Friday, October 25, 2013

It’s All About “The Show” – and About Money

In several previous Lay Pulpit articles, we have commented about Daniel Dolan’s “putting on the show” for his parishioners at SGG (St. Gertrude the Great Church).  It has almost become a cliché.  Well, it might be a cliché, but it is nonetheless true.  “The show,” of course, includes plenty of pontifical pageantry, polyphonic music, and elaborate processions (the one on Palm Sunday, as we’ve noted before, comes complete with donkey).  And SGG’s school is showcased as a “model of propriety”: kids in uniforms (girls’ skirts all “below the knees,” of course), and lots of photos depicting students performing “picture perfect deeds” on cue (to put in SGG’s Sunday bulletin and on its website, for all traddieland to see and admire).  It’s all very impressive, very proper – and it looks very “Catholic.” Also, it’s all very nostalgic, “just like the good old days”: a walk down Catholicism’s “Memory Lane.” 

Beautiful, I must say -- but what about Catholic morality, and especially about Catholic moral theology?  Where does Terri Schiavo fit into their scheme?  When Dolan dismissed watching porn on SGG’s school computer as “boys will be boys,” how “nostalgic” was this?  When he ignored the complaints of numerous parents about the abuse of their children by SGG’s school principal (and his sons), where was Dolan’s sense of moral outrage?  And when one of the school principal’s sons impregnated a fellow female student, was this too a case of “boys will be boys”? (One thing for sure: it was some piece of apparel other than the girl’s dress that got “below the knees” this time!)  Does what happened here call to mind anything about the sixth commandment?  And what were Dolan and Cekada thinking when they dissolved SGG’s satellite parish in Columbus, Ohio, sold it out from under its parishioners, confiscated their building fund and operating fund, and pocketed the proceeds?  Did they, perhaps, stop to think what the seventh commandment had to say about that?  Probably not.

What they were thinking about, instead, was how to maximize their monetary intake – and about how to make it happen.  Caring about Terri Schiavo doesn’t make that happen; it’s not “good for business” -- but elaborate, impressive ceremonies are.  P.T. Barnum-like hoopla is what it’s all about, folks: give ‘em the show; give ‘em -- not Catholicism -- but its caricature.  And why?  Because it works, that’s why.  The SGG clergy (and those like them) know that there is a sizable critical mass of people out there who are gullible, and easily swayed by “spectacle.”  They also know that if they clothe their quackery in ecclesiastical adornment and fulsome sanctimony, they can convince them that it’s “the real thing” -- and many of their parishioners have been swallowing this swill for so long, they can no longer distinguish it from the real thing.

That is why SGG’s parishioners can disregard Dolan’s “boys will be boys” comments, or ignore the abuses of SGG’s school principal and the immorality of his sons. That is why they can pretend that one of the principal’s sons did not father a child with a fellow student (even in the face of irrefutable DNA evidence).  That is why they can pretend that SGG’s confiscation of the Columbus parishioners’ money never really happened (or perhaps they can even justify it).  That is why they can pretend that Dolan and Cekada deserve $400-a-night “sabbaticals” in Santa Fe.  When one is mesmerized, one will believe (or justify) anything.  They have become like putty in their cult-masters hands: they’ll believe or do anything they say.

At SGG, it’s appearances that count: the dynamic duo can insist on the girls’ dresses being below the knees, while disregarding the fact that one girl’s dress obviously got above the knees.  The cult-masters can wax poetic about “protecting our innocent children” on Guardian Angel Sunday, while ignoring the sadistic abuses that SGG’s school kids suffered at the hands of their school principal (and which caused half the parish to leave in protest).  A student missing his homework merits being beaten with a wooden paddle, while another student’s impregnating a girl merits no punishment at all  -- because he is the principal’s son. There is nothing wrong with Terri Schiavo being starved and dehydrated to death, yet an SGG student wearing a polka-dot headband in church (under her veil) was – according to SGG’s school principal -- “inappropriate”; and riding a roller-coaster was – according to one of SGG’s Latino priests -- a mortal sin. 

This is the kind of twisted, puritanical mindset that reigns at SGG, both in its clergy and in its congregation.  They not only cannot recognize good, but they condemn it, while condoning evil.  For example, a man who got justifiably angry at the base lies that Dolan told about his deceased father (and who then called Dolan’s comments “bullshit”), was condemned by an SGG parishioner for using that word; she said that such language was “not Catholic” -- but, of course, she failed to grasp the fact that Dolan’s lying about the man’s father was certainly “not Catholic.”  She also (obviously) forgot about Our Lord getting justifiably angry at times, and calling the Pharisees vipers and thieves.  If she had been living back then, she probably would have been right in there with those Pharisees, condemning the God-Man Himself for using “inappropriate language.” 

But that is what happens with people mired in a cult-centered mindset.  They’ll do (and defend) whatever their cult-masters say -- approving just about everything they do (while overlooking every bit of wrong that they do).  They’ll lap it up, as long as it “looks Catholic” and gives them that warm, fuzzy, nostalgic feeling of “the good old days.” And, of course, they’ll pay dearly for it: they willingly open up their pocket books for all the hoopla and pageantry that goes along with “the show.”  But, of course, that’s what it’s all about: MONEY.  The cult-masters put on the show for the money.  On their websites (and from their pulpits), there are constant exhortations for “donations” and for “remembering us in your will”  (SGG’s website even has a “donate” button, including one for “make automatic monthly donation”).  Their latest fund-raising ploy is commemorative “stones” (pavers in SGG’s “cloister” area) that can be purchased for seventy-five bucks a pop(!).   The soliciting game never stops there; it’s a well-oiled machine -- and it’s always in high gear.

But why do people fall for such pap -- with such blind obedience and groveling subservience?   Why does traddieland seem to have a bumper crop of such people: green, gullible, easily deceived, and just itching to be exploited – willing fodder for unscrupulous impresarios?  Dr. Droleskey, for instance, can do a hatchet job on an innocent man; and, as long as he finishes it off with one of his trademark mini-litanies, it’ll be taken by some for “good Catholic reading.”    It seems that traddieland is full of people who, if they are fed a diet of misinformation, will react in kind: they’ll take sanctimony for sanctity, the show of holiness for holiness itself, and window dressing for the “real thing.”  Are these people really that stupid -- that gullible?  The answer is, “yes and no.” 

Yes, some are -- but some aren’t: some act wrongly out of pride: many at SGG, for instance, certainly recognize by now what the dynamic duo are; they know that Cekada was wrong about Schiavo; they’ve seen (and recognized) his arrogance – but they are too proud to admit that they made an initial misjudgment – that they were “taken in” by him and Dolan.  Instead of leaving SGG, they’ll invent some lame excuse to stay, such as, “Well, we know what they’re like, but we have to go somewhere for the sacraments”  -- even though there are plenty of viable and legitimate alternatives elsewhere available to them.  But they won’t leave.  Even if Padre Pio were saying Mass next door, they’d ignore him, and still patronize the two vipers.

But that’s typical of today’s world -- not just at SGG, not just in traddieland, but everywhere.  People don’t want to appear “foolish” -- to admit that they’ve “been had.”  And if they do get found out (and can’t “get out of it gracefully”), they’ll just clam up and use the “stonewall” approach, or find some other way to ignore the embarrassing reality of the moment: the “Pamela” approach (see The Eleventh  and Twelfth “Commandments”).  The SGG folks are simply a representative microcosm of society in general – of a world that is long on “show” and short on substance – where the appearance of good passes for good itself, and where what is said and what is done are two different things:  today, we are exhorted to “save the planet”” – by rescuing baby otters and preserving the habitats of kangaroo rats, while killing human babies and euthanizing our old.  Today, it’s the planet’s flora and fauna, not its people – not Terri Schiavo – that are what counts.

Traddieland has, in large part, evolved into a disjointed patchwork of competing “centers,” each one a feudal kingdom unto itself, demanding fealty from its flock (and demanding adherence to such “articles of faith” as sedevacantism, “una cum,” and other exclusionary shibboleths to keep the sheep in the cult corral).  They give their people the appearance of Catholicism, but not Catholicism itself: one can ignore every precept of Catholic morality, so long as one buys a commemorative paver stone (or some other monument to one’s ego), or underwrites the cult-masters in some other way. 

Belloc spoke of the “calcification” of the Church in the late Middle Ages, where rites and rubrics -- the “letter of the law” -- took precedence over the spirit of Catholicism, eventually resulting in the Protestant Revolt.  It now seems to be upon us again: what one says is more important than what one does.  But Catholicism is more than elaborate rites and rubrics and “saying all the right buzzwords.”  It is about Catholic morality, Catholic thinking, about actually being Catholic: caring for the sanctity of life – of Terri Schiavo’s life -- and about recognizing sin as sin, not as “boys will be boys.”  For real Catholics, fornication is a sin; riding a roller-coaster is not.  Real Catholicism is not about buying one’s way into heaven by purchasing a memorial paver stone or by saying the right prayers; it is about keeping God’s commandments.  Being the right stuff, not saying the right stuff, is the real “bottom line.”

Worldly, self-seeking cult-masters will only bring ruin to Catholicism: bad trees do not bear good fruit.  Goodness can only come of good men – men who are more interested in their (and others’) souls than in where their next gourmet meal or travel junket is coming from.  Good men must take the lead; and they must rejuvenate today’s re-calcified Catholicism with real Catholic thought, word, and deed – not with sanctimonious pap, and showy pomp and ceremony.  Perhaps then – and only then – will Catholicism stop splintering, and start to unite and heal.  Until that happens, it will only continue its downward spiral into oblivion.  The time has come to stop that downward spiral: to weed out the Barnumesque hucksters and the sanctimonious hypocrites.

But how is such a thing to be accomplished? – by some sort of ecclesiastical equivalent of the political “tea party” movement, where concerned Catholics come together and “take back our Church” from such men?  Or should it be a “from the top down” thing, requiring leadership from above?  The answer is both: a good tree must have good soil in which to grow.  But whichever form it takes, the leading and the following should be done by example -- as Our Lord did – and not by coercion, fear tactics, and “guilt-tripping.”  And just as people have been led astray by bad example, so can they be reclaimed by good example.  It can start small: a mustard seed, planted in good soil, grows into a mighty tree.  In time, the good seed, properly planted and nourished, will prevail, and choke off the parasitic chaff who have been feeding off the faithful for so long.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Dr. (Fr.) Droleskey: Who’s in His “Hidey Hole” Now?

In Thomas Droleskey’s marathon hatchet-job, Retracting Support For Paul Petko, he derisively referred to Bp. Petko as being in his “hidey-hole in Indiana.”  One supposes that this was an attempt at “humor” on Droleskey’s part; if so, it fell short of the mark: it was about as funny as a six-pack of funerals.  Well, it’s now the dastardly doctor’s turn to hunker down in his “hidey-hole”: he has gone and got himself made a priest, and the word is now getting around.  And, for whatever reason, he’s either embarrassed or self-conscious about it, because he gets “hot under the collar” and “snaps” at anyone who even brings up the subject. 

For those who are unfamiliar with Droleskey’s relationship with Bp. Petko, a little history:  a few years ago, Droleskey, after wearing out his welcome at Monroe, Connecticut, then came to the Indianapolis area, where Bp. Petko resides.  While in Monroe, Droleskey wanted to write an article (on his website, Christ or Chaos, about the nuns there; but they said no, they didn’t want any “notoriety.”  This alienated him, so he left).  In Indiana, Droleskey tried the same thing: to get Bp. Petko (and some people he knew) to give him damning information for an “interview” that he wanted to do; they, just as the nuns in Connecticut, didn’t want any notoriety, and so declined.  For that, and for other “infractions,” they “got on the wrong side” of Droleskey.

Eventually, Droleskey found his way to St. Albert the Great Church (“SAG”), in Fairfield, Ohio, whose pastor was Markus Ramolla (who also ran a “seminary” there at SAG) -- whom Droleskey knew from the latter’s days back at “SGG” (St. Gertrude the Great Church).  There, he and Ramolla rekindled a relationship that culminated in their collaboration on a mutually beneficial scheme:  Droleskey wanted revenge on Bp. Petko, while Ramolla had ambitions of becoming a bishop – ambitions which date back to his days at SGG.  Droleskey, in fact, was the original advocate for Ramolla’s bishopric, and he tried to get Bp. Petko to consecrate him.  Petko, however, said no.  This, then, gave Dr. D additional reasons for seeking revenge on Bp. Petko.  Through Droleskey’s contacts with Bp. Slupski, he then contracted with him (Slupski) to “get Ramolla done” (but it was Dymak who actually did the job). 

The way Droleskey chose to hurt Bp. Petko was by getting Ramolla and his seminarians to trump up charges of “inappropriate behavior” against him.  (This not only got Droleskey his “revenge,” but it also removed an obstacle in Ramolla’s path: he wanted to be SAG’s bishop as well as their pastor – but Bp. Petko was their “bishop” at the time.  So, “getting him out of the way” accomplished two goals: Droleskey’s revenge, and Ramolla’s “bishop ambitions.”  The trumped-up charges were led by both Ramolla and Droleskey (but it was the latter who did most of the “orchestrating”).  Bp. Petko was then “tried” at a kangaroo-court “parish meeting,” (that he was forbidden to attend), where his character was totally assassinated.  It wasn’t long afterwards that Droleskey, after crucifying Petko in front of SAG’s entire congregation, then compounded his treachery by publicly spreading the slander to all his readership – in his now-infamous 50+ page diatribe – on his Christ or Chaos website.

This spread the slander everywhere; even traditional clergy found out about it (and believed it).  Eventually, Lay Pulpit responded with a point-by point rebuttal, “Retracting Support for Paul Petko” Revisited.  But, because it too was (necessarily) long, it was since broken up into five shorter, more manageable segments: Revisiting Doctor Droleskey’s Diatribe: One Year Later, Lie No. 1: the “Association with Ryan Scott” Insinuation, Lie No. 2: The “Inappropriate Behavior with a Seminarian” Accustaion, Lie No. 3: “Grooming” of a Seminarian, and Despicable Doesn’t Go Far Enough).  One thing that must be pointed out is that Droleskey’s original diatribe has been removed from his Christ or Chaos website.  It probably did him more harm than good, so he had it taken down (his action was to no avail, however, for we have it in its entirety – intact).

For those who do not have the time (or the perseverance!) to wade through the original marathon diatribe (or even the other shorter articles), we can summarize by saying that all of Dr. D’s charges were proven to be bogus, and that his diatribe has become his “Pearl Harbor”: “it lives on in infamy.”  One of the things that really strikes this writer is the length to which this miserable wretch went to vilify Bp. Petko. Falsely accusing him of all sorts of “inappropriate behavior,” he even went so far as to create a bogus website, complete with an anonymous “witness” to alleged events in Bp. Petko’s past – arguably his most despicable deed in the whole affair. 

In his “inappropriate behavior” scheme against Bp. Petko, he convinced two seminarians and a former seminarian to “go along” with it (with a combination of lies and promises). One of them (who, because of those lies and promises, reluctantly did “go along with it”) has since realized that he was used as a pawn, has since apologized to Bp. Petko, and has (thanks be to God) since become a priest, allied with Bp. Petko.  The other seminarian (and former seminarian) didn’t really need any “convincing”: the two were one-time roommates at CMRI’s Mater Dei Seminary, where the former wrote the latter a “love poem” (for more details, see Lie No. 3: “Grooming” of a Seminarian).  So, it is easy to understand why they willingly went along with Droleskey and Ramolla’s scheme.

After Ramolla (with Droleskey’s help) got one of Bp. Slupski’s minions (Dymak) to get him his miter, their political alliance dissolved:  Ramolla turned on his SAG parishioners, and left them (and Droleskey) “high an dry” – but not before buying himself a $900 miter, $1000 worth of candles, plus some other “goodies” (all at the parish’s expense, of course).  He absconded to Germany, taking his “love poem” seminarian with him.  The former seminarian is now reportedly somewhere out West, while Ramolla and his “buddy” are reportedly still in Germany.  Droleskey and Ramolla, the two former political allies and co-conspirators, are now bitter adversaries – and the former is now reportedly in the Cincinnati, Ohio area – but “keeping a low profile” (it seems that it is now Dr, D who is the one hunkering down in his “hidey-hole”!).

When one thinks about what this sanctimonious serpent did to Bp. Petko -- the LIVING HELL that he put this man through -- it boggles the mind (and makes one’s blood run cold).  But what has all his conniving and scheming netted him?  What is the outcome of Dr. D’s efforts to crucify an innocent man?  What are the fruits of his underhandedness?  After going through the living hell of his treachery and having bravely borne this cross, Bp. Petko is now doing quite well.  The truth is now out, Droleskey’s lies against Bp. Petko have been exposed, and Dr. D’s carefully crafted conspiracy against him has collapsed.  Droleskey knows he can no longer do him any damage.  And Dr. D’s fellow conspirators, like rats leaving a drowning ship, have scattered and dispersed, their alliance having dissolved and their plot having failed. 

So, the prestigious PhD, the man who fashions himself as the oracle of traddieland: what has he accomplished?  How has he fared?  Firstly, the damage that he tried to do to Bp. Petko backfired on him: the immediate effect of his diatribe on Christ or Chaos was a significant loss of readership (and revenue) – so much so, that he pulled the article.  Since then, he has been looking for ways to reverse his losses (losses, of course, that were of his own making), and to recoup his credibility.  But Dr. D knows that, having publicly lied about Bp. Petko, and having got caught at it, his credibility is now shot.

Oh yes, he can still be traddieland’s “matinee idol” for the brain-dead, the gullible, and those who think that a 10,000-word snore-a-thon capped off with a mini-litany constitutes “good Catholic reading.”  But for everyone else, he will no longer be taken seriously, or be considered a “moral force to be reckoned with.”  He probably thought that his plot against Petko was a clever one; but in retrospect, it was rather adolescent, and not so well done as he had originally imagined or anticipated.  And now, he has gone off and got himself a Roman collar (as if this will help “rehabilitate” him).  But it won’t work, Doc: a Roman collar can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.

The “prestigious PhD,” at last report, is still “diatribing for dollars” on his CoC website, and still living in his trailer home.  His former allies having abandoned him, the Winnebago windbag now has to “start from scratch” again.  He is hoping to woo new recruits (and revenue) so that he, for one thing, can get himself something more “substantial” to live in.  If he can’t scrape up enough for an honest-to-goodness house, perhaps he could settle for – you guessed it -- a “hidey-hole”! – “serpent-sized,” of course (perhaps a scaled-down version of Hitler’s bunker).  It should be concrete-reinforced, too, with plenty of insulation (to meet Obama’s new “energy efficiency” requirements).  And -- oh yes -- to meet his own posthumous requirements, it should be asbestos-lined.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Well, OK, He Got Schiavo Wrong, But…

In Lay Pulpit’s last couple of articles, we have covered two of Anthony Cekada’s major blunders.  After having read them, one might say something like, “Well, okay, Cekada was a rascal; but Dolan is more or less innocent.”  Not so, folks.  First off, Dolan approved of (and collaborated in) both Cekada’s Schiavo fiasco and his wretched attack on Abbot Leonard – not to mention, Tony’s bogus defense of his boss’s one-handed “ordination.”  Everything that Cekada did, Dolan approved – and probably orchestrated.  Nothing that Cekada did or said was ever done without his boss’s approval or permission.  Tony has always been the “mouthpiece,” but Dannie’s the one who has been pulling the strings.

But, that being said, these two things are, as they say, just “the tip of the iceberg.”  They actually pale in comparison to some of Dolan’s other “deeds.”  As pastor of SGG’s (St. Gertrude the Great) church and School), Dolan was responsible for the running of both.  As early as 2007 (and perhaps earlier), various “strange things” were happening at the school – mainly involving the school’s principal and several of his sons.  Many of SGG’s parishioners can recall these events.

These “events” included (but are not limited to) the following:

1.   Two of the principal’s sons started bullying several of the younger school children, as well as scandalize them (with lewd gestures, and showing them porn on the school computer).  One of the principal’s sons even put some of his gestures on a “social” website (Facebook).

2.      Another of the principal’s sons was engaging in immoral behavior with one of his female co-students.  One of SGG’s teachers complained about this [this teacher was later dismissed, and eventually labeled "mentally ill"], and went to the pastor (Dolan) to warn him.  The warnings were ignored, and the girl eventually got pregnant.  The girl, of course, was “blamed,” while the boy wasn’t cited at all (in fact, he was later featured in a complimentary article in the church bulletin). 

3.      The school’s principal also had a hand in bullying students.  The mother of one of them (a young grade-schooler named “Andrew”) had bought her son school supplies.  Since they were not of the “approved” kind, SGG’s principal berated Andrew in front of the entire class, reducing him to tears.  When the mother finally got to see Dolan to complain about it (he ignored her for some time, then finally saw her, seeing that she wouldn’t go away), he listened to her complaint, then replied, “So you won’t be sending them back” [to SGG’s school, that is].  He used the word “them” because she other children in the school.  In other words, he was telling her that not just this child, but all her children should leave.

4.     Another of the SGG students missed a homework assignment.  For that, he was beaten (on his behind) with a wooden paddle by the principal – to the point where the paddle broke.  This was done in front of several of the faculty, who were called in to witness it.

5.     An SGG office staff worker complained to one of the principal’s sons about him and his siblings scandalizing the other school children; the principal’s son threatened her with physical violence.  She went to Dolan to complain, He ignored her, and did nothing.

6.      This same son also threatened one of the teachers with physical violence (and used the “F” word), all in the presence of the German class that teacher was conducting.  When the teacher complained to Dolan about it, Dolan did nothing.  A day or so after that, that same teacher found all the tires on his car flattened. Shortly afterward, that teacher was fired.

7.      The self-same son also went a former parishioner’s house and threatened her in her own driveway, in front of a several witnesses.  She called the local police, who have the incident on file in an official police report.  

The foregoing is just a sampling of what went on at SGG’s school.  There are many more that could be cited (especially the mistreatment of SGG students by the principal or one of his sons) – and they have all been corroborated by numerous eye-witnesses (some are documented in police reports).   

Dolan’s reply to the principal’s sons’ watching porn and animal torture videos on the school computer was – as we’ve reported before -- this: “boys will be boys.”  In each and every case of wrongdoing, Dolan sided with the wrongdoers, but ignored the pleas of their victims (he even punished them, in some cases, for “complaining”).  Eventually, many of SGG’s parishioners (and most of the faculty) rose up in rebellion against this injustice, finally demanding the ouster of the school principal.  In response, Dolan pretended to “demote” the principal, appointed another in his place, but then did an about-face, reinstating the principal and firing the replacement* -- all within the space of a week.

Meanwhile, news of the abuses reached SGG’s other satellite parishes.  The one in Columbus (St. Clare) ended up being sold (without the parishioners’ knowledge or consent) by Dolan and Cekada, who then pocketed the proceeds ($320,000).  In addition, they also confiscated St. Clare’s building fund ($123,664), plus their operating fund ($19,330).  I don’t know what the reader would call these actions; but where most folks come from, they're called theft.  St. Clare’s parishioners, now dispossessed of their church, currently hold services in a rented building, with a priest (who, by the way, was also discarded by Dolan) saying Mass for them.

Besides their “creative fiscal policy,” the dynamic duo also engages in “creative explaining,” i.e., lying, as the following example (and others) will show:  on Palm Sunday, 2009, one of SGG’s parishioners who had had “enough” decided to leave SGG; and in a short e-mail note to Dolan later that day, he stated that he was leaving SGG -- but would give his reasons (for doing so) later on.   It turns out that this parishioner was also one of SGG’s ushers.  As an usher, one of his jobs was to ring the church bell on certain occasions, as, for instance, for church processions.  On that Palm Sunday (April 5, 2009), there was a procession; and the bell was to be rung while it was going on. 

However, the rope by which the bell was rung got stuck.  The usher silently motioned to Dolan that it was stuck, and Dolan nodded in acknowledgement.  Two attempts to “un-stick” it (by another parishioner) failed, and the procession had to go on “silently.”  In his “Bishop’s Corner” column in the church bulletin two weeks later on Low Sunday, Dolan commented first that the usher had left SGG, but that he had done so for doctrinal reasons.  Later on, he touched again on the usher’s “doctrinal” reasons for leaving when he made the following comment about the “stuck” bell: “The bells were silent, though, as the rope got caught during their final ringing by a long time and loyal usher...”  Later, Dolan went on to say, “Keith Monnin, our highly sociable assistant caretaker around the church, perceiving the problem (not the doctrinal issues [our emphasis] but the bells), came running with the ladder to put things right.”

The fact is, the usher had NO “doctrinal issues.”  In his e-mail message to Dolan that day, he gave no reasons whatsoever for leaving SGG (but said that he would give them later).  Dolan simply lied, implying to his readers that this usher was leaving because he was questioning church doctrine.  In a subsequent letter to Dolan some weeks later, the usher did state his reasons, which were not “doctrinal”: he left simply because of Dolan’s failure to address the abuses at SGG.  In his letter, he asked Dolan to retract his lie about the “doctrinal reasons” – but Dolan never did.

Then, some time after that, Cekada decided to comment about the Palm Sunday bell-ringing problem, when he wrote the following in an article entitled School Dazed: “When on Palm Sunday [2009] our school principal (also the head usher) tried to get the usher to ring the bell at the proper time during the procession, said usher took offense.”   Apparently, Cekada did not read Dolan’s “Bishop’s Corner” comments in that Low Sunday church bulletin, because his statement makes either him or his boss out to be a liar.  Of course, they were both liars:  Dolan about the “doctrinal” thing, and Cekada about the “bell” thing.  And, in this case, no eye-witnesses are needed; it came from their own lips.

Cekada compounded his lie by adding these words to his first one: I had inadvertently gored his [the usher’s] ox in 2005, when I wrote an article criticizing a pompous doctor who presumed to pronounce on matters of moral theology. It turned out to be the usher’s son. Ouch! Though I personally apologized to the man for giving offense, it seems he never got over it.”   There are two lies here (mixed with a little bit of truth).  The “truth” part was that the “pompous doctor” to whom Cekada referred was indeed the usher’s son – but that’s where it ended.  He did not “presume to pronounce on matters of moral theology”; he simply gave a medical opinion on Terri Schiavo’s death (yes, that doctor).  In response to that opinion, Cekada wrote a rebuttal, slamming the doctor.  Not only was that rebuttal published, but included as an insert in the SGG church bulletin one Sunday.

To this, the usher – an SGG parishioner at the time -- indeed took offense (as anyone would), and left in protest.  However, some months later, he relented and returned, putting the episode behind him.  Eventually, he even made sizable donations to both SGG and their affiliated seminary in Florida.  So, yes, Tony, he did “get over it.”  Cekada’s “personal apology,” by the way, is a “half-truth”: he never apologized for what he said about the usher’s son, but only for not being aware that he was the usher’s son.  It gives the reader the impression that he apologized for the former, which is totally false: Cekada never apologized for ANY of his remarks.  It is, plainly put, a lie.

Now one might say, “So what?  These are things of no great importance!”  True, they are not what one would call “earth-shaking.”  But if these two men can lie about things of such little consequence, they will certainly lie about things of great consequence.  And, stating that a parishioner left SGG “for doctrinal reasons” is -- if one thinks about it -- “of great consequence,” because it essentially insinuates that said parishioner is a heretic: if he left for such reasons, it implies that he is not in agreement with Church doctrine.  So, Dolan’s insinuation is, in effect, a double lie.

Another example of the dynamic duo’s mendacity (this, time, Dolan’s) that bears repeating is the episode detailed back in March 2011 by Lay Pulpit (see A Pristine Example of Hypocrisy).  In SGG’s church bulletin, Dolan stated the following about a recently deceased former SGG parishioner: “In the last year of his life, Bernie more than once expressed his wish to be buried from St. Gertrude the Great.”  Then he added, “He was buried instead from Immaculate Conception, although he once so opposed this group’s scandalous inception in 1989, as to forbid discussion of the very subject in his home.  Both of these statements were base lies, prompting one of the deceased man’s sons to send an e-mail (to Dolan), stating that both statements were, in the son’s words, “bullshit.”

Not only did Dolan not retract what he said; but one of his female parishioners attempted to corroborate his falsehood by lying on his behalf, stating that it was she to whom the (now deceased) man had made the statement about wanting to be buried at SGG.  She then added that it was not “Catholic” of the man’s son to use the word “bullshit.”  The deceased man, as many know, is the same one who was at one time SGG’s biggest benefactor, having donated millions to them over the years, but who left in disgust over the aforementioned abuses that went on there.  (After he left, Dolan tried to “guilt trip” him into returning, accusing him (and others who had also left) of “endangering their souls” by leaving – but, fortunately, the scare tactic didn’t work.) 

Dolan’s bulletin statements not only expose him as a liar, but they also document his slander against Immaculate Conception Church’s clergy -- by his reference to their “scandalous inception in 1989. And the woman, of course, is guilty not only of lying, but of berating a man for rightfully getting angry at someone lying about his father (who, being deceased, could not “talk back,” just as Abbot Leonard, being deceased, could not talk back against what Cekada said about him).  Her accusation that it was not “Catholic” of him to use the word “bullshit” is a study in pharisaic prudishness and hypocrisy.

Over the years, both Dolan and Cekada have engaged in many forms of willful misrepresentation, either by making false insinuations and/or by giving false impressions, or by out-and-out lying.  One of Cekada’s “out-and-out” lies was his accusation about someone being mentally ill – the man who had originally tried to warn both him and Dolan (in an e-mail on Christmas Eve, 2008) about the abuses and immorality going on at SGG as early as 2007.  In an e-mail reply, Cekada labeled the man “mentally ill”; and he was banned from church property (under threat of being charged with criminal trespass).  A colleague of his was also banned for refusing to condemn him (as was his wife too, though she had nothing to do with it).  Actually, about a dozen people were eventually banned from the property for opposing the dynamic duo; it became their favorite way of “punishing” their adversaries.

After labeling the man “mentally ill” and banning him (and his colleague) from the property, the dynamic duo’s vindictiveness did not stop there. Later, both were labeled as “losers” (even though both were gainfully employed (the colleague had an immensely successful tutoring business – and still does); and they started a rumor that the “mentally ill” man had an AK-47 assault weapon and that he was going to terrorize SGG’s parishioners at their church picnic! (Gulp!).  The rumor, of course, was pure fiction – but it illustrates the ridiculous lengths to which these two bungling fools will go in their Machiavellian chicanery.  No wonder that Tony has earned the moniker “The Blunderer”!

Cekada’s trademark arrogance, vindictiveness, and lack of compassion are already known quantities; and it should be evident by now that Dolan is his equal in this respect.  The reader should have by now a pretty clear picture of what kind of men these two are.  The track record of these two “shepherds” of SGG’s flock has been one long story of victimizing innocent people, using every weapon imaginable: intimidation, manipulation, “guilt-trip” fear tactics, false insinuations and innuendo, outright lying, character assassination, shady financial dealings – you name it – to achieve what they want.  And, for a time, it worked.  But their past is catching up with them.  In addition to losing half their parish, they have lost something even more precious: respect.  Ultimately, they will defeat themselves – at least in a material sense – if they continue on their present path. 

In their heyday, they could count on almost-yearly “sabbaticals” to The Bishop’s Lodge, “apostolates” to Latin America and Europe, and frequent dining at upscale restaurants.  But times are tough now; their big givers have flown the coup, and new ones are hard to come by.  Until they recruit a new crop of suckers, they have to heavily curtail La Dolce Vita.  But this, perhaps, will be their ultimate salvation: material failure often brings on spiritual redemption -- for, to save one’s soul, one must “die” to this world and its pleasures.  Let us hope that the “new crop of suckers” never comes.  Let us hope that Dolan and Cekada learn their lesson, and do learn to reject their former lifestyle.  But will they?  Yes, we can hope -- but I wouldn’t call that a realistic expectation.

The truth is, Dolan and Cekada are consummate parasites, concentrating all their efforts towards separating people from their money.  They are the “P. T. Barnums” of traddieland, epitomizing that impresario’s famous boast, “There’s a sucker born every minute” – except that the dynamic duo would re-phrase it as, “It is morally wrong to let a sucker keep his money.”  The “good news” is that they do their Machiavellian chicanery heavy-handedly, amateurishly, and sloppily, so that many people readily recognize it as such.  But the “bad news” is that – especially in traddieland – there are many trusting, guileless innocents who don’t recognize it (as well as the willfully blind who don’t want to recognize it, because pride won’t let them), both of whom are “ripe pickings” for these two opportunists.  The former must be warned -- and the latter, brought to their senses. 

It is a sad fact that people nowadays have been “dumbed down” to the point where things must be repeated for them in order for it to “sink in”; and people, by and large, have “short memories.”  This is why political campaign ads are always repeated with nauseating regularity: it is done because it is necessary -- and because it works.  “Repetition equals reinforcement.”  That is why, although what has been written here has all been said before, we are saying it again:  perhaps it will “sink in” this time.  And that is why we’ll repeat it again and again -- as often as necessary -- until it does sink in. 

* Dolan and Cekada’s apologists would be quick to point out that this “replacement” who was fired also turned out to be a scoundrel – which, later on, he was; but it had nothing to do with what he did (opposing SGG’s abuses) at the time.  In a subsequent “apology” sermon, Dolan tried to “explain away” the fact that virtually half the parish had left, by attributing it all NOT to the abuses going on there, but to the “conspiring” of this “replacement” – a young German priest whom he had ordained two years before.  Dolan inferred many things in his “apology,” but kept them conveniently vague, knowing full well that parishioners predisposed to believe anything he said would unquestioningly swallow whatever he said, without any proof – and there wasn’t any:  It was all assertion.  But to unsuspecting, credulous minds, that’s all that’s needed.

Whatever alleged “private agenda” that this German priest might have had against Dolan, it had absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the abusive events that had occurred at SGG’s school; they would have happened (and did), whether this priest was there or not.  But it provided a convenient opportunity for Dolan to “explain away” those events by inferring that they were the result of this German priest’s “agenda.”  This priest, after being ousted from SGG, was asked (by the parishioners who had also exited SGG) to start a new parish (St. Albert the Great) – which he did.  However, he eventually turned on those parishioners, leaving them “high and dry” – just as Dolan had done to the people at St. Clare’s in Columbus.  There is much more that could be said – especially about events that transpired afterwards -- but this is all fodder for a whole series of articles (which will some day be told).  But for now, this thumbnail sketch must suffice.