We mentioned in our last article (click here) that, after snubbing a woman (by refusing to go to the “wake” of her deceased husband), Dannie had the unmitigated GALL to send her collection envelopes for the coming year – after she had made it clear that she and SGG were “through.” The woman at first thought that, because she and her husband were “still on the books” as SGG parishioners, the envelopes were mistakenly sent to her by some clerk who “hadn’t got word” of this. However, the package in which they came was not addressed to “Mr. & Mrs. So-and-So,” but to that woman alone, a clear indication that the sender knew that she was now widowed -- and that she and Dannie had parted not on friendly terms. What was Dannie thinking? Did he think that this woman would have “second thoughts” – and return to SGG out of some sense of “remorse” or “guilt” (as many traddies are wont to do)? Did he think she’d come penitently crawling back to SGG? Well, think again, Dannie: “It ain’t gonna happen!”
When the woman opened the package and inspected the envelopes, she noticed several things. First, she noticed that each envelope had some little “saying” on it. For instance, one had this biblical admonition: “Thou shalt not forget to give thy tithe to the Lord.” The only problem is, it’s not quite “biblical,” but is a bastardization of a biblical quote. The actual words are: “Thou shalt not delay to pay thy tithes and thy first fruits; thou shalt give the firstborn of thy sons to me” (Exodus 22:29).
Now the problem with this is that “tithing” [giving one-tenth of one’s income to the Church] applied (and was only appropriate) at a time when the Church provided for peoples’ material needs as well as their spiritual ones. Back then, it ran such things as hospitals and charities, and catered to most of the needs that are now met by secular authority. “Medical,” for instance: this is now covered by private insurance (or the government), not “the Church.” (Nowadays too, people have other insurance to pay, such as, homeowners and car insurance.) The only things that “Dannie & Co.” provides for is themselves – and the “Lotarski” sinkhole, of course (aka, SGG’s “school”). The parishioners – the folks who fund this boondoggle – get “the show” -- and little else.1
Dannie conveniently ignores the fact that the needs once met by tithing are now met by taxes – and plenty of them. In America, not only are there federal and state income tax (and sometimes local tax), but also “FICA” (social security) tax -- plus “property taxes” (and sometimes “personal property taxes”), “gasoline tax,” “sales” (consumption) tax, “entertainment” and luxury” taxes, taxes on alcoholic beverages, tobacco, etc., etc. If all this were tallied up, a person’s total tax load is well over half his income. The other thing to remember is that Dannie’s idea of “tithing” is to give one tenth of one’s gross income, i.e., ten percent of one’s pre-tax income – not one tenth of one’s “net” (i.e., after-tax) income. And what they get for it is, again, “the show,” and little else. Bottom line: for Dannie to expect people to "tithe" is both presumptuous and inappropriate. In fact, it's absurd.
Another “zinger” that Dannie had put on SGG’s collection envelopes was this: “Contribute for Sundays you miss! Expenses stay the same.” So, if a family were absent from SGG for some reason (vacation, sickness, or whatever) they are expected to “make it up” when they return. (And to reinforce this “obligation,” each envelope has a space for “previous balance,” “today’s offering,” and [remaining] “balance” – to keep a running tab on how much one “owes” Dannie.) Dannie, did it ever occur to you that families’ expenses keep coming too – but that they have NO ONE to “make it up” for them when their income gets interrupted? (And when they go to some other church while on vacation, do you expect them to NOT donate to that church – or do you expect them to cover theirs and yours both?)
Oh yes -- also written on the back cover of the envelope box is this: “Church Contributions Other Than Through Envelopes.” Apparently, Dannie expects his Gerties to fork over even more than what they contribute on Sundays (in addition to the “more” that they give in the “second collection” envelopes the first Sunday of each month) – such as SGG’s “roof repair” fund, to fix SGG's ever-leaking roof (because it was improperly built to begin with). And, oh yes, there was also included in the box of envelopes one that asked for an “initial offering” of $3 – for the envelopes themselves! (How about mailing the envelopes “C.O.D.” as well, Dannie, so that your Gerties can pay for the postage too?)
Of course, the “envelope” money is just part of the picture. In addition to that, Dannie is always begging for money to deal with the “fallout” from SGG’s faulty construction: the just-mentioned leaky roof, the prematurely failing HVAC system, the raccoon-infested walls, etc., etc., etc. Then there is his “cyber ministry,” where he’s begging for money on the internet (for instance, in his internet “Mass,” with its flashing “donate” button during the “collection” break). Then there are the “seasonal” things, such as “Poinsettia memorials” at Christmas, “Lily memorials” at Easter, and his “all souls” scam during Lent (when he makes that phony claim about SGG’s altar being “privileged”). (And speaking of scams, it was this widowed woman who paid for a “five-day” candle that she found extinguished after the first day.) The truth is, Dannie has dozens of money-making scams throughout the year to keep his gullible Gerties giving.
But, as if that weren’t enough, he also has them donating their time as well. SGG has a small army of “holy helpers” (aka, slaves) who toil day in and day out for the cult. It is a well-known cult axiom that, in order to control people, one must over-burden them with “tasks,” while at the same time “guilt-trip” them about “not doing enough” (such as, attending Dannie’s “show”), so that they have no time – mentally or physically -- for anything else but the cult. (Every classic cult works on this “business model.”)
One wonders why Dannie’s Gerties can’t see through all of this. But that’s the way it is. Once people are thoroughly “immersed” in the cult mindset, they’re “hooked.”2 Once one is in such a mindset, the only way to get “derailed” is for one to suffer some personal insult or injury at the cult-master’s hands. And even then, some fools will still come crawling back later – either because they “miss the show,” or because they conveniently “dismiss” all the harmful wrong that Dannie has done, “rationalizing” it or “explaining it away.” 3 Another reason is that their recollections of those wrongs grow dim over time, and they “forget,” letting “bygones be bygones.” (Some even pretend that such things never happened.) And, all too often, they allow Dannie’s perpetual siren song of sanctimony to draw them “back into the fold,” like a magnet -- at which point, it takes another “trauma” to “derail” them again.
The good news is that one can always count on this to happen: Dannie, being the parasitic annelid that he is, will always exploit his Gerties. The bad news, however, is that his Gerties have had a habit of “acclimating” themselves to such exploitation, and come to regard it as “the default setting.” When that happens, it’s usually too late. So, Gerties, before it’s “too late” for you, wake up and see Dannie for the parasitic leper that he is (and always will be), and GET OUT.
As for that woman who received those collection envelopes from SGG’s shameless leprechaun, she has learned her lesson. And, speaking of those envelopes, a friend has suggested to her that she send them back to Dannie, along with – instead of one of Dannie’s incorrectly transcribed biblical quotes – this “biblically correct” one: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.”
1 Dannie’s apologists will no doubt cite all the “apostolates” that SGG must “support.” We should like to remind them that these “apostolates” are, in almost ALL cases, thinly-disguised VACATIONS for the cult-masters – usually winter getaways to warm, sunny climes to perform “confirmations” that could have been done by the local clergy. And, although such boondoggles are, as Dannie claims, covered by a special “Bishop’s Fund,” the truth is that they are financed from SGG’s general collections. And since SGG’s finances are a labyrinthine maze known only to Dannie, Tony, and “the school principal,” SGG’s Gerties really don’t know where the money comes from. (We wonder, too, if much of the money earmarked for “roof repairs” and other funding schemes actually ends up being channeled into these “apostolates.”)
2 That’s why – to make sure that they stay hooked and don’t “relapse” – Dannie puts those little “guilt-trip” reminders in his sermons, his newsletters, and SGG’s bulletin (especially his “Bishop’s Corner”) – another classic staple of the cult “handbook.” Dannie regularly complains, for instance, about dwindling attendance at his “show,” as he did in his Gaudete Sunday ’Cornerr: “The evening Mass grows worryingly lighter, even for a Holy Day. First Friday in December was a sad affair. No new souls to make their Nine, very low attendance all day long, and many men missed their Guard of Honor. Some never called.”
3 A prime example of this was the man who had the “triple play” funeral for his wife (see footnote 2 in our last article). This man had originally left SGG after the school scandals of 2009, along with half of its congregation, who formed a new congregation (St. Albert the Great). This man was actually on SAG’s board, and helped draft some of its bylaws and liturgical practices.
But, being the “letter-of-the-law” fanatic that he is, he grumbled and complained about SAG’s lack of “ecclesiastical correctness.” (One of the things that he deplored was the lack of space between the sanctuary and the nave – arguing that it didn’t have the correct “dimensional proportions” of a “proper” church. Well, it didn’t; but if it did, there would only have been room for perhaps one or two rows of pews. Eventually, this pompous perfectionist left SAG to “go back home” to SGG and its pontifical pageantry – a great “propaganda coup” for Dannie. This is probably the chief reason for Dannie giving the man’s Novus Ordo wife that “triple play” funeral -- an honor not even accorded Bernie Brueggemann’s wife. (Bernie was SGG’s chief benefactor at the time, being single-handedly responsible for SGG’s very existence. Bernie eventually left SGG; but, unlike the “triple-play” turncoat, he never returned.)