The Scandals at St. Gertrude the Great

West Chester, Ohio

The Full Documented Story


December 22, 2009

A Second Letter to Bishop Dolan

by a Concerned Observer

Following up on the popular letter he wrote in early December, this Concerned Observer adds to his analogy between the situation at St. Gertrude's and the plot of the Greek tragedy Antigone.

Dear Bishop Dolan,

In my previous open letter of December 12, I demonstrated the many compelling parallels that exist between the situation at SGG and the plot, conflict, and characters of the play Antigone by Sophocles.  You were like Creon with his unbending, imperious commands; Fr. Markus Ramolla was like Polyneices outcast as a rebel and left for dead; Stephanie Johns was like Antigone, who was condemned by Creon for daring to tend to the outcast “corpse” of Fr. Ramolla; and Dr. Droleskey was like Teiresias the prophet who denounced your treatment of Ramolla/Polyneices and Johns/Antigone. 

I implored you in that letter to turn back from the course you had chosen and avoid the tragic fate of Creon, who—because of his stubborn, unbending will—lost his family and his kingdom and was left to wander in the desert.   But instead you have apparently chosen another course.  Instead of retreating from your unsympathetic, imperious commands, which seem so manifestly unjust to so many of your former parishioners at SGG (“Thebes” in the Greek drama), you now seem to be asking ask them through allies such as Rev. Cekada, Fr. Stepanich, and various petitioners to SGG Info, to return to your fold.  

If this is so, then you have fallen exactly into the pattern of Creon’s behavior in Oedipus at Colonus, the drama which precedes Antigone, and which follows upon Oedipus Rex (all part of the great “Oedipus” or “Theban Trilogy”).

We have already examined the tragedy of Oedipus Rex in the previous letter—Oedipus unwittingly kills his father, marries his mother, gouges out his eyes, and goes into exile, ending up at the city of Colonus, which is the setting for the second drama in the Trilogy, Oedipus at Colonus.  Creon had gladly sent Oedipus into exile, but the oracle then told Creon that whereas Oedipus had been a blight on Thebes, now he was the very man who, in his suffering, would be the agent for the restoration of Thebes; that is, if any of the remaining factions in Thebes can woo him back.  Creon therefore pursues Oedipus in Colonus and tries to do that very thing.

Sound familiar, Your Excellency?  Well, it should, because soon after you sent various “uncooperative” parishioners into exile from SGG/Thebes you discovered the financial blight and negative propaganda blitz sent upon your parish, and instead of redressing the grievances these former parishioners had, allies acting as your mouthpiece simply tried to woo them back.  This is precisely what Creon does to Oedipus in Oedipus at Colonus (although he speaks to him personally), but Oedipus will have none of it, for he has now found a safe haven where he is loved, honored and protected, just as your former parishioners will have none of it now that they have found a safe haven at the Wingate Hotel chapel. 

Let us begin with your own parishioners-in-exile. First, On Dec.14, Rev. Cekada, your right-hand man, dismissively writes in his Quidlibet column entitled, “But How did It Really Affect YOU?”, “…For most of you, the issue of who our school principal is or what our school policies are have no effect whatsoever on you or your family. There is simply no proportionate reason to explain why you’re going to Mass in a hotel.  So instead, look to your own heart for the reason: an eagerness to listen to gossip, a willingness to believe the worst about people or an unwillingness to forgive.  Pray for the grace of charity, and the gift of peace of heart — the true spirit of Christmas.  Come in from the Inn this Christmas. There is room.”

Then, on December 15, referring to an earlier November 30 letter he had written, Fr. Martin Stepanich, O.F.M., addresses Dr. Droleskey: “I told you that the real solution for the distressing SGG situation is in fervent and persevering prayer to God that he mercifully intervene and bring back to the SGG parish Catholic good order and unity and charity, especially due respect for God’s chosen ones in charge of the parish. The real solution is not on any Internet, especially not on your kind of Internet, but on the knees.”

That same day, December 15, the editors of the SGG Info site that “Recently our inboxes have received quite a few tidbits of spam scolding us for falling victim to an odious whispering campaign that has awakened ancient, half-forgotten grudges about little things. As a result, like peevish children, we have picked up our marbles, so to speak, and left the circle in a tizzy. The latest adolescent e-reprimand, which likens the faithful to the rabid Jerusalem mob and the faithless onlookers at Calvary, asks us to start feeling sorry now.”

In other words, Rev. Cekada, Fr. Stepanich, and various spam e-mailers to the editors of SGG Info are asking the “dissidents” to return to SGG without any indication that the grievances that led these folks to leave in the first place are being addressed, much less redressed. 

How did Oedipus react when met with a similar situation? 

Creon visits Oedipus at his safe haven in Colonus and says, “Nay, unhappy Oedipus, hear us, and come home!”  Alluding to his own fault at exiling Oedipus, he asks Oedipus to magnanimously cover this fault by his return (in a way that your allies, Bishop Dolan, seem to be unconsciously saying in their “outreach” to the Wingate crowd) : “Is it not a cruel reproach—alas!—that I have cast at thee, and me, and all our race?  But indeed an open shame cannot be hid; then—in the name of thy fathers’ gods, hearken to me, Oedipus!—hide it thou, by consenting to return to the city and the house of thy fathers [SGG], after a kindly farewell to this State [Wingate Hotel chapel]—for she is worthy: yet thine own hath the first claim on thy piety, since ‘twas she that nurtured thee of old.” 

To such verbal circumlocution, Oedipus responds, as if speaking for all the members of St. Albert the Great Confraternity: “All-daring, who from any plea of right wouldst draw a crafty device, why dost thou attempt me thus, and seek once more to take me in the toils where capture would be sorest?... when thou seest that I have kindly welcome from this city and from all her sons, thou seekest to pluck me away, wrapping hard thoughts in soft words.  And yet what joy is there here, in kindness shown to us against our will?  As if a man should give thee no gift, bring thee no aid, when thou wast fain of the boon; but after thy soul’s desire was sated, should grant it then, when the grace could be gracious no more: wouldst thou not find that pleasure vain? Yet such are thine own offers unto me—good in name, but in their substance evil...

Oedipus, like his cohorts at St. Albert the Great Confraternity, easily detects Creon’s real designs: “Thou hast come hither with fraud on thy lips, yea, with a tongue keener than the edge of the sword... Thou hast come to fetch me, not that thou mayest take me home, but that thou mayest plant me near thy borders, and so thy city may escape unscathed by troubles from this land.  That portion is not for thee, but this—my curse upon the country ever abiding therein.”  That is not to say the good people of St. Albert the Great Confraternity have sent a curse upon SGG, but the leaders of SGG may be bringing a curse upon themselves the longer they stonewall the real issues and avoid addressing the real problems that led to this unfortunate conflict.  

In both the SGG and Oedipus at Colonus dramas the conflicts are the same—unjustly outcast former-citizens crying for redress of grievances and instead being met with honeyed words to return without any redress of said grievances.  So far the disenfranchised members of St. Albert the Great Confraternity have shown much more poise and restraint than even the heroic Oedipus.  Their patience in this matter must be commended, while the continued empty overtures of Your Excellency’s allies must be regretted.  As Oedipus well knew, without redress of grievances, extended olive branches simply add insult to injury. 


A Concerned Observer