ALL ABOUT THE LAY PULPIT

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Traddieland: an Ecclesiastical Mine-Field

Much has been documented, both by Pistrina Liturgica and by us at Lay Pulpit (and by others) about the “counterfeit Catholicism” of the cult-masters: their extravagant lifestyles, the doubtful validity of their orders, the woefully poor formation of their “clergy” (especially at their puppy-mill “seminaries”), their total disregard of real Catholic morality, their arbitrary “rules” (which, of course, are selectively applied), their draconian “dress codes” (also selectively applied), their blatant authoritarianism (even though they possess absolutely no authority) – in short, their overall cult-like behavior.

One begins to wonder, “Are there any priests (or places) left in TradWorld that are ‘legitimate’ or ‘safe’ – and what are the criteria for determining whether they are or aren’t?”  Well, we do not pretend to be the “ultimate authorities on everything” -- but there are some obvious things to look for, most of which are just a matter of applying a little common sense and prudence.  (Also, it’s not as if any of them haven't been mentioned before -- both by us and by others.)  And if one follows these steps, one just might be able to navigate his way through what we’ll call Traddieland’s “mine-field.”

Firstly, it should be abundantly clear by now that one should categorically steer clear of SGG and MHT, Dolan’s and Sanborn’s cult centers (and the satellites run by them and their clown crew of auxiliary “clergy”).  (However, for those who’ve been living in a vacuum until now, we’ll be citing some reasons in the discussion that follows.)  Let us also suggest – in addition to avoiding SGG and MHT outright, one should also be wary of the CMRI, because their leader (Pivarunas) has almost NO formation – and he’s just as materialistic and self-serving as Dannie and Big Don.  (Also, his “seminary,” Mater Dei, is also just as abysmal as Big Don’s flophouse in Florida.)

So what are the determining criteria for “safe passage”?  First, one should consider the priest’s “pedigree,” i.e., his lineage.  With all the claims and counter-claims going on between trad groups, many of whom are trying to “disqualify” their rivals, it makes one wonder “who’s valid,” and who isn’t.  To be “safe,” then, one should choose a priest with multiple lineages – and the more a priest has, the better.  This is one reason to steer clear of Dannie, whose one-handed orders make him doubtful to begin with (and his stubborn refusal to get conditionally ordained by someone else makes him even more suspect).  (And note too, since Dannie’s orders are doubtful, it also casts doubt on anyone whom he has ordained.) 

Next, look at the priest’s academic credentials.  Did he attend an accredited university and/or seminary -- or did he come from one of Tradistan’s “trade schools”?  The janitors-in-training turned out by Big Don’s MHT and Pivvy’s Mater Dei “seminaries” are, at best, simplex priests, who have little to no training in Latin, philosophy, theology (moral or otherwise), or any of the other subjects taught in a real seminary. 

Next, be suspect of any trad group that tries to disqualify other groups by claiming some sort of ”exclusivity” – especially on “doctrinal” grounds.  This, as we noted so many times, is a sure sign of cultish behavior.  Dannie’s “una cum” bugaboo is a prime example of this (as are the other “doctrinal” fabrications that he uses as caveats to keep his sheep from straying to other “pastures”).  Such fabrications should definitely not be used – as Dannie uses them -- to determine one’s “Catholicity,” or to deny one membership in the church’s congregation.  And, above all, they should not be used to deny the sacraments to anyone.

Next, examine the facility, and its staff.  If the church has a school, is it accredited?  Also, are its students regularly tested (via standardized state tests) to determine their scholastic aptitude?  Look too at its “graduation” rate and its college-admission rate: how many go on to college, and how many get scholarships?  What are the credentials of their faculty?  Lastly, see what kind of financial “accountability” the operation has.  Are their “books” open to the parishioners to see (or to an independent auditing body to examine)?  Do they have detailed financial reports that show where the money actually goes? 

Lastly, closely examine the clergy themselves.  Instead of being good, humble, selfless men, are they pompous, arrogant self-seekers, living extravagant lifestyles, as Dannie, Tony, Big Don, and Pivvy do?  Are they always asking for money – especially for questionable “improvements”?  Do they seem to go on a lot of “apostolates” to posh destinations (as those lepers also do)?  Do they try to orchestrate peoples’ lives to the point of dictating to them what they can and can’t do within their own homes (such as, forbidding them to have TV sets)? If the answer to any of these is “yes,” then beware!

The “bottom line” here, is that one must “really do his homework” to find a good, trustworthy priest.  So, what must one look for in a priest?  Well, we’ve just given a list of them, including both the “do’s” and the “don’ts.”  But, having given them, let us point out that they are not hard-and-fast rules, but guidelines.  And let us also point out that it’s hard to find a “perfect” priest, and that sometimes, one might have to settle for “acceptable.”  (After all, nobody’s perfect.)  However, it should be obvious to anybody that anyone connected with SGG and MHT is by all means to be avoided. 

And, again, because its leader (Pivarunas) is just as materialistic (and probably as unprincipled)1 as Dannie and Big Don, one should think twice before taking on a CMRI priest – especially if he’s a product of its “seminary.”  Perhaps if one is only looking to “get the sacraments,” one of those “simplex” CMRI priests might do.  However, if one is looking for more than that – real Catholic knowledge, i.e., a truly reliable interpretation of Catholic doctrine and moral theology -- then look elsewhere.  And in looking “elsewhere,” one should also look for a priest who is a humble, selfless man -- one who is interested in his flock’s spiritual welfare, not their pocketbooks.

Unfortunately, many of today’s trad “clergy” are not humble, but hopelessly mercenary and self-serving.  Tradistan, as we noted earlier, has become a veritable “ecclesiastical minefield”; and one must tread carefully in order to navigate through its many “hazards.”  Originally, to be sure, “traditional Catholicism” started out as a “noble cause,” led by people who deplored the “reforms” of Vatican II – and who wanted to do something about it.  But nowadays, it's peppered with self-serving hucksters like Dolan and Sanborn, who use “traditional Catholicism” to separate the gullible from their cash – camouflaging their true intentions with “Catholic” buzzwords and syrupy sanctimony (and autocratic authoritarianism).

But the good news is that, now, people more and more are seeing through all of this, and are becoming less gullible, because they’re now better informed about these maggots – especially those who’ve been “burnt” by them.  That being said, however, one must not underestimate peoples’ gullibility.  After all, SGG’s entire congregation witnessed the scandalous events of 2009 – but only half of them left.  The other half still fall for Dannie’s “syrup and sanctimony,” and Big Don’s “fire and brimstone” bullying.  But, fortunately, their numbers are dwindling, both at SGG and MHT – and the cult centers’ coffers are emptying.  And the other “good news” is that people are finding alternatives -- good, humble, selfless men who care about peoples’ souls, not about their wallets – and who have a good deal more knowledge of Catholic theology (moral or otherwise) than the know-nothing imposters of Tradistan.

As more people "network" with one another and thus become better informed, the exodus from the cult centers will continue to grow -- and this is happening.  Dannie and Tony, for instance, have had to shut down some of their “satellite” operations; and so too has MHT.  The latter have been kicked out of OLS in Arizona, and the swampland complex is becoming more and more insular and isolated.  In time, the cult centers will be completely abandoned, and people will no longer have to fear these predators.  In time, that “minefield” will be cleared.
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1 Besides being just as materialistic (and arrogant) as Dannie and Tony, Pvvy is also woefully malformed.  With barely a high school education (and some claim, not even that), he’s probably even more poorly formed than many of his so-called “seminarians” -- and that’s a scary thought!  The other thing to remember about Pivvy is that he really has no moral compass: it was he who okayed the “donating” of a heart to a recipient who was the daughter of one of his rich (and generous) parishioners.  At best, Pivvy is a moral weakling.  And at worst….?

18 comments:

  1. It seems to me that the one big difference between SGG/MHT and CMRI is that the latter has some decent people in their ranks. Even so, one should proceed with extreme caution.

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  2. That is the problem with CMRI, they remind me of The Wolf in "Little Red Riding Hood's" story. It is not until you get close to the CMRI that you discover, "Oh, Bishop what big eyes you have for empire building, and other things."

    There are so many seminarians that entered that place and left with Horror stories. Most of them questioning more than, Bp. Piv's academic credentials. How about his moral credentials, or lack thereof? P.L. had some pretty sad stories being reported on the last two blogs.

    Anyone that worked with Dolan to consecrate him A BISHOP has more in common than just a Miter.

    "Starve The Beast", no matter what Robe he wears.

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    1. We’re glad that Dave P. mentioned what he did: yes, the CMRI does have some decent people – and that’s why we didn’t totally trash them. But, as Dave pointed out, there are some “caveats.” And as Anon.11:32 AM also pointed out, there have been some pretty scary stories about the CMRI coming out from former seminarians (especially about what Pivvy did “after hours,” etc.). Our problem is that all of what we have is only “anecdotal” evidence (and “second-hand”) so far. Hence, we must be “limited” in what we say.

      We’ll have more to say about Pivvy in our next article (enough to torpedo him personally). And we’ll also be having something to say about the SSPX and FSSP – two groups that we left out of this article – and the two groups (because they’re “in communion with Rome”) that traddies “love to hate.” And what will we be saying? Well, without revealing specifics, let’s just say that our opinion of them does not match that of the cult-masters. Stay tuned.

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  3. The Watcher.What a excellent article this week,look forward to the next one.Yes,you are right.We have heard so many horror stories about Pivy that it would make anyone keep away including young men who may have a vocation.When the truth comes out,it will be another 1984 CMRI breakup.Have you ever noted why so many men leave Mater Dei and why there are no lay brothers.One former CMRI priest at a priests meeting years ago said Pivy was more Schuckardt then Schuckardt.

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  4. All well and good. I see the very real problems with SGG/MHT/CMRI. I just don't see SSPV as being better, and SSPX is a mixed bag, and if you doubt Danny's orders, then the FSSP, with the exception of the few ex-SSPX among them, probably consists of laymen. They have novus ordo "ordoinations" by novus ordo "bishops."

    In short, it is very much a mess, and even if you find a good independent priest, you may not enjoy anywhere near a decent standard as far as parish life (facilities and fellowship) goes. And I live near Cincinnati, perhaps one of the best places for trads relatively speaking.

    Also, as far as I know, heart transplantation is not condemed by the pre-VII church and has been explicitly given the green light by post conciliar popes for what that is worth. Until there is a true pope again, the matter cannot be settled. Pivarunas, from my understanding, didn't give permission, he simply declined to condemn the action, which is very different. And I'm pretty sure about 90 percent of grandstanding trads would flip flop on the position if it were their child in need of a heart transplant.

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    1. It never ceases to amaze (or amuse) us at the absolute STUPIDITY of the comments sent in by defenders of the cult-masters. First, which pope are you citing that has ruled on the validity of “Novus Ordo” ordained priests? The answer is: NO ONE has. Only a POPE can rule on that; and, so far, that hasn’t happened. (And – PLEASE – don’t quote some DEAD pope from the past on this; by definition, no deceased pope can “rule” on something that has happened after his demise.)

      Second, your criticism that, with an “independent” priest, one “may not enjoy anywhere near a decent standard as far as parish life (facilities and fellowship) goes,” is totally without merit. If you are talking about SGG, there ISN”T any “decent standard”! It’s a CULT, and all that the “parishioners” get there is EXPLOITATION, not “enjoyment.” Have you been living in some sort of a vacuum?

      Third, your comment that “as far as I know, heart transplantation is not condemned by the pre-VII church” is HILARIOUS. That’s because there WEREN’T any transplants at that time! The Second Vatican Council was opened on October 11, 1962 and closed on December 8, 1965 – almost TWO YEARS before the world’s first heart transplant (December 3, 1967). And your blanket statement that heart transplantation “has been explicitly given the green light by post conciliar popes for what that is worth” is also a meaningless argument. We do not doubt that there are a number of Novus Ordo kooks who take such a position, BUT MOST DO NOT. And even if there are, that doesn’t excuse Pivvy.

      Fourth, Pivvy’s not explicitly condemning that transplant is also an empty argument. Firstly in that regard, to imply that he (Pivvy) was not aware of that heart transplant (or the immorality of it) is PREPOSTEROUS. He WAS aware – because he was asked by that family. And let us remind you that passive acquiescence is just as “guilty” as active approval. To quote Pope St. Felix III: “Not to oppose error is to approve it; and not to defend truth is to suppress it; and indeed to neglect to confound evil men, when we can do it, is no less a sin than to encourage them.”

      Lastly,, your being “pretty sure about 90 percent of grandstanding trads would flip flop on the position if it were their child in need of a heart transplant” is irrelevant: it does not excuse Pivvy’s action (or lack thereof). So – PLEASE -- before you respond again, THINK TWICE before you do. You have already TOTALLY EMBARRASSED YOURSELF to this point – and it’s an argument that you will never win.

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    2. Anyone who would "fellowship" at SGG deserves what they get--guess they don't have any male children for Cekada to expose himself to or Dolan to show animal kill videos and no female children to be impregnated by the Lotarskis (or beat up). Seems to me you've made your own mess.

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  5. Really, whoever you are, you jump to conclusions that are unwarranted and unhelpfull to your own cause. In no way do I support SGG/MHT, I just think it fair to discuss the flipside. Pistrina is a far cooler head. You couldn't be farther from the truth in thinking I was "sent."

    Of course no pope had ruled in the matter of the NO orders are valid or invalid. Those "popes" made the mess to begin with. I certainly can't say for sure, but there is enough doubt in my mind that I left the nice, convenient FSSP parish I was at because of this doubt.

    Are you a Sedevacantist or not? I thought this blog assumed a sede position on the crisis. An I mistaken?

    Finally, while it is true that no true pope (I take Pius XII as the last true pope) has greenlighted organ transplantation, the matter of defining death, on which the whole ethic of non-paired organ transplantation hangs, was brought up by Pius XII and the position he indicated logically leads to the position of JPII. It is a case of the conciliar church being largely in conformation with the pre-VII church, which was also hesitantly tolerant of natural selection as a drive of evolution, as well.

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  6. Pope Piux XII in 1957 in an address “The Prolongation of Life” stated that the determination of death “does not fall within the competence of the Church”.  At the same time he also made a distinction between the life of the whole organism and the “life” of individual organs saying that the presumption in favor of life obtains when the vital functions “manifest themselves spontaneously or even with the help of artificial processes . . . distinguished from the simple life of organs”.  Here Pope Pius indicated that organs can continue to be “alive” even if the organism, or the person, is not.  In the same address he stated clearly, “It remains for the doctor . . . to give a clear and precise definition of ‘death’ and the ‘moment of death’ of a patient who passes away in a state of unconsciousness.”

    Pope Pius XII, “The Prolongation of Life: An Address to an International Congress of Anesthesiologists”, November 24, 1957.  Catholic Health Care Ethics, ed. Peter Cataldo, Albert Morazweski, Appendix I.

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    1. Anon. 10:51 PM (and 3:22 PM):

      Again you embarrass yourself:

      First, I never said that you were “sent.” I talked about COMMENTS being sent, not PEOPLE being sent. Do you know the difference?

      Second, concerning the validity of “Novus Ordo” orders (or the lack thereof), we made NO MENTION of that, either in the article, or in the comments. So, I’m not sure why you even brought up that issue (except to deflect attention away from the subject matter of the article). The article had to do with the pitfalls of trad clergy, NOT with whether FSSP priests are “laymen” or not. Yes, we briefly alluded to the SSPX and FSSP in a comment – but offered NO POSITION on them, one way or the other – but you did.

      But, whatever your intention, your argumentation on the validity of Novus Ordo orders makes no sense – nor does it address the issue. And speaking of “making no sense,” there’s your statement: “I certainly can't say for sure, but there is enough doubt in my mind that I left the nice, convenient FSSP parish I was at because of this doubt.” So you left them, based not on any facts or hard data, but on “doubt”? I don’t think I’d want to follow your “logic” on anything.

      Additionally, let me remind you that in talking the heart transplant, the article dealt with Pivvy’s acquiescence in the matter, NOT with getting into a discussion about which popes approved (or disapproved) of it. Regardless of what Pius XII’s or JP2’s position was, neither one of their positions changes the fact that Pivvy was wrong. (By Pivvy’s time, it was clear on all sides that the concept of “brain death” was invalid, and that harvesting an organ from a live person was morally wrong. What Pius XII’s or JP2’s position was during their tenures has no bearing on the argument as it concerns Pivvy.)

      The other thing to remember (and this also is in answer to the other “Anon.’s comments) is that in Pius XII’s time, medical technology was not nearly so far advanced as it is now (or even was in JP2’s time). And when Pius XII deferred to “doctors,” he meant CATHOLIC doctors with CATHOLIC ethics, not the amoral atheists that typify much of today’s medical establishment. But, whatever the views were back then, CATHOLIC moralists of ALL stripes now condemn harvesting organs from live donors – as they condemn the false notion of “brain death” as well. So, again, by Pivvy’s time, there was no question that it should have been condemned – and Pivvy had no excuse to ignore the issue as he did.

      But, addressing another point, pardon me, but your comment, “I just don't see SSPV as being better” [than SSG/MHT/CMRI] surely sounds to me like “support” of those three – at least to some degree. Perhaps I was in error; so, again, pardon me; but In my opinion (and that of my colleagues), SSPV is “light years” ahead of any of them – certainly in the sense that, with the SSPV, there was none of the blatant immorality and materialism that characterizes SGG and MHT (not to mention, the scandal that has already been exposed at those two cesspools). How anyone could even BEGIN to put SSPV “in the same league” with them is downright stupefying. So, yes, perhaps we WERE “jumping to conclusions” to assume that you supported Dannie et al – but we think it was a reasonable assumption.

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    2. I am taking for granted the choice we all must make: where to go on Sunday? I left SGG because of discovery of the scandals, mostly through this site and others, and I am in your debt for that. But let's be real, my two experiences at SSPV were ridiculous. Not only does SSPV very unjustly condemn the entire Thuc line, and embarrassingly declare it from the pulpit, they also seem to hold all baptisms after 1970 or sometime doubtful. Talk about a cultish stance? Extra SSPV non sullus?

      At least SGG confined their exclusionary rubbish to the Una cum position.

      Add to that dim lighting, cattle like parishioner involvement in the mass, and droning simple-minded homilys that were 50 percent chiding altar boys for showing up late, and I think you can understand distaste one may have.

      SSPX has valid priests, and are presently tolerating quiet Sedevacantist thinking.

      FSSP are mostly ordained by bishops consecrated in the new Episcopal rite, so if you think that is doubtful, then they are doubtful. I understand people may hold the new rite to be valid, but I am so far convinced it is not.

      Regarding brain death, you are again taking the matter as a given. It is not. I hold determination of death by nurological criteria to be valid, as John Paul II did, the Novus ordo church does, and I think Pius XII would have based on interpretation of his statements to the society of anesthesiologists ( not "Catholic anesthesiologists"). You are free to differ, no true pope has definitely pronounced on the matter, but I do think that the evidence is far more on my side, and I think Pivarunas made the right decision and wisely framed the matter as being an open question instead of assuming papal authority unto himself and "declaring" it licit.

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    3. "Regarding brain death, you are again taking the matter as a given. It is not. I hold determination of death by nurological criteria to be valid, as John Paul II did, the Novus ordo church does,"

      You realize you're talking about murder. If the person was dead, their organs would be unusable (what a euphesism: "transplant" as if the thing to be kept alive was the other person's organ which is a plant growing inside of them).

      http://www.tc.umn.edu/~parkx032/CY-DEADD.html

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    4. Anon. 2:34 PM’s comments on SSPV are well taken. For our part, we think that their caveats about the Thuc line are nothing more than a bit of internecine fighting with Dannie and Tony. (We, by the way, “don’t have a dog in that fight,” i.e., we don’t care one way or the other.) Additionally, Anon. may be right about how boring their sermons are, etc. In our very limited exposure to them, it seems that they are not “orators” by any stretch of the imagination. We also think that their “leader” (Kelly) is a bit of a “looney toon” (downright “Sanbronesque” in many respects). But their clergy is not materialistic, like Dannie and Tony; and, more importantly, there hasn’t been any of the blatant scandal there that has gone on at SGG. Also, their school is well-run, unlike SGG’s dump.

      Regarding “brain death,” I’m not sure what Anon. means by “taking the matter as a given.” We at Lay Pulpit are not theologians; nor do we possess the expertise that, say, Pistrina has on that. But we do know that – regardless of what opinions there were on “brain death” in Pius XII’s (or JP2’s) time, it is now generally accepted that “brain death” – like the death of any other organic entity – only occurs when PUTREFICATION sets in. A “diminished” brain, no matter how diminished, is not a DEAD brain; and Pivarunas -- just as Checkie did on Schiavo -- did NOT “make the right decision.” He was wrong. Period.

      Actually, Pivvy didn’t make ANY decision: he “took the coward’s way out” by not taking any action at all. (He did the same thing on Schiavo.) There is no way that anyone can defend Pivvy’s actions here (actually, his INACTION). And that, coupled with the rest of his “track record,” should be enough to make anyone steer clear of this worm. (BTW, our thanks to Anon. 4:30 PM for providing the “link” on brain death.)

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    5. I've had the opportunity to see Sanborn grow in power over the years. Maybe it is because Kelly and Pivaranus do not have the Internet presence, but they are in no way as power hungry or money wasting as Sanborn.

      Sanborn's sermon's are mentioned on both this and pistrina's sites. They typically don't follow anything to do with the gospel or epistle, and they tend to complain about whatever fetish he has at the moment.

      His trainees don't know the difference in what sacramentals they can give to people, nor do they know how to have a non-monotone sermon. To each his own, but seeing that he trained people that skip the consecration, not a good sign.

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  7. Hello The Watcher.Someone made the comment about the large number of men who have left Mater Dei "Seminary" over the years.Have you been contacted in private by anybody who was there and who has given eye opening accounts.Have a gut feeling there is something very bad there.

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    1. No, we have not been contacted in private by anyone regarding what goes on (or HAS gone on) there. Perhaps Pistrina has. (Pistrina’s blog is set up with a website email address to which private emails can be sent. Our website is not.) But, whether that contact is “private” (i.e., via private email) or “public” (via comments posted on our blog or Pistrina’s), it is still “anecdotal” – and therefore not “hard” evidence. And, on public forums like our blogs, we must be careful what we say.

      However, there has been MUCH of that “anecdotal evidence” reported – and it can’t all be “wrong.” So, that being said, we share your “gut feel” that there is “something very bad there” – and that it is just the “tip of a much bigger ice-berg.” If the full truth were known, we’re sure that Pivvy (and, of course, Dannie and Big Don) would be “shut down for good.”

      For both Pistrina and us, our “direct” knowledge is limited to SGG (and, to some extent, MHT), by whom many of us have been personally victimized – and that keeps us pretty busy just dealing with them. What is needed, in our minds, is a separate blog about Pivarunas & Co., done by someone who has had direct experience with him and/or his “seminary.”

      The problem is, though, that this TAKES TIME (just as our blogs do). One must remember that we are private laymen with families (who have our own separate lives to live); and, unlike the cult-masters, we receive no remuneration for our efforts. We do what we do TO WARN PEOPLE so that they too don’t fall victim to these scumbags. It is an effort, but we feel that it must be done.

      So, we hope that someone else will “take up the gauntlet” and do the same regarding Pivvy (and others who exploit innocent people). In the interim, we hope that the comments keep coming in. Because, “anecdotal” or not, they help – because they help to inform people, thus helping to keep them out of harm’s way.

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  8. I would like to see more posts about Sanborn. He seems to get away with too much. He's affected Michigan, Florida, and now Arizona. Does Zapp know what he's getting into by having him and his girls go to California? Did that mean Zapp had to sign on to his terms of agreement with his "New Order". That man has hurt way to many people and led too many people away from the Catholic Faith.

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    1. Amen, brother! We’ll try to do more posts about the Donster. But, as I told the other Anon., the bulk of our DIRECT knowledge is about SGG, not MHT. However, we’ll try to get more whenever we can. I’m sure, too, that you read Pistrina Liturgica as well; and they have been printing more about him, especially lately. Sanborn is even worse than Dolan and Cekada (if that’s possible); and he certainly needs to be exposed.

      One of our obvious problems is that there are so many scumbags in Tradistan, it’s hard to know “where to begin to start cleaning house.” Another problem is that, in today’s world, people have shorter attention spans, etc.; and the length of an individual article must be kept short to keep readers from getting “bored,” etc. Lastly, as I mentioned in my last reply, we are “private laymen.” Our blogs are written “in our spare time” – and we can devote only so much time to them. However, we are glad to do it – especially when we get favorable comments like yours. You are our “oxygen”: it tells us that people are listening, and that our efforts are not all in vain.

      One thing that folks like you can do to help is to “spread the word” about our blogs – and to ask people to send us any “intelligence” that they might gather. Again, thanks for your comment. We’ll do our best.

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