Monday, July 4, 2011

Bishop Matthew Clark of Rochester and the issue of "homosexual marriage"

Sacred Heart Cathedral – Rochester, NY (built in 1927)
"You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
 – John 8:32
As I struggle to educate myself on what exactly happened in New York with regards to the Catholic Church's lack of effective opposition to "homosexual marriage", I have come across some rather disturbing Church history.

The trail starts with an article in Sunday's New York Times titled "After Backing Gay Marriage, 4 in G.O.P. Face Voters’ Verdict". I'll skip over the part about how Senator Mark J. Grisanti went to Mass just days after the vote. There is no mention in the article as to whether he received communion. I assume he did, because otherwise it would be big news. And no one in the New York Catholic Church has ever said that he should be denied communion anyway.

Where it gets interesting is with the case of James S. Alesi, "the first Republican senator to say he would support same-sex marriage this year". I wondered whether Alesi was a Catholic. The rather confusing answer came later in the article. It said "Mr. Alesi [worships at] Spiritus Christi Church, a Catholic congregation that broke with Rome in order to support gay men and lesbians, as well as women in the clergy."

As they say, "you can't make this stuff up".

Spritus Christi Church calls itself "an inclusive Catholic church where all are welcome". The "priest" of this church is a woman, Rev. Mary Ramerman. She is a former Methodist "who wished to become a [Catholic] priest" and "was encouraged by [former Catholic priest] Rev. James Callan". So she moved from California to New York to join Father Callan at Corpus Christi parish.

This happened sometime around 1983 as best as I can tell and Ramerman would have been around 28 years old at the time. With the support of Father Callan she became an associate pastor at the church where she "regularly preached, offered blessings, and stood behind the altar to raise the chalice during the consecration".

Fifteen years later, in 1998 the Bishop of Rochester, Matthew H. Clark, finally decided to take some action. Most likely he was forced into taking action by his superiors in Rome, because as we will see the Bishop had expressed some divergent views of his own in the past.

I'll let the Spiritus Christi Church tell this part of the story themselves in their own self-incriminating way:
On August 13, 1998, Bishop Matthew Clark, under pressure from Rome, removed Fr. Jim Callan as administrator after 22 years at Corpus Christi Church. The Vatican had trouble with three practices dear to the heart of Corpus Christi parishioners: the prominent role of women on the altar, the blessing of gay unions, and the offering of communion to those who were not Catholic.
Actually, Callan was just "reassigned to another parish in western New York". And Callan didn't just "bless gay unions", he "conducted same-sex weddings".

Soon afterward, associate pastor Mary Ramerman was terminated. Ramerman, who was 43 at the time and the mother of three children, said "My heart's broken. I also feel angry with the Church that it can't stand up for what it believes in."

I think we can all agree that this was a tragic situation, but not for the reasons cited by Mary Ramerman. This eventualy led to the formation of the Spiritus Christi Church which is not Roman Catholic, but still likes to call itself "catholic". Mary Ramerman was "ordained" in 2001 and is now the "priest" of the church. Jim Callan is now the associate pastor. He still refers to himself as "Father" Jim Callan although he was excommunicated in 1999.

It isn't easy to get excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church these days, but at least the Church hasn't totally given up on the practice. Actually the official statement is that he ''excommunicated himself'', for "starting his own church". Now we know what it takes to get automatically excommunicated.

Which made me begin to wonder about Rochester Bishop Matthew Clark and why he had allowed this to go on for 15 years without taking any action. I quickly learned that Clark "has been criticized for being overly tolerant of homosexuality and even challenging the Vatican's position of not allowing homosexual priests".

In March of this year in response to a statement from the Vatican banning individuals with “deep-seated” homosexual tendencies from entering the priesthood, Bishop Clark commented: "I know some magnificent gay priests.... I have always tried to be open to such candidates."

In 1997, a little over a year before the removal of the schismatic Father Callan, Bishop Clark invited the Rochester homosexual community to a Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral. The homily he delivered was welcoming to the extreme and gave no indication whatsoever that Bishop Clark considers homosexual acts to be a sin, or that homosexuality itself is a "disorder". Here is an excerpt so that you can get a sense of his words that day:
God always calls us to become fully who God wants us to be. And to trust us enough that we will respond to that precious gift with everything that's good and noble and wonderful about us. And who at the same time, recognizing that we can be selfish and prone to sin, is always ready to reach out and to restore and to heal and to send us off again to become the wonderful person we're meant to be. I'd simply like to say this afternoon to you, dear sisters and brothers who gather here, that I hope we have a deep sense of solidarity one with the other. And that we reverence, respect and honor the freedom of one another, just as God honors those precious, God-given gifts in us.

To my brothers and sisters, gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, you have told me over years of conversations with you and you have relayed to me through friends with whom I have spoken, that far more often than not, our faith community seems forbidding; that in it you feel unwelcome; that your own struggles, issues, questions, joys, sorrows, talents, needs, gifts, are not respected as they should be. I hope I can say with confidence that this gathering this afternoon symbolizes a widespread sentiment among the people of our diocese, that we'd like to do a better job on that. And we would like to convey to you in a much more rewarding and genuine way, the respect that we have for your integrity, your goodness and your gifts. And at the same time, I hope that we could say to you with equal honesty that we are the weaker to the degree that we do not enjoy the wonderful gifts God gives you for the sake of the community.
I could certainly understand if someone sitting in one of the pews that day who was engaged in a homosexual life, could listen to the soothing words of the Bishop's homily and go home thinking that the Bishop had just endorsed their choice of sexual orientation. And that the Bishop had even gone as far as to give them his blessing in the name of the Holy Catholic Church. How confusing this must be, when we know that a homosexual life can never be in "solidarity" with the teachings of the Church.

In 1986 Cardinal Ratzinger, the current Pope, issued a letter that addressed the "pastoral care of homosexual persons". In it he specifically condemns the type of language and ideas expressed in Bishop Clark's homily of 1997.
In the discussion which followed the publication of the [1975] Declaration, however, an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral, or even good. Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.

Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not.
[...]
Increasing numbers of people today, even within the Church, are bringing enormous pressure to bear on the Church to accept the homosexual condition as though it were not disordered and to condone homosexual activity. Those within the Church who argue in this fashion often have close ties with those with similar views outside it.
[...]
The Church's ministers must ensure that homosexual persons in their care will not be misled by this point of view, so profoundly opposed to the teaching of the Church. But the risk is great and there are many who seek to create confusion regarding the Church's position, and then to use that confusion to their own advantage.

The movement within the Church, which takes the form of pressure groups of various names and sizes, attempts to give the impression that it represents all homosexual persons who are Catholics. As a matter of fact, its membership is by and large restricted to those who either ignore the teaching of the Church or seek somehow to undermine it. It brings together under the aegis of Catholicism homosexual persons who have no intention of abandoning their homosexual behaviour. One tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination.

There is an effort in some countries to manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil-statutes and laws. This is done in order to conform to these pressure groups' concept that homosexuality is at least a completely harmless, if not an entirely good, thing. Even when the practice of homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people, its advocates remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the risks involved.
[...]
Christians who are homosexual are called, as all of us are, to a chaste life. As they dedicate their lives to understanding the nature of God's personal call to them, they will be able to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance more faithfully and receive the Lord's grace so freely offered there in order to convert their lives more fully to his Way.
[...]
The Bishops have the particularly grave responsibility to see to it that their assistants in the ministry, above all the priests, are rightly informed and personally disposed to bring the teaching of the Church in its integrity to everyone.

The characteristic concern and good will exhibited by many clergy and religious in their pastoral care for homosexual persons is admirable, and, we hope, will not diminish. Such devoted ministers should have the confidence that they are faithfully following the will of the Lord by encouraging the homosexual person to lead a chaste life and by affirming that person's God-given dignity and worth.

With this in mind, this Congregation wishes to ask the Bishops to be especially cautious of any programmes which may seek to pressure the Church to change her teaching, even while claiming not to do so. A careful examination of their public statements and the activities they promote reveals a studied ambiguity by which they attempt to mislead the pastors and the faithful. For example, they may present the teaching of the Magisterium, but only as if it were an optional source for the formation of one's conscience. Its specific authority is not recognized. Some of these groups will use the word "Catholic" to describe either the organization or its intended members, yet they do not defend and promote the teaching of the Magisterium; indeed, they even openly attack it. While their members may claim a desire to conform their lives to the teaching of Jesus, in fact they abandon the teaching of his Church. This contradictory action should not have the support of the Bishops in any way.

We encourage the Bishops, then, to provide pastoral care in full accord with the teaching of the Church for homosexual persons of their dioceses. No authentic pastoral programme will include organizations in which homosexual persons associate with each other without clearly stating that homosexual activity is immoral. A truly pastoral approach will appreciate the need for homosexual persons to avoid the near occasions of sin.

We would heartily encourage programmes where these dangers are avoided. But we wish to make it clear that departure from the Church's teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral. Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral. The neglect of the Church's position prevents homosexual men and women from receiving the care they need and deserve.

All support should be withdrawn from any organizations which seek to undermine the teaching of the Church, which are ambiguous about it, or which neglect it entirely. Such support, or even the semblance of such support, can be gravely misinterpreted. Special attention should be given to the practice of scheduling religious services and to the use of Church buildings by these groups, including the facilities of Catholic schools and colleges. To some, such permission to use Church property may seem only just and charitable; but in reality it is contradictory to the purpose for which these institutions were founded, it is misleading and often scandalous.
There seems to be a pattern of Bishop Clark deliberately ignoring Church teachings that do not fit his view; specifically on the subject of homosexuality.

Another example occurred in 1997, when Bishop Clark attended a New Ways Ministry conference. This is a group that advocates for changing Catholic teaching on homosexuality. Bishop Clark should have been aware that the group's activities had been denounced in 1984 by the Archbishop of Washington James Hickey for their "lack of adherence to Church teaching on the morality of homosexual acts". Later, in 1999 they were further condemned by the Vatican.

As recently as 2010, Bishop Clark wrote an article titled "All are beloved children of God" which was reprinted with permission in the newsletter of a group called "Fortunate Families". In it he refuses to explicitly condemn homosexual acts and speaks rather ambiguously about the Church's teachings.
I will not dwell here on the well known teaching of the Catholic Church opposing same-sex marriage. It is a teaching the church has made clear, and one I understand theologically and uphold faithfully as bishop. At the same time, I lament that the "don’ts" of our teaching too often drown out the "do’s." I lament that the full teaching of the church as it concerns gay and lesbian people is either too little known, too often left unspoken or, in some cases, deliberately ignored.
Fortunate Families is a Rochester, NY based group that "serves as a resource and networking ministry with Catholic parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children." This is a laudable mission as long as it does not engage in activities which are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church. At first glance the group seems to be faithfully Catholic. But I noticed that in their document "What the Church Teaches" they chose to attack the letter which I quoted from above which was written by Cardinal Ratzinger:
It proved to be quite controversial, perceived by many lay people and clergy as harsh in tone and less than pastorally sensitive.... The purpose is not pastoral, but to state the inclination of the homosexual person is an “objective disorder.” This, he said, is “like telling someone that he or she is carrying a moral time bomb.”
They failed to mention that the author of this "harsh" and "not pastoral" letter is the current head pastor of the Catholic Church – the former Cardinal Ratzinger and the current Pope Benedict XVI.

Fortunate Families has also been allied with New Ways Ministry, the "catholic" homosexual advocacy group that I mentioned above. When the group was recently condemned again by Cardinal George in 2010, Fortunate Families came rushing to their defense:
Most of you know that New Ways has been striving for many years in its mission to be a bridge building ministry between lesbian/gay Catholics and their families and friends, and the institutional church. Yet, it's authenticity as a Catholic group has recently been challenged by Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Unfortunately, the sad truth is that Fortunate Families is not just a support group for Catholic parents of homosexual children, it is also an advocate for "homosexual marriage". In 2010 they joined in a coalition with three other "catholic" homosexual groups – New Ways Ministry, DignityUSA, and Call To Action – to promote "homosexual marriage". The coalition has been dubbed "Equally Blessed".
"Equally Blessed unites Catholic Voices for Marriage Equality, Justice" -- Four longstanding Catholic organizations announced today that they have formed Equally Blessed, a coalition of faithful Catholics who support full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people both in the church and in civil society. “As Catholics, we believe that all human beings are beloved children of God,” said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, an Equally Blessed member. “We are called to do our part in bringing about justice in the church and the world, and Equally Blessed will allow us to do that together.” The coalition also includes Call To Action, DignityUSA and Fortunate Families.
Why hasn't Bishop Clark condemned these efforts by Fortunate Families since they form part of his diocese and claim to be "faithful Catholics"?

Lest you think that Bishop Clark is just a "hands off" manager, there is at least one instance that I could find of him getting involved and condemning the activity of a group in his diocese with regards to the issue of homosexuality. This happened in 1997:
Bishop Matthew Clark of Rochester (NY) has imposed severe restrictions on the Catholic Physicians Guild and the Catholic Lawyers Guild in his diocese, after both groups issued statements critical of homosexuality. Bishop Clark, who has been forthright in his support of homosexuals, participated in a recent national conference sponsored by the militant pro-homosexual New Ways Ministry. Bishop Clark told the two professional groups that henceforth they cannot hold meetings or disseminate literature without his permission and accused them of undermining his authority.
There is some speculation as to what exactly caused the Bishop to accuse these groups of "undermining his authority". In the case of the "Catholic Lawyers Guild" it seems to be a notice that they published critical of the “Mass for Gay and Lesbian Catholics” which I mentioned above. The lawyers guild which is officially known as the "St. Thomas More Lawyers Guild" issued a statement which begins as follows:
On March 1, 1997, Bishop Matthew H. Clark of the Diocese of Rochester, New York presided at a “Mass for Gay and Lesbian Catholics” at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Prior to the celebration of the Mass, Bishop Clark stated that he was “going to disappoint” those Catholics who had expressed the concern that he should remind those attending the Mass that homosexual activity is sinful. According to Bishop Clark, it would have been “oppressive and manipulative” to “pound on” the sinfulness of homosexual activity. (Catholic Courier, February 27, 1997, p. 3.) The media reported that “[Bishop] Clark avoided any discussion of the official teachings of the Catholic Church” on the homosexuality issue. (Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, March 2, 1997, p. 1A.)

Because of his failure to convey the full teaching of the Catholic Church on the issue of homosexuality, his words and actions caused much confusion among the faithful, especially our youth.
I am beginning to suspect that Bishop Clark was not fully in agreement with the public stance of the New York Bishops which was against the "homosexual marriage" bill. A search for his comments on the bill during the past few weeks comes up with only one result, when he was cornered by reporters at the blessing of a cemetery. He made a pro forma statement in support of the Catholic view on marriage, but still managed to throw in enough ambiguity that one reporter wrote that the "Bishop does believe the Catholic Church will continue to evolve in various way".
"Reaching out in more effective pastoral ways, embracing however you want to put it, people who are of homosexual orientation or life practice. We don't approve of that practice but that's not to say we don't see good, loving people who go that way of life,” Bishop Clark explained. “We don't say that there is no love there at all, there is no sign of God's presence because indeed they remain God's children beloved of us all. It is more a question of how you reach that wonderful end of equality for all people and we're just arguing in this case that you don't effectively, long-term do it by redefining an institution that has served us so beautifully.”
Another reporter highlighted the Bishop's initial response when asked about the issue.
The Bishop appeared surprised to be asked about the issue.... "Oh, my heavens," Bishop Clark laughed when the topic of gay marriage first came up.
Either he was "surprised", or he was hoping that he wouldn't have to address the question directly.

Wouldn't you have expected the Bishop to make a strong statement in writing with regards to the question of "homosexual marriage" while the debate was raging in his home state? Especially given his past history with regards to the teachings of the Church on homosexuality. In this case silence is not golden. Senator Alesi, who lives in the Diocese of Rochester, is probably counting on Bishop Clark's continued silence when he comes up for reelection.

You remember Senator Alesi. He attends the schismatic "catholic" church that was formed in the Diocese of Rochester largely due to Bishop Clark's neglect of the heretical practices that went on there for so many years.

And now we see the dire consequences of the systematic denial of Church teachings regarding homosexuality. Unfortunately, these consequence could affect not just the city of Rochester or the state of New York, but could spread throughout the United States and even beyond.

Finally, I would like to say that I didn't write this article in order to attack Bishop Clark. My intention is to spread the truth of the Church's teachings about homosexuality. I hope that Bishop Clark and other bishops in New York and around the country will begin anew to dedicate themselves to the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church – and not just on homosexuality.

My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will open the hearts of Bishop Clark and the other bishops in New York and around the country so that they can guide their flocks back along the one true path that Christ has revealed to us. There are many lost sheep and lambs out there that desperately need their guidance.

St. Joseph, father of Jesus in this valley of tears, give us your guidance. Lift us up in your arms as you lifted the Child Jesus and protect us from those that would harm us. Teach us the ways of the Lord. Amen.

23 comments:

  1. Michael,

    Good article!

    I would just add that anyone interested in more of a general overview of Bishop Clark's tenure in the Diocese of Rochester might want to look here.

    Also, this talk given by the bishop provides some insight into what he has been working toward for over 30 years now.

    - Mike at CleansingFireDOR.com

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  2. Thanks Mike. I'm going to check out the links you provided.

    For my readers. Mike's blog is called CleansingFire and he writes about issues affecting the Diocese of Rochester New York. You can visit it here:
    http://www.cleansingfiredor.com/

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  3. An excellent article. Thank you for writing it. I am bookmarking your site.

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  4. I just got through the two links that you provided. It's much worse than I thought or could have ever imagined. It's not just about bringing active homosexuals into the Church. It's the whole agenda to destroy and dismantle the Roman Catholic Church through "reform". This is at best misguided and at worst diabolical. Like most heresies, it lies somewhere in between. It is Americanism all over again.

    Bishop Clark has developed ambiguity into an art form. He hints at but never fully states his support for women priests and homosexual marriage. He also implicitly rejects the authority of the Pope. He shows no appreciation or respect for the traditions of the Church. He seems to have no understanding of the fact that this is the Church founded by Jesus Christ. It was not established to be in conformity with Man's wishes, but to be a visible reflection of God's will on earth.

    He wants to create a new "church" based on a mistaken liberal concept of "equality". He seems to share most of the views of secular humanists, except that he expresses them in the language of the Church. The result can be very confusing, which results in a type of theological "cognitive dissonance".

    If his vision ever became reality, it would be only a matter of time before the Church would wither on the vine as we are watching the Episcopalians do in our day.

    Thank God for the Pope. This demonstrates the vital importance to the Church of having the right persons installed as bishops. Who says the bishops don't have power?

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  5. @anonymous – Thanks. It's good to know that there are others that are concerned about the state of the Church. It's easy to take things for granted until we are faced with a crisis like the push for "homosexual marriage".

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  6. In order to be ordained a priest, the candidate must reflect the humanity and bodily image/psychology of Christ. Homosexuals do not have this because their condition is intrinsically disordered and inclines them towards evil. The pope must dclare all homosexual men who claim to be priests and bishops as being invalid in their ordinations and all sacraments conferred by them as null and void.

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  7. @anonymous. We are all "disordered" in some way or another. And we are all called to be chaste in our vocation, whether that is religious life, married life or single life. A priest must have a profound love of God that supersedes all love for earthly things. This has nothing to do with sexual inclinations. This has to do with giving up all false idols.

    Take a look at Father Corapi. He was not able to live up to his priestly vows because of his love of money and the pleasures of the flesh. Those sinful pleasures don't have to be sexual they can be love of material things, or a need to be popular or famous. Anything that separates a priest from a total love of God will diminish his capacity to be a good shepherd.

    Any sacraments conferred by a priest, even if he himself is not living the life he should, are still valid. This is true for example of those priests that have been found guilty of sexual molestation.

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  8. In a youth Mass where he began preaching about the Introductory Rites of Mass, the bishop diverted and began a plea for acceptance of homosexual youth.

    Listen here: http://cleansingfiredor.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/clark-young-adult-mass-homosexuality.mp3

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  9. Michael,

    Your readers should know that I am only a small part of CleansingFireDOR.com.

    There is more about our site here, although some of the info is slightly out of date: There are now 14 of us involved in this project.

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  10. Thanks Mike. I was beginning to wonder about that myself.

    That also answers another question I had about the name, because I just happened upon a book called "Cleansing Fire". It was recommended by Father Miguel Rodriguez in one of his homilies.

    If you're interested, you can learn more about the book here:
    Cleansing Fire

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  11. @Dr. K
    Bishop Clark never comes right out and says it, but he clearly would like to see the Church change its doctrine on homosexuality. There is a reason why the Church teaches that homosexual acts are sinful. One day we are told that we must accept homosexual men, then homosexual women, then bisexuals then transsexuals. First we are supposed to accept homosexuals in a monogamous relationship, then in a "mostly" monogamous relationship, then in an "open" relationship. What next? Is sadism OK? Is pederasty OK?

    We're all called by the Church to be chaste and to control our appetites and desires. This is not simply about abstaining, because that implies a dichotomy between the mind and the body. We are called to nurture the virtue of chastity in whatever vocation we choose. There is "equality" in the teaching of the Church. There is no "discrimination". We all face similar challenges, whether we are priests or nuns or married or single.

    This teaching of the Church is so counter-cultural as to be "radical". This is a teaching that can have great appeal for young people if properly taught by people with the conviction that comes from faith. Young people love ideas that are radical and challenging.

    Bishop Clark is promoting or at least tolerating the cult of sex which is the anti-Church. Sadly, young people are being initiated into this cult at an increasingly younger age. No, there is not a "black mass" initiation ceremony, but the effect on the faith of our young people is still devastating.

    To counteract society's message on sexuality, the message of the Church to young people must be "Chastity, Chastity, Chastity!" (Not "just say no" or abstinence, which are poor and ineffective substitutes for the Church's true teaching on this subject.)

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  12. Thanks Ben. I'm reading your article now.

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  13. Ben. I read your article. I also saw your comment on Archbishop Dolan's blog.

    Regarding Fortunate Family: I stumbled upon them late in my internet searches for this article. (The order of the article is pretty much the order that I found the information as one thing led to another.) At first they seemed like a legitimate group and I felt guilty even suspecting them of being non-faithful. But I kept searching because it just seemed a bit suspicious. When I found the way they responded to the letter from Ratzinger, I was pretty convinced that they were up to something. So I kept looking, but I still couldn't believe it when I found them joining with other anti-Catholic groups to endorse "homosexual marriage".

    Did you notice that the "Equally Blessed" announcement and Bishop Clark both used the same term, "beloved children of God"? If you don't know the codewords, you won't catch the real meaning behind what is being said.

    One thing I want to say. I imagine that there are many family members who are supporting Fortunate Family without understanding their true purpose. Their approach is very deceptive and I don't think they openly endorsed "homosexual marriage" until recently. The methods that the people who control this organization use can only be described as "subversive".

    I don't know where they get their funding from, but I would not be surprised to find that it is the same groups that fund New Ways Ministry. (Even the names of these groups are designed to deliberately confuse people.)

    Anyway, I like your approach of contacting priests that Fortunate Families claims are supporting their cause. Some of them may not be aware of the full extent of this groups activities.

    Now that FF has come out in full support of "homosexual marriage", isn't Bishop Clark forced to condemn their activity? Shouldn't he demand that they end this support since it demonstrates their "lack of adherence to Church teaching on the morality of homosexual acts"?

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  14. Good point about subversiveness. Much of what is done in our diocese is subversive. When I came into the Church I listened to my priests' homilies for a few years before I started catching on to his code words and what he really meant. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, "he certainly doesn't mean what I think he means, does he?". I went and talked to him and sure enough it turned out he was a hardcore progressive - pro-homosexuality, pro-women's ordination, very anti-tradition. It's sad because it takes some insight to figure out just how progressive some of these people are. Unsuspecting laity are so easily led to the slaughter by these wolves in sheeps' clothing.

    As to what Bishop Clark "should" do... we could give you a whole list of things he should do, but won't.

    - stop closing viable schools
    - stop closing viable churches
    - stop endorsing women's ordination
    - stop endorsing a parallel lay hieararchy which runs many of our parishes (with priests mere as assistants)
    - fire the majority of the school at our "school" which trains many of our diocesan leaders

    I could go on, but I don't want to further depress you.

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  15. FF received funding through Arcus when the latter group recommended there is strength in numbers...hence the birth of Equally Blessed. Imagine the dismay that I feel that close family members have bought FF's garbage and strongly support them (financial and otherwise).

    Forgot to add, thank you for the great story! I learned a lot...and I already thought I knew quitena bit :-)

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  16. Ben and Sassy. I can't imagine what its like to live in a diocese where such heterodox practices are not just tolerated but actively promoted. As I said in another article, "Lord, to whom shall we go?"

    I'm not trying to be overly dramatic, but you and other faithful Catholics who have suffered through this desecration of Holy Mother Church are modern day martyrs. Your actions to save the Church are heroic and saintly.

    I can tell you that the Lord hears your prayers. He uses all of us, even those who have rejected Him. This sensational way that "homosexual marriage" was passed in New York has shined a spotlight on the Catholic leadership in Rochester and Albany which I'm sure is not what they wanted. They may be relishing their "victory" but the national publicity that goes along with it is a real problem for them.

    Just think. I would never have heard of Bishop Clark if Senator Alesi did not attend the schismatic Spiritus Christi Church. The senator who opened the way for "homosexual marriage" through his decisive vote "worships" at the altar of a church led by heretics that for many years had the blessings of the Bishop of Rochester.

    Has your group tried to contact Thomas Peters ("the American Papist")? He was just on EWTN and called for Communion to be denied to Gov. Cuomo. I think he would be your best ally at this moment since he is widely respected in the Church and has national prominence. His father is Ed Peters, the canon lawyer.

    He wrote an article recently about Arcus titled, "Exclusive: Who is funding the coordinated attempt to subvert the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and marriage?" You should definitely read it if you haven't already. (Actually, I just was scanning through the comments on Thomas' article and saw one from Sassy.)

    My guess is that Thomas and Ed Peters aren't aware of the full extent of the situation that faithful Catholics are facing in Rochester and Albany. What about EWTN? Normally, they wouldn't want to get involved in openly criticizing the Church hierarchy, but in this situation I don't see any other choice.

    Another good one to contact is Johnette Benkovich of Women of Grace. She's a real crusader for the Church. I don't have any connection with her, but I will try to see what I can do to bring this to her attention.

    Of course it goes without saying that praying the Rosary is essential at times like these. The Blessed Mother hears your prayers. And go to confession often. Try to go once a month.

    Pray to the blessed children of Fatima: Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia. I think you have another ally in heaven which is Father John Minkler. Is he one of the martyrs that appeared in the third vision of Our Lady of Fatima?

    St. Therese of Lisieux, you dedicated your life to saving souls from the fires of Hell, pray for us.

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  17. Michael,

    I saw this site about the diocese maybe six months ago or so, on Deacon Kendra's site IIRC.

    http://www.thereoughttobealaw.net/

    The site has a small tinge of Donahue/Voris/etc tone which usually makes me a little more skeptical of its credibility (read, may be trying to make it sound worse than it is). But some of the claims can easily be (and have been--CF) independently verified. So as I did not see you link to it (sorry if I missed if you did), you may add this to your resources.

    It is nothing but shocking.

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  18. Forgot to add, Tom Peters' analysis in the ARCUS article was absolutely excellent.

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  19. Thinkling. Thanks for the link. When you look at the chronology, it is just staggering.

    Here is a new one for you. Maybe you already know about this...

    Father Paul Shanley, the monster that was one of the Boston priests that abused children for so many years, gave a talk at Corpus Christi Church in Rochester in 1985. I don't have to tell you that this was the schismatic church led by Father Callan.

    One woman, Wilma Higgs, was so upset with what she heard that she wrote to the Archbishop of Boston, Bernard Law, to register her complaint and to warn him about what this monster was preaching.

    There is a pdf copy of the letter available online. She also sent copies of the letter to Bishop Clark and Father Callan.

    Here are some excerpts from her letter where she describes the "outlandish statements" she heard:

    - It is immoral to try to change homosexuals.
    - When adults have sex with children, the children seduced them. Children may later regret having caused someone to go to prison, knowing that they are the guilty ones.
    - The Bible does not say that homosexual lifestyle is wrong.
    - He constantly criticized the Church for not being more sympathetic and accepting [homosexuals] as they are.

    I'm sure all of this sounds very familiar.

    Wilma Higgs got a canned response from the monster's protector in Boston, Father McCormack. ("Sorry... we'll speak to him...") In the file copy of this letter McCormack adds in handwriting after speaking with the monster:
    - he feels she basically misunderstood him
    - [he spoke about] homosexual orientation not behavior since he was forbidden by Medeiros [former Archbishop of Boston] to talk on homosexual activity
    - I have no reason to believe [he] was supporting efforts to approve homosexual activity
    - He does promote compassion and understanding for the homosexually oriented! [exclamation point is from original]

    How sickening is that considering what we now know about this monsters activities as a sexual predator of young men!!!???

    P.S.
    I just discovered a 2nd incident of the monster speaking at Rochester. This was in 1977 and was reported to Archbishop Medeiros, who did take action as mentioned above. (I've read some comments that say he tried to remove the monster, but was opposed by the Boston Globe and other liberal advocates of homosexuality.) Archbishop Medeiros wrote to the Vatican in 1979 detailing the homosexual movement's assault on the Church.

    I wonder... how many other times was the monster up in Rochester? What was his relationship with Father Callan and Bishop Clark?

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  20. Thank you for the very thought provoking post and comments. I did want to add one thought. Bishop Clark's resume mentions that he spent a couple of his undergraduate years at Holy Cross prior to entering the seminary. Might that be the connection (I have to admit, I'm terrible at geography, so I don't know if this is realistic or not).

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  21. Sassy. I think the connection between Clark and Shanley is more ideological. Shanley was one of the first priests to openly support active homosexuality as morally acceptable. At the time he was considered a spokesperson for the "gay liberation" movement. He was the chaplain of DignityUSA.

    Under Archbishop Medeiros of Boston he was continually reprimanded and promise to change his talks to be in conformity with Church teaching, but then would continue to spread false doctrine about homosexuality. I'm sure this appealed to Bishop Clark and also to Father Callan. Medeiros eventually removed Shanley from a position of ministering to homosexuals in Boston.

    After Medeiros passed away in 1983, Shanley pretty much picked up where he left off. Many people have disparaged the reputation of Cardinal Medeiros by implying that he facilitated Shanley. (One of those is Bill Donahue of the Catholic League.) This just isn't true as far as I can tell. Medeiros inherited the problem of Shanley from Cardinal Cushing and after he died Shanley had a much easier time under Cardinal Law.

    Medeiros was the Archbishop of Boston from 1970-1983 which was a very turbulent time for Boston including the issue of bussing. He didn't have time to focus all his efforts on one scandalous priest.

    Finally, I want to post a link to a letter from Medeiros to the Vatican about the problem of homosexuality among priests and in the seminaries. Medeiros complained that some of the active homosexuals he had removed from seminaries under his control were then welcomed by other seminaries. I wonder if Bishop Clark was one of those who was accepting these active homosexuals.

    Here is a quote from Cardinal Medeiros:

    "The danger in seminaries, Your Eminence, is obvious. Where large numbers of homosexuals are present in a seminary, other homosexuals are quickly attracted. Other healthier young men tend to be repelled. As a result of the efforts in our seminary, a large number of candidates have been dropped. Yet some of these, who are from other dioceses, have been transferred by their bishops to other seminaries despite complete disclosures from our seminary."

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  22. Christian 1954. I deleted your comment. The reason is that your name links to "aol.com". This looks like a form of spam to me. If you don't stop linking to a commercial site, I will not allow any of your posts.

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