Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘News and Media’

Congratulations to for News Leadership

April 27th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

ScreenShot432A week of watching the rollout of the new format has only confirmed my first impression — that it is a brilliant stroke of combining the animation and energy of video, with the ability to revisit content, excerpt and study further the transcript or news text, with the dynamic of blog-type responses, as stories develop.  (I expect a shakeout of the blog-type comments, however, as it has already drawn many who seem to just have a personal vendetta against Michael Voris, and are using the Church Militant comments to dilute or warp the issue.  Many of the comments just attack, rather than add to dialogue).  Kudos to Michael Voris and his whole team.

Today begins a new series, defending Catholic doctrine by disputing the feel-good theory that Judas didn’t really go to hell, so fundamental to much pulpit diatribe that implies God is just too “nice” to send anyone to hell.

What Church Militant has just done is to leverage the credibility it has built up over years into ScreenShot433 true  leadership in Catholic Media.  For some time now, I have been shifting my attention within the Catholic Media outlets.  I used to read Zenit every day, at least the headlines, during the Papacy of Benedict XVI.  During that period, Zenit seemed to be more NEWS oriented.  Now, in my opinion, it reads more like Pope Francis’s daily diary and, with some of the ambiguity attached to his public comments and opinions, it has become less rather than more.  Similarly, when EWTN took over the National Catholic Register I had great hopes for its being at the forefront of Truth in the Church, clearly communicating to the laity.  I was totally turned off when they not only mis-used the word “murder” against George Zimmerman, who had been found not guilty in a legitimate court, but when over 100 commenters brought the error to NCRegister’s attention, the words on the blogsite were changed, but without really acknowledging the inappropriateness of what they had done.  To me, NCRegister (like Catholic News Service, to some extent) seems now to excel more at spin-meistering for Catholic PR, than at propagating Truth, no matter how difficult.  It is but a slippery slope down to the level of CathNewsUSA, of LCWR and Nuns on a Bus advocacy.

ScreenShot436In such an atmosphere, it is perhaps not too surprising that a leadership void had been opening.  Church Militant has seized the moment, not seemingly for their own aggrandizement, but rather for the sake of the laity’s right to know, i.e. for Truth. LifeSiteNews continues to impress also, as they are on top of many emerging stories, although this past week Church Militant scooped them by a few hours on the CRS VP who is in a same-sex, so-called marriage.  But I do see a basic compatibility between LSN and Church Militant in their thirst for Truth, and fearless reporting.  And both should be congratulated for staying on top of the scandal surrounding CRS (Catholic Relief Services, who collects money IN OUR CHURCHES!).  I also like the publications of the Cardinal Newman Society in the niche of Catholic Education, which it serves well.


I hope that with Church Militant’s leadership now, across a breadth of Catholic issues, in what was becoming a ready-to-pop news bubble, there might be even more opportunity to keep media pressure on Synod threats, rather than on just reporting the results after the fact as alleged Catholic Media were wont to do in the last session.

I know there are CF readers who will disagree, or who just don’t like Church Militant and Michael Voris.  I am reminded, however, of Christ’s words that He’d rather have us hot or cold, than lukewarm to be vomited from His Mouth.

Update on “America” Rag-azine and its Dolan-ic Defense

September 9th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

A few months ago, a new editor was named for the Jesuit “Rag-azine” titled “America.”  The publication’s title has always seemed rather presumptuous to me, perhaps never more so than now, in its current lack of any meaningful achievement for the Faith in America or for countering the pagan culture onslaught.   It is as if “America” has no role but to publish, rather than to teach, evangelize or plant a meaningful theological thesis or spiritual impulse.  We should judge by the fruits.  What are they?  Today, all things Jesuit can easily hide under the Jesuit aura of the Papacy, and perhaps receive more deference than has been deserved in a very long time.  But it doesn’t make them fruitful, or faithful.   I say that without in any way diminishing the historic contributions of Jesuits, especially their martyrdom to hold the British soil for the Faith.

Nevertheless, I took a quick read through the new editor’s ruminations, and found them somewhat lacking in cohesion and insight, a veritable potpourri of words without apparent direction.  For example, the September comments by the new editor, Father Matt Malone, is a transparent pulpit for Cardinal Kasper and his radical, damaging proposals to change Catholic Teaching (just before the Synod) and to permit divorced/remarried Catholics to receive Communion.  The buzzword “mercy” can hardly undo the Gospel words of Christ that no one can put asunder what God has joined together.

The  August column is a puff piece on the editor’s visit to Cuba and the late July  issue, while purporting to offer the two sides of the Hamas-Gaza vs. Israel conflict, in effect showcases far more anti-Israel sentiment than vice versa.  The early July column would lead the reader to never suspect there is any such thing as a just-war theory, or that Christ spoke the Truth when He said there would be wars and rumors of wars.

I didn’t go back any further than June in which the editor played the RACE card.  Father Malone offers the inflammatory words:  “I do know this: the notion that whites—even the most enlightened among us—“don’t see race” is ridiculous. It’s quite obviously the first thing that we see. I don’t forget that someone is black, any more than he or she forgets that I am white. That’s just something white people tell themselves in order to feel a little less complicit in the whole ghastly history of racial prejudice.”  Father Malone outrageously continues:  “Do we openly acknowledge our history, our complicity, our shame, while not forgetting our triumphs and joys and especially our hopes for healing?”  “What we need is plenty of honest conversation, painful conversation about what we have done.” This editor offers not much insight into who “we” is, but it isn’t me or most of the people I know.  The new editor is making the classic mistake of asserting that he speaks for all his readers.  
The most charitable thing I can say about “America” under its new editor is that “I am not impressed.”   But see for yourself.  The staff of “America” has been joined by the so-called public relations diva of the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops), Sister Mary Ann Walsh, R.S.M., who is now its “U.S. church correspondent.” And her “colors” really are the first thing I see.  Rainbow colors.  Go here   to read for yourself.
The pro-cardinal Dolan article is not surprising, given her long and close working relationship with him when he was President of the USCCB (which she fails to disclose in her article.)  Further, it boggles the mind that she could have been the voice of the USCCB to the media when her article in “America” so ignores and misstates the Catholic Church position on same-sex attracted individuals. Perhaps this is at least part of the root of the wider secular media not understanding the Church’s position?  She uses the word “gay” without in any way differentiating those who are same-sex attracted from those who choose to live a gay activist life-style, causing great and irreparable damage to the perception of what the Catholic Church really teaches.  Here are a few quotes, but please read and comment yourself.  It is a short, easy read if you can control your righteous indignation.

-‘This  [parade] is not a religious rite though some attend it religiously. It’s of course associated with Catholics, especially in New York where the saint is patron of the archdiocese’s (some say the nation’s) premier church, St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue. The Catholic Church does not sponsor the parade, though the marchers go by the cathedral where the grand marshal traditionally greets the archbishop of New York. The parade also is preceded by Mass in the cathedral.”  [And this is the argument she makes that the NY Diocese isn’t involved or a key influence?]

-“Unfortunately a lot of faithful critics and culture warriors are taking issue with Cardinal Dolan’s tolerance of the parade’s gay and lesbian contingent. They seem to advocate an in-your-face approach to anything gay.’  [Notice the last inflammatory sentence, refusing to differentiate between what is gay and what is gay activist, as if the distinction didn’t even exist.]

-“Even the federal government eventually refused to defend the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman for the purpose of federal benefits in the Defense of Marriage Act, a law passed with practically unanimous support and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996. The government stopped defending the law in court in 2011 and two years later, the Supreme Court found the definition unconstitutional.” [and this is supposed to be an argument for same-sex “marriage”?  That “even” the government …. as if the government had some morality? As if 15 years can change something from immoral to moral?]

-“Nevertheless, Cardinal Dolan also has pastoral obligations. Many Catholics are gay, are related to gays, have gay friends.” [Again note the refusal to distinguish the gay lifestyle from the disorder of same-sex attraction.]

– “The U.S. bishops’ Committee on Marriage and Family voted in 1997 on a statement “Always Our Children,” that addressed the relationship between parents and their gay children. It drew fierce opposition from a number of people, but it cleared the air and comforted families who felt torn between what they understood to be church teaching and the natural love of mothers and fathers for children.”  [Oh, goodie — it made people “feel good” about their sins, and the sins of their family members.  There was much controversy and the USCCB’s position was entirely NON-BINDING on this matter; so Walsh is presenting a skewed view and cherry-picks a few points and ignores many others, but that is not surprising given her prior USCCB involvement, all undisclosed to the reader.]

-“Where to draw the line?” [How about between sin and no sin?]

-“Can a gay couple marry in the church? Since the church does not recognize such a union, this does not seem like something the church can approve of.”  [What kind of a question/answer is this?  “does not seem like something…?”  OBVIOUSLY, Sister Walsh, the answer is NO, and one could wish you had a stronger catechesis.  Could you be any weaker?]

-“Cardinal Dolan’s position on the parade is the pastoral one; you don’t reject people for who they are.”  [Sin is not “who they are;” but rather is what has hold of them, throttling by the enemy.  Clever word-smithing again, and consistently, does not address either Church Teaching on non-repentant sinful life style, or its effect on others.  And just how is promoting homosexual sin under a bragging banner “pastoral” to the rest of the Church?]

Finally, and also in my opinion, what Cardinal Dolan is doing is even worse and more significant than what we experienced in prior years in the DoR.  His audience is larger, his apparent push for normalizing the gay lifestyle is more aggressive and apt to cause division on a wide and deep scale, and he has greater influence.  If this is what he has done in just a few years, what can we expect in the future if he is not removed from office?  Moreover, with our experience in Rochester in speaking out for true Catholic Teaching, and in taking the words of Ezekiel seriously, we probably have more experience here and at Cleansing Fire than many groups in other dioceses, and it is easy to argue that to NOT speak out would be a dereliction of  our duty.  But, as I said, this is all “in my opinion.”  What’s yours?

Week 29 in Catholic Media, 2014

July 17th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

This post is appearing early (last week’s was late) but the reason is that I probably don’t have to see tomorrow’s headlines in order to know this is the most important news story of the week.  Why?  Because it involves very great danger to souls. ScreenShot348LifesiteNews has reported a great offense against our Religious Freedom, handed down by the Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana.  What can we do?  Pray for Fr. Jeff Bayhi, that the State of Louisiana recind its demand that he testify and break the seal of confession, AND that Fr. Bayhi will be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to endure what he is called to suffer in order to protect the seal of confession.  And then spread the call for a boycott of Louisiana, travel, meetings, products.    We might even think of sending letters of support to Fr. Bayhi and to his bishop.  Please read through to consider the question of whether or not Fr. Bayhi is being victimized by his strong stand against the HHS mandate.  Here are excerpts from the story.

Louisiana diocese denounces court for compelling priest to break seal of confession

by Lisa Bourne
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge has denounced the Louisiana Supreme Court decision that compels one of its priests to testify in court about confessions he may have heard. “A foundational doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church for thousands of years mandates that the seal of confession is absolute and inviolable,” the diocese said…. “Pursuant to his oath to the Church, a priest is compelled never to break that seal.  This is not a gray area in the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church,” it said, noting that a priest who violates the seal of confession incurs an automatic excommunication.
“If necessary, the priest would have to suffer a finding of contempt in a civil court and suffer imprisonment rather than violate his sacred duty and violate the seal of confession and his duty to the penitent,” the diocese said. …the alleged confessions were made by a minor child to the priest, and pertained to sexual abuse of the minor by another church parishioner. The statement concerns a lawsuit naming Father Jeff Bayhi and the diocese as defendants…. Father Bayhi [is being compelled] to testify as to whether or not there were confessions and, if the  confessions did occur, what the contents of the confessions were. But according to the diocese, a priest is not even “allowed to admit that someone went to confession to him.”
It would seem to be a fair question as to whether or not Fr. Bayhi’s strong stance against the HHS mandate has something to do with what can be viewed as harassment.  The reason this court action is so significant is its blatant violation of the First Amendment Freedom of Religion.  The damage of course to souls comes from the fear it might cause in souls to avoid confession, so necessary for forgiveness of sin and for the salvation of souls.  This ruling strikes at the very heart of the Catholic Faith.
And isn’t this a timely comment from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in an interview from Russia today?
“If we confess something to our priest inside a church that would be private, but is it any different if we send our pastor a private email confessing a crisis that we have in our life?” said Snowden.  He was advocating more encryption for doctors, lawyers, journalists and others handling sensitive information.  It is interesting that he focused on the vulnerability of priests and the information they handle.


Praying for vocations to the sacred priesthood

June 3rd, 2014, Promulgated by Bernie
web 96 7x

Click on poster for a larger, clearer image.

Week 22 in Catholic Media, 2014

May 30th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Chinese Red Guards

Chinese Red Guards

Cultural Revolution destroying antiques and religious artifacts, circa 1966

Cultural Revolution destroying antiques and religious artifacts, circa 1966


Invasion of the Conscience Snatchers…. (aka the Red Guard of the Thought Police)

enforcing a Culture-of-Death  Revolution    

1. Catholic physicians who want to follow their conscience must ‘emigrate….’

New Yorkers sat up and took notice when Governor Cuomo suggested that pro-lifers are akin to terrorists, and not welcome in NYS.  Now the country from which so many of our fore-parents fled in order to seek religious liberty is doing it again.  (Note: author’s comments are in red.)

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent for LifeSiteNews, reported on May 30, 2014 that a meeting of the Catholic Medical Association was told “Physicians who have strong moral objections to prescribing abortifacient drugs, including the morning after pill, should leave England … due to … a total conflict of culture….”

“On May 17, the CMA’s annual conference heard Charlie O’Donnell, a consultant in emergency and intensive care medicine, say that “orthodox” Catholics training in obstetrics and gynecology would have such huge obstacles they would have little choice but to “emigrate.” Physicians are routinely faced with requests for artificial contraceptives, artificial procreation treatments or Viagra for “gay couples,” and there is simply no room left in the profession for the Christian worldview in medicine in Britain…. To be a sound Catholic regarding sexual ethics it is not possible to train as a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist.”
“This year’s CMA conference addressed the question of conscience in the context of the physician’s work.  The conference brochure asked, “What is conscience? What does the Church say? What does the law state? How can we work in workplaces which are hostile to individuals’ consciences? What can a Catholic conscience bring to the places and services in which we work? ….”  Dr. O’Donnell, Tully said, “was being just very blunt and pragmatic about it. It’s gone beyond the point where conscientious objection is a practicable alternative for someone specializing in those fields.”  “Abortion is not the issue,” he added. “That’s morally equivalent to running old ladies down in the street. That’s not a moral dilemma.” The real matter is the total engulfing of the medical profession in the “culture of death,” he said. “Abortion is a consequence of that – a symptom, as it were.”
“Paul Tully added that at least a third to half of the practices now considered a normal part of obstetric medicine would be impossible for a conscientious Catholic…. Dr. O’Donnell [explained] it is not feasible to undertake training in the field because so many cases involve some major objectionable practice – non-therapeutic sterilization, IVF, gender reassignment and so on.” “It has gone beyond simply discriminating against individuals. The culture of death has ingrained itself so deeply in the National Health Service that everyday work in obstetrics and gynecology entails numerous instances of promoting evil. But he echoed Dr. Ward, saying, “The anti-life onslaught is international, and with the UK and its EU partners intensively seeking to destroy pro-life culture in every corner of the world there are few places left where this might be possible.”

Why should the result be any different under universal healthcare in the U.S.?

2. New Boy Scouts president: “Gay scout leaders acceptable”

by Dustin Siggins, May 27,2014, LifeSiteNews Parents who voted against, and pulled their sons out of Boy Scouts upon revision of the Scout Code to admit same-sex attracted youth to Boy Scouts, which was implemented earlier this year, predicted the inevitable would happen; i.e. that although the vote was predicated on promises that no scout leaders would be SSA, it took only 5 months to begin articulating a different opinion.  And look who can make it happen!  This is a “trial balloon” if ever there were one, notwithstanding the words of the new head of BSA.

IRVING, TX, May 27, 2014 ( – Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who led the military to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, says that he would have allowed homosexual leaders for Boy Scouts of America.  Gates, who was elected to head the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) for a two-year term, last week said that he “would have supported having gay Scoutmasters, but at the same time, ‘I fully accept the decision that was democratically arrived at by 1,500 volunteers from across the entire country.'”
BSA allowed openly homosexual scouts for the first time beginning  January 1, 2014.  “The policy [now] reads that ‘No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.’”  Due to last year’s vote, the organization Trail Life USA was created. The new group says it aims “to be the premier national character development organization for young men which produces Godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens.” Furthermore, the decision by BSA to allow gay scouts has led to criticism from people on both sides of the debate. Homosexual activists say the group did not go far enough, whereas many Christian parents and groups say BSA is bowing to public pressure from homosexual advocates to affect its membership, despite its Christian roots.  Trail Life said it had 500 groups join it as of December 2013.
“Corporate pressure [to allow gay scout leaders] has been especially aggressive” [from Walt Disney World, Merck & Co., Ernst & Young, Major League Baseball, and AT&T, e.g.]. Over 70 percent of BSA’s membership consists of faith-based organizations, and many of its Catholic, Mormon, and United Methodist-affiliated troops have expressed concern about the new policy. The Southern Baptist Convention, which has 4,000 troops affiliated with it, condemned last year’s change.  BSA says its policies will protect its members from abuse by Scout leaders, whether homosexual or heterosexual. Those policies include a mandate that at least two adults are present at all times, and leaders are not allowed to touch Scouts.

So, is your parish still hosting a Boy Scout troop?  If so, why?  Aren’t there enough risks to the children?

3. Toronto’s Cardinal Collins inundated with praise after confronting Trudeau

BY JOHN-HENRY WESTEN,  Mon May 26, 2014, LifeSiteNews
Clearly Canadian liberal leader Trudeau is acting as Thought Police to require all liberal politicians to embrace his political pro-abortive policies.  But the principal defense against such Thought Police is a good offense, of Truth.  In face of the recent, egregious actions of Trudeau, five Canadian bishops have stood up for and articulated the truth for life. Cardinal Collins et al are on our list this week for Heroic Hierarchy.  (See discussion below).

Cardinal Collins

Cardinal Collins

TORONTO, May 26, 2014 ( – The office of Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins has been inundated with positive reaction to the Cardinal’s letter confronting Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.  The recent remarks by the self-professed Catholic politician insisting that all new Liberal candidates support the “right to choose,” has thus far been met with public opposition from five Canadian bishops.

In a letter to Trudeau earlier this month, Cardinal Collins expressed his deep concern with his stand, noting that had Pope Francis chosen a different vocation he would himself be denied the opportunity to run as a Liberal.  The  communications director for the Archdiocese of Toronto, told the Catholic Register that the huge reaction was “overwhelmingly positive, from both within and outside of the Catholic community.”

Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition, said that having pro-life and pro-family advocates congratulate both faith and political leaders when those leaders do the hard work of public confrontation has been an aim of Campaign Life Coalition for many years.  “I’m happy to hear people responded so positively,” said Hughes. “I wonder if the Cardinal knows how muc h support for him is out there in the (pro-life) community and I hope this will encourage him to speak out more often.” The reality of the need for the grassroots pro-life and pro-family community to communicate their thanks to leaders who stick their necks out in the public square is keenly felt in politics as well as religion.   AMEN!

The bishops that have thus far spoken out against Trudeau’s missive include: 1) Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto 2) Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast 3) Calgary Bishop Fred Henry 4) Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith 5) Ottawa Auxiliary Bishop Christian Riesbeck The communications by the bishops have had an impact even in the political sphere. According to MacCarthy, “… a number of people … contacted our office by phone or email and indicated that they will no longer be members of the Liberal party.”


Is it “heroic” to do one’s job as a bishop or cardinal?  Or does it become heroic when the onslaught of social pressure makes it difficult and painful?  Does the refusal of so many peers to take action make a single action “heroic?”  Or does it take much more to be “heroic”?  Join the discussion with a comment.


Luke 17:10:  “So you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.”

Hebrews 12:3-4:  “Consider Him Who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or faint-hearted.  In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”

Week 21 in Catholic Media, 2014

May 22nd, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Here’s another quick lap around three prominent “Catholic Colleges” lest we forget that this misuse of the name Catholic demeans all schools trying to BE true to the Faith.  We start with Georgetown’s Scandals, which the Vatican finds “well founded.”



Vatican says ‘Exorcist’ author’s complaints about scandals at Georgetown U are ‘well-founded’

BY KIRSTEN ANDERSEN,  May 14, 2014, LifeSiteNews

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 14, 2014 ( – Approximately one year after filing a canonical lawsuit against Georgetown University for what he described as “23 years of scandals and dissidence” at the Roman Catholic institution, Exorcist author William Peter Blatty has finally received a response from the Vatican, in which the archbishop tasked with overseeing Catholic education admitted Blatty’s concerns were “well-founded.”

Blatty filed his petition last June on behalf of himself and 2,000 Georgetown alumni, parents, students, faculty and other concerned Catholics, accusing the school of failing to comply with Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the 1990 Apostolic Constitution for Catholic universities that demands church-affiliated institutions of higher learning promote and defend Catholic doctrine.

Blatty urged the Vatican to either force Georgetown to comply with Catholic teaching on matters of faith and morals, or strip it of its Catholic identity.  In a response letter …  Archbishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani, secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, said his office was unable to take direct disciplinary action against the university.  However, he said that Blatty’s concerns were “well-founded” and warranted further investigation.  “Your communications to this dicastery in the matter of Georgetown University … constitute a well-founded complaint.

Attorney Manuel Miranda said the petition submitted to Pope Francis was “more than 200 pages and contains more than 480 footnotes, 99 appendices, 124 witness statements, and a commissioned 120-page institutional audit of Georgetown. We have documented 23 years of Scandals and dissidence, more than 100 Scandals in the most recent years alone.”

At the time, Blatty said the scandal that pushed him over the edge was the invitation of then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to speak at Georgetown’s graduation.   Blatty said….“It grieves me that Georgetown University today almost seems to take pride in insulting the Church and offending the faithful.”


Notre Dame refuses to recognize pro-marriage student group


NOTRE DAME, IN, May 15, 2014 ( – Notre Dame’s administration and student leadership is under fire after denying official recognition to a student organization dedicated to promoting the traditional view of marriage, although it has an officially sanctioned group for homosexuals.  Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP), which aims to promote the benefits of traditional marriage for children, was created in January 2014.  In a petition to the Notre Dame leadership, it “call[ed] on the University administration to make a clear stand in support of the true definition of marriage and to take serious and sustained action to improve the public understanding of this natural institution.”

Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Brown said SCOP’s application to become an official student club was turned down by “the Club Coordination Council (CCC), a student group” which “recommended against approving SCOP because its purpose closely mirrors that of other recognized student clubs on campus.”

But critics say the Catholic university discriminated against the group, which aims to promote the Catholic Church’s teachings on marriage.  In a statement to LifeSiteNews, Notre Dame alumna Arina Grossu, who heads the Family Research Council’s Center for Human Dignity, said she “urge[s] Fr. Jenkins to overrule [the CCC’s] decision and make a clear stand on Catholic teaching.”

“Notre Dame, …   has a responsibility to proclaim the beauty and truth of Catholic teaching on marriage and the family,” Grossu said. “Further, all children have a right to be raised by their mother and father.  Notre Dame must stand up and be a beacon of light and truth in this darkened cultural environment where natural marriage, family and children are threatened.”

A cursory look through Notre Dame’s official list of clubs and student organizations turned up only one group that focuses on marriage in a similar fashion to SCOP, called “Rodzinka: Little Family.” No student groups were found to focus on the harms of pornography, and most groups that focused on helping children did so in a social justice sense.   Hundreds of students signed a petition opposing SCOP’s mission, especially its focus on children.

Bradley says that “without presuming to delve into the minds of the voting CCC members or impugn their motives,” he does believe the anti-SCOP petition played a role in the rejection. “The anti-SCOP petition was littered with misrepresentations of SCOP’s own mission and goals, and badly maligned SCOP’s purpose. The voting members of the CCC almost surely were aware of this effort.”

Bradley told LifeSiteNews that he thinks the Students Activities Office and CCC “both misunderstand SCOP’s mission and purpose, and rejected our group on those mistaken grounds.” Bradley said that he has “spent four years here occupying the circles comprised of members of any group on campus whose mission would most closely align with SCOP’s,” and based upon this experience believes no group is close enough to SCOP’s mission to be considered redundant.

Critics of the CCC decision have pointed to the acceptance of what Brown calls “the establishment of a student organization for LGBTQ students and their allies.” This took place in 2012.  “Due consideration is to be exercised so as to avoid any political or social activities that might compromise Notre Dame’s Roman Catholic allegiance and commitments,” the plan said.

Notre Dame is no stranger to events and groups that disagree with Church teachings on sexuality. The play The Vagina Monologues was held on campus from 2002-6, and again in 2008.   Likewise, the Notre Dame Queer Festival was launched in 2004. By 2009, the festival was gone.

A November 2013 panel discussion on campus brought an admission from a member of the University Counseling Center that she is bisexual. Dr. Maureen Lafferty, who is also a Notre Dame professor, also said that “folks who are bi, they sometimes have a special angle on multiple identities, the fact that we are very interesting people.” Lafferty’s personal biography on the campus website says her interests include “spending time near water and/or at home with my partner and our furry family.”

Another panelist, Dr. Jan Poorman, was reported to have told students that when it comes to transgender issues, the Church “must rethink what we say about the immorality of those medically necessary procedures and processes that people feel must undergo oftentimes without even knowing all the medical reasons underlie the sense that they do not belong in their bodies.” Poorman also indicated there is a spectrum of human genders.  Poorman is the Director of Formation and Field Education in Notre Dame’s Department of Theology.  Last year, the Gay & Lesbian Alumni of Notre Dame & St. Mary’s (GLAND) applied for status as an official alumni association of Notre Dame. In a document for members, it says it hopes to “influence” the issue of non-discrimination policies on campus “better…from the ‘inside.'” The group also supports same-sex “marriage.”


Catholic Boston College to honor John Kerry, Cardinal O’Malley urged to withdraw 

BOSTON, May 15, 2014 ( – The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts today criticized Jesuit administered Boston College for its decision to confer an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on U. S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who has also been invited to serve as the university’s 2014 Commencement speaker. The League is also urging Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the Archbishop of Boston, to repeat his 2013 decision to withdraw from the commencement because of the honoree’s advocacy of abortion.

In … Catholics in Political Life, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said: “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”  Secretary Kerry is a supporter of legal abortion, the public funding of abortion, partial birth abortion, abortions at military hospitals and buffer zones limiting free speech around abortion clinics. He has also endorsed contraception, cloning, embryonic stem cell research, physician assisted suicide, same gender marriage, federal gay rights legislation, the distribution of condoms to minors, family planning programs as part of U.S. foreign aid, and taxpayer financing of both Planned Parenthood and the U. N. Fund for Population Activities.

As a U.S. Senator, Kerry received a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America. As a presidential candidate in 2004, Kerry was endorsed by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and promised, if elected, to appoint only those jurists who agree with Roe v. Wade to the U.S. Supreme Court.  In August 2003, Senator Kerry publicly criticized Pope, now Saint John Paul II in the pages of the Boston Herald. Kerry accused the recently canonized pontiff of “crossing the line,” of violating the American separation of church and state because of a Vatican exhortation to Catholic political leaders to oppose same gender marriage.

“Few American politicians have managed to compile John Kerry’s record of prolonged, sustained, and pervasive opposition to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church,” said Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle.  “Last year, Cardinal O’Malley withdrew from the BC commencement and criticized the choice of Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny as the graduation speaker because the cardinal said Kenny was ‘aggressively promoting abortion legislation,’” he added. “Nothing in Kenny’s position on abortion begins to remotely compare however with John Kerry’s 30 year, wide ranging, career long, lockstep support for Planned Parenthood and NARAL.”

Doyle, an alumnus of Boston College, said of his alma mater, “Three weeks after the canonization of Saint John Paul II, the Jesuits at Boston College are honoring a political figure who launched a demagogic, intellectually dishonest, cheap shot attack on that saint while he was alive and infirm, and the man created Archbishop of Boston by that saint is, reportedly, participating in the proceedings. It’s really quite appalling.”

And thus concludes the quick lap through Georgetown, Notre Dame and Boston College — for this week.

Week 20 in Catholic Media, 2014

May 11th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Let’s Turn the Question Around:  Is the U.N. Torturing the Catholic Church?

It is not as wild a question as it sounds.  On May 5th, LifeSiteNews published an article on a UN official equating the Church’s abortion teaching to “TORTURE!”


UN official to Vatican: Catholic teaching on abortion may be a form of ‘torture’


Flying a flag upside down is the international symbol of distress.  If there were ever an organization in distress, it seems to be the UN.

Flying a flag upside down is the international symbol of distress. If there were ever an organization in distress, it seems to be the UN.

“The Holy See’s goal is to prevent children from being tortured or killed before birth, as is stipulated in the Convention,” he said in an outline drawn up before the hearings. “For example, in Canada, 622 living babies were delivered after failed abortion attempts, between 2000 and 2001. 66 such cases were registered in the UK in 2005. Some methods of late-term abortions constitute forms of torture, particularly in the case of dilation and evacuation, where ‘the fetus, still alive, is dismembered to be pulled out of the womb in pieces.’”

“From what I am reading, this is no more than UN propaganda trying to make the Catholic Church seem ‘extreme’ for not advocating for abortion in the case of rape or sexual assault,” abstinence speaker Pam Stenzel, who was conceived in rape, told LifeSiteNews. “It is not news that some members of the UN want abortion access for all women, including minors, and when access is denied they consider that a violation of ‘women’s rights.’”  One of the participants in the hearings told the UN committee the questioning was little more than anti-Catholicism and abortion advocacy masquerading as concern for the vulnerable.  “The Catholic Church is no stranger to persecution and intolerance,” Ashley McGuire of Catholic Voices USA, said in Geneva. “But it is a shame to see [non-governmental organizations] attacking the Church at the UN, some trying to use this committee to advance an ideological agenda, so often because the Church will not change her moral positions.”  McGuire added that the very notion of human rights that guide the committee “would not exist without the contribution of Christianity, without the unique Christian worldview that every human being has an inherent dignity and is worthy of love and respect.”

“I urge the committee to resist the swelling tide of anti-Christian intolerance that demands that the Catholic Church change her canon law and conform to modernity’s callous devaluation of the lives of vulnerable people, or as Pope Francis has put it, ‘our throwaway culture,” McGuire said. “Intolerance has no place within the world body.”  Far from helping victims of rape or sexual assault, abortion deepens their trauma, Stenzel told LifeSiteNews….

This was the second time in recent months that the world body had openly criticized the Holy See’s ancient doctrinal position opposing abortion in all instances. In February, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child similarly chided the Catholic Church, claiming its teachings on abortion and contraception harmed young women and minor girls around the world.

When it became a party to the international document in 2002, the Vatican described the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, as “a valid and suitable instrument for fighting against acts that constitute a serious offence against the dignity of the human person.”


The UN pressures Catholics over curriculum, abortion (Home School Legal Defense Assn.)


May 6, 2014 (HSLDA) – HSLDA has fought on many occasions to stop ratification of United Nations treaties, most recently with our work to defeat the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). While there are many reasons HSLDA opposes the CRPD, one key reason is that the United Nations is openly hostile to religious freedom, the right to life, home school freedom, and parental rights.  (Full article is here.)

This hostility was on full display in a recent report from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (the committee established by the dangerous UN Convention on the Rights of the Child). In the report that was supposed to be a regular review of the progress of the Holy See (the official name of the Vatican State) in implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the committee instead attacked the Catholic Church and the church’s teachings.

The committee wasted no time in using the Convention on the Rights of the Child to pressure the Catholic Church to change its teaching about the family and control what is taught in private classrooms. It urged the Vatican to “refrain from using terminology that could challenge equality between girls and boys” and to “take active measures to ensure that textbooks used in Catholic schools do not contain gender stereotyping that might limit the development of the talents and abilities of boys and girls and undermine their educational and life opportunities.”

Asserting Control

This is nothing less than the UN trying to control what textbooks are used in private parochial schools. If this or other UN treaties were ratified in the U.S., this is evidence that UN committees would try to oversee the textbooks used by homeschool families and how parents teach their children.

The committee then moved on to child rearing and corporal discipline and had this to say about the Bible and the family: “The Committee urges the Holy See to … [a]mend the Canon Law and Vatican City State laws to explicitly prohibit all corporal punishment of children, including within the family … and use its authority to promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing, and ensure that an interpretation of the Scriptures as not condoning corporal punishment is reflected in the teaching and other activities of the Church and incorporated into all theological education and training.”

As if this weren’t enough, the committee then attacked the Catholic Church’s traditional position on the sanctity of human life by urging the Vatican to “review its position on abortion, which places obvious risks on the life and health of pregnant girls, and to amend Canon 1398 [this is the Catholic Church’s teaching that procuring abortion incurs an automatic excommunication] relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

Finally, the committee urged the Vatican to “withdraw all its reservations to the Convention and to ensure that the Convention has precedence over internal laws and regulations.” This is yet another reason why HSLDA has warned against the U.S. Senate ratifying UN treaties like the CRC and CRPD. Even if the Senate were to attach reservations, understandings, and declarations (RUDs) to such a treaty in an attempt to amend problematic sections, the UN would always be pressuring the U.S. to withdraw our reservations. It would be a never-ending battle to protect the RUDs.


The modern UN has become a powerful global player that is hostile to many freedoms that we as Americans and homeschoolers take for granted. UN treaties have become tools used by unelected, power-hungry international bureaucrats to gain control over nations and free peoples.

We cannot forget that this is the same corrupt UN that selected Iran, an international pariah, for a high-level position on the UN Disarmament and International Security Committee. The UN selected Robert Mugabe, a man under an international travel ban for ethnic cleansing, to be a “leader for tourism.” The UN recently drafted the Arms Trade Treaty, which if ratified by the U.S., would gut the Second Amendment and constitutional liberties which we take for granted. And now the UN is coming after the Catholic Church and the family.

Questions to Contemplate

When will Church officials recognize that treaties with secular organizations, especially the UN, represents an unequal yoking that can never succeed?  

When will enough proof be on the table?  

How much persecution will it take to wake-up?


Week 19 in Catholic Media, 2014

May 4th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris





A Headline Worth Noting:  

“New York committee kills Gov. Cuomo’s radical abortion expansion bill”

ALBANY, NY, May 6, 2014 ( by Ben Johnson – A bill championed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that would have radically expanded abortion in the state has died in a Republican-controlled state Senate committee.   The Reproductive Health Act (S. 438), introduced by Democratic conference leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, failed a vote in the Senate Health Committee by a party-line vote of 9-7.

"Say NO to CuomO"

“Say NO to CuomO”

“The Governor’s proposal is … radical, and would expand abortion rights beyond current federal and state law,” said Edward Mechmann of the Archdiocese of New York. “It would remove any obstacles to late-term abortions, and would allow non-doctors to do surgical abortions, even late-term abortions up until the moment of birth.”

In addition to allowing abortions to be performed by any “qualified, licensed healthcare practitioner” such as a nurse practitioner or midwife, the RHA sought to expand abortions after 24 weeks for the mother’s “health,” a nebulous term that in practice allows abortion under any circumstances.  It would have also forced all hospitals to refer patients for abortion or lose state funding, according to the New York State Right to Life Committee.

[After defeat of the bill last June] Cuomo later lashed out that people who support the “right to life…have no place in the State of New York.”


Two pieces of good news in the same day?  YES!

“U.S. nuns must give up New Age ideas or lose Vatican recognition: CDF head to LCWR nuns”

ROME, May 6, 2014 ( by Hilary White – The American Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which was placed under a mandate of reform by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith last year, must drop its New Age ideas and return to the central teachings of the Catholic religion on Jesus Christ, the Trinity, and the nature of the Church, or risk being expelled as a recognized Catholic institution.

Archbishop Peter Sartain

Archbishop Peter Sartain

In an address to LCWR officials in Rome , …Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), and Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle, the Holy See’s delegate to the LCWR, said that the Holy See “believes that the charismatic vitality of religious life can only flourish within the ecclesial faith of the Church.”  “The LCWR, as a canonical entity dependent on the Holy See, has a profound obligation to the promotion of that faith as the essential foundation of religious life. Canonical status and ecclesial vision go hand-in-hand, and at this phase of the implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment, we are looking for a clearer expression of that ecclesial vision and more substantive signs of collaboration,” they said.  Müller warned LCWR that the concepts introduced by a New Age speaker two years ago, and increasingly adopted by LCWR members, constitute a radical break with the most foundational theological concepts of Catholicism.

This movement has been described as “Conscious Evolution” by its supporters, but the CDF said in reality it constitutes nothing less than “a movement away from the ecclesial center of faith in Christ Jesus the Lord.”  The … (LCWR) that has openly defied a mandate of reform intended to bring their organization into line with basic Catholic doctrine on the nature of God, the Church and sexual morality. One of the first public statements of Pope Francis’ pontificate was an affirmation that the investigation and reform of LCWR must continue.

Müller expressed his “concern” that “such an intense focus on new ideas” may have “robbed religious of the ability truly to ‘sentire cum   Ecclesia’ [think with the Church],” and that the divergence from basic Catholic doctrine had already occurred among the religious of LCWR. … The concepts proposed by Conscious Evolution, he added, “are not actually new. The Gnostic tradition is filled with similar affirmations and we have seen again and again in the history of the Church the tragic results of partaking of this bitter fruit.”   Full article is HERE.

And in a Trifecta of Good News,

“52 pro-life leaders worldwide call on bishops to deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians”

VATICAN CITY, May 3, 2014 ( by John-Henry Westen – At the first annual Rome Life Forum in Vatican City, fifty-two pro-life leaders from sixteen nations called on the bishops of the Catholic Church to deny Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians in a spirit of love and mercy.  The leaders signed a declaration noting that it is out of concern, and indeed love, for those same politicians that the pro-life leaders ask for this wake-up call to invite pro-abortion politicians back to authentic faith.  [They] called on the world’s bishops to honor Canon 915 of the Church’s Code of Canon Law. The canon states that those who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.  Cardinal Ratzinger [had written] that a Catholic politician who votes for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws “must” be denied Communion after being duly instructed and warned.

Speaking at the public portion of the Rome Life Forum, Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, reflected on “the grave scandal caused by legislators, judges, and political leaders who profess to be Catholic and who present themselves to receive Holy Communion…  he said  “It prevents them from committing sacrilege by violating the incomparable sanctity of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, and safeguards the Christian community and the community at large from scandal….”

But even three silver linings have clouds, and from the people who split the Anglican and Episcopal Churches, and whose personal pleasure trumped the needs of the souls affected, making a mockery of God’s Word, we bring the following “news announcement of the week”:  

NEW HAMPSHIRE, May 5, 2014 ( – The first openly gay bishop of the Episcopal Church, whose election in 2003 helped split the squabbling denomination in two, has announced that he and his homosexual partner of more than a quarter-century are divorcing. They were “married” in 2010 after participating in the state’s civil union laws in 2008.”

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 16 in Catholic Media, 2014

April 14th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

This week we begin a new format, by which during the week we will be adding / archiving the week’s news stories.  

Check from time-to-time during the week to see if new stories have been added.  

Catholic Relief Services pro-abortion grantee wins UN Population Fund Award

BALTIMORE, MD, April 17, 2014 ( by Kirsten Andersen – A pro-abortion grantee of Catholic Relief Services has been announced as the winner of the 2014 United Nations Population Award.  The award is given to organizations that demonstrate outstanding effectiveness in population control efforts, including contraception, sterilization and abortion.  The grantee, Jhpiego, is a non-profit health organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University. According to CRS’ 990s for 2012, the U.S. bishops’ organization gave Jhpiego a grant of $282,356 that year for “health.” As part of their work, the group has spearheaded national campaigns in the developing world to promote the abortifacient morning-after pill….Catholic Relief Services has often been criticized for their partnerships with groups that violate Church teaching on grave spiritual matters, but the organization says on its website that it is willing to overlook the sinful actions of certain grant recipients in order to fund the good work that they do. For example, grants given to the pro-abortion group CARE International were earmarked for agriculture, emergencies and general welfare, and were not supposed to be used for family planning.

A report released by American Life League in September 2013 revealed that 86 percent of CRS’ grants to domestic groups in 2012 went to groups that promote contraceptives, in addition to, in some cases, other evils such as abortion, the abortifacient “morning-after pill,” and homosexuality.  In 2013, the Catholic aid organization gave a $2.7 million grant to Population Services International, which markets a “Safe Abort Kit” in developing countries.






The Resignation of Mozilla’s CEO:  Catholics Should Be Worried

“Now is the time for Catholics to express the truth about marriage boldly. Our jobs and our legitimate standing in the public sphere may soon depend on it.”   Rome,     Stephanie Pacheco, writer, blogger, speaker. 

Zenit ran up the storm-warning flag on the happenings at Mozilla.  The full story is here.   Highlight:  “The media storm swirls around Brendan Eich’s April 3 resignation as CEO from Mozilla, the maker of the Firefox browser. Eich is a talented programmer who invented the JavaScript programming language for the internet and who co-founded the Mozilla company. After fewer than two weeks as the company’s head, he was forced to resign over Silicon Valley furor regarding a $1,000 donation he made back in 2008 to California’s Proposition 8 law, which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. To repeat, he was fired for holding unpopular— now socially forbidden—views. … Catholics should be up in arms, for at stake here is the freedom to work in a public capacity and hold orthodox views at the same time.

Pope to Seminarians: We Have Too Many ‘Half Priests’ Who Fail to Imitate Jesus

Vatican City,  

Pope Francis to Seminarians:  from regions around Rome, warn[ed] them that the Church has “many half priests” who fail to reach their potential because they are not “pastors in the image of Jesus.”  The seminarians are members of the Pontifical Leonine College of Anagni, a regional seminary for several of the dioceses around the city of Rome.  “We have so many, so many half way priests,” the Pope told the young men. “It is a sorrow, that they do not succeed in reaching the fullness.  “They have something about them of employees, a bureaucratic dimension and this does no good to the Church.  I advise you, be careful that you do not fall into this!”  He continued, “You are becoming pastors in the image of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to be like Him and in His person in the midst of his flock, to feed his sheep.”







Belgian intensive care doctors back involuntary euthanasia

April 14, 2014 by Michael Cook       Involuntary euthanasia is acceptable medical treatment, according to a recent official statement by the Belgian Society of Intensive Care Medicine. Although voluntary euthanasia is legal in Belgium under some circumstances, involuntary euthanasia is basically illegal. But the Society wants to be able to euthanize patients who do not appear to have long to live.  “Shortening the dying process” is a euphemism for administering a lethal injection.  Effectively the Society has declared itself to be above the law.   The Society also says that intensive care doctors should inform relatives of a decision to euthanize a patient, but it does not instruct them to ask for the relatives’ permission. The policy applies to both adults and children. The statement concludes by reassuring intensive care doctors that what they are doing is “not be interpreted as killing ….”


Week 15 in Catholic Media, 2014

April 13th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

It’s time to visit again the recent low lights on Catholic College Campuses.  As we’ve noted before, the Cardinal Newman Society does a fine job of keeping on top of the state of Catholic education on real and make-believe “Catholic” campuses.  Why the local ordinary hasn’t removed the name “Catholic” from some of these schools is hard to comprehend.  Here are some recent reports (yes, all the schools mentioned are Catholic):


Jesuit Criticized by Vatican for ‘Erroneous’ Theology to Give Santa Clara Commencement Speech
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith pointed out that certain propositions in Liberation theologian Father Jon Sobrino’s books are “not in conformity with the doctrine of the Church” including the divinity of Jesus Christ.  

Saint Peter’s University to Honor Mayor Who Officiated at Same-Sex Marriages
Mayor Steven Fulop of Jersey City will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Jesuit University at its commencement ceremony next month.

crossCollege of the Holy Cross to Honor Former Obama Speechwriter at Commencement
Jon Favreau, a Catholic, compared a recent law in Kansas that protected the religious freedom of business owners to Jim Crow Laws.  On Twitter, he called the law “A tragically sad day in the history of Kansas, where the House just went Jim Crow on gay couples.” 

University of San Francisco to Honor Public Supporter of Same-Sex Marriage
John V. Roos will receive an honorary degree and deliver the commencement speech on May 17 for the University of San Francisco School of Law.

Thousands in Donations to Planned Parenthood Overseen by Aquinas College (Mich.) Graduation Speaker
Aquinas College announced that its commencement speaker will be Kate Pew Wolters, a Trustee Emerita of the college.

But beyond the usual idiocy associated with graduation speakers, there seems to be more good news than bad news in the most recent report.


francisPope Francis to Professors and Students: Theology Only Fruitful Done ‘On One’s Knees’ 
“Your Institutes are not machines for producing theologians and philosophers; they are communities in which one grows, and growth occurs in the family,” Pope Francis said to representatives from some Pontifical universities in Rome, according to Vatican Information Service.

Dioceses Revise Contracts, Expect Teachers to Uphold Catholic Teaching
Dioceses in Hawaii and Ohio have already made changes to their teacher contracts. Some expect similar changes around the country. And some are protesting.

New Online Guide Helps Parents Understand Key Issues, Concerns on Common Core
“This new Parents’ Guide to Catholic Is Our Core is in response to numerous requests from parents for assistance in looking into the Common Core as it applies to Catholic education,” said Bob Laird, the director of programs at the Newman Society.

universityThomas Aquinas College to Celebrate 60th Alumnus Ordination
Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif., is asking for prayers for three alumni who will be ordained in the upcoming months.


Notre Dame Petitions Court for Rehearing in HHS Mandate Case   The petition filed by the University argues that Notre Dame seeks to provide health coverage to its employees “in a manner consistent with its Catholic beliefs.”   

Notre Dame Students Petition University to Make Clear Stand for True Definition of Marriage  The petition was created by members of the newly formed Students for Child-Oriented Policy, made up of undergraduate and graduate students at the University named after Our Lady.”  

Notre Dame Honors Congressman Chris Smith with Evangelium Vitae Medal
“In their work and in their persons, Congressman Chris and Marie Smith are extraordinary witnesses to the inalienable dignity and matchless worth of every member of the human family, born and unborn.”


ScreenShot011And in the Rest of the World, showcasing CathNewsUSA, which has been criticized here before, there were a few articles of note this past week:

CatholicNewsUSA reports that the Catholic Church is the only institution still functioning in the war torn Central African Republic.

Two Catholic priests have been ordered to withdraw as candidates in elections in India.

OMalley at the border

George Weigel criticizes Cardinal O’Malley’s “Border Mass.”   George Weigel said exactly what I was thinking, which tipped the scales in favor of this week’s CathNewsUSA coverage.

Anytime the Mass becomes a stunt, a prop, a political statement, we are on the wrong track.  The Mass is to adore God, not for our own agendae.

To quote Weigel:

“To turn the Mass into an act of essentially political theater is something I thought we had gotten over in the Church, no matter how noble the cause might be.”

Border Mass ABorder Mass B

Border Mass Communion

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 10 in Catholic Media, 2014

March 10th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris
V. P. Biden blesses himself after receiving communion at St. Patrick's.  Cardinal Dolan looks the other way.

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

Oh, yes…there is NEWS for Week 10, some of it quite challenging, haunting and daunting.  But when the drama and mystery is cleared away, and tragedy acknowledged in many diverse events and circumstances, and when the portents are reckoned rationally by assessing the likely outcomes, there is nothing, yes I do mean NOTHING, as significant this week as the content of Ben Anderson’s post on the latest lapse of Cardinal Dolan  as a prelate of the Catholic Church.  Do not miss the outstanding Michael Voris recap here [link corrected] which lends much credibility and perspective to a stream of such abuses by Cardinal Dolan since his arrival in NYC, against the essence of Catholic morality and against the souls of faithful Catholics influenced by what he says, and the cavalier way in which he says it.   Now, by mimicking the words of Pope Francis, Cardinal Dolan claims an inappropriate legitimacy for his opinions.

Contrary to a year-old rebuttal  defense of Cardinal Dolan, inserted here for balance, Voris’ attack is not an ad hominem attack, but rather is directly about the “fruit.”  Is it fair to judge Cardinal Dolan on what he says and does?  Yes, it is the only way to judge fairly–to judge not the man but the results.  Matthew 7:20 reads:  “Thus you will know them by their fruits.”  And Luke 6:4 says:  “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit.”  Those who would say “judge not” on such vital matters are ignoring Christ’s clear words about the importance of fruit inspection.

I cannot help but sense there is something seriously amiss in the second largest diocese in the country.  Michael Voris generously attributes these failings in the public square to incompetence about handling the media.  Where the line falls between media incompetence and a character issue remains open for debate.  Yet, after 40+ years of abortion rampant in New York, we might also remember the old aphorism:  “People get the leaders they deserve.”  Unfortunately, there is little recent history of disciplining prelates who go astray, although recently Pope Francis sent the luxuriating Bishop of Bling to a cold monastery in Bavaria for the winter or maybe longer.    Where do Cardinals go who don’t teach what the Church teaches, who are intoxicated by the limelight, and who make fools of themselves, the Church, and those trying to be faithful?  Only Pope Francis can say and, as long as Cardinal Dolan remains Archbishop of New York, he answers only to the Pope, and, of course, ultimately to God.  But, in the meantime, as laity, we do have the obligation to care about the souls of our brothers and sisters in the Faith.  And that is why this story is more important than even, sadly, the missing Malaysian aircraft.   Even if/when it is found, with concomitant loss of life,  we remember what Christ has told us: in Matthew 10:28:   “…do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” 

With a few exceptions, stories sorted for the weekly update tend to be those which most endanger souls, whether it is German home-schoolers having their children taken away, or tribal warfare in Africa, or the weakening of Catholic Colleges.  Here are a few Week 10 highlights:

Update on Catholic Colleges in Lent from the Cardinal Newman Society:

“On Ash Wednesday, Georgetown University wrapped up its “Sex Positive Week,” including a pole dancing class. LeMoyne College plans a drag show on Monday. Loyola Marymount University is hosting a speaker who supports abortion rights, and Merrimack College is hosting an outspoken critic of the Church. ”

Breitbart Exposes Disney pro-Gay Culture

Parents could easily stumble into this one unknowingly.  Last year, as we know, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) caved in and began to allowing same-sex attracted youth to become scouts.  At age 18 they were to leave scouting, and the assurance at the time, in order to secure enough votes, was that no “gay” leaders would be permitted.  But the slippery slope is never satisfied to allow one to perch there, defying the mire.  The only question is who will give the next push down the slippery slope.  And, somewhat a surprise, especially to parents who buy all those cute character toys and matching pajamas, Disney gave the push.  On Monday, March 3, Breitbart (on-line) published an expose’ on Disney:  in which it seems that Disney thinks the BSA haven’t gone pro-gay enough.  Here are a few excerpts:

“Mickey Mouse is not happy with the way the [BSA] are treating gays.  The Walt Disney company will not be providing any type of financial support or grants to local troops and packs over the organizations policies.  According to a letter from Robert Utsey, BSA’s Central Florida Council Board President, ‘Disney World’s views do not currently align with the BSA.’” …. In addition to citing the restriction on same-sex attracted men over 18, Disney objects to the policy that the youth can’t wear their Boy Scout uniforms in so-called “gay-pride parades.”  [This may not continue to be an issue, because in some areas the marchers are pushing for nudity from the knees up.  See LifeSiteNews article here about Toronto.]  “[Disney] does not provide grants to institutions that operate or support activities that are counter to the policies of The Walt Disney Company.”  In a sense, this should all not be too surprising since the entertainment industry is a major source of pushing for broad acceptance of sinful lifestyles.  It’s just that we don’t often think we have to pick up every rock to peek under it.  Especially rocks with which we’ve become comfortable.

And, for their part, the Boy Scouts of America, having fallen away in their own moral issues,  now feel pressure they never had before when they strove to be “morally straight,”  when they had principles to uphold, and when even the Supreme Court upheld those principles.  When the backbone is gone, what is left to hold up values?  Playing to the approval of the masses, whether for a scouting organization or for a cleric on TV, can never be a successful strategy.

Indisputable Pro-Abortion Argument — NOT!

In a LifeSiteNews article last week, author Matt Walsh tongue-in-cheek (but not without great forensic argument) gives 10 reasons the “autonomous body” argument (“It’s my body; I can do what I want with it!”) is wrong, all without referring to Church teaching, the Bible, etc.  This is the kind of apologetics / evangelization adult Catholics need in order to stop dodging  arguments from friends and family, and speak up.  It is a short, easy-to-read article but well worth the read.

Week 09 in Catholic Media, 2014

March 3rd, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris




Hey! Let’s Go Look at a Few “Catholic Colleges”

No gas to burn.  No roads to trek.  Just look at The Cardinal Newman Society’s output.  The past Friday (Feb. 28th) newsletter carried stories by Matthew Archbold, Kelly Conroy and others giving insight into a number of Catholic Colleges, some real and some only imagining their Catholicism.  These articles were published in their journal: CATHOLIC EDUCATION DAILY.  How could it not start with Notre Dame?

NOTRE DAME and the Pope Francis Impact?

“Pope Francis’ Words to Notre Dame May Be ‘Rallying Cry’ for Catholic Universities,”   wrote Nicholas G. Hahn III, editor of, in a piece for the Chicago Tribune suggesting that Catholic universities may have “found a new rallying cry” in Pope Francis’ potent message to Notre Dame: “And this is important: its identity, as it was intended from the beginning. To defend it, to preserve it and to advance it!”  Hahn wrote that many Catholic universities have fallen into secularism, but “now they have a pope telling them they can’t have one foot in each world.”  He continues:  “The very public decline of Catholic higher education traces to July 1967, when the president of Notre Dame, the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, and his friends in the Ivory Tower produced a … declaration of independence [which] … gave cover for dissident Catholic intellectuals teaching in theology departments.  Professors such as Charles Curran [who wreaked havoc] at the Catholic University of America could oppose papal encyclicals without the slightest pause…. Hahn recalled one moment that “crystallized” the debate over Catholic identity when, in 2009, the University of Notre Dame honored President Barack Obama, whose pro-abortion rights position and record were well-known, and  a number of students and alumni boycotted the ceremony.”  Well, if it seems an irony that Notre Dame now seems singled out among Catholic Colleges given no quarter on complying with the HHS mandate, one can contemplate if this is part of the meaning of being turned over to one’s own sin?  Read: “Federal Appellate Court Denies Injunctive Relief” here.

Loyola University in Chicago (where else?) feels the sting!

And, on the subject of irony, here’s an almost incredible story:  “A group of students at Loyola University Chicago who were taught how to protest in class are now protesting the University for discontinuing those classes, according to the  Chronicle of Higher Education.  A number of students enrolled in the Jesuit University’s master’s program in social justice and community development delivered speeches and waved signs which read ‘Who Is Loyola Loyal To?’ in protest of a decision to discontinue the community development courses in which students learned social activism techniques.”  Well, duh?  What should Loyola have expected anyway?  If there is any good news at Loyola, perhaps it is that the only weddings that will be permitted in the chapel are Catholic Weddings (effectively blocking same-sex “marriages.”  However, Loyola wants the world to know they are still willing to host all receptions. 

Georgetown:  Another Jesuit College that has lost its way

Guess who is coming to dinner, and to the Georgetown campus, to present the Hilary Rodham Clinton Awards this year?  Yes, of course, Hilary the candidate.  The college that covered up all crosses and signs of faith so President Obama would speak there, will host the Benghazi Overseer (another B. O.) for an award just created in 2011, by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security.  Isn’t THAT ironic! And it was Hilary Clinton who “once reportedly called a ban on partial birth abortion an ‘erosion of our constitutional rights.’”  For additional perspective, Georgetown is one of the stops recently scheduled for “Nuns on the Bus,” and this story as well as their more outlandish quotes can be found here.

Lest anyone surmise that Georgetown is a victim of the heady political atmosphere of Washington, D. C. which cannot be resisted by any college located there, please consider The Catholic University of America just across town, 3 miles from the Capitol, which, having recovered from the likes of Rev. Charles Curran of the Rochester Diocese, now continues to make the lists of truly Catholic Colleges.

Holy Cross College offers platform for dissenter

College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., will be hosting Boston College’s controversial law and theology professor, Cathleen Kaveny, to speak about “Prophetic Rhetoric in the Public Square.” A lecture originally scheduled for February, has been rescheduled to April.  Kaveny recently left the University of Notre Dame to join the faculty at Boston College.  The Irish Rover reported that, during a Princeton University conference on abortion in 2010, Kaveny said, “I do not believe [the mother] has an obligation to provide support to the unborn if pregnancy imposes  a significant burden on her health or if she was raped.”  The upcoming lecture will be sponsored by the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture at Holy Cross which “supports programming that explores basic human questions of meaning, morality, and mutual obligation.”  Meanwhile, on the good news side, and on the side of sanity, Billings Central Catholic School in Montana refused to renew a contract for a women’s softball coach because she works at Planned Parenthood, showing more common sense than one of the most touted “Catholic” colleges in the U. S.

The hero of publicizing such stories  is the Cardinal Newman  Society who is worthy of our support.

The online weekly subscription is free.  Without this kind of effort and consolidation of information in its archives, how else is a parent supposed to know the difference between sending their offspring to Georgetown vs Catholic University?  Or to Holy Cross vs. ____(fill in the blank)____?

The Cardinal Newman Society
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Ph: 703-367-0333 Fx: 703-396-8668


Week 08 in Catholic Media, 2014

February 24th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Santa Clara U. –A Single Issue or an Entire  Culture?

Elsewhere on Cleansing Fire this week we can find the beautiful documenting of the installation of 19 new Cardinals, many from poorer and difficult areas of the world, and in another story is the ouster of the Ukrainian Leadership, and yet elsewhere thought-provoking commentary on recent dialogue in the Church.  Instead of including multiple news headlines, this week, we are focusing on only one story, Santa Clara University’s “dropping” of Abortion from its Healthcare insurance.

The mindset against which it might be useful to view the story is:  “Organizations don’t have Conversions; people do!”  In the 1980’s and 1990’s, as government regulation attempted to tighten on at least the financial aspects of companies in the face of egregious displays of personal greed, one popular saying was “There is no such thing as Business Ethics; only ethical (or non-ethical) business people.”  So too, it is useful to view an apparent “conversion” of any allegedly Catholic college or university back to its legitimate roots with the question:  can one person in a leadership position who has repented change a culture?   For example, does Notre Dame’s belatedly trying to fight the HHS mandate mean anything more than image burnishing or lip service?  Is there a fundamental change in mores just from a single visit to Rome?  Would a strong Catholic parent now think that a single act of faithfulness makes a particular college a safer place to which to send a son or daughter?  Such are the questions now revolving around Santa Rosa College.




The Cardinal Newman Society, usually a dependable source of information, writes the following:

 Santa Clara Univ. Trustees Support Dropping Abortion from Health Insurance

February 19, 2014, at 8:25 AM  |  By Matthew Archbold  | 

“Citing Santa ClaraUniversity’s Jesuit and Catholic identity as well as the words of Pope Francis, the University’s board of trustees has rejected a faculty resolution urging it to restore coverage of abortion in the employee health plan.  The board of trustees sent out a campus-wide email announcing the decision, signed by Chairman Bob Finocchio, Jr.

The board makes clear its support of Father Michael Engh, S.J., University president, who had come under fire from the faculty senate for removing coverage of abortion from the employee health plan, saying he has “a duty to enhance and advance the identity and mission of the University as a Jesuit, Catholic university.”  The board states that in excluding abortion from coverage, “the President carried out this duty.”  In November, the faculty senate voted that the administration’s decision to drop abortion from its health coverage plan was “invalid.”  The term “invalid” referred to the process by which the University made the decision without consulting the faculty.  It did not overrule the decision.

Juliana Chang, professor of English and faculty senate president, reportedly said at the time, Santa Clara“Faculty believe that our shared governance structure means that the president should consult the faculty prior to implementing major policy decisions.”  The trustees in their statement point out that the University’s shared governance model “is a recommendation model, not a consensus model.”  The trustees also make clear that they “hold the ultimate legal and moral responsibility and authority for the University and therefore, must ultimately determine and approve University policies and major strategic changes.”

The board cites both the Society of Jesus’ statement on abortion, “Standing with the Unborn,” and Pope Francis:  ‘The President’s position is that the Decision relates to the University’s mission and identity as a Jesuit, Catholic university.  In 2003, the Society of Jesus in the United States (“Jesuits”) issued a statement on abortion entitled “Standing for the Unborn”.  In the statement, the Jesuits affirm that the imperative to oppose abortion ‘calls forth from us a consistent ethos of life.’  Similarly, Pope Francis in a message to the Americas on December 12, 2013, said that America is called to be ‘a land prepared to accept life at every stage, from the mother’s womb to old age.’ The Decision is consistent with, and conforms to, the mission and identity of the University as a Jesuit, Catholic university.”

The exclusion of abortion coverage will not take place until January 1, 2015, as was recommended by the Benefits Committee to afford them an opportunity to explore health care options beyond the University’s health care plans and in light of the Affordable Care Act.”

One could call the above ”encouraging” and even “conversion-like” from some of the adverse stories in the media in past years.  But is it a conversion?  Or just one change?  One has to read more, and the following story is from LifeSiteNews, 6 days later.  The beginning reads similarly, but read through to the end, and continue to wonder “Is Santa Rosa NOW a Catholic school?”





Catholic university to drop insurance coverage for abortion in 2015

by Ben Johnson   Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:43 EST

“Santa Clara University, a Catholic university, has announced its insurance plan will stop paying for its employees’ elective abortions in January 2015.  Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Finocchio Jr. said the decision “flows from the university’s identity and mission as a Jesuit, Catholic university.”  The policy had been announced last fall by university president Fr. Michael E. Engh, S.J., only to meet a backlash from faculty members.  Our core commitments as a Catholic university are incompatible with the inclusion of elective abortion coverage in the university’s health plans,” he wrote in a letter to faculty and staff last October. He hoped the university would further Jesuit ethics by “modeling an ethics of dialogue.”

Juliana Chang, Faculty Senate president, asked that the board declare the decision “invalid” due to “our shared governance structure.”  “The trustees’ statement bluntly reminds professors that they don’t have final control over the university,” Patrick J. Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society told LifeSiteNews. “Apparently some professors thought they could bully Father Engh to keep their abortion coverage, but the trustees have a legal responsibility to uphold Santa Clara’s mission and Catholic identity, and they did the right thing.”

Fr. Engh announced the university would explore other options by which faculty and staff could obtain abortion coverage on their own.

Despite the step to separate the religious institution from formal participation in abortion, Reilly says troubling questions persist.

“Amid all the excitement about dropping the coverage, the university has not offered a clear explanation for why abortion was covered in the first place,” he told LifeSiteNews. “How many babies died? Who’s taking responsibility? It’s a grave scandal that the trustees ought to investigate.”

The school has a long reputation for dissent:

  • Its website announced in 2006 that the university landed an anthropology student an internship at Planned Parenthood. 
  • The school’s ethicist, Lawrence Nelson, signed an amicus brief in 1996 affirming “the right of competent, dying patients to physician-assisted suicide.”   
  • In 2008, the university’s law school honored then-Obama administration Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, a Catholic who supports abortion-on-demand – a view he said he adopted from Santa Clara professor Jesuit Father Austin Fagothey, who argued that “there should be no laws on abortion.”
  • Santa Clara theology professor Frederick Parrella argued in 2012 that the Catholic Church should bless same-sex unions, because there is “nothing in the Gospels” requiring a heterosexual definition of marriage.
  • Patricia Cain, a professor and expert in feminist theory, wrote that she supports “marriage equality” and offered tax tips to same-sex “married” couples on the school’s blog.
  • The university has held several perfomances of the play The Vagina Monologues, which positively portrays the seduction of a teenage girl by a 24-year-old lesbian.  
  • Jesuit Santa Clara University Honours Prominent US Homosexual Activist  here. 

The question to ponder is “When is a Catholic College really a Catholic College?”  and “does one person’s conversion (albeit a leader) change the culture and mores of an institution?  What does it take to do so?”  Can it actually be accomplished, after the sinful culture has attracted members who support and fight for its sinfulness.  It is at least worth thinking about.  Can a parent be any more secure sending a son or daughter here than he or she was in the past, just because of a single decision by a single person?  Is this headline regarding dropping abortion coverage good news?  or is it meaningless?

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.”