Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester

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At Roman noon, the news arrived…

November 6th, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

Bishop Matano is an excellent choice for our beleaguered flock. Francis has sent us an excellent Bishop; an accomplished canonist and a mature leader. He is doctrinally sound and was carefully chosen.

Quoting the best insider in Catholicism -

After reports of recent meetings with Cardinal Seán O’Malley (on top of being the North American member of the “C-8,” the metropolitan responsible for Vermont) and the Nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò – who was said to have flown into Burlington over the last month – Matano was initially buzzed about for the Connecticut seat before its announcement last week. Now, those indications can be seen as evidence of the delicacy and import with which at least some in Rome view this appointment. (emphasis mine).

Delicacy and import…let that sink in…Delicacy and Import.

This might seem to clash with the fuzzy and sometimes squishy “Franciscian Narrative” so popular in the MSM…but is does not in the least.  The last 5 or 6 U.S. Bishops have several points in common (1) Doctrinally Sound (2) Courageous in the face of morality of our time (3) a firm pastor of souls (4) respectful of the Extraordinary Form (4) Sound liturgies (5) accomplished leader.  That is the authentic “Franciscan Narrative”  – the Magisterium in action; folks – the rest are “remarks on a plane”.

To all that have been in the trenches of Catholicism for decades, surviving on meager rations. Thanks. I left here in 1979 and returned a few years ago. The changes were hard to swallow, I have witnessed terrible suffering and many have left, some for good. Heartbreaking.  Thanks for your fidelity. To all those that suffered for good, implored Rome for suffrage – for your right to a decent liturgy and Sacraments, for the simple following of Canon Law; Thanks. For all those who fasted, prayed, and documented the history of these historic 12,000 days; Thanks. To all those who offered time and treasure to keep the flicker of Catholicism glowing on these windswept shore – offering catechesis in your home, demanding authentic formation of the young and a Catholic pastoral model; your day has come. Thanks. To those who were humiliated, ostracized and mocked for the sake of the Kingdom; Thanks. Your reward awaits. To the simple Catholic who was bullied into thinking that the Rosary, a veil, Adoration, Confession, reverence and liturgical tradition was backward, stupid or gone for good; Thanks. You persevered and followed your conscience. You are a witness to these things.

The time is now to embrace not traditional, not conservative, not orthodox but authentic Roman Catholicism with all her glory – which incorporates all those labels and then some. A new spring has sprung in the New York autumn and on the heels of the first frost, a wind from the east has warmed us. Francis has blessed us and has sent up a pastor that is the fruit of his prayer. The time for a new Evangelization has arrived.  I hesitate to say “with malice toward none and charity towards all…” but to a certain extent, it fits. As for me I will simply be Catholic, and joyfully so. I will continue with my vocation with a new fervor. I will give with greater depth. I will pray with deeper zeal. I will encourage the Sacraments and frequent them. I will bring and suggest and FUND what I have discovered as “best practices” in places I visit. I will support and encourage Bishop Matano who has a difficult ministry before him.

We have been blessed.

See Rocco Palmo’s insights here (may need to scroll down). Excellent and fair insights.

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56 Responses to “At Roman noon, the news arrived…”

  1. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    From a very early post that answers the question “What is Cleansingfire?”, I found a sentence which summarizes for me the heartwarming press conference talk that His Excellency, Bishop Salvatore R. Matano, gave this morning as broadcast on cable television by YNN channel 9.

    “We must remember, above all else, to trust in Jesus Christ, High Priest, King of Creation, Ruler of All, and Spouse of the Holy Mother Church. He is our defense, and a surer refuge no one has ever possessed.”

    As Cleansingfire encourages readers to trust in Jesus Christ, our new Bishop of the Diocese of Rochester exhorted and encouraged listeners to believe, trust and come to the Lord Jesus Christ Present in the Holy Eucharist celebrated at Mass and reserved in our Church’s tabernacles.

    Praise The Lord.

    We have been graced with a bishop focused on the Lord Christ as believed, taught and proclaimed by the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    Did you hear him speak of his agenda? The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!
    Did you hear to whom and what he looks for guidance, inspiration, direction and faith in
    God? The Magisterium of the Catholic Church!
    Did you hear what the new Bishop said about celebrating and praying the Mass? It is not about him; it is not his show; he serves and prays to make Jesus Christ present!

    Brothers and Sisters, like our new shepherd, let us pray and work for unity, inviting the alienated and the lost back home to the Catholic Churc;, let us gather at the Eucharist focused on the Son of God our Savior as we open our selves up more and more to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit for our holiness and greatness of soul to which end our Bishop Salvatore Matano promises to work and serve as he teaches, sanctifies and governs us for our good and God’s glory.

    Welcome to the Diocese of Rochester, Your Excellency. Thank you for coming here. Thank you so much.

    We promise to pray for you as you have asked of us.

    Ave Maria, gratia plena……

  2. avatar Bona says:

    Please post a transcript of the news conference or a link to the video if these become available.

    Thanks.

  3. avatar CPT Tom says:

    Deo Gratias! The people who have walked in Darkness Have seen a Great Light!

    Thank you, Lord God, for this Good Shepherd, Bishop Matano. May he lead us with you in mind, faithfully, tirelessly and with wisdom and humility. May we all unite behind our bishop and bind up the wounds and rebuilt that which was laid low.

    Sing out the Te Deum and the hymns of praise. Rejoice and be Glad, I know I’ve had a smile on my face all day!

  4. avatar Mike says:

    According to Rocco Palmo,

    … Matano was believed to be a favored choice of his Roman classmate, now-Cardinal Raymond Burke, to replace Burke in St Louis on his 2008 transfer to Rome as prefect of the Apostolic Signatura.

    If true, that is quite a recommendation.

    Welcome, Bishop Matano!

  5. avatar Scott W. says:

    You guys are going off the CF-naysayer’s script! You uppity extras are supposed to moan in dissatisfaction and ingratitude! :)

    Seriously, Deo gratias. What a blessing.

  6. avatar Mike says:

    Vatican Radio has an interesting ~10 minute audio interview with Bishop Moreno available online. It’s about 2 years old and may be found here.

  7. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Thank you, Mike, for that link to the audio interview with Bishop Matano.

    It is so edifying to hear a Bishop speak of Jesus Christ, the Eucharist, the New Evangelization and the gift of eternal life in the context of the Catholic Church’s identity, mission and very essence.

    What wisdom, what conviction, what holy boldness this our new shepherd possesses and generously offers in service of the Gospel!

    Thanks Be To God.

  8. avatar annspazz says:

    I am happy for Rochester…sad for Vermont. We just started having the TLM in St Albans every Sunday and on Holy days. I hope his replacement supports the TLM in Vermont. I know this bishop does say the TLM.

  9. avatar Rich Leonardi says:

    Given the number of Italian-Americans in Rochester, it’s about time my hometown had a paisan for a shepherd! I said a prayer of thanksgiving at Holy Hour tonight for Bishop Matano.

    Interestingly, this appointment comes on the (224th) anniversary of the elevation of Bishop John Carroll to the see of Baltimore, making him the first Catholic bishop of the United States.

  10. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Personally, I’m not a fan of Rocco. Although I don’t know other resources that provide the same information (at least in the only language I can read). I think this leads to his take on things being too inflated and unquestioned (ala Weigel). He’s also overly dramatic. Incidentally, he tweeted a link to us:
    https://twitter.com/roccopalmo/status/398206189479403520

    and to someone who left in 1988 providing their incredibly ignorant take on things:
    https://twitter.com/roccopalmo/status/398207002721394688

  11. avatar Nerina says:

    Hi Ben. Regarding the second posted tweet, Todd Flowerday is an unrepentant progressive. I believe he used to frequent Rich Leonardi’s blog and several others. I wouldn’t place any stock in pretty much anything he has to say. God bless you for being on Twitter and defending us.

  12. avatar Nerina says:

    So I just finished reading Todd’s post in full and have to say he is insufferable. He’s labeled Rochester as an “in-between kind of place” possibly suffering from a “sense of entitlement” and a town by which the world has passed. Well, thank you very much Todd. Even though you haven’t lived here in 15 years, feel free to diagnose. He concludes that he “looked for father horizons” instead of the “low-hanging fruit” in front of him and chose to leave the diocese (he’s modest, too). He proclaims, “I’m glad I left.” Makes, two of us, Todd.

    Seriously, if people observing this diocese during the reign of +Clark can’t see the progressive damage inflicted, then they are blinded by their own agenda. Todd Flowerday is certainly such a person. Just last week Mike posted numbers showing a sharp drop in reception of the Sacraments. We know how bad Mass attendance is. We know that our children continue to become adults without any real knowledge of the faith. Our new Bishop has much work to do and he will require our prayerful support. I am thankful to have a shepherd again and pray that he may gather the lost sheep in Rochester.

  13. avatar Rich Leonardi says:

    Yes, Nerina. Todd is a malcontent and pelvic dissident who used to spend most of his time kicking sand on doctrines pertaining to women’s ordination and human sexuality. One of his trademarks was to conclude his nasty screeds on a note of false conviviality, e.g., “Peace to all.” (IIRC he’s also a graduate of your notorious St. Bernard’s school.) No one should take what he says seriously.

  14. avatar militia says:

    I watched the entire 40+ minutes with Bishop Salvatore, flanked by the AA and the BE. The AA sat respectfully quiet until just before he was to speak again, while Bp. Clark seemed like the most twitchy kid in the classroom. He just seemed not to be able to control himself. He drank the whole glass of water in front of him, scratched his face in various places, reached inside his shirt for his shoulder, crossed and uncrossed legs, turned–it was incredible. For someone used to the public spotlight, he couldn’t control his movements. I thought it was disrespectful to the new bishop, but I’m not saying it was intended to be. Maybe he just really has no self control. Or maybe he’s so used to being in the spotlight that it is uncomfortable not to be. I’d love to see that video in a fast forward 30 seconds. :-)

    Couple of observations. Apparently the video was from the pastoral center. I noticed that the tabernacle behind them was right in the center. Yet how often under Bishop Clark has the taberacle been relegated to a lesser place? I loved that Bishop Salvatore used his first interview to sing the praise of the Real Presence! And his call to the strays to return to the church was most welcome. He seems to be a shepherd for souls and not just a cog in the wheel ecclesiastical wheel. Let’s really pray for him, and focus on how we can help, now that God has answered our prayers.

    I noticed that beginning yesterday the prayers at daily Mass have been amended to name our new bishop. Is he officially bishop now, or does he have to wait for installation? Is he here, in the rectory? Or does he return later? What do we know of how this is going to unfold?

  15. avatar DanielKane says:

    As a matter of taste one might take or leave Rocco’s style which I personally find enjoyable and colorful. At the same time, there is no better connected writer on this side of the pond and his content and analysis is accurate. I personally appreciate his tweet (and even his counter-tweet to Flowerday) which illustrates the value of C.F. and his fairness. Clearly we have a divided Diocese there is Catholicism and the fantasy church.

    I continue to rejoice we have a Bishop after the Holy Father’s heart, prayerfully and carefully chosen for the good of our souls. Thanks be to God.

  16. avatar sydwynd says:

    Militia,

    You comments on the Bishop Clark’s movements seems petty. So he didn’t sit perfectly still for the press conference. Big deal. I have a tendancy to shift position and move around when seated for a long time because my legs tend to go to sleep. Really, what was the point of bringing it up other than to poke at our former Bishop? One could make the assumption that because Bishop Cunningham just sat there he was being disrespectful by sleeping through the press conference.

    It remains to be seen how our Diocese changes under new leadership. But if we wish to heed his call for unity, perhaps its time to stop bashing the old administration.

  17. avatar David Valone says:

    About 1 month ago I began asking the intercession of Blessed John Paul II in the selection of a Man of God to be the 9th Bishop of Rochester. I believe this Saint-to-be may well have been instrumental in Bishop Matano’s assignment [perhaps, in part, to make up for his error in 1979 :-) ]

    Praise be to God, after 40 years in the desert, we have a true and faithful Shepherd!

  18. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Seriously, if people observing this diocese during the reign of +Clark can’t see the progressive damage inflicted, then they are blinded by their own agenda… Just last week Mike posted numbers showing a sharp drop in reception of the Sacraments. We know how bad Mass attendance is. We know that our children continue to become adults without any real knowledge of the faith.

    There are plenty of different metrics to be used to suit your needs. I’d agree that mass attendance (and the other numbers Mike has referenced) are good indicators. If anyone noticed, the D&C (Sean Dobbin) used data from Annuario Pontificio to show that the number of self identified Catholics decreased significantly in Burlington during +Matano’s time. Contrast this with the fact that those numbers stayed about the same during +Clark’s tenure here in Rochester and you’ve got yourself a pretty decent progressive narrative. I’d tend to agree with Mike, though, that the Annuario Pontificio numbers are not good indicators for telling the story of how well a bishop is doing.
    http://cleansingfiredor.com/2012/07/fishy-data/

    I don’t know why the Annuario Pontificio #s decreased so much in Burlington. My only guess based on visiting some friends and from some ski trips is that all the hippies moving there have skewed the numbers.

    David, I believe your prayers have been answered.

  19. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    I share everyone’s joy concerning the new bishop. I just hope that under his guidance, the issues concerning sex will be preached and that he will encourage his priests to do the same. If not, however, I can understand the relatively low numbers for mass and the sacraments as mentioned by others here. Youth need something to keep them in Church. If they are deluged by the culture and our Church remains silent, then no wonder they are leaving. The culture has too much an influence.

  20. avatar militia says:

    @sydwynd
    So I can’t call attention to what was totally obvious to anyone who watched the 40 minutes –a factual observation of excessive figityness by Bishop Clark– with no attribution of motive to all that squirming, but it’s ok for you to attribute a motive to me of pettiness and wanting to embarass? Big log in your eye, brother.

    You don’t sound like you even watched it or you would have noticed Bishop Cunningham’s attentiveness, and not sought to smear him by implying he was asleep! And what was that throwaway comment at the end by Bishop Clark about wanting to help but not to chair a committee — huh? Do you want to speculate on that motive too?

  21. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Ben, at 7:15 AM today you made a reference to an “inflated and unquestioned” take on things “(ala Weigel_”. Frankly, my brother, I still am left unsatisfied with your negative perspective on George Weigel.

    Even Father Z. seems to appreciate his cogent argumentation. See http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/10/weigel-on-traditionalists/

    Recently George Weigel gave a talk in which he makes a reference to traditionalists (about whom I do not know he is referring…who are they?) using the phrase (I don’t know what it means) “auto-constructed catacombs”.

    In any event, please consider offering a more complete and satisfying critique of George Weigel and his thought as you reflect also upon his recent talk. See http://www.eppc.org/publications/catholics-and-postmodernity/

  22. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    ok, Dominick, I just sat down and finally wrote out all the troubling quotes I found in the first half of his EC book. Now I can return the book to its rightful owner. It’s going to take me some time, though, to weed through the quotes to describe the real problem. As a disclaimer, I came to the conclusion that Weigel’s ideas were troublesome on my own after reading his article in First Things, which was a summation of the book. Up until that time, I had a good deal of respect for his writings. It was at that time that I began to realize how serious some problems are w/in “conservative” Catholicism. The main problem is that certain conservative circles take it for granted that nouvelle-theologie is the only proper Catholic theology and that philosophy/theology prior to these folks was somehow lacking something essential. This is very close to the same hermeneutic of rupture that they rightfully beat down the liberals with. The other problem I’m seeing is a misguided understanding of evangelization (overemphasizing the use of social media and trying to be relevant and/or revolutionary – ala Christopher West’s take on TOB or Popcak’s take on parenting/sex). I’m raising my children in a way that highly emphasizes Counter-Reformational / Catechetical-Devotional Catholicism. Modern themes will not be neglected, but they will be put into a proper, historical context. Weigel’s characterization of CR/CD Catholicism as lacking all the goods of his EC Catholicism (which incidentally he retroactively applies the term as he sees fit) is just wrong . And on top of that Weigel is now being heralded as the interpreter of Pope Francis’ pontificate (not that he’s alone – everyone seems to want to tell us what Pope Francis’ inner thoughts and plans are for everything he says/does). For anyone who thinks I’m off-base, I encourage you to actually read the classics of the last 500 hundred years (councils, catechisms, magisterial documents, and writings of the saints) and judge for yourself whether Weigel has it right instead of taking his word for it that all of the sudden, just 60 years ago, Catholics started getting things right (I know he attempts to go back to Leo XIII, but that’s just a ploy to make his narrative transcend the existing boundaries). Not that his book is all bad – there is much good in it… and that’s what makes it even more dangerous – it’s a narrative that many people will just swallow right down w/out even realizing they’re getting a very slanted take on things. Also, I didn’t read FrZ’s post as being supportive of Weigel’s comments. And once again – my disclaimer that I’m not someone who has a problem with the new mass, V2, or the modern popes (as Weigel seems to want to characterize all “traditionalists”). Apologies for clogging up this thread. Eventually I will get to the post which will flush these ideas out more thoroughly.

  23. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Thank you, Ben, for your perspective on Weigel
    and your appreciation of the great value of what
    he has gone on record denigrating.

    Perhaps, just perhaps, Pope Francis would
    emphasize that it serves the Lord and His Gospel
    more fruitfully to draw from both the older and
    the newer any and all methodologies and spiritualities
    which faithfully draw us to the Son of God,
    His Word and its salvific influence in today’s
    culture.

    How foolish for any one to denigrate what
    authentically brings Christ and His saving Gospel
    to someone.

    To me this is unnecessary divisiveness.
    Thank you, Ben, for your insight into something
    that originally went way over my head.

    Earlier some one asked for a link to Bishop Matano’s
    November 6 press conference in Rochester.
    Try this http://www.catholiccourier.com/photo-video/videos/bishop-matano-introduced-during-press-conference/

    l

  24. avatar sydwynd says:

    @Militia,

    I will admit, I did not get a chance to watch the entire press conference. I was at work when it was streaming live and I was having buffering issues so I watched about 10 to 15 minutes of it. And I’ll admit that I noticed neither Bishop Clark’s or Bishop Cunningham’s actions and/or demeanor. I was watching the new bishop.

    You stated you were just giving factual observation with no attributing to motive but you stated “I thought it was disrespectful to the new bishop, but I’m not saying it was intended to be. Maybe he just really has no self control. Or maybe he’s so used to being in the spotlight that it is uncomfortable not to be.” That sounds like attribution of motive: disrespect or jealousy. Was that your intent? I don’t know.

    Also, I wasn’t stating Bishop Cunningham was asleep, I’m simply saying that someone could have interpreted his actions as such depending on how they their own perspective.

    Not looking to get into a flame war. My thought on the comment was this: while your observations may have been valid, what was the point of calling them out if not to make Bishop Clark look bad? I’m well aware of the anti-Clark sentiments of many on this blog. My point is that there’s now a new Bishop. Let’s move on.

  25. avatar militia says:

    OK, sydwynd, you admit you didn’t watch it — I’ll let it go with that, and not respond to the rest. Thank you for your truthfulness.

  26. avatar Nerina says:

    What Ben said (regarding Weigel). Look forward to your post, Ben. I must admit the whole EC/Weigel things has rubbed me the wrong way.

  27. avatar y2kscotty says:

    Despite all the euphoria here about Bishop Matano, I have a suspicion that he will find that the Rochester`Diocese is not anywhere near as bad as he may have heard during his time at the nunciature. In fact I think he will be pleasantly surprised. This job in Rochester should be much more pleasant for him than the Burlington assignment where he spent such a significant amount of time cleaning up the sex-abuse mess there. He already has indicated what his highest priority is.

  28. avatar Hopefull says:

    Sorry, y2kscotty, but I disagree. Actually, I think he will find it much worse than he is expecting. In Vermont, he inherited a clearly defined but painful task which he had not caused (i.e. no iron in the fire), in which the legal rules were fairly well established, in which the goal was clear, and which would have a finite end-point. In the DoR situation, he will find:

    1) a long-standing internal division in the diocese, between (for want of better terms) the ‘orthodox faithful’ and the progressives who were part of the hijacking of Vatican II. There is hardly a parish that hasn’t been tainted. And many of Bishop Matano’s staff are part of the problem, not the solution. He won’t have support, he will have opposition unless he cleans house quickly. Pope Francis’ need to address the Curia is a prime and good example.

    2) Bishop Clark’s too long tenure has led to multi-generational failures in catechesis and commitment. It is wonderful that our new bishop wants to call people back to Mass, and indeed he should, but there are many who don’t even remember “Mass.” Parents don’t want to be embarrassed in front of their children, but many are almost incapable of teaching the faith.

    3) The laxity which has been tolerated (or at least not preached against) is entrenched. Now people will feel that being called to holiness will be wrenching some “rights” away from them, rather than rescuing their souls. People don’t give up their sins easily; none of us does. But things like DoR’s emphasis on LGBT “relationships” has nurtured a “right to sin” mindset. So has refusing to preach against contraception and abortion from the pulpit. The festering lack of clarity and double-speak needs to be undone. Undoing is often harder than doing. And the entire secular culture, and the USCCB’s close alignment with the Democratic party is a millstone against efforts to “undo.” But so too is the DoR culture, which will only be rooted out kicking and sceaming.

    4) Closing schools and churches has made the “calling back” more difficult. Resources are gone, relationships are ruptured. And more painful discovery may well be on the horizon. Fraud prevention on the front cover of the Courier hints to me that Bishop Matano may have some more unhappy surprises.

    But — on the postive side — Bishop Matano has been named by a prayerful and charismatic pope who surely will be praying for our new bishop, as we must too. He has 8 years and that is rather too long to be dismissed as just a caretaker bishop. Retirement is a viable option for a number of those who just can’t let go of their V-II dreams to remake the church as an NGO, ordain women, and “over-ecumenize”. Bishop Matano is apparently not just a permitter of TLM, but a celebrant, which is enormous. Because his heart is in the right place to care for people’s souls, there can be no doubt that he will be given the right words at the right time, under the care of the Holy Spirit. Still, compared to settling abuse cases, the DoR will be a much harder nut to crack. And it will take much longer for real “reformation.” We don’t need one more case of sloganeering which doesn’t mean anything. We need our Church back. We need to go back to our Church. No matter how faithful we each are, no matter if we go to daily Mass and all the devotions, there is always room to do more, and we each have to do more — in spiritual support of Bishop Matano’s efforts.

    I am, well — HOPEFULL!

  29. avatar Ron says:

    I do wonder how well he really does know what has gone on here? Some of these things have been big to us because we are here, but this is just one diocese among many.

  30. avatar Richard Malcolm says:

    Where does a good bishop even start after inheriting such a diocese?

    Prayers are needed for Bishop Matano – lots of prayers. “Hopefull” is correct, I am afraid: It will take many years to restore a sense of Catholic identity and spirituality to the Diocese of Rochester. He inherits a small and shrinking pool of priests and a bevy of lay personnel who will oppose almost any attempts at genuine reform.

    The Catholics he needs most for reform will be wary of coming back; many have been hurt and alienated by the two generations of Bishop Clark’s tenure.

    One thing I hope His Excellency keeps in mind: The wise old adage that Personnel Is Policy. He’s going to have change some personnel if he wants to change the Diocese. And I realize that may not always be easy.

  31. avatar Scott W. says:

    I’d liken the new bishop’s task to the Hobbit’s return in the chapter “The Scouring of the Shire” in The Return of the King.

  32. avatar BigE says:

    @Richard,
    Do you really believe the Catholics that have left our church have done so because of Bishops Clark’s tenure? Really?

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/30/7-reasons-catholics-leave-church-in-trenton-1-is-sex-abuse-crisis/

  33. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    E,

    I am saying that due to the failure of teaching by the clergy, millions have left the faith. If I may assume, and correct me if I am wrong, the numbers or percentages of Catholics leaving the faith in Rochester is greater than the national average. If I am correct, you can draw your own conclusions.

  34. avatar Abaccio says:

    BigE,

    There is a large difference between the stated and actual reasons people leave the Church. They say things like “sex abuse,” or “I’m not inspired,” or “The teachings are hard.”

    But, if I may be so audacious, I don’t think anyone leaves the Church for these reasons. I think they leave the Church for one of two reasons:

    1) They don’t believe in the Real Presence.

    2) They don’t believe in God.

    They will rarely state it like that, or even realize it. They may “believe” in some false caricature of God.

    Peter Kreeft relates the story of a Muslim telling him, “I don’t think you believe that [the Eucharist is really God]” Why? No, the young man didn’t reject kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament, but rather GETTING BACK UP!

    In both of the above reasons, there are two factors to blame: poor catechesis and a lack of ritual efficacy (drastically different than sacramental efficacy–ritual efficacy is the effect ritual has on the participant) which can be particularly noticed liturgically.

    In both of these factors, there is more than enough blame to spread around, but it centers on Bishop Matthew Clark. Ergo, I do blame +Clark for the crisis of faith in the Diocese of Rochester.

  35. avatar Scott W. says:

    The word I’ve always heard was that whatever +Clark’s faults, he kept his house free of sex abusers–and people still left in droves, so I’m skeptical of the whole “I left because of sex abuse.” Especially when there was so much liturgy and doctrine abuse during the reign of terror.

  36. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Scott,

    I think there were cases of sexual abuse during his tenure.

  37. avatar Scott W. says:

    I think there were cases of sexual abuse during his tenure.

    Let me rephrase–It is my understanding that +Bishop did not go for the “priest shuffle” that got other bishops in trouble.

  38. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Sorry, Scott, but please consider the case of Fr. Eugene Emo and St. Januarius. Here is a link
    http://www.bishop-accountability.org/archives/nelson/1996_02_17_Livadas_PriestsArrest.pdf
    where you will find a summary: “Arrested 2/96; sentenced to 6 months in prison and 5 yrs probation 5/97 for abuse of 31 yr old mentally disabled man. At that time he was on limited duty because of prior sexual abuse allegations. He was sent for residential treatment in 1993 after accusations surfaced. Numerous other complaints after his arrest. In 1999 Emo was charged with violating probation by having contact with 16 year old boy and was sentenced to 1-3 years in prision. He was released from prison in 2002.”

    You will also find links to numerous articles worth reading if you follow that link. Some people who were at St. Jan’s when all this happened have consistently claimed that Fr. Emo was moved around. The person assigned by the diocese to handle the matter was Fr. Ring, who had extended involvement in priest personnel matters. A number of people at St. Jan’s said they weren’t told the truth. I was not there at the time, so I don’t have personal knowledge of their claims of not being told the truth about moving priests around.

    However on 9-11-2001 (yes-THAT 9-11) Fr. Ring was assigned as pastor to St. Jan’s and 5 other churches in the area, and it was a bitter pill for St. Jan’s folks to swallow, due to damaged trust, in my opinion. Things got worse and less than 2 years later, a forum of St. Jan’s parishioners asked the bishop for Fr. Ring’s removal, which never happened, or even seemed to have been treated with any attention or seriousness. I have a transcript of that forum.

    Over the intervening years, before Fr. Ring was transferred to St. Louis in Pittsford, St. Jan’s lost nearly half its attendance. The last battle was over the sanctuary renovation forced on St. Jan’s by Fr. Ring and Bishop Clark, which I’ve reported elsewhere on this website. At the depth of the complaint alleged by St. Jan’s folks I have spoken with, is the belief that Fr. Emo had been moved both before and after his arrest at St. Jan’s, and a resultant inability to trust those who claimed otherwise. There is much more information obtainable on this, including sworn statements, but I will leave for now that a patent claim of no priest shuffles is challengable. If anyone reading this has specific information to the contrary, I would welcome receiving it, and adjusting my opinions and writings on the subject.

  39. avatar annonymouse says:

    BigE – I personally know a family who left (and are now “baptized” Baptists) precisely because of Bishop Clark. They had all of their children in the local Catholic school, and when their school was closed, they sought alternatives to the local school district, placed two of the kids at the nearby Baptist school, and started going to church there. I’d like to think they’ll come home, but they’re still very angry, as they were very involved in the school, so I’m not so sure.

  40. avatar BigE says:

    @Richard
    Can you cite a source for your percentages assertion?

    @Abaccio
    Same question. Everything I’ve seen says most Catholics leave for other faith traditions (ie Protestant) which would indicate that belief in God IS NOT the issue. Although I wouldn’t be surprised to see that a large number also become a part of the “I’m spiritual, but not religious” crowd.

    @Scott W.
    In my opinion, the sex abuse scandal is one that is identitifed on more of a world wide than local basis (although local abuse only intensifies that dissatiaction). But that’s only my opinion. I’ll need to do some digging on this.

    @Annonymouse
    We could argue over whether schools being closed is simply a Bishop Clark issue, as Catholic schools are closing in big droves across the country. So one could argue school closings are the result of Catholics leaving the church, not the cause of them leaving. (although this is not to say it hasn’t caused some to leave, as you cited. I just don’t think it’s a big impact, and certainly hasn’t been cited as such in most of the studies on why people leave the Church)

  41. avatar annonymouse says:

    BigE – I doubt that there are dioceses across the country which have closed as large a percentage of their schools as the DoR has. In any event, the school in question had secured commitments for ongoing financial support contributions, had a steady enrollment and presented a financial viability plan to diocese officials, only to be rebuffed and the school closed. The diocese had specifically requested this action plan and despite its obvious viability, closed the school anyway. Nearly all of the parents were quite angry; only some decided to leave the Faith over it. Could it have been handled any less well pastorally? Highly doubtful.

    God bless and Godspeed to Bishop Matano – for the same lieutenants who’ve carried out DoR policy for many years remain in place.

  42. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    All I know is the last school closed by the bishop was only two students short of meetind diocesan requirements for enrollment numbers.now I am sure that if management wanted the school to remain open, some benefactor could have come up with the money and two students could be found . But closing the school in that situation only fosters the belief that the diocese wanted to close the school and I have Big trouble with that attitude

  43. avatar Scott W. says:

    In my opinion, the sex abuse scandal is one that is identitifed on more of a world wide than local basis (although local abuse only intensifies that dissatiaction). But that’s only my opinion. I’ll need to do some digging on this.

    But that is irrelevant because +Clark’s diocese didn’t just lose lots of people, it out paced just about every diocese out there. The sex abuse scandal simply isn’t enough to explain the DoR scraping the bottom of the barrel in just about every category indicating a healthy diocese. Ain’t no way around it, his reign is notable outlier of utter collapse.

  44. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Mouse,

    Where did I say anything using percentages?

  45. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    E

    i have to disagree with that article. If 95 percent of Catholics receive their adult education from the homily and no priest preaches about homosexuality, the problem is one of neglect. In that situation the laity is evangelized by the culture. They oppose church teaching out of neglect and ignorance.

    In light of the liberal positions of the bishops on immigration and social justice I would be hesitant to call them conservative. They never preach homilies on abortion. Again the laity is a victim of neglect.

    Even the issues I women. Our clergy is required to preach about this issue. But once again they are silent or,like Bishop Clark, fan the flames of dissent

  46. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Objectively speaking, people leave the Church because of a lack of faith. If they believed her to be what she claims, no one would ever leave. None of us has perfect faith and therefore we all have limits regarding trials we cannot endure. Let us pray to God build up our faith.

  47. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    The subject of Catholics leaving the Church (and sometimes coming back) is very dear to my heart because I had left (and thanks be to God, eventually did come home to Rome).

    “..people leave the Church because of a lack of faith.” Ultimately, this statement is true. Didn’t Archbishop Fulton Sheen call into question moral failings as well as to why people left? And didn’t he assert that the Church that people hated or disagreed with was the Church mistakenly thought to be and not the one that is.

    “If they believed her to be what she claims…..” That is the point, I think, of Sheen’s assertions regarding misunderstanding and misinformation.

    In my own experience before I left the Church, I felt alone in that the Catholics I knew (family, friends, parishioners) did not seem particularly interested in the things of the Lord Jesus. Topics of conversation and activities engaged in by the Catholics I knew were about everything worldly but not about grace, mercy, conversion, repentance, justification, sanctification, forgiveness, heaven or hell.

    So I hungered for fellowship with like minded believers. And, unfortunately, I did not know The Faith very well at all. Yes, I was misinformed and I misunderstood what the Church believed, lived and taught.

    But because I found excitement in the Lord and a sense of lively commitment to the Savior in Evangelical Fundamentalism, I left the Church for five years.

    Once God brought me home, once I met Catholics who knew, believed and lived what Christ’s Catholic Church taught, I no longer felt alone. Yet soon I realized the work of evangelization, catechesis and apologetics was a task to be undertaken not only because it was God’s will but because there was a great need.

    Why did I leave? For all of the above reasons and BECAUSE the pastoral center, the parish priest and the parishioners gave me a poor witness and demonstrated little interest or capability to help me discover Christ in His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    I assert that for me, (and perhaps for many others who need the help offered by the likes of apologist Karl Keating or evangelizer Ralph Martin), Catholics who are not shepherded, not taught, not sanctified, and not governed, will wander away. But thanks be to God for those faithful Catholics, lay and clergy, who went searching for us, helped us find our way home and then nourished us in the Lord according to Christ’s Catholic Church.

    Jeremiah 23:1-4
    “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord. Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the Lord.”

  48. avatar Scott W. says:

    See Rich’s comment at his blog here

    “So it would seem that out of the gate Bishop Matano will focus on (1) the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and the (2) sanctification and holiness of his flock. He couldn’t pick two better priorities.”

    So with that, I’m going to try to stop to dwell on the endless argument of What-Clark-Did. I think the facts speak for themselves and, more importantly, the Vatican recognized those facts and sent the right bishop for the job. Deo Gratias.

  49. avatar Scott W. says:

    Should read “stop dwelling on”, not “stop to dwell”

  50. avatar flowerchild says:

    After reading the front page article in the D&C this morning, I am becoming more convinced that Pope Francis chose wisely.
    Bishop Matano will be a welcome change from the liberalism of the past 3 decades.

  51. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    flowerchild, I agree with you that Pope Francis chose wisely and that Bishop Matano will be a welcome change.

    But not for the same reason.

    After I read the front page article in the D&C 11/14/13 entitled, “FAITHFUL Rochester’s new Catholic bishop conservative and loyal to Rome”, I fear that many Rochesterians (Catholics and others) will be prejudiced by David Andretta’s article. I disliked the article.

    Yes, there were favorable quotes from those who know personally His Excellency Bishop Matano. But the article’s focus, as can be expected in a secular report, was not on the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Eucharist, holiness for the sake of mission and our new Ordinary’s devotion and faithfulness to each.

    Will readers of Andretta’s newspaper article be impressed with Bishop Matano’s pastoral desire and prayerful work for unity both found and experienced in celebrations of Holy Mass and the Eucharist? Will readers of this report be impressed by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit for our own holiness and greatness of soul to which end our new Bishop Salvatore promises to work and serve as he teaches, sanctifies and governs the Diocese for Jesus’s sake and in His Name?

    NO.

    The article could turn folks off (folks who might desperately need to experience Christ made present by this successor to the Apostles) even before they meet him, hear him and experience his pastoral care.

    I fear that those who need the Lord Christ the most, those who are most in need to experience a faithful and courageous witness to the Gospel, to the Church, and to all with which She has been endowed, instead will only hear:
    1) in 1985 Matano pushed to derail a bill to shield gays from discrimination in order not to foster a climate in which homosexuality is an acceptable alternate lifestyle.
    2) in 1986 Matano took the heat for the excommunication by the Diocese of Providence of the Director of Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island because her job made her an accomplice to abortions.
    3) that Matano unapologetically enforced conservative Church doctrine.
    4) that Matano has adhered to the clear boundaries of right and wrong regarding gay marriage and abortion drawn by previous popes.

    As for me and my house, we can rejoice in each of numbers 1 through 4 above. Yet for the majority, don’t they first need to experience the grace and mercy of God in Christ, the gift of salvation, the life transforming encounter with the Savior which sets all sinners free to become the children of God?

    Yes, dear flowerchild, I agree with you that Pope Francis chose wisely and that Bishop Matano will be a welcome change; but not because of today’s front page newspaper article.

    Thanks for letting me share.

  52. avatar Scott W. says:

    Over here in Buffalo, our bishop Malone remarks:

    “I have known Bishop Matano since his ordination and installation in Burlington, and have gotten to know him as a devout, very bright, faithful and courageous bishop. He has a crisp sense of humor. I look forward to welcoming him to Western New York in our neighboring Diocese of Rochester.”

    It’s a veritable love-in! :)

  53. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Dominick,

    I agree with you. Or let’s say I would be concerned. There are strongholds of heresy in the DOR like St Mary’s downtown among others and articles like that would be an attempt to fan the flames of protest and dissent. Will this happen? Only time will tell.

  54. avatar Eliza10 says:

    I am so happy. Rochester is going to have a new Springtime. We have our wonderful Pope and now we have a wonderful Bishop. Whatever he does he will do it well.

    I do hope he begins by reopening closed Churches immediately. I hope he encourages closed schools to find a way to reopen in the Fall and if they can. Certainly if they have a plan to do it on their own like some had (and Clark & Co. refused them) they should be given the go ahead to try until he gets other funding in place.

    I hope Bishop Mantano will let Priests choose to stay with a parish and if Clark & Co. has installed a priest the people do not want, then they are invited to request, with explanation, why they want to have him transferred, and that includes youth workers and pastoral administrators as well. And I hope he will let Priests choose not to retire until they feel God calls them to.

    I hope he will continue to call attention to Eucharistic Adoration and I hope he will set an example by adoring himself. Twice I have seen priests come join the people in the pew during Eucharistic Adoration and it always blessed me and gave me hope. And I hope he will let every parish put their Tabernacle where THEY ALL WANT IT – in the center.

    I hope he will take a little look at St. Bernard’s and take immediate action on what he sees.

  55. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Militia, I also have seen Clark acting very strangely for the camera before. During Archbishop Dolan’s installation he was also very jerky, restless and self-conscious, which made him stand out compared other more self-controlled bishops. (And we know Clark, so we know he does not have a nervous tic or anything). He was very conscious of where the camera’s were, and certainly seemed to to moving to get seen by them.

    It makes me so glad for so many holy priests and bishops who are self-controlled in front of the camera. There are my favorite humble priests and monks on EWTN Masses who are also seen by millions, but they are not camera-conscious or showing interest in being seen, but instead display humble, holy, focused reverence for the greater Reality.

    I also do not think it wrong to speak with honest dissatisfaction or distress on the public demeanor of one’s Bishop. He is supposed to be representing all that is Catholic, and if he does so markedly poorly, we don’t like it and its not wrong to say so. We do have reasonable expectations of him. He cannot expect just perks at the top.

    But I think we won’t have such complaints about our new Bishop whom I am so grateful for. My heart just sang at Mass last week when prayer was offered for our “Bishop Salvatore” … it was the first I heard!

  56. avatar militia says:

    This is a link to a great article by Anne Hendershot (Steubenville) on the environment and situation Bishop Matano is coming from….
    http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/2284/expanding_the_culture_of_death_in_vermont.aspx

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