The scandalous events that took place at SGG (St. Gertrude the Great Church) back in 2009 were the culmination of troubles that had been brewing for some years prior to that. The first notable sign of that “trouble” was Anthony Cekada’s disastrous justification of the murder of Terri Schiavo, back in 2005, which caused a sizable number of parishioners to leave SGG shortly thereafter. But the thing that caused the biggest exodus (about half of SGG’s parishioners, including its biggest benefactor) was the surfacing in 2009 of the scandalous events that took place at its school then and before.
This was probably the main catalyst for the creation this blog (Lay Pulpit) as well as the Pistrina Liturgica blog (although there were other factors as well). Since then, not only have the events of 2009 been documented and reported, but other ongoing misdeeds (and blunders) of the pastor and his assistant have been uncovered as well. These include, in addition to Schiavo, Cekada’s pitifully amateurish attempt at “authorship” (Work of Human Hands), and his totally discredited attempt at validating his pastor’s (Daniel Dolan’s) one-handed “ordination.” As a result, much of the “dynamic duo’s” duplicitous behavior has been exposed – and their one-time “reputation” has (thankfully) been reduced to “junk status.”
Naturally, all this has spawned backlash from those die-hards who still support Dolan and Cekada, and who refuse to accept documented proof (much of which comes from Dolan’s and Cekada’s own lips). They claim that those who have written articles providing this documentation “have an axe to grind,” and they have responded to them with all manner of caustic “comments” (especially to articles written in Pistrina). [Most have commented “anonymously” -- and in some cases, the anonymous “commenter” has been none other than Cekada himself. It seems that Tony just can’t keep away from the fray!]*
And in just about every case, the “commenters” do not challenge what is written -- because they know they can’t -- but instead do what those with no defense of their own have always done: they divert. They ignore the subject at hand, and instead fabricate some new issue (that is invariably irrelevant and “tangential”). Sometimes they set up a “straw man”; and sometimes they simply employ the “ignore the message, shoot the messenger” tactic. But in either case, it’s “diversionary.”
Another “weapon” in their bean-shooter arsenal is that of playing the “numbers” game: “You are the only two websites saying what you do. No one else is!” But the fact is, yes they are. First of all, among the half of the parish that left SGG in 2009, over a dozen of them – including some of SGG’s own faculty – did take the trouble to speak out: they opened a website (sgginfo.com) to air (and document) their numerous grievances against the SGG clergy and school principal. It wasn’t a “revolt” by a “small clique of malcontents,” but a grass-roots effort by the scores of SGG parishioners who were cruelly victimized. And in addition to them, several parishioners from SGG’s satellite parishes were also victimized, and joined the effort. In all, over sixty pieces of correspondence were generated. (It must be remembered, too, that there was a lot of correspondence generated back in the “Schiavo” days. If this were included, the total would be well over a hundred.)**
Unfortunately, because of “political pressure” from an outside cleric, the website was pulled down. However, it is now back, but under a new title: sggscandal.com; and we have added it as a link on our “Home” page (see “Links you’ll love”). In addition to this website, there are others, such as one created by parishioners of St. Hugh of Lincoln (an SGG satellite in Milwaukee, Wisconsin), that also detailed the heavy-handed (and typical) mistreatment received at the hands of SGG’s clergy (see link). Additionally, there is an abundance of correspondence about Schiavo, which showcases Anthony Cekada’s trademark arrogance (and ignorance) in an unmistakably clear way. We hope eventually to incorporate much of it (and the SHL link) into the new website. Thus, it will serve as a valuable archival resource for those seeking more documentation on Schiavo -- and as a “memory jogger” for those still in denial both about both it and the events that took place at SGG’s school.
Speaking of the latter, there is one series of articles on the new website that we’d like to highlight this week. They deal with School Dazed -- an article published on Anthony Cekada’s Quidlibet newsletter -- which was his attempt at “explaining away” the scandalous events that went on at the school in 2009. In response, a series of articles entitled School Dazed Revisited was compiled by the sgginfo website’s editorial staff, in six parts, which are now recreated in the new website (see links 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6). Each part is written in “side-by-side” format, with Cekada’s original School Dazed remarks written in the left column, and the rebuttals to them in the right column. Those six articles provide perhaps the best insight on what happened at the school (and on how Cekada’s mind works). And, together with three other articles contributed by three individual parishioners (click here, here and here), not only do they completely dismantle Cekada’s pathetic whitewash job; but they show how Cekada, by his own words, exposes himself for the liar that he is.
What the newly resurrected website proves, among other things, is that those who oppose the dynamic duo are not an “anomaly” or a “small clique of disgruntled crackpots,” but a sizable (and growing) number of people. By the sheer number of those who have contributed to this website, Dannie and Tony (and their hacks) cannot “write them off” as “insignificant.” More importantly, they cannot, no matter how much they try to belittle or discredit these folks, ignore fact. Much of the evidence presented by them is irrefutable (some even coming from Dannie’s or Tony’s own lips); and even the “anecdotal” evidence (not strictly “provable”) can be corroborated by dozens of witnesses (including some who are still at SGG).*** In short, too much evidence exists for all of it to be “swept under the rug.”
In future, we hope to highlight even more articles – especially those dealing with Schiavo (when they can be incorporated into the website). In these articles, again, Cekada’s arrogance and ignorance come through unmistakably. In fact, he does such a great job of hanging himself with his own words, that little further commentary is necessary – even perhaps for those “lowest common denominator” die-hards who still fall on their swords for him. But, regardless of what he and they say or do, rational people should have no trouble in seeing the evidence, in comprehending the facts, and in drawing the right conclusions.
* It is common (and accepted) practice for someone to comment “anonymously” on a blog; but for Cekada himself to come on as an “anonymous” commenter – to pose as someone else, on an article written about him -- is deceptive, for it gives the impression of his having an independent “outside” supporter, when none really exists. Secondly, it shows a true lack of professionalism: a true professional defends himself on his own forum (and Tony has one -- Quidlibet), and doesn’t stoop to playing “heckler” on someone else’s. But, as we said, Tony – the classless Blunderer -- just can’t “keep away from the fray.” And when he does “jump in,” he invariably gets annihilated – especially on Pistrina, where he is woefully inept at matching wits with them. (The idiot doesn’t seem to realize that, when he does try to “spar” with them, he only succeeds in giving them the opportunity to reinforce their point – at his expense.)
But how do we know it is he who was the “commenter”? It’s fairly easy: some of the comments contain information (or phraseology) peculiar to him only, and to no one else. And why does he himself comment? That’s easy, too: many of those who offered their “commenting” support for him and/or Dannie were actually an embarrassment for them – they turned out to be some of SGG’s semi-literate bottom-feeders. Their comments were actually so damaging that, for a time, Dannie put out a “gag order” to silence them – so Tony had to come in and “fill the vacuum.” Lately, however, a few have popped up here and there to have their say – but only the chosen few articulate enough to get Dannie’s and Tony’s “imprimatur” to do so.
** It must be remembered that, for every grievance put in writing, there are usually hundreds (and, in many cases, thousands) that aren’t. Most people -- especially “traddies” -- are reticent, and not prone to “speaking out.” The written response at SGG (and its satellite parishes) was overwhelming, both in numbers and in intensity. And, as it was, of those who were victimized, most were reticent, and responded not publicly, but simply by leaving. Perhaps if they hadn’t been reticent but more “vocal,” most of SGG’s parishioners – not just half of them – would have left. Dannie and Tony should “thank their lucky stars” that the response was as muted as it was, or they would be left sitting there by themselves, with only Puccini, Vivaldi, and Caravaggio for company.
*** One bit of evidence that is both irrefutable and well witnessed is the “bell-ringing incident” at SGG on Palm Sunday of 2009. The church bell, being rung by an usher during a procession that day, got “stuck” (the usher, by the way, left SGG that day, but for unrelated reasons). Both Dolan and Cekada gave accounts of what happened with the bell – both of which contradicted each other. Dolan gave an accurate account – at least about the bell; but Cekada did not, lying both about what happened, and why. The fact that the incident was witnessed by most of those present that day adds even more “fuel” to Cekada’s lies. (As it turns out, Dolan also lied – not about the bell, but about the usher’s reasons for subsequently leaving SGG.) (For a more detailed account of what happened (and more), click here.)