The calamity of Vatican II precipitated a reaction by disgruntled Catholics – both clergy and laity – to return to “traditional Catholicism.” But for those who think that this has resulted in a return to real Catholicism, think again. The change that has occurred – at least in traddieland -- has been largely cosmetic, not substantive. “Traditional Catholicism” has, to a large extent, mutated into a sterile, superficial caricature of Catholicism, not much different than what existed in pre-Vatican II days – only worse.
As many of the older generation will recall, the Church by the 1950’s had become, in many respects, an institution concerned more with the letter of the law than with its spirit. However, it did stand for – and observe – that “letter.” It stood for – and upheld -- Catholic precepts: the sanctity of life, for instance. But traddieland, by contrast, doesn’t – in many cases -- even achieve that. Anthony Cekada, for instance, defended a philandering husband’s “right” to “pull the plug” on a spouse who was neither in danger of death nor in “a vegetative state.” In the “old days,” such a position would have been universally condemned, both by Church hierarchy and by one’s fellow priests. But how many of traddieland’s clergy have condemned Cekada’s morally wrong (and utterly reprehensible) position? Precious few. (Ironically enough, the bulk of condemnation has come from the Novus Ordo clergy. whom the traditional establishment looks down on as “Samaritans.”)
Another example of traddieland’s apparent lapse of moral conscience concerns something that we’ve so often noted before: Daniel Dolan’s dismissing the watching of porn and animal torture videos (by the SGG school principal’s sons) as “boys will be boys.” This and other scandalous behavior by the SGG clergy caused half the parish to leave in protest – behavior which became known throughout much of traddieland -- yet was there any groundswell of indignation from outraged clergy? No. And when Dolan excused the SGG’s school principal’s son’s fornication with (and impregnating) a fellow student, how much of a hue and cry of denunciation was there? Again, none. (And as for Dolan and Cekada themselves, the only thing that came from their lips on the matter was to blame the girl; the boy’s guilt was never mentioned. In fact, he was actually feted in a subsequent SGG Bulletin article, for his organ-playing ability.)
Astonishingly enough, just about every aspect of the dynamic duo’s misbehavior – thoroughly substantiated and well recognized throughout traddieland – has been largely ignored by traditional clergy. They are well aware that this pair has shown – not just on Schiavo, but in many other instances -- utter disdain and contempt for Catholic morality and principles; yet how many have protested? Not many – at least, not publicly. The SGG pair continue to slander and slam with impunity, yet no one seems to care: there has been nary a peep of protest from traddieland’s clerical establishment. They seem to have taken a laissez faire attitude with regard to these two, perhaps because they don’t want to slander or slam “their own kind” – or perhaps because they think that these two have (finally) “cleaned up their act.”
But they HAVEN’T. The dastardly duo is at it again: In a recent official missive dated November 12, 2013 -- and addressed to his constituents in Europe -- Daniel Dolan has accused a fellow priest of being invalidly ordained. Coming from someone with “One-hand Dan’s” track record, such an accusation is downright laughable; and the feeble arguments he used to back up this accusation (and others) were easily and thoroughly picked apart in a recent Pistrina Liturgica article. But, aside from that, dastardly Dan’s latest bit of mischief confirms this: that nothing has changed, that he’s up to his old tricks again, providing yet another instance of his wanton disregard of Catholic principles and charity, in making a preemptive, unprovoked attack (with unsubstantiated charges) on a fellow priest – against a young man who has neither done him any harm nor has ever uttered a unkind word against him.
Of course, this is not the first time that Dirty Dan has done such a thing – nor will it be the last. How he victimized so many of his parishioners at SGG -- and then accused them of victimizing him – is common knowledge throughout traddieland. All of traddieland – and especially its clergy – are well aware of what Dolan and Cekada are, and of what they’ve done; and, indeed, there are many who have PRIVATELY condemned their behavior. But, except for perhaps the one or two who protested against Cekada’s Schiavo travesty, no one has publicly spoken out against them (or even privately admonished them), in the mistaken notion that that would be “scandalous.” They fail to realize that what is actually scandalous is Dolan and Cekada’s behavior. He and his blundering sidekick are ruining – and HAVE ruined – scores of peoples’ lives, both materially and spiritually. They have split up families, caused divorces, and caused dozens to lose their faith -- especially the young. But what is perhaps even more scandalous is the DO-NOTHING attitude of the clergy who possess irrefutable proof of that and more, but who do absolutely nothing about it.
Ironically, this do-nothing attitude that allows these guilty men to continue to misbehave with impunity also works to the detriment of the innocent: when Droleskey wrote his scandalous lies about Bp. Paul Petko, for instance, the latter was mercilessly blacklisted by clergy and laity alike. But when the lies were exposed and proved to be patently false, who came to Petko’s defense? Who exonerated him? Who came forward? And, more importantly, who castigated Droleskey for his vicious slander? No one. In fact, a priest who was ordained by Bp. Petko was ostracized for that very reason: he was considered “damaged goods” for having been ordained by a man under such a “cloud of suspicion” – “guilt by association.” To this day, traddieland’s clergy treat Bp. Petko more or less as an outcast, yet continue to accord the SGG vipers a respectability that they don’t deserve or possess.
This kind of silence is despicable – and possibly mortally sinful. To be silent in the face of known malfeasance is not just acquiescence; it is aiding and abetting; it is being an accessory to that evil. By the same token, to treat someone like a pariah, even after the accusations against him have been proved to be false, is equally despicable – and both are cowardly. Why this silence that protects the guilty and imperils the innocent? Why this double standard? Why? -- because much of traddieland really ISN’T Catholic, that’s why. Like the SGG “show,” it is all too often a caricature of Catholicism, where the letter of the law is preached, but where neither that letter nor its spirit is practiced. It is a realm where cowardly men are quick to accept hearsay, to ignore truth, and to hide behind their Roman collars and remain willfully non-committal rather than have the courage and decency to stand up for and to do what is truly right.
Instead of taking a stand for real justice and for real Catholic principles, many simply emulate what Dolan and Cekada do: give ‘em some fancy of “R&R” (Rites and Rubrics), flowery sermons, and superficial, goody-two-shoes “morality.” But when it comes to real morality -- standing up for the right of Terri Schiavo to live, for instance – many traditional clergy bury their heads in the sand, and refuse to take a stand. And when it comes to a choice between morality and expediency, many have often chosen the latter, as another example illustrates: when a wealthy parishioner in another well-known traditional group (and who was one of its major contributors) asked whether it was morally permissible for his child to receive a donated organ (harvested from a living person who, of course, was then pulled off life-support), this was “okay” – because it was “good for business.” Money was more important than morality.
This is not Catholic; it’s not even Christian. It’s all about looking good, not being good. It’s about expediency. It’s about self-interest. It’s about money. The traditional clergy who are not active participants in such chicanery – but who let it happen – must realize that it will have disastrous consequences. Leopards like Dolan and Cekada are not going to change their stripes, as Dannie’s latest pathetic attempt to discredit a fellow priest has once again proved. To allow these predators to continue to sell their snake oil will be truly “bad for business” – both God’s and man’s. It’s time for traditional clergy to “wake up and smell the coffee” – to put the illegal firm of Dolan, Dummkopf & Co. out of business. They must realize that, left unchecked, the dastardly duo’s behavior will only bring everyone down – including them. They must realize too that their continued silence is NOT golden, but tragic – that it is nothing more than dysfunctional acquiescence.