Celebrating Bishop Clark of Rochester

Celebrating Bishop Clark of Rochester

Bishop Matthew Clark of Rochester, New York, is interviewed on the 25th anniversary of coming to the diocese. They ask him about various hot button issues and he manages to skirt the edges. He says he thinks married men will be allowed to be priests in the Latin rite. He then manages to ride the fence on women’s ordination.

But it’s hard for him to see the ordination of women in the church’s future because it hasn’t been part of its tradition or its understanding of scripture. “Were it possible, I’d be pleased to ordain women.”

Nice definitive answer there, Bishop Clark. Let’s just transpose the situation for a hypothetical: “It’s hard for him to see the sanctioning of homosexuality in the Church’s future because it hasn’t been part of its tradition or its understanding of Scripture. ‘Were it possible I’d be pleased to marry homosexuals.’” The scary thing is that my hypothetical doesn’t seem like a far-fetched thing for Clark and some other bishops to say.

  • Bishop Clark’s diocese is one of the infestations of pro-gay activity and promotion, homosexual activity and molestations within the Church.

  • I live in Clark’s diocese. He has less than 10 years before age 75. I pray for his conversion, or that the Pope sees fit to replace this trendy, homosexualist vicar.

  • I’m sorry for you and yours, hardhead.  Have fortitude – you’ll need it.


  • I lived in the Rochester diocese for a brief period.  I remember an article about environmentalism in the diocese’s newspaper.

    A nun stated that to allow a species to go extinct is a sin.  I could not help but wonder if God is guilty of sin, since thousands and thousands of species have gone extinct long before mankind set foot on earth.

    It makes for a tricky theology…..

  • Please do not read this as a loaded question, but how do you define compassionate vs being weak?


  • Jaime, that’s a good question, one that I ask myself quite often, as I’m in parish minsitry.

    The short answer that I’ve found is that I must be strong in both understanding and faith belief of our Catholic Church teachings so that I can stand strong when challenged or asked.

    At the same time, I do believe that actions can speak louder than words.  I’ve found that if I’m going to be orthodox in a parish of varying theologies, even on the staff, I have to also be able ACT in a manner that invites, welcomes, listens and cares.  Sometimes I’ll speak boldly to people who I know may not agree with me, but always in a manner that upholds their dignity.  I can be a strong defender as well as a compassionate listener. 

    A person I am conversing with may not agree with me, but I would hope they walk away believing that I love them with the love of Christ, instead of being beaten over the head with Truth, because that action is not the truth!

    As for this Bishop, it does not sound as if he is willing to stand up for Church teaching.  In this instance, then, he could be called weak.  A lot of discussion has been on this blog about Bishops and “dialogues”.  In MY humble opinion, based on experience, to be strong and compassionate is a delicate walk, one that MUST be walked with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

  • Weak compassion takes the easy way out. When you see someone in need or pain, you sympathize, but in order to be loved or to avoid anger, you give the person what they think they need or want.

    String compassion feels empathy for the one in need, but gives them what is good for them, regardless of the price to yourself in both esteem and resources, without sloughing off the responsibility to another or patronizing the person by giving them what they think they need.

  • Jaime,

    True compassion is helping someone out of sin and toward God – while having an understanding of their difficulty.  False compassion is allowing someone to endanger their soul – for fear of offending that person, or risking their or others’ scorn or vitriol, or from just weakness and laziness.  In my estimation, there has never before in the history of our Church such an exfoliation
    of false compassion.

  • Sinner,

    Exactly right.  I couldn’t agree more with you.  (well in this thread anyway smile )  I think we disagree if the Bishop is offering true or false compassion. 

    When I was working with teens, I would often be subjected to stories from them about sexual conquests, abortions, drinking binges, etc.  Many of my coworkers would admonish me for not “calling them out for the sins they committed”.  My policy was to not offer my opinion unless the teen asked for it.  What I found was invariably, the ones who shared the worst stories, would eventually tell me stories of how they were raped, physically abused or something just as abhorrent.  While many would disagree with my ministry tactics, I firmly believe that these teens would never have confided to me the horrors they were submitted to if I had confronted them years before about their sinful acts. My silence was never taken as I was supportive of their actions, just of them.

    I would respectfully add to your definition that true compassion is seeing past their sin to what may be the root of it.  I believe true compassion takes a whole bunch of patience.

  • Sinner,

    “True compassion is helping someone out of sin and toward God – while having an understanding of their difficulty.”

    AMEN, brother.  This has been the point that Jaime and I have been trying to make all along.  It has been a rather long journey, but nevertheless a journey.  One that has born fruit.

    While we cannot, in good conscience accept the action of those who are sinning, we can be and should be supportive of the person AND our Church.  For it is the Church that will ultimately defend and protect us….

    That is the reason for all of the posts from the Catechism, the Code of Canon Law and various and sundry articles and teachings from the Church.

    Jaime said, “While many would disagree with my ministry tactics, I firmly believe that these teens would never have confided to me the horrors they were submitted to if I had confronted them years before about their sinful acts.”

    I was one of those on campus for many years that was in that camp that did not appreciate where he was coming from.  It has taken me a very long time to understand that the letter of the law has a Spirit.  That Spirit is the Holy Spirit and it is what guides the bishops.  Jaime always acted with that understanding. 

    God Bless,

  • Great thoughts, all. 
    I would add that God uses our own person is varied ways as well.  How Dom will bring the Truth to someone may very well be different than I will.  What seems to be the key is always starting with Christ’s Truth as central and moving out from there. 

    Sometimes those on the front lines and those who are the thinkers in our faith differ on how to get this across.  Thank goodness for both, for we need them to keep us both on target.

    Jaime, I’m in youth work too, May God bless the work you do, I’ll say a prayer for your ministry!

  • Wow!  The Holy Spirit is at work here!  I’m glad we’re together on this one, Jaime and Camilam.  And Jaime, you’re absolutely right that compassion includes looking for the root of a sinner’s problem.
    And true compassion often takes almost infinite patience… (which, of course, God has!).

    Super best,


  • Jaime, we can be pretty sure that this bishop’s compassion is of the weak kind, though.  There are just a ton of witnesses to it.

    The discussions of compassion are interesting in here.  They do not conflict with mine either, as long as proper distinctions are made between lying to make people feel better and showing true but honest sensitivity.  One should never misrepresent what the church teaches just to make people feel better…..It can kill their souls later on.  That’s not better!!!

    Jaime, be careful about listening to kids’ stories and not reporting them to the authorities (child & family services, etc in your state).  I used to teach school, and in many states it is a crime not to report ANY & ALL evidence and testimony of sexual abuse.  A teacher/youth worker can end up in JAIL!  Be careful.

  • Hey, guys,

    This is no doubt seemingly off-topic. Bear with me, here.

    I’ve been called a nut on “inclusive language” (and my hatred for it) but there you are. I hate it. The “nut” callers are correct.

    Please humor me (even though I have no “ministry”) and consider the notion that our absolute terror of using the “male” pronoun is, by gum, insidiously adding to the whole mess. Note these examples:

    A person I am conversing with may not agree with me, but I would hope they

    feels empathy for the one in need, but gives </b>them</b>

    helping someone out of sin and toward God – while having an understanding of their

    I really want to believe that these are just grammar errors and nothing more. (I’ve been known to make them myself.)

    If they are, then be kind and tell me so. If they’re not, please consider ditching the mixing of singular and plural. It’s, uh…unnatural, in my opinion. And singularly uncompassionate. wink


    Kelly <———now returning you to your regularly scheduled program…

  • It can be a very difficult situation when a child comes to you and wants to talk about this genre of thing, whether sexual, physical, emotional abuse or whatever kind.

    When you discern that this kind of sensitive information is forthcoming, you have to gently inform the child that if they tell you *that sort of thing,* that you will be bound by law to report it.  Just so they do not feel betrayed later, just so they do not get hurt more.  A discussion about that usually precedes the other discussion.  This is necessary and must be standard operating procedure for legal reasons and also as protection for the child.  If some adults find out they have told a teacher, they can be beaten or worse.

    A kid with a real problem, in my experience, will not be deterred from getting help by that kind of honesty.  Generally, in fact, they realize you’re serious and willing to go to bat for them, for real, at that point.  And they appreciate it.

    I have never enjoyed these kinds of situations, and for good reason.  They should never happen, but they do.  I made it a point never to talk about any of this sort of stuff casually either, ie commiseration, sharing, relating specifics, etc.—it’s too personal for most kids, and it’s too important.

    Children divulging such things to teachers and counselors is more common in the teaching profession than many people might think.  Abuse is pretty common.

  • Heh heh, Kelly.  I hate inclusive language too, real inclusive language.

    But sometimes in modern English people do indeed use mixed singular and plural forms, usually because they’ve heard it a bunch and they’ve become linguistic slobs like everyone else…..  =)

    I get nuts when I hear unmistakeable substitutions though.  I used to be protestant and as such, have some scripture in my head.  So when I hear really mishmashed scripture it makes me go “TILT.”  It is possible to change the sense of scripture by monkeying around with the gender.  He, she and it, etc….  Foolishness.

  • I’m with you, Kelly Clark (though I slip into gibberEnglish at times).  English is a language made for all mankind!

  • BTW, those sorts of methods also apply to teens, if the event was sexual, physical or emotional, and if one or both were under the age of legal consent at the time.  The age of legal consent depends on the laws of your state. 

    There’s a fine line between talking about sins, personal sexual events, abuse of the various kinds, etc. anecdotally and divulging this sort of information which is mandatory to report.  Just be aware.

  • English is a language made for all mankind!

    Yay, sinner!

    Actually the worst I’ve come across is the latest translation of the lectionary. Can’t remember the book and verse at this time but let’s just say Jesus called a child an “it.”

    Sheesh. wink


  • Incidentally Kelly, thanks for taking time off from the American Idol tour to visit. 

    (sorry you must get that a lot.  I couldn’t resist)

  • michigancatholic,

    “we can be pretty sure that this bishop work…)

    Do not take the gender grammer to mean I believe in saying “God” only and never “He”.  Not fit for our Bridegroom!

  • Careful, Camilam. The sensus fidelium is not the the opinion of the faithful. It is the Holy Spirit acting through the faithful. It is a subtle but important difference.

  • Mr. Bettinelli,

    You are quite right….that is the senus fidelum….I mispoke.  However, you convey my meaning more clearly.  Apologies. 


  • Jaime, Jaime,

    She’s not “Kelly Clark” but rather “Kelly Clarkson.”

    Although personally I believe in the spirit of inclusivity the name should be changed to “Kelly Clarkchild.” wink

  • Bishops like Clark offer false compassion. They push the homosexual agenda, embrace error and use loop hole theology as a cudgel agaisnt those who are loyal and faithful Catholics. They have helped de-catechise two or more generations and watered down the faith.

    In the parish I used to attend the pastor is a fav of Clark. The masses are full of abuses including honey bread for communion, rainbow sahsers receiving communion and applauded. Homilies given by liberated nuns that tell the Vatican to get a clue and that her Church is going in the wrong direction and homophobic.

    I could write much more. To defend Clark is an outrage. He may be a bishop, but I ain’t sure he is Catholic.

  • Please don’t do that. Every time you post a comment, everyone in the thread gets an email message, in this case four of them. I don’t want my blog to be spamming people.

    In addition, please try to get all your thoughts into as few comments as possible. I don’t mean to discourage conversations, but I see a lot of people who post three comments in a row, two minutes apart, each on addressed to a different person. Thank you.

  • Hey there Joe Soucy,

    I have a good and full and abundant one, thanks.  I hope you do too.