ALL ABOUT THE LAY PULPIT

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Well, OK, He Got Schiavo Wrong, But…


Incredibly (and sadly), there are still many for whom Schiavo is not “enough” to convince them that Cekada and Dolan are not men of good will.  For some, they need more “data points.”  Okay, here comes another data point!  Remember the late Abbot Leonard Giardina (of Christ the King Abbey in Cullman, Alabama), who died in January of 2011?  In May of that year, Anthony Cekada -- in his on-line blog, Quidlibet -- wrote a piece (about the abbot) entitled Tragedy and Treason at Christ the King Abbey.  The article started out innocuously enough, giving some details about the abbot’s history, then relating how the abbot once visited SGG (St. Gertrude the Great Church):
“Fr. Giardina visited us at St. Gertrude the Great in 1991 to preach at our Forty Hours’ Devotion. As a result of that contact, a number of our parishioners took an interest in the monastery. Some became Benedictine Oblates, and occasionally visited the monastery to make private retreats.  Father steered clear of the Society of St. Pius X and its Benedictine affiliates. During his visit here, he regaled us with a number of amusing anecdotes about his encounters with the rather “French-fried” Benedictinism of the latter.”
But this intro was just window-dressing, as Cekada continued with the following:
On the other hand, Fr. Giardiana was studiously coy about revealing his position on the question of the pope. As far as I know, he never made any public statements one way or the other.  Fr. Giardina’s monastery newsletter, Speculum, moreover, routinely printed a denunciation of traditionalists who engage in “controversy” and “sterile polemic.” Such questions, readers were assured, were of no interest to monks, who only sought to be “spiritual.”
“Studiously coy”?  He wasn’t being coy, Tony; he was just being prudent -- not sticking his nose into irresolvable issues that he had no business sticking it into.  He did not insist on a long laundry list of shibboleths that he would force his followers into accepting as “articles of faith.”  He knew that he had neither the authority nor the jurisdiction to make such arbitrary pronouncements (nor, may I add, does anyone else); and he also had the good sense to realize that doing so would only divide, not unite, Catholics.  In a traddie world fraught with cult-masters interested only in making exclusionary “demands” designed to scare and manipulate their sheep into compliance, he was a positive, healing force, who transcended such sectarian nonsense.
Cekada then continued, kicking his trademark sarcasm into high gear:
Father’s caginess on the pope question and his repeated “We’re-too-spiritual-for-controversies” protests, though, struck me as nothing more than a clever two-pronged fundraising ploy:
(1) Say absolutely nothing about the pope, so you can hit up all categories of traditionalists for donations: sedevacantists, SSPX-ers, independents, and Motu types.
(2) Play up the “I’m-only-a-humble-unworldly-monk” routine.
On the latter point, having spent some time as a monk myself, I am well aware how some of the sons of St. Benedict ham up the “humble monk” shtick whenever they sniff the scent of a potential big benefactor.
The double formula was a gold mine for Christ the King Abbey. Fr. Giardina played it to the hilt, and the bucks rolled in.
But in the long run, it sowed the seeds for abbey’s surrender to the modernists.”
“Father’s caginess”?  “Fund-raising ploy”?  Play up the ‘I’m-only-a-humble-monk routine”?  “..ham up the ‘humble monk’ shtick”?  “…played it to the hilt”?  First off, does someone who considers himself to be “scholarly” use such puerile language?  And, secondly – and more importantly – does someone say this about a deceased man -- one who isn’t able to be there and defend himself against such disgustingly disrespectful drivel?  How contemptible.  How cowardly.  How false.  And how amateurishly done. Tony, what was your motive for attacking a deceased, defenseless man?  What did you hope to gain?  In your fruitless efforts to make this humble, holy man look bad, you have made yourself look bad, in he eyes of both God and men.  Your own words condemn you.  Phony Tony, once again – just as you did on Schiavo -- you have thoroughly embarrassed yourself.

The problem Cekada had with the good abbot is that the latter, who never used any high-handed tactics, was wildly successful – and Dolan and Cekada couldn’t stand it.  People gave willingly to the abbot’s cause, without any arm-twisting or solicitous exhortations – while all of Dolan’s and Cekada’s brow-beating and heavy-handed money-grubbing tactics failed miserably.  “Abbot Leonard,” as he was affectionately known, never aspired to any opulent life-style.  He never ate at upscale restaurants.  He never went to (or heard of) the Bishop’s Lodge.  He never went on expensive “apostolates” to Latin America or Europe.  Hence, he never needed to resort to such mercenary measures.  He was an unpretentious soul, staying at his monastery, living the simple life of a monk – toiling in the fields while quietly going about God’s work.

In stark contrast, Dannie Dolan tried to wow everybody with his ecclesiastical “pageants” (and still does), while Antonius Balonius tried to wow them with his attempts at “scholarship” – both of which have failed miserably.  Cekada’s much ballyhooed endeavor at authorship, Work of Human Hands (complete with “glowing reviews” by obliging partisans) is a critical (and financial) flop.  And Dolan’s liturgical extravaganzas (including his Palm Sunday procession, complete with donkey) now impress only SGG’s “hard-core.”  Parishioners with any sense (including SGG’s biggest benefactor, who had given them well over a million dollars) have long since left.

But Dannie and Tony still put on their “extravaganzas” – especially as “fund-raising ploys” (to quote the words Cekada used against Abbot Leonard).  This past year, they put on a “three-Mass spectacular”: three priests “simul-celebrating” three funeral Masses for the deceased wife of one of SGG’s biggest donors.  No matter that this wife was Novus Ordo, and that she habitually refused to set foot inside SGG.  What “counted” was the fact that her surviving spouse was one of SGG’s biggest donors; hence, the three-Mass “spectacular” -- all for someone who never believed in anything “traditional.”  What makes this all the more “curious” is that Dolan once denied Holy Communion to an SGG parishioner simply because he (allegedly) went to an SSPX church prior to that – a parishioner whose brother is a traditional priest and colleague of Dolan’s and Cekada’s.  But this parishioner didn’t have “big bucks,” while the deceased Novus Ordo wife’s spouse does: hence, give the one a “triple-play” extravaganza -- and the other, “the bum’s rush.”

The dynamic duo’s mercenary beacon shines through all too clearly in just about everything they do – but that has always been their trademark, their modus operandi.  The very fact that Cekada tried to imply that Abbot Leonard was “mercenary” is a classic case of “the pot calling the kettle black” – except that the good abbot was never mercenary – but the same cannot be said about the dynamic duo: they were (and continue to be) ever mercenary.  Cekada’s attempt to discredit a deceased, defenseless man is all too evident.  The insinuations are inescapable.  The funny thing is that all of Dolan’s and Cekada’s efforts at raising funds were futile, while the abbot -- who led by example, not by arm-twisting -- was, as we stated before, hugely successful. But that’s the way it always is: those who covet are invariably denied, while those who do not are invariably rewarded.  Greed, like all the other vices, is a self-defeating thing.

Of course, after thoroughly vilifying Abbot Leonard in his Quidlibet, Tony tried to “smooth things over” with words like “rest in peace,” etc., just as he did with Terri Schiavo.  But after cutting the man down as he did, the words “rest in pieces” would be more appropriate.  Cekada’s Quidlibet nonsense about Abbot Leonard, like what he said about Schiavo (and, for that matter, about everything else) has been an utter, absolute disaster – words that have boomeranged on him, and which continue to haunt him to this day.  One would think that, after Schiavo, he would have “learned his lesson” – but the arrogant and ignorant never do.  They can’t help themselves: they’ll always be that way.  Not until Cekada and Dolan have the humility to admit their wrongdoing, will they ever have a chance at redeeming themselves.  And, although their redemption is theoretically possible, one has only to look at their track record to realize that it’s not all that probable.

In addition to Schiavo, Cekada’s derogatory (and unwarranted) comments about Abbot Leonard provide yet another bit of insight into the arrogance and ill will of this sick, twisted man, just as WHH and his bogus defense of Dolan’s one-handed “ordination” showcased his ignorance and his counterfeit “scholarship.”  What Cekada did to Abbot Leonard is reminiscent of the hatchet job that another sick, twisted man – Dr. Droleskey -- did on Bp. Paul Petko.  Predators like Cekada and Droleskey, in trying to destroy totally innocent (and truly Catholic) men, will only end up destroying themselves (and, yes, Dr. D, we’re not yet done with you – not by a long shot!). 

The problem, though, is that when people “self-destruct,” they often don’t go down “alone”; they do “collateral” damage: they lead souls astray – and sometimes disillusion them to the point of despair.  That is why they must be stopped.  Ideally, one would hope that they’d have the basic decency to stop themselves, for it is in their own best self-interest (at least for their souls) that they do.  But, again, we’re talking about an ideal world.  In the real world, scoundrels seldom turn themselves around – and it would be extremely naïve for one to expect that Dolan and Cekada, based on their track record so far, would do the same.

In this article -- and in our previous article -- Lay Pulpit has elaborated only on Cekada (but not on Dolan); but not to worry:  Dannie will get “equal time.”  Before we are done, the reader will indeed get quite a refresher course on Dolan, and on just what part he has played in the dynamic duo’s dubious tenure as “shepherds” of SGG.  So, again, “stay tuned.”

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