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.
*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.)