The SGG school scandals of 2009 affected not only SGG itself, but its satellite parishes (especially St. Clare’s in Columbus, Ohio) as well. Actually, St. Clare’s was being “affected” even prior to that – back as far as the 1990’s, when Fr. Ferrera was its pastor. Dannie and Tony were dissatisfied with him – perhaps because he was not channeling enough money back to the parent cult center. But, in any event, they dismissed him.1 This didn’t go down too well with St. Clare’s parishioners, most of whom liked Fr. Ferrera very much – especially when he was replaced with the Latino lunatic, Fr. Oscar Saavedra, with whom the parishioners were thoroughly disgruntled and bewildered. (Saavedra was then followed by a series of replacements, the last of whom was Fr. Marcus Ramolla.)
For those who recall the 2009 SGG school scandals, it was Ramolla who was installed by Dannie as the school’s principal. This was done at the insistence of SGG’s irate parishioners, who wanted Lotarski (the school’s principal) fired, and then replaced by Ramolla. This “concession” of Dannie’s lasted exactly one week. As things turned out, Lotarski was NOT fired, but “demoted,” whereupon Ramolla (after that one week) was fired, and Lotarski reinstalled as principal. (Dannie, of course, trumped up some charges against Ramolla to justify his firing.)
Well, this firing was “the last straw” for St. Clare’s parishioners, most of whom were satisfied with Ramolla – and most of whom then left. Dannie and Tony countered by selling the church; and, because Dannie and Tony were its legal owners, they pocketed the proceeds from the sale. What made it even worse was that, in addition to that, they also confiscated St. Clare’s building fund – an additional $120,000 ($123,664, to be exact) – and St. Clare’s parishioners could do NOTHING about it. Why? Because everything was signed over to Dannie and Tony, that’s why. If St. Clare’s had been owned and controlled by a lay board, that would have never happened. But it did. These parishioners -- who paid for that church (and put over $120,000 into a building fund for improvements that were never implemented) -- saw their money go up in smoke. They came away empty-handed.
And that is precisely why every “trad” church or chapel should have a LAY BOARD. “But,” one may protest, “the Church -- not the laity -- has always owned (and controlled) its churches!” Yes, that is true. But Tradistan is NOT the Church. All traditional churches and chapels are outside the Church. And, being outside the Church, they cannot claim that same right. They have absolutely no authority or jurisdiction whatsoever. And, of course, unlike the institutional Church, there is no hierarchy to whom they are accountable. In Traddieland, the “clergy” are answerable to NO ONE but themselves. Therefore, left unchecked, they can do whatever they please, and no one can legally challenge them or stop them. That, in a nutshell, is the problem: no accountability. If there is no lay board, the “clergy” have a blank check -- and the laity must pick up the tab.
And that is exactly how things have played out in Traddieland – especially at the SGG and MHT cult centers. Dannie and Tony, for instance, suckered their parishioners into moving from a perfectly adequate (and paid for) facility in Sharonville, Ohio to a new one (in West Chester, Ohio) that is falling apart around them: leaky roof, raccoon (and rodent) infestations, and an HVAC system that has had to be replaced – all within the span of fifteen years. Dannie’s new “sermon in stone” turned out to be a “sermon in dilapidation.” And the new “school” that was so “direly needed”? That, for the most part, has become a repository for Dannie and Tony’s junk. (The student enrollment has never been more than a couple dozen kids, which could have been housed in one or two rooms.) The same is true for the MHT cult center: the school enrollment is just as anemic (as is the “seminary” enrollment), although the physical facilities were built to house many more. The school, in fact, has almost as many faculty as there are students (who spend half their day at “choir practice” and/or house-cleaning for the “clergy”).
And what do the parishioners get for bankrolling these thieves? Not much. Oh yes, they get “the show” (and their kids get a woefully sub-standard education), and that’s about it. Meanwhile, Dannie and Tony trek the globe on pointless (and fruitless) “apostolates,”2 while back home at the cult center, they lay down draconian rules that the parishioners must follow (or be kicked out). 3 The same holds true at MHT, which is even worse. The kids, for instance, are instructed by the nuns to spy on their parents and to report back any “infractions” (such as having a TV in the home, using the internet without “school” permission, going to movies, or cavorting with “unauthorized” friends (i.e., anybody who is not a member of the cult). This is the kind of totalitarian crap the parishioners must pay for and put up with – or leave.
At the cult centers, people are routinely denied the sacraments (and sometimes even banned from the property) if they disobey any of the cult-masters’ “rules” (or if they challenge the cult-masters in any way). It is a common tool that the cult-masters use to keep their culties in line. (In the institutional Church, such a thing is unthinkable.)4 In short, in Trrddieland's “clergy” controlled facilities, the laity has no leverage whatsoever. One obeys – or one leaves. And another thing: in the institutional Church, a church facility was NEVER sold out from under the parishioners’ noses, like it was at St. Clare’s – and any proceeds from a sale went into the diocesan treasury, NOT into the pastor’s pocket.
For these and many other reasons, that is why it is so important to have a lay board controlling “the material end of things.” (It also helps to ensure that the clergy’s minds are on spiritual matters, and not being tempted into becoming too worldly or materialistic.) But even that alone doesn’t guarantee “safety.” A board is only as strong as its members. If they are weak-willed and gullible, they can be talked into changing their bylaws, and turning over their facility to an unscrupulous cult-master. That is what is going on right now at Our Lady of the Sun Church in Arizona. Big Don has been pushing for them to turn over control of their church to him, but (as yet) they have resisted. However, if he can convince the majority of their board members to do so, that is another matter.
The reason, of course, is that the Donster desperately needs money to fund his latest scheme (his new “order”); and OLS is the only thing on his radar screen right now. (As Pistrina pointed out, the “main families” at MHT won’t fall for it, because – when the Marquis de Selway becomes bishop -- all their monetary support will go to him, not to Big Don, from then on.) If the OLS board turns over control to the Donster, they can kiss their facility goodbye. It will become Our Lady of the Dispossessed. Again, Big Don desperately needs money for his new scheme, and OLS is his only real prospect right now. Let us hope that the OLS folks (for their own sake) do not fall for his sales pitch.
It is interesting to note that in Europe, the state, not the Church, owns the physical facilities – and not without cause: the corruption in the Church in the later Middle Ages did much to bring this about. For one thing, the pope had by then become as much a temporal ruler as a religious one; and the Church became materially rich (and corrupted) in many ways. The Protestant Revolt, in fact, was in many ways as much an economic revolt as it was a religious one. If the Church had stuck to a purely spiritual role, Christendom probably wouldn’t be divided as it is today – nor would Traddieland.
The self-serving cult-masters in Tradistan are simply emulating, on a smaller scale, what the Church did back then – except that they are emulating all of its bad parts, but none of its good: they kept all the tinsel and the lavish life-style, but not Catholic morality. That’s because they don’t care about morality, but about money – and about themselves. Their “morality” is simply a perverted Puritanism that condemns women’s hemlines being too short, but condones watching porn and fornication (as long as it’s the principal’s sons doing it), and that condones the starving and dehydrating to death of a Terri Schiavo (or okays the harvesting of someone’s heart for a transplant, as long as the recipient is the child of a rich parishioner).
The cult-masters are, in fact, worse than Bergoglio, because they try to pass themselves off as “the real thing” when they aren’t. Come the Restoration, when the Church gets back to its real roots, Tradistan will die on the vine, just like other bad seed that was sown along the way. For now, it is our sincere hope that the folks at OLS will recognize them for what they are – self-seeking parasites – and will not succumb to their siren song, because, if they do, they’ll certainly lose their property to these corporate raiders. If they will only look around, they’ll find that they have plenty of other choices – viable choices – of good, selfless men of sound moral character, who will provide a healthy, Catholic atmosphere. Let’s hope that they do.
1 Ferrera was well-liked by many of his parishioners, and was probably becoming too popular (and “independent”) for Dannie’s liking. (For one thing, he probably wasn’t plowing enough money – especially “stipend” money -- back into the parent cult center coffers.) So, how did Dannie manage to get rid of him? Well, St. Clare’s altar happened to have statues of two angels – one on either side of it. And one day, Dannie called Fr. Ferrera, and (inexplicably) ordered him to remove these statues. Fr. Ferrera (naturally) refused. For this “disobedience,” Dannie dismissed him. The statues, by the way, were later re-installed on either side of the altar, which tells us that Dannie, knowing that Ferrera would vehemently oppose their removal, used their removal as a pretext for getting him upset and protesting it – a tactic that worked. When Ferrera “talked back” to him, Dannie fired him on the spot.
And speaking of religious objects, we’re sure that many at SGG recall the picture of the scourged Christ that Dannie puts on display there quite often (especially during Lent). That statue actually belongs to the Bruegger family (from Urbana, Ohio), who were major supporters of St. Clare’s. They lent that statue to Dannie, with the understanding that it was theirs, not his, and that it would be returned one day. Eventually, after the 2009 SGG school scandals, that family became disenchanted with Dannie, and left. When they asked Dannie to return their statue, he refused. He kept it. Dannie has done that with other “lent” items as well. Dannie is, in short, a thief.
2 Dannie’s latest “apostolate” is – believe it or not -- Quito, Ecuador! It seems that Dannie has been rejected in Mexico (as he also was in France), and he must look for new “territory” to give his culties the impression that he has a vast “international apostolate.” Of course, it will be only a matter of time before the Ecuadorians “find him out” as well, leaving him with only that small splinter group in Argentina as his Latin American “turf.”
3 Many who protested about the 2009 SGG school scandals were kicked out by Dannie – not only at SGG, but at St. Clare’s and St. Hugh of Lincoln as well. (Many were barred, by police order, from the property.) And others were denied the sacraments for things such as attending an SSPX chapel while on vacation.
4 To be denied the sacraments in the institutional Church, one had to have committed something really grave; and to be banned from the property, one had to be guilty of criminal trespassing. But at the cult centers, having gone to an unauthorized chapel gets you denied the sacraments; and complaining to the pastor about abuses at the school got many of them barred from the property.