The Bishop’s Corner in Easter Sunday’s SGG church bulletin did not disappoint: it was vintage “Dannie Dolan.” It had all the usual ingredients: syrupy sentiment, sententious (and irrelevant) references to the weather, and plenty of lip-service gratitude for all those who slaved away at all the make-work tasks that Dannie dreams up for “the show” during Holy Week. And, of course, one of the highlights of “the show” is always the Palm Sunday procession – probably the only one in the Western Hemisphere sporting a real live donkey. This year, Dannie reported that it “pranced” for the children (Wow, what a crowd-pleaser -- almost as exciting as watching the foot-washing ceremony on Maundy Thursday!) Perhaps, when the donkey “retires,” Dannie can wow them again with an impressive “decommissioning of the donkey” ceremony, followed by a solemn procession to the glue factory.
Now all of this pomp and ceremony (and all of Dannie’s honey-coated rhetoric and sugary sanctimony) might be bearable if the man had any sincerity about him – but he doesn’t. He waxed poetically about “protecting the innocence of our children,” yet justified a school principal’s brutalizing of scores of SGG’s school children – and then ignored the protests of their outraged parents. He talks about not despoiling their “purity”; yet, when parents complained to him about the principal’s sons watching porn and animal torture videos, he simply explained it away as “boys will be boys”; and anyone who complained about this was simply ignored (or told to leave). Even when one of the principal’s sons impregnated a fellow student, Dannie and Tony ignored it, as if it had never happened.
But Dannie doesn’t care. He knew that, when all the “complainers” left and things “died down,” the remaining brain-dead and terminally gullible would soon forget about those things, or rationalize them in some way – which they did. He knew that if he and Tony continued massaging them with “the show,” that these distasteful memories would fade, and that the culties would “forgive and forget” (and, in time, even come to look upon those events as never having occurred) – which they did. In fact, anyone who subsequently spoke out publicly against Dolan’s and Cekada’s misdeeds was labeled a “slanderer.”
Dannie and Tony know their culties well. They know that the “dumbed down” eventually forgive and forget – especially if one puts on a good show. Even a few of those who had bitterly condemned them, either for their part in the SGG School scandals or for their maniacal stance on Schiavo, returned to the fold. Why? Because they missed “the show” – that’s why. “The show” is a powerful magnet for the weak-minded -- and Dannie and Tony know this. And they also know that they have enough of a critical mass of suckers to support them – at least for now. With any luck, they’ll be able to retire in the desert Southwest; or, short of that, there are some “third world” venues that would work for them. In either case, they’ll survive. The real losers in all of this will be those poor, slack-jawed culties who will be left behind, after the dynamic duo have packed up their tent and left – that is, those who are stupid enough to hang around.
But the fact is, even the culties are wearying of the dynamic duo’s “show.” They’re coming to the realization that watching twelve men getting their feet washed on Maundy Thursday doesn’t quite qualify as “entertainment” (nor does watching Dannie play “dolly dress-up” in his pontifical pageants). Attendance is down at the cult center; and people are tiring of “the spectacle” -- especially when they’re continually being tapped for this or that “fund-raiser” (not to mention the bankrolling of SGG’s school, which is basically a support system for the Lotarski family). And they’re wondering why they have to keep giving more and more (which, no matter how much they give, never seems to be enough), just to get the Mass and the sacraments.
Well, perhaps it’s time for these folks to decide that they’ve had enough -- and to stop giving, and start walking away.