Saturday, April 26, 2014

There’s No Business Like Show Business

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.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

“Show Me the Money”

One of Daniel Dolan’s laments that he voiced recently in his Bishop’s Corner column was about the sparse attendance during this Lenten season’s Friday night services, and another thing that he implied was about the excessive heating bills during this past winter.  These are familiar exhortations with Dannie: it seems that the culties can never do enough when it comes to attendance and/or financial support for the cult center.  Of course, what he failed to mention in his column was that those who are conscientious enough to come on Friday nights are charged for coming: a collection is taken up (purportedly for “alms”).  In addition, they are expected to bring food for the Friday night “pot luck” dinners to feed themselves and, of course, the SGG clergy too.  This is how they are “rewarded” for having made the sacrifice of coming.  It must have been really consoling to them that Dannie was down in warm, sunny Mexico “consuming copious quantities of beef” while they were trudging through the snow and cold to get their fish sticks and “mac and cheese” – and that they were paying the tab for both.

And I’m sure that their hearts go out to Dannie for his having to bear the “excessive heating bills” imposed on the cult center by “the Duke” (as if the money was coming out of Dannie’s pocket).  Of course, whining about SGG’s utility bills is nothing new for Dannie.  In fact, in recent years, he has consistently complained about it  -- even to the point of taking up special “second collections” for just that purpose (it’s a shame that the parishioners don’t have someone take up a second collection to help pay their heating bills!).

It’s ironic that Dannie should complain about “excessive heating bills,” because the move from SGG’s old location in Sharonville, Ohio to their present facility in West Chester was supposed to take care of that problem.  The old location was – besides being too “crowded” -- thought to be “not energy efficient enough”; and the new facility was to be “well insulated” to eliminate that concern.  Well, not only was it not insulated well enough, but its shoddy construction made it structurally inferior to what they had before (see Extreme Makeover).  And as for the “crowding” issue, there was an adjoining facility (next to the old church) that could have been had for a modest sum – which would have more than solved that problem.

Another irony about “heating bills” is that – although Dannie and Tony’s rectory is always kept comfortably climate controlled (with three independently-controlled “climate zones”), SGG’s church vestibule (which doubles as the “crying room” for young mothers with babies) is kept unheated.  Perhaps, if they’re worried about heating bills, Dannie and Tony could do the same for themselves.  Or, perhaps, they could shut down the “convent-that-never-was” (that is used for boarding underling priests) and make room for those priests in the rectory -- by subdividing either one of their mansion-sized private bedroom suites (or both) – to accommodate them.  And, of course, as a recent Pistrina article pointed out, Dannie could have foregone taking his two mid-winter Latin getaways – which would probably have paid for several seasons’ worth of heating bills.

Actually, there is much that Dannie (and Tony) could “forego”: SGG’s school, for one, which was basically a private tutoring venue (and a sub-standard one at that) for the Lotarski family – and which is much bigger than it needs to be (several of its rooms are used for storing Dannie and Tony’s ever-expanding hoard of liturgical goodies).  The same probably holds true for the convent-turned-rectory-annex.  Like the school, much of it too is probably used to store more of Dannie and Tony’s junk.  And last, but not least, they did’t need a “carriage house” – built ostensibly for cars, but which has probably become yet another receptacle for their junk.

One wonders how long the culties will put up with all of this.  Their only consolation is that -- for the most part – the tab for the new facility has already been paid for by those who have gone before them (and who have since left SGG in disgust).  It should be noted that when the “building campaign” for the present facility was going on, the amount that the average parishioner was expected to pay was absolutely outrageous.  Widows living on Social Security, for instance, were expected to donate about half a year’s worth of their pensions towards it.  In the end, Dannie and Tony had to scrap plans for their “sermon in stone” (their originally conceived church), and had to settle for a “gymnasium in gypsum” – and, to this day, the gym still serves as the “church.”

A “cloister to nowhere” still waits to be attached to that “sermon in stone,” which, of course, will never materialize.  And that is as it should be, for even the SGG crowd wouldn’t stand for such an expenditure at this point.  And, besides, Dannie and Tony’s focus has shifted from that to what really counts for them: retirement in some other place where they can live La Dolce Vita.  They also realize that the West Chester facility will be a pile of rubble some day, so they must make their adieu before that happens.  As Louis XV might have exclaimed, Après nous, la démolition!”

Dannie Dolan’s embarrassingly transparent hint for help with the heating bills is yet another Freudian slip on his part: he and Tony are so preoccupied with how to squeeze more money out of the culties that they forget themselves.  A look at their website is proof enough: naked appeals to “donate” and to “subscribe” to their various newsletters and publications (including the still-born Work of Human Hands), plus appeals to “remember us in your will.”  Whether it’s that, or “commemorative paver stones,” or $500 fees for weddings and funerals, or some other cash-generation gimmick, the parasitic pair has always found ways to fleece the flock.

Those they deem worth fleecing, that is: when half the congregation left in disgust after the SGG school scandals, Dannie and Tony sent out letters to the “heavy hitters,” imploring them (usually with “guilt-trip” rhetoric) to return -- while ignoring those who had little money to donate.  Their priority was money, not souls: one couple, whom Dannie and Tony knew to have been previously divorced but who were generous givers, were eagerly sought out to return.  Apparently, it didn’t matter to Dannie and Tony how “white” their souls were, but how green their money was.  But that should come as no surprise whatsoever – because it’s not the first time that Dannie and Tony have prostituted their Catholic principles for material gain – and it won’t be the last.

On Schiavo, for instance, Cekada saw it not as a “dignity of life” issue, but as a “money” thing.  To him, the cost of keeping Terri Schiavo alive constituted “a grave burden on society.” And in his comments about Abbot Leonard Giardina (in Quidlibet), money was again on his mind: his insinuation was that the late Abbot avoided “controversy” for mercenary reasons.  Besides this insinuation being the lowest of “cheap shots,” it illustrated Cekada’s own mercenary mentality (and how he measured “success”) – plus his naked envy of anyone who achieved that success.  Just as cheap, in terms of theatrics, was Dolan’s “triple-Mass” funeral extravaganza for the deceased wife of an SGG parishioner – a woman who neither attended SGG, nor cared three straws for Dolan and Cekada.  Never before or since has such a spectacle been seen at SGG.  Could it be that this had anything to do with the fact that the parishioner is one of SGG’s major donors?

These and other examples continue to illustrate how embarrassingly obvious the dynamic duo’s preoccupation with money has always been.  It should be clear by now to everyone that money -- not souls -- is their real business.  So, for those who are still there at SGG, we suggest that you put them OUT of business.  It’s a simple enough thing to do: just stop giving, and start walking away.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Easy Targets

All the world is familiar with Tony Cekada’s writing style: arrogant, condescending, vindictive – and unscholarly.  But one at least gets the impression that Tony is trying to talk to an adult audience.  Dannie, on the other hand, always seems to be talking to a kindergarten class – especially in his Bishop’s Corner column.  He also seems to be “stuck in gear” on certain subjects, too: the weather, for one.  There is not a Sunday that goes by where Dannie doesn’t make at least one reference to the weather -- and a syrupy one, at that. [He ought to be the “color man” for the Weather Channel®!]

His Bishop’s Corner always seems to have the same window dressing: lots of confectionary sanctimony, faux piety, and over-the-top affectation; lots of fulsome flattery for the slaves who do all of SGG’s grunt work for “the show” every week; lots of references to this or that saint (and how whatever Dannie & Co. are doing “fits in” with the theme of that particular saint’s feast day); lots of plugs for Tony (and/or one of his latest literary flops); lots of platitudes, lots of name-dropping, etc., etc. – and, of course, lots of hyperbole.

And that’s where Dannie gets into trouble: he says things that really aren’t true -- his comment about Cekada being a “distinguished writer and theologian,” for instance: after witnessing so much overwhelming evidence to the contrary, how could Dannie have the hubris to say what he did – and to expect people to swallow it?  And the fact that he did say it suggests that he felt the need to do so – because that evidence is not only “out there,” but widespread.  But if that evidence is out there – and it is – this also makes Dannie look all the more foolish for having volunteered his bit of baseless reinforcement for Tony.  But that’s what happens when someone says something to a local (and gullible) audience that can be easily detected -- by a wider and not so gullible audience -- to be untrue.

Unfortunately, Dannie and Tony never will “learn their lesson.”  They’ll always say whatever they want to their bootlicking drudges, because they know they can get away with it.  And as long as they have a critical mass of drudges off which to feed, they really don’t care.  But that critical mass is dwindling; and, not only that, the dynamic duo’s mendacity is reaching that “wider audience,” some of whom have connections (and influence) with the comatose culties at SGG – and who are beginning to recognize the “dynamic duo” for what they are.

And among that contingent who are “waking up” are some who at one time were staunch supporters of Dannie and Tony, but who have come to take issue with some of their more outlandish claims – “una cum,” for example.  They are coming to realize that “una cum’s” rationale is nonsense, and that it was just a ploy to keep SGG’s sheep in the pen.  The same holds true for Tony’s other literary lead balloons (including Work of Human Hands, and his bankrupt defense of Dannie’s one-handed “ordination”).  Many otherwise reputable people were hoodwinked (by Cekada) into supporting – even promoting -- his WHH (out of “friendship” or “loyalty” to him).  But, after its myriad errors and shoddy scholarship came to light (and were publicly pointed out), these people came to realize that their promotional testimonials for WHH were becoming an embarrassing liability.

At the time, Dannie (and especially Tony) aggressively sought out “authorities” to write glowing “reviews” for his book [perhaps Tony even wrote the words for some of ’em!]; and several of them acquiesced, as a personal favor “to their friend Tony.”  But now, they realize that their own reputations (and credibility) are at stake (i.e., in serious jeopardy) for having uttered such unctuous flatteries as “landmark work,” etc.  I’m sure they now realize that WHH had not so much to do with “landmark” as it did with landfill.

The same goes for Cekada’s “explanation” of Dannie’s one-handed “ordination.”  Many unsuspecting people – many of them fellow priests – accepted, sight unseen, Tony’s defense of its legitimacy, not realizing that it was riddled with misinterpretations, faulty translation, bogus logic, and out-and-out falsehoods. Many are now rethinking the unthinking positions that they initially took, and are realizing that the public support they voiced for it is putting them in a similar “liability” position.  The fact is, that with most of them, Cekada has absolutely no credibility left at all.  Whether it be those priests who supported Tony’s “one-hand ordination” folly (or who acquiesced on Schiavo), or those who put their reputations on the line by plugging his feckless WHH, they all have come to realize how badly these things must reflect on them.

Dannie and Tony’s credibility here in the U.S. is fast evaporating.  That is perhaps why Dannie decided to take his recent winter getaways to Argentina and Mexico: he needed a “self-esteem booster shot” to take his mind off his waning fortunes back home.  But the idiot doesn’t realize that his boasting about the good time he had down there (consuming “copious quantities of beef” and doing the fiesta circuit – all during the penitential season of Lent) is not a “booster shot” for him, but more like a hollow-point bullet to the left temple.  [Then, after his Mexican boondoggle, the idiot had the hubris to "guilt trip" his culties for not filling up the church pews on Lenten Friday nights! – duh?!]  Anyone witnessing this kind of stupidity cannot stand by for long, and not see that to support such a dolt is hazardous to one’s own “reputational” health. 

Dannie and Tony both have weaved their tangled web too many times, and are now caught up in it.  Every time that they have opened their mouths, they have hung themselves with their own words.  The public-at-large are now well aware of this (and perhaps even the people inside the cult circle as well?).  In the past, Dannie and Tony’s apologetic lackeys used to come out of the woodwork en masse to defend their heroes; but now, there is nary a peep out of them.  For one thing, these apologists know that they can’t defend them, because they know that their words and deeds are indefensible, that Dannie and Tony indict themselves every time they open their mouths, and that their attempts to defend them will only end in utter failure (as they have so far) -- making them look all the more ridiculous, and giving them no other choice but to accept the truth.  

Now one would think that such a realization might deter Dannie and Tony from continuing to do what they do – but it doesn’t.  They are just as defiant as ever – Tony in his arrogance and ignorance, and Dannie in his syrupy, affected hypocrisy.  One wonders why they persevere.  It’s simple: because it works – at least on the culties.  And if the past thirty-odd years are any indication, it is a fair assumption that they’ll continue in that same vein -- as long as they have a critical mass of bootlickers who will swallow their swill.  But for those outside the Valley of the Brain-Dead, the dynamic duo has pretty much worn out its welcome.  The public-at-large see the real evidence: that they are worldly, self-serving, amoral hucksters.  

That being so, otherwise reputable people who have heretofore lent them their support would do well to remember this -- and to take heed – for, if they are seen as backing these malignant bozos (or as even being connected with them in any way), we again beg leave to point out that they are risking their reputations and their credibility by continuing to do so.  The dynamic duo, by their words and actions, have made themselves “easy targets” for denunciation; and anyone with any sense at all would do well to steer clear of them.  So, for those who have hitched their stars to these two falling stars, we suggest that they “cut the cord” with these losers, and distance themselves from them -- lest they too become “easy targets.”

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Whom Are You Trying to Kid, Danny?

Amidst the fluff and flotsam of the March 30 edition of the SGG church bulletin’s Bishop’s Corner, one item that leapt off the page (like a frog on steroids) was Daniel Dolan’s reference to Anthony Cekada as being “a distinguished writer and theologian.”  No doubt this was Dannie’s half-hearted attempt to stem the tide of all the overwhelming evidence to the contrary that has been surfacing of late.  Perhaps Dannie’s anal remark might do for SGG’s parishioners; but for the rest of us, it is sick humor.  Amongst the mountains of evidence of Tony’s NOT being “distinguished” at either, we (again) choose to go back to Schiavo, because it is arguably the most salient example of Cekada’s intellectual inadequacy to date.  One aspect of Schiavo that we haven’t touched on before but will examine now involves a woman, a former [thank God!] SGG parishioner, who, at the time -- and in a most respectful and humble manner -- requested Tony’s explanation of his views on Schiavo.  He rebuffed her -- most condescendingly and vituperatively -- with the following words:

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.

Let’s look at Cekada’s words again, and analyze them:

…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. 

Really, Tony?  This woman doesn’t have “the moral training that priests have”?  Well, Tony, neither do you.  I should hope she doesn’t have the moral training that you (apparently) had – because yours isn’t worth having.  And, although this “lay traditionalist” NEVER claimed to “turn something into a mortal sin that isn’t,” she had every right to – because it WAS a mortal sin!

…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.

Again: “Really, Tony?”  It is YOU who cannot accept the fact that this woman, although she is a “layman” (and therefore may not have had the “formal training in moral theology” that you had), certainly retained and applied what she got better than you did!!

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.

Are you talking to yourself here, Tony? “Humility”?  Are you kidding?  You don’t know the meaning of the word!  You’re right about one thing though: her exchange with you certainly was a waste of time – of hers, not yours!  Given the choice of following your advice, or being a member “of the Church of Lay Opinion,” I’ll take the latter any day of the week.

Cekada’s foregoing remarks to that woman were in response to several points she had raised about his position on Schiavo, specifically, his remarks about Terri Schiavo’s care being a “grave burden on society.”  This is what she said:

What about the pregnant woman, who learns that her unborn child is going to be severely disabled imposing a heavy burden on their families or on society. According to your teaching, that mother would have the right to, if not abort the child, to starve it after its birth. Based on hardship and expense and that child should not live.

Your entire thesis seems to be based on cost. And so I ask Father, what is the price of life these days? What is the dollar amount that we finally tell our suffering loved ones is too much?  I thought Traditional Catholics, more than most, were aware of the great benefits derived from sacrifice. We know that grave burdens, embraced as Christ embraced His for us, lead us to an eternal reward.
You also did not address the issue of why Terri’s mother was threatened with arrest if she so much as put an ice chip to her dying daughter’s lips. Surely that was not considered extraordinary?  You wrote that, “Accordingly, when it is envisioned that such means will need to be employed permanently, they become "extraordinary" and there is no moral requirement to continue their use.”
The only thing that was proved to be permanent was that Terri would be disabled. There were nurses and doctors who came forward and testified that she could swallow. She did not drool; she was able to swallow her own saliva. But her adulterous, “husband,” only 3 months after receiving over a million dollars for her care, ordered all rehabilitation stopped.  When he found out that a nurse was feeding her Jello, he had her fired. Judge Greer said in 2003, “I do not want anyone feeding that girl!”

I do not think that anyone – lay or cleric, could have put this woman’s case more eloquently -- and accurately.  And conversely, I don’t think there is anyone on God’s earth whose response was more morally indefensible (and reprehensible) than was Cekada’s to her.  Tony chose to treat her like a disobedient child – and to scold her for being so brazen as to question “…a priest [who] 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.”

In his utter failure to address any of this woman’s concerns, Tony, of course, displayed his trademark arrogance and ignorance.  That’s no surprise – he does that all the time.  But what makes that arrogance and ignorance especially stand out is how he just assumes that he can “get away with it.”  He totally disregards the naked reality that he is simply dodging the woman’s questions (and it’s obvious that he doesn’t care either).  He knew, of course, that he lacked the intellectual skills to deal with her concerns properly -- and could not legitimately refute what she said; so, in his desperation, he tried to silence her the only way he knew how: he got defensive, intimidating her with his “I’m a priest” power play -- essentially telling her to shut up.

In a subsequent SGG bulletin, Tony published an article (about Schiavo) that was an almost word-for-word rehash of one of his responses to her; but he deliberately left out her part of the correspondence, because he knew that she was right and he was wrong.  And, of course, his vanity would not let him admit that he, the “distinguished writer and theologian,” was not only proven wrong, but by a woman – and that if the culties found out, he would be seen for what he is: a vain, pompous ignoramus – and a bully.  Therefore, he had to keep her part of his private correspondence with her just that – private. .  [It didn’t work, however; news of it leaked out, bringing a whole new torrent of public ridicule down on Tony’s unscholarly head.]

This defensiveness -- this refusal to deal with the woman’s questions logically, openly, and honestly – shows not just his vanity, but his woeful incompetence in moral theology.  To quiet his opposition, he had to resort to naked intimidation.  But besides his intellectual shortcomings, his response to her also betrays his thinly-veiled contempt for women – his failure to recognize them as thinking human beings.  To Tony (and to Dannie) women are, at best, “holy helpers” whose job it is to do all the labor-intensive “grunt work” so that the two counterfeiters can “put on their show.”  God forbid that they should ever think, let alone, question the shepherds’ “wisdom”!  Well, Tony, I have news for you: this woman has more wisdom “in her little finger” than you could ever hope to achieve in your lifetime.

It had to have been on Schiavo – more than on anything else -- that Anthony Cekada was at his absolute worst.  It was here that he, whom Dannie calls a “distinguished writer and theologian,” most emphatically showed himself to be NO theologian at all, but a vain, condescending know-nothing (which, of, course, he’s is every time he opens his mouth`).  Therefore, in future, we sincerely hope that Dannie refrains from insulting our intelligence (and his) by referring to this buffoon as “a distinguished writer and theologian.”  Saying it doesn’t make it so, Dannie; and your blundering buddy has made it embarrassingly clear that it isn’t so – not just on Schiavo, but every time he opens his mouth.  You can’t cover for him indefinitely.  So give it up, Dannie; stop kidding us – and stop kidding yourself