Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘Pope Francis’

Cardinal Burke quoted: “I will resist….”

February 9th, 2015, Promulgated by Hopefull

I hardly know what to think on this matter.  Nothing I received in my Catholic education prepares me for such a scenario.  I greatly admire Cardinal Burke, and I am very concerned about the path being taken by Cardinal Kasper, the Synod, and what seems to be Pope Francis’s concurrence.  But, what is the guideline for how we are to act?  Where is the line between sin and conscience?  Looking for input and discussion.

Week 32 in Catholic Media, 2014

August 8th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

I am delighted to say that this is the first week in which I’ve DISCOVERED the reportable news in The Catholic Courier! The information, published in Rochester’s Diocesan newspaper on August 4th (Feast of St. John Vianney!), appeared in Catholic News Service on Friday, August 1st.   Kudos to the Courier for the timeliness of what seems to have been missed in many other media, but kudos even more so for publishing what — not so very long ago — would have been ignored, maybe even wished away?

Curbing of Liturgical Abuse in the Pew

This very welcome news is directed at curbing abuses around the liturgical “Kiss of Peace” also known more informally as celebratory glad-handing.  That the Courier promulgated content of the Vatican letter so spontaneously is a good sign, in my opinion, that we can hope for the path that we’ve seen emerging so far and so effectively: 1) make people aware of their responsibilities in and outside the sanctuary, 2) remind those of good conscience to humbly obey what they have an obligation to obey, and 3) then take action for the protection and care of souls.  We are being made aware.  A circular letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship was promulgated to curb the liturgical abuses at the “Kiss of Peace.”  Apparently the matter has been under study for about 9 years, including the possibility of moving the KofP to another part of the Mass.  The decision is no change in “when” it occurs, but a reminder of due reverence for “how” it occurs.

Here are the highlights of the recommendations in the circular letter:

“… it emphasized that ‘it is completely legitimate to affirm that it is not necessary to invite ‘mechanistically’ to exchange (the sign of) peace.’   The rite is optional, the Congregation reminded, and there certainly are times and places where it is not fitting.”  [Note: this rite among the laity is not done in the Latin Mass, e.g.]

‘…  as translations are made of the third typical edition of the Roman Missal, bishops’ conference[s] should consider ‘changing the way in which the exchange of peace is made.’   It suggested in particular that ‘familiar and worldly gestures of greeting’ should be substituted with “other, more appropriate gestures.”

“…  several abuses of the rite …  are to be stopped:  the introduction of a “song of peace,” which does not exist in the Roman rite; the faithful moving from their place to exchange the sign; the priest leaving the altar to exchange the sign with the faithful; and when, at occasions such as weddings or funerals, it becomes an occasion for congratulations or condolences.”

“… episcopal conferences [should] prepare liturgical catechesis on the significance of the rite of peace, and its correct observation.”

It would seem, having been informed through the Courier of this development, that little time should be wasted in implementing the practice.  Meanwhile, for those whose emails have not been blocked, you might want to go to the Courier site and post your comments:

The complete text can be found here:   and was signed by Pope Francis on June 7, 2014, and promulgated in Latin the following day.  The English language version was apparently promulgated on July 12th.


Lest we be without a thorn in the side today:

Sister Simone

Sister Simone

Consider the ill-advised award bestowed upon Nuns on the Bus leader, Sr. Simone Campbell, who scandalized many as she led support for Obamacare, which directly funds abortions, requires employer funding for abortifacients and contraceptives  and requires coverage for sterilization.   She has been named recipient of the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award, and will receive it on Sept. 21 in Christ the King Chapel at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. That is not to say she hasn’t made efforts in worthwhile areas as well, but she will likely be most remembered for grand-standing actions which oppose Church teaching and authority. See 


Dear Pope Francis,

May 10th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris
Bernini's Holy Spirit

Bernini’s Holy Spirit

No, this isn’t the exact text of a letter to His Holiness, but it forms the issue around which I am sensing a written communication is necessary, at least not remaining in silence on a weighty and dangerous issue.  The major comfort, of course, is that the Holy Spirit IS with the Catholic Church to the end of the world, which might be a lot closer than many think.  But since we don’t know the time or the place, we proceed doing the best we can out of love for the Church and for the Unity to which Christ called us all the night before He died (John 17).

Quite simply, I am expressing my own personal opinion that Cardinal Kasper presents a real and imminent danger to the Faith, to our Unity, and to individual souls. To read the interview with him, go here to read his outrageous quotes as he campaigns even in New York for his own version of the Catholic Faith.   And be sure to read the insightful comments at the end of that interview.  And then pray for Pope Francis, to be able to promptly remove the cancer which threatens souls.

Generally, I choose not to be part of publicizing anyone’s misleading, untruthful, or injurious opinions, since the usual media frenzy is around precipitating further division and fomenting discord, and I don’t want to contribute free publicity to evil.  But in this case, the storm warning is up and to ignore it would be unconscionable.

Framing the Concern

We need only remember the early post-Vatican II years when the Catholic world waited for a pronouncement of whether or not Pope Paul VI would “permit the [birth control] pill.”  There were priests and bishops teaching during that waiting period that it was inevitable that the pill would be approved, and therefore it was allowable to begin using the pill even before the papal decision.  Many members of the hierarchy lobbied for such a ruling.  Many marriages and decisions to limit or even have no children were made in those mid-60’s years, which sometimes formed the basis for subsequent annulments.  Father Charles Curran of the Diocese of Rochester was one such person proposing a potpourri of sexual sins during that period and thereafter.  The Catholic in the pew was able easily to find an opinion in support of using contraception, and if the local pastor didn’t facilitate the matter, it was easy to find another church, even a Catholic Church, that was permissive.

The “problem” for the agitators turned out to be the unanticipated heroic virtue of Pope Paul VI, who took what seemed to many to be a long time to oppose formally what so many considered “obvious” change.  But, in the end, the Holy Spirit’s protection prevailed, even if some then left the Church as a result.  Now the danger is a repeat of the damage done in the mid-60’s.  Illegitimate liberalizations inevitably lead to division when the laity takes it upon themselves to follow their version of the Faith, all the more when apparently justified by priests, bishops, Cardinals.   From the hierarchy, it looks a lot like the statement of disobedience which was promulgated by a majority of the Canadian bishops after Pope Paul VI’s decision.  From the pew, the simplistic wording would be:  “Since the Church is bound to change (liberalize) this issue, and since Cardinal so-and-so says it is okay, it must not be a sin (or not a baaaad sin at least)  so, therefore, I can do it today, rather than “ruin my life” by living within such constrictions until the paperwork is done.”   Inevitably the victims of such bad advice and skewed thinking find themselves deeply injured, sometimes with the sheepfold gate practically closed.

Those who don’t understand history are bound to repeat it!

What is Cardinal Kasper saying and doing that has the potential for causing a repetition of such harm 50 years later?  If he were a lone voice like shouts from a raving uncle in the attic, the risk would be much less.  But that the media carries the perception/misperception that Pope Francis is permitting or even encouraging the dialogue, how can the people in the pews who want such change not exhibit the same human qualities as their parents and grandparents did a half-century ago and ‘get on’ with the anticipated or their hoped-for change?

The difference is that the mass media and electronic communications today accelerate the metastasizing of erroneous information.  That a Cardinal engages in such behavior puts him on a level with the mob tweeters on the streets of Benghazi.  And do not be surprised if you see some of the same stench related to the current US administration’s push to legalize sin as a strategy to grow the institution of supporters.  What promulgators of such feel-good religion forget, is that reception of the Eucharist is a prime reason for reconciliation and return to the Church.  Rubber-stamping irregular and disordered relationships removes a major impetus to seeking forgiveness.

Conclusion:  Cardinal Kasper is a very dangerous man, acting like the Pope’s puppeteer  

One could reasonably read the free-wheeling scandal-provoking interview as a bid to run the Vatican, or at least to dissemble within it, marshalling his version of the Catholic Church through media pressure.  Cardinal Kasper’s uncharitable views of Pope Benedict and of Cardinal Mueller show a careening arrogance, and indifference to souls who are affected by such discourse, and prime evidence of improper motives.  It is only matched in magnitude by Cardinal Kasper’s denigration of good Catholics with the words:  “Heroism is not for the average Christian.”  He certainly doesn’t explain how he can justify that comment with the universal call to Holiness!  His approach fundamentally undermines much more than teaching on specific issues, to which the heart of the faithful is called to assent and to work out our salvation with “fear and trembling.”

What I would like to hear Cardinal Kasper say is:  “And as I say these things today to a world audience, I ask the Good Lord who knows and sees everything, that if anyone should commit a sin in His Eyes as a result of my words, that the Lord will lay the punishment for such sin upon my own shoulders.”   Somehow I don’t think we are going to hear that … ever.    And that is the difference between a Shepherd and a hireling.  If Pope Francis doesn’t stop such politicking of Church Teaching, may the Holy Spirit please intervene.  Lord make haste to help us.

The excerpts from the interview are contained in a LifeSiteNews story published Friday, May 9, 2014, reported by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent.  The article begins below and continues by clicking on  “Read the rest of this entry.”

‘The Church is not against birth control at all’: Cardinal Walter Kasper (Interview Excerpts)

“The Church is not opposed to birth control, Pope Francis believes that 50 percent of marriages are sacramentally invalid, and the notion of “heroic virtue” in refraining from committing adultery or other sexual sins is an unreachable ideal and “not for the average Christian,” a senior Vatican prelate has said in a series of interviews while on a visit to New York.  Kasper made the comments on contraception in an interview with WNYC Radio’s Brian Lehrer.  Lehrer asked whether it was “merciful” to condemn divorce as well as married couples who “use condoms for birth control.”  

Kasper responded [to Lehrer’s question about ‘rules’] that while it is normally the Church’s role to help married couples reconcile their difficulties and stay married, “there can be divorces necessary, and then it’s the message of the merciful God that he gives to everybody a new chance, a new beginning. And the Church should do it the same.”   Kasper :  “Well, the Church is not against birth control at all. … It’s about the methods of birth control. … I do not want to enter into this characteristic…how they have to do it. It’s their personal conscience and their personal responsibility.”   (more…)

The Canonizations

April 26th, 2014, Promulgated by Hopefull

April 27, 2014 is being called the 4 Pope Day:  our current Pope Francis, his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (who has confirmed his attendance) and two prior popes about to be canonized: Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII.  It is certainly a unique event in the history of the Papacy.  Father Barron has issued 3 short videos, with more to come.  EWTN is providing coverage too.  For some it will be a disappointment that the scheduled events are so early that most Americans will still be asleep, although there should be no lack of re-runs.   Here is the schedule:

Sunday, April 27 (Divine Mercy Sunday)

  • 3:30am EDT (9:30am Rome) – Canonization pre-show (obsolete links removed)
  • 4:00am EDT (10:00am Rome) – Canonization coverage (obsolete links removed)

I personally hope for minimal mis-reporting of Pope Francis ‘making’ these two men saints, and a more accurate representation to the world that they already are saints (that God made them saints) and some encouragement to everyone to aspire to sainthood and not think that without a papal act that they (the viewers) can’t indeed become saints themselves.

ScreenShot098 ScreenShot096 ScreenShot097


Week 50 in Catholic Media, 2013

December 15th, 2013, Promulgated by Diane Harris






Vatican Cardinal Burke interviewed on Pope Francis: says ‘we can never talk enough’ about abortion

by John-Henry Westen, December 13, 2013 

Vatican Cardinal Raymond Burke has spoken publicly about remarks by Pope Francis that have been interpreted in the media to mean that the Church should focus on “essentials” rather than abortion or homosexual “marriage.”  “What could be more essential than the natural moral law?” said Burke in an interview which aired … on EWTN’s ‘World Over Live.’   “We can never talk enough about that as long as in our society innocent and defenceless human life is being attacked in the most savage way,” … “I mean it’s literally a massacre of the unborn.”  


Merry Christmas? This year Belgian children get euthanasia in their stockings

by Michael Cook, December 13, 2013

The outcome was expected, but observers overseas were astonished at the margin of victory. By a vote of 50 to 17 yesterday, the Belgian Senate approved euthanasia for children. When the bill finally passes – which now seems quite certain – there will be no age limit for choosing to die at the hands of a Belgian doctor.”  Note that Montreal is also trying to pass a similar euthanasia bill.


Australian High Court unanimously overturns gay ‘marriage’ law

by Thaddeus Balinski, December 12, 2013

“In a unanimous ruling …  the Australian High (Supreme) Court stuck down the same-sex “marriage” law passed less than a month ago  by the parliament of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), … a statutory territory created to house the federal seat of government….The Court ruled that the Australian Capital Territory’s Marriage Eaquality (Same Sex) Act 2013 was inconsistent with the Federal Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and was therefore unconstitutional.”  Yes, unanimously! 


A moral revolution at warp speed—now, it’s wedding cakes

by Albert Mohler, December 11, 2013

Six months. That’s how long it took to get from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act to the decision of a Colorado judge ordering a Christian baker to make a cake for a same-sex ceremony. Just six months….  The momentum of this revolution is breathtaking, and its threat to religious liberty is plain for all to see.”  The baker has announced he’d rather go to jail and go out of business than, as a Christian, bake a cake for a gay wedding reception.


Massive Facebook, Twitter campaign helps defeat EU proposal to declare abortion a ‘human right’

by Hilary White, Dec. 10, 2013

BRUSSELS BELGIUM  “A report that sought to declare abortion a “human right” and make explicit sex education mandatory for three year-old children, was narrowly defeated in a vote of with 334 votes to 327 at the European Parliament today.  One leading Brussels-based pro-life and family group called it a “historic setback for the abortion lobby and all their related stakeholders.”  [T]he effectiveness of the public campaign [is] a rarity in European Union politics that is regularly accused of shutting the public out of debates. It was mainly conducted through social media that saw 4,500 people joining the Facebook page [and] MEPs had received 80,000 emails asking them to defeat the proposal ….  The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children has been a prominent adversary of the report since it was introduced. John Smeaton, SPUC’s chief executive, called the report “one of the most concerted recent attempts to get the European Parliament to exceed its competence and try to impose abortion on European Union member-states.” This is the second effort and is bound to come up again and again.  The classic problem is that such repeat introduction of a bill, often eventually passes, and then there is no legislative effort to repeal.  Perhaps there ought to be limits on how soon after a defeat and how often a bill can be introduced for revoting?   Since this is the country that just passed euthanasia for children, and which Bishops Pope Francis addressed strongly in their ad limina visit, it certainly has become a wild fringe in the moral wars.








ESPN reverses decision to ban Catholic hospital’s Christmas ad

(Fox News; December 13, 2013) “ESPN has reversed its decision banning a Christmas commercial  from a Catholic children’s hospital because of its religious content — a stunning reversal in the face of widespread outrage from Christians.”


ScreenShot363Is it NEWS? 

Pope Francis, as is well known, was named by Time Magazine as Person of the Year this week. 

If one could really believe that TIME Magazine and those who influence the selection

understood who Pope Francis really is, and what he stands for,

it would indeed be News.  

But with the promise of the Holy Spirit’s protection, one just has to assume that the “world” has no idea. 

And THAT may itself be the News!



Nelson Mandela and Catholic Schizophrenia?

December 10th, 2013, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Pope Francis’ Condolences (source Zenit)

th To His Excellency Mr. Jacob Zuma

President of the Republic of South Africa


It was with sadness that I learned of the death of former President Nelson Mandela, and I send prayerful condolences to all the Mandela family, to the members of the government and to all the people of South Africa. In commending the soul of the deceased to the infinite mercy of Almighty God, I ask the Lord to console and strengthen all who mourn his loss. Paying tribute to the steadfast commitment shown by Nelson Mandela in promoting the human dignity of all the nation’s citizens and in forging a new South Africa, built on the firm foundations of non-violence, reconciliation and truth, I pray that the late President’s example will inspire generations of South Africans to put justice and the common good at the forefront of their political aspirations. With these sentiments, I invoke upon all the people of South Africa divine gifts of peace and prosperity.


From Cardinal Dolan’s Blog

DolanStatement of Cardinal Dolan on the Passing of Nelson Mandela

December 5, 2013

Nelson Mandela was a hero to the world. His bravery in defending human rights against the great evil of apartheid made him a symbol of courage and dignity, as well as an inspiration to people everywhere. As Blessed Pope John Paul II noted during his visit to South Africa in 1995, Nelson Mandela was for many years, “a silent and suffering ‘witness’ of your people’s yearning for true liberation,” who, as President of South Africa, had to then “shoulder the burden of inspiring and challenging everyone to succeed in the task of national reconciliation and reconstruction.” In succeeding in these crucial and difficult tasks, Nelson Mandela truly made the world a better place.

May he rest in peace.


U.S. Catholic bishop calls Mandela’s support of abortion ‘shameful’, black leaders concur

by John-Henry Westen in LifeSiteNews article (excerpted)

Bishop_Tobin-240x191While much of the world, including many religious leaders, are praising the late Nelson Mandela without reserve, at least one U.S. bishop has tempered his praise by calling to mind the former South African leader’s record on abortion.

“There is part of President Mandela’s legacy, however, that is not at all praiseworthy, namely his shameful promotion of abortion in South Africa,” said Providence, RI Bishop Thomas Tobin ….

Tobin observes that “there is much to admire in Mandela’s long life and public service, particularly his personal courage and his stalwart defense of human rights.” However, the Rhode Island bishop notes that, “In 1996 Mandela promoted and signed into law the ‘Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Bill’ that, according to the New York Times, ‘replaced one of the world’s toughest abortion laws with one of the most liberal.’”

“While we pray for the peaceful repose of President Mandela’s immortal soul and the forgiveness of his sins, we can only regret that his noble defense of human dignity did not include the youngest members of our human family, unborn children,” said Tobin.

Tobin’s remarks come in the wake of statements offering unqualified praise for Mandela in statements from Pope Francis and New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan…. pro-life leaders urged Christian leaders to take caution in issuing blanket praise for the South African President due to his promotion of abortion, same-sex ‘marriage’ and communism.

Dr. Day Gardner, President of the National Black Pro-Life Union concurred with Bishop Tobin’s sentiments.  “It is really very sad,” Gardner told, “that Nelson Mandela was blind to the suffering of the smallest of his own people.”  She added, “He had such a triumphant life fighting for civil rights, yet he failed to see unborn children as significant.”  Gardner and other leaders at the National Black Pro-life Union have worked tirelessly to have black civil rights leaders recognize the plight of unborn black children who are targeted by the abortion industry far more than children of other races.

According to official statistics, nearly a million unborn children have been killed in South Africa since President Mandela signed legislation in 1996 permitting abortion on demand two years after taking office. Same-sex ‘marriage’ was legalized in 2006, with Mandela having supported it long before its passage.  Another African-American pro-life leader Ryan Bomberger told that he has seen time and again “how people move from being oppressed to becoming the oppressor.”  He asked, “How can you condemn the evil of apartheid and turn around and deem another group to be less than human?”….


Fr. Barron on WYD, Pope Francis and a Question for CF

August 6th, 2013, Promulgated by Diane Harris

ScreenShot325It would be hard to do justice to Fr. Barron’s summary of Pope Francis’ message at World Youth Day and beyond, so his words should stand on their own:  and if that doesn’t work try

The point is not so much to admire or repeat the message but rather to ask how do we, as an on-line community, fit into this Call?

This question is NOT a criticism of anything that has gone before, but rather is an invitation to explore our mutual opportunity to serve the Lord.

What do you think?


187+ Sede Vacante Dioceses!

July 15th, 2013, Promulgated by Diane Harris

The National Catholic Register’s story on July 13, 2013 has been taken up today by the CatholicNews USA to report a concern which crosses even ideological DMZ’s; i.e. the number of Dioceses worldwide which lack a bishop.

To read the entire story go here: 


“A crisis of sorts is developing in the appointment of Catholic bishops worldwide as a backlog of 187 sees (not including China) remain vacant.  According to figures on, eight U.S. dioceses are without a bishop.  These include the diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut which hasn’t had a bishop since March 2012 when Mons. William Lori was appointed Archbishop of Baltimore.”

“Others include Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Fort Worth, Texas; Rochester, NY; and Marquette, Michigan, vacated by Mons. Alexander Sample in January on his appointment as Archbishop of Portland, Oregon.”

What continues is a list of vacant sees in various parts of the world.  Retired Filipino Archbishop Oscar Cruz had noted  10 vacant sees in his country “and … wondered if the Vatican might have been having a hard time in appointing new bishops for the country….   Maybe they are looking for a certain qualification, a way of doing things or a way of thinking … there is no fast rule on this really,” he said, adding he was “not worried as he was confident the Vatican would soon appoint new bishops.”

Meanwhile, some dioceses, such as Wilcannia-Forbes in Australia and Mansa in Zambia, haven’t had a bishop since 2009.  Those who visit the original article at the link above will also have the opportunity to review the comments of readers and add some of their own. 

birthday cakeHappy Birthday


to Bishop Emeritus Clark. 

Following the Money

July 7th, 2013, Promulgated by Diane Harris
Pope Francis checking out of Conclave Hotel

Pope Francis checking out of Conclave Hotel

Perhaps it seems funny at first — Pope Francis lecturing on what kind of car priests drive,  his living in a small hotel apartment, and paying his own bill at checkout after the Conclave, and it might even be forgiveable to wonder why. 

But it can’t be underestimated how the financial cancer which has long held sway at the Vatican can influence financial irresponsibility down through the ranks, to national conferences like the USCCB (e.g. CCHD scandal) and into local churches as well.  What is condoned will be exploited. 

So when we wonder how the retirement fund for priests and employees could be so eroded, when we wonder where the money has gone from the liquidation and closing of churches, and when we can’t find statements on funds from property transfers, there is no reason to be surprised.  What flows down from higher levels of irresponsibility will eventually engulf the lowest levels.   The hijinks at the Vatican Bank are not all that far removed from us; it all rolls downhill.  That is why it is important, once in a while, to take a peek.  Here’s a recent update.

Vatican Bank (IOR) Changes

A few days after Pope Benedict announced his resignation, Zenit reported Ernst von Freyburg as the new President of the Supervisory Board for the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR).  A “Commission of Cardinals” for that Institute had made the appointment, stating “The Holy Father … expressed his full consent ….”  It was reported that Freyburg, a German lawyer, had “a vast experience of financial matters and the financial regulatory process.”

On May 31, 2013 Zenit ran another article entitled: “IOR President Dispels Myths on Vatican Institute:  Ernst von Freyberg [note variation in spelling of name] Speaks on Challenges in Restoring Reputation of the Institute for Religious Works,” in which “the newly appointed president of the IOR spoke on the challenges faced in dispelling myths surrounding the organization …. Mistakenly referred to by many as the “Vatican Bank”, the IOR “administers the assets of Catholic institutions who aim to further a religious and charitable apostolate at an international level.”  [He said] “Our biggest issue is our reputation.” … Concluding his interview, von Freyburg expressed his hope that at end of his term in 2015, the IOR can be viewed in a positive light ….” 

On July 2, Zenit headlines read: “Institute of Religious Works Director and Deputy Director Resign.”  … “Paolo Cipriani and Masimo Tulli, Director and Deputy Director of the [IOR] respectively,  have resigned their positions. ….  After many years of service both have decided that this decision would be in the best interest of the Institute and the Holy See,” the communique stated…. The IOR accepted the resignations and named Ernst von Freyberg as the interim General Director.  The article continued:  “A Special Commission created by Pope Francis last week to study the workings of the IOR acknowledged the decision.”

Von Freyberg apparently still serves as President of the Institute.   Now he would become interim director too.  He stated:  “Since 2010 the IOR and its management have been working hard to bring structures and processes in line with international standards for anti-money laundering.  While we are grateful for what has been achieved, it is clear today that we need new leadership to increase the pace of this transformation process.”  “The Oversight Council has begun the selection process of choosing a new General Director and Deputy Director for the IOR. Under the leadership of von Freyberg, the IOR has been working diligently in assuring compliance with anti-money laundering programs.” 

Four days later, July 6, Reuters announced:  “Prosecutors accuse the bank’s director general, Paolo Cipriani, and its deputy director Massimo Tulli, who both resigned this week, of  “authorizing illegal financial transactions…. A judge will now decide whether to proceed to a trial of Cipriani and Tulli.  The two directors left the bank on Monday after the arrest of Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a senior cleric  who is accused of plotting to smuggle millions of euros into Italy from Switzerland.” 

As further background,  Prosecutors also dropped charges against Tedeschi, who was ousted from the bank last year and had said he was dismissed because he wanted more transparency, but the board of directors said he had neglected his duties.  In 2010, officials froze 23 million euros ($29.5 million) of the bank’s funds in Italian banks as part of the investigation. The Vatican bank said it had done nothing wrong and was transferring its own funds between its own accounts in Italy and Germany. The money was released in June 2011.”

Reuters further reports:  “The Vatican bank, known formally as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), has been a byword for opaque and secretive dealings for decades and its future has been in question since the appointment of Pope Francis in March.”  Pope Francis set up a special commission of inquiry to reform the bank in June, his boldest move yet to get to grips with the institution.”  

What is hard to know regarding Vatican finances, and is hard to know locally as well, is who is the hero?  who is the perpetrator?  and who is the fall guy?  But at least Pope Francis is shining a spotlight.  I hope our new Bishop does the same.

The Blessing of Being Annoying

May 22nd, 2013, Promulgated by Hopefull

The Catholic News Agency and EWTN News published Pope Francis’ May 16 homily, which said it is better to be “annoying” and “a nuisance” than lukewarm in proclaiming Jesus Christ.  The Holy Father’s words are being noted by Michael Voris (pictures below) and by others as having particular application in our day and time.  Indeed, sometimes it feels like His Holiness’ words are addressed right to Cleansing Fire 🙂  Here is the Catholic News Agency link

Some Highlights Worth Noting 

“If we annoy people, blessed be the Lord,” said Pope Francis….  “We can ask the Holy Spirit to give us all this apostolic fervor and to give us the grace to be annoying when things are too quiet in the Church,” he said at [Mass at] the chapel of the Saint Martha residence ….

The Pope …  contrasted “backseat Christians” with those who have apostolic zeal.  “There are those who are well mannered, who do everything well, but are unable to bring people to the Church through proclamation and apostolic zeal.”


The pontiff said apostolic zeal “implies an element of madness,” which he labeled as “healthy” and “spiritual.”  He added that it “can only be understood in an atmosphere of love” and that it is not an “enthusiasm for power and possession.”


 “[Paul] was not a man of compromise, no!” he exclaimed. “The truth, forward! The proclamation of Jesus Christ, forward!”  “He is a man who, with his preaching, his work, his attitude irritates others, because testifying to Jesus Christ and the proclamation of Jesus Christ makes us uncomfortable.  “It threatens our comfort zones, even Christian comfort zones, right?” he asked the congregation. “It irritates us.”  


We are “not to take refuge in a quiet life or in cozy structures.”  Saint Paul’s apostolic zeal, he observed, comes from knowing Jesus Christ.  According to the Pope, St. Paul was a “fiery” individual who was always in trouble, “not in trouble for troubles’ sake, but for Jesus” because “proclaiming Jesus is the consequence.”

May we at Cleansing Fire be strengthened by Pope Francis’ words, and always do the work of the Holy Spirit to proclaim our Faith, and not ourselves. 


April 15th, 2013, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Catholic News Service has just reported here  that Pope Francis has backed the reform of the LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religous).

CNS reports that he has “reaffirmed the Vatican’s assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which found it had “serious doctrinal problems” and needed to be reformed.”

Archbishop Gerhard L. Müller, the prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, met TODAY in Rome with LCWR president Sister Florence Deacon on April 15, along with Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle, who was to implement the reform.  He said that Pope Francis…reaffirmed the findings of the Assessment and the program of reform ….”  The LCWR is to remain under the direction of the Vatican.

It will be a year this week since the Congregation  found “serious doctrinal problems” and the need for reform due to  “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith” and dissent from Church teaching on topics including the sacramental male priesthood and homosexuality.  The LCWR had responded in denial.  It is astounding that Pope Francis has been able to respond so quickly to this festering sore in the Holy Church.  Archbishop Sartain remains in charge of implementing the reform, including responsibility to approve future speakers and presentations at the organization’s assemblies.  Sounds like we can forward much input to him!

I cannot begin to say how absolutely delighted I am that His Holiness has paid attention to such a grave matter in just over one month since his election.  Those who thought his praiseworthy social justice concerns would mean ignoring strict doctrinal matters obviously do not know him.

“Where Peter, There the Church”

March 13th, 2013, Promulgated by Gen

Today, March 13th, 2013, our brothers in faith, the Princes of the Church, have elected a simple, humble man to the throne of St. Peter. His Holiness Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, has presented himself already as a man burning with love for every member of the Church. I think it is safe to say that very few people expected the election of this Holy Father. He is the Church’s first Jesuit pope, the first “American” pope, and the first pope to adopt the name of St. Francis. (It is currently speculated that this is in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, whose simple piety and dignified, reverent prayer life have endeared him to many.) Naturally, there are some quarters in the Church expressing confusion, maybe even disappointment. Some of us wanted a liturgical pit-bull, a near-reincarnation of Ven. Pope Pius XII. Pope Francis does not appear to be this sort of man. But to witness growth in the Church, one must have fertile soil. Bl. Pope John Paul II tilled the soil. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI planted the seeds. Now Pope Francis must water and fertilize this heritage, as I’m certain he will. We must, as always, pray for our Holy Father in Rome. He is the Successor of St. Peter, the visible head of the Church on Earth, a Church that thrust down pagan Rome and every subsequent threat to the Gospel of Christ. When His Holiness bowed his head after asking for the silent prayers of all those in St. Peter’s Square, I knew that this man had the heart of Christ beating within him. We see, in his election, the turning of a new page in the history of the Church. The Vatican II generation is done. The botched implementation, the misapplied theologies, the butchered liturgies are things of the past, and will only continue to wane in the sight of humble, loving, devoted men. The youth have seen two excellent examples of Christian zeal in the past two pontificates; they will, now mature, grow in the grace to come from this third. John Paul II made the Church proud again, lifted Her chin from its crestfallen position, and bade Her look ahead to the glories to come. Benedict XVI whispered gently in Her ear the scholarly insights of a masterful theologian, giving Her the resolve and purpose to go boldly ahead. Francis  shall now take Her tenderly by the hand and take the first steps on a path of simple joy, of genuine charity. The Church is bigger than one man. The Church is bigger than us. We are privileged to live in a time where we must constantly defend our faith. I say “privileged” because what greater honor is there than to defend and know the Truth of Christ, the Truth now embodied in this servus servorum Dei? The Holy Spirit has guided us this far. He will not lead astray now.

Our New Holy Father: Pope Francis

March 13th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

pope francis

Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio *** Pope Francis I


A Jesuit Italian pope from Argentina

the first “American” pope

the first named Francis

76 years old