Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘St. Anne’

Saint Anne’s Nativity of Mary Window

September 8th, 2012, Promulgated by Bernie

(click on pictures to see clearer images)

While attending a funeral Mass this morning in Saint Anne Church in Rochester I looked up at one of the gorgeous windows overhead and, low and behold, there was an image of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin. I should have remembered it being there as I no doubt saw it hundreds of times when we belonged to that parish. I should have also recalled that since nearly all the windows in Saint Anne Church represent events in the life of Mary and her parents -as well as events she shared with her son- that there would no doubt be a representation of the Nativity of Mary.

The entire set of windows in this church are beautiful with events represented as vignettes on soft pastel colored stained glass panels. They are characterized by graceful figures carefully arranged into complete compositions unified by a very limited range of low intensity hues.  Emphasis is added by the placement of pure, bright color here and there. You can see that treatment in the Nativity of Mary window in which brighter yellow-oranges emphasize St. Anne and her child, Mary, as well as the star in the sky. (Why do you think there is a star depicted?) For visual balance a touch of a slightly duller yellow-orange livens up the the base of the scene.

The Western treatment of the Nativity of Mary can vary considerably from the traditional iconography of the Eastern and Byzantine Catholic Churches. Eastern icons tend to not only depict the historical event but also include elements perhaps not even mentioned in the Gospel narrative in order to stress a doctrinal belief.

Western imagery has done the same, of course, but the freedom of expression allowed Western artists can sometimes make the doctrinal statement less clear or even less important -sometimes more important! Western images, although initially inspired by the iconic images of the East, have gradually evolved into more ‘creative’, unique, and personal expressions of the artists. You can see the possibilities for problems arising! Such a development would be a no-no in the East where icons are not viewed as personal expressions but rather as imaging the orthodox (right) faith and liturgy of the whole Church. To change the image in a significant way by omitting or adding to the scene would be to change the faith and to introduce heterodoxy (wrong faith or practice).

The image we see here in this window in Saint Anne Church would no doubt be considered incomplete in Eastern eyes. Where is Joachim, for example? He should be represented in the vignette at some distance from St. Anne, usually in another part of the house. Where is the house? St. Anne, in the Eastern tradition is always represented reclined on a couch or bed with the baby Mary attended to by servants (Mary’s parents were reported to be well-off). Sometimes, St. Joachim stands next to the bed and, with St. Anne, points to Mary. All of these elements would be necessary in an Eastern icon for the scene to be ‘realistic’ and recognizable.

In the Saint Anne Church window we see an abbreviation of the event rendered in touching tones, colors and shapes personally important to the artist, and offering us few iconic clues. The scene is something of a mystery as we are not quite sure of the story represented. In that way the vignette draws us in and invites us to linger and discover what the scene represents.

Sr. Joan Sobala’s Lacklustre Tenure at St. Anne Comes to an End

June 19th, 2012, Promulgated by Gen

This weekend, on the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, (note: not Sr. Joan the Baptist), Joan Sobala, SSJ, will be stepping down as the de facto pastorette of St. Anne and Our Lady of Lourdes churches in Rochester. If anyone is not well-acquainted with Sr. Joan and her policies of schism and dissent, click here.

In commemoration of this day, we have written a tongue-in-cheek adaptation of the timeless poem, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” It is decidedly pointed, but considering that the worst thing aimed at Sr. Joan is a humorous poem, I think everyone can agree that this is done only in good fun. If Sr. Sobala would like to pen a similar poem taking aim at Cleansing Fire, we would be more than willing to post this example of genuine dialogue.

‘Twas the day before Vespers, when all through the church
Not a hook was unused; trust me, I searched.
The cassocks were hung in the vestry with care,
In hopes that the acolytes soon would be there.

The clerics were nestled all snug in their beds,
While echoes of antiphons rang in their heads.
The bishop with his miter, and I in my cap,
Had just the worked out the rubrics, in hopes for a nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to sisters below.
When, what to my horrified eyes should present,
But our nuns dressed in albs, spewing forth a lament.

With a little old driver, declaring “dethrone,”
I knew in a moment it was Sr. Joan.
More rapid than eagles her coursers they came,
And she whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Matthew! now, Raymond! now, Charlotte and Gary!
On, Nancy! On, Jimmy! on Robert and Mary!
To the steps of the altar! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the steeples the coursers they flew,
With lavalier mics, and Joan Sobala, too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little poof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Through the window came Joan, with an ungodly sound!

She was dressed all in white, from her head to her shoes,
And her alb was a sign of heretical views.
A folder of sermons she held in her hand,
Loudly proclaiming, “We had great things planned!”

Her eyes-how they squinted! Her forehead, how creased!
‘Round her neck was a sign, “I’m a wanna-be priest!”
Her droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And hem of her alb was as white as the snow.

A ballpoint pen she held tight in her fingers,
And the rubbish it had written, doubtless still lingers.
She had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when she laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

She was fiery and desperate, a right angry old elf,
And I screamed when I saw her, in spite of myself!
A glare from her eye and a twist of her head,
Soon gave me to know I had much still to dread!

She spoke many a word, and went straight to her work,
Denying authority, she then turned with a jerk.
And laying her finger aside of her nose,
And giving a nod, up the belfry she rose!

She sprang to her sleigh, to her team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard her exclaim, more like a hiss than a buzz,
“I am what I am, and it was what it was.”

Not a Burden I Should Like to Bear

April 13th, 2012, Promulgated by Gen

We received the following email this morning from a parishioner at St. Anne/Our Lady of Lourdes. The woman who sent this in tries not to go to the cluster’s Masses, due to the insipid and illicit preaching of Joan Sobala, SSJ, but found herself out of options for a Good Friday service. She thus went to St. Anne and witnessed the following:

When they all processed in, Joan was, of course, right with the priests. When they got to the altar and went down for the prostration, Joan went right down with them. It was shameful. The priest prostrates himself because he is a priest, an “alter Christus,” an “other Christ,” but what is Sr. Joan? She’s a bitter wannabe. Maybe she’s got good intentions, but intent only goes so far. When the minute had passed, Fr. Tyman rose easily, with dignity befitting the tone of the Mass. However, Sr. Joan could not rise without the help of those around her. She looked like some kind of liberal weevil that had fallen out of a bad loaf of bread or something, wiggling around trying to get herself up again. Maybe that sounds mean, but let’s look at the perspective. This is Good Friday. Of all the days in the Church year when politicking should be left aside, this is it. Our Lord’s death should eclipse everything aside from itself. When you pull a stunt that distracts the congregation (which was pitiful compared to years past), you don’t deserve my compassion. Sure, I’ll pray for you, I’ll smile and be civil, but never presume that you should be the focus over God Himself. When I saw her being helped up I remembered why I started going to St. Boniface and Our Lady of Victory. Fr. Brickler never makes himself the center of attention. Fr. Kennedy says a nice Mass, too. Fr. Antinarelli conducts himself with humility and dignity. Well, not this dame. I feel sorry for her, definitely, but I feel sorrier for the people who have to put up with this kind of nonsense.

Like the woman who emailed us does, I pray for Sr. Joan often. I pray for our entire Diocese. People wonder why we have so few vocations, and then we see things like this, where an aging “progressive” nun upstages Jesus Christ Himself. Our priests look on from the sidelines and can’t do anything because she, and others like her, are the bosses in Rochester. There’s really nothing I can say or add that I haven’t already at some point over the past few years, so I’ll just close with this quote from Bishop Fulton Sheen:

“Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops, like bishops, and your religious act like religious.”

Abusive Language in the Confessional

November 1st, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

This morning, I was speaking with a woman after Mass, and the topics of ad orientem liturgy and tabernacle placement came up. The woman and I agreed that the main reasons for vehement hatred of ad orientem liturgy (and, implicitly, tabernacle placement) stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of what they main and represent. This is something we have already discussed and will doubtless discuss again. What stuck with me from this conversation, though, was the following story:

“I really like all the Latin music, but I need to hear a strong cantor. I used to be able to go St. Anne, but what good is beautiful music when you’ve got an ugly Mass? So I figured that I should just listen to that kind of music on my own, because no parish around me does it. But then someone suggested I go to the cathedral. I didn’t think it could be as bad as people had said, but when I got there I was so upset by what I saw. Forget Mass and music even. I walk in, and there’s no truly visible tabernacle. Sure, you can see it if you’re sitting in the right spot, and it really is a nice little adoration chapel, but for crying out loud, our churches used to be adoration chapels! We didn’t need to dethrone Jesus to make a point that ought not even be made – if people just embraced the real Vatican II, we wouldn’t have all this pent-up anger and aggression.

“So picture me, standing there almost in tears. I realized, though, that there was a priest hearing confession there. So I decided to go in and unburden myself, and hopefully receive some comfort, calming, and healing. I entered the room, knelt down, and started listing my sortfallings. When I got to my anger about what I saw just outside, the priest started yelling at me, saying ‘You people don’t know anything. We did this for you. How dare you criticize things you don’t understand or try to talk about things you don’t know about?’ I broke down in tears, and he didn’t do anything. I don’t even remember if he gave me absolution or not. All I knew is that I felt spiritually abused. I can’t ever go back there, not that I’d even want to  do that anyways.

This is an outrage, having priests using the confessional, not as the place where Christ’s comfort and forgiveness are brought to us, but as some sort of political soapbox. Since when is it alright to bully the faithful in and through the sacraments of the Church? I remember when I was young, and I was told that I should confess that I had a problem with change. I had to be maybe 8, and I didn’t know why I was being told to confess this by the sister teaching us, but I assumed she saw something deeper in me than I did. And so I went to confession and said, “Bless me father, for I have sinned. It comes down to my having a hard time with seeing change in the Church.” This priest, who was certainly not flying the banner of orthodoxy, was quiet for a moment, then simply said, “What?” We went on to discuss how things like this in themselves aren’t sins, but that the anger, aggression, and tempers they can produce may lead to sin. Of course, I didn’t know anything about Church politics at that age, but looking back I can see that the nun who taught me was concerned that I went to a parish that was abiding by the actual, not imagined, Spirit of Vatican II. The priest and I didn’t get into politics, naturally, but I am certain the present-day me would tend not to agree with this fellow on much. What is important, though, is that he used the confessional as it ought to be used. It was a place of reflection, forgiveness, and understanding, not admonishment for holy zeal or a torrent of anger for exhibiting orthodox tendencies.

I ask for your prayers for this woman, that she remain firm in faith despite the childish actions of some of our diocesan clergy. (Please note, the priest in question is not currently stationed at the Cathedral.)

Joan Sobala to Retire on June 24th, 2012

September 20th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

As reported by several emails to us over the past few days, Sr. Joan Sobala, SSJ will be retiring this coming June on the Solemnity of the Baptism of St. John the Baptist.

Here’s something for you to ponder: did St. John the Baptist win more souls to Christ than Sr. Joan has lost?

R.I.P. Fr. John Lynch

June 5th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

Fr. John Lynch passed away from this life into the next on Saturday, June 4th. Father’s many assignments during his 50 years as a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Rochester include: St. Mary (Corning), Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Nativity (Brockport), St. Jerome (E. Rochester), St. Charles Borromeo (Elmira Heights), St. Stanislaus (Bradford), St. Joseph (Campbell), Ss. Theresa/Stanley/Mary (Rushville), and St. James (Irondequoit).

Since his retirement as Pastor of St. James, Father has served at St. Anne and Our Lady of Lourdes. I think I will remember Fr. Lynch best for the time he stood up to Sr. Joan Sobala when she insisted on delivering the homily. Father is quoted as saying: “Sister, you aren’t giving the homily today – I am. I wrote it, I memorized it, I’m delivering it.” God bless him!

According to a reader, Father will lie in state at St. Anne church this Wednesday evening, with a Funeral Mass to be held on Thursday. Details concerning times will be added when they become available.

Please keep this servant of Christ in your prayers. He was a good one.

Update: Father will lie in state from 4-7 PM Wednesday @ St. Anne in Rochester. His funeral Mass will be Thursday @ 10:30 AM with Bishop Clark presiding.

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

May 21st, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

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

From the latest St. Anne bulletin:

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

The following directives from Ecclesiae de Mysterio are relevant here:

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


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

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

A Smack of the Crosier Goes to . . .

February 15th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen


In their new series “The Chicago Code,” FOX producers and directors (henceforth “meddlers”) took it upon themselves to alter a classic television and film scenario. Picture this: a policeman, finding himself confronted with a moral dilemma, wanders into a Catholic church and kneels down in prayer. You can practically smell the beeswax candles, maybe even see a faint pall of incense hanging in the air. The policeman silently fingers his rosary, while fighting an inner battle between what is right and what is easy. Then you hear footsteps coming down the aisle, and a kindly priest in his clerical garb stops, bends low, and whispers words of wisdom and comfort to the afflicted lawman.

But what’s this? Not on FOX?

Alas, no. In the particular episode in question, one of the main characters of the series, Wysocki, stops by a Catholic church and finds himself being offered spiritual counsel, not from a priest, but from a nun in street-clothes.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather see a priest fulfilling that sort of role on television. After all, the real thing is terrifying enough without having to see it reenacted in the sanctuaries of our living rooms.

(On that note: Sr. Joan Sobala will be taking the place of District Attorney Jack McCoy in Law and Order’s next season. After all, if she can pretend to be a priest, she can pretend to be anything.)

"I am what I am, and it is what it is." Former DA Jack McCoy expresses his desire to become a male nun at a February 12th press conference. "If Sr. Sobala can fight for a female priesthood, I'll fight for a male nunhood."

(Photo credit for Sr. Joan: Emily McKean Photography)

That Precious Mark of Success: the Three Voice Choir

October 4th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

No, not so much.

The poster-girl for women’s ordination, lay ministry, lay preaching, and lay administration of parishes, Sr. Joan Sobala, makes yet another strike against the hearts of her remaining parishioners. As of this past Sunday, there are a total of three voices in their once-mighty choir. The same parish that was once known as a “bastion of beautiful liturgy” is now experiencing the death of its last redeeming quality: sacred music.

I have always been of the opinion that a thing such as sacred music, as edifying and spiritually-wholesome as it is, can never constitute the sole reason for staying at a parish where heresy is boldly and warmly professed and embraced. The people who are keeping St. Anne Church alive are those who cling, out of a profound love for God, to the St. Anne of Fr.’s Lioi, Leone, and Abas, a parish of liturgical splendor and Gregorian excellence. However, that parish died the moment Sr. Sobala stood in front of the altar and, holding out her hands, said “I am your Good Shepherd now, and you are my sheep.”

From what we have been shown and told via email, the parish lost the vast majority of its choir when Sr. Sobala appointed a new music director, one who does not follow in the venerable traditions of her predecessors. One of the former music directors is now an organist at St. Patrick’s. Another is a former member of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius. Another is now bringing Gregorian Chant to the people of Auburn at St. Mary’s Church, under the direction of Fr. Lioi. While I don’t know precise details of this woman’s musical aptitude or interest, and while I don’t wish to speculate, I would feel comfortable saying that she is more willing to embrace Sr. Joan’s ideas of liturgy than any other music director in that parish’s history.

It seems that, of all the parishes experiencing slow, painful, drawn-out deaths in the Diocese of Rochester, St. Anne is one of the most tragic. It went from being one of the “safe zones” for liturgy to being one of the “front-line cities,” over-run by the barbarian horde of heretics and dissidents. Perhaps Sr. Sobala genuinely thinks she is doing the right thing, and that those who have left in this latest wave of refugees are simply overreacting to the Church’s organic development. We’re not in any position to judge her soul, her motives, or her heart. However, we can look at this impartially: is it normal and healthy for a parish known for sacred music to lose the vast majority of its choir? Without letting “partisan bickering” enter into this, we can all agree that something is seriously wrong, not just at St. Anne, but in the Diocese as a whole. Why? Because any organization that is seeing such poor results and does nothing to rectify them is woefully out of touch with those it serves.

So, let us commend the Diocese and its glorious throngs of lay ministers on continuing to drive the nails into the hands and feet of Christ, and congratulate them on seeing Holy Church bleed copiously from Her pierced side. Bravo.

Thanks go to M.R. and J.G. for providing insight via their emails.

You’re Doing It Wrong

September 17th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

Anyone who reads with some regularity will notice that one of the “worst” parishes/clusters in the Diocese of Rochester is the Our Lady of Lourdes/St. Anne cluster, which is being led by Sr. Joan “I am what I am” Sobala, SSJ. It seems that this community is the perfect example of how not to do things. Even leaving the politicking (read “heresy”) aside for the moment, does it seem normal that two healthy parishes in decent areas suddenly, under a new administration, lose several hundred parishioners who miarculously show up at other parishes such as St. Boniface, Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady of Victory, the Latin Mass, and St. Cecilia? I should think not.

I present for your consideration this excerpt from the most recent OLoL/SA bulletin. Click to enlarge it.

“This Sunday at Lourdes (10:30 am) we begin a monthly Youth Mass, with music for children, homily directed at their young lives. Generally, this will be the 3rd Sunday of the month, but not always.”

What exactly is this “music for children” that Sr. Joan mentions? The music at Lourdes is already childish to begin with, what with hymns frequently focusing on diversity and community, not God, the Blessed Sacrament, the Blessed Mother, or any other overtly-Catholic theme. Are children really so mentally-stunted in Sr. Sobala’s eyes that they can’t pick up a hymnal and sing “Go Make of All Disciples”? And what, pray-tell, will the musical accompaniment be for their “young lives”? I have a feeling that the use of the organ will be minimal, at best. Children don’t like being talked down to. They may seem to enjoy the pandering at the moment, but there’s nothing that makes them latch onto the Church and cherish it. There’s no depth to the dumbed-down Catholicism that Sr. Joan and her ilk spoon-feed these young folks. I shudder to think what kind of “teachings” will find their way into these Youth Masses. “Jesus loves everyone, no matter what you do, so don’t worry if you fall into sin – it doesn’t matter.”

The Directory for Masses With Children (1973) says the following regarding what is suitable, musically, for a Youth Mass:

4. Singing and Music

30. Singing must be given great importance in all celebrations, but it is to be especially encouraged in every way for Masses celebrated with children, in view of their special affinity for music. [26] The culture of various peoples and the capabilities of the children present should be taken into account.

If possible, the acclamations should be sung by the children rather than recited, especially the acclamations that form part of the Eucharistic prayer.

31. To facilitate the children’s participation in singing the Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei, it is permissible to use with the melodies appropriate vernacular texts, accepted by competent authority, even if these do not correspond exactly to the liturgical texts. [27]

32. The use of “musical instruments can add a great deal” in Masses with children, especially if they are played by the children themselves. [28] The playing of instruments will help sustain the singing or to encourage the reflection of the children; sometimes in their own fashion instruments express festive joy and the praise of God.

Care should always be taken, however, that the musical accompaniment does not overpower the singing or become a distraction rather than a help to the children. Music should correspond to the purpose intended for the different periods at which it is played during the Mass.

With these precautions and with due and special discretion, recorded music may also be used in Masses with children, in accord with norms established by the conferences of bishops.

The thing which I find very unsettling about these norms are that they aren’t specific. When you read them in light of the Church’s liturgical Tradition, it’s clear what the bishops want in a Youth Mass. However, read through the foggy lens of dissent, this document can be absolutely destroyed, while making it look like everything is in perfect accordance with liturgical correctness. Sr. Joan and her supporters (Nancy DeRycke and hers, too) fail to grasp that they may be able to interpret the letter of these documents how they wish, but they cannot alter the spirit of these documents. Bishops would not enable lay preachers to present their actions as normal to young kids just being formed in the faith. They need to learn the role of priest, deacon, server, lector, all valid liturgical roles. They must not think that being a lay-preacher is a licit liturgical role. It’s not.

In my conluding point, I’d like to ask a question. Does the following quote sound like something a lay woman should say, or does it sound like something an ordained man should say?

“Someone in our travel group wondered if I was gathering homily material. Yes, I said.”

And these people claim they’re not trying to diminish the role of priest? These people claim they’re not hostile? Sr. Joan Sobala is the poster-girl poster-person for dissent in the Church. I sincerely pray that her influence will not infect future generations. Then again, how can it, when half the young families of the cluster left, and there are no priestly prospects for the two parishes? Dissent self-destructs. Just sit back and watch them wither away to insignificance while Truth and Tradition are restored to prominence.

Pastoral “Leader”

July 15th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

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

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

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

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

“Our Tormentors Demanded of Us Songs of Joy”

June 18th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

Many of you have been following the coverage we supply of the monthly decay of orthodoxy at St. Anne Church. Without fail, Sr. Joan Sobala always manages to drive her speared agenda deeper into the side of Christ, destroying what was once a lively and joyful bubble of Tradition. What is the latest scourge of hers against the Body of Christ?

First, a little background: the 11:00AM Sunday Mass has often been referred to as the “Latin Mass” at St. Anne, with Gregorian Chant and sacred polyphony used for the ordinaries. Fr. Frank Lioi started this venerable tradition at the parish, and hoped that it be continued as a beacon of what a reverent Novus Ordo Mass is.  The St. Anne choir became famous locally for its precision and its love of the sacred, and ultimately displaying this love through their flawless participation in the liturgy there.

But, alas, this is coming under the scrutiny of Sr. Sobala. I can barely contain my surprise. The people at the “Latin Mass” at St. Anne are among the last major contributors to the parish in terms of finances – the 4:00 and 9:00 Masses pale in comparison to the generally more “well-to-do” population at the 11:00AM Mass. But now, they are being forced to bend their knees to a “music survey.” The blurb from the recent bulletin can be found below.

The gateway for more liturgical malversation - a "music survey"

You may be thinking “this seems innocuous enough.” Well, in most parishes, I would say you’re right. However, consider these things:

  • Sr. Sobala has said she would much rather have “people music” at Mass than the current “high-Church music.”
  • Sr. Sobala fired the group leaders in the choir – these are the individuals who would be the strong voices upon which the others relied for singing on key and in unison.
  • Sr. Sobala drastically cut back on the amount of sacred polyphony at Mass – there is still some, but nowhere near as much as there used to be.
  • Many choir members have left the parish for Our Lady of Victory, St. Stanislaus, etc. because “our musical talents were being abused.”

Sr. Joan is, to put it mildly, not open to genuinely sacred music. She sees no true need for the venerable antiquity of chant – “we’ve moved beyond that” were her words at one Music Committee meeting, as reported by a certain man wishing to remain anonymous. Why does he wish to remain anonymous? Perhaps it’s because he and his family are clandestinely attending Mass and contributing financially to Our Lady of Victory. The family (and several others like it in the parish) is still registered at St. Anne but, surprise of surprises, they don’t feel nourished with the “adulterated Masses” at St. Anne.

This “music survey” is just another way of making a dictatorship of liberalism appear like a democracy of the laity. It is guaranteed to reduce the role of chant and polyphony, mark my words. The vehemence with which we would replace trash folk tunes if we were in charge of a parish is the same vehemence with which Sr. Sobala intends to deconstruct Fr. Lioi’s “Chant Mass.”

So what will happen if the music program is changed at the 11:00AM “Latin Mass”? I direct your attention to the photo below, showing the recent attendance statistics. Bear in mind that under Fr. Lioi and Fr. Leone, average attendance was anywhere between 900 and 700, with each Mass having no liturgical improprieties. Now, having more than 400 faithful in the pews is akin to a miracle. Liberalism drives away the faithful. They may not know why they don’t like Mass any more, but their souls certainly do.

"For there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, 'Sing us one of the songs of Zion!'"

We go to Mass, not to sit there and be talked at, but to be challenged to become better people. That’s what the allure of the Tridentine Latin Mass is – there is a challenge from the Church to be attentive and figure out what exactly is going on. Mass isn’t supposed to be something commonplace enough to grasp readily. It is a celebration of the Sacred Mysteries. Tell me, what music better supports the mysteries of Calvary and the Mass – feel-good folk tunes or Gregorian Chant? We would be vastly more likely to chant the “Dies Irae” on Calvary than “Lord of the Dance.”

And, of course, the average parishioner in the pews will not realize what a slight difference in music will make, or even the ramifications of saying “I like the normal hymns” on the survey. Their ignorance will be used by Sr. Sobala for personal gratification. That is shameful. If the people were properly instructed in the ways of orthodoxy (as they were under Fr.’s Lioi and Leone), this wouldn’t be a problem. The Second Vatican Council NEVER said that folk music or trite hymns and Mass settings be used – it declared that Gregorian Chant had “principum locum” in the Holy Mass. That means “principal place” – not “pride of place” as the liberals tell you. It is to be used above all other worship compositions, and that includes Mozart and Schubert. The Church directs us, from its earliest days even until now, that Gregorian Chant (and before it, Ambrosian and Gallican Chant) and Renaissance Polyphony are absolutely and uniquely suited for our liturgy. We have a treasure in these pieces, and yet our own leaders are spitting on Tradition in order to soothe their own wounded souls, still bleeding from their spiritual assaults in the 60’s and 70’s. Their souls were ravaged by heresy, and we are the ones paying the price, and paying dearly might I add.

Sr. Joan’s liturgy is one of absolute banality. There is no substance, no spiritual nourishment. Yes, Our Lord is present in the Blessed Sacrament, but to discern that easily is to be able to clear away the muck of her irreverence. That’s something few of the remaining parishioners can do.

How apt the words of the psalmist are for those still languishing under Sr. Sobala’s ineptitude at Lourdes and St. Anne:

“Upon the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and wept: when we remembered Sion: 2 On the willows in the midst thereof we hung up our instruments. 3 For there they that led us into captivity required of us the words of songs. And they that carried us away, said: Sing to us a hymn of the songs of Sion. 4 How shall we sing the song of the Lord in a strange land? 5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand be forgotten. 6 Let my tongue cleave to my jaws, if I do not remember you: If I make not Jerusalem the beginning of my joy. 7 Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom, in the day of Jerusalem: Who say: Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof. 8 O daughter of Babylon, miserable: blessed shall he be who shall repay you your payment which you have paid us. 9 Blessed be he that shall take and dash your little ones against the rock.”

Lay Administrators and Church Attendance

June 11th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

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

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

Anne-Marie Brogan

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

Nancy DeRycke

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

Margaret Ostromecki

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

Sr. Joan Sobala

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Did you lose parishioners?”

May 17th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

The following appeared in the St. Helen parish bulletin this weekend:

I just hate it when the people who remain misinterpret why people left. No, it was not because they rejected to the person of Sr. Joan. No, they didn’t object because she was a nun, not a priest. No, they didn’t object because she was a SSJ. They objected because she is in open denial of papal authority, and shows an unabashed hate for everything traditional and orthodox in the Church. The fear over Latin being lost was quite real, from what I have been told by friends. However, that has stayed. But only because Sr. Joan knows that if she cut that, St. Anne would be just another bland, flavorless parish devoid of any liturgical strength.

The reason people leave parishes is not so much a matter of “I don’t like _________” but rather “I don’t like what ________ does because it is illicit.” People could have cared less about Sr. Joan if she had just stayed in the pew rather than insert herself into the Mass. However, when you have an administrator (aka “business manager”) sitting, vested, next to the priest, major problems arise. People, even if they are not the most well-read Catholics, can discern when something is not quite right. That’s how so many of our readers find us – they think something is slightly amiss, so they check with people who have experienced the same thing.

So, yes, people left because of Sr. Joan. However, this bulletin blurb would lead you to think that they were the stick-in-the-mud reactionaries who can’t deal with change. No. Those who left did so because they were told to do so by their pastoral administrator. “Go fertilize another parish.” “Take your subversion elsewhere.” “You’re theology is backwards.” “I’m the new resurrection.” These words, dear friends, are not words of comfort or pastoral leadership. They are the rantings and intemperate bleatings of a nun whose goal is not to glorify God, but to glorify herself. I am sorry, but it is absolutely true.

If you go to any of the parishes in Gates, or know people who go there, set the record straight. People don’t leave only because of the clustering. The majority will leave if they are presented with heterodoxy and dissent from Church teaching. Who cares if you have to go to Mass at a different time? The real battles come when you are confronted with administrators who have no regard for the legitimate authority of Rome. Diocesan norms mean nothing if they run contradictory to those from Rome. A bishop must do as Rome does. If he does not, he is in error, and is in denial of Rome. Rome has said NO to lay preaching, NO to women’s ordination, and NO to every other abuse perpetrated by Sr. Sobala. It’s time we look towards Rome for leadership, for our own local leaders are so consumed with pride they have lost sight of the authentic faith which they were ordained and appointed to defend.

Pray for Sr. Joan. Pray for Bishop Clark. They need our prayers more than most.

The Witch

April 5th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

Ben’s recent C.S. Lewis comments made me start re-reading little chunks of the Narnia series. I have always been partial to the stories of Narnia, and remember reading them in elementary school. When I was perusing the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I stumbled upon this sentence spoken by Aslan, the metaphorical Christ figure in the series:

“If the witch understood the true meaning of sacrifice, she might have interpreted the Deep Magic differently, for when a willing victim who has committed no treachery, dies in a traitor?s stead, the stone table will crack and even death itself will turn backwards.”

How many witches we have in Rochester, who profess to be all-wise and all-good, but who do not grasp the notion of sacrifice, especially in the context of the Holy Mass. These women (witches) and men (warlocks?)  who castrate our priests with their liberalism, and who spit with derision on anything Traditional, claim to be living as “Alleluia people.” There can be no true celebration of Easter without a clear and absolute understanding of Our Lord’s sacrifice. Even at our Easter Masses, we see Christ crucified in the Blessed Sacrament. So, yes, we are “Easter people,” and “Alleluia is our song.” However, we rejoice knowing the price paid by our God for our salvation, and, in knowing this, do His bidding in reenacting His sacrifice on the cross on our altars.

 Queen Jadis, Witch Queen of Narnia

Lewis also notes that when one “dies in a traitor’s stead . . . death itself will turn backwards.” How many of our priests have been ridiculed, and derided for orthodoxy, just to be replaced by women who appoint themselves “Pastoral Leaders” and perpetual lay preachers? How many priests have been “put in their place” by man-hating liberals who cannot bear to subjugate themselves to another person, let alone the Son of God? These women who show nothing but contempt to our priests, our noble, Tradition-minded priests, will soon find that the unending “death” that is the Diocese of Rochester will give way to a new resurrection of orthodoxy. All we need to do is wait till these hippies die off and ravenous moths eat their spotless, lily-white albs. In the words of General Patton, “All glory is fleeting.” What we see now will all be gone and forgotten in time. We will someday get to the point where Christ’s glory will reign over the “glory” we see now, a “glory” of failed politics, closing schools, new pipe organs, and forced clusterings.

And His glory, dear friends, is not fleeting.

“Viva Christo Rey!” – Bl. Miguel Pro, Mexican priest martyr, “Long live Christ the King!”

The Faithful (?) Remnant

March 19th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

In the comment box for Dr. K’s piece on parish attendance at SA, OLOL, SM Downtown, and GS, Bernie mentioned that for as many people that have left, at least doubly so have stayed. Why? In my most humble opinion, those who stay in parishes whose liturgical prowess, not to mention theological basis in reality, fall into the following categories:

  1. The Ideological Crusaders – These are the people who try to work from within to kill the beast. These people usually have a love for all things genuinely sacred, a distaste for heresy and dissent, and an underpinning sense of fear. Those whom I know who have stayed in parishes such as St. Anne have only done so because they “are on the music committee,” or maybe “the liturgy committee.” Whatever the committee, they stay to undo do, or at least, oppose, those evils which have made themselves manifest. However, under this genuine desire to serve the parish that once was, they fear what the parish is. In their minds, the St. Anne (or Good Shepherd, or Our Lady of Lourdes) of the past is not dead, but in hibernation – all they need to do is prevent the hunter from shooting the poor beast in its sleep. Well, perhaps it’s true that a parish can revive from adversity – just look at Our Lady of Victory before the refugees. However, there is a difference between shifting demographics and a purposeful scattering of the flock. If a lamb meanders away on its own accord, it can be readily led to rejoin the others. However, if a wolf drives a lamb away, bloodying it and battering it, it is improbable that the lamb should rejoin those in the pasture – it has borne too much injury, and suffered too much pain to go back. Those who fled the parishes made a choice akin to that of leaving the room of a dying parent for one last time. Upon leaving that parish, you will never know it as it once was known. “The old things have passed away,” and it is not the working of the Holy Spirit.
  2. The Ignorant – These are those poor souls who have never been catechized properly, never been educated by a true lover of the faith, never been exposed to the true beauty of the liturgy. For these people, “Church” is “church.” The parish is the faith, as opposed to an instrument of that faith, through which its universality is displayed. These people cling to a parish, no matter what, because they love it. No doubt rests in my mind as to the love people have for their home parish. However, there comes a point when one must make a break from the parish, if it becomes a hotbed of sin and dissent. A child will always, in some way, love her mother. However, if the mother becomes a drug addict, selling her body for money enough for the next snort of cocaine, conscious only between binges of drugs and alcohol, the child must leave that parent and seek refuge elsewhere. There is love for the mother, of course. However, the temporal needs of the child outweigh the love for the self-destructing parent. Rehab is an option, yes. But a child never stays with the parent if her welfare is endangered. So too must the faithful flee from dissent – yes, you will always love your spiritual mother, your parish, but at what cost? Would you rather lose your soul for clinging to error and those professing it, than you would experience a “white martyrdom,” voluntarily leaving your parish for the sake of Truth?
  3. The Bitter – These are the people who let anger and pain get in the way of practicing Catholic virtues. The Bitter stay at a parish to be a thorn in the side of the administrator – not to rectify a problem, but to agitate and aggravate the problem’s creator. This is not right, not at all. One must always have love for one’s enemy – as we have love for those whom we discuss here. However, the moment hate enters into the picture, one must flee. This is the doing of Satan, who uses the free will of weak and erring humanity to enter into the Church. I have no doubt that Nancy DeRycke, Joan Sobala, Anne-Marie Brogan are good and loving people. However, through their actions, a demeanor enters the Church, a demeanor which is most definitively not from God. The Bitter are no different – they have a love for the Church, but they let this love turn into a jihad, if you will. It turns from love, to pain, to anger, to aggression.
  4. The Opportunists – These are those individuals who enjoy putting on a show. I cannot begin to recount the stories of dozens of individuals, each one focusing around someone who would put up a strong front of orthodoxy, only to swoop in for titles and privilege once the faithful had left. A reader sent an email to us about something along these lines at St. Anne. A woman on the parish council was “grievously wounded” at what Sr. Joan had started doing at Mass. She had resolved to resign her chair on the parish council but, not for the sake of joining another church. No, she intended to convert to the Episcopalian parish on nearby Highland Avenue (which, you will note, is holding ecumenical Lenten services with OLOL). However, once several seats were vacated in several committees, she suddenly had a conversion, and swooped in to save the ailing parish. By the time all was done, she had more titles and duties after the debacle than she had before. This is heinous in its duplicity. This is not loving the Church at all – it is using it to flaunt one’s abilities, one’s talents, one’s name and reputation. “Oh, look, Mr. _______ is on the music committee, the liturgy committee, the finance committee, and the RCIA team. He must be really into the Church.” Oh, no, dear friends. The opposite is true. Those who stay at these failing parishes only for the sake of gaining something are more concerned with “self,” not the Church.

I can state, with absolute certainty, that losing my parish of 30 years was the most painful thing I have ever experienced. It wiped me out emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally. For several months, my soul wept as it has never wept before. Not for family, not for pets, not for national disasters. No death was as bitter and all-consuming as was the death of my beloved parish. However, if it had not been for this bloody exile, this personal Via Dolorosa, I would never have discovered the unsurpassed beauty of the Traditional Latin Mass, the depth of the faith I had never truly experienced, the transcendence of a Novus Ordo Mass celebrated correctly, without political bias, done right. In losing my soul, I gained it back. Indeed, looking back on those years, I can clearly see the hand of God through it all. Without these things, I would be one of the God-loving apathetic lambs in the congregation. I wouldn’t be motivated to assist those in similar situations, I wouldn’t be motivated to write to Rome or the nuncio. I wouldn’t be motivated to put myself to the spiritual grindstone, as it were. I would be absolutely complacent. A lover of God, yes, and a lover of the Church, but not a defender.

If you, dear reader, are an exile, you will know what I have relayed. You will have wept, you will have suffered. You will also have discovered yourself. If you are one of the faithful who have held on, continuing the good-fight, well aware of the implications, please consider making a break. Do not lose your soul defending a building. Gain radiance of soul by defending the Church.

If you are an opportunist, or a scatterer of sheep, may God have mercy on your soul. You will be in my prayers, and in the prayers of all who read this blog. But never presume that you, dear friend, are worthy to receive God’s mercy. Love Him, not yourself. Love the Church,
not your self-appointed self-importance. Find the glory of God in the Tradition of His Church, not in the folds of your lay preacher’s alb.

By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them

March 18th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

I thought it would be fun to take a look at the attendance numbers for the Diocese of Rochester parishes led by our most progressive lay administrators. That is, parishes led by those who have advocated for the ordination of women in some shape or manner. The parishes we will take a look at include: St. Mary downtown (led by Anne-Marie Brogan), St. Anne (led by Sr. Joan Sobala), Our Lady of Lourdes (led also by Sr. Joan Sobala), and Church of the Good Shepherd (led by Nancy DeRycke).

Update 4/24/10: I see that someone has conveniently removed the link to Nancy DeRycke’s women ordination prayer service in the month since this post was written (a link which had previously been active for nearly a decade…). Here is what she said:

“”We see this as supportive of the church,” she said, a way of again exploring two local “prophetic” statements calling for the church to ponder the priesthood anew. The statements emerged from the diocesan-wide synod attended by hundreds in 1993. Clark relayed the statements, approved by a majority, to the Vatican, along with other synod ideas.

“Our prayer,” DeRycke said, “will be that God’s spirit be with the church and help us to really follow the guiding of the spirit and use the gifts of men and women more fully.””

We always hear that progressive Catholicism is what people want, and that this is the future of the Catholic Church. Well, if progressive Catholicism is what people want, then they should be flocking to parishes lead by our most progressive leaders, should they not? Let’s put this theory to the test in a little post we’ll call “By their fruits you shall know them.”

For the first test, Cleansing Fire has compiled the attendance numbers for the last four available Masses for each of our progressive parishes. We averaged these numbers together. Taking this average, we compared it with the 2003 average attendance for these parishes (the most recent available numbers from the Diocese of Rochester pastoral planning data). Finally, we checked to see if there were any increases or decreases in attendance. Let’s take a look at the data:

(click the above to enlarge)

What have we here… All four progressive parishes have experienced sizable declines in attendance since 2003. St. Mary downtown has 256 less, St. Anne has 338 less, Lourdes has 216 less, and Good Shepherd has 336 less. For the sake of comparison, Our Lady of Victory averaged 401 people in 2003, and today has well north of 700 for an increase of at least 300 people.

You might be saying, “Hey doc, that’s not fair! The decline in attendance could have begun before these lay administrators took over!” Perhaps. To take this factor into account, we took a look at the attendance numbers for the weekend of the 14th/15th of March in 2010 and compared them to the weekend of the 14th/15th of March in 2009. We wanted to see if there was any change in attendance over the past year in these parishes led by progressive leaders. Let’s check out the data:

(click the above to enlarge)

These results seem to corroborate the previous table. St. Mary lost 106 people for the 2nd Sunday in March since last year, St. Anne lost 93, Lourdes lost 63, and Good Shepherd lost 104.

So, it appears that the parishes led by our most progressive leaders are experiencing declines in attendance. In contrast, the parish led by one of our most orthodox leaders has experienced an incredible increase in attendance. Face it, progressive Catholicism and heterodoxy do not pay. Traditional Catholicism and orthodoxy do.

By their fruits you shall know them.

Sacristy Swat Team

March 2nd, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

A reader recently sent us an email documenting two events which happened in the OLOL/SA cluster, both involving Sr. Joan Sobala being “verbally defeated” in the sacristy. The first occurence happened at St. Anne, when a retired priest was greeted by Sr. Sobala with the phrase, “Hey, _____, how are ya? Ready for my homily today?” The priest, a quiet and meek old soul, responded with alacrity, saying, “Sister, you aren’t giving the homily today – I am. I wrote it, I memorized it, I’m delivering it.”

“But, _____, I’m the administrator. I’m your boss.”

“Not out there you aren’t. The Mass is mine, not yours, and no matter what you want to do, you can’t.”

The second incident happened in the sacristy at Our Lady of Lourdes. Evidently, the children from Seton Catholic School, located about 500 feet from the parish, were going to Mass. The priest, another visiting retired priest, had prepared a homily regarding the Gospel reading, which was about the beheading of St. John the Baptist. Before Mass began, Sr. Sobala entered the sacristy and asked the priest to do different readings. The priest, being charitable, informed Sr. Sobala that she must have the wrong readings for the day, because the ones in the lectionary deal with martydom and John the Baptist. She responed, “I know what I’m doing. Those readings will scare the children, so I want to do this one (something touchy-feely).” The priest was unyielding and said, in essence, the same thing that Fr. _____ said above.

Now, this whole notion of changing the readings because they may scare the little kids . . . that’s just insane. When I was little, I thrived on the stories of martydom, suffering, exile, etc . . . It showed me that the faith is something really important, more so than the feel-good platitudes these liberals have to offer. Tell me, would you be more devoted if the religion to which you belonged said, “Jesus loves you just the way you are” or “this is so special, people have died for it.” While both are true, there is so much more in the second phrase. One might then ask, “Why have people died for it? How’d they die? Who did it? What made them that brave?” The answer always comes back to Our Lord, His Love, and His Sacred Heart.

Religion, not just Catholicism, but all religion, is something that one must work through, thinking critically and analytically. If you are fed mush on a daily basis, your body loses substance and muscle. The same is true for your spiritual body, i.e. “soul.” If you just give the soul the comforting reasurrance that “Jesus loves you,” it won’t strive heavenward – it’s content right where it is. One must always challenge oneself spiritually, thus fasting, holy hours, etc. are great methods of meditating on the faith. To deprive the body of something (whether it is sleep, food, or comfort) is to turn the gaze from the comfort in which we live, both spiritually and physically, so that we may focus on those areas of our life that need improvement.

What better way to do this than to have priests such as these? These men, secure in their masculinity, steadfast in faith, and unswerving in loyalty, bear witness to the priests and martyrs of old, who bore iniquity for the sake of Our Lord, who suffered patiently, correcting with direct charity. To ask a priest to refrain from giving his homily so that one may deliver one’s own, or to ask a priest to switch out the readings of the day, so they will cradle the children’s psyches – this is rude, selfish, short-sighted, and an affrontery to all things sacred.

Let our priests be priests, and may our nuns be nuns.

Dixit Dominus – Sede a Dextris Meis

February 20th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

“The Lord says, ‘Sit thou at my right hand.”

A faithful friend of the blog has sent us a photograph of the newly-reconfigured sanctuary at St. Anne Church, where, many of you may recall, Fr. Tyman was exploring the possibilities of having the presider’s chair placed beside the altar rather than behind it.

Well, this sounded innocuous enough – after all, it’s the way the pastor has it at St. Stanislaus. However, look very carefully at the photo. You will note that it’s not only the presider’s chair that has been moved. It appears as if Sr. Joan’s chair (or at least “some” chair) has also gravitated altar-ward. There is a possibility that this is just where the server with the sacramentary sits. However, Sr. Joan is on record as having said, “I don’t want the servers sitting right next to the priest.” The few times I have made pilgrimage to the parish after the takeover, the servers have either sat on the bench in the back of the sanctuary, under the St. Anne painting, or to the left side of the sanctuary, against the wall.

I need a reader, ideally, to get a photograph of Sr. Joan in this chair. Anecdotes are also welcome – send them to However, we need actual evidence in this matter, evidence showing the good sister seated between the priest and the altar, in a definite “co-presidential” spot, and closer to the altar than she needs to be. It’s uncalled for. 

It is wholly possible that Sr. Joan does not sit there – we can’t jump on this with 100% certainty. However, I think we can all agree, that there is potential for massive abuse here.

Only At St. Anne

February 12th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

Another reason why a member of the Women’s Ordination Conference is unsuited to lead a Catholic parish:

The Stations of the Cross pertain to the passion and death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Must radical feminism infiltrate everything?