Perhaps the most famous passage in the New Testament -- aside from the account of our Lord’s passion and death -- is St. Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians (thirteenth chapter). It begins with these words:
If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
So then, if I do all sorts of wondrous things, but have not charity, it makes me nothing. Now if that is the case, what if I do all sorts of not-so-wondrous things and have not charity? What does that make me then? Well, let’s re-write that epistle again – but, this time, in that light -- and then ask ourselves that same question again. Here goes:
If I speak with histrionic affectation, and stage elaborate pontifical Masses, processions, and other ecclesiastical extravaganzas ad nauseam, and if my Masses have polyphonic music, accompanied by a new (unneeded) nine zillion watt über-organ (sometimes with violin and trumpet fanfare), and if my church decorations win the Nobel Pomposity Prize® for ostentation, but I deny the sacraments to someone for attending an "una cum" Mass, what does that make me?
And if I stage a “triple-play” funeral (Three Masses celebrated simultaneously) for the novus ordo spouse of a rich parishioner (and major benefactor), but deny the same to someone in similar circumstances, but who is NOT so well-to-do, what does that make me?
If I wax poetic about protecting our innocent children on Guardian Angel Sunday, but have a child beaten with a wooden paddle for missing his homework, yet dismiss the school principal’s sons’ watching of porn as “boys will be boys,” what does that make me?
If I exhort my parishioners, “Thou shalt not steal,” and then dispossess them (by selling their church out from under them, and confiscating not only the proceeds from that sale, but their $123,664 building fund as well), what does that make me?
If I preach about modesty, and lay down strict rules about dress codes, and ban body piercings, but say nothing when one of my school principal’s sons impregnates a fellow student, what does that make me?
If I go on “apostolates” to Europe (and to Argentina and the Baja to pig out on copious quantities of meat during Lent), but ask my parishioners to fast and abstain while they’re paying for my high heating bills,” what does that make me?
If I preach against “moral relativism,” but condone the starving and dehydrating to death of Terri Schiavo, what does that make me?
If I urge my parishioners to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” but clandestinely call a church in Lawrence, Massachusetts and then try to discredit the credentials of one of their ordination candidates, what does that make me?
And if I rail against calumny, but write an article about a deceased abbot (who, being deceased, can offer no rebuttal), and accuse him of being deceitful and mercenary, what does that make me?
Starting to get the picture here? As to “What does that make me,” it certainly makes me something much worse than “sounding brass” or a “tinkling cymbal”! Does it make me a hypocrite? A traitor? A liar? A thief? A scoundrel? A moral leper? A scurrilous, unprincipled roundworm? How about “all of the above”? Actually (as you might have guessed), “what that makes me” is an SGG cult-master. And, of course, this updated “epistle” could actually go on and on. So, we ask: with a track record like that, why do Dannie and Tony have any followers at all -- who not only follow them, but defend them as well? Why is that so?
Why? The reasons are the usual ones we've mentioned before: people have a natural sort of “inertia” – especially when it comes too religion – and especially when someone “puts on a good show” for them. And when blended with cult-like manipulation and control, that makes for a potent (and lethal) combination. Dannie and Tony have been able to do just that: to take advantage of traddies’ over-blown sense of “respect for the cloth” (and their “shut up and obey” mentality) to manipulate and intimidate them into doing whatever they decree – even to the point where they perjure themselves for them.*
And even those who “know better” will usually give them the benefit of the doubt, and “tolerate” them – at least to the point of staying with them. They would rather put up with an unsavory situation than pull up stakes. Many at SGG are fully aware of what Cekada said about Schiavo (and that he was totally wrong), and many are also aware of the brutality and immorality of what went on at SGG’s school; but they stay for the “peripherals”: the pontifical Masses, the processions, and all the rest of the tinsel. And they keep “hoping against hope” that things will somehow “get better.” They think in terms of their time there as being “an investment,” and they don’t want to “start all over again.”
But what they fail to understand is that they’re “hoping against hope” when there is no hope – and that their “investment” amounts to throwing good money after bad. Many of them, too, say to themselves, “Well, the next time they do something like that, we’re leaving.” But the problem with “the next time” is that it’s like “tomorrow” – it never comes. The “next time” is NOW. In fact, it was YESTERDAY. Dannie and Tony have demonstrated, time after time, that they’re not going to change – at least, not for the better. How many “next times” must people endure before they open their eyes and see it?
They need to come to the hard realization that the SGG cult-masters are frauds – and that their righteous talk and sanctimony will never pass for righteousness and sanctity. Dannie and Tony are the epitome of the Pharisee that Christ condemned so many times in His parables. People must learn to stop listening to what the cult-masters say, but instead watch what they do. This is a hard lesson, but a necessary one, that they must learn – for their own good.
* After a recent Pistrina article reported that Dannie dishonestly told everyone that he has a “privileged altar” at SGG, one of his culties sent an e-mail message to Pistrina, vehemently denying that he made such a claim. In fact, she (the correspondent) irately fumed, “Before God I swear it.” Well, in a subsequent article, Pistrina provided PROOF (from Dannie’s own words) that he claimed as such. Thus, the woman actually perjured herself for Dannie.
Now some might protest that she wasn’t aware of Dannie’s claim (and then say that it wasn't “perjury” as such). But if that’s the case, then she was guilty of calling God down as witness on something that she didn’t know for sure – and that too is a false claim under oath, i.e., she lied – and that’s still perjury. So, she sinned mortally for her Dannie. But that’s what people will do when they’re properly brainwashed (and gullible): they’ll LIE for Dannie – even under oath.
Needless to say, Pistrina never heard from this woman again – but that’s “par for the course”: worms, once they’ve been exposed as liars, just crawl back on their hole and hide, never to be seen or heard from again.