In SGG’s May 2015 Newsletter, there is a picture of Dannie Dolan (and his entourage) in front of the church’s Lenten Altar of Repose (click here and scroll down to see picture). And if one clicks here, he can see another of Dannie’s extravaganzas: a YouTube video of the Gloria being sung on Holy Saturday. These are just two examples of Dannie’s “show” for all the cyber-world to gaze and gape at. Impressive, huh? Of course, these are only two of the many “visual treats” to “wow” the reader as he wades his way through SGG’s website. The website even has a “photo gallery” containing 50+ pictures of SGG’s school children “enjoying” all the good things that SGG has to offer. According to the pictures, SGG is a “Shangri-La,” where “a good, wholesome time is being had by all”: children at play; happy, smiling faces; impressive “church scenes,” where the kids are experiencing “real Catholicism”; etc., etc. Again, how “impressive”!
The photo of Dannie & Co. in front of the Altar of Repose is annually one of his favorite “publicity shots.” Note that there are about fifty or so candles on the altar. (In past years, there have been close to a hundred at times.)* Starting on Holy Thursday evening, men in server’s uniforms – Dannie’s “guard of honor” volunteers – kneel there (each man taking an hour turn). Several of these men, in the past, have fainted from the near 100*F heat and/or from oxygen deprivation. Note also that Dannie expects them to do their hour, yet he himself spends only a few minutes there (probably just long enough for the “photo op”). But what does Dannie care? The photo looks good on the website page – and, after all, that’s what it’sall about: “the show.”
But in recent months, people haven’t been coming to “the show,” and Dannie has been chiding them about it (see Guilt-tripping Won’t Work Anymore, Dannie). In fact, his guilt-tripping harangues have become almost a regular thing. Of course, how could one blame a parishioner for not wanting to sit through (or kneel through) one of Dannie’s multi-hour bore-a-thons, day after day, on a regular basis? Dannie’s hard-core brain-dead might put up with such marathon tedium, but it’s a tall order to expect anyone else to do it. Besides, those who do come are often hit up for a donation -- as they are on Friday evenings during Lent. (Yes, for making that extra effort to come on those Fridays for Stations, they get fleeced for their trouble!)
But Dannie has always been able to count on his Gerties to at least show up for his “social gatherings” -- especially his main summer bash, Saint John’s Evening, which, in Dannie’s words, is “the main church event here between June’s Octaves and July’s summer camps.” Well, guess what? It seems that this “cherished tradition” too has fallen by the wayside. In his June 28, 2015 Bishop’s Corner, Dannie started out by waxing poetic on what a wonderful shindig it was: “It was sheer poetry, although none was declaimed in the midst of the prose and song. First we had Solemn High Mass and sermon in church, as befits Christians met to honor the birth of ‘the greatest of those born of women.’ Then we retired to the cloister for a fine summer’s supper of Brots [yeah, that’s how he spelled brats] and sauerkraut and salads, remarking the while on such a dry and mild evening in the midst of our very wet and warm weather. Then we retired to Helfta Hall for another of Fr. Cekada’s inimitable stories, full of imitations and clever topical allusions.”
After that, “a magnificent bonfire was kindled and blessed in St. John’s name,” and then some songs were sung by SGG’s school choir (who were, no doubt, required to attend), and then “Sticks and marshmallows were marshaled next for the obligatory roast, all calm and happy, the fiery marshmallows glowing in the nigh [night?] air, seconded by the lightning bugs.” Then, after exhausting every opportunity to “applaud the ordinary” (and trying to make an evening of mediocrity sound “magical”), Dannie chided his Gerties, commenting “Most of you were not there, perhaps because we neglected to put out the Internet “compelle intrare” (‘compel to come in,’ remember?).”
Well, shucky darns! Most of his Gerties didn’t show up! (Oh, sure, the usual “hard core” of brainless bootlickers were there, but most folks stayed away.) Well, Dannie, perhaps they’re wearying of spending their Sunday afternoon sitting through a one-to-two-hour Solemn High Mass and sermon, and then spending the rest of the evening eating brats, sauerkraut, and roasted marshmallows [burp!], and then listening to one of Tony’s “stories” “full of imitations and clever topical allusions” [ y-a-w-n! ] (Tony’s “stories” must be SGG’s answer to American Idol and America’s Got Talent – except that they should call it Tony’s Got Tedium.) We’re sure that most Gerties would prefer to be in their own homes vs. sitting in front of a bonfire on a warmish evening while being eaten alive by mosquitoes, and listening to Tony’s nasal droning. (The only possible “plus” about one of Tony’s “stories” is that it’s probably a good cure for insomnia.)
Yes, perhaps they’re getting sick of such “second-rate offerings” -- of settling for brats and sauerkraut, while Dannie “settles” for copious quantities of beef (while “doing Lent” in Mexico). Perhaps they’re tired of paying his “excessive heating bills” while their mothers (with small children) shiver in an unheated vestibule “cry room.” Perhaps they’re tired of paying for a “white elephant” school that produces no results (or a new organ that’s no better than the old**). Perhaps, too, they’re getting sick of Dannie’s pretentious flattery and affected sanctimony, and recognizing them as the lip service they are. Perhaps they’re getting tired of a man who, although he himself has a long history of disobeying his superiors (including breaking solemn oaths of allegiance), demands unquestioning obedience from them, then exacts that obedience by using the sacraments as weapons against transgressors – denying them to anyone he deems as “non-compliant.”*** And perhaps they’re (at long last) getting tired of “the show”: the pontifical extravaganzas, the garish processions, and the over-the-top decorations and displays that take small armies of cult-slaves to erect and dismantle -- and who then get “guilt-tripped” for not coming to them often enough.
The truth is, they ARE getting sick of it all -- and they’re “voting with their feet.” The bottom line is that Dannie’s “old bag of tricks” -- the sanctimony, the flattery, the manipulative guilt-tripping, the intimidation and coercion, the “sacramental blackmail,” and (of course) the “show”: none of them are working their magic anymore -- and people are no longer intimidated by him. The truth is, they’re catching on to Dannie’s act (and it IS just that: an act). The truth is, Dannie is losing control -- and it’s about time. And it’s time, too, that the pontificating parasite and his sidekick, Tinhorn Tony, fold up their tent and move on. Dannie, it’s time to stop throwing your parties -- because nobody’s coming to them any more.
* The truth is, it’s probably NOT a “freebie.” First off, in addition to the “Solemn High Mass and sermon in church” that preceded the “bash” (required attendance to get into it), the collection basket was probably passed around. Secondly, this bash – just like everything else at SGG – is funded by parishioner donations anyway. So, just as it is the case with the proverbial “free lunch,” it really isn’t a “freebie.”
** Several people who have actually heard the new organ say that it’s no better than the old one (and perhaps inferior). In fact, one person described it as sounding “a bit tinny & unimpressive.” Another who heard the organ corroborated that observation: “I also heard the sound of the ‘new’ organ and I would agree with the tinny sound.” Like Dannie with his “apostolates,” Tony wanted a new organ – and he got it. His and Dannie’s “wants” somehow become “needs.” But what else could one expect from men who consider their three-climate-zone rectory a “need” – yet expect their parishioners’ mothers and small tots to put up an unheated vestibule “cry room.” If they could justify that, they can justify ANYTHING.