Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘Thou Shalt Laugh’

“I will make you fishers of men”

March 13th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

A little levity as we await our next pope:

gull 5

The seagull has been perched atop the chimney for over 30 minutes.

Happy Birthday to His Excellency, soon-to-be-retired Bishop Matthew H. Clark of Rochester!

July 15th, 2012, Promulgated by Gen

“Come, come, ye sons of art! Come, come away! Tune all your voices and instruments play, to celebrate, to celebrate this triumphant day!”


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.”

Sr. Joan Sobala, SSJ Named Diocesan “Director of Liturgy”

April 1st, 2012, Promulgated by Gen

Many of you will doubtless recall the article we posted a few weeks ago regarding Sr. Joan Sobala’s departure from Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Anne. We had been told by individuals in the parish office at St. Anne that Sr. Joan was going into an “active retirement,” much like Bishop Clark intends to. However, we did not know this “active retirement” would mean her becoming the chief liturgist for the Diocese. 

This is, perhaps, the worst possible alternative out there to Sr. Joan leading a parish. We have seen the destruction of her current assignment, the decline in attendance, contribution, and participation. Now, being in a position wherein she will work closely with Bishop Clark and Sr. MaryAnn Binsack, she will have a much stronger and more potent ability to insert her dissident agenda into Catholic hearts and minds. This is shameful, especially coming at a time when so much good is around the corner for our Diocese. In a recent interview, Sr. Joan stated, and I quote, “I intend to welcome a free spirit into the Mass, a spirit that should have been there sooner. Church isn’t about fancy ceremonies or big words or even big ideas; it’s about love. After all, that’s how I’ve lived my life, and how our brother and sister Jesus lived, too.”

Click here for more regarding Sr. Joan and her forthcoming assignment, which will take effect sometime in July.

The Four Liturgists of the Apocalypse

November 28th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

The following appeared in the National Catholic Register. It’s worth the read, I guarantee it!

By Jimmy Akin

The Register recently asked me to do a post on what I saw at Mass this Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, the first Sunday using the new translation of the Roman Missal.

Happy to oblige! So here’s what happened . . .

I arrived at Mass a few minutes early and took my seat in the pew. The particular parish I was attending had not done a lot of prep work for the new translation.

In fact, I saw that the Roman Missal they had was still in its shiny, new shrinkwrap.

And behold, there were seven seals upon its shrinkwrap.

I heard the cantor proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the Missal and break its seals?”

And no one in the parish was able to open the Missal or to look into it, and I wept much that no one was able to open the Missal, for I was really looking forward to the new translation.

Then the pastor said, “Weep not. This will only take a moment.”

And when the pastor opened one of the seven seals, I heard one of the four living choir members say, as with a voice of thunder, “Come!”

And I saw, and behold, a white horse, and its rider was a liturgist; and a crown was given to her, and she went out conquering and to conquer.

When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living choir member say, “Come!”

And out came another horse, bright red; its liturgist was permitted to take peace from the parish, so that people should form factions and grumble against one another; and she was given a great sword.

When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living choir member say, “Come!”

And I saw, and behold, a black horse, and its liturgist had a set of political talking points in her hand; and I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living choir members saying, “A dearth of jobs in the economy; but do not harm the taxes or the new medical care program!”

When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living choir member say, “Come!”

And I saw, and behold, a green horse, and its rider’s name was Envy, and Bitterness followed her.

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of the parishioners who had been slain for complaining about liturgical abuses and for the witness they had borne.

They cried out with a loud voice, “How long must we suffer this squishy, 1970s translation?”

. . .
Read more:

Conversion Story

September 26th, 2011, Promulgated by Hopefull

An ATHEIST was walking through the woods.


‘What majestic mountains!

What powerful rivers!

What beautiful animals’,

he said to himself.



As he was walking alongside the river,

he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. 

He turned to look. 

He saw a 7-foot grizzly bear charge towards him.


He ran as fast as he could up the path.

He looked over his shoulder & saw that the bear

was closing in on him….

He looked over his shoulder again,

& the bear was even closer.


He tripped & fell on the ground. 

He rolled over to pick himself up but saw

 that the bear was right on top of him,

reaching for him with his left paw

& raising his right paw to strike him.


At that instant, the atheist cried out:




‘Oh my God!’ 


Time stopped.

The bear froze.

The forest was silent. 


As a bright light shone

upon the man,

a Voice came out of the sky:


‘You deny My existence

for all these years,

teach others I don’t exist, and

even credit creation

to cosmic accident.’


‘Do you expect Me to help you 

out of this predicament?’


‘Am I to count you as a believer?’


The atheist looked directly into the light,


“It would be hypocritical of me to

 suddenly ask You to treat me

 as a Christian now,”

 but perhaps You could

make the bear a Christian?”


‘Very well,’ said the Voice.


The light went out.

The sounds of the forest resumed.

And the bear dropped

his right paw,


brought both paws together,

bowed his head and spoke:



‘Lord bless this food,

which I am about to receive from Thy bounty

through Christ our Lord, Amen.’

Some (extraordinary) Food for (ordinary) Thought – Installment II

September 6th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

One of the strangest trends I have noticed in folks who demean the Extraordinary Form is that they say it’s too hierarchical, too close to priest-worship, too much “me/them” mentality on the part of the sacred ministers.

If I were to look at the Ordinary Form through these same politically-tinted goggles, I could just as easily say that the OF fosters these things more than the EF. After all, when the priest is at the altar in the OF, he’s standing (customarily) behind it. It’s a barrier between him and the “people who are Church.” I would rather be united in prayer with my priest rather than separated from him by an altar. After all, didn’t our mothers teach us that it’s bad manners to yell over the meal table?

Another strange oversight on the part of the anti-EF camp is that in the EF, the people go up to the altar rail (which is an extension of the altar table), and wait to be “served” by the priest, who comes to them as a servant, descending from where Heaven and Earth meet atop the steps of the altar. However, in the OF, we are oppressed by a hierarchical system, wherein we have to get out of our comfortable seats and walk to the priest (or EMHC) who is relaxing in front of the sanctuary, just “chillaxin'” till we come up to him. In the EF, the priest moves down the line, doing all the hard work, but in the OF, we are forced to come to a stationary priest whose only real effort is standing up straight.

(If you can’t detect the sarcasm, turn on your sense of humor on and re-read.)

Alternative Liturgy for the Establishment of a Parish Minister Person

August 23rd, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

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

Alternative Liturgy for the Establishment of a Parish Minister Person

Remember: Say the Black Do the Red

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

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

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

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

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

All: It is meet and right so to do.

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

All: We do like N. very much.

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

Parish Minister Person: I am willing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parish Minister Person: The Lord be with You

All: And also with you!

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

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

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

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

Parish Minister Person: All We Are Saying is…

All: …Give Peace a Chance.

New Comment Policy

July 14th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

Dear readers:

After much thought and some discussion on the matter, I have decided to strip anonymous commenters of their privilege to leave comments. Now one must be a registered member of Cleansing Fire in order to leave a comment. Anyone can become a registered user, and many of you have already done so naturally over the past year. However, as we continue to grow and develop into a thriving faith community, I no longer feel that we have the ability to celebrate the diversity of everyone’s opinions. Most people are mature and have the ability to make succinct, logical statements which contribute to the discussions here. Unfortunately, others don’t share that ability. I will monitor how things go for the next couple weeks, but as for now, you must register with us in order to leave comments. I feel this will ultimately add to the richness of our content, seeing as how we will not have to devote half of our time to weeding out spammers, trolls, and others who come here only to stir up arguments.

Please note: when you register, you don’t need to put your real name! You can still be anonymous, but just choose a name which suits you.

Thank you for your understanding and dedication. And remember – tomorrow is Bishop Clark’s 74th Birthday! We’re almost there, folks!

In what I’ll call a vigil observance of Bishop Clark’s birthday, here’s a little something from Bing Crosby:

Nuns Say the Darndest Things

June 16th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen


“And that’s when I said to the Bishop, ‘What?  You want me to run a parish instead of a pastor? You’ve got to be kidding me!'”


May 21st, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

Evidently, the Rapture was for real. Count yourselves among the damned if you’re reading this.

What You Thought I Said

May 13th, 2011, Promulgated by Bernie

Hmmmmm. I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but I’m
not sure that what you heard is what I actually meant!

Caption Contest

April 19th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K


For the Record . . .

April 19th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

. . . diversity is not a liturgical color.

A massive Nod of the Miter to Fr. Grondz who devoted his own time, talent, and treasure to point out how ridiculous this pattern is. (For the record, he made these as a joke, and not for actual liturgical use. I would hope his cassock and biretta would betray that to the passer-by.)

Cathedral Quiz

April 8th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

The DoR has posted a new Search the Cathedral quiz to its website. The quiz lets area Catholics test their knowledge of Sacred Heart Cathedral and the various items contained within.

Here is an example of one of the questions:

Here is a question not on the quiz that I would have included:

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

“No meat for you!”

March 11th, 2011, Promulgated by Bernie

The Spirit of Vatican II is Contagious

February 28th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

Look… a local Lutheran community has caught the disease!

Is it a bad sign that when I first saw this photograph I thought it was a Diocese of Rochester parish?

Source: Democrat & Chronicle

Most Common Big Family Fracases (and Solutions!!!)

February 21st, 2011, Promulgated by Bernie

From the National Catholic Register

by Matthew Archbold Thursday, February 10, 2011

New parents will often ask me questions about how to raise children because I have five children, none of whom are (currently) in jail.

Asking me for parenting advice is a bad idea but I understand what it’s like to have many children and not know what you’re doing. The Bible tells us to be fruitful and multiply but after that the Bible kinda’ hangs us out to dry. Well, that’s where I step in, I guess. I decided I’d like to help other parents by offering the beginnings of a database of fracas’ they’ll eventually encounter after they’ve been fruitful.

Most Common Fracases: …

Read the entire (funny) article here.

Scatter Us Out

February 17th, 2011, Promulgated by benanderson

hat tip Papist

The Secret to Increasing Mass Attendance

February 16th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K


The following ad for a non-denominational church in Rochester was sent in to us by a reader:

Yes, this is real.