Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Who is Your Conscience Boycotting?

February 12th, 2012, Promulgated by Hopefull

Besides activities within the Church which don’t seem faithful to magisterial teaching (like the Catholic Campaign for Human Development) who else are you boycotting?

I’ve stopped going to Starbucks because of their gay rights fervor.  And I’ve been boycotting Susan Komen for several years because of the Planned Parenthood connection.  Now I’ll have to boycott them as well for their sheer stupidity and lack of conscience, deciding matters of conscience by counting tweets.

I don’t buy Girl Scout cookies either because of the PP connection.  Crate & Barrel is now on the list; it has same sex attraction floor displays, and American Airlines advertises explicity for “his and his beach towels.”  Recently a Kindle ad also pushed same sex attraction in a beach ad. 

So who are you boycotting, and why?  Hope some readers will share their thoughts.  I may add onto this post as others come to mind.  And I’ll post some boycott links here too:

To sign a boycott petition against gay-friendly (gay-pushy) Home Depot:

Don’t Be Fooled

February 10th, 2012, Promulgated by Nerina

As you may have already heard, President Obama is expected to announce a “compromise” regarding the contraception mandate. From everything I’ve heard and read, this is no compromise, but another way of forcing Catholic institutions into providing coverage for services they find inherently evil.

As the mandate currently stands, employers would be required to cover all “FDA approved” methods of sterilization and contraception including those methods that can act as an abortifacient. While a very narrow exemption exists (Archbishop Dolan says that Jesus and his disciples wouldn’t qualify) for religious groups, most have recognized this mandate for the attack on religious liberty that it is.

The proposed accommodation does not change anything. It will still require employers to provide for these services, just not directly if they have an “objection.” Employers will still be required to have their respective insurers offer these services to women. Yuval Levin, from National Review states it this way:

The only difference is that the access to those contraceptive and abortifacient drugs would not technically be listed as one of the benefits the employer was paying for directly but would be listed as a benefit the insurer was paying for (with the money the employer paid for the broader insurance policy, of course).

President Obama is clearly placating his base of ardent feminists who recently flexed their collective muscle against the Komen Foundation. Komen made the decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood stating that it had decided giving money to organizations under Congressional investigation was not ideal. It also noted that it would rather fund groups in the business of directly providing breast care. PP does not, despite Cecile Richards claims to the contrary. Once PP and NARAL got done with their attacks on Komen (e.g. hijacking Komen’s website, spamming the Facebook page, and vilifying it in the press), the breast cancer foundation apologized and appeared to be reconsidering its initial decision. That’s politics, Chicago-style, as they say.

All I need to know about this “accommodation” is that Planned Parenthood supports it. The aforementioned Richards released the following:

“In the face of a misleading and outrageous assault on women’s health, the Obama administration has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring all women will have access to birth control coverage, with no costly co-pays, no additional hurdles, and no matter where they work.

“We believe the compliance mechanism does not compromise a woman’s ability to access these critical birth control benefits.

I’d say it’s analagous to the Executive Order compromise offered in the final days of Obamacare. I hope Catholics won’t get fooled again.

A Fantasy Peek in the Buffalo Rd. Dumpster

February 8th, 2012, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Kudos, plentiful kudos, to Abaccio for his diligent analysis of Bishop Matthew Clark’s letter to the flock, which was tucked away in church bulletins rather than widely proclaimed from the pulpit.  And it points out how varied are the experiences of Catholics throughout the country, and how divisive can be bishops’ personal opinions to the oneness of the faith.  At least we can follow other bishops on line, and emulate their faithfulness and cherish their insightfulness so we can better understand our own responsibilities, and the imminent danger in which we find ourselves and our Church. 

There is not a single thing I disagree with in Abaccio’s posting; it is accurate and an excellent comparison to what has been written by faithful (and quite frankly even some rather too liberal) bishops in the US.  Even those to the far left seem to recognize a real threat when they see it.  All of this musing makes me wonder just how a bishop can go about excising crucial information and leave a shell of a letter which can be read even as favoring that which we oppose, through the amiguity of his writing.

For example, what does it mean “May God bless our efforts to do what is right?”  Suppose a bishop personally thinks contraception is “right?”  Why doesn’t he say: “May God bless our efforts to do what our Church tells us is right?” (for example)?  Well, all this led me to wonder what it must have been like to sit at one’s desk, seeing the righteousness of what so many brother bishops wrote, and raising pen to paper to emend their words, hand them off to the typist, and claim to have been one who spoke out for — what was it anyway?

This musing led me to fantasize a peek into the Buffalo Road dumpster, to envision just what that page of changes must have looked like, and here it is, using Cardinal George’s letter and my fantasy.  I would have preferred to use almost-Cardinal Dolan’s letter but he is in Israel and I am wondering if that has caused a delay.  In any event, not able to get a copy of the now-chair of the USCCB, I settled for the letter from the prior chair.  Abaccio’s post is far neater; but this may add another dimension — of just how it all might have come down.






The Chickens are Still Roosting in the Rafters

January 22nd, 2012, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Lifesite News, on Friday Jan. 20, 2012, reported the US episcopacy’s apparent frustration with Obama’s decision / proclamation which permits NO exemptions to contraceptive coverage.  As one wag said:  “Even Jesus Himself couldn’t squeeze out a conscience exemption.”   The following is an excerpt of the Lifesite News article by Kathleen Gilbert; the full story can be found at: 

Obama admin: birth control mandate is final; bishops vow to fight 

“…  Obama’s health department has dug in its heels, saying its decision to force employers to provide abortifacient birth control drugs will continue as planned – although faith-based groups will be given a year reprieve.  In response, U.S. Catholic bishops have not minced words, vowing to fight the order as ‘literally unconscionable.’

… faith-based entities …  will have until August 1, 2013 to provide employees with free birth control …  The mandate will also force such groups to pay for sterilizations and … abortifacient drugs …  as ‘contraception.’   The mandate is being implemented as part of the new health care legislation …  despite vigorous opposition from U.S. Catholic bishops, who called it dangerously open to being used as a means of spreading abortion.

‘In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,’ said Archbishop Timothy Dolan [who] indicated that the Catholic Church would not go down without a fight.  … ‘ To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable,’  he continued.  ‘It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom….’  

‘It is the greatest irony, that by worshiping the cult of ‘choice’ the Obama Administration has determined that religious organizations lack the freedom to act in fidelity to their beliefs,’” said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society….”

The groundwork for this outrage was laid only a little over 5 years ago, and then reinforced by the abject failure of the US Bishops to lead their flock to recognize the dangers in Obama the candidate, in Obamacare, or in the many emerging moral issues being bent to the whim of an increasingly secular culture.  But on the singular issue of employers of Catholic institutions being mandated to pay for contraceptives, was the failure in the USCCB more glaring than in New York State?  Here is an article from the Catholic News Service in October 2006, recounting the loss:  (NB: at the site cited, there was no mention of copyright, so it is reproduced in its entirety:)

Catholic groups suffer tough religious liberties loss, must provide contraception 

“Albany, N.Y., Oct 20, 2006 / 12:00 am (CNA).- The New York Catholic Conference is considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court after a New York State Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that Catholic and other religious social service groups must provide contraceptive coverage through their workplace-sponsored medical insurance programs, regardless of their faith views on the matter.

New York law does exempt churches, seminaries, and other institutions with a more overt religious mission and which primarily serve followers of that religion. However, according to The Associated Press, the 6-0 decision hinged on defining Catholic Charities and the other nine religious groups suing the state as social service agencies, rather than religious organizations.

The court said: ‘We must weigh against (their) interests in adhering to the tenets of their faith the state’s substantial interest in fostering equality between the sexes, and in providing women with better health care.’   The court cited as a critical factor the fact that these religions organizations hire employees outside their faith and that those employees deserve ‘rights’ guaranteed under the law.

Dennis Poust, spokesman for the Catholic conference, said he believes this ruling demonstrated ‘a fundamental misunderstanding of Catholicism,” which holds fast to the tenet that “faith without works is dead (James 2:17).’   ‘Faith alone is not enough … and the way the Church performs its works of mercy is through its Catholic Charities, its schools and its hospitals — all of which the state has now held is secular,’ he was quoted as saying in an AP report.

Poust said his organization never believed that the court case was really about contraception. ‘We think it was to target the church and open the door for coverage of abortion,’ he said.

At issue is the 2002 Women’s Health Wellness Act, a measure that, in addition to prescription contraceptives, requires employers to provide health insurance coverage for mammograms, cervical cytology, and bone density screening.  As Catholic Charities considers an appeal, it will continue to cover contraceptives for employees, under protest. If the decision stands, the organization could consider either dropping prescription drug coverage for employees or moving to a self-insurance policy, Poust said.” 

Note, in particular, the prescient words shown in bold red above.  And isn’t that exactly where the secular forces have pushed the Church today, and why is there any reason at all to believe this is the end of it?  It isn’t.   Although the case was apparently appealed to the US Supreme Court, it seems to have been done through the narrow lens of just Catholic Charities, leaving the flank exposed of all remaining Catholic entities, schools, hospitals, dioceses, etc.  Within a year, the Supreme Court had refused to hear the narrow appeal.  And within 5 years, the Obamacare legislation and its implementation has moved deeper into the heart of the church, and some of the “alternatives” proposed above now are not even possible.

Supreme Court rejects appeal of law requiring contraception coverage

“WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Catholic Charities of Albany, N.Y., Oct. 1, letting stand a state court ruling that said church agencies cannot be exempt from a law requiring coverage for contraceptives in drug benefits for employees. The New York State Catholic Conference, which represents the state’s Catholic bishops in public policy matters, said the bishops will now consider what alternatives have been left to them, ‘including the painful possibility of a loss of prescription drug benefits in employee health plans.’ In the meantime, it said in a statement, ‘Catholic institutions will continue for the immediate future providing the contraception coverage under formal protest.’  The conference’s executive director called it ‘a sad day for religious liberty’  in New York and in the U.S.  In orders issued the first day of the 2007-08 term, the court without comment let stand a New York State Court of Appeals ruling that said religious groups may not be exempt from provisions of the Women’s Health and Wellness Act of 2002.”

And what further action did the NYS Bishops take?  Did any act in civil disobedience?  Go to jail or pay a fine for disobedience?  I find it particularly appalling to read “‘Catholic institutions will continue for the immediate future providing the contraception coverage under formal protest.”  Did anything further happen at all?  Any more resistance?  What about in other states?  What’s the “rest of the story?”

One never knows how important the next skirmish will be, the next need to speak out, the implications for thousands from something in which only one small organization or person was involved.  That is why faithfulness is so important, even when the matter seems decided already or unimportant or scary.  One would have thought that the roosting chickens would have at least avoided aligning with a sinful administration, that the President of a noted Catholic University would have avoided inviting a person of such suspect values to address graduates, that pulpits would have been ringing out in condemnation during the 2008 election, and now too, on the issues.  But perhaps the chickens are snoozing comfortably in the rafters, unaware that the fox, covered in chicken feathers, has been building a ladder to their perches?  What is it that they have gained by being so impassive?  Remember the early martyrs who died rather than put a single grain of incense on the fire to the Emperor.  And then let’s remember again.

Hosea 2:13:  “And I will punish her for the feast days of the Ba’als when she burned incense to them and decked herself with her ring and jewelry, and went after her lovers, and forgot me, says the LORD.”

Belmont Abbey Sues For Religious Liberty

November 11th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

Belmont Abbey College, a Catholic institution of higher learning in the Diocese of Charlotte, NC, has sued the United States government in what is being called a “test case” in the debate about religious institutions (of any denomination) being compelled to break the mandates of their faith(s) and distribute condoms and other contraceptives to the students and faculty. The National Catholic Register has more on this story:

BELMONT, N.C. — Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina has filed a lawsuit against the federal government, charging that its new rule mandating the inclusion of contraceptive services in employee health insurance violates the school’s religious freedom.

The interim federal rule, which requires private employer-provided health benefits to include the full range of “preventive services” for women, is part of the new health bill.

“We believe it will be a test case. This is the firstlawsuit to challenge the HHS rule mandating contraception, sterilization and other ‘preventive services,’” said Lori Windham, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a non-profit public interest law firm that filed the lawsuit on behalf of the college.

The filing asks for a court order to free the college from the federal mandate. The government is required to respond to the complaint within 60 days. Windham said she could not comment on whether other Catholic institutions or dioceses had contacted the Becket Fund to explore legal challenges to the federal rule.

At present, the controversial federal regulation, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, provides a narrow exemption for religious institutions engaged in work with others of the same faith. Those that serve people of other faiths or no faith will likely not be allowed to opt out of the mandate, which requires the provision of sterilization and abortifacients — such as Plan B and Ella.

“The issue is the right of Belmont Abbey College, which has always publicly identified itself and functioned as a Catholic college, to freely exercise the constitutional right to operate in accord with the public and authoritative teachings of the Catholic Church,” said Benectine Abbot Placid Solari, of Belmont Abbey and the ex officio chancellor of the college.

“It is a matter of the fundamental rights guaranteed to our citizens by the Constitution and it is time that someone stood up for these fundamental rights.”

“No employee or student of Belmont Abbey College is being coerced into accepting the faith or moral beliefs of the Catholic Church. The college, however, will be required by the federal government to act contrary to its own faith convictions,” said the abbot.

Belmont Abbey College is no stranger to such disputes. It has already been under investigation by the EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) for refusing to cover contraception in its employee health plan. The EEOC continues to investigate this dispute.

In a statement issued Nov. 10, the Becket Fund noted that while “the government has already provided thousands of waivers for a variety of special interest groups, including McDonald’s and teachers’ unions, often for reasons of commercial convenience, it refused to accommodate religious organizations.

“Instead, the government permitted a religious exemption so narrowly defined that it prompted the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to note that even Jesus’ ministry would not qualify.”

Windham contends that the new regulation “is riddled with exceptions. It’s a violation of the Constitution when you make exceptions for secular purposes, but not for religious conscience.”

She notes that the controversial rule not only requires the provision of services that violate Catholic moral teaching, it also mandates “counseling” for these services. “Catholic institutions are being asked to fund speech that is contrary to their beliefs,” she charged.

Windham reports that more than 100,000 respondents signaled their opposition to the HHS rule, after being invited to do so by the government. Sept. 30 was the last date for providing comment, and HHS has not confirmed when it will issue a final ruling that might result in a broadened religious exemption.

Richard Doerflinger, the chief lobbyist on life issues for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, confirmed in a previous interview that HHS has signaled it will probably broaden the exemption, but not to the satisfaction of the conference.

Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the USCCB, said the conference is “waiting to see if and when the exemption is changed before we take any steps.”

HHS has established August 2012 as the formal deadline for providing services mandated by the new health bill.

Asked how much lead time Catholics institutions would need to respond to an unacceptable final rule, Sister Mary Ann said she did not know, but it appeared that the bishops were at least not publicly discussing back-up plans “when the rules might change.”

But if the U.S. bishops’ conference has yet to issue a formal legal challenge to the HHS regulation, the bishops have been marshaling their forces to oppose what they perceive as an increasingly aggressive federal effort to impinge on the First Amendment rights of Catholic institutions.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, the USCCB president, has already moved to establish a newad hoc committee on religious liberty, appointing Bishop Lori of Bridgeport, Conn. to head that initiative.

Yesterday, Bishop Loriannouncedthat a number of high-profile Church leaders would join the committee, including Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul-Minneapolis; Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle and Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington.

The committee’s brain trust includes Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight, Knights of Columbus, Richard Garnett, associate dean and professor of law and political science, University of Notre Dame Law School, John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America, and Mary Ann Glendon at Harvard Law School.

The Bishop of Charlotte, NC, Peter Jugis, has spoken out against other similar issues. The video below pertains to gay “marriage,” and demonstrates the orthodoxy of this particular shepherd. It is truly inspiring to see a Bishop defend (and prompt his diocesan brothers and sisters to defend) the teaching of the Church, and to do so publicly and without fear.

I wonder when St. Bernard’s will offer such a public witness?

Slavery, Abortion, and Our Lady of the Confederacy

September 21st, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

This has to be one of the most interesting articles I have read recently. It comes from the December 2001 issue of the New Oxford Review, and discusses the similarity in mindsets regarding slavery (when it was held as acceptable) and abortion (which, we can only pray, will be deemed unacceptable in coming years).

In the Confederate Museum at New Orleans is a crown of thorns made by Pope Pius IX expressly for Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America. In a side chapel at the Catholic cathedral in Charleston, S.C., is a statue of Our Lady of the Confederacy sent to the people of the South by the same pope. In many Southern homes to this day is the volume of verse by the “Poet Laureate of the Confederacy” — Fr. Abram Ryan, a Catholic priest of Nashville, whose brother, a Confederate soldier, was killed in combat with Union troops. The state song of Maryland, “Maryland, My Maryland!” which decries the “tyrant” Abraham Lincoln and calls upon Marylanders to rise to arms against the “Vandal invader,” was composed by the Catholic poet James Ryder Randall. And one of the most courageous and eloquent exponents of the justness of Southern civilization, and of the principles and purposes of secession and of the formation of the Confederate States of America, was the renowned missionary priest, Bishop of Savannah Augustin Verot.

So much for the suggestion of John L. Botti that “no explanation is needed” for his entirely fictional narrative “The ‘Catholic’ Politician of 2001 & the Southern ‘Gentleman’ of 1860.” To address even the issues that led, sadly enough for all concerned, to the War Between the States, requires a great deal of explanation, indeed. Further, to his query “Is there any difference?” between the Southerner of 1860 and the advocate or practitioner of abortion in 2001, the answer is yes — wholly, utterly, and completely — as a huge body of literature attests. Again, because Botti does not cite a single historical personage or a single historical text, the entirely fictional nature of his text cannot be overemphasized.

About 15 years ago, in an essay published in both National Review and Crisis, Lewis Lehrman also attempted to equate slavery in the Old South and abortion today. Among the respondents who attempted to correct that grievous misconception was Sheldon Vanauken, the late lamented Contributing Editor of the NOR, whose name well remains on your magazine’s masthead. Van contributed many articles to the NOR that made a similar case for Southern civilization and principles as the sole example available for Americans of our time who wish to redress any number of the ills of our society, abortion foremost among them. It is astonishing that the NOR has so soon forgotten his brave and eloquent reflections.

Significant works that explore for Catholics the theme reintroduced so ineptly by Botti, however admirable his intentions, include American Catholic Opinion in the Slavery Controversy by Madeleine Hooke Rice; Catholics and the Civil War by the Rev. Benjamin J. Blied of St. Francis Seminary; Rebel Bishop: A Life of Augustin Verot by Michael Gannon; and — most especially — The Slaveholders’ Dilemma and A Consuming Fire: The Fall of the Confederacy in the Mind of the White Christian South, both by the eminent historian Eugene Genovese, now a Catholic. Several biographies of the Catholic jurist Roger Taney, who, as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, strove in vain to inaugurate Northern support for compensated emancipation rather than inflammatory abolitionism, and who penned the hugely misunderstood Dred Scott decision, have appeared in recent years. Readers of The Wanderer have recently been given a learned series of columns on actual Southern history generally and the realpolitik of Abraham Lincoln specifically by Joseph Sobran, who in his own newsletter has expanded on the subject.

Southerners have for generations faced the necessary challenge of fending off simplistic condemnations of slavery while striving to call attention to the larger enveloping issues that led to secession, war, and defeat, and of which slavery was of course an inextricable part, but by no means the whole matter. As the foregoing studies demonstrate, most emphatically in the case of the Catholic bishops of both American and Europe, hugely important questions of the very nature of a Christian moral order in the fledgling modern era were the context in which the South resisted by arms the purported “coming of the Lord” announced in the Battle Hymn of the Republic. These questions included the very viability of a specifically Christian order in American society, of the increasing secularization and industrialization and therefore the explicit materialism of the states of the North, and of the proper means of ameliorating in the South the admitted shortcomings of slavery — while avoiding the revolutionary unrest that was arising everywhere in Western civilization, including in the American Northeast, in response to Enlightenment ideologies and the vast dislocations of peoples caused by the “modernization” of capitalistic economies.

Accordingly, the issue of the American War Between the States generally, and specifically the practice of slavery as it actually evolved in the U.S. between 1619 and 1861, is to be judged within a centuries-old tradition which, for reasons once held sound by the Church, affirmed the propriety of the ownership of one person by another, provided, of course, as St. Paul stressed to Philemon of Onesimus, the relationship affirmed the eternal moral worth of the bonded servant and fulfilled the obligations of Christian charity.

In a contrast to slavery in the American South as total as it is stark, abortion-on-demand today is the practice of a people bereft of tradition, disinterested in even social — let alone biblical — constraint, and committed to the very notion of unrestrained individualism made inevitable by the political and social consequences of the Yankee conquest in 1865.

Ironically for Botti, then, it was the very principle of Federal power in the name of “Union,” which in 1861-1865 destroyed Southern civilization and overwhelmed the sovereignty of the states, that more recently, in Roe v. Wade, struck down states’ laws against abortion. Contrary to his glib assertions, those who resisted Federal force in 1861, however imperfect their quest of Christian civilization, waged with arms the war he espouses only with words. Thus it was that, in 1866, a year after Appomattox, the eminent English historian Lord Acton wrote to Robert E. Lee, the defeated former commander of the Confederate armies of Virginia: “I believed that the example of that great [Confederate] reform would have blessed all the races of mankind by establishing true freedom purged of the native dangers and disorders of Republics. Therefore I deemed that you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization; and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo.” Lord Acton, as so many “Southern sympathizers,” was a Catholic.

Not ’til Christians of all sections, whether Catholic or Protestant, and whether white or black — or Hispanic or Asian — rediscover the virtues of Southern life and conviction as they actually, historically, existed will there be possible the unity of historical understanding and Christian brotherhood necessary for adequately addressing the grave questions of a proper moral order in our national life. For only in this unity would it be possible to discredit the ideologies to which Botti no doubt means to allude, ideologies that, victorious in 1865 and triumphant through all realms of American life in the decades since, are nowhere more manifest — as the might of a national regime that will countenance no dissent on the part of the people or the states — than in the various abortion-related rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court.
David A. Bovenizer
Lynchburg, Virginia

Coming Soon: Cristiada

August 27th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

The trailer below is for a movie about the struggles Mexican Catholics faced in the 1920’s, when the government attempted to suppress the Faith. It looks like an absolutely stellar film. Any film where Peter O’Toole is a Catholic priest (or pope) has to be excellent!


Rally for Traditional Marriage

July 21st, 2011, Promulgated by Nerina

It’s been a while since I last posted anything on the board, but I was motivated to post the details of an upcoming rally scheduled for this Sunday in support of traditional marriage.  The following is taken from “Let the People Vote” website:

Governor Cuomo and the New York Legislature imposed same-sex marriage on New York with no vote of the people. Voters in 31 other states have been able to decide the definition of marriage for their states, but New Yorkers have been denied that right!

Stand up to protest the redefinition of marriage and demand your right to vote!

If New York is going to change the definition of marriage, it should be the People and not the politicians who make the decision!

Let the People Vote! Join us on July 24 [at 3pm] in NYC, Albany, Rochester and Buffalo to let your voice be heard!

The Rochester rally takes place at the liberty pole on East Avenue (directions can be found on the website).

P.S.  I hope to be blogging on other issues in the near future.

Threat to Seal of Confession

July 19th, 2011, Promulgated by Hopefull

LifeSite News is carrying the detail on the pressure being exerted in Ireland to pass legislation which would require a priest to break the seal of confession regarding child abuse.  A 5-year prison sentence is threatened for non-compliance.  Some priests have announced they will refuse to comply.  Are we really that far away from a similar attack in the U.S.?  I wonder.  Here is the link to the story:

Courier Continues to Print the Rev. McBrien

July 19th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

The latest angst expressed by the aging and increasingly irrelevant Rev. Richard McBrien (with emphasis and commentary):

“The problem is that many Catholics believe [Opening with the Bishop Clark tactic of expressing your view while hiding behind others by saying something like “I always hear…” or “many women tell me…”], not without reason, that the leadership of the church has been in the process these past few decades of ignoring or even dismantling the reforms achieved at the Second Vatican Council. [They haven’t. If anything, our leaders are trying to promote a faithful reform which adheres to the documents of the Council. The ones who have dismantled the Council are those (like McBrien) who have misinterpreted it all these years by claiming that their own selfish desires was the will of the Council Fathers. Vatican II did not promote women’s ordination, lay pastoral administrators, lay homilies, or any other kind of dissent which sprung up after the Council in the name of the Council, or rather the “spirit” of it]

This dismantling effort is revealed in the changing of the texts of the Mass and the other sacraments (often referred to as the “reform of the reform”) beginning on the First Sunday of Advent [I am not aware of a single word changing in the Latin text of the Novus Ordo come Advent. The English translation we have been using these past few decades is putrid and unfaithful to the official Latin], and in the appointment of bishops deemed unquestionably loyal to the Holy See [Versus what?], especially on issues such as contraception [Not an issue], the ordination of women [Definitely not an issue and infallibly declared impossible] and obligatory clerical celibacy.

The changed complexion of the U.S. hierarchy, to take but one example, was dramatically disclosed in the insistence of some leading American bishops (one of who was subsequently called to Rome and made a cardinal [Are you jealous, Rev. McBrien?]) that it would be a grave sin for Catholics to vote for Sen. John Kerry, a Catholic, for president in 2004 or for Sen. Barack Obama in 2008 [The most pro-abortion president in U.S. history who is increasingly “coming out” in favor of the homosexual movement]; the widespread opposition of many more bishops to the University of Notre Dame’s invitation to now-President Obama to be its commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient in 2009; and the virtual silence of the bishops in key states such as Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida regarding the attack on workers’ bargaining rights, long a linchpin of Catholic social teaching [Right up there with global warming and immigration reform?].

Such bishops, in turn, attract (or discourage) a certain type of candidate for the priesthood [These bishops attract many good, orthodox priests. I don’t recall a single complaint from the “Rev” while orthodox men were being rejected over the past 40 years so often that the number of priests in many areas is approaching a crisis level today]. So the problem [having more good priests is a problem?] comes closer and closer to home for the majority of Catholics, one in 10 of whom have already drifted away from the church [I’m sure this figure has much more to do with the hostility the “Rev” is trying to instill among the laity. Why can’t the Rev. McBrien embrace the movement of the Holy Spirit and support our good young priests? Why does McBrien continue to tear the Church apart by pitting Catholic against Catholic and promoting hatred for the leaders of the Church? This man is leading more souls to the devil than to God!].”

After SSM vote Sen. Alesi went to “mass” and “received communion”

July 13th, 2011, Promulgated by benanderson

Hat tip to American Papist (CatholicVote) for this video.

Paraphrasing just one bit of the nonsense spewed by Senator Alesi: “I went to mass… received communion… and my priest embraced me”. In Thomas Peters’ initial report, he missed the fact that Sen. Alesi was most likely referring to a worship service at Spiritus Christi and receiving communion from schismatic priest Fr. Jim Callan. Sen. Alesi doesn’t state whether he was referring to this schismatic church or not, so the public scandal continues. We know there are priests in good standing in the DOR who openly applaud Sen. Alesi’s vote, so it’s not far fetched to believe Sen. Alesi was referring to one of our Roman Catholic parishes. If Sen. Alesi is in fact referring to Spiritus Christi, it’s important to keep in mind Bishop Clark’s initial support for the vision of that schismatic church. In Fr. Callan’s own words:

Bishop Clark, too, showed his support by sending notes of encouragement for our ministry. Diocesan officials told us how supportive he was when he had to answer Vatican inquiries about the video tapes or church bulletins that spies had sent to Rome. As one reporter said, Bishop Clark held up a “protective umbrella” over us for years. Our people were very aware of his support. His visits to Corpus Christi were marked by standing ovations and expression of gratitude, for we knew we sometimes put him in awkward positions with the Vatican.

Keep in mind this “Catholic” church at the time had women playing priests, were blessing same-sex unions, encouraged all to receive communion (including protestants), etc. Bishop Clark endorsed that church until Ratzinger stepped in.

Another humdinger from the Alesi video:
“It doesn’t matter what religion you are”

What canonical consequences might Andrew Cuomo face now?

June 27th, 2011, Promulgated by benanderson

From Ed Peters (ht Fr Z):
What canonical consequences might Andrew Cuomo face now?

In light of the foregoing, I see no way, absent a public reversal of his public conduct, that Andrew Cuomo may present himself for holy Communion (per Canon 916), and, if he does present himself, I see no way that a minister of holy Communion may administer the sacrament to him (per Canon 915). Indeed, the only question in my mind is whether the ordinaries of New York should lift from the shoulders of individual ministers the burden of reaching this decision, by making a determination to this effect themselves and, assuming they do reach this conclusion, whether they should announce it publicly or in a personal letter to Cuomo. (Personally, I think a public announcement more befits the markedly public character of Cuomo’s conduct and responds better to the danger of scandal presented to the faithful by his actions).

Church Teaching Still Unchanged

June 14th, 2011, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Please email or fax to our legislators, including Mr. Alesi.  Then they can’t say they didn’t know, Catholic or not.

The following is an excerpt by the CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, entitled: “CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING PROPOSALS TO GIVE LEGAL RECOGNITION TO UNIONS BETWEEN HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS,” approved by Pope John Paul II on March 28, 2003 and promulgated on June 3, 2003 by then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.   


10. If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians. Faced with legislative proposals in favour of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are to take account of the following ethical indications.

When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.

When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth. If it is not possible to repeal such a law completely, the Catholic politician, recalling the indications contained in the Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, “could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality”, on condition that his “absolute personal opposition” to such laws was clear and well known and that the danger of scandal was avoided.(18) This does not mean that a more restrictive law in this area could be considered just or even acceptable; rather, it is a question of the legitimate and dutiful attempt to obtain at least the partial repeal of an unjust law when its total abrogation is not possible at the moment.

SSM vote to happen this week in NYS

June 13th, 2011, Promulgated by benanderson

There was much buzz today about the SSM issue and I cannot accurately report all the details without doing extensive research.   And by the time I do, things will have changed.  The following seems to be true:

  • Jim Alesi has reportedly caved and will vote YES on SSM.  There’s still time to call him (223-1800) and persuade him to do otherwise.
  • A vote will most likely happen this week.  It’s going to be close – don’t believe that it’s a done deal.  Along these lines – don’t believe the line that even if SSM is fended off this time, that it is ultimately inevitable.  Just look at abortion polls over the last several years for evidence that Americans can actually become more conservative on certain issues over time.   The same can happen with SSM.  The debate hasn’t even been had.  What we have is 20 years of brainwashing by the entertainment industry and our educational institutions.  The longer we fend off this attack, the more likely that the debate might actually be had.  If the debate is had, then SSM can’t possibly become law.
  • The undecided votes seem to be all about politics (“What will happen to my career if I vote yes/no?”) and no one seems to be asking the obvious question – “What is marriage?
  • The Diocese of Rochester has responded with the following audio clip:


  • 40 years of being mum on sin and other topics means that the Catholic Church has produced too many people who work against her Truth.  (see NYSCC facebook page)

Here’s some more phone numbers courtesy of the American Papist.  Feel free to call one or all of them:

Joe Addabbo (15, Queens) (518) 455-2322
James Alesi (55, Rochester suburbs) (518) 455-2015
Greg Ball (40, Putnam County) (518) 455-3111
Joe Griffo (47, Utica) (518) 455-3334
Mark Grisanti (60, Buffalo, Grand Island, Niagara Falls) (518) 455-3240
Shirley Huntley (10, Queens) (518) 455-3531
Carl Kruger (27, Brooklyn) (518) 455-2460
Andrew Lanza (24, Staten Island) (518) 455-3215
Betty Little (45, North Country stretching from Plattsburgh to Glens Falls) (518) 455-2811
Jack Martins (7, Nassau County/Garden City) 518-455-3265
Roy McDonald (43, north and east of Albany: Troy, Saratoga Springs, Clifton Park) (518) 455-2381

Something I’ve been meaning to post for a while and it seems like now is a good time.  I’ve been compiling a list of priests from the Diocese of Rochester who have signed the Manhattan Declaration (a document affirming nothing more than basic Christian morality):

  • Fr. Frank Fusare, CPM

Please ask your own priest to sign.  If he’s willing, let me know and I’ll add him to our growing list.  But don’t do that until you’ve called Jim Alesi.

Desperation at the D&C

June 10th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

In New York State, the Democrat party is largely in control of the government. The state Assembly’s majority is Democrat, and so is the Governorship. For some time now, the liberals in Albany have been trying to push through a law that would legalize homosexual marriage. They have been unsuccessful so far thanks to the slim Republican majority in the state Senate. Noticing that a handful of conservatives lawmakers are standing in the way of their goal of legalized gay marriage, the D&C’s editorial board is doing whatever it can to eliminate the Republican majority in the senate and pave the way for gay marriage in New York. It appears that the paper hopes to achieve full Democratic control in the NYS government by pushing for a redistricting bill that would benefit the Democrat party.

Here is the conclusion of the D&C editorial board commentary on this bill:

“Given this scenario, Cuomo should force the hand of the GOP Senate majority. He must push harder for a floor vote on his independent redistricting bill, which has strong Assembly support.

Let New Yorkers see that this time the special interests that usually run Albany from behind the scenes are mainly Senate Republicans who desperately want to cling onto the power they’re holding by a thread [emphasis].”

For the sake of marriage in New York, let’s hope that Senate Republicans “cling onto the power.”

No Civil “Right” to do “Wrong” — Part #1

June 8th, 2011, Promulgated by Diane Harris

“If it’s June, it must be ‘LGBT Pride Month'” was the headline on a story by Jody Brown in OneNewsNow on June 1, 2011.  She reported how the President of the US had just (again) proclaimed June as “LGBT” month (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender for those who would rather not clutter their minds with those acronyms.)  Maybe it should be co-opted as “Let’s Get Back to Truth,” but unfortunately even the concept would be less recognizable.

Notorious as is the country’s most pro-homosexual president in U.S. history, and outrageously proud of it, Obama basked in his own admiration for repeal of “don’t ask; don’t tell;” of his failure to fight for DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), and his  wanton inability to even consider there are reasons other than “hate and homophobia” which drive people of conscience to oppose gay “marriage.”  There are two concepts he, and our own governor Cuomo don’t seem to get — the notions of conscience and of sin.  There can never be a “right” to do “wrong.”

But as the abortion agenda has shown, conscience is hardly any longer a recognized civil right, as doctors and nurses are forced to participate.  And conscience and the rights of parents will also be trampled in the stampede to brainwash children in schools with the homosexual agenda.  When persecution comes (and it very likely will) it will be the dismissal of conscience as just “opinion” which will pave the way.  Yet, these are elected officials and, if they are without conscience, they have vote getting as an excuse.  Not as a reason, just as an excuse.  So it is one thing to see such mindset in vote gleaners, but it is quite another thing to see it in the Catholic Church and in its hierarchy.

No wonder the elected officials are led astray, by silent or pandering so-called Catholics.  If a Church leader won’t stand up in matters of conscience, who will?  If he won’t call sin “sin,” who will?  If he won’t defend and enforce Church teaching, who will?  Certainly not elected officials who will be satisfied with any loosening of the moral fabric.  For after all, the word “pride” is indeed very telling.  It is not just about “let me do what I want to do,” but it is also about “and don’t criticize me for doing it,” and it is ESPECIALLY about: “Endorse me in my sin.”    It is nothing new that sinners crave being  endorsed by the very people who know they are sinning, as an anti-anxiety medication for the voice of conscience.  (That’s why  some Catholics shop around to find a priest who endorses contraception.)  To not speak for right and truth, for good and for Church teaching is a step on the way to the total unraveling of the moral fabric.  We are all responsible, but it should start with Church hierarchy as our models.

Now, with that backdrop, this post isn’t at all about the elected officials, or the gay pride agenda.  Rather it is about “If the hierarchy won’t do it, who will?”  Last summer it struck me that when Bishop Clark went on his usual month of July vacation, he left a column which appeared exactly when Gay Pride week started in Rochester.  Some who have followed other posts (Zeal and Shepherds Shearing Sheep) know that the Newsletter “It Really Matters” has carried some of these comments.  Several friends have encouraged a re-running of the July 2010 articles that dealt with the Bishop’s column.  Rather than re-interpreting or trying to condense what was written, it will stand as it first appeared, including again referring to the Catechism and the Bible, references others have posted in their blogs as well.   There will probably be about five posts in the series, but that might change. Here is page 2 from the July 2010 issue:

Reproductive Rights Bill Threatens Again

May 29th, 2011, Promulgated by Hopefull

In at least some churches this weekend, and on very short notice, people were told that the Reproductive Rights Bill will be rearing its ugly head again THIS WEEK, on Ascension Thursday to be exact.  June 2 is the day for the Committee vote in the Assembly to bring this to the floor for vote, and now is the time to call / fax / email our Assembly representatives with our objections.  We signed petitions at church this morning, and that is good, but hopefully those who can do even more will do so.  This  info was confirmed in an email from Rochester Area Right-to-Life. 

Why is it important to oppose this bill?  Because it would make abortion a “fundamental right” up to and through the 9th month of pregnancy.  It is essentially permission for murder at birth.  It also will put even more of a sinful burden on Catholic hospitals and Catholic doctors.

Please contact your NYS Assembly Representative at his/her Albany or local office and say:  “Please oppose the Reproductive Health Act.  It is harmful to women.”    Remember that not all the representatives are pro-abortion, and courtesy as well as clarity matter.  If it does come out of committee, we will need to go back to those same people to ask them to oppose it on the Assembly floor.  Credibility and persistence are key.   We need to convince them that there is considerable opposition to the bill.  God bless you for anything you can do!



$hepherds $hearing $heep: Part 7: Case cont’d: “Financial Sloppiness or not?”

May 20th, 2011, Promulgated by Diane Harris

This is part of the continuing saga recounted to Mr. Cuomo in the letter given to him in August 2010 when he was State Attorney General and running for Governor.  The following is just part of the “Case of St. Mary’s Rushville” which begins in Part 3 and was appended to his letter.  As a reminder, anything in blue was added after the letter was given to Mr. Cuomo, but added for the sake of clarification to current readers.

Financial Mis-Allocations and Abuse:  St. Mary had savings of about $125,000 during the early stages of the pastoral planning period.  However, it was consistently assigned a disproportionate assessment for its membership in OLOL, beyond expense levels previously incurred as a stand-alone parish.  For example, it had less than 4 percent of the households in OLOL but carried 7% of the financial burden for staff, while still paying all its own heat, light, insurance, maintenance and other carrying costs. 

The Diocese also has a mandatory program called Catholic Ministry Appeal (CMA), referenced above, which is a required payment by parishes to the diocese.  If sufficient contributions for each parish are not received, the funds are simply removed from the parish’s savings account.  It only became clear in retrospect how the “tax” burdens imposed by OLOL administration, and also by Diocesan Administration, were setting St. Mary’s up for closure, “milking” funds from the corporate entity.  For perspective, the following were the diocesan CMA assessments in each of the years shown per household, compared to the “per household” CMA assessment for all the remaining OLOL parishes combined, without St. Mary.  There is no substantial difference between the financial ability of St. Mary parishioners and that of other OLOL parishioners.  See $hepherds $hearing $heep Part 1 for more detail on the CMA.

                  St. Mary Goal/household                    Remainder of OLOL Goal/household

2007                                 $94.06                                      33.39

2008                                  90.52                                      34.01

2009                                  109.47                                    35.64

2010                                    95.94                                      34.76

Moreover, St. Mary’s 7% allocation to cover OLOL expenses is also applied to the cost of maintaining the rectory in Penn Yan, though St. Mary must pay itself for the St. Mary buildings.  The pastor has allowed other individuals to live there, each man for approximately a one year period (one through most of 2005 and the other through much of 2009.)  It is believed that the former was also a vulnerable or impaired adult, whose staying in the rectory would be in violation of diocesan policy.  Possibly these men provided some work toward their room and board, but it did not accrue to the benefit of St. Mary which was burdened with 7% of the rectory expenses.  But, again, the finances are not transparent. 

Audit Unavailable:  I met with Fr. Daniel Condon, Chancellor of the Diocese of Rochester, in April 2007 to express a number of complaints against the pastor, including financial, liturgical and pastoral.  Among those complaints were issues of financial abuse and/or mismanagement.  I requested that the Diocesan auditors, The Bonadio Group, look into the situation, which I believe was done.  I had an opportunity to present issues to those auditors prior to their on-site work.  On December 9, 2007 the pastor spent about 15 minutes in the pulpit at the beginning of Mass reading excerpts from an “audit report” purported to be from Bonadio, and using the opportunity to deride my having caused the audit.  However, none of the excerpts addressed the issues which had been brought to the Chancellor’s or auditors’ attention.  After Mass, I asked the pastor for a copy of the report and he not only refused to make it available, but he accused me of “mental illness.”  Then he stormed into a group of parents waiting for their children in Religious Education asking them if they ‘hate’ him.  One father in attendance left, removed his family from the parish and has never come back. 

In spite of the 2007 audit, it seems there are still problems in the handling of funds in OLOL.  The report which I received from the OLOL Business Manager in January 2009 for my donations in 2008 for tax purposes was seriously erroneous, an understatement of nearly 22%, and missing 8 separate donations.  Quite frankly, it is typical of the sloppy financial accounting in OLOL and it took 7 weeks to get a reply acknowledging that I was correct.  There is no way for a parishioner to determine whether or not those donations were actually credited to St. Mary or to another church.

Additional Background:  This is a continuation of the Case Study sent to Mr. Cuomo, broken into bite-sized chunks.  More to come.  All together, we are aware of three men who lived on OLOL property during this pastorate.  The one who stayed occasionally at St. Mary’s, Bill, was described in $hepherds $hearing $heep Part 4.

The second person, Dennis, lived in the OLOL Rectory in Penn Yan for most of 2005.  Fr. Ring said he was interested in becoming a priest; however, he was not admitted to Becket Hall and finally left the rectory for the Evelyn Brandon Health Center and other care facilities.  We believe that his living in the rectory for such an extended period of time is in direct violation of Diocesan Policy, especially since his admission to care raises the question of an impaired adult, who is specifically prohibited from being housed even one night in a rectory under the Diocese’s “Safe Environment” policies, which Fr. Bob Ring even helped to formulate!  Fr. Ring said he had met Dennis during chaplaincy at Keuka College.

The third person also  spent about a year in the Penn Yan rectory and is the person referred to in the letter above, who resided there through much of 2009.  He claimed to have been sexually abused by a priest in the Diocese of Cleveland and there are media stories to this effect.  His name is Chris Kodger, a self-styled Taoist, and he can be found on Facebook or MySpace, telling much of his story.  Or Google Chris Kodger.  The reader will have to judge by reading those entries if this is a suitable resident for a rectory on the grounds of a Catholic School.  His picture is shown here since it is not confidential, and one wonders, since he was recently seen at St. Januarius, if he will also be seen in Pittsford.  The excerpts regarding rectory residents have been included at various times in the It Really Matters Newsletter, which is sent to Fr. Ring, who has never made any amendment to or correction to reporting regarding those visitors, even though the Newsletter regularly invites such correction. 

The issues were included in the Case Study to Mr. Cuomo because they involve questionable use of tax-exempt properties, uneven charging/crediting of member corporations (parishes), questionable employment policies, accounting, benefits and reimbursements, among other issues. 


$hepherds $hearing $heep–Part 6: Case cont’d: “Bleeding the Treasury”

May 15th, 2011, Promulgated by Diane Harris

This is part of the continuing saga recounted to Mr. Cuomo in the letter given to him in August 2010 when he was State Attorney General and running for Governor.  The following is just part of the “Case of St. Mary’s Rushville” which begins in Part 3 and was appended to his letter.  As a reminder, anything in blue was added after the letter was given to Mr. Cuomo, but added for the sake of clarification to current readers.

Bleeding the Treasury:  For a church to be closed, it is required that the bishop hear his presbyteral council and make a decree.  The Bishop says that St. Mary’s is still open, but the pastor has used his authority as a pastor to set Mass schedules so he has given none to St. Mary, which bypasses the Canon Law requiring consultation with the Priests’ Council.  Hence, St. Mary had Mass on a few Saturday mornings a month [this is no longer happening; there are no more Masses], for about 3-5 people, in order to claim it is still open.  But those Masses do not fulfill the parishioners’ “Sunday Obligation” hence they no longer go to or contribute to St. Mary.  Although the property is falling into disrepair, by keeping the parish “open” OLOL can still bleed off about $22,000 per year in the OLOL “Tax” and the Diocese can still take about $6000 per year for its mandatory Catholic Ministries Appeal (CMA; see below).  When the parishes complete amalgamation, anything left of St. Mary’s cash will be unknown.  On the surface it would become OLOL funds, but there is no transparency to where the cash goes from there and if there are payments to the diocese for lawsuits or anything else.  Without mandatory reporting of the liquidation (or suppression) of parishes there is no ability for parishioners to know where the funds flow.

Unfairness to Parishioners regarding its being a “Personal Parish.   St. Mary has always been called a parish.  Sometime during the planning process, there was an attempt to call it a “mission” of St. Theresa (but St. Mary is the older church and all the documents use “parish.”  Besides, if it were a mission, under Canon Law it could not have been arbitrarily assessed by the diocese.)  Then, at another point during planning, the territorial boundaries “disappeared” for St. Mary.  St. Theresa’s map at the diocese showed up encompassing the entire territory.  Under Canon Law, having no boundaries would make St. Mary a “personal parish” and the funds after closure would follow the parishioners (savings plus the liquidated value of the properties.)  We believe that keeping St. Mary’s (Rushville) “open” is so that nothing will be left when it closes, nothing to follow the 75% of parishioners who now attend St. Mary Canandaigua, and which parish should have a rightful claim on 75% of the (Rushville) patrimony.  This is simply one more illustration of the abuses which can take place in a not-for-profit religious corporation under the current law and its uneven enforcement.

As an afterthought, it seemed like you might want to see what a church with over $50,000 in cash, when it’s shut down and bled off, looks like after a year and a half of neglect.    No, it’s not one of the grand churches of artistic merit; but, it is a place where people have worshipped for over 100 years.   The following is one of the fruits of Fr. Robert Ring’s pastorate: 

Broken Window for over a year

           How does a Pastor let the Patrimony get into this shape?

Why isn’t the parish savings allowed to be used for repair?

Peeling Paint

Parish House Run Down

Critter hole in wall near Tabernacle

Re: Gay Marriage

May 14th, 2011, Promulgated by benanderson

My previous post on the recent gay marriage debate going on in NYS has spawned quite the discussion (43 comments and counting)!  I’ll repeat here what I said in those comments – thank you to ALL who shared your thoughts.  IMO, getting opinions from all across the board here at CF is a good thing.  It gives us the opportunity to address head on the thoughts and opinions of those out there who we might not otherwise run across or get into such a discussion with.  It gives us the opportunity to be heard and to possibly change hearts and minds.  So I do encourage all comments, especially those who disagree with me.  I just ask that you please don’t attack me (or anyone else) by calling me uncharitable or pharisaical.

kluging together 2 different anonymous comments…

As a practicing and active Roman Catholic I firmly support gay marriage…. I have found that many priests in our diocese are also open to these new ideas and support Cuomo.

Besides the arguments already made by others in that thread that you most certainly cannot support gay-marriage while being a practicing Catholic, I’d like to highlight Bishop Clark’s support for marriage (and disapproval of gay-marriage).  I was very encouraged to read these articles (thanks to the reader who shared them).  For the clergy and lay Catholics who are in support of gay marriage, you should know that not only is official Church teaching and 2,000 years of Tradition against you, but even liberal-leaning Bishop Clark is in opposition to you.  Here are those links:

What we believe about the Sacrament of Marriage (the Bishop’s column in the Catholic Courier)

Statement on “Same-Sex Marriage (By the Catholic Bishops of New York State)

Kudos to Bishop Clark for his support.  Given the fact that the issue is being raised again, it’d be great to get yet another affirmation of these teachings (I’ve been informed that there are some in this diocese who have yet to subscribe to Cleansing Fire- if you know who they are, please let us know).

Ben – Does Lt. Gov. Duffy profess to currently be Catholic — or does he just claim that he was raised in a Catholic household?  If he is still Catholic, do you know in which local Catholic parish he and his family consider themselves to be members?

I need to admit that I don’t know.  My assumption that he is a professed Catholic was based on the fact that he received communion during the recently disputed mass where Cuomo received communion.  However, on further inspection, none of the articles I found mention whether or not Duffy received communion.  So my assumption could very well be incorrect.  Does anyone out there know?  It’s an important point because to receive communion is to profess your faith in the Catholic Church (and your submission to her teaching authority).  As to whether he is registered in a local parish – I have no idea.

Setting aside the “can you be Catholic and pro-gay marriage?” debate, I’d like to point out that the argument against gay-marriage is actually broader than any particular religion.  That is exactly why I’ve repeatedly posted links to the “What is Marriage?” paper.  It is an absolutely rock-solid defense of marriage – one that invokes no religious argumentation whatsoever.  So before you tell me that a good Catholic can be pro gay-marriage, you’re going to have to refute this paper.  Everything is addressed in there.  Before spending any more time reading and writing blog comments – go read it.  Then come back here and refute those arguments.  I’m sure Dr. Girgis, Dr. George, and Dr. Anderson (no relation to yours truly) would love to hear your argumentation (assuming it even holds a candle to them).

Another reader alerts us that Dr. Janet E. Smith coming to Mercy High School on Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 7 pm.  Very exciting!  I’ve heard her on the radio and watched some of her lectures on youtube.  She is excellent.  Do try and make it out to see her if you can.

“A Catholic” writes:

BTW, those in James Alesi’s State Senate district should give him a polite reminder to vote against gay marriage, as he did last time.  He is a Catholic, but said to be possibly wavering on this [our friend Loius. E would suggest to do so even if you aren’t in his district]

Another paraphrase of an anonymous comment:

we should be skeptical of our beliefs and not so sure of ourselves

I’ve addressed this here:

Another paraphrase of an anonymous comment:

the Church is always in need of some change agent.  In order to push ahead, that change agent must challenge fundamental beliefs.

That is somewhat true.  “The Church is always in need of reform” is a quote I’ve often heard (can’t remember if there’s a particular person to whom it’s attributed), but that is not an unqualified approval to constantly challenge her authority.  St. Francis was perhaps the greatest influence on the medieval Church and he was never anything but an orthodox Catholic.  (don’t take my word for it, listen to Prof. Cook).  I also like to point to Dietrich Von Hidebrand’s “Transformation in Christ” for an in depth analysis of challenging ourselves while holding on to what is essential.

Scott W, we are most sincerely indebted to you for your persistent and remarkable ability to defend orthodox Catholicism on our blog.  As a show of thanks, I’d ask our readers to check out his own blog (

And finally, Archbishop Dolan recently address the situation on his blog.  As always, his words are powerful.

now I hear Catholics, — and, I am quick to add, Jews, other Christians, Muslims, and men and women of no faith at all — who have thoughtfully expressed grave disapproval of the current rush to redefine marriage, branded as bigots and bullies who hate gays.

Nonsense! We are not anti anybody; we are pro-marriage. The definition of marriage is a given: it is a lifelong union of love and fidelity leading, please God, to children, between one man and one woman.

History, Natural Law, the Bible (if you’re so inclined), the religions of the world, human experience, and just plain gumption tell us this is so. The definition of marriage is hardwired into our human reason.

To uphold that traditional definition, to strengthen it, and to defend it is not a posture of bigotry or bullying. Nor is it a denial of the “right” of anybody. As the philosophers remind us, in a civilized, moral society, we have the right to do what we ought, not to do whatever we want. Not every desire is a right.

History, Natural Law, the Bible (if you’re so inclined), the religions of the world, human experience, and just plain gumption tell us this is so. The definition of marriage is hardwired into our human reason.

To uphold that traditional definition, to strengthen it, and to defend it is not a posture of bigotry or bullying. Nor is it a denial of the “right” of anybody. As the philosophers remind us, in a civilized, moral society, we have the right to do what we ought, not to do whatever we want. Not every desire is a right.

To tamper with that definition, or to engage in some Orwellian social engineering about the nature and purpose of marriage, is perilous to all of us. If the definition of marriage is continually being altered, could it not in the future be morphed again to include multiple spouses or even family members?

Nor is it “imposing” some narrow outmoded religious conviction. One might well ask just who is doing the “imposing” here: those who simply defend what the human drama has accepted from the start, a belief embedded in nature and at the core of every civilization — the definition of marriage — or those who all of a sudden want to scrap it because “progressive, enlightened, tolerant culture” calls for it.

Sadly, as we see in countries where such a redefinition has occurred, “tolerance” is hardly the result, as those who hold to the given definition of marriage now become harassed and penalized.

If big, intrusive government can re-define the most basic, accepted, revealed truth that marriage simply means one man + one woman + (hopefully) children, in a loving family, then, I’m afraid, Orwell’s works will no longer be on the fiction shelf. As someone commented to me the other day, “Wouldn’t it be better for our government to work on fixing schools than on redefining marriage?”

And resistance to this rush to radically redefining the ingrained meaning of marriage cannot be reduced to an act of prejudice against people with a same-sex attraction.