The Scandals at St. Gertrude the Great

West Chester, Ohio

The Full Documented Story

 

December 28, 2009

Far, Far From a Madding Crowd

The Editors

Bishop Dolan could not keep the Christmas peace. Instead, he had his troubled and troubling associate fling electronic brickbats and angry, distorted tidbits as the faithful sought refuge from demagoguery and not-so-noble lies. We recognize in these deceptive and disturbing messages the clear signs of classic agitprop, the deployment of slogans, parables, and half-truths alongside apparently reasonable arguments, all aimed at indoctrination. In one of the messages, we found one of Bishop Dolan’s (and his supporters’) favorite catchwords to describe us: the mob. The pastor must have in mind images from old-time monster-flicks where pitchfork- and spade-wielding townsfolk, fed up with abuse, finally assail by torchlight the sinister laboratory of a mad scientist or the castle keep of a depraved aristocrat.

Name-calling and bandwagon techniques are the common stock of propagandists. So too are the manipulation of facts and the displacement of guilt. It’s all part of a scheme to condition our reflexes by appeals to authority, humility, submission, and cherished memories.  Bishop Dolan’s fevered imagination must see us led by a mythical King Mob, drawn by lawlessness athwart the clergy’s noses as they weep. Normal adults won’t fall for such fanciful nonsense.

Those who together fled from Bishop Dolan are not a mob. The faithful who left St. Gertrude’s and St. Clare’s are far from being, in Emerson’s words, “a society of bodies voluntarily bereaving themselves of reason.” Their actions have not been the result of guileful collective mobilization. In the language of pop culture so dear to the SGG clergy, these good people are more like the moral majority, or at least a principled plurality. They’re attentive and informed traditional Catholic individuals. Motivated by the fundamental principles of the faith and natural law, they happened to find themselves in communion with other parishioners who refused to condone injustice, cruelty, and indifference to suffering. It doesn’t take a seminary education to discern the difference between right and wrong—or the difference between a mob and an assembly of decent and faithful Catholics.