ALL ABOUT THE LAY PULPIT

Sunday, July 31, 2011

“…But the Greatest of These is Charity”


The article prior to this one, entitled Reader’s Comments on “Divide & Conquer vs. Conquer & Unite,” explained how a reader’s comments on the article just previous to it (Divide & Conquer vs. Conquer & Unite) were inadvertently lost because of an “editing” error.  As it turns out, this was a “providential mistake,” for the reader’s comments, by virtue of being posted as an article in and of themselves, are now more widely known; many might read an article, but very few take the time to read someone else’s “comments” on it.

But it was also a providential mistake in that the reader’s comments provided the impetus for (and the nucleus of) the article that you are now reading.  The reader not only provided corroborative testimony that the same abuses going on at SGG also went on in Warren, Michigan; but he struck a “corroborative” chord in some other areas as well.  First off, he “hit the nail on the head” when he said that in much of traditional Catholicism, there is no charity.  How true! (There certainly didn’t seem to be much of it in Warren – or at MHT Seminary!).  So many traditionals are so caught up in “the letter of the law” that they pharisaically disregard the spirit of the law.

Secondly, he reinforced the point made about the fact that one can be (and is) truly Catholic, whether he be sedevacantist or not be.  It is obvious from his comments that he is not.  But the fact that many of us are (or have those sorts of leanings) makes him no less a Catholic than the rest of us.  The important “point to seize” (to use Hilaire Belloc’s turn of phrase) is not that Joseph Ratzinger is or isn’t a pope, but that he is a bad man.  But the even more important point to seize is to understand WHY such arguments are used: to conquer and divide – to get us sheep fighting and arguing amongst ourselves while the wolves-in-charge use that bickering to scatter that macro flock known as “traditional Catholicism” into many micro flocks – and then, to control and manipulate each micro flock to prevent it from re-joining with others to make traditional Catholicism whole and united again.

A secondary “benefit” of – or rather, benefit for -- each “micro-wolf” controlling his own flock is the obvious material one – especially if he has some “heavy hitting” sheep stuffing the collection basket.  That certainly has been the case at SGG (I say “has been” because most of their “heavy hitters” have left in disgust, to the point where the wolves are now getting desperate; that’s why so many of their sermons these days are pleas for money).  And even if their reasons are NOT sinister, many pastors are too parochial in their thinking, putting the material well-being of their own flocks aver the good of traditional Catholicism as a whole.  Now it is proper and healthy for a pastor to “look out for number one”; after all, a parish must have enough coming in to “survive.”  But when one makes “filling up the coffers” too much of a priority -- and makes it an “end” rather than a means to an end, this is where corruption grabs hold and takes over – for instance, when clerics start taking trips to Europe and Latin America, labeling them as justifiable “apostolates.”

The reader also made another very good point in observing that so many older children are not to be found in traditional churches these days – partly because some overly strict pastor “turns them off” with arbitrary (and unnecessary) “rules” – rules concerning everything from “behavior in church” (the “crying babies” example that he illustrated) to overly strict “behavioral” or “dress-code” requirements (either in church or in school) that lead to “discipline” that is little more than out-and-out sadistic abuse.  The reader’s example of the little first-grader wetting her pants is an all-too-familiar one; there are many SGG “war stories” on exactly the same sort of thing, as many can attest to – as can even those who are still at SGG.  And yes, many of their older children have left there, as the reader so aptly surmised.

The reader noted as well that “children are very perceptive” – right on, brother!  They see and absorb all that goes on – not just “arbitrariness” in behavior and dress-code requirements, but everything.  They catch every little nuance – more than we think they do.  They can sense things; and when they sense something that is “not quite right,” it usually isn’t.  They can sniff out “phoniness” often times more so than the average adult (especially brain-drained “culties”!).  And all that they absorb and/or sense eventually creates a cumulative impression on them -- one which can form (or malform) their characters.  Those SGG parishioners with children should note this well.

As was stated in the earlier article, at SAG there never has been, nor will there ever be, any of the nonsense that has typified SGG.  That is the beauty of not being a cult.  Parents don’t have to worry about how their children are being (mis)treated.  They don’t have to worry that little Johnny will not be allowed back into church during the sermon if he happens to leave during it for a bathroom break, or be scolded from the pulpit because his shoes made too much noise while walking in church, or be chased away from the drinking fountain for taking a drink during Mass – or any other such “infraction.”  Nor will adults have a “guilt-trip” noose tightened around their necks for “not doing enough,” whether it be church attendance, “holy helper” work for the church, or not sending their kids to a school whose principal acts more like a sadistic prison warden. In short, at SAG there is no cult-like atmosphere of fear.  And, to repeat, at SAG, those who differ on “non-binding” issues are not treated as “heretics” or “schismatics,” nor will they or anyone else be turned away.  Nor will we try to impose any such “non-binding issues” on you – or use any such tactics to drive a wedge between you and your family.  All are welcome at SAG.

In the beginning of this article, I mentioned that in the reader’s comments, he noted that there is no charity in much of traditional Catholicism.  That is the piece that is missing: it has been replaced with letter-of-the-law Pharisaism, where one is measured not by what is in his heart but by how many “i’s” he dots and how many “t’s” he crosses; it has been replaced by hypocrites crying “calumny and detraction” whenever they hear a lay person speaking out against evil done by a cleric (while ignoring or even condoning that evil itself); and it has been replaced by a kind of faith based on fear, a kind of faith that is really a kind of despair.  The missing ingredient in all these things is charity:
If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. …Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up;  is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil.  …And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.”

Friday, July 29, 2011

Reader’s comments on "Divide & Conquer vs. Conquer & Unite"


In the article last posted, entitled Divide & Conquer vs. Conquer & Unite, a reader kindly sent in some comments.  After that, I found a misspelled word in the article; and I “corrected” it by deleting the article and then replacing it with a new article which included the correction.  Unfortunately, in doing this, I inadvertently “erased” this reader’s comments; but fortunately, I had “saved” them as e-mails.  I present them here again, as I think that they are very pertinent (and apropos).  My apologies to the reader who originally sent them in! (meanwhile, I will brush up on my "editing" skills!).  The comments were in three parts; here they are: 

Part I
Dear Sir,
I read, with great delight, your article about SAG. First off, please let me say that I admire your resolve and the resolve of your pastor to make some sense out of the mess that has befallen the Traditional Catholic movement. I have been reading with a heavy heart the goings on at SGG and know first hand of their veracity and impact. I have suspected these things for years, but have been far too removed from any involvement since I left the seminary in the nineties. First, if you will permit me, a little background on myself. I was a seminarian in Warren during the "heyday" of sedevacantism and the seminary, as we called it, and was part of the first few groups of seminarians to come through the doors of MHT Seminary. For a time, MHT was a peaceful place, but I soon found myself in spiritual hot water because of the lack of spiritual directors-many priests visited only once a month and going to the rector for confession was discouraged. I also struggled with some of my studies, although I was a bright student. To make a long story short, I determined after much prayer that I was not called to the holy priesthood. I left, went to college, and married the woman who would become mother of my six children. I could not be happier! As far as our Mass situation, my family and I worship at a traditional Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic Church. While we still do attend the Traditional Mass when we can, we have found spiritual Catholic nourishment in the East, and we have not had to compromise one iota on our Faith. If you will permit me, I would like to share some thoughts with you about my past, as well as some thoughts I have about your situation.

Part II.
There was always something that troubled me about my time in the seminary. I have since talked with trad friends and former students of the seminary, and they have the same issues, namely, that the program the rector developed looked really good on paper, but there was no punch to it when it actually came to imparting the material. He was in our minds a brilliant man, but anyone can seem brilliant by translating Billot or Ligouri and regurgitating it back to us. In my opinion, and their's, it lacked teeth. I think I learned more about logic while courting my wife, than I ever day in the seminary. I also had trouble reconciling the sedevacantist thesis in my mind. My parent's were both victims of the effects of VII, and in my father's instance, it led to MANY years of not going to church at all. When we discovered sedevacantism in the late 80's, it kind of confirmed what my father had long been unable to reconcile. What ended up occurring for both him and me was that, as the years went by, and the situation was obviously not getting any better in the Church, a subtle despair overtook my family. We lost hope that things would ever get better in the Church. My attending seminary only complicated things, so even in sedevacantism, I (we) still had no peace. I eventually rejected sedevacantism, as did my parents, and we prayed that the good Lord would give us some peace. He, eventually, did. I tell you these things, because for once, I think you and the other members of SAG have got it right. What has happened to the traditionalist movement since I have been a part of it is, splintering, dividing and more conquering. There is NO unity, and NO Charity. You all have taken steps to change this, and for that I applaud you. As for what I said at the beginning of this very long comment, before I went off to tell you a little of my background story, I know first hand of the horror stories of Lotarski and company. I was present the day, a day we called "Black Tuesday" in the seminary, when "over 5000 points were handed out on pink slips to the children of Mary Help of Christians Academy. Sanborn yelled at some poor little first grader so badly that she wet her pants. Or the constant belittling by Lotarski to "slower" children, children who stepped out of line and so on, I witnessed first hand his brutal demeanor.

Part III.
Looking back, I think we, all of us in Warren at the time, were just accustomed to this type of behavior from Lotarski and Sanborn. We thought we were the remnant, and that bad behavior was the influence of the world and the devil. As I have gotten older though, I take a different position. Children are fallen individuals who need to be trained, not scarred into or beaten into the ways of the Lord. Furthermore,as the parent of a special needs child, I am appalled by the treatment of slower children as "retards". But it has become common place in traditional chapels for children to be treated as such. My wife and I have searched far and wide for a peaceful place to share our Catholic Faith with our children. In most, not all, but most trad chapels, I think the priests and lay people actually hate children. Sure, priests encourage large families, but when it comes to children making the slightest bit of noise, moving around too much, and so on, they are shown the "cry room" which more often than not is half way across the church, and Mass is piped in on closed circuit television. How are we supposed to Mass train our children if every time they cough, or sneeze, the priest "gives them a look" or, worse yet, the old chapel bitty takes it upon herself to "correct" the unsuspecting child. And please do not misunderstand me... if little Johnny or little Isabella are screaming their lungs out, of course they should be removed and removed quickly from the church. But, children are very perceptive, more so than any of us would give them credit. They pick up on whether Father so and so made them uncomfortable, or was mean to them. How do priests honestly expect us to encourage vocations in our little ones, when they appear to be so unhappy in their's? I thing our Lord said, "Suffer the little ones to come unto Me." I don't think he said, suffer the old grumpy priests and people to come unto me. although I could be wrong. Our children should know that our Lord and our Lady love them very much, and that they should, in turn, love our Lord and Lady with their whole being. It is hard to convince a child that God loves them when the people the look up to don't! Furthermore, it has often puzzled me, just by looking at some of our trad chapels, why there are so few older children of families who practice the Faith. Perhaps it is because they have seen how unhappy their parents are about the practicing their Faith and they want nothing to do with it. Again, I applaud you and the good folks at SAG for your work. I wish we lived a little closer! Thanks so much for allowing me the opportunity to share some of these thoughts with you. Do not hesitate to contact me if you desire further correspondence. In Christ and Mary, xxxxx 

Divide & Conquer vs. Conquer & Unite


It is becoming apparent to even the average person what a waste of time “politics” is these days.  Politicians, no matter what their stripe, are “all bought and paid for.”  They’re in it for the money, NOT for us, the people.  There might be a handful of well-intentioned politicians who really are trying to do the right thing, but not nearly enough; and how can such a handful of “honest” people work within a system that is thoroughly corrupt anyway, let alone change it or fix it?  Practically speaking, it’s impossible.

And the phrase “bought and paid for” is an apt one, for it implies that it isn’t the politicians running the show – and it implies correctly:  politicians and so-called “world leaders” are and have been simply the pawns of the “people behind the curtain” – the “powers that be” who are really running the show.  And who are “the powers that be”? According to most “conspiracy” theorists of today, they are the international bankers: the Rothchilds, the Bilderbergers, and so on.  All politicians, from the local mayor to the “world leader” types, are simply different levels of pawns, all of whom are controlled by these “powers that be.”  But who controls them?  Who is the ultimate “power that be” – the ultimate “capo di capi”?  It’s an easy guess: Satan.

Satan’s goal, as we Catholics are all taught, is the destruction of humanity, both materially and spiritually.  And how does he do it? – by “dividing and conquering” us, that’s how.  And if one analyzes history truly objectively, there is ample evidence of it.  Look at all the wars we have been in: most of them have produced “winners” who a generation or two later trade places with their foes and become the next war’s losers.  Former foes become allies, and vice versa.  This has been true throughout recorded history, but especially so in the last two centuries: did World War I, for instance, “make the world safe for democracy”?  No.  One short generation later, it spawned World War II, an even worse cataclysm, which replaced one adversary with one even worse.

And another byproduct of these wars has been a steady decline in morality – especially in “Christian” countries.  The quotation marks are there for a reason: “Christian” countries are really not Christian any more; they’re functionally pagan.  And even “Catholic” countries are not really Catholic any more (and many of these are being overrun by Moslems, as Belloc predicted).  The “dividing and conquering of Christianity” that started with the Protestant Revolt has been aided along in the last two generations by Vatican II, which has decimated Catholicism from within.  Scratch beneath the surface of the “V2” church, and you’ll find no real unity anymore: go to ten different priests, and you’ll get ten different opinions – on anything from theology to morality.

We traditional Catholics well know the story on that; and we are proud of the fact that we have not “splintered” like they have.  Or have we?  Before we all get too cocky about ourselves, and look down our noses at the Novus Ordo crowd, let’s scratch beneath our surface.  Is traditional Catholicism “united”? -- in a word, NO!!  In fact, the opposite is the case – and the rule. “Traditional” Catholicism runs the gamut from sedevacantism (those who think that there is no pope – “the chair of Peter is empty”) to the SSPX (yes, there is a pope, but our relationship with the Vatican II church is “quasi”), to outfits like the Society of St. Peter (full communion with the Vatican II church, “but they let us do our own thing”).  These definitions, to be true, are inadequate and overly simplistic, but they kind of catch the flavor of the major divisions; and, of course, there are variations or offshoots of these, for yet even more reasons, plus a plethora of other minor sects and splinter groups.

It has got to the point where there are splits, and splits within splits, where one needs a “scorecard” to figure out “who’s on first.”  Just look at Lefebvre’s original SSPX group: when “the nine” broke away from the SSPX, they formed the SSPV (Society of St. Pius V).  But it wasn’t long before a few of the nine drifted away and became “independents”; and then later on, another split occurred within those who remained – the split over the (Archbishop) “Thuc” line of succession, with Frs. Dolan and Cekada going one way, and the “Oyster Bay” priests going the other.

The SSPX split and sub-splits are just one facet of traditional Catholicism’s fragmentation.  There is also the CMRI, which has gone through more than one convolution; plus, there are a plethora of “independents” out there, split over issues from “baptism of desire” (the Dimond brothers, “Feenyites,” etc.) to varying shades of “whether the man sitting on Peter’s throne is a pope or not” – some outspokenly vocal, and some more reticent (for reasons that vary). Some, like the late Abbot Giardina, tried to steer clear of “controversy” (but one cleric found reason to criticize even that, didn’t he!).

The net result, as the reader ought to be noticing, is that traditional Catholicism is not a unified thing but a disjointed patchwork of sets and subsets, all going in a variety of directions, and each with its own agenda.  And to make matters worse, each set (or should I say sect) has its own set of arbitrary rules and regulations, most of which are designed to keep the sheep within their flock – and their flock only: the “follow me or die” mentality.  In fact, some of the splits were probably created for just that purpose, and are used as an “exclusionary” thing:  “If you go to so-and-so’s Mass, we won’t give you the sacraments”; or, “we’ll bar you from the property,” etc., etc. etc.

This tactic has been used both by Daniel Dolan (against Barry Ahern, to name one example, and against the people of ChambĂ©ry, to cite another) and by the SSPV priests (to bar any “Thuc” adherents from the sacraments).  What each has done is no less than “sacramental terrorism” or “sacramental blackmail” (although Dolan has a more storied history of doing it).  But this kind of thing is not limited to those two: several clerics have banned people (or other priests) for “infractions” not even related to doctrinal matters -- engaging in never-ending turf wars and issuing “follow me or die” directives.  That seems to be all too prevalent these days.

So, with all the foregoing discussion (the division and discord going on, and the knowledge of the devil’s policy of “divide and conquer”) as a backdrop, one is tempted to ask the following question:  did it ever occur to anyone that these “disputes” might simply be parts of an overall “divide and conquer” strategy -- a premeditated, coordinated one?  And, were some of these splits done for their purported reasons, or were they merely PRETEXTS to cover ulterior reasons or motives?  If one looks closely at the reasons for these splits, he finds that NONE of them are over disputes on ARTICLES OF FAITH; they are invariably over irresolvable issues – or at least, issues that have no bearing on deciding whether one is Catholic or not.  For instance, one wonders about the “Kelly, Jenkins, et al” split over the Thuc issue: it is not an “article of faith” thing.  One might also wonder: was that the real reason for the split, or was it a “reason of convenience” to hide some ulterior motive? 

One wonders as well if some these “divisive” priests are acting in concert, i.e., conspiring to divide traditional Catholics, or are they acting independently?  It’s hard to say; but either way, the “dividing” is real, and it is detrimental – but oh so unnecessary: as long as people are in agreement on ARTICLES OF FAITH, why exclude them for holding differing opinions on non-resolvable issues that are not articles of faith?  For example, one’s being a sedevacantist or NOT being a sedevacantist does not disqualify him from being Catholic.  One may believe either position, and still be truly Catholic.  Besides, who has the authority to “play pope” and proclaim whether they are or are not?

I might also add that in some cases, people have been banned for even non-clerical reasons (Michael DiSalvo and his wife were barred from SGG, just for not signing a document condemning a fellow parishioner’s actions).  At Fr. Jenkins’ Immaculate Conception Church, people are barred (and considered public sinners) unless they sign a paper abjuring any association with a “Thuc line” priest.  The reasons for people being banned from this or that priest’s church vary in many cases “from the ridiculous to the even more ridiculous”  -- which brings me to the whole point of this article: instead of excluding people of differing opinions on non-binding issues, why not include them all?  This is the idea behind St. Albert the Great Church (“SAG”).

At SAG, there will be none of this “exclusionary” nonsense.  All are welcome.  But, PLEASE, do not interpret this as “religious indifferentism”: there is NO COMPROMISE with the articles of the Catholic faith: if one is truly a Feenyite (one who does not believe in “baptism of desire”) and admits it, he – like other non-Catholics – will not be offered Communion – but he will be welcome; he will not be turned away at the door.  We will not bar you from coming to our Mass, nor will we force you to sign any papers abjuring this or that priest’s church; and we won’t turn you away because “you went to an SSPX church last week” – and, by the way, we won’t kick you out for wearing “flip-flops” or coats with sports logos, or for (ladies’) not wearing a veil (we’ll offer you one, though).  Oh yeah, another thing: we won’t bar anyone from re-entering the church if he or she happens to leave during the sermon – remember that rule?

What we will do and are doing is to be entirely open and honest with our parishioners.  We have a church constitution and bylaws which guarantee in writing that our church will not be sold out from under us (or our “building fund” money confiscated).  At SAG, the financial books are OPEN for all parishioners to see – not hidden behind some Lotarskiesque smokescreen.  And our church is one legal entity, not a labyrinthine mishmash of corporations and front companies set up to transfer money in some sort of shell game.   We have a board, headed by our pastor but with lay board members acting in concert with the pastor, and who are not a “rubber-stamp” bunch of lackeys.  Our church constitution and bylaws protect both pastor and parishioners.

At SAG, there will be no splitting up of families over irresolvable disputes on issues on which one has not the authority to decide anyway; no exclusionary “demands” or “requirements” that “disqualify” someone from attending; no “calling the cops” to bar anyone from the premises – in short, no sacramental blackmail.  The “follow me or die” mentality does not exist here, nor does the “turf war” mentality.  The only “turf” that we are interested in is saving souls.  Furthermore, at SAG, you won’t have to worry about your children being mistreated or corrupted.  And rest assured that n one here will show them porn or animal-abuse videos on the school computer!  Oh, one more thing: at SAG, you will see a statue of our Lord portrayed as the Divine Infant of Prague, but never as a doll outfitted in a “doctor” suit (and definitely no stethoscope!).

SAG has grown in the space of one year from humble beginnings (Mass in a hotel room) to a thriving parish, one which is poised to expand both here in the U.S. and in Europe.  Presently, our church in Cincinnati has a home-school co-op attached to it, with plans to expand as events allow.  And, although it is not what one would call a full-fledged “school,” it is “getting the job done” quite nicely – without the “aid” of a sadistic principal breaking a wooden paddle over a student’s backside, or a son of his corrupting fellow students with porn, or another son of his fornicating with a fellow student, with such behavior dismissed by the church’s pastor as “boys will be boys.” And since it is a co-op, there is minimal cost involved -- just books, and NO tuition. The children, already getting a better academic (not to mention moral) education than their SGG counterparts, will benefit even more as the co-op inevitably expands and improves.
But even more importantly, the best thing about SAG is that there is no atmosphere of fear here -- no control, no manipulation, no intimidation, no “guilt-tripping,” and all the rest that goes with a cult.  You’re free to come and go as you please.  We don’t “divide and conquer” here; we propose to “unite and conquer” -- by example, and by “inclusion” -- not by manipulation, coercion, and exclusion.  And, in spite of the fact that we have incurred extra legal expenses for Frs. Ramolla and Hall (brought on by the SGG clerics’ betrayal of them to U.S. Immigration authorities), our parishioners are not continually bombarded with requests for more “donations.” There are no sermons exhorting the parishioners to give more in order to avoid “cutbacks”; no urgent entreaties for money to “educate our future seminarians” (How many vocations has SGG produced so far?  Hint: rhymes with “hero”); no urgent entreaties for $30,000 parking lots; no expensive outlays for grottos, “sacristy extensions” (to store even more “stuff”), no Latin American and European travel junkets disguised as “apostolates,” and so on.
The model on which SAG is based is a new one.  It’s not the past “business as usual” scenario where the pastor is an absolute monarch and the parishioners are the peasants who have no say so but who bankroll the king and his court.  It’s a whole new ballgame, where the parishioners control the purse-strings, where they are involved in the material decision-making process – which frees up the pastor to concentrate on the spiritual well-being of his flock.  That is not to say that the pastor is stripped of all power and is a “figure-head” only.  No, it’s more like he’s a “constitutional monarch.”  He has a “parliament” to answer to, and that parliament is the lay board – a board which, by the way, includes a woman (misogynists beware – especially arrogant, condescending ones!).
For those in the immediate area of SAG or one of our “satellite” chapels, please come and try us out.  And for those elsewhere, we invite you to study our “model” as a blueprint for yourselves.  We think that it is a good way of insuring that the interests of both pastor and parishioners are protected, especially in the financial and legal sense.  We think that it is an arrangement where no one person has too much power or control, but where God is put firmly in control.  Come join us.  Come.  You’ll like the feeling. With the Infant of Prague as our guide, we cannot help but succeed.  Come try us out.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sound Familiar?


St. John of the Cross: "Many from want of knowledge use spiritual goods for the sole satisfaction of the senses, and their spirit therefore remains void.  The soul is in great measure corrupted by sensible sweetness, and draws off all the life-giving waters of grace before they reach the spirit, which is left dry and barren.  Scarcely one can be found who is not subject to this tyranny of the senses."

Living on the surface of the soul, we come to live on the surface in everything; for he who knows not how to penetrate within the soul has forgotten how to penetrate into the depths of anything else.  He is taken up with externals, and matters of detail become chiefly important to him.  Thus in duties and obligations, he sees the letter rather than the spirit, the bark rather than the sap, the body rather than the soul.  He knows that such and such details are prescribed, and certain others forbidden.  He sees the external side of the law, the material fact of the prescription, and this is the only thing to which he attaches a certain amount of importance.  He does not see the inward side, the reason and end of the prescription, the spirit of the law; and thus he brings an external and mechanical fidelity to the material observance of the letter which he sees and which killeth, without drawing any inspiration from the spirit which quickeneth, and which he does not see.

We so rarely ask ourselves to what deep needs correspond the observances imposed by the law or introduced by custom!  We are no longer acquainted with needs which are deep.  Above all we want external agitation and surface sensations; and as these are not to be found in the law, we go on to seek for them in factitious practices which are calculated to produce emotions.  In the meantime, so far as what is of obligation is concerned, we are satisfied with keeping a watch upon externals; for this, indeed, costs us less.  "The mind dwells in the elementary, in the word only, and does not really enter into the region of thought.  For want of piety, the mind neither goes from the word to the idea, nor from the idea to the soul, and still less from the soul to God."  And in this way, a soul whose fidelity to external practices leaves nothing to be desired does not make any progress, because it does not enter within where it would draw the water of life; it is like an automaton, the movement of which is regulated throughout, but remains ever the same.  This is materialism in piety.

Being attached to external practices, the soul cannot soar.  It is imprisoned, chained, stuck fast.  Seeing things in their littleness, it becomes small and cramped.  Petty practices make petty souls; for the soul always takes its proportion from the things to which it becomes attached.  I become little if I am attached to little things, or rather, to the petty side of things; for even little things have a great side, as great things have a petty side.  There are souls who only know how to get attached to the smaller side of things, whether the things be great or small; and hence they become mean and narrow.  Others, on the contrary, have ever in view the greater aspects to which they become attached, and which constantly help to make them expand.

In piety, as, indeed, in all other matters, the external is the smaller side.  As soon as I give it importance, everything within me begins to get wasted and mean; my spiritual horizon grows narrow, I become the slave of trifles, which check my expansion.  I suppose that a few infidelities in things external kill piety, and this is unfortunately true of mine, which is altogether outward.  Thus I am faithful to my petty practices and become imprisoned in them: if I neglect them, I have noting left.  This is common experience; and this is why we find unhappy souls constantly playing fast and loose, resuming their practices, forsaking them by degrees, and then coming back to them only to give them up again.

Does all of the foregoing sound familiar?  It should.  Does the sentence “He is taken up with externals, and matters of detail become chiefly important to him” remind you of a place caught up in externals (“putting on the show”), while internally it is rife with abuse and corruption?  It should.

The reason, by the way, for the change in font from “Arial” to “Bookman Old Style” is that the Arial text is excerpted from the preface of a book entitled The Interior Life (edited by the Very Rev. Father Joseph Tissot). Although it was written in the late nineteenth century, its relevance is such that it could have been written yesterday.  It is one of those rare classics that is truly classic in that it will always be relevant and apposite, no matter what the time frame – but especially in today’s -- for that calcified segment of the traditional Catholic world that is caught up in externals but rotting on the inside with abuse, corruption, and – sadly, in some cases -- perversion.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Removing All Doubt (Again)


No, this is not a reprint (or rehash) of Dr. Thomas Droleskey’s exhaustively documented  exposĂ© Removing All Doubt.  It is rather a supplementary article, building on the first.  The intent of Dr. Droleskey’s article was to remove all doubt regarding Anthony Cekada’s evil intentions: from his intended smearing of Bp. Petko and Fr. Bernard Hall, to his miscalculated and ill-timed gloating over Fr. Ramolla’s “probable” deportation, and to his shabby attack on Abbot Leonard Giardina – all of which miserably backfired on this moral leper.

But, as if that bit of mischief from the scum-suckers of Rialto Road was not enough, they have actually been at it again – this time with one of their French lackeys, Fr. Thomas “Loose Lips” Le Gal (acting at their behest) attacking Fr. Bernard Hall, who has been administering to French Catholics in the town of Chambery.  Of course, this bit of Dolanesque duplicity has backfired too.  Le Gal’s lying attacks were easily disproved in the article It’s Got To Be Ill-Le Gal, which masterfully unmasks Le Gal’s lies and refutes them one by one.

But this hasn’t stopped the foot-in-mouth Le Gal from continuing his serpentine efforts.  First, he accused Fr. Hall of writing the article (which he did not).  Then, when he was told that it was written by a layman, he got some of the locals in Chambery to label it as “disrespectful to clergy” – the same sorry tactic that some of the SGG sycophants have used here in the U.S.  These hypocrites seem to have forgotten the eighth commandment: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”  Apparently, it is okay for a cleric (Le Gal) to lie about someone (in this case, about a fellow cleric -- Fr. Hall); but it is NOT okay for a layman to defend Fr. Hall against Le Gal’s lies.  According to these people, this constitutes “disrespect.”

They seem to forget that when a priest lies, it is actually a much greater sin, because he has violated his sacred trust as an Alter Christus.   Then to compound that sin by trying to label someone’s truthful defending against those lies as “disrespect” or “slander” is doubly despicable.  But that is textbook Vipers of Vaudeville modus operandi; that is what they have used for years to intimidate their critics into silence.  But this time, that gimmick won’t work, for they have used it too many times.  Perhaps their boot-licking parishioners might fall for it, but the public-at-large no longer takes it seriously.

Le Gal’s latest bit of chicanery, added to what has already been committed, should have left no doubt in anyone’s mind of the baseness and perverseness of Dolan’s and Cekada’s characters.  But, apparently, the sick, sycophant zombies of SGG – like their misguided counterparts in Chambery – are still “doubting” -- they still seem to have not got the message.  Are they hopelessly brain-dead, or are they willfully intransigent?

Well, but one might claim (in their defense) that they may not be aware of what’s going on.  Sorry, chum -- they ARE.  More than a dozen prominent SGG parishioners were sent an e-mail (by one of SAG’s parishioners) containing links to several articles detailing Cekada’s latest hijinks.  He received only ONE RESPONSE – from an SGGer who stated that he had no time to read them because he was on his way to Australia* at the time (well, mate, you’re there now; so why don’t you give them a look?).  So, you see, the SGG parishioners have had more than ample opportunity to see what’s going on; they’ve just chosen to ignore it (in fact, during the past two years, scores of articles have been written -- most of which have fallen on deaf ears).

Actually, SGG’s parishioners wouldn’t have had to read anything from what they consider the “enemy camp.”  They only needed to read from their OWN camp – Cekada’s sorry piece in Quidlibet, or his gloating fiasco about Fr. Ramolla’s imminent, “sure-fire” deportation – to find out what their leaders were really like.  And, of course, let’s not forget Cekada’s Schiavo catastrophe, which virtually every traditional priest on earth condemned (excepting, of course, the vipers and their cohorts at MHT seminary).  No commentary from any outside source on any of this is really needed; it all speaks for itself.

But, like the blind cultists that they are, they simply “swallow and obey” any lies that come down the slop chute from the foxes who run their hen house.  They’ve been so brain-drained and conditioned by the vipers that they can no longer think or discern for themselves, or function in anything like a rational capacity.  What is obvious to a second-grader is now apparently beyond their mental grasp.  They are robots, pre-programmed to obey their masters -- and to reject “conflicting data.”

Are they really that brain-dead?  That certainly can be a piece of it:  they have been conditioned over time to be obedient robots of sorts.  And many, over time, have become narrow-minded hypocrites who condemn people for using “inappropriate language” instead of focusing on the message itself (see A Pristine Example of Hypocrisy), or who accuse people of being “disrespectful to clergy” while totally ignoring said clergy’s disrespect to everyone else (including other clergy).  They have come to confuse sanctimony for piety; they have come to have a notion of “respect” that is both false and selective; they have come to ignore harm that has been done to their co-parishioners – and even their own children (some, realizing that their children were mistreated in SGG’s “school,” have taken them out).  Yet in their sinful complacency, they still stay for the “traditional trappings,” i.e., the “show.”

The net effect of all this is that, for one reason or another, they have become “willfully intransigent” – even though they know that they are wrong.  But their pride is preventing them from admitting it.  Well, get over it, folks.  Get over your pride – before it’s too late.  Your bungling masters will continue to embarrass themselves – and you; and you will find it increasingly difficult to explain it to yourselves, to explain it to your children -- to explain it to anybody.  How many more blatant examples of their duplicity will you need to convince you?  How blatant must Cekada and Dolan get before you wake up and see it for what it is?  How long must the charade go on?

For the overwhelming majority of the traditional community, there is no longer any doubt that the agenda of Anthony Cekada and Daniel Dolan is an evil one.  Cekada’s disgusting letter to all those priests, with its over-the-top gloating about Fr. Markus Ramolla’s impending non-existent deportation; his illogical and vicious attack on a saintly man, a deceased abbot who cannot talk back -- how much longer will you people at SGG support such trash until all doubt is removed about you??

* As a postscript, let me mention that the man on his way to Australia was going there for a serious reason (for which he has our thoughts and prayers in mind), and at the time legitimately had no time to respond to the e-mail sent to him; the fact that he responded at all says more for him then for those who were not under such a burden, but who did not bother to respond at all.  However, enough time has passed that a more appropriate acknowledgement from him (and others) would certainly be appreciated.

Deportation Letter Transcript


The following is a word-for-word transcript of the letter that Anthony Cekada wrote to several priests, where he attempts to convince them that Fr. Markus Ramolla was to be deported.  Of course, it didn’t happen.  Cekada’s arrogant gloating proved to be his usual pack of lies.  This letter can be found in Dr. Thomas Droleskey’s article Removing All Doubt; but, for those who do not have the time (or do not wish to take the time) to read through Droleskey’s entire report, it is reproduced here alone for your convenience.  It is as follows:

Dear Fathers
I just talked with our immigration lawyer and told him we'd gotten a couple of questions about this. He says that nothing in the recent St. Albert the Great bulletin announcement corresponded with the way U.S. immigration law really works.
Here's a summary of the lawyer's explanation:
• Fr. Ramolla went into "unlawful presence" status as soon as we terminated his R-1 status and after he was put into "removal proceedings" by ICE in December 2009. This was automatic.
(BTW, the next hearing in Fr. Ramolla's removal proceeding is slated for May 19 in Cleveland. His bulletin didn't mention that at all.)
• The visa that he got though us until November, 2011 (called an I-94) then immediately became toast -- or Zweiback, if you prefer. It doesn't matter what the expiration date said. The mere existence of an ongoing removal proceeding automatically voided it.
• Once a foreigner is in "unlawful presence" status, the immigration regulations won't allow him to change to legal status while he remains in the U.S. (Exceptions: contracting marriage in the U.S., or facing political persecution and/or torture in the Fatherland).
• To apply for an immigrant visa or a non-immigrant visa again (together with R-1 [religious worker] status sponsored by ORCM, say), Fr. Ramolla would have to go back to Germany and try to apply for the visa and religious worker status at the U.S. Consulate.
• However, even assuming ORCM could jump through the regulations minefield of the interminable and expensive INS procedure for admitting religious workers -- will Bishop McKenna, Bishop Neville and the Sisters let the the Federal Customs and Immigration Service "inspect" their facilities at Monroe and Highland, as required? -- our friend would be up against another problem.
Fr. Ramolla's CIS record is now forever stained with the scarlet words "unlawful presence" and subject of "removal proceeding."
• And since his permanent record will also show that he remained in the U.S. for a full year after the removal proceeding began (from Dec 2009-Dec 2010), the Consulate will inform Fr. Ramolla that U.S. immigration law imposes an automatic 10-year ban on him re-entering the U.S. So, if he'd care to try applying for another visa in connection with ORCM, he would be welcome to come back again in 2021, but not before then.
I looked up the regulation on the 10-year ban. If you're interested in slogging through the legalese, it's discussed on page 8 of this document:
• On the $3,000 legal fee, the lawyer says that potential deportees will sometimes want to string the proceedings along for as long as possible to stay in the country, even when he's told them that in that in the long run, they'll be deported anyway. He makes them sign a statement saying he's told them they'll finally be deported.
I asked him if he were handling Fr. Ramolla's case himself, what defense would he use? After trying to spin out a couple of ideas, he said he couldn't come up with one that could ultimately work.
• The lawyer's conclusion on the rosy claims in the SAG bulletin: No way.
• As regards Fr. Ramolla's trial with CIS on May 19, the lawyer thinks that because their cases are essentially the same, the outcome for Fr. R. will be the same as it was for Bernie Hall: CIS will "allow" Fr. Ramolla to depart "voluntarily" within a certain period of time -- though perhaps a little more than the 60 days Bernie got.
Thus the principal points of how the lawyer reads the situation. He's been handling our immigration work for nearly twenty years now, and he's almost always been right, so I think this is probably the way things will end up.
-- Fr. Cekada