesses head to the unemployment office. 2012 is quickly approaching.

The Role of Women in the Church

May 19th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

Fr. Christopher Smith shares his insights on this matter at the Chant Cafe. The entire article is very articulate, and certainly deserves your perusal. Here, though, is the closing paragraph.

When we look at the women in the New Testament, we get an idea of what women’s participation in the life of the Church and the liturgy should look like. As equal members of the Body of Christ, they had no need of ordination to worship God, or to do the amazing things that they did. And those things were often more remarkable, and had more staying power, than what the Twelve did. The constant close attention of the women in the Gospel to Christ and to others, serving them and in doing so, serving Christ. It is entirely correct to say that a woman’s place in the Church is one of subordination, just as all disciples freely subordinate themselves to love God and all people. A woman’s place in the Church is to follow Christ, lavish her love without cost upon Him, serve the needs of the poor and the defenseless: in other words, a subordination to the law of love. In doing so, women can find that they are not indeed slaves to an outmoded patriarchal system drunk on abuses of power and justice, but friends of Christ. And there can be no greater freedom and noble role in the Church and world than that!

Rush-Henrietta Attendance Collapses Under Lay Administrators

December 18th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

Since clustering their three parishes back in June, the Rush-Henrietta community has failed to release their Mass attendance totals. That is, until now. According to the cluster bulletin, attendance at these parishes has fallen 50% over the past ten years, far worse than the Diocese of Rochester average. I went through and performed my own calculations, and came up with an approximately 42% decline in Rush-Henrietta Mass attendance over the decade. That’s still shamefully bad. Let’s take a look at the Mass attendance numbers for each of these three parishes over the past decade, while analyzing all available attendance figures.

Church of the Good Shepherd (Henrietta) – Capacity: 663 – Decline since 2000: -688 (-53%)

2000- 1,303
2001- 1,335
2002- 1,152
2003- 1,183
Data unavailable from 2004-2006 and 2009
2007- 945
2008- 880 (Nancy DeRycke first year as “Pastoral Leader”)
2010- 615 (Barbara Swiecki first year as Pastoral Administrator)

Guardian Angels (Henrietta) – Capacity: 374 – Decline since 2000: -134 (-21%)

2000- 633
2001- 634
2002- 614
2003- 627
Data unavailable from 2004-2009
2010- 499 (Barbara Swiecki first year as Pastoral Administrator)

St. Joseph (Rush) – Capacity: 250 – Decline since 2000: -205 (-38%)

2000- 535
2001- 571
2002- 537
2003- 491
Data unavailable from 2004-2009
March 2010-430
2010- 330 (Barbara Swiecki first year as Pastoral Administrator)

Total decline since a lay administrator was assigned sole leadership (calculated by attendance figures with a priest pastor/administrator minus October 2010 attendance)
Good Shepherd: -330
Guardian Angels: Unknown. 2005/6 totals unavailable. Ms. Swiecki assigned as administrator in June 2006.
St. Joseph: -100

T0tal Rush-Henrietta attendance 2000: 2,471
T0tal Rush-Henrietta attendance 2010: 1,444
Decline from 2000-2010: -1,027 (-42%)

One will notice when looking at the above figures that Mass attendance was largely stable from 2000 to 2003, with the possible exception of Good Shepherd, who experienced a 120 person decline. All three of these parishes were led by a priest at this time. The numbers really start to get interesting when lay administrators are assigned to these parishes. This unfortunate arrangement of dubious Canonical legality happened in 2006 for Guardian Angels, 2008 for Good Shepherd (perhaps earlier if one counts the co-administrator leadership toward the end of Della-Pietra’s priesthood), and 2010 for St. Joseph. Nancy DeRycke and Barb Swiecki have so far accounted for a 330 person decline in attendance at Church of the Good Shepherd. The figures are unavailable for Guardian Angels, but it is likely the attendance fell sharply during Ms. Swiecki’s tenure there. Lastly, St. Joseph’s attendance fell by around 100 persons since Barb Swiecki took the reigns. So what are the fruits of Bishop Clark’s lay-run parishes experiment? Less people in the pews, and nearly 1,000 souls put in peril in Rush-Henrietta.

I’m sure someone will quip, “but clustering caused the decline!” To an extent. These numbers were spiraling downward before the clustering and decrease of one weekend Mass per parish, especially at Good Shepherd.

But never fear, for “The Pastoral Council and the Evangelization Committee are working on ways to increase our attendance.” One can only imagine what kind of fluff these groups will produce.

2012 is quickly approaching, thanks be to God.

Click here to witness the fruit of another lay administrator, Sr. Joan Sobala, during her tenure at the once-orthodox and traditional, St. Anne church in the city southeast.

Ray Grosswirth – Man, He’s Got Some Good Moves!

October 4th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

It’s been a while since I’ve made a light-hearted video for you all, so here’s something I think you’ll all like. It’s our favorite “married priest from Rochester, NY” in a dance remix video. Oh yes. Brace yourselves.

St. Pius X – Not a Fan of Folk Music

August 27th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

But, alas, we care all too much about how we feel rather than how the Church universal feels. Of course, by “we” I mean the Rabjohn, DeRycke & Co. management of St. Pius X Church in the Diocese of Rochester. Before I present some pieces of evidence before your eyes, let’s look at Pope Pius X’s motu proprio on sacred music, Tra le Sollecitudini. He states:

I General principles
1. Sacred music, being a complementary part of the solemn liturgy, participates in the general scope of the liturgy, which is the glory of God and the sanctification and edification of the faithful (Folk and rock music are not sanctifying. Period.). It contributes to the decorum and the splendor of the ecclesiastical ceremonies (Decorum and splendor – two things Bishop Clark put in his Cuisinart to make his Progressive Puree), and since its principal office is to clothe with suitable melody the liturgical text proposed for the understanding of the faithful, its proper aim is to add greater efficacy to the text, in order that through it the faithful may be the more easily moved to devotion and better disposed for the reception of the fruits of grace belonging to the celebration of the most holy mysteries.

2. Sacred music should consequently possess, in the highest degree, the qualities proper to the liturgy, and in particular sanctity and goodness of form, which will spontaneously produce the final quality of universality (read “uniformity”).

It must be holy, and must, therefore, exclude all profanity not only in itself, but in the manner in which it is presented by those who execute it. (Rock music is not, in and of itself, “holy.” It may be pleasing, but it is secular, aka “profane,” something “outside of the sanctuary.” It’s in the definition, folks. You show me a piece of rock music or a folk melody which lifts the soul more than the Pange Lingua, and I’ll concede the point.)

It must be true art, for otherwise it will be impossible for it to exercise on the minds of those who listen to it that efficacy which the Church aims at obtaining in admitting into her liturgy the art of musical sounds.

But it must, at the same time, be universal in the sense that while every nation is permitted to admit into its ecclesiastical compositions those special forms which may be said to constitute its native music, still these forms must be subordinated in such a manner to the general characteristics of sacred music that nobody of any nation may receive an impression other than good on hearing them.

II. The different kinds of sacred music
3. These qualities are to be found, in the highest degree, in Gregorian Chant, which is, consequently the Chant proper to the Roman Church, the only chant she has inherited from the ancient fathers, which she has jealously guarded for centuries in her liturgical codices, which she directly proposes to the faithful as her own, which she prescribes exclusively for some parts of the liturgy, and which the most recent studies have so happily restored to their integrity and purity. (Oh, so not folk music twanging forth from pathetically-tuned guitars and banjos? Gee . . . who could have geussed?)

On these grounds Gregorian Chant has always been regarded as the supreme model for sacred music, so that it is fully legitimate to lay down the following rule: the more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savor the Gregorian form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes; and the more out of harmony it is with that supreme model, the less worthy it is of the temple. (Folks, when a Pope says, “this is the rule,” you better pay attention.)

The ancient traditional Gregorian Chant must, therefore, in a large measure be restored to the functions of public worship, and the fact must be accepted by all that an ecclesiastical function loses none of its solemnity when accompanied by this music alone.

Special efforts are to be made to restore the use of the Gregorian Chant by the people, so that the faithful may again take a more active part in the ecclesiastical offices, as was the case in ancient times. (The words “active participation of the laity” come surging to the forefront of my mind.)

4. The above-mentioned qualities are also possessed in an excellent degree by Classic Polyphony, especially of the Roman School, which reached its greatest perfection in the sixteenth century, owing to the works of Pierluigi da Palestrina, and continued subsequently to produce compositions of excellent quality from a liturgical and musical standpoint. Classic Polyphony agrees admirably with Gregorian Chant, the supreme model of all sacred music, and hence it has been found worthy of a place side by side with Gregorian Chant, in the more solemn functions of the Church, such as those of the Pontifical Chapel. This, too, must therefore be restored largely in ecclesiastical functions, especially in the more important basilicas, in cathedrals, and in the churches and chapels of seminaries and other ecclesiastical institutions in which the necessary means are usually not lacking.

5. The Church has always recognized and favored the progress of the arts, admitting to the service of religion everything good and beautiful discovered by genius in the course of ages — always, however, with due regard to the liturgical laws (The laws aren’t there to be broken. The rules weren’t superseded by Vatican II. They were supposed to be bolstered, but look how people twisted the words of Sacrosanctum Concillium.). Consequently modern music is also admitted to the Church, since it, too, furnishes compositions of such excellence, sobriety and gravity, that they are in no way unworthy of the liturgical functions.

Still, since modern music has risen mainly to serve profane uses, greater care must be taken with regard to it, in order that the musical compositions of modern style which are admitted in the Church may contain nothing profane, be free from reminiscences of motifs adopted in the theaters, and be not fashioned even in their external forms after the manner of profane pieces.

6. Among the different kinds of modern music, that which appears less suitable for accompanying the functions of public worship is the theatrical style, which was in the greatest vogue, especially in Italy, during the last century. This of its very nature is diametrically opposed to Gregorian Chant and classic polyphony, and therefore to the most important law of all good sacred music. Besides the intrinsic structure, the rhythm and what is known as the conventionalism of this style adapt themselves but badly to the requirements of true liturgical music.

I am sure that some people reading this are of the “but folk/rock/jazz/hip hop music in the liturgy is okey-dokey.” Show me one document that says that explicitly. The Church explicitly promotes Gregorian Chant and Sacred Polyphony, but nowhere does it explicitly approve and endorse the use of music thoroughly rooted in secular life. Nowhere. Show me the document.

But, now we must turn our gaze from the uniform orthodoxy of Pope Pius X (and Pope Benedict XVI) and gaze on the hideously disfigured face of the music program at St. Pius X parish. The following is from the upcoming bulletin:

One of the funny things about the Catholic Church is that it is aptly named. It is “catholic” – universal. How is universality better demonstrated than each parish doing its own thing? That’s not universality, friends, it’s stupidity. It’s fundamentally Protestant in its mentality. “I want to do this, so I’ll do it. If you want to do that, fine . . . go ahead and do it.” That’s pathetic. Since when was the Liturgy something we could tinker freely with? It is so far beyond us that to even think that we have “mastered” it is a demonstration of the sin of pride, tempered of course, by profound ignorance. You cannot change the Liturgy any more than you can change the course of a hurricane. It’s ever-ancient, ever-new, not ever-changing, ever-you. The Church declares Gregorian Chant to have principal place in the liturgy. I say this way too much, but it’s true. How come our administrators, even those who aren’t overtly heretical, choose to overlook such a simple thing? I’m not suggesting that every parish could realistically switch to a Gregorian Mass overnight. That’s not realistic. However, you can take steps.

Like this:

Flectamus Genua – Let Us Kneel

August 23rd, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

A short while ago, I posted a piece on the progressives’ disdain for the purification of sacred vessels used at Mass. Today I’d like to take a look at their general disdain for kneeling. In my opinion, the urge not to kneel at Mass is one which stems from any one of three things: Ignorance, Arrogance, and Hesitance. There are those who grow up, go through Rochester’s Catholic School system, volunteer to serve Mass, and never even witness the faithful kneeling. It’s not the young folks’ fault if they’ve never seen such a liturgical action. However, this ignorance doesn’t pardon all of those who refuse to bend the knee to Our God and King. It is these two categories I would like to focus on.

I would like to look, first, at what the Holy Scriptures say about kneeling. First we look at the Psalms.

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving; and make a joyful noise to him with psalms.  For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. 4 For in his hand are all the ends of the earth: and the heights of the mountains are his. 5 For the sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. 6 Come let us adore and fall down: and weep before the Lord that made us. 7 For he is the Lord our God: and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. 8 Today if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts. (Psalm 95: 2-8)

As Catholics, we come “before his presence” every time we step foot inside our parishes, for God reigns from the tabernacle, whether it is prominently enthroned on the altar or irreverently buried in the utility closet. Regardless of location, God reigns. And yet how often do we fail to “adore and fall down, and weep before the Lord that made us”? I recently made a holy hour at a local parish (that will remain nameless). As I was sitting in front of the Blessed Sacrament, a woman came in, walked right past the tabernacle, but fell to her knees before a statue of the Blessed Virgin. Her intentions, though headed in the right direction, failed to realize the preeminence of the Blessed Sacrament over a mere statue. One is plaster, one is Creator. Which one would you kneel to? But, of course, this would fall under the category of being “ignorant” of the significance of the Blessed Sacrament. Many times I hear people say, “you mean, we can pray in front of the Mass left-overs?” That’s a disgusting mentality, but the penalty doesn’t rest with them. No, it rests with the arrogant priests, nuns, lay people, and “liturgists” who devalue the Blessed Sacrament. It’s God, and to treat Him like anything less than divine is sinful.

Now let’s look at the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew:

20 Then came to him the mother of the sons of Zebedee with her sons, adoring and asking something of him. 21 Who said to her: What will you? She said to him: say that these my two sons may sit, the one on your right hand, and the other on your left, in your kingdom. 22 And Jesus answering, said: You know not what you ask. Can you drink the chalice that I shall drink? They say to him: We can. 23 He says to them: My chalice indeed you shall drink; but to sit on my right or left hand is not mine to give to you, but to them for whom it is prepared by my Father. 24 And the ten, hearing it, were moved with indignation against the two brethren. 25 But Jesus called them to him and said: You know that the princes of the Gentiles lord it over them; and that they that are the greater, exercise power upon them. 26 It shall not be so among you: but whosoever is the greater among you, let him be your minister. 27 And he that will be first among you shall be your servant. 28 Even as the Son of man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give his life as redemption for many.

Many translations use the word “kneeling” instead of “adoring,” but the meaning is still clear. The mother of the sons of Zebedee was humbly beseeching the Lord for an intention. She didn’t approach him with a casual demeanor or a demand, but rather, a request. She begs Our Lord to give her the grace of having her sons on His right and left in the Kingdom of Heaven. And notice that Jesus gives answer. Just as we kneel before the Blessed Sacrament, be it in a chapel, a church, or at the communion rail, we are praying to be found worthy to receive Him. Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur anima mea. Lord, I am not worthy to receive Thee under my roof, but say the word and my soul shall be healed. Those who have faith in Our Lord approach him with humility – without presumption, without haughtiness. When was the last time you saw one of our high-risk litrurgical offenders humble himself or herself before the Lord? I’m not judging their souls, just their actions, and by their actions we can see that there is no respect for the Blessed Sacrament, no respect for God reigning from the priest’s fingers at the moment of consecration. No – they stand, they gawk, they extend their hands as if they have the right to do so. Guess what – they don’t. No one has the right to do such a thing. Even the priest says multiple prayers, bowing, which focus on his unworthiness to perform the sacred mysteries.

The arrogant are the worst offenders of Our Lord’s dignity. But there are those who refuse to kneel because “only the really intense people kneel.” That’s just foolish. If you really believe that that “piece of bread” is Jesus, the Son of the Living God, why aren’t you on your stomachs prostrate before Him? There is a popular annecdote of a Muslim saying that he could be a Catholic, but it was obvious to him that Catholics generally don’t understand what they profess to believe. Why? “Because if I believed that piece of Eucharistic bread was wholly God, I would be on my hands and knees in tears, begging for mercy.” Sounds kind of like Psalm 95, doesn’t it? Come let us adore and fall down: and weep before the Lord that made us. If you fall into the category of “Hesitance” I would pray that you find the courage to worship God in the form of a suppliant, not an equal. For even Our Lord “did not find equality with God something to be grasped at.”

Liberals are unable to bend their knees to anyone but themselves. When they come face to face with God in Heaven, I hope that then they realize that they were doing the improper thing on Earth, worshiping community over Our Lord. I am certain that God’s infinite mercy would be shown to them, as I pray it will be for all of us, for what are these liberals but mere wayward children having liturgical temper-tantrums? In most cases, I would be comfortable saying that the things we see aren’t the products of a malicious spirit alone, but also a loss of touch with sacramental reality. A Catholic believes in the Real Presence. Let us pray, on our knees before God, that this faith in the Real Presence be nurtured by our priests in their example, our bishops by their teaching authority, and by our religious in their tireless devotion, not to self, but to the God whom they vowed to serve over all else. We all have failings, friends, but when we have the satisfaction of being grounded in the Faith, overcoming our sins is that much easier. Thank God that many Catholics still have a sense of the Sacred, that they genuflect when passing before the tabernacle, that they receive Communion with humble and contrite hearts.

Nancy’s New Gig

August 1st, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

After being dumped as the self-anointed “Pastoral Leader” of Good Shepherd in favor of Ms. Barbara Swiecki, Nancy DeRycke has found a new gig in the town of Chili. According to the past couple St. Pius X bulletins, Ms. DeRycke will soon bring her talents over to SPX. That parish is already under the leadership of Mr. William Rabjohn.

Please pray for the people of St. Pius X. We all know what fruit Ms. DeRycke brought to Good Shepherd (attendance plummeted down into the 600s from approximately 1,000 per week before her arrival).


The “uncharitable” Khludov Psalter

July 30th, 2010, Promulgated by Bernie

"Khludov Psalter" (folio 67r), 9th century, Moscow Museum

Detail from "Khludov Psalter" folio 67r

Cleansing Fire gets criticism for being uncharitable because it’s, well, critical. I’d like to call your attention to a page from the Khludov Psalter that pulled no punches when it came to criticizing the heretical polices of Church officials in the 9th century. 

This illuminated psalter is one of only three Byzantine ones to have survived from the 9th century and is said to have been created “clandestinely” (read anonymously) by those opposed to the official iconoclastic polices -the destruction and banning of images in churches- of the imperial and Church authorities in Constantinople. It includes some illuminations in the margins that are critical of the iconoclasts. On some pages little arrows connect certain verses with parts of the illustrations in order to specify analogies. On this particular page the illuminator illustrated the line “They gave me gall to eat; and when I was thirsty they gave me vinegar to drink” with a picture of a soldier offering Christ vinegar on a sponge attached to a pole. But, in the bottom margin of the page he has depicted the last iconoclast Patriarch of Constantinople, John the Grammarian, whitewashing over an icon of Christ with a similar sponge on a pole as the one used by the soldier. The analogy is clear between iconoclasts who whitewashed paintings and mosaics, and the soldiers who tormented Christ. The hair style the artist has given the patriarch on this page and the others in the psalter consists of straight hair sticking out in all directions. Such a hairdo was considered rediculous by sophisticated Byzantines.
I suppose this psalter was something like the Cleansing Fire of its day created by the self-appointed guardians of orthodoxy.


Dismissal or Deposition

July 16th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

One of the  new “grave delicits” named by the Holy See may be of extreme interest to you. It reaffirms the teaching of the Church regarding the sanctity of the Sacraments, in particular The Holy Mass and Holy Orders. I quote:

Art. 5

The more grave delict of the attempted sacred ordination of a woman is also reserved to the

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:

1° With due regard for can. 1378 of the Code of Canon Law, both the one who attempts to confer sacred ordination on a woman, and she who attempts to receive sacred ordination, incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See.

2° If the one attempting to confer sacred ordination, or the woman who attempts to receive sacred ordination, is a member of the Christian faithful subject to the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, with due regard for can. 1443 of that Code, he or she is to be punished by major excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See.

3° If the guilty party is a cleric he may be punished by dismissal or deposition.

How much clearer could it be, folks? Women’s ordination is absolutely and unequivocally banned, and will be for ages unending. Amen.

For the Canon of the Mass, methinks this gal would be inclined to say, "Te igitur, clementissima Mater . . . "

Pastoral “Leader”

July 15th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

A while back, we discussed Nancy DeRycke’s self-given title of “pastoral leader.” We also discussed how a lay person cannot legitimately be a “pastoral leader,” i.e. “pastor” in common parlance, because only an ordained man may be the “pastoral leader.” Well, yet another woman has crowned herself as liturgical queen and empress, and three guesses as to who it is.

Sr. Joan Sobala is now, in the words of the Diocese of Rochester, the “Pastoral Leader of the Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Anne Cluster.”

I guess Canon Law has no place in the liberal “Church” that they’ve created for themselves, and which they continue to foist on the unsuspecting parishioners in the pews.

Oh, wait, they’ve left? There’s almost no one in the pews? Sorry – disregard what I was saying. It’s clear the message already got out.

Bishop’s Golden Girl Gets a New Gig

July 13th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

Nancy DeRycke, long-time advocate of Women’s Ordination and the former self-consecrated “Pastoral Leader” of Church of the Good Shepherd, appears to have a new gig come this Fall. According to the latest Along the Way Rush-Henrietta cluster bulletin insert, Ms. DeRycke will be doing “parish ministry” (aka assuming some priestly duties) at St. Pius X church in the town of Chili. SPX is currently the home of the albed lay homilist and administrator, Bill Rabjohn. The two appear to be a match made in heaven.

Please pray for the people of St. Pius X. They had finally rid themselves of Fr. Holland’s dissent, and now they are about to be blessed with a duo of preaching laypersons. Is it 2012 yet?

No More Nancy

June 25th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

“They say that one sign of a good leader is that the community continues to thrive when the leader leaves. I have every confidence and hope that that certainly will be the case.”

-Nancy DeRycke’s words in her final bulletin article as self-consecrated “Pastoral Leader” of Church of the Good Shepherd in Henrietta. Good Shepherd’s attendance the week before her departure: 650 (approximately 200 less than when she arrived in 2008).

The new cluster which will be forming in Northeast Rochester has an opening, do they not?

Lay Administrators and Church Attendance

June 11th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

Just for fun, let’s take a look at the attendance totals this past week at area parishes led by some of our most prominent progressive lay administrators. In parenthesis are the 2003 attendance figures, which are the most recent available numbers published by the Diocese of Rochester. It is worth noting that each of these parishes had a resident priest pastor in 2003.

From the weekend of June 5th/6th, 2010-

Anne-Marie Brogan

  • St. Mary Downtown: 455  (2003: 740, difference: 285)

Nancy DeRycke

  • Church of the Good Shepherd: 611 (2003: 1,183, difference: 573)

Margaret Ostromecki

  • Our Lady Queen of Peace- 447 (2003: 563, difference: 116)
  • St. Thomas More- 476 (2003: 881, difference: 405)

Sr. Joan Sobala

  • Our Lady of Lourdes- 437 (2003: 713, difference 276)
  • St. Anne- 365  (2003: 796, difference 431) … 365 is NOT a typo.

A number of thoughts come into my mind when I look at these figures.

First, assigning a lay administrator to run a parish appears to be a very good way to kill a parish. This is especially true when the lay administrator is an intrusive women’s ordination advocate who likes to give the homily and wear an alb. All of these lay-run parishes have experienced sizable losses. These losses appear to be much worse than most other diocesan parishes have suffered.

Second, Sr. Joan Sobala should be ashamed of herself. She inherited two parishes that were drawing in the mid 600s (at least St Anne was) and she has turned both of them into piles of progressive rubble within a span of two years (three for Lourdes). 375 people at St. Anne? 375?! Attendance at both of these parishes has been averaging in the 430s, so don’t think I’m just picking on them on an off-weekend. This low attendance in Sr. Joan’s cluster has been going on for well over a year.  For the record, the attendance during Sr. Joan’s first week on the job at St. Anne in June of 2008 was 675. That’s a difference of 300 in just two years. Go fertilize other parishes, eh Sister? How is that going for you?

Third, if Bishop Matthew Clark truly wants to show that women can be good priests, then his effort to create a pesudo-priesthood of lay women has failed miserably. The people in the pews are not responding positively to his attempts to put women in charge of priests and parishes. People are fleeing these dens of liberalism in droves. The proof is in the numbers.

Fourth, the Diocese of Rochester has major problems that are not being resolved by this administration. Although these examples above are from some of our more prominent declines, the diocese as a whole is witnessing a significant dip. Is Bishop Clark going to do anything to save this sinking ship, or is he just going to stand there and wave goodbye as the Church in Rochester sinks to the bottom of the murky ocean? The bishop has tried a few things (clustering, lay admins, closures), but each of these solutions have been like firing a gun at the bottom of our metaphorical boat; the sinking is happening much faster.

How about we plug these holes and begin making repairs? How about we try orthodoxy and tradition to keep this ship afloat? How about we stop closing churches unnecessarily, and look for smaller, more manageable clustering of parishes (instead of these ridiculous 3-5 parish clusters). How about we appoint teams of retired priests to lead some parishes? If the bishop has no intention to try to save the Rochester diocese, then he should look at himself in the mirror, and submit his resignation to the Holy Father tomorrow. Bishop Clark can’t be proud of what is happening to the Church in Rochester. Pretty soon there will be no Diocese of Rochester if we don’t act now to save our local Church.

Behold the Fruits of Diocese of Rochester Clustering, Part III

June 10th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

It’s been a couple of weeks now. Let’s review the attendance figures in the Rush-Henrietta cluster to see if they have improved, worsened, or remained constant since the reduced Mass schedule began on May 23rd.

Church of the Good Shepherd

G.S. attendance before reduced Masses

G.S. attendance before reduced Masses

G.S. attendance first week of reduced Masses

G.S. attendance next two weeks

St. Joseph (Rush)

St. Joseph attendance before reduced Masses

St. Joseph attendance after reduced Masses

St. Joseph attendance last week

Data not available for Guardian Angels.

It appears that attendance may be permanently reduced in the Rush-Henrietta cluster. For three straight weeks, the parishes of Good Shepherd and St. Joseph (Guardian Angels figures are unknown) have experienced significant declines in attendance from pre-clustering totals. Good Shepherd has long averaged attendance in the 800s, but they have yet to crack 630 since dropping down to two weekend Masses.

This is a trend we have witnessed in almost every other clustering and merging of parishes in the Diocese of Rochester. Basically, when we consolidate churches, we lose Catholics. The attendance totals diocesan-wide have been in a free fall since the decade began. What is the diocese going to do to combat these declines in attendance? Nothing they have attempted so far appears to be working, so what is there left to do? Soon the DoR will attempt to consolidate the Irondequoit Pastoral Planning Group (IPPG) parishes. Are we anticipating a different result there?

Rush-Henrietta Leaders Named

May 30th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

We now know what priests will be serving as “Sacramental Ministers” for the Rush-Henrietta cluster of Good Shepherd, Guardian Angels, and St. Joseph (Rush).

The two priests will be Fr. Gerald Appleby, presently the “Sacramental Minister” at Guardian Angels after Fr. Peter Abas was kicked out because of the cost of paying his salary, and Fr. Robert Beligotti, presently serving as temporary “Sacramental Minister” at St. Jerome during the sabbatical of Fr. Steve Lape.

Bishop Morlino on Eucharistic Reverence

May 28th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

This was sent to us by a dear friend of the blog. Many thanks go out to her and her family. May God bless such kind-hearted and sincere Catholics.

The video below is of Bishop Morlino discussing reverence at Mass. His insight is invaluable, and should be given, in a spirit of precise charity, to all your administrators, your pastors, your sacramental ministers, or what ever else you may have. He states, “No one intends to be irreverent.” I could not agree more. Our lay preachers think they’re doing the right thing. They love the Church, but in a very inappropriate way. Just like a 15 year old boy may “love” his girlfriend after a night of passion, that love is misplaced and juvenile. There’s something there, but it’s trounced and destroyed by the effects of sin. No one, unless they are instruments of Satan, seeks to destroy that which they know to be good. No one, unless they are instruments of Satan, would follow a path they know to be wrong. However, if we permit these people to walk in these ways, to continue embracing the metaphorical girlfriend, we testify to be in error ourselves, for we are doing nothing to bolster the good which we perceive, the good which Our Lord perceives.

Behold the Fruits of Diocese of Rochester Clustering

May 26th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

Good Shepherd attendance before clustering (3 weekend Masses):

Good Shepherd attendance the very first week after clustering (2 weekend Masses):

The proof is in the pudding. Clustering parishes does not make them stronger, more viable, or more… what’s that word… “virbrant.” Instead, clustering weakens parishes to the point where they can no longer remain open. Look at that very sharp drop in attendance at Church of the Good Shepherd. The cluster has only been in place for one week! Where did all the people go? Did they go to Guardian Angels or St. Joseph? If so, how come people from G.A. and S.J. didn’t come to Good Shepherd to negate the loss in attendance? (well, Nancy’s presence likely played a role, but humor me for a moment here)

This is exactly what we witnessed in Irondequoit where St. Thomas’ attendance plummeted by almost 300 weekly attendees after clustering, and this is quite possibly what will happen in the upcoming Gates cluster. When we cluster parishes, we lose parishioners. When we lose parishioners, we lose Catholics.

But that makes it easier for the diocese to close churches, doesn’t it?