Saturday, February 28, 2015

The New Feudalism

We remember from our history books that, after the barbarian invasions, the western half of the Roman Empire fell into disarray, becoming a “feudal” society, i.e., a haphazard conglomeration of small, disjointed political entities (kingdoms, principalities, duchies, etc.), most of which were often at war (“feuding”) with one another.  Even Charlemagne’s Holy Roman Empire  (the “bright spot” in the middle of the “Dark Ages”) was not all that cohesive – and was certainly short-lived.**   The glue that really held Europe together then was not political, but religious, i.e., it was the Church that was the main uniting force during those “Dark Ages,” while Europe wallowed in political disunity.

It is ironic that, since then, the opposite has evolved: while Western Civilization became more politically united (or at least coalesced into “nation states”), the Protestant Revolt split Christendom asunder, dividing it into ever more factions.  And today, although the “mainstream Catholic Church” survives organizationally intact, it is morally and spiritually splintered – and its doctrines watered down, ambiguously “interpreted,” or even abandoned altogether.  It is unified in name only; functionally, it is “feudal”: one believes pretty much whatever one wants; and doctrines and morals (i.e., the ones still “intact”) are not really enforced anymore.

But “traditional Catholicism” is different, right?  Wrong.  All too often, traditional Catholicism is -- to borrow Belloc’s word – a “calcified” Catholicism, where the letter of the law reigns, but its spirit is notably absent.  It is “the new feudalism”: a disunited mishmash of warring factions that is “Catholic" in name only.  It (supposedly) stands for everything Catholic – but, again, only for its letter, not its spirit.  And even in the “letter” respect, it often follows that letter selectively at best.  Traddieleand’s factions are not so much “united in opposition to Rome” as they are “disunited in opposition to one another.”  The shining example of that is, of course, the SGG cult center: “rival” chapels are disqualified or condemned for one reason or another (non-adherence to “sedevacantism,” “una cum,” etc.); and anyone who violates its “rules” is “excommunicated” by Daniel Dolan (as if he had the authority).

And, even with that “letter” of the law, he preaches one thing, but does another.  For instance, Dannie “waxes poetic” about “Holy Innocents”; yet he condoned the watching of porn (and animal torture videos) on SGG’s school computer, and raised not an eyebrow (at least in the case of the boy) when one of the SGG school principal’s sons impregnated a fellow female student.  And Tony?  He doesn’t even preach the right thing:  his “theological opinion” on Schiavo, i.e., his monstrous justification of Terri Schiavo’s murder, is diametrically opposed to official Catholic teaching (and to all morality, for that matter).  What he said about Schiavo will -- like Pearl Harbor -- “live in infamy”; and his condescending rebuttals to those who opposed him on it will continue to serve as the textbook example of ARROGANCE (not to mention, ignorance).  The “bottom line” is that he and Dannie say whatever they want; and anyone who questions them -- for any reason whatsoever – is anathema.

Actually, they don’t really care two straws for “the letter of the law,” but only for their “law” – and, in the end, not even that.  What they really care about is, as always, how things look -- for the “cosmetics.”  That is why they engage in all sorts of elaborate, over-the-top pageantry (that used to be rare in Catholic churches) on an almost weekly basis.  They do it because it works – at least on the brain-dead.  They put on this impressive ostentation, yet ignore basic Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life (as they did on Schiavo).  And when they do “follow” the letter of the law, they use it to their advantage, as Dannie did when he went down during Lent to Mexico -- where the Lenten rules are “relaxed” and the weather is bueno – and where he could use those “relaxed rules” as a justification for pigging out on “copious quantities of beef,” while exhorting the cult-slaves back home to “keep a good Lent” (with fish sticks and freezing temperatures) – and, to add insult to injury, exhorting them to pick up the tab for his “excessive heating bills.”

And what have Dannie and Tony done for “traditional Catholicism” – or for Catholicism in general?  Have they united it?  No.  Have they upheld its precepts?  Not really.  Instead, they make up their own: they boldly declare a Mass “invalid” just because the priest prays for someone whom they don’t consider to be a valid pope (as if these Roman-collared clowns had any theological basis for making such a claim, or the authority or jurisdiction to do so -- or the power to enforce it).  Their reason for making it, of course, was not to uphold orthodoxy, but to keep the sheep in the pen – in order to fatten their wallets.

And are the SGG clergy unique in making such ridiculous claims (and in using them to keep their sheep from straying to ”rival” groups?)  Not really.  The SSPV folks, for instance, have proclaimed that the “Thuc lineage” of clergy is “invalid” -- and that anyone who goes to them for sacraments is a public sinner.  Those claims are just as phony as Dannie’s and Tony’s.  (However, we can say that these folks don’t seem to be as mercenary as the SGG cultists; and we do applaud them for their opposition to Dannie and Tony -- but not for their stated reasons.)  There are other groups too, who, if they don’t outright disqualify other groups, at least discourage their members from going to them – hardly a shining example of “unifying spirit.”  And, of course, many of Traddieland’s separatist enclaves argue about issues that are in fact non-critical, but which they portray as almost as if they were “articles of faith.”

The net result of all this bickering and back-biting is disunity, non-cooperation, and mutual distrust -- in effect, a feudal society – in every sense of the word.  In all too many cases, rival groups give lip service to “unity” -- but they don’t mean it – nor do they want it.  They want disunity.  It is their raison d'ĂȘtre -- and everything they say or do is expressly for that purpose.  They must keep as many of their sheep as possible to themselves, because more sheep means more power (and more money).  That’s why they keep dreaming up ways of convincing their followers that they’re “the only game in town.”

For Traddieland to survive, it must unify.  Right now, it is a pathetic mishmash of pilotless bumper cars, all going aimlessly in different directions, and at cross-purposes.  It is also, for the most part, a bunch of amateurs: it really has no intellectual infrastructure.  Most of its seminaries are “puppy mills” that turn out simplex priests at best – with no real theological expertise.  (The SSPX is an exception, but most “trads” consider them pariahs).   But to unify, it must first cleanse itself of those who want to keep it “feudal” -- especially those self-seeking hucksters who play the “control” game for their own material gain. 

Then it must try to take back the Church – to fix it, not leave it (as it has done so far).  This, of course, is easier said than done, because, being outside the institutional Church, it has no real authority (or jurisdiction) to “do anything.”  So what can “good men with no authority” do?  First, they must acknowledge those self-seeking hucksters just mentioned for what they are, and separate themselves from them.  And, even if they have no power or authority to “make things happen” outright, these good men can at least lead by good example.  And, who knows?  Perhaps one day that example will “rub off” on others, and real Catholicism will once again take root.   Such a renaissance will surely need divine help -- and much more than “good example” is surely required if it is to succeed. But one thing is for sure: it WON’T succeed in the disjointed, dysfunctional “feudalism” that is Traddieland today.


** The “Holy Roman Empire,” as a coherent political entity, lasted only a few generations  -- and, of course, wasn’t “Roman” but Gothic.  Charlemagne, or rather, Karl der Gross (for he spoke German, not French) was himself illiterate, and his “empire” was not all that cohesive (especially linguistically); nor was it an “empire” in the sense that it enjoyed a stable period of “peace.”  There was no “Pax Carolina” to match antiquity’s Pax Romana:  both Karl’s reign and his son’s were a continuous series of wars fought in an attempt to keep the empire together.  After the death of his son (“Louis the Pious”) his empire was split amongst three of his grandsons: “Charles the Bald” (who got what is now mainly France), “Louis the German” (who got the eastern, German-speaking part), and “Lothair” (who got the German-speaking middle part, “Lotharingia” -- or “Lorraine,” as the French call it – which has been a point of contention between the French and Germans ever since).

Sunday, February 15, 2015

SGG: The Legacy of 2009

A recent Pistrina article announcing the introduction of a new (actually, resurrected) website ( brought the following comment from one of its readers: “I wouldn't be surprised at all if any of the people in the articles [on the new website] that were accosted and harassed by SGG lost their Faith. It truly sounds that bad.”  Well, that could have surely been the case in a few instances.  But, we are happy to say, in most cases, the people victimized at SGG during that time did not lose their faith.  On the contrary, most of them emerged from their ordeal morally strengthened (as those who are persecuted usually do).  Most left for new chapels where they were welcome – and no longer mistreated.

By and large, the ones who lost their faith were those who were not victimized – who were “standing on the sidelines” and observing the hypocrisy of the SGG clergy – and becoming disenchanted by it.  This is especially true of the younger parishioners.  Mature adults – especially “conditioned culties” – usually ignored the misdeeds of their cult-masters, because their brains were already programmed to accept whatever their masters decreed.  But children – and especially adolescents – are a different story: not yet fully trained to “shut up and obey,” they tend to think for themselves (and to observe and notice a lot more than we realize).

They’re not so gullible as they were as little kids, nor are they so “pliable” and obsequious as their cultie parents.  By and large, they’re more “street smart” and skeptical these days.  They “pick up” on what’s going on, and they’re not so easily fooled.  They see through the hypocrisy of the cult-masters; and, unlike their parents, they don’t buy it.  Also, in today’s “wired world,” they’re wired in, “networking” with one another, and often “knowing the scuttlebutt” even before the adults do.  For instance, when a female student got impregnated (by one of the SGG School principal’s sons), it was common knowledge amongst the “teenagers” long before the rest of the parishioners found out about it.

And when they see the pastor ignore this as if it had never happened – when they see him dismiss the watching of porn and animal torture videos on the school computer (again, by the principal’s sons) as “boys will be boys” -- how do they “digest” this information?  Unfortunately, they get indigestion – especially when they simultaneously witness (and are subjected to) arbitrary, meaningless “dress codes” – or when they see a student get thrashed with a wooden paddle for something as minor as missing a homework assignment.  They easily see through the hypocrisy -- the double standard – and they get disillusioned.

That is what is so sad about what happened at SGG back in 2009: the scandalous events disillusioned a whole generation of young people.  As a direct result, several teenagers and young adults (and even some of the adults) lost their faith: one man’s wife left him; and of his children, one conceived two children out of wedlock, and another turned “lesbian.”  As of this writing, none of his children go to church.  They, along with many other parishioners’ children, stopped going to church altogether – any church.  They equate the cult-masters with “Catholicism” – and they reject it.  For them, Catholicism has become a farce.  But the other “sad thing” is that most of SGG’s adult parishioners really don’t care about what happened in 2009.  They just “put it behind them,” and look on it as “water over the dam.”  Their attitude seems to be, “Well, it may have happened, but the pastor and school principal seem to be behaving themselves these days, so let’s ‘forgive and forget,’ and let bygones be bygones.”*

But are they really “behaving themselves”?  And if so, are they doing it because they have “reformed,” or simply because they must, now that people are aware of (and wary about) 2009?  Have they really “cleaned up their act,” or are they merely being more “careful” these days?  A strong indication that they have NOT reformed (and are not really repentant) is that they have never admitted wrongdoing, much less, apologized for it.  (In Cekada’s Quidlibet, for example, he admitted that he witnessed the beating of a kid, but actually defended it.)  Predators really don’t change.  They just become more careful, more “cagey.”  They find other sheep’s clothing to wear, and other victims to prey upon – because they can no longer afford to cannibalize their own support base.

However, they still manage to find subtle ways to exploit that support base (or at least they think they’re being subtle) -- last winter’s “apostolate” to Mexico, for instance: Dannie taking Lenten getaway to warm, sunny Mexico, and pigging out on “copious quantities of beef” (at the culties’ expense, of course), while simultaneously whining about SGG’s “high heating bills” -- knowing full well that some accommodating sucker would step forward and cough up the money.  (If nothing else, this is a testimonial to his manipulative power over them: if he can get them to agree to do that, there’s no limit to what he can get them to do!)

Many of SGG’s culties, either because they themselves did not get victimized, or because they don’t believe those who were victimized, stayed on at SGG after 2009 – undoubtedly for the dynamic duo’s elaborate liturgical pageantry.  Perhaps they thought, since most of the actual “victimizing” was done by the school principal, that the clergy were not really “responsible” – that simply ignoring wrongdoing is not a crime (or is, at worst, a “victimless” one).  But there is no such thing as a “victimless crime.”  Firstly, for the pastor of a parish to label watching porn as “boys will be boys” is a victimizing act in itself.  Secondly, the SGG clergy not only condoned, but actually presided over much of the abusive physical acts that went on at the school.  And regardless of how many they victimized that way, they certainly harmed them spiritually – by the wretchedly amoral example they set.

In fact, it is this spiritual victimizing that is worst – and which will weigh most heavily upon them – for they carry the guilt burden of all those whom they have disillusioned: the responsibility for anyone losing his or her soul, because of their bad example, is on their heads.  And these “disillusioned” include not just those who fell away back in 2009, but those yet to fall.  Many of them were small children back then, and they didn’t realize what was going on.  But they will eventually find out: they’ll start “putting two and two together” – especially if the dynamic duo continue to exhibit their devious behavior – and they’ll realize that what they’ve embraced all these years was a sham.  Their disappointment will be all the greater.  It won’t be just disappointment; it will be disenchantment.

And one can be sure that this will happen, and that the dynamic duo will continue to exhibit their devious behavior – because it has never really stopped.  Since 2009, their litany of mischief** has continued unabated – a fairly sure sign that these tigers will never change their stripes.  We rejoice for all those who have managed to escape them “with their souls intact,” and we pray that those still under the SGG spell will escape as well.  For the latter, though, this will undoubtedly involve disillusionment at first.  But this is a necessary first step in the learning process – the realization, the “wake-up call.” – that, we trust, will lead not to despair but to their spiritual recovery.


* Ironically, though, whenever someone (supposedly) “wrongs” their cult-masters, they don’t forget, nor do they “forgive” – especially anyone whom their cult-masters have marked with disapproval.  A man who dares to question Cekada’s disastrous opinion on Schiavo is labeled “a pompous doctor who presumes to pronounce on matters of faith and morals,” and a woman who kindly asks Cekada to clarify his position on Schiavo is told basically to “shut up and obey” what he says on the subject. And a teacher who complains to SGG’s pastor about one of the school principal’s sons physically and verbally threatening him (including using the “F” word) is labeled a “troublemaker” -- and fired.  When it comes to “forgiving and forgetting,” the culties seem to have “selective amnesia.”

** The chicanery of the SGG clergy did not stop in 2009.  On the contrary, it kept rolling along in high gear -- but in a different direction.  They (and especially the “prodigal principal”) could no longer afford to brutalize the parishioners, so new “enemies” (i.e., victims) had to be found.  Those who had left SGG in 2009 were the first and obvious targets: the assistant priest who left was accused by Dolan (in his “apology” sermon) of “plotting” against him; and a teacher who tried to alert Dolan to the abuses at the school was fired by him the same day.

Although the title of Dolan’s sermon (“An Apology”) intimates that he was at fault, he actually tried to shift blame to the assistant priest, and to portray himself as the victim.  Dolan did much the same with the teacher: when the latter, in an e-mail to Dolan, reported an incident where he had been verbally and physically threatened by one of the principal’s sons, he was fired by Dolan that same day for “betrayal” (see Dolan’s response).  (The teacher, too, had alerted Dolan about the abuses at the school; this was no doubt Dolan’s real reason for firing him -- and the boy’s reason for threatening him. After he was fired, by the way, the teacher discovered all four tires on his car flattened.  One can pretty well guess how this “came about.”)  In addition to the assistant priest and the teacher, others who had left SGG were also vilified – especially the more “vocal” ones.

The vilification against that teacher, by the way, didn’t stop with his dismissal.  He (the teacher) happened to be a foreign national (and, coincidentally, an ordained deacon) -- and Cekada was supposed to be taking care of his “immigration” (seeing that his “papers were in order,” etc.).  Cekada not only failed to do that, but actually turned him in to Homeland Security shortly after his departure from SGG.  Later, when that teacher decided to become a priest, Tony helped spread rumors about his ordination being invalid (as Dannie did, in late 2014, with another young priest’s ordination in Lawrence, Massachusetts).  And then later on, when the priest was invited by a group in France to say Mass for them, Dolan – who saw this as an “encroachment on his turf” -- informed the group that he (the priest) was a “troublemaker.”  (Actually, Dolan did the same to another priest as well – a young French priest whom he also perceived as a “threat.”  He wrote a letter to the people of ChambĂ©ry, thoroughly slandering the young priest (and the priest’s parents as well!).

Even deceased priests were not exempt from their deprecation.  In his Quidlibet, Cekada roundly disparaged the recently deceased Abbot Leonard Giardinia (see article).  Actually, the Litany of Mischief could go on and on; but, lest this footnote become full-fledged article unto itself, we must stop here.  Suffice it to say that the sampling given here is more than sufficient to prove our point.