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 na├»ve 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.”

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I Disagree with Cekada on SCHIAVO, But…


How often have we heard one of Dolan and Cekada’s alopogists say those words – yet who still contend that they are “good men”?  And I’m sure that those same people too are saying, “Oh, here you go, bringing up Schiavo again!” Well, I hate to disappoint them, but this site will bring up Schiavo again and again until they “get it” – and why not?!  Repetition is sorely needed in today’s “dumbed down” world, where peoples’ attention spans are so short -- and especially so in traddieland, where attention spans are not only short, but often virtually non-existent.  For them, repetition is not only beneficial -- it is essential.  Repetition, in fact, is good for all.  It is an quintessential part of the Church: the Mass, the Gospel – everything She teaches – is repeated over and over again, in the hope that the faithful will listen to it – and "get it."

So, yes, we are repeating our Schiavo message – and, in subsequent articles, we’ll be repeating even more.  The reason that we’re starting with Schiavo should be apparent: it is, BY FAR, Cekada’s biggest faux pas, his biggest embarrassment – so much so, that even most of his own supporters admit that he was wrong about that.  So, why do they still support him?!  His position on Schiavo is utterly contrary to the Church’s teaching on moral theology, (and even to natural law).  No Catholic theologian – “traditional,” “Novus Ordo,” “sede,” SSPX, FSSP, or otherwise – agrees with what he said.  The articles that condemn Cekada’s position on Schiavo could fill up a small library (for two of ours, see Cekada’s Actual Words About Schiavo – Another Look, and Terri Schiavo Revisited – Again).  And, the fact that neither Dolan nor Cekada has ever admitted any wrongdoing regarding their position on Schiavo -- or has shown any remorse whatsoever -- is positively beyond human comprehension.   

How can someone condone depriving a person not in danger of death of even water to wet her lips – someone who was NOT a “vegetable” (as Cekada inferred)?  (She was, in fact, in a considerably better mental and physical state than many people who are cared for nowadays in nursing homes – at least, the Catholic ones.)  And, in the following respect, at least, Terri Schiavo suffered the same agony as Our Lord on the cross: she didn’t get one drop of water.  Her lips were cracked and parched to the point of bleeding.  So were her eyes, sunk back into their sockets, with blood oozing forth from them until it too dried up (and, no, Tony, this is not “syrupy sentimentalism”; this is cold, hard fact).  How can such a thing be done to any living being – much less, to a human being?

Terri Schiavo’s death did not just “happen”: it was not the result of a “staph infection” or some other unforeseen cause.  It wasn’t from “natural causes,” or from her organs “shutting down.”  No, it was from forced starvation and dehydration, overseen by armed, uniformed police guards, who had orders to arrest anyone who tried to give her food or water.  The guards even stopped a little boy who simply wanted to wet her lips.  Anyone who attempted to give her food or drink was warned that they would be charged with a felony if they did so.  Her death did not just “happen”; she was -- in plain, simple English – PUT TO DEATH.

And what did Anthony Cekada, the “great theologian” (according to his slack-jawed supporters), have to say about all of this?  Well, amongst other things, he said this: A wicked husband still maintains his headship over the wife before God and his domestic and paternal authority.  He has the right to say yes or no to ice chips and Jello, unless and until an ecclesiastical or civil court, for a grave and just reason, legitimately impedes him from exercising his right.”   What “grave and just reason” did Michael Schiavo have for what he did?  No, Tony, he did NOT have that “right” – nor does anyone.  It was not a case of “pulling the plug” on a terminally ill patient whose vital signs were no longer “life-sustaining”; it was a case of enforced starvation and dehydration of someone who was nowhere near being “in danger of death.”  It was, in a word, MURDER.

According to eye-witnesses, the look of DISBELIEF on Terri Schiavo’s face (when she realized that she was -- by court order – being deprived of both food and drink) was UNMISTAKABLE.  She was AWARE that she was being deliberately deprived of both -- and it filled her with a sense of both DREAD and DISBELIEF.  She was TOTALLY AWARE, yet TOTALLY HELPLESS -- unable to lift a finger against the legalized murder that was being perpetrated on her.  Let us hope that it did not leave her totally hopeless as well – not just for the sake of her own soul, but for Cekada’s soul as well.

In an attempt to justify his contention that it was not necessary to use a feeding tube to keep someone alive, Tony stated that it constituted an “extraordinary” (and expensive) means of doing so (when, in fact, it was used for decades as a routine and painless to feed people -- and cheaper than conventional feeding), basing his contention (supposedly) on something that Pope Pius XII said back in 1958.  This he stated at a time when two of his own parishioners (Maria Duff and Peter Schappacher) were being nourished by feeding tubes at the time!  While berating a doctor (for stating that feeding tubes were not “extraordinary means”), Tony said this:  “How would you like a tube poked in your stomach?”  Well, Tony, Maria liked it.  So did Peter.  And – oh, by the way, Tony -- how would you like to be starved and dehydrated to death -- with an armed guard standing over you to make sure?

There was a time, Tony, when the Church (back in the Middle Ages) prescribed burning a stroke victim’s face to get him to “change his expression.”  Medical science (thank God!) has improved since then; and – guess what -- it has improved since 1958 too!  So, Tony, when you chide a doctor – an internationally-renowned one at that -- for “presuming to pronounce on matters of faith and morals” (when, in fact, he was only “pronouncing” on medical opinion – and very correctly so), remember that it was you (and only you) who was “presuming to pronounce” (and very incorrectly so) on everything: both on faith and morals, AND on medical opinion.  Tony, the fact is, you don’t know a root canal from the Panama Canal – or your anal canal.

Schiavo also underscored Cekada’s misogynist contempt for women.  It came through “loud and clear” in an exchange of correspondence between him and one of his (now former) female parishioners.  She asked him to clarify his position on Schiavo (especially with regard to the use of feeding tubes); and Tony danced around with specious arguments, with his usual mix of misquoting, misrepresenting, and taking things out of context (sound familiar? – like what he did in his “explanation” on one-handed ordination?).  The woman countered calmly and politely, proving him wrong on every one of his arguments.  When it became clear that she was right and he was wrong – and that he couldn’t “shut her up” -- he finally resorted to the following [the bold emphases are ours]:

Finally, the larger problem I see is that lay traditionalists like you are trying to turn something into a mortal sin that isn't.  You have no business doing so. You don't have the training in moral theology that priests have, and you certainly don't have the confessional experience we do in applying moral principles.  But this doesn't stop you from boldly expressing your "opinion" on the moral issues in the Schiavo case, because in the practical order you simply cannot accept the fact that a priest probably knows a lot more that you do about certain subjects, chief among them, moral theology.

I am supposed to make the distinctions for you between right and wrong, because I have the training, the sacramental graces and the experience to do so.  But  because [you] do not have the humility to recognize this in practice, you will go on endlessly arguing for your "opinion," rendering exchanges like this a waste of the priest's time, and in the process, I fear, turning traditional Catholics into members of the Church of Lay Opinion.

“Training in moral theology”?  Tony, if your “training in moral theology” led you to your conclusions on Schiavo, then I would beg to be excused from such “training.”  And you contend that this woman does “not have the humility” (but you presumably do?) -- and you have the  “sacramental graces and experience”?  Who are you trying to kid, Dummkopf?  Tony, you have “none of the above” – and I wouldn’t trust your judgment on how to boil water!!  I would trust the judgment of that woman – of anybody – before I’d trust yours!  And, oh yes, if that is a sampling of your “judgment,” then it is not only the laity’s business to question it -- it is our DUTY.  (I request that the reader read the entire correspondence to get the full impact of just how arrogant and disgusting Cekada’s words and attitude are; it is a real eye-opener.)

Just based on Schiavo alone, Cekada should not be taken seriously – much less, trusted -- on ANYTHING.  His “logic” is laughable -- but it’s consequences, tragic.  That is why it is so inconceivable that “Introibo” or the various “anonymouses” who have recently rallied to Tony’s aid should even lift a finger to legitimize this fake – much less, defend him.  If he had, perhaps, a “track record” of being “right” on other things, one just might grant him some legitimacy – but he hasn’t been right.  This has been made plainly and painfully apparent (again) recently -- in a series of articles (written on another website’s blog) dealing with his hopelessly flawed defense of Dannie Dolan’s one-handed “ordination.”  

The writer of that blog, of course, merely expressed that there were doubts about the validity of Dolan’s ordination – which, of course, prompted many of Tony’s “defenders” to accuse the author of definitely stating that the ordination was invalid (which he, again, didn’t); and they then attempted to refute everything that the author said.  When those attempts inevitably failed miserably, some of the “Cathinfo rejects” among them resorted to that last refuge of liars and cowards: to smear the author’s reputation (see Shooting the Messenger – a Textbook Example).  This tactic, of course, also failed miserably, and only convinced the author’s real audience – the traditional clergy – of the justice (and truth) of the author’s words, and of the ignorance and futility of these fools’ clumsy attempts at character assassination.

It behooves these people to get over their false pride (and hypocritical self-righteousness), and to admit what has always been glaringly obvious from examining Cekada’s own utterances: that he is an arrogant, condescending know-nothing who embarrasses himself every time he opens his mouth.  His inexplicable stance on Schiavo not only showcased his monumental arrogance and ignorance, but it also revealed his total lack of compassion and conscience.  Those who insist on defending him (and Dolan) need to know that they are standing not on moral high ground but on quicksand.  On Schiavo, Cekada’s (and Dolan’s) words and actions are despicable – by any standard; and anyone who pretends to deny this is either “mentally challenged” or is a base hypocrite.

Looking at the larger, overall picture, Schiavo was nothing more than a logical extension of the “culture of death” movement that kicked into high-gear with Roe vs. Wade:  If it is okay to kill defenseless babies, it is okay to kill defenseless adults.  And if someone decides that life is no longer worth living, he has the “right to die”:  he can get Kevorkian (“Jack the Dripper”) to help him “do the job.”  It’s all about the destruction of humanity, folks.  Schiavo, Roe vs. Wade, Kevorkian: they’re all part of the same landscape – with Satan as the artist.  And, Tony, you helped out with a few more brush strokes.

Cekada’s disastrous Schiavo position is just one (albeit the biggest) of his (and Dolan’s) embarrassing failures at passing themselves off as “legitimate.”  There are others.  In subsequent articles, we’ll revisit them, refreshing once again the readers’ memories on just what their “track record” has been – on just what they have perpetrated on so many people.  We want to remind this duo’s supporters once again of the “caliber” of men that they are “taking bullets for” (and we want to remind everyone else to steer clear of them!).  So, for those hard-to-convince folks who say “I disagree with him on Schiavo but…” (as if Schiavo alone wasn’t “enough”) -- and especially for those unsuspecting, uninformed innocents out there who might become the dynamic duo’s next potential victims -- there will be more.  Stay tuned!