Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester

No Mass at St. Alban This Weekend

October 18th, 2014, Promulgated by Ludwig

A note from the Facebook page of the Fellowship of St. Alban:

We are sad to report that Father Cornelius’ mother passed away this weekend.

Consequently, there will be NO MASS TOMORROW, Sunday, October 19.

As you make other plans for mass this week, we ask that you remember to pray for Father Cornelius, his family, and for the repose of his mother’s soul.

We ask all our readers to take this very moment to pray for the repose of her soul.

By way of reminder: the Fellowship of St. Alban is the local group of Catholics belonging to the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, and is in full communion with Rome.

Updated 10/18/2014, 8pm
As one our our readers has pointed out, the Fellowship of St. Alban WILL have Evensong in place of their regularly-scheduled mass (12:30pm at Good Shepherd in Henrietta.)

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Cardinal Burke is a hero!!!

October 16th, 2014, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

Through all of this synod nonsense a true hero is on display. This man has laid down everything for Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and the whole world is better off because of him. This is too good to snip any of it:

Rorate Caeli: Full Text of Cardinal Burke’s Major Interview to Il Foglio on the Synod

Young men of Rochester, we need more men like Cardinal Burke to answer God’s call. Is God calling you to be a hero as a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek?


Open Letter to Synod 2014 Attendees

October 14th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

St. Paul to the Galatians 1:8

“But even if we, or an angel from heaven,

should preach to you a Gospel contrary to that which we preached to you,

let him be accursed.”



Open Letter to Synod 2014 attendees,

What were you thinking?  It could not have been about feeding and sustaining more than a billion faithful Catholics who know and live, sin and repent, in accordance with Church Teachings based on the true Gospel of Christ!  What in this world or the next do you mean by eleven times, including twice in the introductory, declaring “The Gospel of the Family.”  The Gospel of Matthew, I know. And of Mark, Luke and John. Consider for a moment the meaning of “Gospel.”  Good news.  Where is there a shred of “good news” in what you have floated for reaction and secular publicity? There is no such “Gospel of the Family”, except for what you’ve tried to invent, by pandering to Cardinal Walter Kasper’s book title.  You have shamed good Catholics who have consistently supported their Church in a very adverse world, and given the wolves in sheep’s clothing a pass into the sheepfold!   As you add up the costs associated with such a Synod, material expenses, time away from diocesan work, pandering to the media and governments who will thirst for more concessions and ultimately crucify the faithful into oblivion, be sure to research how many persecuted Christians died in just the Mid-East while you participated in writing a new “Gospel.”  And may God, somehow, forgive what you have done to the souls in His care.  (red text is amended based on additional input.)

I have read, though not fully studied or prayed over yet, the 58 points you chose to release to the world halfway through the Synod (perhaps appropriately pronounced “SIN-ODD.”)  Indeed, it is an odd paean you have written to caving in to secular pressures, an apt model for those fallen-away Catholics who want to keep their sins and even be respected for them.  President Obama, in his staunch support for a variety of sins, could not have written a better formula for what he’d like to see the Catholic Church become.  The secrecy with which the matters have gone forward, protecting the perpetrators who align with secular values, while outing the faithful prelates who cannot help but speak out against the outrage, without concern for their own risk, is orchestrated so that the sinful can hide in the cloak of the secrecy, but true shepherds must speak out.

Of course, you are not oblivious to Christ’s promise that the Holy Spirit will be with the Church for its protection.  It seems like you have simply dared the Holy Spirit to try to act against you.  Having read all 58 points, I will continue by writing about some conclusions on specific points that strike at the heart of the matter, and ask good people of faith to consider the poison they are being asked to drink. be continued….


Invitation to Participate in Creating a New Image

October 13th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

My prior post “Update on Cleansing Fire” summarized and updated regarding our strategic direction, and some relatively minor changes which have been made to the site in the last few months.  You might want to read that post first, for orientation.

Since a picture is worth at least 1000 words, we haven’t been ignoring the banner across the top either; we just haven’t reached consensus.  Add to that being seriously deficient in executing artwork professionally (well, I’ll say that about myself in particular,) it is long overdue to reach out to the more artistically inclined readers of Cleansing Fire with an invitation to submit your ideas, especially artwork.  Here are some guidelines:

A.) The Name “Cleansing Fire” should remain, and the flame image, from which we’ve been delivered, as a theme.  While we aren’t “in” the flames, perhaps there is some analogy to being delivered a la Dante (not to be confused with “al dente”) from Purgatorian flames?  We’d also like to keep the white letters on black background, and be compatible with our archives.

ScreenShot372B.) The sad Christ should be replaced with a joyful, triumphant Christ.  (My personal preference has been the magnificent mosaic of the Christ figure over the main altar at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.  I offer that not to prejudice the input but to convey the concept of triumph.)

C.) The words need updating to more accurately reflect our current situation, which has certainly changed from Tribulation.  But. what best describes where we are now?  Latin plus English would be appropriate.  I’ve been using a working title of “To Know Him, to Love Him, to Serve Him,” but we are open to your more dramatic ideas!

D.) There is probably no need to incorporate a papal figure in the banner which, at a minimum, reminds us of our prior calls for intercession and of petitions to Pope Benedict.  (And he DID hear us, didn’t he?)  The year of founding is probably not needed (as the archives will show history — which has also been moved to its own page.)

So with this minimal input, we call for anyone ‘out there’ willing to try to design a new banner/masthead.  Add a comment or use the contact button to let us know!  If we’ve missed anything in this 2-part report, please also add a comment.  Thank you to all who have given us advice in the meantime, including the recommendation to ask for help!

In a future post, look for an invitation and guidelines to participate by writing guest posts for Cleansing Fire.  Coming soon.


Update on Cleansing Fire

October 11th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Since the arrival and installation of Bishop Salvatore Matano in January, 2014, the external environment in which Cleansing Fire has traditionally functioned has changed significantly.  For years, those who posted and most who read the posts have tried to hold tightly to what has been passed on to us in Church Teaching, and to speak out strongly when we believed, in good conscience, that something adversely impacted those Teachings, our Faith, or the Liturgy with which we worship God.   But in the new dawn, we try to put aside old hurts and to move forward in gratitude for the gifts we have received, being faithful and yielding fruit.  That focus quickly brought  some of us who write for Cleansing Fire to a pivotal re-examination of this site’s ongoing role, and of our own participation.

Now, 9 months since Bishop Matano’s arrival, we have the opportunity to look back on the interim events, and to look forward to how we are called to participate in the Life of the Church, and in the Rochester Diocese.  The first question to answer was: “Is there still a need for Cleansing Fire?” and the general conclusion has been “yes,” although our role will continue to be defined as time goes on.  While many of the immediate problems and proximate concerns have been ameliorated, it also has been an opportunity to realize that having prayers answered does not necessarily mean to shut down, but rather to open up to a wider area of needs, and to share as we are able the learning, expertise and contacts developed over a number of years.  For example, there are issues well beyond Rochester, but which do or will greatly affect us here, whether it is a Cardinal as grand marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day parade with visible gay activist participation, or a Synod ScreenShot238in which certain members have espoused thoughts very different from what the Catholic Church has taught for millennia, or continuing political thrusts into our practice of the Faith in the U.S., or the suffering of our brothers and sisters in the Mid-East, caught in almost unprecedented persecution.  Quite frankly, in my opinion, to ignore all that need, and simply say “We got ours” and go home, seems ungrateful.  It is reminiscent of those infamous words:  “Non serviam.”  So the question isn’t whether to serve, but how.  And that deliberation will continue to take place.  You are invited to input.

Second–you can see some of the minor changes we’ve implemented already.  Obviously, the counter and reference to the prior episcopacy has disappeared. After we finished enthusiastically welcoming Bishop Matano, we also decided not to continue to use his picture, not because we don’t applaud his shepherding us, but because we did not want to imply a continuation of the prior focus, but rather to develop what is now most needed.  Here are some changes you will note:

A. Recently, the right hand sidebar has been significantly shortened (and will be again, as we remove the tags to a separate page.)

B. We moved the archives to a separate page.

C.  We reviewed  the content of “Useful links,” and deleted 16 inactive or non-functioning links, but added some of greater relevance.  (Now when you click on “Useful links” you will find “Basic Resources” which give quick access to sites such as DoR and the Vatican, but also to text for Canon Law and the Catechism.

D. We’ve separated “Media” out from the blogs on the Useful Links list, so that some sources which we’ve cited in the past (Zenit, Life Site News, National Catholic Register) are more accessible to be read directly.)  After experimenting for 6 months with covering News, it seems that putting up the links to these source sites may be a better way to go.  So we’ll try it out.

E. You may also notice the addition of links to some sites which are focused on resisting government intrusion and other persecution: The Becket Fund, Priests for Life, Voice of the Martyrs, etc.  If you feel something important is missing from the useful links list, let us know.

Finally, since a picture is worth at least 1000 words, we haven’t been ignoring the banner across the top of the masthead either; we just haven’t reached consensus.  The next post will ask for help in designing the new artwork and slogan, and give some guidelines if you are interested in participating.


Mr. Copenhagen, Teacher at St. John Bosco Schools / Chesterton Academy, on Local Radio

October 9th, 2014, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

Mr. Copenhagen, teacher at St. John Bosco School / Chesterton Academy, was on WSYL radio (1040 AM and 92.1 FM) this past Monday. He was interviewed by Shannon Joy for her show, “Talking Back with Shannon Joy” about Chesterton Academy and classical education. Listen to it here:

If you wish to learn more about the school there will be a Mission Breakfast on Wednesday, October 22 at 8:15 AM. The presentation begins with Morning Prayer at 8:30. At a mission breakfast, our guests have the opportunity to hear from our students and parents for a wide-angle view of the school. All are welcome to attend, from prospective registrants to the just curious. Come along and learn more about Catholic classical education yourself, and bring a friend!


Obfuscation as Virtue?

October 8th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Say what you mean, and mean what you say.”  Can anyone actually argue with that aphorism?  Or how about the Epistle of St. James (5:12):  ”…let your yes be yes and your no be no, that you may not fall under condemnation.”

Opening of Synod 2014

Opening of Synod 2014

But one listening to much preaching from the pulpit in recent years — oh, I mean homilizing from the ambo — knows that lack of clarity can masquerade as virtue.  Question:  ”What did Father say?”  Answer:  ”Whatever you wanted to hear.”  Lest we think that the art of obfuscation is only a personal characteristic of a particular preacher, the desire to obfuscate was on exhibit at the second full day of the Synod in Rome.  What was especially interesting is that it was one of the few pieces of information that Fr. Rosica chose to publicize in the early release.  (Keep an eye on what gets covered in the press releases!)  At that time he didn’t identify the source, but today’s Zenit release indicates that Cardinal Nichols, Archbishop of Westminister, has at least been the source of recommending changing the words “living in sin” to something where people “feel welcomed.”   In the earlier release, “disordered” and/or “intrinsically disordered” was also indicted as language to change, in discussion of same-sex attraction.  And “contraceptive mindset” was also singled out for criticism.”

For video go here:

For the later Zenit story go here:

Excerpt:  “During the remarks by Fr. Thomas Rosica, who is assisting the Vatican communications team for the English-speaking press, it was underscored that ‘although no changes to doctrine whatsoever were discussed,’ there was, however, ‘a stress placed on changing language’.  As the discussions continued, the spokesman explained this must happen in various areas so that people feel welcomed, rather than rejected, particularly when they hear certain negative terms, like ‘living in sin.’”  [Sidebar:  I have other questions for Fr. Rosica or whoever does the English translations for Pope Francis, who himself does not speak English.  There have been many elements of Pope Francis's pronouncements which are strange, but I'll just single out the one in which he used the word "sourpuss."  That is hardly a word a pope would use, let alone someone not familiar with American slang.  Might this be part of the reason why Pope Francis comes across strangely at times in the English translations of what he is purported to have said?   Is his meaning being hijacked by someone else's agenda? Or are the translations faithful to his intent?  How would we know?]

Back to the Synod –The idea of altering language, which is already in place and well understood, is dangerous, in my opinion.   It is reminiscent of the early days after Roe vs. Wade, and how calling abortion “murder” produced an instant response from the feminist advocates, accusing the speaker of rude language, a lie, divisiveness.  It reminds me of how “pro-choice” became the positive spin, marketing-word to describe killing babies.  And in advocating neutral to positive language,  it became harder for the laity (let alone the ordained) to take action and stand up for the Lord’s teaching).  Primped-up language enables its users to fantasize that differences of belief are minimal, and that a consensus can actually be reached on a moral issue! Would it, in retrospect, have been better for Catholics to never have stopped speaking the truth, and calling abortion “murder?”

Implications:  Just what are the implications for no longer using the term: “living in sin?”  Before dropping the words, shouldn’t someone be able to explain why two unmarried people living together in a sexual relationship are NOT living in sin?  Are there some alternative words to be proposed?  How will alternative words serve Truth?  Or is the not-so-hidden agenda to no longer notice, e.g., that the governor of NYS is “living in sin?”  How are we to understand Christ’s words: “Go and sin no more?”  Did He mean to say “Go and don’t do what you really weren’t doing?”

And what are we to do about all the journal articles, teachings, books etc. which describe in detail the meaning of “intrinsic evils”?  Rewrite and reissue?  How about Pope Benedict’s specific teaching that one who is intrinsically disordered in sexual orientation cannot be a priest?  Would removing such language facilitate more ordinations of the intrinsically disordered?  Is the government planning to ban the word “disordered” when applied to same-sex activity, and burn the books and writings already off the press?  Why should the Church facilitate silencing its own members?  Surely that is what will happen to us if the Church does it first.  And the Spiritual Work of Mercy to instruct the ignorant will have very little meaning.

When people show up at their physician’s office or the drug store or at Planned Parenthood for contraceptives, as “good Catholics” should they not use the word “contraceptive?”  Will that make the sin less if they call it a “health care Rx?”  Does the world really need us to be that many steps removed from reality?  Or are Catholics once again the object of being silenced as a way to control us and to promote the health care agenda for contraceptives?  How does acting (and speaking) as if something is NOT a sin, open the road to repentance?

Has altering “words” any purpose other than silencing truth?  Should scripture be rewritten to remove mention of sin all together and to excise the reality of hell?   Should Christ’s words like “brood of vipers,”  or “whitened sepulchers”  be eliminated?   A cosmetic fix and media spin of changing the words is beneath the dignity of the Church’s obligation to teach truth, and of human beings’ right to receive it.  Without truth, there is no evangelization.  The delegates can go home.


Church Architecture Styles: Romanesque

October 7th, 2014, Promulgated by Bernie

Previously in this series:

“House Churches”

Early Christian Style

Byzantine Style

Early medieval church architecture is Romanesque in style.

With the collapse of the Roman Empire in the west ca. 476 and the division of the west into competing barbarian kingdoms, urban life declined and cities depopulated with the result that the demand for large church basilicas dried-up. Masonry skills declined and church architecture entered a period of small proprietary wooden structures in rural settings –usually on manors or large estates.

The rise of monasticism, the advent of pilgrimage fever due to the cult of relics, the return of economic prosperity, and the attempt on the part of Charlemagne to resurrect the glory of the Roman Empire inspired the construction of large, impressive churches once again. The ‘Roman’ in ‘Romanesque’ refers to the return to ancient Roman masonry construction and the use of the round arch as the main structural form in buildings. Detailing and the arrangement of forms, however, were not ‘Roman’ but rather expressions of local or regional tradition.

(Be sure to click on the pictures to see details)

double arches

Fig. 1 The Roman ’round arch’ is the basic structural element of the Romanesque style. Built in 1061, the three level Romanesque nave wall of “Southwell Minster” in England (on the left, above) is remarkably similar to an ancient Roman aqueduct built in the first century (on the right). Both use thick heavy supports. Almost without exception Romanesque churches make use of the Roman round arch. Notice, however, that the arcade columns in the left picture are not ‘Roman’ but, rather, heavy cylinders that are decidedly not ‘classical’. Nor are the attached clustered or ‘compound columns/piers’ on the second level. “Romanesque” means ‘Roman’ in some ways but also ‘not Roman’, in other ways.

groin vs barrel

Fig. 2 Romanesque builders resurrected the ancient Roman use of masonry vaulted ceilings.

Stone or masonry ceilings added an element of grandeur prized by both secular and ecclesiastical leaders during the 9th through 12th centuries. In addition to its symbolic purpose masonry ceilings also had a functional purpose: they were fire proof. Timbered ceilings of the early Christian period were a disadvantage during the destructive raids of some marauding barbarians. Stone vaults, however, require thick walls to keep them up. Windows were therefore kept fairly small in size and few in number until building skills and knowledge increased.

Due to having to relearn engineering possibilities, Romanesque churches tend to have a somewhat heavy appearance that conveys a feeling of strength, determination, and power perhaps calling to mind the hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”.

Corvey double

Fig. 3 On the left is how this church might have looked in 873-885 and (on the right) how it looks today.

It was during the Romanesque period that the west front of churches began to sport towers and impressive porches. It is not known why towers were added to churches. Monastic churches had bell towers presumably to call the monks in from the surrounding area multiple times a day for prayers.  It is possible that in ‘secular’ churches the design conjured the idea of the church as a spiritual fortress as towers were an important part of defensive systems. It may be that they were simply meant to be impressive, reflective of the power and influence of the patrons who sponsored their construction: emperors, kings, bishops and lords. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux banned the use of towers in the construction of his abbey churches because he considered them pretentious and a waste of money –too worldly. Whatever the original intent –and regardless of Bernard’s objection– towers became a standard part of church architecture beginning in the Romanesque period.

three facades

Fig. 4 (Left) Even without a tower a Romanesque church can appear strong and fortified. (Middle) Towers and a multi-level porch with a chapel above constitute what is called a ‘westwork’. (Far Right) This simple proprietary church on an English manor has a square tower over the altar end of the building.

name 2design ground plan elevation

Fig. 5 The basic Roman basilica –nave and side aisles– are at the core of Romanesque buildings. ‘Transepts’ –what appear to be arms extending out past the width of the basilica– became a standard part of church architecture during the Romanesque period. (Transepts were not an innovation as they are found in some early Christian basilicas, especially in Saint Peter’s and in Saint Paul’s in Rome.) A tower commonly sits atop where the nave and transepts cross (the ‘crossing tower’). Towers are ubiquitous in the Romanesque style as in the monastic abbey church shown above. They could be square, round, or polygonal. Even domes became popular in some regions. Some Romanesque churches have ‘opposing apses’; one on the east end where the high altar is located and one on the west end where often there is a chapel or shrine housing a saint’s tomb. The shrines are on the second level which visually communicates with the ground floor (and perhaps even a third floor) by openings in the floor (and ceiling). Note the ‘dripping arches’ under the eaves (explained in the next illustration).

double hierarchic

Fig. 6 Here is a crossing tower that illustrates two other common Romanesque features. The ‘Lombard band’ is a decorative line-up of what we might call “dripping arches” and is usually found just below eaves. “Lombard” comes from “Lombard Kingdom” where that particular decorative element apparently originated. ‘Encompassing arches’ surround one, two or three smaller arches (‘double arches’) supported by columns. They, in turn, can frame ‘recessed arches’ that are a step back into the space of the window or door from the front ones. The Romanesque aesthetic here is hierarchic: spaces are defined and then subdivided into smaller or less prominent elements. The tower in the example above is itself composed of sides divided into levels by cornices or eaves which create near square rectangles that enclose all the arch elements.

Fig. 7  In the left photo we see that the Lombard band under the eaves has become an arcade. It's called a 'blind arcade' because it's only decorative; the spaces in the archways are walled-in. The Pisa Cathedral on the right makes use of alternating tall blind arcades on the ground level and actual (although not practical) arcades on the levels above.

Fig. 7 In the left photo we see that the Lombard band under the eaves has become an arcade. It’s called a ‘blind arcade’ because it’s only decorative; the spaces in the archways are walled-in. The Pisa Cathedral in Italy, on the right, makes use of tall blind arcades on the ground level and actual (although not practical) arcades on the levels above.

A Romanesque innovation was the ‘engaged’ or ‘attached column/shaft’. This element added a sense of height to the flat nave walls that were characteristic of the early Christian basilica.

engaged column

Fig. 8 From the tops of the ‘attached columns/shafts’ spring ‘transverse arches’ which cross the vault and join up to the engaged columns on the opposite side of the nave. The entire space between two shafts and transverse arches is called a ‘bay’. A nave can be described as having 3 or 4 or 5 or any number of ‘bays’. Notice also that Romanesque churches often had two or three levels: the bottom level or ‘nave arcade’, the second level or ‘gallery’ and the top level or ‘clerestory’ (which we saw in the early Christian basilica). Nave galleries are somewhat baffling as they were apparently not used. Often they were shallow with the exterior wall so close behind the arches as to make it impossible or extremely dangerous to walk. Others screen an actual usable space. Seldom did the galleries  include any railings which also suggests they were not used except for perhaps access to the upper levels for maintenance. It is possible that galleries were an eastern influence where they were actually used for congregational space.

Column capitals, and doorways (portals) are the primary locations of Romanesque sculpture. The style of sculpture varies widely but it is generally stylized (not realistic) and, for the most part, fills architecturally defined shapes.

double cpita

Fig. 9 Romanesque capitals were often carved with figures, like the one on the left above, but not always. They could be as plain and as basic as the ‘cubic capital’ shown on the right. They could also be abstract or organic patterns similar to Byzantine capitals.

‘Recessed orders’ are typical of Romanesque doorways (and windows). Columns (usually attached) and the corresponding arches they support (‘archivolts’) step back in actual space leading the eye into the building. Portals are a prime location for Romanesque sculpture.


Fig. 10 ‘Recessed orders’ add a telescoping visual pull. The amount and sophistication of sculpture varies widely in Romanesque doorways.

web IMG_2853

Fig. 11 Often the normally empty space defined by the curve of the arch in a portal is filled in with what is called a ‘tympanum’ panel. This creates a half circle that is usually filled with sculpture.

labeled double Durham

Fig. 12 One of my favorites: “Durham Cathedral”, England. This is monumental Romanesque (which is called the “Norman” style in England). Some elements here that I haven’t yet mentioned: ‘Ribbed vaulting’ is groin vaulting with decorative ‘roll moulding’ enhancing the edges. ‘Compound piers’ are solid squarish piers with multiple engaged shafts attached around the perimeter. A ‘double bay’ is created when engaged floor to ceiling shafts alternate with piers or columns that have no floor to ceiling shafts. Note in Durham Cathedral the decorative treatment of the arches and columns.

It is a daunting task to describe the Romanesque ‘style’ as there is overwhelming variety; for every characteristic you can name you can find too many exceptions or different applications. It is perhaps better to say that there is a Romanesque ‘architectural vocabulary’ rather than a unified ‘style’.


Picture Sources: Fig.1 Pic. on Left:; Fig 2 Barrel Vault Illustration:, Groin Vault Illustration:, Pic. on Left:, Pic. on Right: interior view of aisle groin vaults, photo J. Howe, Boston College; Fig. 3, Left:, Right:; Fig. 4, Left:, Middle: Abtei Murbach by Alexander Anlicker. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –, Right:  photo Tom Marshall 13th century; Fig. 5: Bernard Dick; Fig 6: “Early Medieval Architecture”, Roger Stalley, Page 124; Fig 7, Left: ”Romanesque Architecture in France”, (NY, E.P. Dutton), Digital Archive, [Images from Julius Baum: "Romanesque Architecture in France"], Right:; Fig. 8, Left: Bernard Dick, Right:; Fig. 9, Left:; Right:, Right:; Fig. 10:; Fig. 11: Bernard Dick; Fig. 12, Left:, Right: “Early Medieval Architecture”, Roger Stalley, page 216.


Cool, man.

October 3rd, 2014, Promulgated by Bernie
In one of Rochester’s parish bulletins this weekend.
Jazz Mass?
Well, it may not be all “jazz”, but we  are delighted to have a number of Eastman students & others to help us “kick it up a notch” at the 5pm Mass on Sat, Oct 18. Be one of the “saints that come marching in”.  Come, enjoy & participate. It’s also not too late to add your instrument or voice to the richness of the musicians.

Movie Biography of St. John Paul II Monday, Oct. 6

October 2nd, 2014, Promulgated by Bernie

Click on poster to see a larger image.

JP II movie web


Renewed love for sacraments sought

October 1st, 2014, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

Bishop Matano has issued updated “Policies for the Administration of the Sacraments in the Diocese of Rochester.” You can read Bishop Matano’s letter of introduction here and the full pdf of the document here.

Please take a moment to thank Bishop Matano on the Catholic Courier’s facebook page to let him know he has supporters here in the DOR (there are already some rather negative comments).


Monthly Prayer Requests for Priests – October

October 1st, 2014, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

It’s time to print out your October calendar. Thanks to the good folks at for providing these calendars freely available to all on the Internet.

And the Holy Father’s prayer intentions for October:

Universal: That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.

For Evangelization: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.


When Fr. Radcliffe Came to Rochester

September 29th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

On Church Militant TV, Michael Voris has just named some names, and one is a person whom he calls “The Sodomy Priest,”

Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, OP shown on Church Militant Special Report Sept. 29, 2014

Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, OP shown on Church Militant Special Report Sept. 29, 2014

Father Timothy Radcliffe, Dominican Friar, who has apparently just recently free-wheeled his opinions through the Diocese of San Diego, including at its Catholic University, preaching same-sex “love.”  That name may sound familiar to some in the Rochester Diocese.  In January 2010,  Father Timothy Niven, Pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in Victor, brought Father Radcliffe to lead a “retreat for several parishes.”  I wrote about this questionable presence in a newsletter I did that month, called “It Really Matters,” questioning how this could happen, and warning those hundreds of families who received the newsletter (see blue type, below).  San Diego may seem far away from our interests here in Rochester, but not so!  While the content of the presentations may have been quite different, it is highly questionable for any pastor or bishop to bring such a person into the Diocese, and I would wager it could not happen today under our new bishop.  Give thanks for a shepherd’s protection of the flock!

Here’s what the newsletter said in January 2010 (click on Read the Rest) to finish the article:

Concerns about NW Ontario Retreat

We might indeed wonder “What in the world is Fr. Niven thinking?” by his hosting a person seen as a noted advocate for ordaining homosexual men to the priesthood, to allow him to give four ‘retreat’ presentations (8 HOURS!) at St. Patrick in Victor!  Since announcement of this event was in the Canandaigua [St. Mary's] Bulletin, and since 75% of our people from St. Mary Parish in Rushville now go there, it is indeed a case of being a brother’s (or sister’s) keeper to inform each other of occasions of sin or scandal of which we may not be aware. 

The speaker, Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, is a Dominican who spent 10 years as the Master General of the Order and has surprisingly impressive credentials, but that should not influence souls, as God is impressed with the heart, not with worldly accomplishments, even in the church order.  Rather, we should especially be on guard against those who come in sheep’s clothing of honorary doctorates, and glossy titles like “Provincial of the English Province”, and “President of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors”.  Fr. Radcliffe, as an itinerant preacher, has his next stop in Victor, NY.  Faithful Catholics and those trying to sincerely understand and follow the church’s teaching on homosexuality or “same sex attraction” especially as it applies to the Catholic Clergy, should either avoid Fr. Radcliffe’s talk or be especially on guard to his message.  One needs to be careful in expressing opinion in the church not to deviate from the church’s legitimate teaching.  And, we might say, that laity in choosing which retreats or seminars or other spiritual events to attend should be particularly careful to avoid speakers who do not adhere to the church’s own guidelines.

Canon Law 752: “Although not an assent of faith, a religious submission of the intellect and will must be given to a doctrine which the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops declares concerning faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim it by definitive act; therefore, the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it.”  

How, then, would it not be prudent to avoid Fr. Radcliffe? He wrote an article for the Tablet (UK) expressing his own opinions in disagreement with the Instruction from Rome.  In November 2005 [Pope Benedict], the Church promulgated the   “Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders.”   The Instruction from Rome addressed whether to admit to the seminary and to holy orders candidates who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies.  “The candidate to the ordained ministry… must … relate correctly to both men and women, developing in him a true sense of spiritual fatherhood towards the Church community that will be entrusted to him.”  (Father Radcliffe writes: “…spiritual fatherhood?  This is not a concept with which I am familiar.”   How surprising, as St. Paul clearly speaks of his spiritual fatherhood of his flock.)  

The Instruction from Rome Read the rest of this entry »


Your Eminence, Your Excellency,

September 29th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

This past week I sent a 3-page letter to every Cardinal, Archbishop and Bishop in the U.S.  The subject was triggered by the upcoming Synod, but it was more than about just a meeting.  Clearly, we understand, that there is not going to be any major pronouncement coming from Pope Francis when the Synod concludes, like opening the Eucharist to reception by those in mortal sin, nor will there be validation of divorce, adultery or same-sex relationships.  At least not while the Holy Spirit is protecting the Church, and that goes to the end of time.  But “HOW” the Synod is perceived, and the support or lack of support for Church teaching by bishops and priests in the interim, can do much to show faithfulness and courage, or to waffle on even the clearest and most sacred issues.  Individual sin can still occur in a Holy Church.  The sheep can still be greatly affected by even one dissident priest.

We don’t have to look back any further than Pope Paul VI’s struggle with the contraception question post-Vatican II.  While his ultimate decision was courageous and well-reasoned, the delay in making that decision allowed space for individual interpretations, permissive confessors, “logical” arguments to build up a following, and even ridicule of priests who preached that contraception would not / could not  be approved.  But that didn’t stop a petition from the Canadian Bishops, voicing their unequivocal support for contraception.  And myriad people were led astray, while pressure and lobbying on Pope Paul VI increased to almost unbearable proportions.   It was  as if the message were one of getting everyone to believe contraception was “okay,” so that by the time Pope Paul’s decision was made he would have been pressured into giving his approval.

Present events evoke the same opportunity for leading people into rash decisions and false hopes, which deeply affect their souls and the stability of the family.  That is the reason for writing to those whose voices will be heard in the interim, even though they have no immediate power to make changes.  Indeed, they have great influence, for good or for bad.

On Sept. 18th, Ben Anderson posted “The Truth,” an aptly named post about the pressures apparently being placed on Cardinal Burke for his staunch and righteous upholding of Church Teaching on the very issues the Synod purports to address.  The following day I did a “Top of Head” post on my concerns about the Synod.  Afterward, I began to consider  writing to the U.S. Hierarchy about those concerns.   In realigning the comments into a letter format (and in praying about it) some additional concerns came to mind and were added.  Approximately 180 letters have been sent and early this week I will fax to several Vatican Dicasteries as well.  It does occur to me that if there were just one person per diocese willing to do personal, similar letters, then each prelate would get 180 letters instead of just one.  Perhaps that could be an effective way for the laity to work together, under the rights and provisions of Canon Law 212?

Click on “Read the Rest” if you want to read the letter that has been sent.

Read the rest of this entry »


Screwtape and Common Core

September 28th, 2014, Promulgated by Hopefull

Recently I have been re-reading The Screwtape Letters and discovered in the Addendum Book “Screwtape Proposes a Toast,” written in 1959, an amazing description of the seeds of Common Core characterization.  Yes, over 50 years ago, C. S. Lewis was describing what at least some people see today in the Common Core Educational Program.

What follows are just a few pages from the essence of the description, using a popular distortion of the meaning of “democracy”. Click on “read the rest” to see the remaining few excerpted pages.  Keep in mind that Screwtape is a demon, so “The Enemy” is God, and the triumph of evil and capture of souls is his agenda.  Here is the excerpt from his “toast” related to the news that the education system will help the demons to capture souls, upon whom they dine:


Toast 1A












Toast 1B




Read the rest of this entry »


Full HD Video: Bishop Salvatore Matano celebrates Mass at St. Mary’s in Auburn for the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady

September 24th, 2014, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

I was privileged to be in attendance for this most beautiful celebration of the Holy Mass. The schola and choir were outstanding. The church was absolutely beautiful and was decked out with roses. There were multiple organs being played by excellent musicians. The bishop’s homily was so uplifting. The congregation was outstandingly reverent. In the bishop’s closing remarks he stated, “How beautiful is the praise you have given to the the Mother of God. I hope this film goes all over the diocese as an example of fidelity to God, fidelity to worship, and true union with the Mother of God as she leads us to Christ.” A big hats off goes to the A/V team that did the recording and converted it into this high quality video now on youtube, doing their part in the bishop’s request. Now it’s time to do your part. Set some time aside over the next week to watch this video and be sure share it with your friends on facebook.


Rooting for a Cardinals’ Double Play

September 22nd, 2014, Promulgated by Hopefull

Makes perfect sense:  Burke to NYC, Dolan to Malta.  Turn-2!


40 Days for Life Update

September 21st, 2014, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

From the Rochester 40 Days for Life email distribution list:

Hello pro-lifers.  There’s only 5 days to go before the Fall 2013 40 Days for Life campaign begins.  Here are some important points to be aware of:

  1. Attached is a file showing key locations for the Kick-off Rally and Prayer Vigil as well as a file covering the dos and don’ts of 40 DFL.  Please look them over.
  2. The on-line schedule is open ready to accept sign-ups for particular time slots.  Due to the re-designed website, all participants must re-register this year before attempting to use the on-line schedule. Just go to and click on “Login / Signup” in the upper right corner . If you don’t register first and login, you will only be able to view the schedule.
  1. The Kick-off Rally is Tuesday September 23 from 6:30 to 8:30.  Centre City Place – 80 University Ave.  We are asking everyone to bring one non-perishable food item, or baby formula, or diapers (size 4 or 5 preferred) to help stock the shelves of the Focus Pregnancy Center as they strive to serve the poor of the community.  Desserts and refreshments will be served.  The agenda for the rally is as follows:
  • 6:30  Opening remarks / Prayer
  • 6:40  Speaker #1 – Rev. Mike Warren – Rescue Rochester
  • 7:00  Live Music by Aidan Loughran and Brody Walsh
  • 7:15  Speaker #2 – Suzanne Stack – Life Issues Coordinator for the Diocese of Rochester
  • 7:35  40 DFL informational video
  • 7:45  Speaker #3 – Fr. Michael Mayer – parochial vicar, Our Lady of Peace Church
  • 8:05  Candlelight vigil on sidewalk
  • 8:20  Dessert / Fellowship

Thank you for standing up for life.


Sung Mass Tomorrow (and every Sunday)

September 20th, 2014, Promulgated by Bernie


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st.alban-stainedglassSunday, September 21

Sung Roman Catholic Mass at 12:30 pm

3302 East Henrietta Road, Henrietta
(The older Good Shepherd church building fronting on East Henrietta Road).

Music for the day:

September 21: Pentecost XV (Jacob Fuhrman, organist)

Processional: 279 “Praise to the Lord, the almighty” (Lobe den Herren)

Offertory: 479 “Love divine, all loves excelling” (Hyfrydol)

Recessional: 385 “Glorious things of thee are spoken” (Austria)


The Truth

September 18th, 2014, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

While you wait for “Remaining in the Truth of Christ” to be published (in which Cardinal Burke is one of the authors), you can read a response to Cardinal Kasper’s proposals by a handful of Dominican scholars titled “Recent Proposals for the Pastoral Care of the Divorced and Remarried: A Theological Assessment” from Nova et Vetera (direct link to pdf here, hat tip Called To Communion).

As to the soap opera regarding the upcoming synod, proposed changes to unchangeable truths, book publishings, rumored exiles, and more, we can not possibly keep up with it all here. For the latest in the drama, you can read all about it at Rorate Caeli, Fr. Z’s blog, and Sandro Magister’s blog (who first broke the news on +Burke’s exile).

From Creative Minority Report:

The truth, revealed to us by God in the Creation and in the Redemption, must find always a faithful witness in us, for the sake of our own salvation and for the salvation of the world. -Cardinal Burke (source Rorate Caeli.)

Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10

Far, far from the clergy be the love of novelty! – St. Piux X