The Scandals at St. Gertrude the Great

West Chester, Ohio

The Full Documented Story


    November 8, 2009

Sanctimony Won't Work This Time

by Thomas A. Droleskey


And when there is question of the divine honour, we should not be frightened by the dignity of the man who offends God; let us say to him openly: This is sinful; it cannot be done. Let us imitate the Baptist, who reproved King Herod for living with his brother's wife and said to him: "It is not lawful for thee to have her"--Matt., xiv. 4. Men indeed shall regard us as fools, and turn us into derision; but, on the day of judgment they shall acknowledge that they have been foolish, and we have shall have the glory of being numbered among the saints. They shall say: "These are they whom we had some time in derision..... We fools esteemed their life madness, and their end without honour. Behold how they are numbered among the children of God, and their lot is among the saints"--Wis., v. 3, 4, 5. (Sixth Sunday After Easter: On Human Respect.)

 

Fallen human nature wreaks its effects upon each of us without exception. Save for a handful of genuine mystics, few people ever understand the extent to which their own Actual Sins have contributed to the darkening of their intellects and the weakening of their wills, thus compounding the inherently darkened nature of their intellects and the weakness of their wills that we have as a result of the vestigial aftereffects of Original Sin. The darkened nature of our intellects and the weakness of our wills inclines us to sin all the more, responding with alacrity to the siren sounds of our own disordered pride at various points when we find ourselves in conflict with others.

It is important to be reminded of this when regrettably tragic conflicts break out such as that which has emerged at Saint Gertrude the Great Church in West Chester, Ohio, a place where great glories are given to God in the Sacred Liturgy and where the liturgical year comes alive, especially by means of the richness of the celebration of the feasts of the saints and the daily sermons given by His Excellency Bishop Daniel L. Dolan about the lives of those saints. Although we have been trained by the likes of such programs as the original Perry Mason series to think that every "case" in which we find ourselves is going to be wrapped up into a nice, neat understandable package in a figurative fifty-five minutes or so, the complexity of fallen human nature makes such neat, understandable "endings" very rare to realize.

Each of us brings different perspectives to bear on the situations in which we find ourselves. So many people, especially in the internet age, believe that they know--with infallible accuracy--the interior, subjective dispositions of souls, refusing to make distinctions between what is observable publicly and what is in the hearts and souls of men that will only be revealed on the Last Day at the General Judgment of the Living and Dead. Indeed, many people feel free to comment quite publicly on the motives of private individuals in full violation of the binding precepts of the Eighth Commandment, making one rash judgment after another. 

Thus it is that this commentary, which brings to bear my own most imperfect perspectives on a situation that, much like the scandals in the structures of the counterfeit church of conciliarism that exploded into full public view in January of 2002, has become a public matter after years of stonewalling the complaints brought to Bishop Dolan and Father Anthony Cekada by earnest, well-meaning parishioners, will endeavor to comment only on the facts as I know them to be without descending to the ad hominem at all. We continue to have great gratitude to Bishop Dolan for all that he has taught us and for all of the kindnesses that he has extended to our family. As noted above, however, we must not be respecters of persons. We must love the truth more than we love creatures, and it is solely for the love of the truth that this commentary is being written.

The Spirit of Econe Replicated in the United States of America

As I see it, my good and few readers, the problems at Saint Gertrude the Great Church that Father Markus Ramolla sought to address are the result, proximately speaking, of the residual influences of the clericalist spirit of the Society of Saint Pius X that has been kept burning in various places in the United States of America, including in the chapels administered under the direction of Bishop Dolan and His Excellency Bishop Donald Sanborn. This clericalist spirit is made manifest by treating the laity with contempt and disdain, at least in many instances, when they bring their legitimate grievances to their pastors. In other words, "You, the sheep should shut your mouths. We, the shepherds, are beyond question. Do as we say. Don't complain. If you don't like it, leave or we will deny you the sacraments." Whatever this is, my friends, it is not Catholicism.

One of the supreme ironies with this spirit of clericalism, a phenomenon that will be discussed briefly below to distinguish it from the due reverence we must hold for the persons of our shepherds and the submission we owe them in matters that pertain to the salvation of our immortal souls, is that it is the precise spirit that the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre used against "The Nine" in 1983 when they brought their concerns to him about the disorder within the Society of Saint Pius X. Bishop Donald Sanborn and Father Anthony Cekada have written extensively about the arbitrariness of the archbishop's view of the conciliar church and of the validity of its sacramental rites and the way in which he, the archbishop, threw out critics without so much as a moment's notice. (See Bishop Sanborn's Logical Chickens Coming Home to Roost: A Commentary on Recent Events in SSPX and The Mountains of Gelboe and Father Cekada's The Nine vs. Lefebvre: We Resist You to Your Face).

The ecclesiology and liturgy of the Society of Saint Pius X reflect the arbitrary decisions of Archbishop Lefebvre, to which every priest and seminarian and member of the laity had to give his assent lest he be thrown out. The then Father Donald Sanborn noted this quite well in the immediate aftermath of the archbishop's arbitrary expulsion of "The Nine" in April of 1983:

How could it have happened ? How could years of work be shattered in a flash ? That is the question the laity are still asking themselves which needs an answer.

The answer ties in understanding that the particular issues of the liturgy, the expulsion of priests, the annulments, the dubious ordinations, etc. were merely symptoms of a much deeper issue: the role of the Society in the Church. Is the Society the preserver and protector of tradition in the Church, or is it a sifter of the liberal reforms, accepting some, rejecting others?

The question becomes clearer when one analyzes the fundamental accusation hurled against the "nine priests": disobedience to the Archbishop. The "nine" have been accused of this disobedience because they will not go along with His Excellency's decisions concerning liturgy, annulments, ordination rites, etc. The accusation implies, of course, that Archbishop Lefebvre has the power from the Church and from God to make and impose decisions of this nature. The claim — express or implied — that the Archbishop has such power is the very crux of the matter....

The ones the Archbishop considered his true followers were those who did not draw any conclusions from his sayings or actions, who did not seek an answer to the fundamental question, who were neither hard-liners nor soft-liners, but only "Archbishop-liners." His Excellency always cultivated and favored this kind of seminarian, and surrounded himself with them when they were ordained. He would visibly spurn those who, either by word or deed, manifested an adherence to a principle which lay above and beyond the Archbishop, and to which the Archbishop himself was considered subject and responsible.

I think that he felt that such clerics threatened the unity of his Society, and were simply "using" him for ordination. His attitude, one sensed, was, "Why come to Ecône if not to follow Monsignor Lefebvre?" I think he believed that the fundamental operating principle of Ecône was to follow Archbishop Lefebvre in his struggle to retain tradition.

In order to help seminarians who came to him, he was willing to lead them on a step-by-step basis through the dark tunnel of the crisis in the Church; all were invited but none forced to. take the same steps as he. If you felt squeamish about continuing at any point you were free to leave, and if he felt squeamish about your continuing in his Society, he would ask you to please leave, thank you.

And leave they did. Ecône and the Society as a whole has been plagued, from the beginning, with controversies, divisions, defections, purges, and expulsions.

About every two years since 1970 there has been some major eruption. If I am counting correctly, nearly one-third of the priests whom Archbishop Lefebvre has ordained are now no longer part of the Society. The toll among seminarians is similarly staggering.

Whenever circumstances would maneuver either the "hard line" or the "soft line" into a confrontation with the Archbishop's line, the missiles of accusation of "disloyalty" and "disobedience" would be launched with jolting ferocity, and the targeted victim, regardless of his contributions or position in the Society up to that time, would just wither away from the heat of the opprobrium.

The direction of the strikes usually depended on the weather in Rome. If Rome was conciliatory, then the soft-liners were "in", and the hard-liners "out." If Rome pursued a hard line, then the soft-liners were "out" and the hard-liners were "in". Inevitably the strike against the one side would inflate those of the opposing victorious side with a false sense of security, compelling them to think that His Excellency had definitively sided with them. Little did they know that they would be the next ones on the block.

The long-term survivors were the ones who did not think, and consequently found no trouble in zigzagging theologically, advancing when the Archbishop advanced, retreating when he retreated, affirming when he affirmed, negating when he negated, changing when he changed, accepting the reforms which he accepted, rejecting the reforms which he rejected. Such was the ideal seminarian

Let examples illustrate the point. Something which always made me uneasy at Ecône was a certain "picking and choosing" of reforms, which, in Archbishop Lefebvre's mind, were acceptable and in accordance with tradition. The dialogue Mass, the Paul VI reforms in the traditional Mass, the use of the lecterns instead of the altar for the Epistle and Gospel, the observance of the Paul VI eucharistic fast, and the suppression of the traditional fasts of Lent and Ember Days are all examples of the picking and choosing. One got the impression of being somewhere in between the reforms and tradition, a third entity somewhere between new and old. The only apparent measuring stick was Archbishop Lefebvre's own judgment concerning the acceptability of the innovation.

An incident which is vivid in my mind from about ten years ago further illustrates the point. I was assigned to take part as a server in a Solemn Mass at Ecône. In order to accomplish the task accurately, I studied from a traditional manual of liturgy, a French one, the very one named by Ecône to be the standard manual of the seminary. When the practice time came, I was discussing certain movements with the Master of Ceremonies, and pointed out to him that he had instructed us differently from what was indicated in the book. His response was that Archbishop Lefebvre wanted it that way, and then glared at me and roared, "Are you against the Archbishop?"

I peeped a meek "no," and did it the "Archbishop's way." I later pondered the conversation, and realized, I think for the first time, that what the Church commanded and what Archbishop Lefebvre commanded were, in this case, two different things. Which was the higher authority, Catholic tradition or Archbishop Lefebvre?

Many in the Society argue that since we cannot follow our local hierarchy, modernists that they are, we must follow and obey someone, and that someone is Archbishop Lefebvre. They contend that he has a certain authority over traditional Catholics, since he is the one "chosen by God to be the Athanasius of our time." Accordingly, they assign to him an authority to rule traditional Catholics all over the world. This authority requires Catholics to trust him to make decisions through the crisis, and to select from the Vatican's reforms what is traditional and what is not. In other words, he is regarded by many to be the living tradition of the Catholic Church.

In the above example of the liturgy, they would argue that I would have been obliged in obedience to Archbishop Lefebvre, over any obligation to the previous tradition, to do it his way. After all, they would say, you have the guarantee that it is Catholic since Archbishop Lefebvre approves of it.

Although argument sounds attractive to the faithful who are longing for a true shepherd, and who would be heavily inclined to surrender their intellects to him as they would to the Pope in normal times, it nevertheless causes many more problems than it solves.

In the first place, if traditional Catholics have rejected Vatican II and everything which has come forth from it, even the New Mass promulgated by Pope Paul VI, since these things break with tradition, why would not the same criterion of tradition be applied to one bishop, Archbishop Lefebvre? Why would we accept a reform which Archbishop Lefebvre says is all right, but reject a reform which a pope says is all right?

Secondly, to concede such a power to Archbishop Lefebvre, i.e. that of ruling the faithful all over the world, laity and clergy alike, is equivalent to making him the Pope. To do so would be schismatic.

Thirdly, although a certain unity would be achieved among the traditionalists by granting this authority to him, it would be a false unity, not of Catholic principle, but of a man. and would disappear as soon as the man disappears.

Father Richard Williamson gives a perfect illustration of the kind of submission which is sought by the Society. In his interview dated June 9, 1983, entitled, "The Archbishop and the Nine — Questions and Answers", he states, on page eight:

“    Nevertheless there is not in my own mind a serious doubt as to the validity of the new rite of ordination, even if it is administered in English, so long    as the English forms are properly followed because the English forms signify clearly enough the grace that they have to effect.”

Then Fr. Williamson says shortly after:

“ Now His Grace may come to a different conclusion on the question of the English rite for ordination, and if His Grace comes to a different conclusion, I shall be very inclined to follow him because he is a far better theologian than I am.”

Logic poses the question to Fr. Williamson, "If the rite is certainly valid, how can anyone, including the Archbishop, even entertain the thought of changing his mind?" Logic then begins to worry about people dying with the absolutions and anointings of New Rite priests, who are "certainly valid" today, but who may be the object of a mind-changing tomorrow.

And will the soul who went to heaven today, because the New Rite is valid today, be told that he must go to hell tomorrow, because the Archbishop has changed his mind and Fr. Williamson has followed suit? There is no consistency, and it does not make sense.

A similar scenario is found in the liturgical question. In 1976, His Excellency officially approved of the use of the so-called "Saint Pius X rubrics" (i.e. those preceding the 1955 Bugnini reforms) for three of the five districts of the Society. In 1983, Archbishop Lefebvre declared that to adhere to such rubrics is disobedient to John XXIII.

Logic intervenes again and asks "Why was it not disobedient in 1976?" "If it was licit to use them in 1976, why is it not licit to use them in 1983? If it was permitted for Archbishop Lefebvre to reject the John XXIII rubrics in 1976, why is it not permitted for a priest to say 'no' to Archbishop Lefebvre when he seeks to impose the same rubrics?" Does Archbishop Lefebvre have more authority than John XXIII? If, in the name of tradition, we resist the command of a pope, why could not one resist the command of a bishop who imposed the same thing?

Archbishop Lefebvre faulted Fr. Zapp for resisting him on the rubrics of John XXIII, and faulted me for saying that Fr. Zapp had a right to do so. I think that His Excellency would have preferred to have had priests who would not have even considered the inconsistencies of 1976 and 1983. (The Crux of the Matter)

 

Father Anthony Cekada described the loyalty to Archbishop Lefebvre that was expected as a condition of membership in the Society of Saint Pius X:

This point was related to the foregoing. In practice Abp. Lefebvre and SSPX had begun to equate loyalty to themselves and their “positions” with loyalty to the Church.


Neither we nor the people we served had signed up for this either.


Thus, when people say sedevacantism was the cause of our dispute with SSPX, I respond that the real conflict was  not over failing to recognize John Paul II as pope — it was failing to recognize Abp. Lefebvre as pope. (The Nine vs. Lefebvre: We Resist You to Your Face.)

 

It is indeed ironic that those who are attached to Bishops Dolan and Sanborn are expected to accept in a spirit of docility the alleged doctrinal pronouncements (on the denial of Holy Communion to those who assist at Masses offered by priests who are "una cum Benedicto") and pastoral practices in their chapels. Those who complain about such pronouncements and/or practices, even if they do their due diligence and bring their concerns to their shepherds privately without a word of public protest, are dealt with arbitrarily, sometimes threatened with police action if they ever dare to step foot on the grounds on the property of their chapels ever again.

Indeed, it is nothing other than astounding that some of The Nine, Fathers Joseph Collins and Thomas Zapp excepted, have employed the Archbishop's methods when dealing with their own critics, including priests and, of course, those of us who are unfortunate enough to be the lowly, woe-begotten creatures in the laity, using the sacraments as weapons to coerce "obedience" to various decisions and administrative policies that have proved themselves to be injurious to the good of souls and sources of scandal and bewilderment that have driven many people into the waiting arms of Joseph Ratzinger's One World Church and kept many others in the structures of a "church" whose head calls Mohammedan mosques "sacred" and who treats Talmudic Judaism as a valid means of salvation for its adherents.

This spirit of Econe can be summarized as follows: When in doubt, throw out. Treat critics arbitrarily. Deny them the sacraments. Speak ill of them publicly. Denounce them if necessary. Whatever this is, it is not Catholicism. It is so very far from the spirit of the saints, who told the truth at all times and who permitted themselves to be humiliated publicly without complaint.

Clericalism: The Abuse of Priestly Authority

Although I have written about this subject extensively, it is necessary at this juncture to make a distinction between clericalism, which is the abuse of priestly authority as the laity are browbeaten and intimidated when attempting to bring legitimate concerns to the attention of their pastors, and the due, humble and docile submission we owe to our pastors in all that pertains to the sanctification and salvation of our immortal souls.

It is not, for example, an abuse of priestly authority of our shepherds to remonstrate us--whether from the pulpit or in the confessional or in private conversation--to obey the binding precepts of the Deposit of Faith. It is not an abuse of priestly authority for our shepherds to warn us to avoid immersing ourselves uncritically in the ways of the world and its naturalism. It is not an abuse of priestly authority for them to tell us to dress modestly and decently  all times, especially when assisting at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and when we find ourselves on the grounds of our churches or chapels and their schools. It is the sacred obligation of our shepherds to help us to get home to heaven, and we in the laity have the obligation to give their due respect as submission in matters of Faith and Morals as our shepherds have had their immortal souls configured eternally to the Priesthood and Victimhood of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

When the Church proclaims what she has received from Our Lord Jesus Christ, the faithful at times are hesitant to embrace her proclamation because her proclamation smacks, they believe, of "clericalism. They invoke the term "clericalism" in this instance erroneously and self-servingly. It is not an abuse of priestly authority for our shepherds to endeavor to save our immortal souls as they exhort us to quit our sins and to die to self more fully that we might grow in sanctity in order to be ready at all times to die in a  state of Sanctifying Grace.

There are times, however, when we might need to remonstrate with our shepherds on pastoral matters that impinge upon the right ordering of parish life. If repeated private entreaties to redress grave matters fail, then these words of Saint Thomas Aquinas apply:

"It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly."

"Article 2: Fraternal correction is a matter of obligation (precept) out of charity for the sinner. And if the order of fraternal correction has been observed (beginning with private admonitions until there is no other recourse for the sake of the faith than to publicly proclaim the prelate), to do so for the sake of the faith can be meritorious." (Saint Thomas Aquinas)

 

The public denunciation of our shepherds is not something to be undertaken lightly. It is a matter that involves the gravest of perils to our own immortal souls if not undertaken properly and after exhausting all reasonable means to seek a redress of legitimate grievances privately. We must seek, wherever possible, the advice of true priests to guide us when matters that pose a threat to the common good of the Church and thus to the good of souls remain unresolved by our shepherds.

Similarly, this particular article has been undertaken in very close consultation and collaboration with Father Markus Ramolla and others in the clergy  each of whom has helped to proofread and to vet its contents. There are cases, such as this one, when those with the charism of holy orders, including the fullness of the priesthood that is the episcopacy, use their priestly charism as a shield against all criticism of their pastoral and administrative decisions, going to so far as to seek to use that shield to attack priests who are seeking to bring their misdeeds to light. I want to stress to my readers that this article is being published without any glee and without any sense of disrespect for the due reverence we owe the persons of our bishops and priests.

Thuggery, however, remains what it is. And no man can use his episcopal or priestly dignity to commit acts of thuggery ad infinitum, ad nauseam without efforts being made to defend those who have been made the victims of this thuggery.

The Situation at Saint Gertrude the Great School

Case-in-point: the administration of Saint Gertrude the Great School.

Although there has been much discussion in various chat rooms and in various e-mails about the administration of Saint Gertrude the Great School under the principalship of Mr. Mark Lotarski, whose immediate supervisor has been Father Anthony Cekada, suffice it to note for present purposes that a number of parents and others have sought over the years to complain about the bullying of their own children by Mr. Lotarski and by some of his children. The allegations of misconduct, especially by the Lotarski children, are very serious as they involved acts of physical intimidation and the use of obscene gestures. No, my friends, we do not need to descend to the specifics. It is enough to know that the misbehavior was grave and, in at least one instance, criminal in nature.

We were not exempt from feeling the disdain and contempt of the Lotarski boys, one of whom threw down a piece of wood with great violence on a pew where we kneeling after Holy Mass in December of last year. Lucy was very scared. The boy, who was dressed a leather jacket, just looked at us with anger and contempt. "What had I we done to them?" I asked Sharon. Why do they dislike us so much?" Having read how the concerns of some parents and other parishioners about these complaints were dismissed time and time again, I told Sharon, "There's not a thing in the world we can do about this as the bishop is not going to correct this abuse."

Father Cekada dismissed these complaints with a casual attitude of "boys will be boys," heedless of the fact that some children of the school felt terrorized by the Lotarski boys. Father Cekada was also heedless of the fact that most Catholic schools in the 1950s would have dealt with such brutal, thuggish, violent behavior by suspending or expelling the miscreants responsible for them, acknowledging that each individual case would be judged as far as was possible according to the nature of the acts and the circumstances in which they occurred. Father has, most humbly, it should be noted, admitted to Father Ramolla that he used bad judgment in dealing with these cases. And it is this bad judgment, indemnified time and again by Bishop Dolan, who almost never, at least not publicly, contradicts any of Father Cekada's pronouncements or administrative decisions, that has engendered so much ill will at Saint Gertrude the Great Church over the years.

One of those who attempted to bring his concerns to the attention of Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada was Mr. Michael Di Salvo, a former seminarian at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary for the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, a Motu community attached to the structures of the counterfeit church of conciliarism with which I was associated somewhat during my indulterer years from 1993 to 2003. Mr. Di Salvo did his due diligence. He attempted to bring his concerns to the attention of His Excellency and Father Cekada, only to be rebuffed. Convinced that serious injustices were occurring, Mr. Di Salvo associated with another individual, one who had taught at Saint Gertrude the Great School, a Mr. Eamon Shea, and sent notes in the latter part of 2008 calling upon parents to seek the removal of the Lotarskis from the parish.

Mr. Di Salvo, an earnest man who had dealt with the systematic cover-up of moral abuses within the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, was, it appeared to me, seeking the true good of Saint Gertrude the Great Church and school. It is to my shame, I will admit, that I did not lend my public support to Mr. Di Salvo at the time as I had great gratitude to Bishop Dolan for all that he had done for us and hoped that private recourse to His Excellency would help him to make the corrections that needed to be made at the parish. This was a judgment call on my part. I kept my mouth and my computer shut when I should have had both wide open and clicking away.

Things reached a breaking point between Mr. Di Salvo and the senior clergy at Saint Gertrude the Great Church in early January of this year. We were present at Holy Mass on a Saturday, I believe it was January 10, 2009, when we saw Father Cekada tap Mr. Di Salvo on the shoulder after Mass, taking him into the principal's office for a little chat. Neither Mr. Di Salvo or his wife, a convert to the Faith, were to be seen on the grounds of Saint Gertrude the Great Church ever again.

Mr. Di Salvo later revealed what had happened: Father Cekada presented him with a "contract" to sign. The "contract" stipulated that he, Michael Di Salvo, would recant any of his criticism of the clergy of Saint Gertrude the Great Church and the staff at Saint Gertrude the Great School and would refrain from any further criticism of them. Mr. Di Salvo and his wife were told that they would be barred entry onto the premises of Saint Gertrude the Great Church and denied the sacraments if they did not sign the contract. They did not sign the contract, at which point Mr. Di Salvo reported that he and his wife were much more "comfortable" in using the "c" word (cult) to refer the modus operandi of Saint Gertrude the Great Church and School.

The use of these "contracts," which are used also at Most Holy Trinity Seminary in Spring Lake, Florida, have nothing to do with the Catholic Faith. They have everything to do with the false spirit of Econe that has fostered an angry, arrogant, prideful clericalism that seeks to destroy anyone and everyone who has a mind of his own and who recognizes injustices to other human beings for what they are: injustices committed by arrogant men who, in effect, believe that they are the Church in this time of apostasy and betrayal.

Why Didn't People Act Before Now?

Why didn't more people act or speak up before now? Some were intimidated. Some were fearful of losing access to the sacraments, of being publicly humiliated. As noted just before, I did not speak up at the end of last year and the beginning of this year as I had great respect for Bishop Dolan and will forever have great gratitude to His Excellency for all that he has taught us and for all that he has done for us. I did not want to lose access to the sacraments at Saint Gertrude the Great Church or the other chapels associated with Bishops Dolan and Sanborn.

It was for this reason that I made the tragically erroneous decision in March of 2008 to "carry water" for Bishop Dolan, who has admitted that he handled the situation very badly, by carrying a message from His Excellency to a prominent layman that he had to make up his mind whether to assist at Holy Mass at Saint Gertrude the Great Church or Saint Pius X Church. I carried even more water when a very angry Bishop Dolan told us as he spoke through gritted teeth in the sacristy of the church on Easter Wednesday, March 26, 2008, that this layman's family was welcome to attend our daughter's First Communion the next day, Easter Thursday, March 27, 2008, but that I had to inform them to refrain from receiving Holy Communion. Yes, I was wrong to have carried this water. Very wrong. I should have refused. I did not. The Bishop was very angry. I did not want to jeopardize our daughter's First Holy Communion. Yes, my good and very few readers, I know all about the fear of being refused the sacraments. I succumbed to that fear.

Although there are a variety of subjective factors dealing with the interplay of a number of personalities with Bishop Dolan that fed into the anger he exhibited to us on Easter Wednesday in 2008 that really transcended the "una cum Benedicto" issue that will be discussed briefly below, I should not have been intimidated by the Bishop's demand, worse yet seeking to shroud myself under the umbrella of "obedience" to our shepherd in a matter that cast a pall over the day of our daughter's First Holy Communion and strained, if not broke, our friendship with the family in question, for whom we pray every day.

Bishop Dolan, dining with us at a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and Restaurant, on Easter Saturday, March 29, 2009, grappled to justify the decision he had made, saying at one point, "Yes, I think that is my position," that people who go back and forth between Masses of the Society of Saint Pius X and those at Saint Gertrude the Great Church would be welcome to attend Mass, seeing that they simply refrain from going up to receive Holy Communion, although he was not prepared, at least not at that point, to do what Bishop Donald Sanborn has done quite publicly in Florida: to bypass those at the Communion rail he knows to be assisting at "forbidden" Masses. Bishop Dolan noted with approval a few hours later that he had informed Bishop Sanborn that the "northern front" had been "opened" in the "una cum Benedicto" war. As my dear wife, who shares with me a great gratitude for all that Bishop Dolan has done for us, remarked, "Why must they make war upon the laity. We are not the problem."

I was wrong.

I can see, however, why so many kept so quiet for so long. I was one of their number. I hereby apologize to Mr. and Mrs. Barry Ahern for my acquiescing to Bishop Dolan's requests to relay his messages to them. I was very wrong. I was in fear of our daughter losing her First Communion day. This was terrible of me.

At Issue: The Same Abuse of Authority and Power as in the Novus Ordo Structures

What I wrote a few days ago in Unhappy Is The Happy Bishop, although aimed ostensibly at "Archbishop" Timothy Dolan, the conciliar "Archbishop" of New York, was written with Bishop Daniel Dolan's treatment of parishioners who have brought their pastoral concerns to him over the years in mind, not knowing that Father Markus Ramolla's letter would be waiting in my "inbox" some five hours after I posted Unhappy Is The Happy Bishop at 2:00 a.m. on Friday, November 6, 2009:

Leaving aside the fact that the counterfeit church of conciliarism is not the Catholic Church and that the men thought to be members of her hierarchy are no more "bishops" of the Catholic Church than the "bishops" of the Anglican and Episcopalian sects, it is not "Catholic bashing" to report how the men thought, albeit erroneously, to be "bishops" of the Catholic Church have browbeaten "whistle-blower" priests and presbyters and members of the laity who have complained to them about their arrogant abuse of powers to protect themselves from any and all criticism of their standard operating practices.

It is not "Catholic bashing"  or any display of anti-clericalism whatsoever to call the shepherds, whether real or counterfeit, to account for their abuse of power and for their belief that they can do or say whatever they can to assassinate the character of their critics, never once accepting responsibility for their own actions, never once admitting that they are even capable of being wrong in their pastoral judgments, always confident that they can pull the wool over the eyes of most of the members of the laity in order to tar their critics while wrapping themselves up in a garment of sanctimonious righteousness as they, the conciliar "hierarchy," have attempted time and time again to portray themselves as the victims of those who brought legitimate concerns to them only to be rebuffed with disdain and gangster-type threats in many instances.

To wit, I had a reputation as a "bishop" "basher" when I wrote investigative news stories for The Wanderer from 1992 to 2000. True priests and men I now recognize to be presbyters and members of the laity brought to me their concerns about how they had been manhandled and browbeaten and subjected to all manner of intimidation when seeking redress of longstanding wrongs with officials in the conciliar hierarchy.

Time and time again, however, the arrogant clericalists in chancery offices, mostly composed of men who were in the vanguard of the liturgical and doctrinal revolutions of conciliarism, discovered how to use the "obedience card" to attempt to defend themselves as they sought refuge in one slogan after another to dismiss any criticisms as unjustified, going so far sometimes to disparage the mental stability of their critics. It was not infrequently the case in the investigations that I conducted to find that the whistle-blowing priests/presbyters who went public with their concerns were brought before clerical tribunals and subjected to an inquisitorial gauntlet designed to force these priests/presbyters to remain silent lest they be "exposed" as the source of a diocese's or parish's problems.

Although Wanderer reporter Paul Likoudis did around ninety-five percent of the reporting of this abuse of "episcopal" power in the 1990s, my own experiences in dealing with the officials of chancery officials in conciliar captivity led me in that decade to believe that there would come a day when the laity, fed up with stonewalling and lies and half-truths and self-justifications, would go to secular reporters, who would jump at the opportunity to seek to discredit what they believed to be the Catholic Church. That day arrived in January of 2002, and the American conciliar "bishops" have never gotten over the fact that that the masquerade is over, that they have been exposed as double-dealing gangsters and charlatans who refused to address real problems that were brought to their attention decades ago.

All it would have taken, at least in some instances, for the conciliar officials to defuse explosive situations that wound up scandalizing so many Catholics and non-Catholics alike and that has caused so many to lose their Faith entirely was to have shown a bit of humility right from the outset, to recognize that neither they nor their trusted lieutenants of many years, if not decades, are not infallible, that they can and must be criticized when decisions that they have made cause grave injustices that cannot be swept under the rug forever, that are bound to be brought into the light of public view long before they are brought to light in full view of everyone who has ever lived at the General Judgment of the Living and the Dead. Sadly, however, the conciliar "officials" believed that they could "tough it out," that they could show "strength" in the face of adversity, that they could go on blaming whistle-blowing priests/presbyters and their lay critics interminably, ad nauseam, ad infinitum without too many people catching on to their tired act of sanctimonious self-righteousness.

 

Yes, all it would have taken to defuse the situation at Saint Gertrude the Great Church from exploding into public view, thus scandalizing the faithful and keeping many people attached to the conciliar structures while driving others yelling and screaming thereto, would have been for Bishop Dolan to have admitted publicly that he has erred by trusting the decisions made by Father Cekada.

As His Excellency is finding out so very tragically at this time, however, sanctimony won't work this time. Many of his people are fed up. They have seen too much abuse of clerical authority.

Private Efforts Made to Bring These Matters to the Attention of Bishop Dolan

Although Bishop Dolan claimed in a letter sent around the world on Friday, November 6, 2009, that appears to be boomeranging against him (and will be discussed below) that the "vehemence and scope" of Father Markus Ramolla's criticism of Saint Gertrude the Great Church and school came as a "shock" to him, many people have tried to bend His Excellency's ear to get him to recognize that he needed to extricate Father Cekada and the Lotarskis from the parish and to correct various modes of operating that were contrary to the greater good of the Church Militant on earth during this time of apostasy and betrayal.

One woman, who was treating His Excellency with various homeopathic remedies for a long time, was most explicit with him about these matters. The bishop refused to listen. He even refused to grant her an "exit interview" after she had taught at the parish for a year a few year ago as he did not want to hear anything that she had to say about the administration of Saint Gertrude the Great School.

The aforementioned Eamon Shea tried to intercede with the bishop privately. He was expelled from the parish and later castigated as "mentally ill" by Father Cekada when circulating information about the wrongdoings at the school online. Mr. Bernard Hall, the founder of the very useful Roman Breviary website, made his own concerns known. As noted before, he was fired summarily and expelled from the parish grounds.

Others made efforts over the years to make their concerns known to Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada I made my own efforts in this regard, sending His Excellency a private letter on July 29, 2009, to explain the reasons for our departure. Although the letter is private and will not be published here, my concerns, which transcended those concerning the operation of Saint Gertrude the Great School, can be presented now.

My Own Concerns About Saint Gertrude the Great Church

There were always two major compromises that we had to make in order to assist at Saint Gertrude the Great Church. The first of these consisted of the refusal to say the prayers after low Mass. Sharon and I both believe that this is gravely erroneous and offensive to the ecclesial sense, that it is to attack popular piety and the good of Holy Mother Church to exclude these prayers. This was a wound on our consciences from the very beginning of our association with Saint Gertrude the Great Church. A true pope mandated the recitation of these prayers. A true pope and no one else can given the order to eliminate them. We need to pray three Ave Marias and the shorter version of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer after most low Masses now more than ever before.

The other compromise that we had to make during our stay at Saint Gertrude the Great Church involved the atrocious manner in which the murder of Mrs. Theresa Maria Schindler-Schiavo by dehydration and starvation was justified by Bishop Sanborn and Father Cekada. The moral principle at work in the Schiavo case was really simple: one can never undertake any action that has as its only possible end the death of an innocent human being. The only thing that can result from the removal of food and water from a living human being is death, and I went to great lengths last year to provide Bishop Dolan with the documentary evidence of the cruel death that Mrs. Schiavo suffered while no one was permitted to alleviate her suffering in the slightest. Such a death can never be justified before God.

Bishop Sanborn and Father Cekada got the facts of the Terri Schiavo case wrong. They refused to accept evidence of Catholic medical experts. They got their moral facts wrong. They refused to concede the the administration of food and water by artificial means, which is today not all painful and not at all costly, facts that Father Cekada stubbornly and arrogantly refused to recognize and accept as he ignored the cold, hard evidence that was presented to him on these matters, is a matter of ordinary care, not medical “treatment,” extraordinary or ordinary.

Few things have done more to send souls into the waiting arms of Joseph Ratzinger's One World Church than Bishop Sanborn's and Father Cekada's serious, grave errors of fact and principle in the Terri Schiavo case, which is why I tried my very best last year for there to be a reconsideration of their mistakes and thus a public retraction of their views, some of which were nothing other than rank utilitarianism wrapped in sarcasm and arrogance. Although I could separate this serious error when reviewing their other fine and important works on the state of the Church, a lot of other Catholics can't make such a distinction. They remain scandalized and bewildered by Bishop Sanborn's and Father Cekada's refusal to re-examine their positions, convinced that they can't be trusted on other issues when they could get a matter of basic moral truth so wrong and persist in their error so defiantly.

Bishop Sanborn steadfastly refused offers that I made to him on several occasions to have Dr. Paul Bryne speak to him about the matter of "brain death" (see Dr. Paul Byrne on Brain Death). Father Cekada mocked publicly the neurological expertise of Dr. James Gebel, Jr. It is no wonder that so many people have been kept from embracing the truth of sedevacantism and/or have been driven into the waiting arms of the minions of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI when true bishops and priests believe themselves to be in need of no counsel from experts in various fields who have much to offer them even though they, the experts, have not yet come to the realization that heretics cannot hold ecclesiastical office legitimately and that the Catholic Church cannot give us defective liturgies and/or false and ambiguous doctrines that are contrary to what she has taught from time immemorial.

Alas, Bishops Sanborn and Father Cekada are ill-served by insulating themselves from other true bishops and priests and genuine Catholic experts in the medical profession. Although each is highly intelligent and has done superb work in many areas, a fact that no one of intellectual honesty can deny, it is also nevertheless true that they refuse to seek counsel outside of their insulated circle, also true that they refuse to submit their work for a true, critical, impartial review by others before it is published for public consumption. Both are prone to deal sarcastically and caustically and insultingly with critics. This does not serve the cause of truth and the good of souls well.

As one trained in scholarship, I have long respected the academic process of having one's views challenged by others with whom one is not associated. The process of peer review is an important, vital, indispensable one in the completion of any piece of legitimate scholarship that is founded in a desire to reach true conclusions (as opposed to efforts at special pleading which seek to find sources to support one's preordained conclusions). It was because of such peer review of my academic work in the early years of my teaching career that I had to abandon my own embrace of the Americanist heresy in the mid-1980s and to start reading the papal encyclical letters, recognizing that my belief in the compatibility of the American founding with the Catholic Faith was erroneous.

I expressed to Bishop Dolan my firmly held belief that Bishop Sanborn and Father Cekada need to work collaboratively and in a consultative manner with other bishops and priests. While the “una cum Benedicto” issue is indeed an important one, the public issuance of Father Cekada's study without its being submitted to other bishops and priests for review was a grave mistake. Why the rush to put something so complex and fraught with pastoral implications in the public domain when the average Catholic finds it difficult enough to accept the fact that Ratzinger has been a lifelong heresiarch? Why not seek out the advice of others before such a study is presented to the public? Look at the ill-will that has been generated as a consequence. Although I was at first very supportive of Father Cekada's article and wrote to him to say so, other priests remonstrated with me to say that it was all handled very badly. I listened to them. I came to see that they were correct.

It is not a defense of the way that this important issue was handled to say that others are free to refute Father Cekada's study. Each of the bishops and priests we know is busy with nonstop pastoral work for souls in this time of apostasy and betrayal. The standards of true and intellectually honest Catholic scholarship required Father Cekada to submit his work to those who would disagree with it and who could find holes in his arguments so that the final product would be as unassailable as possible, carrying with it the support of bishops and priests outside of the insular world in which Bishop Sanborn and Father Cekada conduct their intellectual work.

Alas, it is a spirit of exclusivist insularity that undermines much of the good work that is done for souls by Bishop Sanborn and Father Cekada. Why can't there be a real effort to work with the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen on these issues? How can it be expected that Father Cekada's conclusions, issued as a a virtual fiat with very little consultation outside of the Brooksville-West Chester corridor (was Father Martin Stepanich consulted?), should be accepted uncritically when no effort is made to seek to work collaboratively with the CMRI and Bishop Robert McKenna, O.P.,and even Bishop Robert Neville, both of whom agree with the conclusion that assistance at an “una cum Benedicto' Mass is wrong?

It is well known that I have had my disagreements with what I consider to be a cultural liberalism exhibited in CMRI chapels. We continue, however, to be edified and inspired by the pastoral zeal for souls exhibited by Bishop Pivarunas, who actually listens to complaints that are brought to him and takes action in response to those complaints, never once holding a grudge against anyone who has so complained, and his priests. They are not the enemies of Catholic truth. They are not threats to the immortal souls of others. Why should they be treated as pariahs who are unworthy of even being consulted on important theological matters?

It is this spirit of exclusivism exhibited by Bishops Dolan and Sanborn and Father Cekada that is, once again, so illustrative of the false spirit of Econe: "We are the Church."

Part of this exclusivism is made manifest in a public disparagement of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen's decision to use the version of the Missal in place at the time of the death of Pope Pius XII on October 9, 1958. Father Joseph Selway who is the principal of Queen of All Saints School in Brooksville, Florida, told friends of ours who were planning to--and did in fact--leave Brooksville in early-2008 that the CMRI say the "wrong" Mass. This is most curious. For as much as I love and bask in the glories of the Roman Missal that was in place prior to the changes proposed in 1955 by Fathers Annibale Bugnini, C. M., and Ferdinando Antonelli, O.F.M., that were approved by Pope Pius XII and instituted in the year 1956, the position taken by the CMRI to use the version of the Roman Missal in place at the time of the death of the last true pope is completely defensible.

There is, sadly, a little bit of intellectual inconsistency on the part of Bishop Sanborn, who maintains a studious and steadfast "distance" from the CMRI, as he told me personally in 2007, who said in an interview with Stephen Heiner earlier this year that a pope "could sit down on his computer" and "do" a new Mass. Here is the excerpt from that interview:

S.H. Your Excellency, when you say the pope has the ability to modify the mass, you mean in its non-essential parts? He could add something to the Prayers at the Foot but the pope really doesn’t have the power to do anything to the Mass.

Bp. S. Sure he does. He could take the Roman Missal and say “We’re finished with that” and he could write his own Rite of Mass and say this is the Mass the Church will use.

S.H. He has the legal right to do that but he doesn’t have the moral right to do that.

Bp. S. Whether that’s prudent or not is another question. It would certainly be imprudent, but he has strictly the power to do that and we could not oppose him on the accusation of mere changing…

S.H. So we’re not making the contention that the Pope can’t rewrite the mass if he wanted to.

Bp. S. Correct. He can sit at his computer and do a whole new Rite of the Mass. (Bishop Donald Sanborn on Vatican II, the SSPX, and the Motu Proprio)

 

If a pope can "write" a "new Mass," then why is the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen wrong to offer the Mass in place at the time of the death of Pope Pius XII? Did not he have the right as a true pope to promulgate the changes desired by the revolutionaries Bugnini and Antonelli? Sure, we know more now than in 1958. We have seen where those 1950s changes led. Granted. It is more than a little bit intellectually inconsistent, however, to say that a pope can write a new Mass yet complain about a Catholic religious community that keeps to an unimpeachably orthodox Missal promulgated by a true pope and that contains nothing inherently heretical in it.

The Catholic Church is not confined to the West Chester-Brooksville corridor. Bishops Dolan and Sanborn are not the final arbiters of what is Catholic and what it is not. While they are free to associate or dissociate with others as they please, the spirit of superiority that they demonstrate wreaks of Econe and the belief that outside of "us" there is really very little in the way of actual truth, sanctification and salvation.

Father Ramolla and Saint Gertrude the Great Church and School

Father Markus Ramolla was, therefore, only the latest in a long line of people who tried their very best to pierce the defensive armor that surrounds Bishops Dolan and Sanborn and Father Cekada. He did indeed make private entreaties before the star chamber that he was subjected to on Tuesday, November 3, 2009, as he was interrogated by Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada. He too, like so many others of us, did his due diligence, putting his own clerical neck on the line to speak "truth to power." His letter to Bishop Dolan and his farewell to the faithful of Saint Gertrude's were made after exhausting all avenues of reform. Father Ramolla is the proverbial "whistle-blower" who must be "shot," at least figuratively, because his message cannot be accepted by men who are convinced, it would appear, of their own infallibility and their own invincibility in the face of any criticism, whether offered privately or publicly.

Shoot the messenger, of course, is what Bishop Dolan has tried to do in a letter that he sent around the world on Friday, November 6, 2009. It is an effort that is boomeranging as too many people know the truth this time around. Here is the letter that has been sent out by Bishop Dolan:

Dear Parents,

On September 23, Father Cekada wrote to you concerning the appointment of Father Markus Ramolla as Principal of our school. Father Cekada noted that having a priest serve full-time in this capacity had been one of our long-term goals. Your response to this was most encouraging.

Since that time, however, a pattern of inappropriate behavior by Father Ramolla, going back even two years, even before his ordination, has come to light. Members of the laity, several priests and one bishop have advised me of the severe and destructive criticism that Father Ramolla has spread throughout the world against Saint Gertrude the Great Church, Saint Gertrude the Great School, Most Holy Trinity Seminary, and two bishops.

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.

On Tuesday of this week, I attempted such a discussion with Father Ramolla, hoping to salvage both the situation and a young priest with considerable promise.

I was not successful. Father's response, I learned on Wednesday, was a decision to leave our church and our school. On Thursday, I asked him to do so quietly without doing any further harm, and I urged him to make a retreat with Fr. Schoonbroodt in Belgium, perhaps with a view towards a future assignment in Europe. This advice has apparently gone unheeded too; Father Ramolla has now descended to the unspeakable depth of calumny, even his father in Christ. Please keep him in your prayers.

Please know of the sadness of confusion of my own heart at this development. I cannot, however, countenance backbiting, slander and worse in my clergy. I will not have our school children, teachers and clergy subjected to it. Good communication is a key to good leadership. Behind-the-back criticism leads only to loss, tremendous loss.

I thank you for your understanding and prayers. I assure you of my commitment to you and to all of our faithful, and in particular to our school, its students and its faculty, as well as its stability and future.

Thank you for your prayers, for your patience during this unfortunate turn of events, and for your understanding. I send each one of you my blessing, along with the assurance of my prayers in turn.

Yours in Christ, the Most Rev. Daniel L. Dolan

 

As my dear wife says, "Ugh!" It is atrocious that I find myself in a position of having to comment on this letter as I would something issued by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI or any of his conciliar "bishops." Truth must take us where it will.

It strains credulity to assert that Father Ramolla has exhibited a "pattern of inappropriate behavior" that has "come to light" only since September 23, 2009, after Father Ramolla was appointed Principal of Saint Gertrude the Great School. If this is true, then what does this say about the screening of seminarians during their years in seminary study and prior to their ordinations to the transitional diaconate and to the holy priesthood? Bishop Dolan has lived with Father Ramolla for quite some time now. His Excellency never saw what has, he alleges, just "come to light"? Preposterous. Why would a man who possessed such "dangerous" qualities be considered fit to serve as a principal of a Catholic school? Why was he ordained to the priesthood at all?

Mr. Bernard Hall, who now operates a website to disseminate the truth about Saint Gertrude Information, has sent his own letter to refute Bishop Dolan's misrepresentation of the truth about Father Ramolla's situation:

Dear Parents,

After remaining silent since I was dismissed from St. Gertrude's a couple of weeks ago, I hoped to wash my hands of those who chose to ignore my pleas for reform, and to remain clear of further controversy.  However, I am stunned by the events of the past few days, and cannot remain silent about the grave injustice being perpetrated by my former pastor.

I am sure that you read Bishop Dolan’s ugly letter with disbelief. When I received it, I went to Father Ramolla right away to find out the truth. Now I can promise that you can disregard everything Bishop Dolan wrote. Let me quickly list the main reasons.

The bishop complains of a “pattern” of misbehavior going on for two years. If that were true, then why would he have ever let Father set foot on St. Gertrude’s? Besides, why would Bishop Sanborn have even permitted such a man to be ordained in the first place? Again, why then did Bishop Dolan ordain him? More importantly, if true, why did it take the bishop two years to do anything about his concerns? Under Roman law, silence gives consent.  Bishop’s charge is simply worthless, and you can safely toss it out.

The allegation that Father did not privately raise his concerns about the bad things going on at the seminary, the school, and the parish is just not true. Over the last few months, Father went to the bishop on numerous occasions to warn him. He most recently did so in several up-front, quiet, one-on-one conversations when he was alone in Europe with Bishop Dolan.

The bishop told another terrible untruth when he wrote that Father had decided to leave on Wednesday. Just look at the last paragraph of the letter Father gave Bishop Dolan on Thursday, a letter Father wrote late Wednesday night. Father wrote that it would be better for the bishop to invite him to leave than for Father to betray his conscience. So you see, Father was willing to stay, but he left the decision in Bishop Dolan’s hands. And Bishop Dolan fired him before he had a chance to give Bishop the answer he demanded on Tuesday.

As to the claim that the bishop received complaints from a number of people, I ask you to consider the sources. We all know that “laity” means one specific layman at the center of this crisis. You and I understand that men like this are far from being models of decent behavior worthy of the faithful who support them in fine style with their hard-earned money and sweat.

Any pattern of bad behavior is Bishop Dolan’s, not Father Ramolla’s.  He has a notorious history of suddenly driving out priests, booting out the laity, and abusing his office. Bishop Dolan has spent so many years condoning and covering up bad behavior that when someone behaves like an honest man, the bishop condemns him. We all need to remind Bishop Dolan that it is not “calumny” to tell the truth and speak out against injustice.

Sincerely,

Rev. Mr. Bernard G.J. Hall

Confraternity of Ss. Peter & Paul
www.breviary.mobi

 

To this excellent letter of Mr. Hall's I would add only a few observations.

First, Father Ramolla did NOT calumniate Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada when referring to their effort to accuse him of being too close to a lay woman in a parish. He simply reminded the Bishop and Father that they, who had to labor under false accusations over the course of the years as a result of the fact that they are almost always together and that Bishop Dolan has taken great pains to indemnify Father Cekada's decisions at almost every single turn, are the last ones to make such inferences about others. That's the only point that Father Ramolla was making in this regard.

Second, the sanctimony exhibited by Bishop Dolan with respect to not having his schoolchildren subjected to Father Ramolla's alleged misdeeds is quite an interesting rhetorical device to deflect attention from the simple truth that he had no problem subjecting his schoolchildren to the terrorism that had been exhibited by the Lotarski children upon them. Bishop Dolan had no problem with Father Cekada treating the complaints and concerns with disdain and contempt. Bishop Dolan's concern for the schoolchildren is hypocritical and self-serving. His concern is about his own reputation and the fact that a man with holy orders has finally had the courage to stand up to him man to man to attempt to put an end to the sanctimonious self-righteousness that seeks to insulate itself from any and all criticism and to disparage all critics as mentally ill, if not actually possessed of the spirit of the devil, as Bishop Sanborn himself accused me very directly in a typically ad hominem e-mail he sent to me yesterday after all of this broke publicly.

Third, Bishop Dolan's complaint about back-biting and, in effect, double-dealing is very interesting as he went behind the back of his own consecrating Bishop, the Most Reverend Mark A. Pivarunas, CMRI, almost as soon as he was consecrated sixteen years ago. Bishop Pivarunas consecrated Bishop Dolan in part to help him, Bishop Pivarunas, with his missions in Mexico. Bishop Dolan took his episcopal consecration and then began to build an empire for himself in Mexico (he offered the "right" Mass, of course) and took parishioners away from Bishop Pivarunas's missions without informing him of what he was doing. Bishop Dolan also tried to raid priests and seminarians from the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen, prompting Bishop Pivarunas to remonstrate privately with Bishop Dolan, effectively terminating any formal cooperation between them.

Back-biting? Double-dealing? Bishop Dolan knows all this as this is exactly what he did to his own consecrating Bishop. Bishop Pivarunas has never made any public issue of what happened. However, it is an issue now as a result of Bishop Dolan's sanctimonious condemnation of Father Ramolla, whose conversations with others about a situation that has proved to be intractable over the years are absolutely no different than the conversations that The Nine had with each other and others, including Dr. Rama Coomaraswamy, concerning their conflict with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1983. Indeed, The Nine continue to be castigated in Society of Saint Pius X circles for the way that they "conspired" to work against the Archbishop and for the way in which they sought to find a mental reservation by which then Deacons Denis McMahon, Daniel Ahern, and Thomas Mroczka could sign a "contract," if you will, pledging their loyalty to the Society of Saint Pius X in order to be ordained to the Holy Priesthood in 1984 but then still be able to flee the very next day to the Society of Saint Pius V. Father Ramolla has attempted to seek help in the face of obstinacy. This is not back-biting.

Oh, there is something else that Bishop Dolan did not tell you in his now famous worldwide letter:  he revoked Father Ramolla's work visa to stay in the United States of America, giving him ten days to find another sponsor before he will have to return to Germany. Ah, yes, Charity. Isn't it wonderful to behold?

Shoot the Messenger, Always Shoot the Messenger and Then Distort the Message to the Faithful

What is happening to Father Ramolla at this time is not new. Bishops Dolan and Sanborn and Father Cekada, three of The Nine who are still to this day scorned by Society of Saint Pius X loyalists for "rebelling" against the "authority" of their superior, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, have come to personify the very arbitrariness of the late archbishop. And while they might protest that Father Ramolla is complaining about personnel and administrative matters and that they were seeking to defend the integrity of the Holy Faith, the plain truth of the matter is that Father Ramolla has been seeking to end the same arbitrary exercise of power that has resulted in expulsions at a moment's notice that The Nine themselves suffered from at the hands of Archbishop Lefebvre. The former rebels of 1983 have become so protective of their own institutional authority that they cannot see their very mirror image when he is placed right in front of them by the very hand of God to help them correct patterns of behavior that are offensive to Him and injurious to souls.

Indeed, it has been the case all too frequently that those who have left Saint Gertrude the Great Church as quietly as they can have been named publicly in the "Bishop's Corner" section of the parish bulletin. It is sometimes the case that the reasons for their departure have been misrepresented, as happened to Mr. James Gebel, Sr., earlier this year when the "Bishop's Corner" spoke of his having left for "doctrinal reasons," which is how Mr. Gebel's departure had been characterized by Father Cekada to Bishop Dolan. No corrections were made when Mr. Gebel explained the truth of why he had left Saint Gertrude's (he had left earlier when his son, one of the leading neurologists in the United States of America was, as noted earlier, mocked and ridiculed by Father Cekada over the Theresa Schindler-Schiavo murder), thus setting the stage for Mr. Gebel to write an extensive letter, filled, unfortunately, with all manner of invectives, against Bishop Dolan for refusing to set the record straight. This nastiness could have been avoided if Bishop Dolan simply had the humility to say that he was wrong to note Mr. Gebel's departure in his weekly column and that he had, unknowingly, misrepresented the reason for his departure. Nope, Bishop Dolan couldn't bring himself to do this.

As noted before, Bishop Sanborn has already attacked me, claiming that I lack the knowledge of ecclesiastical affairs to make any commentary on these matters, prompting me to ask why he praised most effusively my criticism of the spiritual robber barons of the counterfeit church of conciliarism in Embracing The Faith No Matter the Consequences, which he himself helped to vet. Does my knowledge of ecclesiastical matters cease when I turn my attention from the abuse of power in the conciliar structures to that in the underground church in this time of apostasy and betrayal? Why did he not have any care for my immortal soul and seek to give me a fraternal correction when I wrote article after article in The Wanderer about the sorts of abuses that Father Ramolla sought to correct at Saint Gertrude the Great Church and Most Holy Trinity Seminary? Why did even some conciliar "bishops" send me private notes now and again to encourage me to "go after" their more "radical" brethren in my "conservative"/indulterer days with The Wanderer?

Bishop Sanborn has also accused me of knowing nothing about a situation involving a former seminarian at Most Holy Trinity Seminary, who will remain unnamed, who was given a contract to sign that forbade him to attend any Masses or to associate with any groups that he, Bishop Sanborn, did not approve. The Bishop then told the seminarian orally that he was forbidden to assist at Masses offered by priests of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen or to be associated with them in any way. Bishop Sanborn later wrote to His Excellency Bishop Robert F. McKenna, O.P., to explain that the "contract" was designed to test the seminarian's obedience as he, Bishop Sanborn, suspected that the seminarian wanted all along to defect to Mary Immaculate Seminary in Omaha, Nebraska. I was fully informed of Bishop Sanborn's reasons for what he did with this seminarian, unless, that is, the reasons he gave to Bishop McKenna were not the exact reasons that prompted him to draw up and then to assign the terms of his contract.

I am sorry, Bishop Sanborn, your donors have the right to know that you believe that it is appropriate to deny a seminarian access to the sacraments during his summer vacation even though those sacraments are offered by priests who are not "una cum Benedicto." Your donors can assess whether your desire to test this wonderful young man's obedience is in accord with the sensus Catholicus. They are free to support you if they wish. They are entitled to know, however, about these deeds that are, to say the very least, without much in the way of precedent in the history of the Catholic Church. And perhaps you would like to tell your donors why you threatened to cancel Father Julian Larrabee's ordination to the Holy Priesthood within a few weeks of its taking place? You have no superior, Bishop Sanborn, and it is time for your donors to be informed as to how you treat people with an angry arbitrariness that is the antithesis of Catholic Charity.

Bishop Sanborn made it appear to Bishop McKenna that the prohibition of attending CMRI Masses had nothing to do with any inherent opposition to the CMRI, and this must be taken at face value as Bishop Sanborn made it clear to Bishop McKenna that the issue was obedience to his authority as the rector of Most Holy Trinity Seminary (the seminarian was said to have left "voluntarily" because he refused to sign the contract). There is, however, the nasty, inconvenient little fact that Father Carlos Ercoli told friends of ours in Rhode Island that if he came to give a retreat for them, which I thought would be a wonderful spiritual experience as Father Ercoli is a very good priest, that they, our friends in Rhode Island, would have to break off all contact with Father Benedict Hughes and the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen, that he, Father Ercoli, "could never work" with the CMRI. My response upon learning this as we were in the midst of packing up our manufactured house four months ago was quite simple: "No. Father Benedict Hughes has been very good to you. This is not the spirit of Catholicism. This is the spirit of exclusivism, plain and simple. This is what keeps people from embracing the fact that Ratzinger/Benedict is a false pope."

Trust me, my friends, this messenger will be shot point blank for writing this. However, it is time for the truth to be told. And the truth about all of this is very, very sad.

Yes, those who criticize or leave, either of their own volition or forcibly, Saint Gertrude the Great Church must be castigated and scorned, making a total mockery of the devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus upon which the parish, named for the Saint to whom Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ revealed many of the secrets of His Most Sacred Heart, is founded and is supposed to take its spiritual strength. And these are only some examples of how it's always "shoot the messenger" time at Saint Gertrude the Great Church and Most Holy Trinity Seminary.

Yes, anti-sedevacantists will have a field day with this. As one bishop I spoke to in July about all of this said, however, the field day has been given to the adversary by the arrogant high-handedness of Bishops Dolan and Sanborn and Father Cekada, not by those who have said that enough of this thuggery is enough.

Accepting All Within the Providence of God

Why have I written all of this now? To defend a remarkably courageous priest, Father Markus Ramolla. It would be a sin against justice and charity, which will the good of others, to let Father Ramolla's display of courage and zeal for souls and for the honor and glory of the Most Blessed Trinity stand without any kind of defense. He should be supported with our prayers and our financial contributions.

We must also pray for Bishops Dolan and Sanborn and Father Cekada. Each of them is a priest, able to call God down from heaven. Each has done wonderful work in behalf of Holy Mother Church in this time of apostasy and betrayal. Being a bishop or a priest, however, does not entitle one to act arbitrarily or indemnify malefactors indefinitely or to browbeat or intimidate his critics by threatening them so terribly and diabolically with a denial of the sacraments. As noted near the beginning of this commentary, those of us in the laity have the solemn obligation to remonstrate with our clerics publicly if all private entreaties fail to redress grave situations that pose threats to the common ecclesiastical good and to the good of souls.

 

Obviously, this has all happened within the Providence of God. I am a sinner. I have committed sins by my silent acquiescence to the problems at Saint Gertrude the Great Church and Most Holy Trinity Seminary. I thought that I could "work from within." I was wrong. I must make reparation for my sins in this regard, making it clear, however, that my strongly worded and deeply-held criticisms of Bishops Dolan and Sanborn and Father Cekada do not signify in the slightest any personal animus or malice whatsoever.

Indeed, I tried to explain to Bishop Dolan in a note sent a few days ago that His Excellency's critics at this time are his best friends as they are seeking to correct longstanding problems that have now exploded into full public view. Bishop Dolan is, sadly, choosing the path of defiance as he has throughout his priestly and episcopal career. It is a defiance in defense of a modus operandi that seeks to "lord" it over the people that has had so many of the faithful living in fear that one misstep or misstatement would cause them to lose access to the sacraments for themselves and their children.

Although we must oppose injustice and untruths with vigor, we must also forgive without any spirit of malice or vindictiveness. Our Lord has permitted all of this to happen. He will bring good out of this for the Church Militant on earth and for the souls for whom He shed every single drop of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross if we give the sufferings--and they are intense for many people, including ourselves--to Him through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

This regrettable turn of events has been a diversion in my own work. The statists are planning to squeeze us more and more. And when you think about it, my friends, the coming persecutions of Caesar Obamus and his minions might be the way that all of our own sins against charity and justice and truth in the midst of this era of ecclesiastical apostasy and betrayal will be wiped away so that we can save our own immortal souls as members of the Catholic Church.

Indeed, God has fashioned this cross for each of us, no matter what side we come down in the midst of this terrible set of scandals, with exquisite perfection. Think of it. Everyone involved in this has got a cross as he opposes former friends and colleagues. God has given everyone involved, therefore, a means to save his soul despite all of our own darkened intellects and weakened wills. Think of this. God has given us all a beautiful cross to lift up and to carry so that we, as the consecrated slaves of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, can help to make reparation for our sins and those of the whole world. Let us not reject this cross but accept it with joy and gratitude, saying "Deo gratias!" for this opportunity to serve Him more fully in this time of apostasy and betrayal.

Let us continue to pray as many Rosaries each day as our states in life permit, helping to plant a few seeds so that more and more Catholics, clergy and laity alike, yet attached to the false structures of the counterfeit church of conciliarism will make the break once and for all and receive true sacraments from true bishops and true priests who make absolutely no concessions to conciliarism, men who are never afraid to speak the truth and act with complete integrity in its behalf, knowing that we never have anything to fear from the truth about the state of the Church in this time of apostasy and betrayal and, yes, more importantly, the truth about ourselves.

In the meantime, let us pray a Rosary for Father Ramolla and for all involved in this tragic turn of events that God means to use for His own greater honor and glory and for our sanctification through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, triumph soon.

 

Viva Cristo Rey! Vivat Christus Rex!

 

Dr. Thomas A. Droleskey