Saturday, June 28, 2014

B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Barf-bag

The Bishop’s Corner of June 22 (from the SGG Church bulletin) was “vintage Dannie Dolan.”  It had all the buzzwords and “killer phrases" that the culties like to lap up (“exquisite motets in polyphony,”  “solemn, outdoor procession,” “Fatima Rosary Procession,” etc.), plus the following testimonial from a “correspondent” who had seen a picture of SGG’s first communicants on its website: “Bishop Dolan: What can I say! Stunning picture on your website. Splendor, solemnity, commitment and dedication as well as adorable innocence, all circumscribed by a tangible atmosphere it seems of God’s pure love. Find it hard to stop looking at it. Inspirational and calming in this terrible age of spiritual darkness. Thank God and thank you and the fathers with all my heart.”

This “correspondent” marveled about the “adorable innocence” and “tangible atmosphere it seems [our italics] of God’s pure love” that the picture conveyed; and he (or she) found the picture to be “inspirational and calming in this terrible age of spiritual darkness.” [The operative word here was the one in italics].  We wonder what this “correspondent” would have to say, if he knew about Dolan’s “boys will be boys” remark about the SGG school principal’s sons’ watching porn and animal torture videos on SGG’s school computer.  We wonder what he’d think about Dolan’s and Cekada’s totally ignoring one of those sons fornicating with (and impregnating) a fellow student.  And we wonder what he’d think about Dolan’s ignoring the protests of parents whose children were victimized at SGG’s school.  We wonder if he’d find all of that “inspirational and calming in this terrible age of spiritual darkness.”

First off, the picture to which the correspondent refers -- as well as Dolan's having that correspondent’s testimonial printed in the SGG bulletin (and re-printing the hyperlink to the picture in the bulletin as well), underscores Dolan’s total preoccupation with appearances.  It also underscores his deception – and, most of all, his trademark HYPOCRISY -- by using that picture of those children, who truly are innocent, to infer that he and Tony are innocent as well (which people familiar with their track record know to be a monstrous sham).  In that correspondent’s one passage “… all circumscribed by a tangible atmosphere it seems of God’s pure love,” the operative word there, again, is “seems.”  All of what Dannie does or says seems to be about “God’s pure love” – but it isn’t.  It’s not about “God’s pure love”; it’s about “Dannie’s pure profit” – and, of course, about “the show.”

It’s about “the show” – what looks good – because that’s the way that Dannie gets his profit.  Whether it’s one of his frequent processions, or his “triple play” funeral extravaganza for a rich donor’s deceased wife, or one of his pontifical pageants (complete with gold-fabric canopy, bell-ringing, and enough incense to set off a smoke alarm – which it once did), Dannie has always been about “the show” – because “the show” is good box office.  It draws in the crowds – and thus the money – especially from the gullible and the easily impressed, who fall for this kind of crap.  The cyber-savvy (but intellectually bankrupt) Tony dresses up SGG’s website with “traditional” looking tinsel, and the drooling culties lap it up.

If that correspondent knew about the well-documented laundry list of the Rasputin twins’ misdeeds – and how they try to defame and discredit anyone who gets in their way, we wonder what he’d say.  Just to take a a few more samplings: if he knew how they bad-mouthed and slandered their fellow clerics (even the late -- and universally loved -- Abbot Giardina), we wonder what he’d say.  If he knew how they denied innocent people the sacraments simply for “going to the wrong chapel,” we wonder what he’d say.  If he knew that they asked their flock to “offer it up” during a wintry Lent, while Dannie was basking in the sun in Latin America and gorging himself on “copious quantities of beef,” we wonder what he’d say.  If he knew that mothers with newborn babies had to shiver in an unheated vestibule “cry room” while Dannie and Tony kept toasty in their three-climate-zone rectory, we wonder what he’d say.  And if he knew what Tony Cekada had to say about Terri Schiavo, we wonder what he’d say.

We think we know what he’d say!  The indescribable hypocrisy of Dolan’s putting this correspondent’s comments on his web page is downright nauseating (and, for that matter, so is having to read the drivel that Dannie puts in his Bishop’s Corner week after week, year in and year out!).  This had to be one of Dolan’s supremely pristine examples of appearances trumping reality – of his “splendor, solemnity, commitment and dedication” to deception (It is also a monument to peoples’ enduring capacity to swallow such drivel without throwing up.)  If that correspondent was fully aware of what the two Rasputin twins really had to do with “adorable innocence” (and how they’ve treated the truly innocent), the next time he read Dannie’s Bishop’s Corner or saw one of those pictures on SGG’s web page, he’d not only know what to say -- he’d know what to do: bring his own barf bag

Saturday, June 21, 2014

By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them: Part 2

Daniel Dolan and Anthony Cekada are, as our last article noted, “in it for the money.”  Everything they say or do is geared towards that. They, in fact, use it as their gauge for success, both in themselves and others.  In his Quidlibet newsletter, for instance, Cekada measured the late Abbot Leonard Giardina’s “success” by how much money he took in.  And in SGG’s bulletin (and web page), readers are inundated with exhortations to donate to this or that “fund-raiser”: SGG’s “building program,” or its on-going “remember us in your will” plea.  There is even a “donate” button dedicated to “support SGG school” – as well as a “Make Automatic Monthly Donation” Subscribe button, with donation “options” ranging from five to five hundred dollars monthly.  Then there are the occasional “novelty” fund-raisers, like “paver stone memorials” – and, of course, the ongoing (futile) efforts to peddle Tony’s literary train wreck, Work of Human Hands.

How does one persuade people to donate to all those “causes”?  How can people fall for any of that?  How can they be so subservient? so compliant?  so gullible?  The answer, unfortunately, is that “trads” are naturally inclined to be that way.  And, because of their disenchantment with the changes of Vatican II, many of them were ready and willing to support anyone who opposed it; and those who “promised to bring back the true Faith” were given almost a “blank check” to do so.  The problem was (and is) that not all those who opposed Vatican II’s changes did so for the right reasons. The opposition, though fairly effective and legitimate at first, gradually split up and fell into disarray, attracting factions with “not-so-lofty” intentions: fortune seekers, opportunists, and – as so often happens in religious movements – assorted fanatics and “loonies.”

Everyone recalls Francis Schukardt, the tyrannical megalomaniac who ran his congregation like a despot. If he was not traddieland’s first to set the pattern for cult behavior, he was certainly its defining example.  At first, he seemed to give the people what they wanted: a return to orthodox Catholicism – or so it seemed.  What he was actually giving them was the appearance of Catholicism: the Latin Mass, the “old” rites and rubrics, elaborate ceremonies, beautiful polyphonic music, etc. (sound familiar?).  But as time went on, he started introducing practices that went beyond that -- and became more and more autocratic, more manipulative, more cult-like.  Women had to dress in almost Amish garb; and everyone was forced to follow ridiculous rules (such as having to walk backwards out of church after Mass).  Besides the dictatorial behavior, there was also his extravagant life-style (sound familiar?).  Also, he was accused by his colleagues of being a pedophile (although the charges were never pursued in court), and was eventually dismissed (for “incompetency”) by his colleagues.  (For more, see Wikipedia link.) 

The damaging thing about Schukardt is that he set the “cult” pattern for others to follow; and follow they did – especially Dannie and Tony.  They (and others) quickly realized that the way to attract and keep followers was to emulate Schukardt’s behavior: get them to join up by offering them “orthodoxy” (or what appears to be orthodoxy) but keep them with cult tactics – an easy enough thing to do, especially with traddies, who already have a tendency for blind obedience to authority.  And that’s just what Dannie and Tony have done.  But along the way, they, like Schukardt, over-stepped their bounds, becoming “mini-popes” – not by proclaiming themselves as popes (as Schukardt did), but by acting as such: forbidding parishioners to attend rival chapels (and denying them the sacraments if they did); dispensing parishioners from abstinence on a Friday if they attended Mass (and withholding it if they didn’t) and proclaiming a Mass “invalid” if one prayed for someone whom they didn’t recognize as pope (the “una cum” nonsense) – as if they had the authority to do all theses things, which they don’t.

The irony of it all is that these “keepers of orthodoxy” have themselves become increasingly heterodox.  In addition to making up their own rules as they go along, they are actually breaking the rules:  Cekada’s Schiavo travesty was probably the clearest, most flagrant example of this; and his lame defense of Dolan’s one-handed “ordination” – in which he misquoted, mistranslated, and misrepresented official papal teaching -- was downright laughable.  And, denying the sacraments to someone simply for attending an “illicit” chapel -- that is not only uncharitable, it is illicit itself  (and mortally sinful).  (Even when not actually forbidding people to attend rival chapels, Dannie and Tony routinely discourage them from doing so, whether they consider the chapel “legitimate” or not – as a recent Pistrina article noted.)

The problem is that this sort of behavior has spread elsewhere: traddieland in general has developed a “we’re the only game in town” mentality, where each group tries to convince its followers that it has the only “valid” clergy, and that its rivals are “flawed” – or even bogus.  One traddie group, for instance, claims that the “Thuc lineage” (anyone ordained by Archbishop Thuc) is invalid, and that people who go to its churches are public sinners (!).  Other rival factions have similar caveats and prohibitions, with much of traddieland degenerating into a quagmire of bickering biddies, all issuing mud-slinging interdicts against one another.  There is little loyalty among traddie clergy – and certainly no unity.  And, as far as “authority” is concerned, the truth is, none of them has the power (or right) to “outlaw” anyone, since they’re all outside the institutional Church (and therefore have no juridical power to do anything).

Another problem with traddieland is that it has no intellectual base.  Many traddie clergy have a very superficial knowledge of the Faith and of basic moral theology (not to mention, poor academic formation in general).  That’s why they know only how to “nit-pick”: condemn people for “wearing inappropriate clothing,” call them “public sinners” for going to “the wrong chapel,” or declare a Mass invalid if one “prays for the wrong pope” -- but can’t apply the correct basic moral theology when dealing with Schiavo or with things like organ transplantation.  Sometimes, they even go so far as to condone immoral behavior outright, as Dolan did when he dismissed watching porn as “boys will be boys.”  As for academics, the only traddie seminaries that approach anywhere near pre-Vatican II levels are those of the SSPX.  “Seminaries” like MHT barely meet high school standards.

The good news, though, is that people are starting to wise up to the hucksters who pass themselves off as “scholars,” or who bill themselves as “the only game in town.”  They’re starting to question why these leaders use such exclusionary tactics (fear, guilt-tripping, etc.) to keep their flocks from scattering, why they so jealously guard their turf, and why they conjure up such bogus reasons to “disqualify” one another.  (After all, UNITY is supposed to be one of the four marks of the Church!)  They’re finally coming to realize that clergy should be “putting out the welcome mat” instead of turning folks away for violating arbitrary “rules” – especially when those “rules” are not articles of Faith.  They’re increasingly tiring of men who are interested only in money or in “empire building” – especially second-rate outfits like SGG and “Big Don’s” Florida puppy mill.

But more “wising up” needs to occur if traddieland is to survive.  What traditional Catholicism sorely needs are honest, principled clergy: good men, who will not sell Terri Schiavo down the river, or compromise their principles for convenience or for material gain -- and who have the academic acumen to really know how to deal with basic moral issues.  What it doesn’t need are fly-by-nighters like Dolan and Cekada who are just floats in a parade: all show, with nothing underneath, or pompous firebrands “Big Don,” whose hell-fire-and-brimstone pulpiteering is only so much flatulence -- and whose “seminary” is indeed a puppy mill churning out incompetent stooges.  Traditional Catholics need to start recognizing such “signs” when they see them – and to steer clear.  To paraphrase that well-known marketplace admonition, “Let the traddie beware.”

Saturday, June 14, 2014

By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them: Part 1

Outside its myopic circle, the Dolan-Cekada-Sanborn cabal is pretty much regarded as an intellectual backwater: Flammenwerfer Don’s Brooksville puppy mill cranks out incompetent, simplex simpletons, while Dannie and Tony ply their snake oil on SGG’s street-carnival-and-freak-show crowd, for whom a donkey in a Palm Sunday procession represents a dazzling spectacle, and for whom Tony’s juvenile WHH is “profound stuff” – and who lap up whatever tent-revival crap these two store-front hillbillies throw at them.  They are two small-time hucksters -- consumed with their own self-importance, blinded by their own arrogance, and oblivious to their own ignorance -- whom the rest of traddielnad has long since written off as non-entities.

Not only are their arrogance and ignorance legendary; but their record of misconduct and misdeeds is also well-known (and well-documented) throughout traddieland (and corroborated by scores of individuals, including several traditional clergy).  But the thing that really sets them apart, more than anything else, is their inordinate preoccupation with MONEY – with any form of material gain.  Everything else is subservient to it, and is, in fact, all geared towards that goal: maximizing material gain.  Whether it’s putting on a three-Mass funeral extravaganza for a major donor’s deceased wife, or bad-mouthing some “rival” who is encroaching on their “turf,” or trying to peddle one of Tony’s literary flops, the underlying reason for everything they do is always MONEY.

Back around the turn of the millennium, when SGG conducted its “building campaign” to replace its old facility (in Sharonville, Ohio) with a new one, Dolan and Cekada expected their congregation of less than a hundred families to donate about five million dollars towards the new project – a totally unrealistic sum.  (This figure does not include the land donated beforehand for the new facility – valued at $400,000).  The Sharonville church, by the way, was paid for; but Dolan wanted a new church -- a “sermon in stone” – as well as a new school building to replace the old church’s crowded school, which was housed in its basement.  A new facility might have been justified, if it weren’t for the fact that the old church was perfectly adequate.  As for the “school in the basement,’ a building next door to the church would have provided for a more-than-adequate school (and would have freed up space in the church for expansion) -- and it was available, for less than what the new facility’s land alone was valued.

As it was, the “building campaign” had to be drastically curtailed, even though one family (SGG’s main benefactor at the time) chipped in well over a million dollars (plus donated labor).  Even with that help, the rest of the parish just couldn’t meet the unrealistic goals set by Dolan and Cekada.  The irony was that Dolan never got his “sermon in stone” anyway -- the school’s gymnasium became the “church”; and the school, built much larger than it needed to be, ended up housing only a handful of students -- half of whom were the school principal’s kids.  (In its first ten years of operation, the school graduated only one student outside the principal’s family.)  Almost half the rooms in the school ended up being used to store pack rat Dolan’s surplus junk.

And, although the congregation did not get their “sermon in stone,” Dolan and Cekada did get their three-climate-zone, 2000 sq. ft. rectory (see Extreme Makeover, Brain-dead Edition), plus a “convent” (at least, that’s what the parishioners were told it was) that ended up housing priests, not nuns (there were three nuns: one died, and two left SGG in disgust).  And, of course, Dannie and Tony did not give up La Dolce Vita: gourmet meals at their favorite restaurants, “sabbaticals” to the desert Southwest, and “apostolates” to sunny Latin America (in the winter) and to Europe (in the summer).  And it is interesting to note that, even in today’s “hard times” (their million-dollar main benefactor – along with half the parish -- left SGG in disgust after the 2008-09 school scandals), Dannie still managed to go on two “apostolates” to Latin America this past winter (even though he didn’t have money to pay SGG’s heating bills at the time).

The dynamic duo’s preoccupation with money pervades everything they do; even providing the school was done with that in mind: the school was supposed to be a “drawing card” – to make SGG look like a “full-service” parish, and thus to draw (and keep) parishioners with school-age kids (plus, to provide a retirement nest egg for the school principal and his family, half of whom were either on the school’s or the church’s payroll).**  Now there is nothing wrong with having a school; many traddie churches have schools.  But SGG’s “school” was an afterthought – a sub-standard institution staffed with sub-standard personnel.  (Actually, there were a few who were well qualified -- and most of whom taught for nominal wages (or even gratis); but most of them were dismissed – for having opposed the scandalous events of 2008-09.)

The kinds of things that Dolan and Cekada have done (and still do) should serve as red flags for Catholics who are wanting to know what (and what not) to look for in their clergy: Do they continually exhort their parishioners to “sacrifice” and “offer it up” while they themselves live in luxury?  Are their schools well run (and accredited), or are they just "stage props" thrown together to attract business?  Do they spend an inordinate amount of time (and money) traveling on “church business” – especially to warm climates in the winter and places like Europe in the summer?  Do they “guilt trip” their parishioners about “not giving enough”?  Is MONEY the thing on which they seem to focus all the time?  If your clergy meet or exhibit any of these criteria, then watch out.

Money, to be sure, is the sole reason for Dolan and Cekada's "being in business.”  But how were they able to accumulate their money?  More importantly, how were they able to convince people to give it to them?  The answer is simple: by convincing them that “we’re the only game in town.”  That ploy -- which Dannie and Tony have used quite extensively – is, unfortunately, a tool not only used by them, but one commonly used throughout traddieland. Next to money, it is perhaps the second major “watch-out” for people to consider – and one which we’ll be looking at next.  Stay tuned.

** The school principal, who was supposedly “fired” after the 2008-09 school scandals, was re-hired within a week – and his newly appointed replacement then inexplicably sacked.  Not only was the principal was retained, but so were his wife and at least one of his daughters (as teachers), even though the daughter was only a high school graduate – of SGG.  Besides that, at least three of their other children were on the church payroll.  As for being rehired (after having been “fired”), the principal is reputed to have said, “They can’t fire me; I know too much.”

Saturday, June 7, 2014

They Just Don’t Care

A recent Pistrina article brought out a good point explaining why so many traddies behave the way they do, namely, how so many of them blindly follow self-appointed cult-masters, no matter what.  The Pistrina article, in turn, cited another article (by Michael Dougherty) that recently appeared in The American Conservative, a well-known national publication.  The Dougherty article contended that – because of the “social cross-currents of the last 50 years,” Catholics have come to regard the pope – not the institutional body of the Church itself -- as the Church's defining authority.  The pope has come to be regarded as some sort of saintly “keeper of Catholic orthodoxy” (whether he keeps it or not) whom Catholics can rely on to keep the Faith, no matter how lax or heretical the local clergy might be; and, in the process, he has come to be looked upon as one who can say (or do) no wrong.

But the problem with Bergoglio (and his two predecessors) is that they really haven’t kept Catholic orthodoxy, but have undermined it (or muddled it in a cloud of ambiguity), saying one thing to one group, and another thing to another – much like today’s politicians.  And, because of this, the Church has developed a political party mentality, where Church teaching and doctrine are no longer Divinely-inspired, absolute, immutable truth, but something that can be modified, like a party’s political platform.  And the pope has become the head of that party – its paramount figure – and he has eclipsed the Institution itself.

The Pistrina  article made the point that this mentality – where the person becomes the important thing – has filtered down to traddieland, where cult-masters like Dolan and Cekada have come to emulate the man whom – ironically enough -- they ostensibly oppose. They have set themselves up as mini-popes; and, with a combination of sanctimony, theatrics, and cult-like manipulation, they have passed themselves off as folk heroes to the gullible.  But, whereas Bergoglio’s aim is to destroy orthodoxy (through ambiguity and double-talk) to further his evil spiritual agenda, these hucksters are (supposedly) upholding orthodoxy -- but to further their own material agenda. 

It is ironic that, in an age when Bergoglio et al are trying to undermine the authority of the papacy, hucksters like Dolan and Cekada are trying to assume that authority -- passing themselves off as mini-popes, exercising an “authority” that they neither possess nor deserve: issuing phony missives like “una cum” as if they were official Church doctrine, denying the sacraments to anyone who goes to a chapel that they don’t consider “Catholic,” or declaring that Masses can be offered for the deceased only if they are “traditional”** – as if they had the authority to do all these things.  Meanwhile, on issues that really matter, they are morally bankrupt.  On Schiavo, for instance, they contemptuously disregarded official Church teaching on moral theology -- and with the SGG school scandals, they approvingly condoned sadistic behavior and blatant immorality.

And how (and why) do the “groveling gerties” at SGG justify such actions?  As Pistrina’s article pointed out, many of them know who (and what) Dolan and Cekada are; and they know what went on at the school -- yet they ignore it as if it had never happened, and they continue to eagerly support these lepers who run their cult center.  Why so?  One reason is that their minds were already made up long ago: they are following preconceived notions that were formed while their minds were still “blank sheets” -- sheets which, once “written on,” are hard to erase – even with the truth.

People who have been shown hard evidence about Dolan and Cekada – and who admit it to be true – either ignore that evidence outright, or perhaps temporarily acknowledge it -- responding with a half-hearted “uh huh” -- and then go back to their preconceived “default setting.”  Pride, of course, also has a hand in this: the “not wanting to admit that I was wrong” piece -- and inertia too: people naturally tend to resist change, especially when it requires mea culpa’s on one’s part.  But the real bottom line is that they really don’t care: they have a fantasized notion of Catholicism, and they don’t want it spoiled by unadorned, un-poetic reality.  As long as the two lepers put on “a good show” for them, they’ll go for it – just as their Novus Ordo counterparts have swallowed Papa Pancho’s swill.

Those traddies and Novus Ordites are hung up on the same thing: appearances.  (Indeed, so are many people.)  And we’ll repeat here what we’ve said so many times before: until traddieland rids itself of this mindset, where appearances -- not substance -- are paramount, it will go nowhere.  There are those who contend that these traddies are really “ignorant” of what they're doing – that they’re unaware that what they’re doing is wrong.  And, of course, “ignorance s bliss.”  But that kind of “ignorance” is not of the “innocent” variety; it is of the “expedient” variety.  These traddies aren’t “ignorant” or “unaware.”  They know what they’re doing – and know that what they’re doing is wrong.  They just don’t care.


**Yes, Dannie stated that only traditional deceased Catholics could have Masses offered for them.  We wonder, then, how the “triple play extravaganza” – the three funeral Masses simultaneously celebrated by three separate priests – could have happened, because the deceased (for whom they were offered) was NOT a traditional Catholic.  In fact, while she was alive, she habitually never attended SGG – and she detested Dolan and Cekada.  Perhaps Dannie will contend that she had a “deathbed reconciliation” and “converted” before she died.  (Given Dannie’s mendacious track record, we have a hard time believing that.)  But, if so, why the triple-Mass extravaganza?  Would it have something to do with the fact that her husband is a major donor at SGG?