The Scandals at St. Gertrude the Great

West Chester, Ohio

The Full Documented Story


November 16, 2009

Letter to the Editors
from a Parishioner of St. Gertrude the Great Church

by Jared Chamberlain

This letter from a parishioner laments the SGG cover-up perpetrated by Bishop Dolan and his associate, once so admired, and now so sadly fallen.

 "...the Holy Spirit, who in every age brings forth good things both new and old, in these times of universal dissension and disunity sheds the grace of success upon endeavors designed to foster and spread His peace, which the world cannot give." - taken from the Foreword of the 1952 edition of the St. Andrew Daily Missal

 For over a week now, I have stood by, reading letter after letter concerning the tragedy at Saint Gertrude the Great Church.  Like any jury worth its salt, I have taken into account each piece of evidence, weighed it, measured it, and have found SGG's case wanting.  I, like many disaffected SGG parishioners, have been mentally and emotionally distraught over the subject.  Perhaps more so because I was relatively unaware of the problems that existed prior to this boiling over.  I had a vague idea of the imperfection of the management of the church in pastoral affairs simply from quiet observation, but had no idea as to their scandalous extent.  It is fair to say that I gave the benefit of the doubt to His Excellency Bp. Dolan and Fr. Cekada; after all, it is they who have been entrusted heretofore with the duty of leading the souls of SGG to Our Lord and his Blessed Mother.  I supposed that the sudden disappearance of this or that layperson over the years, and occasionally a young priest, was better left uninvestigated because there must be a legitimate reason.  However, at this time, it has become apparent that these fallible clergymen have forgotten that “pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

Since my early childhood, I have admired Bp. Dolan and Fr. Cekada for their wit, their intellect, their courageous fight against modernism and the Novus Ordo,  and their devout and unceasing work at Saint Gertrude the Great for the honor and glory of God.  Bp. Dolan officiated at my wedding, and I have, on multiple occasions, whether in the confessional or at lunch, sought their opinions and advice in personal and moral matters, and have always taken delight in my conversation with them whenever such occasion arose.  It pains me then to see them stoop to such reprehensible depths to whitewash over the problems that exist within the SGG community and to tar the reputation of a good priest, who, unfortunately, had to take the fall for exposing to the faithful the myriad problems extant within the school and otherwise.  And if it were not enough that the cover-up has been in full force, His Excellency Bp. Sanborn decided to chime in and rebuke a certain parishioner, with a tone that undoubtedly addressed all parishioners, by washing the collective hands of the clergy of all wrongdoing and laying the blame for the impending downfall of Saint Gertrude the Great Church squarely on the shoulders of those who are morally justified and, arguably, obligated in their termination of support for  the church.

In case there is any doubt as to the party responsible for what is happening now at SGG, one need no more than to consider the evidence produced by both sides of the conflict.  On one hand, there are letters whose contents include the defense of morality, justice, truth, and the Catholic duty of adhering to these principles.  On the other side, there are accusations, flawed logic, and irrational arguments; elements characteristic of guilt and a desperate attempt at survival.  We are all familiar with the brilliance and valor with which Bp. Sanborn and Fr. Cekada have written against the brash dictatorship of Abp. Lefebvre and SSPX and attacked the new “Mass” and the modernist movement, and how eloquently and honorably they have defended the True Church.  Their writings have always been logical, rational, and irrefutable.  Bp. Dolan has, from the outside looking in, always walked softly and carried a big stick, preferring to employ silence and what are no less than generous endowments by the Holy Ghost of the gifts of wisdom and prudence in dealing with pastoral matters.  He picks his battles wisely and is victorious when it matters most.  But the characteristics which have won for them so much trust and affection from their congregants are nowhere to be found in their most recent round of authorship.  They have resorted instead to the usual and ever-failing tactics of the guilty: stonewall, whitewash, blame, and appeal to emotion rather than reason.  They are, after all, men, and as such, are imperfect, at times choosing pride over humility.  I know each of us has been guilty of this to some extent in our own lives, and therefore we bear no malice or ill will toward them.  But we do expect, when in order, humility, admission of guilt, and a resolution to correct the mistakes of the past.  The lack of these elements is precisely what now plagues our beloved parish. 

Lastly, I wish to implore our good but flawed clergymen to save all the hard work they and the faithful have put in over the last twenty-plus years to make SGG and the Traditional movement what it is today, to avoid allowing all of us to have spent our energy and money in vain.  We ask, most respectfully, for them to promise a new era in the parish, one of concern, compassion, truth, and justice.  Having just seen the latest take on Dickinson’s “A Christmas Carol,” it occurs to me that perhaps all our dear Bp. Dolan and Fr. Cekada need is a visit from the Ghosts of Schisms Past, Present, and Future, and that in the morning they will awake from their sleep with a renewed passion for the cause for which they fought so valiantly more than two decades ago. 

Mother of Good Counsel, pray for us!

Most Respectfully,

Jared Chamberlain