ALL ABOUT THE LAY PULPIT

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Playing the “Victim” (aka ”The Blame Game”)

One of the many things that Daniel Dolan (SGG’s pastor) likes to do is to portray himself as a "victim,” and the SGG cult-center as being “persecuted” at the hands of outside “evil-doers.”  It’s all part of his “show”: not just the garish pageantry that he puts on for the culties every Sunday, but everything that he says and does: the false humility, the false piety, and the syrupy sanctimony act that he puts on to impress the culties.  It’s all part of his all-encompassing strategy to pass himself off as a "living saint" to the gullible Gerties.

And an important part of that strategy is to portray himself as a victim who is being “persecuted” at the hands of outside “evil-doers.”  In his Bishop's Corner of May 2, 2015, for instance, he mentioned that the church sanctuary’s HVAC unit had been hit by lightening (and was thus supposedly malfunctioning).  He then added, “Here the story becomes impossibly complicated, all caught up with big brother regulations and smoke detectors which never worked correctly in the first place, and companies gouging churches for great quantities of wasted money, backed up by the government oversight. Much patience and a cool head is required to navigate these waters.”

Apparently, “big brother” is unjustly imposing “regulations” on SGG and “gouging” them for “great quantities of wasted money, backed up by government oversight” [whatever that means!]. Apparently, too, the “smoke detectors that never worked correctly in the first place” are the fault of “big brother” as well.  Did it ever occur to Dannie that they didn't work properly because they were not installed properly?  How, we may ask, can “big brother” and his regulations be the cause of smoke detectors not “working correctly”?! Stripped of Dannie’s confusing rhetoric and false logic, what it all means is that he is probably getting ready to soak the culties again for MONEY to meet these “unjust” expenses.  He has to portray himself as “victim” so that the culties can cough up the money for these “meanies” who are “responsible” for it all.

 The probable truth is that the HVAC problems were as much the result of shoddy workmanship as they were of that lightening strike.  (Proper “surge protection” installed up front, for instance, would have prevented such a problem.)  And it’s also probable that the “expenses” incurred are not so steep as Dannie implies: faulty smoke detectors, for instance, are not all that expensive to fix (or replace); and if the HVAC unit was damaged by lightning, that should be covered by insurance.  What Dannie is really “up to” is squeezing more money out of the culties so that he can have more for himself.  Whenever Dannie and Tony can’t meet normal operating expenses (because they “need” the money for trips to Mexico or for new “toys”), they just invent some “crisis” that they blame on some “villain” (such as “big brother”), and then tap the culties for the “bailout” money.

This is what Dannie did, for instance, when he asked the culties to pay his “excessive heating bills” – for two years in a row. Here again, he played his “victim card," referring to SGG’s energy bills as the “king’s ransom the Duke [Duke Energy, the local utility] will be sending round to collect(Bishop’s Corner, March 8, 2015), and ”You are helping us pay the king’s ransom which the Duke demands for another of our ‘global warming’Winters” (Bishop’s Corner, April 6, 2014).  Apparently, it never occurred to Dannie that Duke Energy is a business that actually expects to be paid for providing heating and cooling.  According to him, charging money for energy amounts to persecution.  Of course, the real reason for Dannie “playing the victim” here was that those heating bills were “getting in the way” of his “copious quantities of meat” Lenten boondoggle to Mexico.  So, Dannie instead suckered the culties into paying the heating bills -- and they obliged.

Of course, “playing the victim” has always been an SGG staple.  Dannie’s recent lament about “big brother” and his “regulations” are nothing new.  Back when SGG’s present facility was being built, Tony used that same scam over and over again – especially when there were cost overruns.  It was always the fault of local government “red tape,” “oppressive building codes,” or some other “injustice” with which “the local authorities” were unnecessarily “singling out" SGG for persecution.  (Many SGG parishioners, both former and those still there, recall how Tony continually whined, blaming the “authorities” for everything that went wrong.)  The real truth was that the problems were the result of poor workmanship and/or inferior materials being used, resulting in a shoddy end product.  (SGG’s forever-leaking roof is one conspicuous case in point.)

Now it is just possible that Dannie really does need the “extra” money -- for SGG’s school, i.e., the money needed for the principal and his family to operate the school.  The principal’s salary (and that of his family members who are on the payroll) represents a huge financial millstone around Dannie’s neck, and he wants desperately to be relieved of that burden – but he can’t (see Pistrina article).  And the sad thing (especially for the culties) is that it’s such an unnecessary burden, because the school has a total of twenty-five students in all, K through 12.*   We wonder how the parishioners would feel if they knew that the lion’s share of their weekly donations was going to provide twenty-five kids a substandard education.

But, as Pistrina’s article pointed out, Dannie cannot get rid of the school – or, rather, it’s principal (and vice versa).  Thus, the stalemate must continue -- and the culties must continue to foot the bill.  And the only way that Dannie can meet expenses is to invent ways to get extra revenue – and one of those ways is – as we’ve noted -- using the “blame game” to get the culties to “pay extra” for what are ordinarily routine expenses.  But “playing the blame game” will only work for a while.  Eventually, SGG’s parishioners will see it for what it is: Dannie and Tony “crying wolf” every time they want money – and placing the blame everywhere but where it should be: on themselves.  And those parishioners will also come to realize -- if they have any sense at all -- that Dannie and Tony are not victims but victimizers, and that it is they, the parishioners -- and not Dannie and Tony -- who are the victims.

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*If one counts the number of students in the class picture in SGG’s April 26, 2015 bulletin, he will find twenty-five of them.  As Pistrina’s recent article noted, such an extravagance was “affordable” back in “the old days” when Bernie Brueggemann was subsidizing it; but now it is a real millstone around Dannie’s neck (and the parishioners’ necks).  If the school were “exceptional,” the expense might be justified – but it’s not.  The school is, at best, sub-standard – both from an academic standpoint and from a religious standpoint.  (Oh, yes, as far as “religion” goes, the kids are getting a “good show” – donkeys in Palm Sunday processions and plenty of “pontifical pageantry”; but if Tony’s views on Schiavo – or Dannie’s views on boys watching porn on the school computer (“boys will be boys”) -- are examples of “Catholicism,” then they’re getting no Catholicism at all.)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

It’s the Little Things, Dannie

A former SGG parishioner (who left there after the 2009 school scandals) still “comes back” every now and then to “pick up some holy water.”  Recently, she stopped in for that reason; and while there, she decided to “light a candle for old time’s sake” – a “five day” candle (which costs more, of course).  She decided to come back the next day to check on it, and – surprise, surprise! -- the candle was gone.  When she questioned one of SGG’s sacristan women about it, the latter could not give her an answer as to why. (Of course, it comes as no surprise that this woman couldn’t give her a straight answer.  After all, cult slaves are not supposed to think, but only to obey and to “work for the cause.”)
   
It also comes as no surprise why the candle was “gone”: it was “extinguished” so that it could be “recycled” again for the next sucker: making money on the same candle over and over again is one of those “little things” that Dannie does to “squeeze more out of the culties” – and he thinks that they don’t notice.  But, as this instance shows, someone did.  And not only did she notice, but the fact that she informed the Gertie woman about it forced the latter to “notice” it too.

That is just one example of the many “little things” that Dannie and/or his hirelings do that they think no one notices – that they think they’re “getting away with.”  Another one of those “little things” that Dannie thought he could get away with was the falsehood he told to justify the purchase of the new organ: The old organ really is old, and slowly dying.”  He thought that no one would check on the veracity of that claim, but someone did – and it was a lie.  And yet another one of those “little things” was his “Freudian slip” about “Mark,” the SGG school principal, during his recent “kiddie sermon”: “Mark, this is your fifty-fourth time of being forgiven; you’ve still got some time left, but don’t stretch it” (see Lay Pulpit article).  Actually, this is something that he did want “Mark” to notice – but no one else.  But we noticed. 

But perhaps the most detestable “little thing” that Dannie pulled (at least, recently) was his latest “name-dropping” stint about the late Bernie Brueggemann.  Pistrina has already written about this (see article); but this act was so detestable, that it deserves to be mentioned again: Dannie had been making some remarks in his Bishop’s Corner about Bergoglio, when he quipped, “What would Bernie Brueggemann have to say about this?”  He figured that this would “score him some points” with the culties, because many of them fondly remember Mr. Brueggemann as a good and holy man.  Of course, as Pistrina brought out, Mr. Brueggemann deplored the SGG clergy for their role during the 2009 school scandals.*

The thing that makes Dannie’s remark so unforgivable is that Mr. Brueggemann, in addition to being such a good and holy man, was formerly SGG’s chief benefactor.  He was single-handedly responsible for the very existence of SGG.  Besides donating the lion’s share of the money to build SGG’s facility (well over a million dollars), he also donated men and excavation machinery from his own business to help with the construction.  And it didn’t stop there: afterwards, he underwrote the running of the school, donating several thousand dollars a month – and this was in addition to what he gave every week in the collection basket.  To repeat again, without Mr. Brueggemann’s help, SGG simply would not exist.  This can’t be over-emphasized enough: he EPITOMIZED, in every way imaginable, St. Gertrude the Great.  He WAS, so to speak, SGG.**

And, as if this wasn’t enough, he was its main spiritual benefactor as well: not only did he attend Mass every day, but he oversaw SGG’s First Friday All-night Adoration every month.  He made sure that the Blessed Sacrament was not left unattended: if a man missed his turn at his “adoration hour,” Bernie filled in.  He, a man in his eighties, stayed there all night, taking only little cat-naps here and there, while Dannie, some twenty years his junior, was asleep, comfy and cozy, in his three-climate-zone-controlled rectory.  Bernie’s life, one could say, was one continuous prayer.

And how did Dannie repay the generosity, the kindness – the GOODNESS -- of this exemplary man?  When Mr. Bruggemann died, did Dannie attend his funeral Mass?  No.  “Well,” one might contend, “So what?  Bernie had left SGG, and his family had his Requiem Mass at IC (Immaculate Conception -- an SSPV church, where Dannie ‘would have been ‘persona non grata’).”  Well, to that we reply that Dannie DID go to that same “enemy” church for another funeral, where that same “persona non grata” stipulation would have applied – because it was for the wife of former SGG parishioner who had also left SGG for reasons similar to Bernie’s.***  And in this case, Dannie not only attended the funeral Mass, but went to the woman’s visitation  and gravesite service as well.  So, if Dannie did all of that for the wife of a man who, like Bernie, defected from SGG, why could he not do the same for Bernie?  Did he at least go and pay his respects at Bernie’s visitation, or attend his gravesite service?  The answer, on both counts, is NO.

Therefore, for Dirt-bag Dan to invoke the name of this man, for him to try to “cash in” on this man’s stellar reputation – a man without whose singular generosity Dannie wouldn’t even have a church in which to worship, a man whose unexampled kindness he “repaid” by not even showing up for ANY of his funeral services: for Dannie to invoke this man’s name, just because he thought he could derive some propaganda benefit from it, is beyond shameless.  But that’s Dirt-bag Dan: when it comes to nerve, gall, and naked opportunism, he’s your man, “right there in the front row” – unabashedly brazen, unfathomably shameless.  Dannie probably thought that he was really being “cute” with this sly bit of name-dropping – a little extra “zinger” to endear him to the culties.  But, oh, how mistaken you were, Dannie!

Dannie probably often tells his kindergartners: “Be good, boys and girls, because ‘God is watching.’”  And that, of course, is true: He is watching.  But He’s watching you too, Dannie -- and noticing.  And people are noticing, too.  You may think that those little “slip-ups” of yours are not being noticed, but they are.  Those “little things,” whether they be swindling someone out of her “five-day candle” money, or telling a “little white lie” about a new organ, or a Freudian slip about the school principal, or name-dropping to “score yourself some points”:  they’re not only noticed, but remembered.  And over time, these “little things” gradually sink in, consciously or unconsciously, providing important insights as to Dannie’s true character – and unwittingly exposing his greed, his insincerity, his dishonesty, and especially his abysmal hypocrisy. 

The sacristan at SGG who was at a loss for words when queried about the “missing” five-day candle, for instance: when she “puts two and two together,” she’ll realize that this was basically theft.  Or when word gets around that the old organ really wasn’t “dying,” the parishioners will realize that they’ve not only been swindled, but lied to.  And what makes these “little things” so significant is that they are un-rehearsed, un-orchestrated, un-premeditated -- and not the result of accusations from without, but the product of Dannie’s own words and deeds.  The culties may consciously deny many of the charges that we have leveled; but these little things that are of Dannie’s own making, they cannot.  They will unconsciously absorb them.  These little things will “slip through the cracks -- through Dannie’s fa├žade of sanctimony and pageantry – and be noticed.

These “little things” are important because, being un-rehearsed and spontaneous, they’re apt to be more reliable barometers of one’s true character.  They’re also important because, if one cheats on those little things, he’ll certainly cheat on the “big” things as well, i.e., the things that really “count.”  The little things, moreover, are the “attitude changers” that unconsciously work on people’s minds; and they have a cumulative effect, reinforcing what is “already out there” (especially any doubts people may already have about the dastardly duo).  So, perhaps it’s these “little things” that will get peoples’ thinking going in the right direction, and make them start to see just what kind of hucksters the cult-masters really are.  Perhaps they will be the proverbial “straw that breaks the camel’s back” (Dannie’s back, that is) -- and be the decisive factor in bringing about the ultimate demise of Dannie’s cult.  And if they do, Dannie can take cold comfort in knowing that it was he who put that process in motion!
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* Mr. Brueggemann, along with half of SGG’s parish, left SGG after those scandals.  And after both Dannie and the bombastic blowhard down in Florida tried to “guilt-trip” Bernie into coming back, he responded (see Sanborn’s letter to him, and his reply).  Dannie demanded, amongst other things, that – for Bernie to get back into SGG’s “good graces” – he had to offer up Masses IN PENANCE!!  He told Bernie that if he didn’t do so, he would be dishonoring the memory of his dead wife Rita (just like Dannie: to use the memory of Mr. Brueggemann’s deceased wife as a “guilt-trip” weapon against him!).

For Dirt-bag Dan, first, to treat this man so contemptuously – this man who did so much both for SGG and for him personally, and then to attempt, for his own gain, to invoke his name – the name of this man now-deceased -- is, to repeat, BEYOND SHAMELESS.  Of all the deplorable arts, name-dropping has to one of the meanest.  It gives one undeserved credit at the expense of another.  And in Dannie’s case, the irony of it is that the “another” is usually someone whom he has previously maligned.  [A good example of this was an earlier bit of name-dropping that he did – this time about a priest (click here for details


** The fact that Bernie was so-well respected and loved at SGG brings up another point that reinforces what was said in a previous Lay pulpit article: that the school principal “had something” on Dannie.  Let us explain: one of the many detestable acts committed by that principal during the “school scandals” involved his humiliating a young school boy whose mother had bought him the “wrong” school supplies.  The principal castigated the boy -- in front of his class – to the point where the boy was reduced to tears.  This boy turned out to be none other than Mr. Brueggemann’s grand-nephew.  The principal knew this, but humiliated him anyway.

So why did he do this?  Because he knew that he could get away with it, that’s why.  He knew that Dannie would do nothing about it -- and he didn’t do anything (except tell the boy’s irate mother that, if she didn’t like it, she could leave!).  (See article)  The fact that the principal knew that the boy was Bernie’s grand-nephew, but mistreated him anyway, adds fuel to the principal’s boast that “they can’t fire me; I know too much.”


*** That other former parishioner (who had left SGG for similar reasons) was also, by the way, SGG’s main benefactor at one time (he single-handedly paid for SGG’s original facility in Sharonville, Ohio).  And although he had left, he happened to have a son who still frequented SGG at the time.  Therefore, Dannie had to go to that funeral because – you guessed it -- he smelled MONEY: he figured that there was still a chance for a big contribution from this son, ergo, he attended the funeral.  In the case of Bernie Brueggemann, however, Dannie knew that he had already “sucked him dry” of most of his money; therefore, there was nothing to be gained by attending his funeral.  However, Dannie did have a “memorial Mass” for Bernie later at SGG, since there was “propaganda” value to be derived from it – just as there was for his recent shameless bit of name-dropping.

Another example of Dannie’s “mercenary prowess” was the “triple-play” funeral (click here for details) he did for the wife of an SGG parishioner – a wife who not only loathed Dannie and Tony, but who was a  Novus Ordo Catholic” (whom Dannie ordinarily wouldn’t even give the last rites, let alone give her a THREE-PRIEST Requiem Mass). But what made her case an “exception” was that her husband, an SGG parishioner, was also one of SGG’s major donors.  So, once again, the “exception” -- for Dannie -- is MONEY.


And we think that Dannie’s latest “little thing” – his name-dropping remark about Mr. Brueggemann, will become a not-so-little thing over time – because even SGG’s hard-core culties remember everything that this saintly man did for them.  And when they think of how Dannie repaid his kindness and generosity so shabbily, and yet tried to invoke his name for his own credit – it will someday “sink in” just how cheap and uncharitable Dannie’s remark really was – and how enormously hypocritical it was.