The Scandals at St. Gertrude the Great

West Chester, Ohio

The Full Documented Story


    November 23, 2009

 

Cover-Ups Always Unravel,

Well, Almost Always

 

by Thomas A. Droleskey

 

Cover-ups, which are replete with self-serving distortions of truth and a great deal of revisionist history, almost always unravel. The most famous example of a cover-up falling apart for all the world to see was the disaster that befell the late President Richard Milhous Nixon, who was actively involved in covering up the break-in and electronic bugging of the headquarters of the Democratic Party National Committee at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, District of Columbia, that resulted in the arrest of five members of Nixon's Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP) on the evening of Saturday, June 17, 1972.

It was just six days later, on June 23, 1972, that Nixon was plotting to involve the Central Intelligence Agency in order to halt the Federal Bureau of Investigation's criminal inquiry into the Watergate break-in, which was, as it turned, only part of the Nixon administration's criminal wrongdoing, which included a break-in of Pentagon Papers leaker Dr. Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office prior to his trial giving classified information to The New York Times and other newspapers. The revelation of the break-in of the offices of Dr. Lewis Fielding, which occurred on September 3, 1971, at the instigation of George Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt and approved by White House domestic advisor John Ehrlichman, resulted on May 11, 1973, in a mistrial of Ellsberg's case. Ehrlichman and Nixon's White House Chief of Staff, Harry Robins Haldeman, had been forced to resign on April 30, 1973, as a result of their role in the plotting and cover-up of the break-in at Dr. Lewis Fielding's office. It seemed as though the entire summer of 1973, which I spent taking summer session courses for my master's degree in political science at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana, was comprised of daily revelations about the unraveling of the Watergate cover-up.

Not all cover-ups unravel. Janet Reno, who served as the Attorney General of the United States of America from March 11, 1993, to January 20, 2001,  did not conduct the most thorough of investigations, and that, of course, is a very mild and most satirical understatement, into then President William Jefferson Blythe Clinton's Chinagate scandals. Clinton remain unscathed--legally, politically, congresionally--during the Chinagate scandals as Janet Reno found no "evidence" of wrongdoing and refused to appoint an independent counsel to investigate the matter. It usually helps those who want to conduct a fair, thorough and professional investigation that is concerned only about the truth and not about indemnifying personalities on the basis of various loyalties or emotional ties.

Father Anthony Cekada's Reprise of Richard Nixon's April 30, 1973, Address to the Nation

The sad, tragic situation at Saint Gertrude the Great Church in West Chester, Ohio, has burst into public view for one reason and one reason alone: Bishop Daniel L. Dolan sought to punish Father Markus Ramolla in his dogged determination to rectify longstanding problems at Saint Gertrude the Great School that had been brought to his attention repeatedly by numerous individuals. It is completely disingenuous and thoroughly untenable for Bishop Dolan to claim, as he did in his letter to the parents of students enrolled at Saint Gertrude the Great Church that was "blasted" around the world, on Friday, November 6, 2008:

The vehemence and scope of his criticism came as a shock to me. No one was spared. Not once did Father address in the proper forum: a reasonable and moderate private conversation with those directly involved.

 

Although I addressed this false characterization in Sanctimony Won't Work This Time, it is necessary to point out once again that Bishop Dolan was more than amply informed about the problems at Saint Gertrude the Great Church. Many people had sought to get his assistance to correct these problems, which the bishop either minimized or dismissed as being deferential to the authority of Father Anthony Cekada, whose decisions he, Bishop Dolan, had no intention of reversing. The large numbers of people who have left Saint Gertrude the Great Church have not imagined the existence of problems where none has existed. They have seen these problems and are tired of being told not to believe the evidence that they have seen with their own eyes.

For Father Anthony Cekada to assert in "School Dazed," his reaction to the recent events at Saint Gertrude the Great Church, that these problems have been exaggerated or blown out of proportion and that all parents need to do is to talk to him personally to address their concerns about Saint Gertrude the Great School is to call to mind then President Richard Nixon's address to the nation on April 30, 1973, to try to explain away the Watergate crisis once and for all:

Whatever may appear to have been the case before, whatever improper activities may yet be discovered in connection with this whole sordid affair, I want the American people, I want you to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that during my term as President, justice will be pursued fairly, fully, and impartially, no matter who is involved. This office is a sacred trust and I am determined to be worthy of that trust.  (Address to the Nation About the Watergate Investigations (April 30, 1973.)

 

Father Cekada, taking phrases from two of my three previous articles on this regrettable topic entirely out of context without even making a casual effort to address the serious concerns that prompted the use of those phrases, wrote in "School Dazed" that there were no "factual allegations, just gas — and I don’t mean the type that powers an RV." Very clever, Father Cekada. Your cleverness, Father, does not reveal to your readers, whose intelligence you insult repeatedly throughout the text of your misrepresentation of facts and the use of the ad hominem against your critics, won't work this time as you know full well what the specific allegations are against the administration of Saint Gertrude the Great School such as this one that I included, with the express permission of the mother involved, in Justifying Glory Into Shame.

I had a meeting with Father Cekada after the first incident at school between the now publicly sinful high school students. At the time they were originally "caught" everything was hushed up and swept under the rug in direct violation of the published school rules indicating that such behavior was grounds for expulsion. The lack of duty and attention given to this major infraction of moral ethics and church code scandalized my boys to no end as they were taken to task for far minor infractions.

[One of the Lotarski boys] was providing my boys with cigarettes and when I discovered this I went directly to Father Cekada who told me that the boys told him they had "found" the cigarettes. I was very firm with Father in the meeting about my insistence that my boys have no further contact with the Lotarski boys at all. The next Sunday after Mass, [one of the Lotarski boys] verbally assaulted me in the vestibule and began to come after me threatening physical harm. This event occurred in front of the standard post-Mass, pre-catechism class crowd outside Mark's office. I simply turned and walked away....

I was told by Father Cekada in yet another meeting to "give [the boy] a pass" as I was probably blowing the incident out of proportion and he really didn't mean it. I kept the affair between myself and my boys. I also discovered that the Lotarskis had been showing my boys very interesting internet sites while they were supposed to be cleaning on Saturday at church. [Two church workers] both caught the boys in Mark's office on the computer. When I spoke to Father about this incident, again I was told that what was reported was not the case.

 

No specific allegations, Father Cekada, or is this woman, who is now shedding tears over the loss of the faith in the souls of her sons as a result of the bullying of them that you indemnified, just another one of the "mentally ill" people who seem to be attracted to Saint Gertrude the Great Church and School? Why should any parent take Father Cekada at his word when he wrote the following in "School Dazed"?

As for the rest of the horror stories, if you’re a parishioner who has concerns about our school, please make an appointment with me. But otherwise, I don’t feel any obligation to answer lies and distortions spread by chat forum slackers and then debated by Internet busybodies.

 

The allegations made by the mother above are serious ones. They would have resulted in immediate suspensions or expulsions from any Catholic school in the 1950s and 1960s. There are even formerly Catholic schools in the conciliar structures which would do so today after administrative due process. I know this for a fact as a result of teaching history courses for the C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University on the campus of Chaminade High School during the 2002-2003 academic year. Why should parents believe that Father Cekada has anything at heart except the protection of the reputation of Saint Gertrude the Great Church and School?

Even Father Cekada himself admitted to Father Markus Ramolla on Tuesday, November 3, 2009, that he, Father Cekada, did indeed minimize various problems in the school:

Disregarding this reply for the moment, Bishop Dolan made a series of accusations against Fr. Ramolla, basically blaming him for many of the problems that have befallen the parish. Fr. Ramolla reminded him that the basic issue was none of these accusations but the fact that every single complaint he had ever brought to Fr. Cekada regarding the school and the inexcusable behavior of Mark Lotarski had been completely ignored or brushed away. Fr. Cekada agreed that he had done this, excusing himself on the grounds of temperament and attempted impartiality. Fr. Cekada then apologized for mishandling the situation.

In spite of this, Bishop Dolan persisted in making accusations, reproaching Fr. Ramolla for stirring up trouble in the parish by his complaints against the Lotarskis. Although it was Bishop Dolan himself who had instructed Fr. Ramolla to advise him of every incident involving Mark and Joan Lotarski and their mishandling of the school and its students, the Bishop then went on to remonstrate against Fr. Ramolla, telling him he cannot work with a priest he doesn't trust -- and he no longer trusts Fr. Ramolla! Fr. Ramolla replied in turn that he no longer had any faith in Fr. Cekada, his abilities and judgments. (Mr. Bernard G. J. Hall's summary of Father Ramolla's November 3, 2009, meeting with Bishop Daniel L. Dolan and Father Anthony Cekada, From The Heart: Father Markus Ramolla.)

 

Father Cekada himself has admitted to ignoring or brushing away parental complaints that have been made to him. Why should any parent now take seriously the invitation that he made in "School Dazed" to come forth to speak with him? This is akin to Richard Nixon inviting witnesses to come forth to speak to members of his own Justice Department about the events associated with the name "Watergate" back in 1973.

Indeed, it should be noted that a former employee of Saint Gertrude the Great Church told me yesterday, Sunday, November 22, 2009, that he was running an errand for the parish when still in its employ with the boy involved in the incident described above. The boy asked him, the former employee said, to purchase cigarettes for him. The boy is not old enough in the State of Ohio to do so himself. The former employee refused. This contempt for the law on the part of the young man is consistent with the allegation above that was made by the mother whose boys have lost the faith as a result of the bullying they were subjected to at Saint Gertrude the Great School. The former employee, a very pious and devout and very hard-working man who will, most likely, be deemed just another "mentally ill" accuser, was dismissed on October 2, 2009, for what was said to be budgetary reasons.

Father Cekada had been, according to the mother whose story was told above, quick to absolve the boy of enticing her sons with cigarettes, seeking to exculpate the boy rather than to believe the mother. (Is it a coincidence that "Robert Rawhide" has posted an entry on one of those chat rooms justifying the breaking of the laws of the State of Ohio concerning the prohibition of sale of cigarettes to minors by claiming that these are doubtful laws that do not bind the conscience? Go tell that to the West Chester, Ohio, police department.) This is a pattern that others can verify is indeed the case, including the fact that no discipline was administered to this boy when he yelled an obscene word at the now fired Mr. Bernard G. J. Hall in the hallway at Saint Gertrude the Great School within earshot of first grade students just a few weeks ago. Bishop Dolan for once took firm action in that case -- not by punishing the boy, but by firing the teacher!

What confidence can parents have that they would receive a fair shake when the Lotarski children's crude and bullying behavior is indemnified over and over again by Father Cekada and by Bishop Dolan's curiously protective attitude towards them?

Father Cekada has, incidentally, verified internet reports that a paddle was broken over the back of a boy by Mr. Mark Lotarski, saying that it was done with the mother's approval. As one man observed to me in an e-mail that I received as this article was being written:

You know, it is really curious: Fr. Cekada says they do not administer corporal punishment - except, of course, the day when the paddle broke. Yeah, good one! Does he realize what he's done here? He has publicly and in writing, for all to see, admitted to the paddling incident. So, hey, I guess not everything that has been spread was calumny!

 

None of the information that has been circulating on the internet would have been there if Father Cekada had not ignored or brushed away complaints that had been made to him by parents over the years. None of the information that has been circulating on the internet would have been there if Bishop Dolan had the pastoral sense to recognize that Father Cekada's judgment in this matters was seriously flawed and that the Lotarskis did not have the qualifications or the temperament to hold the positions to which they had been appointed.

Misrepresenting the Truth of What Happened to Mr. James Gebel

Although the allegations made against the administration of Saint Gertrude the Great Church and School are at the heart of why Father Markus Ramolla was considered an insubordinate irritant by Bishop Daniel L. Dolan and Father Anthony Cekada, the latter's "School Dazed" shoots in every direction in order to try to discredit every critic of Saint Gertrude the Great Church and School who has come forth in the past eleven months.

As I explained in Sanctimony Won't Work This Time, one of those critics was Mr. James Gebel, Sr., who wrote a letter in July in support of the criticisms of Saint Gertrude the Great Church and School that were being made by Mr. Eamon Shea, whose involvement in this matter makes up a good deal of Father Cekada's "School Dazed" and which will be examined later in this article.

This is what Father Cekada wrote about Mr. Gebel, Sr. in "School Dazed:"

One of your former ushers got involved. If all this stuff isn’t true, why would he say what he said? I had inadvertently gored his ox in 2005, when I wrote an article criticizing a pompous doctor who presumed to pronounce on matters of moral theology. It turned out to be the usher’s son. Ouch! Though I personally apologized to the man for giving offense, it seems he never got over it.


When on Palm Sunday 2009 our school principal (also the head usher) tried to get the usher to ring the bell at the proper time during the procession, said usher took offense. Later in the week, he wrote to tell us he was leaving the parish.

But this wasn’t enough. In July 2009, he produced a nine-page letter denouncing the school (he had no kids in it, and no first-hand knowledge
about how it ran), where we located the church, procedures for ushers, koi fish in the grotto pond, my article on his son, my opinion on the Terry Schiavo case, my taste in restaurants, staff management, elaborate liturgical ceremonies, church flowers, my ideas on SSPX, building an “extravagant” rectory (at $127 a square foot?), pastoral trips to Europe, funeral costs and a “kitty spa” (he misunderstood a joke in the church bulletin).


All this sounds petty, and it is. I mention it only to illustrate one sad truth that resurfaces throughout this whole affair. Many people seem to nurse smoldering resentments forever; they simply can’t let go. One perceived offense or even a simple misunderstanding is enough to dredge up everything — everything — you can think of against your target.


So, if I’ve criticized your son four years ago, or if the school principal uses the wrong tone of voice when he asks you to ring the bell, well, you have the automatic right by any means available to portray me as venal and the school principal as a nasty child abuser.


Never forget, never forgive. And if anything bad is said about someone who once crossed you, believe every word and put it on the Internet.

 

This is a deliberate misrepresentation and miscasting of the facts here, admitting that Mr. Gebel, angered by the misrepresentation of his departure from Saint Gertrude the Great Church earlier this year, did indeed go over the top by venting his anger at Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada's lifestyles when the truth is that they dine out infrequently and rely most nights on prepared meals that are brought to them by parishioners.

First, Father Cekada continues to refuse to recognize the grievous errors in moral theology he made in the case of the murder by dehydration and starvation of a brain-damaged human being, Mrs. Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo, who was no more near death than anyone else. Father Cekada got his moral principles wrong. He got the facts of Mrs. Schiavo's case wrong. And he stubbornly, proudly and arrogantly refused to take the advice of anyone who disagreed with him. It was this refusal to consult with anyone outside of the West Chester-Brooksville ecclesiastical corridor that I criticized in a private letter to Bishop Dolan on July 29, 2009, and that I incorporated into Sanctimony Won't Work This Time, that scandalized so many Catholics around the world and has to this very day kept more than a handful of Catholics from embracing the truth of our ecclesiastical situation, namely, that those who defect from the Catholic Faith cannot hold her ecclesiastical offices legitimately. Father Cekada's error in identifying feeding and hydration tubes, which today are neither burdensome nor costly, as "extraordinary" means of medical treatment rather than what they are, ordinary care administered to a living human being, remains glaring in its refusal to admit the actual state of medicine today.

This is part of the very respectful letter that Dr. James Gebel, Jr., one of the leading neurologists in the United States of America, wrote to Father Cekada in 2005. One will note that Dr. Gebel was NOT trying to teach Father Cekada about moral theology. He was trying to inform Father about the true medical facts of Terri Schiavo's condition.

Over the past several weeks, it has come to my attention that significant debate has developed regarding the Terri Schiavo case. I have read various e-mail messages between Cathy Beal, Father Cekada, Father Dardis, Bishop Sanborn, and two letters appearing in the St. Gertrude the Great Church bulletin.

Let me begin by stating that I do not feel I have either the theological expertise (mine is limited to a minor in theology at Xavier University, a Jesuit college in Cincinnati) or moral authority to adequately address the theological aspects of this case. However, I do feel that my background as a neurologist with additional specialized “fellowship” training in both neurological critical care (the subspecialty of neurology which deals with patients in comas and other critical neurological illnesses) and stroke, at the Cleveland Clinic and University of Cincinnati respectively, put me in a position to contribute some thoughts on the medical aspects of her case. Since completing medical school, I have over 15 years of experience training, practicing, and doing research in these areas. I have also had the opportunity as the result of my training and expertise in these areas to testify as an expert witness in such matters in medical malpractice and pharmacological product liability lawsuits. I state the above not to be prideful, but to give you some tangible appreciation of the fact that, simply speaking, there are few people in the country with any better training background or practical expertise to understand in detail the scientific and medical aspects of the care of patients like Terri Schiavo, whom I deal with on literally an almost daily basis.

 

One can see very clearly that Dr. James Gebel, Jr., was not "preaching" to Father Cekada about moral theology, whose principles required Father to recognize that it is never permissible to take any direct action that has as its only end the death of an innocent human being. Dr. Gebel was not being "pompous." Indeed, Father Cekada needs no lessons about pomposity and bombast. Dr. Gebel was simply trying to help Father Cekada correct his errors.

How did Father Cekada respond? With humility? With gratitude? With a polite note of thanks and a promise to study the matter more fully? No, with mockery and scorn, claiming that Dr. Gebel was trying to make a mortal sin where none existed. Here is Father Cekada's response to Dr. James Gebel, Jr.

Could Mr. James Gebel, Sr., be faulted for being upset with Father Cekada for dismissing his son's internationally recognized expertise in the field of neurology so quickly in order to continue to justify his, Father Cekada's, refusal to recognize his multiple errors in the Terri Schiavo case that he has never abjured? This was a matter of life and death and Mr. Gebel's son, Dr. James Gebel, Jr., was trying to help Father Cekada get his medical facts correct. It is understandable that a father might be upset about the dismissive view that Father Cekada took of his son's expertise, acknowledged by so many in the medical community. Then again, being dismissive of those things that Father Cekada is unwilling to accept is his lifelong modus operandi.

Mr. Gebel, Sr., explained his second departure from Saint Gertrude the Great Church in an e-mail to Father Cekada. Bishop Dolan used his "Bishop's Corner" on April 19, 2009, to tell the world that Mr. Gebel had left for "doctrinal reasons." Although there was no reason for Bishop Dolan to broadcast Mr. Gebel's departure, His Excellency does see fit to use his weekly column in his parish's bulletin as a sort of gossip column whereby he can "out" those who leave the "ark" of Saint Gertrude the Great Church if there is a particular soul in need of being publicly shamed for committing this offense. Bishop Dolan refused to retract his mischaracterization of Mr. Gebel's departure even after Mr. Gebel wrote to him with a copy of the exact note that he had written to Father Cekada, who, not uncharacteristically, gave Bishop Dolan a skewed version of events, upon which the bishop relied for his "Bishop's Corner" announcement. It was Bishop Dolan's refusal to correct the record that led Mr. Gebel to write his own letter in support of Eamon Shea and then to go off into regrettable tangents that detracted from the principal point he was attempting to make: that there was no interest on the part of Father Cekada or Bishop Dolan in admitting that they erred in stating his reasons for leaving Saint Gertrude the Great Church for a second time.

Here is the "Bishop's Column" from the April 19, 2009, edition of the parish bulletin for Saint Gertrude the Great Church:

Palm Sunday was preceded by an achingly beautiful Spring day, and many helpers to prepare our King’s entrance into the week of weeks. The procession is worth remembering. Simon Peter and Danny, our intrepid 7:30 acolytes, did an excellent job with the donkey and her colt who led in our annual Palm Sunday homage. The bells were silent, though, as the rope got caught during their final ringing by a long time and loyal usher, Jim Gebel. Jim had decided to leave us that day, due to doctrinal differences. We will miss him and his lovely enthusiastic wife, Olga.

 

Here is an excerpt from the letter that Mr. James Gebel, Sr., wrote to Bishop Dolan on July 3, 2009:

On the Sunday following my exit from the SGG (St. Gertrude the Great) congregation, you stated in the church bulletin that I had left because of "doctrinal differences." You know only too well that this is not what I said in my brief "exit" e-mail to Fr. Cekada (I did not address it to you because I did not know your e-mail address at the time). I gave no reasons whatsoever for leaving. The SGG church bulletin - which, being on-line, has a world-wide readership - gave everyone who read it a false impression of me. Indeed, I really don't know why you chose to tell the world at-large at all that I had left. Would you kindly retract that statement at your next opportunity?

 

Bishop Dolan has not done so to this day. Just as Bishop Dolan Father Cekada refused to deal seriously with complaints brought to them by parents and other parishioners, so is it the case that they did not want to do justice to Mr. Gebel. All they had to do to keep Mr. Gebel from being angry with them was to retract a mistaken statement. That they refused to do this speaks volumes about how much contempt they have for the truth, no less for the good order of the souls of their sheep.

Mr. Gebel himself expressed amazement in a letter dated November 22, 2009, that Father Cekada would misrepresent what happened on Palm Sunday this year, April 5, 2009:

As many of you will recall, I have “rung the bell” many times; it would be absolutely absurd for me to “take offense” at something that I did all the time!  What possible motive would I have for “taking offense”?!!  Come on, Anthony, what are you smoking?!!  What actually happened on Palm Sunday was that I was ringing the bell -- as my fellow usher Dale Wilker could attest to -- when the bell cord got “stuck” (I believe it was “off-track” somewhere above the ceiling), and I couldn’t operate it any more.  Keith Monnin, who could also attest to said problem, ran and got a ladder, then climbed up on the church roof to get the cord “back on track,” but failed.  I silently “motioned” to the bishop that it was stuck, and he gave me an understanding nod.  Mark Lotarski then tried to pull on the cord to ring the bell; and after a couple of hard tugs at it, gave up as well.

That’s all there was to it.  There was no “taking offense” at ringing the bell (gimme a break!).  Why make such a ridiculous accusation that can be easily refuted by either Mr. Wilker or Mr. Monnin (not to mention others present who witnessed the event?  More importantly, why make an issue of such a trivial matter anyway?  Even one of Fr. Cekada’s staunchest apologists can see through this one!  Or will Messrs. Monnin, Wilker, et al be labeled as “mentally ill” and their accounts of it summarily dismissed as “hogwash”?

 

Readers can make what they will of Father Cekada's tendency for creating a fantasy world that does not exist.

Father Cekada's penchant for intellectual dishonesty was exposed also by Father William Jenkins in The Execution of Mrs. Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo as Father Cekada was caught quoting a moral theologian, Father William McFadden, who seemed, at least theoretically, to justify the removal of feeding and hydration tubes in use in the 1950s, without telling his readers that Father McFadden was opposed to such a practice in actual cases:

Father Jenkins: "PEG is done by a doctor in a hospital or outpatient surgical facility. Local anesthesia is used to anesthetize the throat. An endoscope (a flexible, lighted instrument) is passed through the mouth, throat and esophagus to the stomach. The doctor then makes a small incision in the skin of the abdomen and inserts an IV tube through the skin into the stomach and ties it in place."

Father Jenkins: "The patient can usually go home the same day or the next morning. Once in place, the PEG can serve for years without problems. It is so non-invasive that it can even occasionally fall out, in which case it can simply be put back in place.  All the patient then needs is access to nutrients, usually in a liquid form similar to Ensure."

Father Jenkins: "No matter what other maladies or hardships a patient may suffer from, the use of a feeding tube is a simple, common and highly successful procedure. It can rarely constitute an extraordinary, i.e. excessively burdensome,  means of sustaining life. It was certainly not
so in Theresa Schiavo’s case."

Father Cekada as quoted by Father Jenkins: "Like the IV drip mentioned by the moral theologian McFadden (whom I quoted elsewhere), one could maintain this procedure would be morally compulsory 'as a temporary means of carrying a person through a critical period.'

“'Surely,' however, 'any effort to sustain life permanently in this fashion would constitute a grave hardship.' (Medical Ethics, 1958, p.269.)" (End of Father Cekada quotation with reference to the Father McFadden text.)

Father Jenkins: "Reverend Cekada seriously misrepresents Fr. McFadden’s true position on the matter of feeding a patient in need. In the first place, Fr. McFadden was writing about an intravenous drip inserted by needle into a patient’s vein, not a PEG. Secondly, he was considering this procedure as it was inflicted 50 years ago, when such means were much more complicated and problem-prone.

Father Jenkins: "But most importantly, Fr. McFadden goes on to state his position about removing such an IV line which is already in place and serving the patient.  When considering the case of a terminally ill cancer patient with an IV already in place (note that Theresa Schiavo was not terminally ill), Fr. McFadden says:

'In actual medical practice, however, I would be very much opposed to any cessation of intravenous feeding in the above case. The fact that this form of nourishment has already been in use in this case necessitates a different outlook on the problem. First, the danger of scandal would be very real: members of a family who know that their loved one is expected to live several weeks and who then witness the withdrawal of nourishment, followed by death within a day, would almost surely believe that the patient had been deliberately killed in order to avert further suffering. Second, doctors who received permission, possibly from a hospital chaplain, to act in this fashion in this specific type of case would not appreciate all of the fine moral distinctions involved, and soon they would be carrying over the practice to countless cases wherein they regarded the preservation of a life as useless. Third, it is fundamentally the patient himself who has the right to decide whether or not he shall continue with a useless and extraordinary means which will prolong his intense suffering. It would be rash, indeed, to pose the question to him in his present condition, and it might be equally rash for others to make the decision for him. Who but God knows what goes on in the mind of such a person? Who but God knows what spiritual benefit such suffering may hold for the patient– on the basis of intentions made before the suffering became so intense but at a time when the patient anticipated them as a proximate reality. Finally, who is willing to assume the responsibility for acting as if the patient has spiritually prepared himself for death? If medical opinion believes that the patient could survive a few weeks, it may very well be that the patient himself believes that he will completely recover. If such be the case, even the fact that the person has received the Last Sacraments is no guarantee that they have been rightly and fruitfully received.' (Fr. Joseph McFadden, Medical Ethics, 1958 edition, pages 273-274)

Father Jenkins: " Thus, Fr. McFadden predicted in his second point above exactly what has come to pass today, i.e. that doctors would become accustomed to withdrawing food and water from patients whose lives they deem not worth prolonging. It is amazing that Reverend
Cekada could overlook this conclusion of his own source, Fr. McFadden."

Father Cekada as quoted by Father Jenkins: ("Perhaps some priest, layman or doctor who rejects this conclusion could get his own feeding tube inserted, live that way for fifteen years, and let us all know in 2020 whether the experience was a grave hardship or not. Any takers?")

Father Jenkins: "And here we have a common emotional argument.  Faced with the serious debilities of Terri Schiavo, people were asking: 'Would you want to live like that? How would you like to be kept alive in that condition?'  The only sensible answer is: 'Of course I would not want to have to live like that! No one would want to have to live like that.'

Father Jenkins: "The question and the answer are dangerous, however. Today they are loaded questions."

Father Jenkins: " There are many people I know who suffer great hardships in life: debilitating illness, poverty, divorces, handicaps of all sorts. Also, as I look back in history, I recall many suffering souls whose life I would not want. In the 1930's, millions of poor people in the Ukraine suffered terrible privations under Joseph Stalin. I certainly would not want to have to live as they did. But that does not give me the right to kill them. And it would not have given me the right to kill myself."

Father Jenkins: "Yet, some of our own people remarked that, as far as they were concerned, it was alright to deny Terri Schiavo food and water unto death, because they would not have wanted to live like that, and she should not have to live like that, either."

Father Jenkins: "But what if the court was right in saying that Theresa Schiavo would not have wanted to live under the circumstance? That is still a far cry from claiming that she would have chosen to be starved and dehydrated to death. And if she had, it would have been suicide – simply physician assisted suicide, which Catholic moral principles condemn.
(The Execution of Mrs. Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo.)

 

Why is this relevant to "School Dazed"? It is relevant to "School Dazed" because Father Cekada is a past master of manipulating texts to prove points and to throw smoke in the face of his readers. He did this in "School Dazed" when refusing to deal with any of the concerns that I had attempted to raise privately with Bishop Dolan, using a collection of phrases taken out of context without any examples cited to support their use, and he did this when attempting to dismiss Mr. James Gebel, Sr., as a sorehead who had no reason to complain about how he has been treated by the authorities of Saint Gertrude the Great Church. Misrepresentation is rife throughout the five, double-columned pages of "School Dazed."

At the Crux of the Matter: Suppressing All Criticism of Saint Gertrude the Great School

A good deal of "School Dazed" deals with an effort to discredit two of Saint Gertrude the Great School's most vocal critics, Mr. Eamon Shea and Mr. Michael DiSalvo. It is necessary to address this matter in some depth for the sake of the permanent record.

It was Mr. Eamon Shea who was one the people who sought to bring his concerns about Saint Gertrude the Great School to Bishop Dolan over the years. Mr. Shea, who had taught at Saint Gertrude the Great School, sought unsuccessfully to arrange a meeting with His Excellency, Father Cekada, and the school's principal, Mr. Mark Lotarski. Mr. Shea, whom I contacted via telephone on Thursday, November 19, 2009, for the first time in this whole matter, sent a letter to Bishop Dolan to express his concerns. This is how Mr. Shea described his experience in a e-mail sent to me on Saturday, November 21, 2009, explaining why he sent a public e-mail on Christmas Eve last year that was the first notice that many of us had about the existence of serious problems at Saint Gertrude the Great School:

I did not speak with Bp Dolan in private about these matters before writing my email of 12.24.08.  I HAD sought to speak with him in private in the past, but by December 2008, I knew such was pointless.

I HAD sought to discuss things privately when I was a teacher, but got stonewalled at that time.  Fr C alone dealt with me, although I desired to meet with him, Bp Dolan and Mark Lotarski.  The contents of my letter were NEVER discussed openly with me, not even as Fr C was giving me the business.  They did not want to deal with any of it.  Bp Dolan spoke to me through two sermons, I told them, privately, that such was not acceptable, and I was fired (my mention of MONEY was the final nail).

 

Mr. Shea's observations are not unique. I had sought a meeting with Bishop Dolan to discuss my own concerns about the parish and school, telephoning him on Monday, June 29, 2009, to request a meeting with him after he had returned to West Chester, Ohio, from the priestly ordination of Father Julian Larrabee at Queen of Martyrs Church in Fraser, Michigan, on Wednesday, July 1, 2009. This meeting never took place. The Bishop never called even though it was fairly clear to him that our own souls were in great distress over some of the things that were occurring at Saint Gertrude the Great Church and were being done by Bishop Donald Sanborn at Most Holy Trinity Seminary. Alas, Bishop Dolan has a penchant for not wanting to meet with those who are going to bring him news about the parish or the school that might require him to contradict Father Cekada or the Lotarskis. And that was the news that I was going to bring him if we had had our meeting.

It was after Bishop Dolan gave a very impassioned sermon against rumors circulating about Saint Gertrude the Great School that Eamon Shea decided to write to several families via e-mail to explain that the bishop was not being honest with them, that the problems in the school were very serious. Although one can question his decision to send out his e-mail on December 24, 2008, and the use of his language, which is prone to be rather graphic and at times quite vulgar, Mr. Shea did outline serious problems that certainly raised my own eyebrows when I read his message, which was forwarded to me by one of the families who had received the note originally. As a coward who feared losing access to the sacraments and who wanted to show "loyalty" to Bishop Dolan, I kept my peace at the time. However, I knew that the following note indicated the existence of real problems that I hoped against hope would be resolved by means of private recourse to the bishop. This hope on my part was serf-serving and delusional.

Here is the note that Mr. Eamon Shea sent out around noontime on Christmas Eve last year:

Bishop Daniel Dolan, Fr. Cekada, et alii:

A most joyous Yule-tide to all who read these words.

The sermon given by Bishop Dolan on 12/21/08 was, in and of itself, excellent.  It is true that we should not be involved in things that are not our business, nor judge others when it is not part of the duties of our office.  However, given some past and recent events involving SGG school, staff, students, and parents, said sermon was both amusing (in a sad kind of way) and grossly hypocritical.  Indeed, it was naught but a  thinly-veiled mind game being played under a quasi-pietistic protective shield.

The purpose?  Why, to stop those among the oft-bamboozled and far-too-easily-intimidated sheep already talking about the latest scandals, prevent others from beginning to do so, and assuage the consciences of those who sit idly by, shirking the grave duties of their high offices, while the souls of parents and children are harmed, yet again.  Indeed, it is this now-habitual "dropping of the ball" that is the focus of discussion, rather than the incidents themselves.  The cover up of scandals is always more scandalous than the incidents themselves - just ask the Novus Ordites.

There was talk during the sermon about the "filth in supposedly-Catholic homes", mentioned in a way that laments, rightly, that nothing is being done to correct the problem (This is a judgment of others, no?).  With a strong and sad note of irony, a man listening might have asked himself: How can one expect the sheep to clean house when the shepherd lets filth run rampant in his own supposedly-Catholic school, excusing his own dereliction of duty on the absurd grounds that, "Well, we just shouldn't judge others; leave that for Jesus"? Is it that it is not filth when members of the Lotarski family are involved, but it is filth where others are concerned?  If others families drained the SGG church and school coffers of at least $80K to $100K (officially, of course) each year, would their filth then achieve the status of acceptability?

Prudence involves, in your own words, a practical knowledge of when to be forceful and when to be sweet (or, in my words, when to be a lion and when to be a lamb).  In the Gospel, Our Savior deals with the rank and file in a lamb-like fashion.  When dealing with the vipers who, benumbed by their calcified formalism, tried to lord it over the rank and file at every turn?  ALL lion.  Well, various situations at SGG School have called for lion-hearted action over the years, and every single one has been swept under the rug (often under the pretense of  a mildness which, in truth, is more like that of the coward - or, worse, the criminal with something to hide - than that of the prudent lamb).  It is getting very, very crowded under that little (albeit tasteful, oriental) rug, my friends.  Indeed, Fr. Cekada's poor arms must be getting tired at this point from all that sweeping.  The temporal shakedown that is upon us guarantees that each will soon be paid his just wage for services rendered. 

While I understand that some sheep advocate a more subdued approach to dealing with these matters, and some merely want to withdraw from too-close contact with the shears and shearers that have all but deprived them of their God-given protection from the elements, it is appropriate for sheepdogs to bark.  This message is my bark - please do not make me display my bite.  Now, for the guts of this message...

Be a Man, clean house, and rid the SGG faithful and benefactors of the Lotarski Home School/Crime Syndicate (?) cancer, once and for all.  [While there is much, much more that could be said about these matters, I shall not deal with such at present.]

I will, however, ask two quasi-rhetorical questions before I sign off: Who is involved in, and benefits from, the way these matters are handled?  Why are these matters so systematically given the "Memory Hole" treatment, and why do the sheep continually let said treatment achieve the desired effect?  Indeed, many, even after suffering at the hands of those who ought to be their good shepherds, sadly continue to help support (with time, money, etc.) what I have come to see as the 'virtual Catholicism' that is 'sgg.org'.  Wake up, my friends!  No, the true Mass and constantly-revolving, exquisite accoutrements in the sanctuary do not alter things for the better.

Plorans ploravit in nocte et lacrymae ejus in maxillis ejus: non est qui consoletur eam ex omnibus charis ejus.  Omnes amici ejus spreverunt eam, et facti sunt ei inimici.


[Weeping she hath wept in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: there is none to comfort her among all them that were dear to her: all her friends have despised her, and are become her enemies.]  From the Lamentations of Jeremias

Justus Florebit

P.S....   Do not, in response to this message, attempt to construct a straw man, shadow-box, or change the subject to irrelevant matters (my identity, etc.).  Refrain from any pseudo-authoritarian, throat-clearing (or other) techniques in an attempt to divulge information from more-easily-intimidated sheep.  I will not reveal anything until I am ready to do so, should such time ever arrive.  Midnight Mass is a little less than 12 hours away.  Please, do not use the sermon (then or ever) to play more mind games.  If you do so, I will be forced to slice up your offering, serving it back to you in a most unpalatable way, in front of a much larger 'viewing audience'.  Watch your steps on this one, gentlemen.  Irregular/false moves?  Let's just say the proper authorities - who will certainly not shirk their duties - will be notified immediately.  As an aside, does anyone know a good IRS agent who might be interested in assisting me with an audit of a non-profit organization?  Oh, one last thing...Mark, you and your thug offspring would be wise to refrain from threatening anyone, especially Catholic ladies (in front of multiple witnesses, to boot) or physically assaulting any of them (Aussies as well as non-Aussies).  Public apologies for past deeds would not hurt, either.

 

Father Cekada responded to Mr. Shea's e-mail with a most interesting one of his own, using the "mental illness" card immediately so as to disparage Mr. Shea as his, Father Cekada's, response was sent out to over three hundred people rather than to the specific families that had been addressed by Eamon Shea under his pseudonym of "Justus Florebit:"

Dear Eamon Shea/Justus

You are mentally ill.

It is clear from your anonymous Christmas Eve circular e-mail that you are now having another one of your " breakdown episodes."

Your chronic depression leads to anger, your anger leads to a blowup (in this case, your nasty e-mail), your blowup eventually passes but leads to guilt over the anger, your guilt leads back to the chronic depression.

Remember that this is at least the THIRD episode you have had here at St. Gertrude’s.

The first episode was your anonymous and calumnious written denunciation of a non-parishioner.

The second episode occurred in April 2007, when you made horrible accusations in writing — similar to your latest — against Bishop Dolan, Mark, his family, our teachers, our school children generally (even denouncing their singing) and myself.

In the same letter, you then seriously proposed that I hire you to run our school. This showed me that you had by then lost touch with reality. That is why I had to dismiss you.

You eventually regretted your words, came to your senses and sent us each a written apology. It was because you apologized that Bishop Dolan and I allowed you to come back here; we really hoped you would be able to keep yourself under control.

I am sorry that this is not the case.

Had you at least limited yourself to sending another nasty letter just to Bishop Dolan and me, I could have written it off as another episode, and just told you privately (again) that you really have to get some help.

But by putting all your calumnies into e-mail (with vulgar language, to boot) and circulating it to parishioners, you are engaged in trying to do irreparable harm publicly to the reputations of a LOT of people, and to upset as many parishioners as you can.

Sorry, but this latest episode is strike three. We cannot allow you to act out publicly here at St. Gertrude’s.

Bishop Dolan and I therefore forbid you to enter onto the church’s West Chester property.

Immediately after sending this e-mail, I will drive down to the West Chester police station, apprise them of the threats you have made, tell them we have forbidden you to come onto the church property, and make arrangements with the police to insure that this prohibition is enforced.

You need to go away somewhere by yourself to be alone and to work out your personal problems.

I hear that you are back at home in Florida at the moment.

Stay there, Eamon, stay away from here — and please get some help.

Regretfully,

-- Fr. Cekada

 

There are several interesting aspects to Father Cekada's letter.

First, he is, as noted just above, quick to make diagnoses of "mental illness" and depression that is unqualified to make, as I discussed in Shooting the Messenger. Father Cekada did not address my discussion of his lack of psychological/psychiatric credentials, content, it appears, to continue to convince people that he can make diagnoses of mental illness without any professional training in the field of mental health.

Second, he verifies the fact that complaints were made against Saint Gertrude the Great School as early as 2007. Father Cekada even conceded when Bishop Dolan summoned Father Ramolla to meet with them on Tuesday, November 3, 2009, that the he had brushed away or completely ignored almost ever complaint that had been brought to him "regarding the school" and the behavior of Mark Lotarski:

"Disregarding this reply for the moment, Bishop Dolan made a series of accusations against Fr. Ramolla, basically blaming him for many of the problems that have befallen the parish. Fr. Ramolla reminded him that the basic issue was none of these accusations but the fact that every single complaint he had ever brought to Fr. Cekada regarding the school and the inexcusable behavior of Mark Lotarski had been completely ignored or brushed away. Fr. Cekada agreed that he had done this, excusing himself on the grounds of temperament and attempted impartiality. Fr. Cekada then apologized for mishandling the situation.

"In spite of this, Bishop Dolan persisted in making accusations, reproaching Fr. Ramolla for stirring up trouble in the parish by his complaints against the Lotarskis. Although it was Bishop Dolan himself who had instructed Fr. Ramolla to advise him of every incident involving Mark and Joan Lotarski and their mishandling of the school and its students, the Bishop then went on to remonstrate against Fr. Ramolla, telling him he cannot work with a priest he doesn't trust -- and he no longer trusts Fr. Ramolla! Fr. Ramolla replied in turn that he no longer had any faith in Fr. Cekada, his abilities and judgments." (Mr. Bernard G. J. Hall's summary of Father Ramolla's November 3, 2009, meeting with Bishop Daniel L. Dolan and Father Anthony Cekada, From The Heart: Father Markus Ramolla.)

 

It is therefore most disingenuous of Bishop Dolan to claim, as he did on Sunday, November 15, 2009, that the "vehemence and scope of his [Father Ramolla's] criticism came as a shock to me." Bishop Dolan has been hearing complaints from parents and others about the problems at Saint Gertrude the Great Church for many years now. He has chosen to ignore them and shoot the messengers. So has Father Cekada. They do not know how to act in any other way.

It was also disingenuous of Father Cekada to claim in his e-mail to Eamon Shea eleven months ago now that the letter Mr. Shea wrote to Bishop Dolan in 2007 about problems in the school was indicative of one of Mr. Shea's "breakdown episodes" when Father Cekada has admitted to Father Ramolla that problems existed in the school and that he, Father Cekada, ignored them or brushed them away. Father Cekada is reported to have said after one of the Lotarski boys used an obscene gesture on the school grounds that "boys will be boys." No boy doing such a thing when Father Cekada was in a Catholic grade school or high school (and I was born in the same year, 1951, as Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada) would have been dealt with so dismissively by authorities in the 1950s and 1960s.

Third, Father Cekada's response to Eamon Shea's Christmas Eve e-mail contains a most curious example of Mr. Shea's alleged "mental illness:"

The first episode was your anonymous and calumnious written denunciation of a non-parishioner.

 

This is a most interesting accusation that is in need of a bit of exploration.

As noted in Shooting the Messenger, Bishop Dolan had made a point in his "An Apology" screed on November 15, 2009, to state that he should have taken seriously what he called a "deathbed" warning made by a woman in Belgium, who lived near Germany, to Father Paul Schoonbroodt that the then seminarian Markus Ramolla should not be ordained to the priesthood:

Of all people a poor man who is a former seminarian and taught for a few months at our school, someone who struggles with mental illness and has now been running a full time internet campaign against St. Gertrude’s and so forth – of all things this man had warned me 2 years ago not to ordain him to the priesthood, citing the counsel of a certain lady who lived near Germany who was the housekeeper of our dear friend Father Schoonbroodt in Belgium.

This lady had gotten to know this seminarian, Markus Ramolla, very well, and on her death bed – she died of cancer – she warned this priest and others of the disaster that would happen if he were ordained.  But I did not listen because that’s not my way.  Um, he seemed to be so pious and I am an optimist, and after all he had signed a promise of obedience to me as to a bishop.  He signed a promise of obedience.  And I thought to myself. “Well now he ought to be given a chance as I was when I was a seminarian.” 

 

The "former seminarian" mentioned in this part of Bishop Dolan's "An Apology" who "struggles with mental illness" is Eamon Shea. Note again, of course, the ready recourse to character assassination. When in doubt, call your critics "mentally ill." That'll shut a lot of people up as one's critics are discredited. (Please remember that Saint John of God sought permission from his spiritual director to gain admission into a madhouse so that he could do penance for his sins and be considered a madman by others. Saint John of God wanted his reputation sullied.)

Eamon Shea told me on Thursday, November 19, 2009, in that first telephone conversation that we have had on any of these matters that the Belgian housekeeper, Amelia, did not make any kind of "deathbed warning" to Father Schoonbroodt, that she had told him, Eamon Shea, about her misgivings concerning the then seminarian Markus Ramolla's fitness for the priesthood. Mr. Shea had made a silent retreat in Belgium in 2005, being brought food by Amelia while he was on retreat under the direction of Father Schoonbroodt. It was at the end of the retreat, not on her deathbed, that Amelia asked Mr. Shea to convey her concerns to Bishop Dolan. Mr. Shea believed that Amelia, who had a very strong personality, did not like the fact that the then seminarian Markus Ramolla also had a strong personality, fearing that the future Father Ramolla might replace Father Schoonbroodt and thus change the way things had been done in the parish.

As seminarian Markus Ramolla got closer to the point of ordination to the subdiaconate, which Mr. Shea noted to me in our phone conversation of November 19, 2009, is the "point of no return" for celibacy, he believed that he had to fulfill his promise to Amelia, who had since died, and convey her concerns to Bishop Dolan. Mr. Shea did so via an anonymous letter that was delivered by a friend to Bishop Dolan, who coerced Mr. Shea's identify out of the person who delivered the letter even though Mr. Shea stated explicitly in the letter that he would gladly come forward should they like to discuss things further. Bishop Dolan dismissed the deceased woman's warning by telling the person who delivered the anonymous letter that Amelia had been "mentally unstable.

This is the recollection of the woman who delivered the letter as sent to me in an e-mail on Saturday, November 21, 2009:

1)  Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada each have a bin with their name on it for the receipt of letters etc. I placed the letter that Eamon had given to me in the bin marked for Bishop Dolan. At the time, Bishop Sanborn was visiting. He as well as Father Cekada and Bishop Dolan were in the priest office quarters having meetings. Bishop Dolan came out after a fashion and retrieved the letter and other articles from his bin and took them back (I am assuming) to his office as that was the direction he headed.

2)  I do not know the exact contents of the letter. Eamon alluded to me that it referenced Father Ramolla and the possibility that there was a question of his eligibility to be  ordained to the priesthood. I cannot recall exactly if Eamon shared with me how he came to be aware of the eligibility question.

3)  Bishop Dolan made an off-hand comment while in the presence of my desk that the cleaning woman was known to have an unstable mental condition as she was advanced in age at the time that Father Ramolla knew her. He said she passed away shortly thereafter.

4)  Bishop Dolan came out of the back priest quarters. He came right up to me at the desk and inquired who had given me the letter to deliver to him. I told Bishop Dolan that I had given my word of honor and promise to keep that information confidential. The Bishop became agitated, cleared his throat and again insisted (more strongly this time) that I tell him. I again refused and stated it would be a sin to break a promise and my word. The Bishop told me that his authority superceded this and he invoked his Bishop's authority and ordered me to tell him. I relented and told him.  I believed that under obedience to "the ring" I had no choice but to do so. I also feared for my job which I needed dearly.

What was it that Mr. Timothy Duff wrote about in Virtue Is Greater Than Dignity, which was written, Mr. Duff, informed me, with Bishop Dolan in mind?

There are several interesting aspects to all of this.

First, Mr. Shea stated explicitly in the letter that he was willing to come forth if Bishop Dolan had told the woman who delivered the letter that His Excellency wanted to speak to her. There was no need for the bishop to demand the name of the person and thus force a violation of her conscience.

Second, Father Cekada, writing to Eamon Shea eleven months ago, termed the latter's anonymous letter as a "calumnious written denunciation of a non-parishioner." How did a letter that was considered calumnious by Father Anthony Cekada in December of 2008 become a matter of veritable prophecy in the eyes of Bishop Dolan on November 15, 2009? As always, of course, Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada make the facts suit their own purposes, changing their minds as to who is "mentally ill" according to their need to justify whatever course of action they desire to take and whichever critic they need to discredit.

Third, why was there no mention of Amelia's having an "unstable mental condition in Bishop Dolan's "An Apology".

Fourth, how was any of this indicative of a "breakdown episode" on the part of Mr. Shea, who simply went about his business after he wrote his letter to fulfill the promise he had made to Father Schoonbroodt's late housekeeper, Amelia?

Father Cekada included the following postscript addressed to Saint Gertrude the Great parishioners in the note that to Eamon Shea on December 27, 2008:

PS to parishioners:

I deeply regret that you were subjected to Eamon’s e-mail, especially on Christmas Eve.

As regards handling awful e-mails like his, I recommend that in the future you do the following:

1. Once you realize the sender of an e-mail is engaging in gossip, calumny or detraction, read no further. This is a good way to mortify evil curiosity, and to frustrate the evil that a gossip hopes to cause.

2. Do not forward the e-mail or discuss it with others. This simply magnifies the harm.

3. Delete the e-mail.

4. Do not attempt to correspond with the sender. Gossips thrive on attention. Deprive them of it.

5. If it concerns something in the parish, let one of the priests know.

I also ask you a favor. If you happen to notice that Eamon has come onto the church property, please help us by calling the West Chester police and informing one of the priests at once.

The police number is: 777-2231 or 911

With prayers that you will have a more peaceful New Year,

-- Fr. Cekada

 

In other words, anyone who is complaining about the school is a calumniator who has no credibility at all. Shut your eyes. Listen to no one. There are no problems. The soul of no child is in jeopardy.

Mr. Shea responded to Father Cekada's attempt at mind-control and distortion of facts as follows:

Dear Father Cekada,

Although your impressive, virtuoso usage of every communist smear tactic in the book has likely shocked and/or frightened many of those who read your attempted character assassination (annihilation?) of me, I thought you might like to know that I have already been told by some that they not only do not believe your claim/s, they think your actions were completely over the top (and this is not getting into the number of those who agree with my assessment of your school and staff, mind games, etc.). 

I have sent this email to six people, BCC (you will have to take my word, as an honest, although mentally ill, man).  Three people flatly deny your claim about my mental state, and one expressed uncertainty (which is not surprising, as he is a kind and obedient soul who wants to believe his priest, and we have spoken for a total of 30 seconds or so during our lives) - while a total of ZERO (0) have affirmed your assessment.  Something tells me no one will - just a hunch, though.  Further, one of the other two is, I know for a fact, certain that your claim is absurd.  Now, you could take the list of people to whom you sent your email, do a little math, and ascertain the probability that certain individuals are on my BCC line.  Then, you could call them into your office, give them 'the business' in person, and hope they will be sufficiently intimidated to follow your instructions.  That failing or seeming inefficient, you could call them all in, and do the same.  Finally, you could just go 'straight up cult', and tell everyone, from the pulpit or another way of your choosing, that all contact with me, whether on or off SGG property, personal or professional, indoors or out, in fair weather or foul, by phone or email, hook or crook, is most strictly verboten"Heil...!"  As it is such a popular and effective tool these days for intimidating the sheep, you could, if necessary, employ the Sacraments as weapons - pretending, of course, that you are only safe-guarding the other sheep.  If you would like any more tips as to how to go about exerting maximum, cult-like control, you know how to reach me.  God speed.

Eamon 'the looney loon' Shea

 

The use of the "mental illness" card by Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada is nothing new. A woman who wrote a letter to Fidelity magazine, which, of course, was very much opposed to traditionalism, claimed that she was termed "mentally ill" by Bishop Dolan in 1988:

On Monday of Holy Week 1988, just before Sue Grieve's first abduction of Marisue [Sue Grieve's daughter] from the [Father Clarence] Kelly "convent," I fell victim to the spy-informant system fostered by the paranoid-cult mentality of Fr. Dolan at St. Gertrude's. The day before, Palm Sunday, after Mass in the undercroft, I had spoken to a few of my friends about a financial matter these priests were involved in, which I suggested that some of the men in the parish go ask Fr. Dolan about. This matter was spoken of publicly from the pulpit in the Detroit chapel of Fr. Sanborn, one of the Kelly priests, and verified by the parishioners there, and a similar question was also raised by Fr. Jenkins at a parents' meeting at the St. Gertrude Academy in Cincinnati. He suggested that the parents get together and to ask Fr. Dolan about the money question also.

But on Monday of Holy Week I was summoned to Fr. Dolan's office, and he told me a rather warped version of the question I had raised downstairs, refusing to believe my version of the story. He falsely accused me of committing a mortal sin against St. Gertrude's. I was told I was forbidden to attend any services, and if I wanted the sacraments from him, I was to make a private appointment, and go only when there was nobody else at the church. I was appalled by the whole kangaroo-court procedure and by his icy callousness. None of his "informants"  were there to accuse me personally or to stand by their version of the story.  The whole thing was a sham and a mockery of justice. As I look back on it, I think it was merely Fr. Dolan's excuse to get rid of me because I had, over the course of the last year, questioned or complained about some of the things he was doing that seemed to me to be extremist and had a cultish flavor. That really irked him.

After this kangaroo-court, Sanhedrin-style sentence was passed on me, some of my friends, including a lawyer, advised me that a priest had no right to keep a Catholic from attending the public worship services on such grounds, and that I ought to go back to church as usual. So, I attended the Holy Thursday Tenebrae service, and later on that night, just before midnight, I got a call from the church secretary, who said Fr. Dolan told him to call and tell me if I came to any more church services without Fr. Dolan's permission, that he would take "legal action" against me.

In stunned disbelief, I croaked, "What is this? Is this a Catholic Church or is it a sect? How can Fr. Dolan take legal action against someone for attending church?" The secretary said he didn't want to get into religious questions, but that the church was considered "private property," and Fr. Dolan could legally keep anyone out that he wished.

With that blow, my eyes were opened to the reality of the situation: St. Gertrude's chapel is Fr. Dolan's private sect, which he runs as he pleases with no regard for the laws of the Catholic Church, whether pre- or post-Vatican II. If you don't fit into Fr. Dolan's mold, he can wave his hand and dispense with your existence at his church. The ultimate power trip, isn't it? Hardly a Catholic manner of operating.

After my "excommunication" a friend of mine asked Fr. Dolan why he gave me such a severe penalty, saying that even those who are under excommunication for such things as abortion are still supposed to attend Mass. When confronted by others about my dismissal Fr. Dolan said that I was "mentally ill." To at least one person he denied that he had thrown me out at all, saying that I made the whole thing up, was "mentally ill" and in need of prayers.

Another cultish aspect of his operation became apparent on that Monday night in his office when he threw me out: he point-blank told me that he was going to make an "example" of me "to show the others that this sort of thing will not be tolerated at St. Gertrude's," which is an admission of spiritual terrorism to control the flock. I told several people about this tactic he planned to use and warned them not to succumb. One poor soul even went to Fr. Dolan's office and "confessed" her past gripings about him, begging him not to throw her out, and told him she would "do anything" he asked of her from now on.

The people succumb to this terrorism and this mind-control more or less willingly because the situation in the local parishes is so awful that that they feel they have no other place to go if they lose the "privilege" of attending Fr. Dolan's chapel. (Mrs. Kathleen Camp, Letter to the Editor, Fidelity magazine, May/June 1989 issue. Yes, Fidelity was a very anti-traditionalist magazine. Who gave its editors the ammunition to use against traditionalism? The likes of the then Father Dolan, that's who.)

 

There is a certainly a pattern, at least in the minds of some former parishioners at Saint Gertrude the Great Church, of browbeating and intimidation. This letter did not materialize out of nowhere, and it is certainly consistent with how Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada are treating Father Markus Ramolla at this time.

As Eamon Shea's mental health was placed in question by Father Cekada, Mr. Michael Di Salvo, who had his own concerns about the problems at Saint Gertrude the Great School, wrote a letter that he sent out via e-mail to several families, making sure that Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada also received a copy:

Dear SGG Faithful,

As I have been following this email exchange and know something of Eamon Shea, our priests, and  SGG school, I think it only proper I step in.

First of all, I will assume that "Justus Florebit" is in fact Eamon Shea in my writing of this reply. Secondly, I don't think the faithful believe that bring to light a coverup, even if it involves priests, or the reputation or recidivists is necessarily detraction, calumny or gossip. Thirdly, and most importantly, it is Almighty God, the Judge of the Living and the Dead, who COMMANDS US to defend the innocent, and expose the works of darkness (Eph 5: 6-11), even commanding us to TELL THE CHURCH when even approaching an erring brother leads to naught (Matt 18:15-17). So, we are reminded that concealing, doing nothing about, or even sponsoring through donations a sinful situation can be as deadly a sin as if we ourselves committed the sin.

That being said, rather than revealing what I know of the SGG school situation in this email, I will propose the question publicly: "Why is it being said Eamon is lying/mentally ill?". I know Eamon Shea better than most people in Cincinnati, because I have lived with him day in and day out. I know his defects and I know his virtues. To accuse him of dangerous threats and having delusions is beyond anything I know of Eamon Shea. And I dare say, in my training in Classical and Modern Psychology, in all of my counseling experience in graduate school, I would say Eamon Shea, even presently is not only not psychotic or delusional, but possibly, the best adjusted person I have met in my life. I am not one who has been called a "bosom buddy" with Eamon. In fact, many know I have been vociferous in my difference and personal critiques of him. My harsh words I regret. Yet I know he has been, is, and will be a better man than I will ever be, and if defending him or the children of SGG means I too am "kicked out" from St Gertrude's, may God be my witness.

The truth of the matter is that it was my love of children, and my stand for Catholic education and justice, as well  and the desperate state we knew SGG school to be in on every level that united me in promoting a home school network with Eamon last year.

I am currently watching an older version of "the Chronicles of Narnia" at the current time. In it, the eldest brother of a family convinces the other children that the youngest daughter is lying about a magical land she has discovered in the mysterious house they now live in. When the situation is brought to the host of the house where these children in, the host responds with logic rather than denunciations. If Lucy has never lied, why would you think she is lying now? If her older brother is known for lying, why do you believe him now? Shouldn't you ascertain what the truth is based on your own investigation rather than condemning without a trial?

If the truth is ascertainable, the faithful should not be intimidated into putting their heads in the sand and saying "All is well". The finances of the church should be an open book. Parents should have a recourse to working with other families if they are stonewalled by the clergy. There should be accountability if the older students are caught perverting the younger students. In fact, if there is sexual perversion, and repeated sexual perversion and even threats to back up the perversion on the part of these students, they need to be *EXPELLED*.

May God help me if I ever shirk from defending the pure souls of our dear children. May God help me if I become an accessory to a cover up
because of a friendship with a particular family. There is no Pope to appeal to. Let the faithful know their children are safe, and not abdicate to the clergy, who themselves are capable of working for Lucifer himself, as we are. We have a duty to protect the innocent, and if a thousand people are saying the same thing about a situation, it is at least worth a thorough investigation rather than another head nod for the thousandth time.

May my Christmas wish come true.

Michael DiSalvo

 

As I noted in Sanctimony Won't Work This Time, I was a lily-livered coward when all of this was occurring. I headed for the figurative tall grass, pledging my obeisance to Bishop Dolan and ruing how all of this was playing out in the public eye rather than being dealt with privately. I did not realize, nor was I willing to accept, that private entreaties had been made and had proved unsuccessful time and time and time again. It would take several more months for me to realize that silence was inexcusable in this mess.

Father Cekada, however, had no hesitancy about what to do. He drew up a three sentence contract to extract silence from Mr. DiSalvo in exchange for the privilege of receiving the sacraments at Saint Gertrude the Great Church. The intention was clear: anyone siding publicly with Eamon Shea's accusations against Saint Gertrude the Great School would not be permitted to stay in the parish.

Ever the spin-doctor, Father Cekada told a parishioner who has remained at Saint Gertrude the Great Church that Michael DiSalvo had been given the contract to sign because he sent out an e-mail alleging abuse in violation of the Sixth and Ninth Commandments, something that he, Father Cekada, has repeated in "School Dazed." Michael DiSalvo did no such thing.

Having heard of the use of obscene gestures and that an innocent girl was accorded an unwelcome and uninvited embrace by one of the problem children in the school, Mr. DiSalvo qualified his knowledge of such matters by saying that students guilty of such offenses should be expelled "if" they had in fact occurred. This was not the foundation of Mr. DiSalvo's letter, and to say that it was on those grounds that the "contract" was drawn up for him to sign is absurd. The clear intention here was to continue Bishop Dolan's campaign, begun on December 21, 2008, to silence all critics of Saint Gertrude the Great School.

Alas, the efforts to keep people silent about the bullying and other abuses that have been alleged at Saint Gertrude the Great School might just create a conflict with the civil laws of the state of Ohio:

(4)(a) No cleric and no person, other than a volunteer, designated by any church, religious society, or faith acting as a leader, official, or delegate on behalf of the church, religious society, or faith who is acting in an official or professional capacity, who knows, or has reasonable cause to believe based on facts that would cause a reasonable person in a similar position to believe, that a child under eighteen years of age or a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired child under twenty-one years of age has suffered or faces a threat of suffering any physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of the child, and who knows, or has reasonable cause to believe based on facts that would cause a reasonable person in a similar position to believe, that another cleric or another person, other than a volunteer, designated by a church, religious society, or faith acting as a leader, official, or delegate on behalf of the church, religious society, or faith caused, or poses the threat of causing, the wound, injury, disability, or condition that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect shall fail to immediately report that knowledge or reasonable cause to believe to the entity or persons specified in this division. Except as provided in section 5120.173 of the Revised Code, the person making the report shall make it to the public children services agency or a municipal or county peace officer in the county in which the child resides or in which the abuse or neglect is occurring or has occurred. In the circumstances described in section 5120.173 of the Revised Code, the person making the report shall make it to the entity specified in that section.  (ORC - 2151.421 Reporting child abuse or neglect.)

 

Mr. Robert DiMare, a parent and a former parishioner, explained the problems to which children have been subjected at Saint Gertrude the Great School, making reference in a recent letter to Bishop Dolan to the paddling incident that Father Cekada admitted occurred with a parent's approval:

The principal of St. Gertrude the Great School is another issue I want to address. He is viewed by many of the laity as a neo Golden Calf, who needs to leave your establishment immediately. It is the opinion of many, including myself, that he is dangerous. I am truly worried for the safety of the teachers and most importantly the children when that man decides to lose his temper once again. During the time I worked there, I heard his degrading tirades against the children who were simply trying to learn. Since you care so much about the children, Your Excellency, for whom you will be held accountable, you should know that the principal is being investigated for child abuse. He paddled a child so hard that the paddle actually broke over his backside. But you do know it, don’t you? Isn’t this abuse or is this completely normal behavior? It must be a normal thing to do because the “new and improved” thicker paddle was proudly showed off by Fr. Cekada. How sadistic! Knowing this, Your Excellency, wouldn’t it be a crime to keep such a man as the principal? I believe you know that this man, hostile as he is when told something he doesn’t like, has fallen into an indescribable rage over trifling things and he and his family have been the root of most of the scandals in the school. As I have said before, this man is treated as the idol of old. It doesn’t matter what he does, you just look the other way. The principal son’s verbally abuses one of the teachers and guess who gets removed from the school. The teacher!

 

Is this man "mentally ill?" Did he imagine the things he saw and heard at Saint Gertrude the Great School? Is his perception of the problems in the school the result of Father Markus Ramolla "poisoning" his mind or the result of things that he has actually seen and heard?

As I have been noting rather consistently, this whole situation could have been prevented if Bishop Dolan had even a Masonic sense of decency and a bit of moral courage to recognize that Father Cekada has been too lax in his supervision of Saint Gertrude the Great School and that too much trust has been placed in a principal who has demonstrated himself to be the cause of repeated scandals and even the loss of Faith in the souls of some of the parents and their children.

Souls have been placed in jeopardy needlessly, and it is for these souls that Father Ramolla acted with the courage that he did. Bishop Dolan does not seem to care that many good souls have been provoked to anger by his failure to take their complaints seriously over the years, seemingly more concerned about perceived slights to his episcopal dignity as he condemns his critics as people filled with hate when they are actually poor sheep seeking help from their shepherd.

Father Ramolla and Mr. Bernard G. J. Hall, both have direct first-hand knowledge about their own experiences of the problems at Saint Gertrude the Great School, and hopefully they will be writing their own responses to "School Dazed." Nevertheless, one other point about Father Cekada's use of smoke and mirrors should be made in this article.

First, Father Ramolla was appointed as principal of Saint Gertrude the Great School only after the public outcry that was taking place on the internet about the problems in the school. Bishop Dolan himself admitted this to me after we had breakfast with him on Thursday, October 22, 2009, in West Chester, Ohio, when he said that removing the Lotarskis gave the critics their pound of flesh, something that he really did not want to do. (This is the first time that we had spoken with him in person in nearly four months. It was my hope that the appointment of Father Ramolla as the principal of the school represented an effort to respond to the concerns that some of us had presented to him privately. I really wanted this to be the case.) The appointment of Father Ramolla was not some "road to Damascus" insight on the part of Father Cekada. It was a matter of damage control to keep dissatisfied parents from pulling their students out of the school.

Parishioners have grown tired of such tactics over the years. As one woman said to me a few days ago as she entered into the house where Father Ramolla was saying Holy Mass, "I feel as though I have been rescued."

As another former parishioner wrote to me on the evening of November 23, 2009, " Does Fr. Cekada honestly want us to think that over 100 people have left because of a goofy misunderstanding (to use his type of vocabulary)?" Have these people, many of whom gave their life's blood in talent and treasure to the building and the operation of Saint Gertrude the Great Church and School, imagined problems that do not exist? Absolutely preposterous. This is an insult to the intelligence of the people who have decided, sometimes at the cost of longtime friendships, to assist at Holy Mass offered at the hands of Father Markus Ramolla.

Father Markus Ramolla

Father Markus Ramolla's concerns about the operation of Saint Gertrude the Great Church and School were independent of those expressed by Eamon Shea and Michael DiSalvo or others. Father Ramolla was able to observe the situation on a first-hand basis, listening also to the entreaties made to him by various teachers and parents who had been given the cold shoulder over the years by Father Cekada and Bishop Dolan. Far from engendering "dissent," Father Ramolla sought to fulfill his duties as a good shepherd of souls by listening to the suffering of the sheep, refusing to dismiss their concerns as irrelevant or minor. He gave his sheep the sympathetic ear that they had not had before as they sought to address their own concerns privately and without any degree of recrimination or hatred or malice or misrepresentation of the facts.

Knowing that Father Cekada was impervious to taking advice on the operation of Saint Gertrude the Great School, Father Ramolla made his own private pleas to Bishop Dolan, speaking also to parishioners about these matters, which were dismissed by Father Cekada in "School Dazed" as "petty complaints."

Father Ramolla, in seeking to give ear to the sheep who had been stonewalled repeatedly by Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada, was doing nothing different than what "The Nine" had done within the Society of Saint Pius X as they spoke to each other about formulating their positions in opposition to the policies and practices of the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. "The Nine" met privately in order to present a coherent statement to the archbishop, a Statement that has withstood the test of time as the nine priests put loyalty to the holy faith and to the truth of the invalidity of the sacramental rites of the conciliar church above loyalty to Archbishop Lefebvre, who valued loyalty to himself and his positions above all else.

Father Markus Ramolla has placed loyalty to the truth above loyalty to Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada, who seem to judge priests such as Father Ramolla and the members of the laity in terms of the sort of exacting loyalty to their persons and positions that Archbishop Lefebvre expected to receive from them, whom he had ordained to the priesthood. How ironic that those who were subjected to the "loyalty test" by Archbishop Lefebvre expect others to remain "loyal" to them when grave problems that they have ignored or minimized or dismissed have become the source of needless scandal and conflict.

Father Markus Ramolla, seeking the common good of Saint Gertrude the Great Church, wanted to exercise his authority as the newly appointed principal of Saint Gertrude the Great School without interference from the Lotarskis. It quickly became clear, however, that Father Ramolla, who was to assume his duties as principal of the school on Monday, November 9, 2009, would neither be permitted to exercise this authority, nor remove the Lotarskis from the school. Father Ramolla was evidently to be principal in name only so that he could accept the blame for failing to correct problems that had been created by his predecessor, Mark Lotarski, who continues to have the ear and the support of Father Cekada and Bishop Dolan.

Father Ramolla had issued conditions for Mark Lotarski's continued presence as a teacher at Saint Gertrude the Great School pending his, Father Ramolla's, assumption of the duties of principal on November 9, 2009. However, four days before Father was due to take on his new role, he was summarily dismissed from Saint Gertrude the Great Church and School. The following is a copy of Father Ramolla's letter to parishioners on this subject:

Over the last week, many parishioners have been asking me how I had intended to supervise Mark Lotarski when I became principal.  The question is more than a fair one.  It was rumored that he would be singled out and treated harshly.  In spite of the parish's unhappiness with Mark, many of you wanted him to get a fair shake when I took over.  Below is an account of my plans and thoughts for you to judge whether he would have been treated fairly under my administration.

Before he suddenly fired me, Bishop Dolan had directed me to invite Mark to a one-on-one dinner so that I could share with him my expectations.  Bishop Dolan asked me to assure him that I would admit Mark to our family.  Since Bishop Dolan was my pastor too, I earnestly desired to do what he wanted in order to "turn a new page" as Bishop Dolan asked.  I had originally decided to present five reasonable conditions under which Mark, provided that he himself wanted to abide by them, would enjoy every benefit our teaching community can offer.  It was my hope that these conditions would become the foundation of an enduring  and faithful familial relationship, for they characterize — and define — how I would expect Mark to comport himself in order (1) for the school to be successful in imparting knowledge and Catholic principles to the students, and (2) for Mark to work in harmony with the school administration, staff, and parents.  If he agreed to these conditions, he would show himself to be a dutiful son who would thrive under the just authority of a loving father, who is not only the principal, but also a priest.

Here is a brief summary of the rules, which by now you may have heard about:

1.  Mark must obey the principal in all matters relating to the school.

2.  There must not be any more outbursts, no physical punishments, no belittling or threatening pupils or fellow teachers or other staff.  He must act as a subordinate to the principal and as an equal to the teaching staff, not their superior.

3.  In matters concerning school governance and staff relations, Mark must follow the chain of command and bring any suggestions and complaints first to the attention of the principal, and not the pastor.

4.  In his capacity as a teacher, Mark may administer correction to a student solely for an infraction of a published school rule.  Moreover, Mark must report in writing to the principal any and all incidents of disciplinary action taken, and must cite the specific rule violated.  Mark must also acknowledge that only the principal can publish new rules.

5.  Mark has an affirmative obligation to support the school by ensuring that his own children abide by the same rules that guide their fellow students.

I wanted to assure Mark that his cheerful compliance with these conditions would realize the sincerely heartfelt wishes of Bishop Dolan.  I was thinking that as Catholics, even though the authority of the hierarchy is gone now, it is good practice for everyone to conform his will to the express wishes of his pastor.  So, in order to help Mark cooperate with me in obeying our pastor's wishes, I had intended to ask him to acknowledge that a true family can have just one head — in this case, the principal.  I was looking forward to counseling him that unless he made such an acknowledgment, Bishop Dolan's pastoral hopes would surely be defeated.  As principal and as a priest working at Saint Gertrude the Great, I had already my firm intention to make Bishop Dolan's prayerful hopes a reality.  All that would have been needed was for Mark to make the same sincere commitment and agree to live by the five easy, common-sense conditions summarized above.

I know today that I was naïve.  Last week, however, I really had every hope that Mark would change the behavior at the heart of our problems and become a productive member of the school family.  I would have told him up front that only his willful disregard of the conditions would result in any adverse action against him as a teacher.  I had hoped to be able to persuade Mark to come to see the five conditions not as restrictions but rather as guideposts for building a successful career at St. Gertrude the Great School.  In fact, in my own view, Mark would have been able to consider these conditions as a protection against any arbitrary attempt to dismiss him.  He would have had full control over his future at the school, and only he, by a willful act of insubordination, could have caused us to part ways.

These, anyway, were my hopes.  Just one day before my firing, Mark texted me out of the blue to cancel the dinner meeting, without giving any reason. (Letter to Parishioners of St. Gertrude the Great regarding his plans on taking over the principalship of the school)

 

At no point in "School Dazed" did Father Cekada once mention these truly common sense conditions that had been laid down by Father Ramolla for Mark Lotarski to remain as a teacher at Saint Gertrude the Great School as to do so would be admit to his reading public that there was a need to curb Mark Lotarski's penchant for yelling at and belittling students and teachers alike. Father Cekada cannot admit the reality of the situation, pretending as though all complaints about Mark Lotarski's behavior as principal were unjustified, simply the "stuff" of "internet gossip" and nothing else.

Father Ramolla knew that the meeting he had with Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada on November 3, 2009, presaged the end of his time at Saint Gertrude the Great Church and School. Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada wanted Father Ramolla to apologize, preferably with tears, for his criticism of Father Cekada in a sermon that he gave at the opening of the parish's annual Forty Hours observance on October 23, 2009, that  is reminiscent of what Saint Anthony of Padua said from a pulpit when denouncing a bishop to his face: "You, the mitred one! It is about you that I preach now."

Mr. Bernard Hall's sober summary of the November 3, 2009, presents a slightly different picture than that presented in sensationalized terms by Father Cekada's "School Dazed:"

On [Tuesday, November 3rd], Fr. Markus Ramolla was called in to a meeting with Bishop Daniel Dolan and Fr. Anthony Cekada of St. Gertrude the Great Church.

The meeting opened abruptly with a hostile question from Bishop Dolan: "What do you have against Fr. Cekada and me?"  Fr. Ramolla explained that his main concern was that Fr. Cekada had continued to dismiss every single criticism he had brought to him regarding the school and the Lotarskis.

Disregarding this reply for the moment, Bishop Dolan made a series of accusations against Fr. Ramolla, basically blaming him for many of the problems that have befallen the parish.  Fr. Ramolla reminded him that the basic issue was none of these accusations but the fact that every single complaint he had ever brought to Fr. Cekada regarding the school and the inexcusable behavior of Mark Lotarski had been completely ignored or brushed away.  Fr. Cekada agreed that he had done this, excusing himself on the grounds of temperament and attempted impartiality.  Fr. Cekada then apologized for mishandling the situation.

In spite of this, Bishop Dolan persisted in making accusations, reproaching Fr. Ramolla for stirring up trouble in the parish by his complaints against the Lotarskis.  Although it was Bishop Dolan himself who had instructed Fr. Ramolla to advise him of every incident involving Mark and Joan Lotarski and their mishandling of the school and its students, the Bishop then went on to remonstrate against Fr. Ramolla, telling him he cannot work with a priest he doesn't trust -- and he no longer trusts Fr. Ramolla!  Fr. Ramolla replied in turn that he no longer had any faith in Fr. Cekada, his abilities and judgments.

Bishop Dolan advised Fr. Ramolla he would give him a little time to think about it, and that he would consider giving him a "second chance" providing he apologized, preferably with tears of sorrow and repentance.

After the meeting ended Fr. Ramolla composed the following letter, which was delivered to Bishop Dolan today.  Fr. Ramolla has now been dismissed from his posts as Principal of St. Gertrude the Great School and Assistant Pastor of the church:

At the Tuesday meeting, Your Excellency began by asking what grievances I had against Fr. Cekada. You already knew the answer, for I had on many occasions confided to Your Excellency in Christian candor my misgivings about Father’s judgment, his indifference, and his tone-deafness to misdeeds, most recently during our trip in France. True to the hidden agenda of the “meeting,” Your Excellency made a feint by asking why I was no longer a friend of Most Holy Trinity Seminary. Your Excellency knew my reasons before I shared them. In fact, I surmise that even Your Excellency has secretly acknowledged to himself that the seminary is a sham and its rector in need of spiritual and intellectual guidance. Our brother priests in Europe confirmed they shared this view.

Patently vexed by these hard truths, Your Excellency laid against me the charge of harming the parish and the school through imprudent, resentful, and angry discussions with laity. Your Excellency knows that any attendant harm resulted from the incompetent and pusillanimous supervision of an errant lay employee who was and remains the proximate cause of all the unhappiness that has afflicted St. Gertrude’s. Let me here speak truth to power: It is never “imprudent” to protest injustice and the abuse of discretion – it is a Catholic’s solemn duty. Your Excellency added that you no longer trust me. I reply that an honest man who speaks up against injustice, scandalous conduct, and organizational anomy is the man most deserving of Your Excellency’s trust – even if that honest man’s remonstrance is a public condemnation of Your Excellency’s and Father’s failure to govern justly in accordance with Catholic principles and our Lord’s example.

Next, in a move certainly calculated to terrorize me, you had the temerity to accuse me of being too close to a laywoman. I will not dignify with a reply that scurrilous slur laden with a not-too-latent malice. I am nauseated at Your Excellency’s utter disregard for common decency, especially in light of the fact that Your Excellency and Fr. Cekada have labored for many, many years under a widely held suspicion of inappropriate behavior. Finally, you demanded of me tears so that Your Excellency might justify his giving me a second chance to serve under an unworthy leader. Rest assured that I have already shed those tears in profound sorrow on behalf of the children and the good people of St. Gertrude’s who must try to find salvation in the desert wrought by Your Excellency’s objectively wrongheaded stewardship.

I cannot apologize or plead for pardon from Your Excellency, for to do so would be a repudiation of my acting justly in accordance with the obligations of my priestly vows. It is far better for Your Excellency to invite me to leave than for me to betray an informed conscience and my sacred orders.

With the assurance of my fervent prayers for Your Excellency’s change of mind,

The Reverend Markus Ramolla (Letter to Bishop Dolan leading to his dismissal)

 

That Father Ramolla acted to protect his chalice on Wednesday, November 4, 2009, is not, as Father Cekada attempts to convey in "School Dazed," some kind of proof that he, Father Ramolla, was plotting a voluntary exit of his own. Father Ramolla was seeking to prudently protect his ordination gift, knowing that he, like others before him, would be barred from returning to the campus of Saint Gertrude the Great Church and School. Indeed Father's work visa was revoked on Wednesday, November 4, 2009, the day before Father Ramolla was dismissed by Bishop Dolan.

Father Cekada wrote in "School Dazed" about the necessity to "forgive and forget." How was this forgiveness extended to Father Ramolla? Why was he treated so harshly and the bad behavior of the Lotarski children and of Mark Lotarski himself treated so lightly? Why the rush to remove the work visa? Why not give Father Ramolla a chance to remain in the country and serve souls? Why was this harsh, punitive measured imposed so summarily and without any warning in advance to Father Ramolla? No, Father Cekada wrote about none of this in his intellectually dishonest "School Dazed."

Father Cekada went so far in "School Dazed" as to suggest that Father Ramolla was plotting all along to start an empire of his own in West Chester, Ohio:

Father remained somewhere in the area, where he immediately set up a competing chapel, complete with a deceptive web-site with information about” (=attacks on) St. Gertrude the Great Church. The mask was off.

 

What mask, Father Cekada? This is an insidious statement that has no foundation in fact at all. What mask?

Perhaps Father Cekada might do well to actually read what I wrote in Shooting the Messenger on this point:

Bishop Dolan's "Bishop's Corner" [on Sunday, November 15, 2009] also repeats the lie that Father Ramolla "decided to leave Saint Gertrude's." As Father Ramolla confirmed to me once again this morning after Holy Mass, he was dismissed in person by Bishop Dolan on Thursday, November 5, 2009, the day after his work visa had been revoked. Any claim that Father Ramolla "decided to leave," no less the lie that Bishop Dolan told to first grade students on Friday, November 6, 2009, that Father Ramolla "missed Germany" and wanted to "return" there, is without any credibility whatsoever.

Moreover, if, as Bishop Dolan contends, Father Ramolla intended to "destroy" Saint Gertrude the Great Church and School, why did he not make temporal provisions for his departure? Why was he not soliciting funds for a residence? Why did he not solicit funds for his own automobile so that he could drive to his various Mass centers? Why was everything so ad hoc upon his dismissal?

If Father Ramolla had a "plan" to "destroy" Saint Gertrude the Great Church and School, why was he such a poor planner in making provisions for his temporal welfare when he found the time propitious to leave after doing his "dirty work"? Why did not Father Ramolla make plans months ago for another sponsor for his work visa so that he would not have to prepare paperwork hastily to remain in this country? There is not a shred of proof that Bishop Dolan can bring forth to show that Father Ramolla was squirreling away part of his $200 a month allowance to provide for any kind of an "exit" from Saint Gertrude the Great Church that he neither planned nor wanted to occur.

 

Father Markus Ramolla, vilified from the pulpit by his ordaining bishop, whom he sought to serve as a true friend in rectifying problems that were eating away at the life of Saint Gertrude the Great Church and School, did not seek the course of action that has been visited upon him within the Providence of God. He has, however, risen to this moment and is seeking to serve souls, doing so with the support of Bishops Robert Neville and Robert McKenna, O.P., and the Dominican Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. That so many of the faithful have themselves expressed their support for him is a strong statement that the tactics of intimidation by character assassination and of misrepresentation of the truth that have been used for so long by Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada have not worked as well this time as in the past.

God bless the priestly courage and zeal for souls and commitment to the truth of Father Markus Ramolla, who is no respecter of persons.

 

Appeals to Emotion Even to the Very End

What more can be said? We need to get on with the sanctification and salvation of our immortal souls. We need to oppose the apostasies of the Modernists in the counterfeit church of conciliarism and the plans of the statists in the world.

People are going to believe what they want to believe. One should read "School Dazed," however, as a work of clever fiction that ranks right up with Richard Nixon's April 30, 1973, address to the people of the United States of America, and William Jefferson Blythe Clinton's categorical declaration on January 26, 2008, of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky:

 

I never told anybody to lie, not a single time – never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people. (Jan. 26: White House news conference; YouTube, January 26, 2008.)

 

Father Cekada had the unmitigated gall to write the following near the end of "School Dazed:"

 

If you have a problem or a worry about something at church, make an appointment to speak with the Pastor about it. In our own case, Bishop Dolan built St. Gertrude’s up from nothing over thirty years, so he is in the best position to help. It is remarkable what good such face-to-face communication can accomplish.

 

This is laughable as there are other parents, including one who has written to me but is not ready to make his case public, who have indeed gone to Bishop Dolan, only to be rebuffed with words such as "Mark [Lotarski] is contrite. Go talk to him." As noted before, Bishop Dolan made no time to speak with me nearly five months ago now, minimizing the distress that he knew we were going through at the time. Good communication? Sure, it can accomplish a lot. Perhaps it should be tried at Saint Gertrude the Great Church. Church. Father Cekada, start by telling the truth and facing up to the fact that Father Markus Ramolla is one of your best friends in seeking to solve longstanding problems that you and Bishop Dolan have chosen to ignore or excuse.

Even in the end, sadly, Father Cekada can't face the whole truth, namely, that this entire matter has burst into public view because he and Bishop Dolan have built up such a wall of defenses around themselves that they view their critics as "enemies" who are filled with hate when they are actually their friends filled with a desire to help them to correct problems that no amount of cleverly-titled monographs can obscure, either now or, most particularly, at the General Judgment of the Living and the Dead on the Last Day when the intentions of all hearts and the exact circumstances of all lives will revealed for all to see without recourse to cleverness or obfuscation.

May we, eager to make reparation for our own sins against truth and justice and charity that will be revealed on that Last Day, beseech the tender mercies of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, praying as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit.

May God have mercy on us all.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, triumph soon.

Viva Cristo Rey! Vivat Christus Rex!

 

Dr. Thomas A. Droleskey