ALL ABOUT THE LAY PULPIT

Saturday, April 25, 2015

“Guilt-Tripping” Won’t Work Anymore, Dannie

Daniel Dolan, SGG’s inimitable cult-master, always seems to “overdo it” on everything, whether it’s pigging out on “copious quantities of meat” during his Latin American Lents, or “lathering it on” with copious quantities of sanctimony in his weekly Bishop’s Corner (not to mention, his sugary sweet nothings about the weather, and -- of course, those newsy little tidbits about his feral cats’ latest bunny-dismembering).  Another thing he likes to pepper his parishioners with is “guilt-tripping”; and in his Easter Sunday Bishop’s Corner, there were “copious quantities” of that too, as the following snippets will attest:
 
“Your Lent may indeed have been little.”

“Attendance was dismal. Many did not or could not come. Some simply stayed away week after week.”

“Of course the daily Mass attendance was disappointing as a rule,”

“But still I could not give up the nights, although most of you have. Sometimes somebody comes to a 5 PM Mass. The Lenten Friday evenings are almost abandoned. The Stations never once drew even a modest crowd.”

And, finally:

“Sad. The dead are gone, the devout grow older and can’t come, and no one takes their place anymore, although the memory of their example reproaches us.”

Wow!  Apparently, the culties didn’t “offer up” enough this Lent.  And it seems, from Dannie’s comments, that only the older ones are “doing their part” – especially when one reads his last comment that the “devout grow older and can’t come, and no one takes their place anymore.”  Well, perhaps those younger folks remember the Lent Dannie spent in Mexico last year -- the copious quantities of meat” Lent.*  Perhaps they’re finally coming to realize that it’s a case of “do as I say, not as I do,”  and they’re getting tired of the “double-standard” HYPOCRISY. 

The youngest of the younger set certainly are: especially the teenagers and young adults who lived through the events of 2009, and who certainly remember (amongst other things) the “double standards”:

-      A boy beaten with a wooden paddle for missing his homework assignment, while the principal’s sons got no punishment at all for watching porn and animal torture videos on the school computer;
-     One of the principal’s sons impregnating a girl, and “getting off Scot free” with it; (Dannie not only ignored the whole incident, but actually had the boy feted in a later SGG newsletter article – for his organ-playing expertise.

Actually, there was much more (click here) that they witnessed; but the foregoing two examples are of particular note because that paddled boy and that pregnant girl were fellows of theirs -- they “identified” with them -- and there was a lot of “networking” going on about both.  (After all, it is difficult for them not to notice one of their fellow students “large with child” – and for word of it to spread like wildfire throughout the teenage “grapevine” – which it did)  Also, because they are kids (and hence not yet fully programmed to be “automatons”), they’re more apt to question these double standards than are their blindly obedient parents.

Therefore, when they saw the obvious “inconsistencies” -- that the principal’s sons got no punishment at all for their transgressions, while that other boy was beaten with a wooden paddle just for missing a homework assignment – well, again, the double-standard HYPOCRISY of it all must have been overwhelming for them, especially when they recall the sanctimonious pap that Dannie always panders on Guardian Angel Sunday about “our innocent children,” “purity,” and all his other meaningless lip service.  Dannie might not think that they noticed, but they did.  It surely registered with them; and word of it surely spread through their ranks.  (And it did.  Many of them left SGG.  And many others – the boy who got paddled, for instance – became so disillusioned that they left the faith altogether.)

But we suspect that the “not-so-younger” are noticing too – perhaps even the brainwashed ones (after all, they’re not totally brainless!).  Word of Dannie’s “lost Lent” had to have filtered down to them (after all, the account of those “copious quantities” was right there in his Bishop’s Corner, which, we assume, some of them actually do read); and they’re surely not totally ignorant of what went on in 2009.  (Perhaps, too, “other news” about Dannie and Tony has been reaching their ears as well.)   And the cumulative effect of all this (and more) is surely that “things are starting to sink in.”  Another thing “for sure” is that the double-barreled barrage of “guilt-tripping” that they got from Dannie on Easter Sunday will probably only alienate them; and, if they had any doubts to begin with, it will tend to reinforce those doubts – and, just maybe, finally convince them that Dannie is someone incapable of being satisfied, no matter what they do for him.** 

As for this latest outburst of guilt-tripping by Dannie, the bad news for him is that the culties have heard it all too many times before, and they’re not likely to fall for the pitch this time.  And the fact that he issued so severe an admonition is a sign, too (as Pistrina noted), that Dannie’s getting desperate.  Desperate men do desperate things.  They don’t think before they act, and they take chances -- and make mistakes.  And Dannie’s been making plenty of them lately.  His untruthful “justification” for buying SGG’s new organ (The old organ really is old, and slowly dying”) was a mistake, as was his Freudian slip (about the school principal) made during his “kiddie sermon” (which the principal is not likely to “accept kindly”).  And his recent bit of “name-dropping” at the expense of the late Bernie Brueggemann – well, that should get this year’s Academy Award for shameless impropriety (see Pistrina article).

The “dismal” and “disappointing” attendance at Dannie’s cult functions is a tangible sign that SGG’s younger parishioners ARE “noticing things,” and that they’re tiring of Dannie and his “show” – and, consequently, are “voting with their feet.”  And as the older parishioners die off (or become too infirm to attend), the “dismal attendance” problem will only get worse, forcing Dannie to take even more desperate measures -- which, in turn, will only alienate people more, (just as Dannie’s past efforts have), creating a “downward death spiral” cycle.  (Actually, it’s more a case of its being a continuation of a cycle that’s been in place for some time – and which started back in 2009.) 

And, as Dannie’s desperation increases and his control over the culties decreases, he’ll just become more erratic, more reckless, more frantic.  It may get to the point where, come retirement time, Dannie may find himself in need of a facility a little more “full service” than the Bishop’s Lodge – perhaps one that caters, not so much to pleasure-seeking hedonists, but to the criminally insane.
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* Click here for Dannie’s entire Bishop’s Corner account of his time in Mexico during Lent last year.  Besides eating “…dinner at an excellent Argentinean restaurant, consuming copious quantities of meat, Dannie’s “penance” was also to include the following: “We were going to have a nice tour of the bay in somebody’s boat, but the high waves waved us off. Still the weather was beautiful. Did you have more snow?” (Gee, it’s a shame about the “high waves” to spoil Dannie’s “penance”!  And wasn’t that a “nice touch” how Dannie asked the culties how they were dealing with the snow back at the frozen cult center, while he was basking there in warm, sunny Mexico?  Wow!  (For tact, that would be about on a par with a theater critic’s asking, “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?”)

Dannie then continued, “That evening I gave a well-attended conference on how to live as Catholics in today’s world.”  (Well, we hope that they didn’t notice how he was living “as a Catholic in today’s world” earlier that day, or the “conference” might have turned into a lynching.) 


** Sacristans, in particular, are susceptible to catching flak from Dannie for “not doing enough.”  One of them – a nun – would habitually have to work past midnight to get the altar and sanctuary ready for the next day’s “show”; and it seemed that, no matter what she did, it was never “enough” for Dannie, who often verbally abused her, no matter how good a job she did.  After putting up with this for several years, she finally left SGG in disgust.  Another sacristan – a lay friend of hers – also left in disgust, citing Dannie’s abusive treatment of that nun as her reason.  Another sacristan -- also a nun -- was overworked by Dannie to the point where she was treated for nervous exhaustion.  She too left.  Both nuns have since left the religious life altogether.


We’re not sure who does the “sacristan” chores now – but we suspect that it is a “small army” of people – most of whom are women.  They do all the behind-the-scenes “grunt work” that makes Dannie’s “show” possible; and he calls them his “holy helpers” (which sounds so much better than cult slaves, doesn’t it?!).  And, for all that they do for “the show,” he gives them a bit of lip service, but little else.  For all intents and purposes, he treats them as non-entities.  (But what else would one expect from a misogynist?)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Coming Apart at the Seams?

Back in 2009, after all the scandal that broke out at St. Gertrude the Great School was exposed, angry parishioners demanded that something be done.  In response, Daniel Dolan (SGG’s pastor) had the school’s principal, Mark Lotarski, removed from that position and demoted to the rank of “teacher,” and replaced by a young assistant priest.  But within the space of a week or so, the former principal was reinstated -- and the priest “removed.”  Then shortly after that came Dannie’s “apology” sermon, wherein that priest was accused of trying to “destroy” SGG (although there were no specifics given to substantiate that claim); and in no time at all, it was back to “business as usual” at SGG.

“Business as usual” also included getting rid of those who opposed what went on at the school -- including one of SGG’s teachers.*  This teacher -- after having been physically threatened and verbally abused (in front of his school class) by one of the principal’s sons, and after complaining about that treatment – was summarily dismissed by Dannie.  This same teacher also found all four of his car’s tires flattened the next day.  The aftermath of all this, as many well know, was that half of SGG’s parish (including its main benefactor) left in protest.

But one thing that puzzled many parishioners (both those who left, and those still remaining at SGG) was this: how could Dolan remove the school principal one week (an obvious confirmation that the principal had done wrong), then reinstate him the next?  Surely, one does not do something that drastic, then reverse course without so much as an explanation.  The answer may have something to do with what that principal has been heard to say more than once: “They can’t fire me; I know too much!”  Indeed, this would explain such apparently paradoxical behavior by Dannie: in any other school on earth, that principal would’ve been fired on the spot – but he wasn’t.  Instead, here he is, still there, still in charge -- and with about half his family on the SGG payroll.

Perhaps that principal does “know too much.”  One clue that hints at it is something that Dannie said in one of his recent “kiddie” sermons.  He was explaining to SGG’s school kids how many times one must forgive his neighbor; and, as an example, he stated, Mark [our bold emphasis], this is your fifty-fourth time of being forgiven; you’ve still got some time left, but don’t stretch it.”  Now why would Dannie use the name Mark?  And why did he say, “you’ve still got some time left, but don’t stretch it”?  Stretch” it?!  Of all the words and expressions to use, why were these used?  For what reason would he say, “this is your fifty-fourth time of being forgiven,” then follow up with something so abstruse, so enigmatically puzzling as “you’ve got some time left, but don’t stretch it” – and say it to a bunch of young school children (from kindergartners on up) – especially when coupled with the name “Mark”?  What possible meaning could “you’ve got some time left, but don’t stretch it” have for them?

“But,” one of Dannie’s CLOD’s (Close Loyalists Of Dan) might contend, “Perhaps ‘Mark’ [the SGG school principal] wasn’t there when Dolan said that.”  But you can bet he was there – as were his wife and at least one of their daughters (both of whom are teachers at SGG).  So, you can be sure that Dannie’s words were aimed at the school principal, that he (and certainly other family members) were present, and that Dannie’s words had special significance for him: that he  (the principal) has, in Dannie’s estimation, been at SGG “way too long,” and has been “milking things” by putting one or more of his family on the SGG payroll (at one time, more than half of his twelve-member family were on it) – and Dannie is chafing under the financial load.  The Lotarski juggernaut undoubtedly accounts for the lion’s share of SGG’s budget; and Dannie wants to be rid of this parasitic drag that is getting in the way of his and Tony’s Santa Fe “caviar dreams”) – hence, the admonition, “you’ve got some time left, but don’t stretch it.”

But why the oblique, veiled reference?  Why not just come right out and challenge “Mark” openly and directly?  Why?  Because Mark obviously does “have something on him” (and Tony) – that’s why.  Why else would Dannie do nothing about the abuses of 2009?  Why else would he do nothing about the principal’s sons watching porn on SGG’s school computer?  And why else would he say nothing about one of the principal’s sons impregnating a fellow student?  Again, because the school principal does “have something on him” – that’s why.  The events of 2009, corroborated by well-documented evidence, would have got any other school principal dismissed on the spot – but they didn’t.  The “Teflon Principal” is still there.  And he’ll stay there, because, as he’s boasted before, “I know too much” (which is also the reason why Dannie only issued a veiled warning).** 

But, if Dannie thinks that his veiled warning will intimidate, deter, or “persuade” the principal in any way, he had better think again: it will not have a diminishing effect, but an escalating (and inflammatory) one.  But, that Dannie would even make such an empty threat, is also a measure of his desperation to rid himself of the Lotarski load – and also an indication that he is not thinking clearly; for if he were, he’d realize that his threat is empty, and that he really has no leverage with the principal.  The problem for Dannie is that the principal probably has more “dirt” on him than he has on the principal.  Dannie, therefore, cannot afford any “escalation,” for fear of what might “surface.”  Dannie, to put it mildly, is “skating on very thin ice.”

But if Dannie is getting desperate, we must remember that desperate men, as we stated before, often do not think clearly – and they act irrationally.  And there is some evidence that Dannie is indeed getting “irrational.”  Examine, for instance, his Passion Sunday Bishop’s Corner.  What with his going on about “marauding baby bunnies” and about “Caravaggio” (one of his pet cats) being “truly a cat of the peripheries,” his words sound a bit “unusual” for a church bulletin.  And then, when he went on to say, “but Bergoglio better not try to make him a cardinal” and that “The College of Cardinals could certainly do with his [the cat’s] wisdom, but I would hate to lose him to Rome” – well, that sounded a bit abnormal.  Marauding baby bunnies”?  A cat’s “wisdom”?  Obviously, such bizarre ramblings were Dannie’s hapless attempt at “humor” – but they are also possible indications (as last week’s Pistrina also noted) of a mind on its way to mental meltdown.

Of course, both Dannie and Tony have often acted “irrationally” – especially when attempting to vilify their opposition; – because, in their heated vehemence, they end up saying or doing something “irrational” that gets them into trouble (see Lay Pulpit’s last article).  But their behavior, though irrational, has always been at least predictable, and at least plausible enough to pass muster with SGG’s Gerties.  But in dealing with the principal, Dannie is not dealing with a bunch of brainless boot-lickers, but with someone just as shrewd and self-serving as he – and with more “leverage” than he -- and the erratic behavior he’s been showing of late won’t help him in that regard.

Dannie’s “kiddie sermon” remarks show his frustration and desperation with the principal.  That, coupled with his recent bizarre Bishop’s Corner remarks, spells trouble.  If Dannie “melts down,” the tenuous d├ętente that now exists between him and the scheming schoolmaster will probably melt down too, resulting in a parting of the ways – and, we fear, not an amicable one, but a bitter, explosive one.  However, we fear not for them, nor for ourselves, but for those poor, deluded dupes who’ve been putting their trust in Dannie and Tony all these years: SGG’s parishioners. And in our estimation, it is only a matter of time before that explosion occurs, because Dannie, of late, indeed does seem to be coming apart at the seams.
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* There were, sometime earlier, other teachers who had been dismissed as well.  One, who had warned Dolan several times in the past about immorality and other scandalous events going on at the school, was first removed from the faculty; and when, in desperation, he finally sent Dolan an e-mail (on Christmas Eve, 2008) to that effect, he was not only dismissed from the parish but banned (by police order) from the property.  Sometime later, another teacher (a colleague of this man) was asked to sign a paper condemning him; and when he refused, he too was dismissed – and both he and his wife were banned from the property.  (Banning people from church property is a favorite “punishment” of Dannie’s, as is refusing the sacraments to those guilty of “transgressions” -- such as the man who was denied communion by Dannie, because he had attended an SSPX chapel while on vacation) -- and there were scores of well-documented examples of each that can be cited as proof.)


** Concerning the events of 2009, they are well explained on the website sggscandal.com, which contains a wealth of information about what went on then (and before) -- including an article listing twenty-nine items detailing some of the more serious abuses (item 29, e.g.).  It must be remembered, too, that for every reported instance, there are usually more that go unreported; hence, those twenty-nine “items” may be the tip of a much bigger iceberg.  Whether there are more or not, the allegations documented in those articles enough -- and they are certainly too many, too varied, and come from too many different sources to be ignored or to be dismissed by Dannie (or one of his boot-licking apologists) as “hearsay” or “fabrications.”  And not only are those sources too many, but their allegations are also too well corroborated to be denied.

As to what the principal “knows,” we suspect that, whatever it is, it is even more detrimental to Dannie and Tony than what is on the sggscandal.com website; plus, it must be backed up with evidence of some sort, because it has kept them from getting rid of him.  It has not only been enough to insure his weathering the 2009 “storm,” but enough to enable him to survive unscathed ever since -- enough to allow him and his family to continue being the huge financial drain on SGG’s resources that they are, and for Dannie to put up with it.  But, as Dannie’s “Freudian slip” in that “kiddie sermon” seems to indicate, he and Tony are chafing under the burden of that “drain” (and longing for it to end).

Furthermore, if “what the principal knows” is detrimental to Dannie and Tony, then it has to be a worry for them, because the only “hold” that they have on the principal right now is a “financial” one: they pay his salary.  But when he retires, that “hold” expires – and at that point, the principal say or do whatever he wants; he has no material “allegiance” to Dannie, and no longer an incentive – at least a “financial” one -- to “behave himself.”  (Oh yes, he has a moral incentive to “behave himself” – but if morality didn’t get in his way back in 2009, why should it now?)


Lastly, let us point out that, besides what the principal might have on Dannie and Tony, some of their fellow clergy (according to the traddieland “rumor mill”) also possess “information” about them; and if that information is “detrimental” (and we suspect it is), then this constitutes an additional worry for them: they can never be 100% sure that their colleagues in the “priestly fraternity” will be “discreet.”  In “the old days,” of course, one could count on them to be discreet, to “protect their own.”  But in today’s world, “camaraderie” and “group loyalty” are on the wane – especially in dog-eat-dog traddieland, where vying groups promote themselves (at the expense of others), question one another’s “credentials” -- and even “rustle one another’s sheep” (all of which Dannie has been doing for some time, and all of which surely have an eroding effect on “camaraderie”).  Consequently, if Dannie and Tony have any “skeletons in their closet,” they cannot rely on their “comrades” remaining “discreet” forever.