They have never met, nor will they – at least, not in this life. They are about as disparate a pair as one is likely to imagine – the original “odd couple,” so to speak. Their names are Keith and Joseph. Keith is a big, hulking guy of forty something. Joseph is a little baby boy. What, pray tell, do these two have in common? Well, little Joseph is Joseph Thomas DiSalvo, the son of Michael and Mary DiSalvo – names that should ring a bell to parishioners both at St. Albert the Great and at SGG alike.
Little Joseph was still-born after the full-term pregnancy of his mother. He would have been a vibrant, healthy baby boy, but for an umbilical cord which wrapped around his neck and snuffed out his young life. He was eight pounds plus. He was perfectly formed. As the Eurasian combination of an Italian father and Indian mother, he probably would have grown up to be a strikingly handsome young man – and with the parents he had, a good and just man. But God took him. His loving parents never got a chance to see their little boy grow up.
Little Joseph was laid to rest on a somewhat chilly but bright April day. There were just a handful of people there at the cemetery. The ceremony, simple but dignified, was presided over by Fr. Markus Ramolla. Some appropriate prayers were said. A Rosary was said by all those present, one of whom was Keith. Little Joseph was not an important personage – a relative “nobody” – hence no one was under any great obligation to attend his funeral, nor would they “score any points” for being there. But for the few who were there at the gravesite, no one would have known of Keith’s presence there. But he was there. He cared. And God cared.
He was there because little Joseph meant something to him. He was there not for appearance’s sake, but because he cared about little Joseph and his parents. It did not matter to him that he got no big recognition for being there, because he’s not about appearances, he’s about substance. How refreshing. How refreshing it is that someone does something not “for the brownie points,” but because it is the right and charitable thing to do – no show, no ostentation, just a simple act of kindness, with no expectation of anything in return.
It is easy to understand, by the way, why the death of Joseph DiSalvo doesn’t signify much to Daniel Dolan. When Tim and Eileen Duff’s little boy died, Dolan did not – according to the little boy’s father -- shed a single tear. Yet, when Jeremy Cyr left SGG, Dolan cried. What kind of person is it who shows no emotion whatsoever for a baby, yet bawls when a grown man leaves him? Daniel, you didn’t cry when Fr. Ferrera or any of the other priests left, or when scores of other people left. Why the tears? What gives?
Little Joseph’s passing was dutifully mentioned in the St. Albert’s bulletin (and from its pulpit) but, of course, not at SGG. Joseph’s parents, Michael and Mary, were – a year or so back – forcibly ousted from SGG. They were ousted because they refused to sign an ultimatum -- put before them by SGG’s pastor, Daniel Dolan – denouncing their friend and fellow parishioner, Eamon Shea. For this, they were not only ousted, but banned from church property, like so many others before – and since. Hence, it is no great surprise that little Joseph’s passing got no mention or recognition from the SGG clerics: no profit in that, so why bother?
But that just points up what SGG’s clerics are all about: appearances – “the show,” as Eamon Shea put it. So, it wasn’t surprising that they passed little Joseph up -- because they’ve done it so many times before. In fact, they did basically the same thing to Keith, when he was at SGG (Keith, like most of the rest at the gravesite, was a former member of SGG). While there, he did a lot of volunteering of his efforts – or at least tried to. But his efforts were more often than not rejected, because Keith was not up there on the “appearances” scale. At times, he was a bit unkempt; hence, he was forbidden by SGG’s pastor to do any ushering, because he didn’t “look good enough” for the “show.” And quite often, his offers to volunteer at SGG were declined, for one reason or another. He was treated as an “embarrassment” to be kept out of sight, to be “swept under the rug.”
Did he resent this? I’m sure he did. But he didn’t let on. He took this slighting with good nature and with unsung humility, and did not let it discourage him. Because of this, some people at SGG have misread him. They think that because he’s so easy-going and so seemingly “pliant” and “resilient” that he’s “an easy mark” and that he’s weak and gullible. But another word for “gullibility” is faith; and when it comes to his Faith, Keith is nobody’s fool. And when it comes to discerning true right from true wrong, Keith is not fooled. He saw the wrong going on at SGG; and because of it, he -- along with many others -- left. It is they who have remained there who are the gullible ones. Keith saw through the SGG façade; they haven’t. He didn’t fall for “the show.” He didn’t confuse the cover for the book; they did. It is they, who think themselves so superior -- pharisaic, sanctimonious hypocrites -- who were in the end just a bunch of small-minded, gullible fools.
Thinking Keith “weak,” they have often tried to “win him back”– to get him to return to the SGG fold. One of them has tried every “guilt-trip” tactic in the book to try to sway Keith’s mind. She recently sent Keith letters, replete with letter-of-the-law passages saying that we must show “respect” to priests, regardless of what they do or how they behave, simply because they’re priests. According to that logic, we must then show respect to Rasputin, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and all the other heresiarchs, because – well – they were priests, weren’t they? So is Benedict XV (aka Joseph Ratzinger). Of course, Dolan, Cekada, and Sanborn haven’t respected priests. They have dishonored and disparaged dozens of clerics – including Fr. Ramolla from the pulpit; but that’s okay, according to this woman. Her “respect,” like so many of her peers at SGG, is selective. Only those who agree with “the gospel according to Doaln and Cekada” are respected; all others are “anathema.” Woman, your logic is empty; you are a hypocrite and a fraud.
This woman’s diatribes have only served to convince Keith of his rectitude all the more, and she has only succeeded in showing herself to be the insincere fake that she is. She is probably one of the many SGGers who condemns Michael and Mary DiSalvo, Joseph’s parents, for “being disrespectful” as well, because of their support for Eamon Shea. No doubt, too, this woman thinks that Michael and Mary’s baby “was taken from them” as God’s “punishment” for their aforementioned “wrongdoing.” The idea that losing their baby is punishment for a “transgression” is, of course, a Calvinistic notion, a protestant thing. God sends us these crosses as a means for our salvation; He sends them because He loves us. Just as He tried Job, so He tries us, to test and prove our mettle.
I invite this woman (and others) at SGG to swallow their pharisaic pride and start practicing what they preach (for a change). They talk about having respect for clergy, when they, like their pastor, had none for priests like Fr. Ramolla. They speak of forgiving and forgetting, yet they turn a blind eye to their clerics vindictively smearing people, mistreating them, and banning them, as if they were criminal trespassers. They have seen and heard plenty, both from others, and from their own experience, yet they conveniently sweep it all under the rug. They protect and shield guilty perpetrators while they revile and blame innocent victims. No wonder that Calvary happened – these people replicate it every day by their actions.
I also invite those SGG folks to come to St. Albert’s, where substance, not appearance, counts. Dolan and Cekada have tried to smear and hinder Fr. Ramolla in every way possible. They unjustly fired him for opposing the evil at SGG’s school; they tried to get him deported; they tried to get Bernard Hall deported. They have smeared scores of former SGG parishioners; they have made up countless lies about them. And what is the upshot of all their nefarious efforts? Persecution has only resulted in St. Albert’s thriving. Like the blood of martyrs, it has only served to make them grow. Meanwhile, the SGG empire --and its coffers -- are shrinking, rendering its clerics unable to sustain the opulent lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. Boohoo, what a shame!
Meanwhile, Bernard Hall has become Father Hall; and, although the SGG vipers’ efforts have forced him to return temporarily to England (and to spend thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees fighting deportation), he will ultimately return, providing St. Albert’s with yet another priest (one more vocation, by the way, than was produced by SGG). St. Albert’s is also ahead of schedule to buy and secure their facility – and with a roof that doesn’t leak, I might add! St. Albert’s can’t help but continue to flourish, since its pastor does not require being fed at the Grand Finalé or being put up at the Bishop’s Lodge. His needs are simple; the money at St. Albert’s goes for its parishioners, not to enhance its pastor’s lifestyle.
Lastly, I ask the parishioners of SGG to give up their sham ignorance of what they know has been going on. You have seen it with your own eyes; the evidence has been put before you on a silver platter. You have absolutely NO EXCUSE to ignore the truth that has been staring you in the face for quite some time. Get over your gullibility or your hypocrisy, whichever the case may be. And stop insulting our intelligence (and your own) by pretending to take the moral high ground, because you have none. You are standing on quicksand. The vipers whom you so obsequiously defend and apologize for are morally bankrupt; and they will end up turning on you, like the vipers that they are, just as they have done to so many innocent victims in the past.
This woman who wrote to Keith asked him why so many people “left the home of the Blessed Sacrament and take to the internet instead?” She goes on to say, “I fear souls will be lost by this very uncatholic behavior.” Woman, are you insane?!! First off, people have not “left the home of the Blessed Sacrament”; they have left SGG, and they still have the Blessed Sacrament – at St. Albert’s. And as far as “taking to the internet” is concerned, what do you think Anthony Cekada has been doing? He’s been hard at it on the internet (Quidlibet, School Dazed, etc.). Do people not have a right to use that same medium to defend themselves against his poison? Again, you need a remedial lesson in logic and clear thinking. Maybe that will remedy your uncatholic behavior!
You dare to ask the reasons why so many people have left SGG? Have you not read the myriad letters that so many have written stating those reasons? Have not the rest of you at SGG done so as well? Do not sit there and feign ignorance while at the same time refusing to lift a finger to inform yourselves of the constant barrage of information that has come your way. Stop your fake pretending. The reason that so many of you are “ignorant of the facts” is that you preemptively choose to ignore them; you blindly obey your cult leaders’ directives forbidding you to listen to anything said against them, yet you have the gall to imply that nothing in that vein has been said! Hellooooooooo!!
Stop the hypocrisy. Stop the pretense of righteous indignation. And above all, stop the pretended, sanctimonious, and condescending façade of “pity” and “praying for us” that disguises and belies the poisonous acrimony of your guilty hearts. Have the humility and honesty to admit your error. Stop “stone-walling” the just, and look introspectively at your own injustice and lack of charity. If you have the humility to do so, you will be rewarded, both materially and spiritually. Come join a winning team – St. Albert the Great – where you will be appreciated, not exploited. St. Albert the Great is all about substance, not about “the show.” It’s about the book, not the cover. Unlike SGG, it doesn’t have a fancy cover; it doesn’t need one. SGG needs a fancy cover, because there’s nothing inside. And, speaking of books, St. Albert’s financial books are open to the parishioners, not hidden behind some Dolan-esque smoke screen.
It is interesting to note that, right after the announcement that Bernard Hall was to be ordained to the priesthood, “rumors” started being circulated around SGG about the bishop (Bishop Petko) who was to ordain him – rumors casting doubts on the bishop’s character – my oh my, what convenient timing! How many of the SGG parishioners who patently deny what has been (correctly) alleged about their clerics are ready to believe anything and everything that reflects negatively on Bishop Petko – and, by some sort of “guilt by association,” on Father Hall as well.
First off, whatever is said about Bishop Petko – whether provable or not -- in no way takes away from the validity of Fr. Hall’s ordination, his credentials, or his character. And, secondly, where is the proof? Why do these folks deny the accusations against Dolan and Cekada -- which are provable – and readily accept hearsay that is not. Why your readiness to believe the worst in one case, while categorically “forgiving and forgetting” in the other? Why the selective credence, folks? It seems to be another case of believing what one wants to believe, and rejecting what does not line up with one’s preconceived biases and misconceptions.
In an interview with Bishop Petko, Dr. Thomas Droleskey has ferreted out several facts which expose some of the slanderous clamor stirred up recently by gossip mongers seeking to discredit the bishop and, by extension, Bernard Hall’s ordination to the priesthood. As time goes by, more facts will surface to refute those rumors; and the treacherous intentions of their detractors will be exposed for the counterfeit “concern” and vindictive, pharisaic defamation that they are. Those who fit that mold – those who have ignored the hard evidence against the SGG vermin and yet who credulously swallow and spread groundless fabrications against innocent men – shame on you. Before it’s too late, have the honesty and courage to face up to the truth – the truth that you have seen but have so far refused to admit.
Most of the traditional community sees the SGG clerics for what they are: hucksters who put on a good, nostalgic “traddy show” for those who “long for the good old days.” But that’s all it is – a fancy cover, with no book inside. Dolan and Cekada are simply two parasites living off the sweat of their parishioners, who -- in exchange for their "nostalgia" -- slave away so that these two can live in style and take junkets to Europe, Mexico – and, of course, their favorite -- the Bishop’s Lodge. All of SGG’s former major benefactors have wised up and have left, no longer supporting their schemes. Apparently, the same holds true (in Florida) for the Selway family, who seem to have had a belly full of Sanborn’s pipe dreams. Otherwise, why would big Don now have to go out and solicit from other sheep for his swampland parking lot et al? Both in Florida and in Ohio, Dolan, Cekada, and Sanborn’s former benefactors have woke up and have seen these three for what they are. For you folks at SGG, the alarm clock is ringing. Are you awake yet?