Shooting The Messenger
by Thomas A. Droleskey
Although some of those who have written to me in the past nine days or so have urged me to cease reporting on the tragic events that have unfolded at Saint Gertrude the Great Church, not one of those who has written me thus far is attempting to excuse the inexcusable attacks of Bishop Daniel Dolan upon Father Markus Ramolla. We know that even some of those who have stayed at Saint Gertrude the Great Church, which is a decision that is theirs to make according to the dictates of their own consciences, have been aware of the simple truth that the problems that Father Ramolla sought to rectify were not imaginary, that they were indeed quite serious. One man said to me earlier this year that he had approached Bishop Dolan with his own concerns about these matters, being told by His Excellency that he, Bishop Dolan, would be giving the appearance of surrendering to public pressure for him to act, which would encourage others to believe that the way to "get things done" at Saint Gertrude the Great Church is to complain loudly and publicly about various problems.
The truth is, of course, that this whole matter should never have reached the state of turmoil that has developed into full public view. Bishop Dolan had it completely within his own pastoral powers to respond to the numerous and repeated complaints that were made to him privately over a long period of time. This whole matter would have been defused if the problems at Saint Gertrude the Great Church had not been minimized by Bishop Dolan and Father Anthony Cekada, and if they had not threatened their critics with contracts to sign that exacted silence from them about the problems in exchange for their being "permitted" to step foot on the grounds of the parish and to receive the sacraments.
That this form of spiritual terrorism--and it is nothing other than this--now lies exposed yet again for the world to behold is not the fault of messengers such as Father Ramolla or others, including me.
That this form of spiritual terrorism now lies exposed yet again for the world to behold is solely the fault of Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada for being diffident in the face of behavior that would not even be tolerated today in even many formerly Catholic schools that are now in the control of the counterfeit church of conciliarism.
Bishop Dolan's modus operandi in 2009, as one can see very plainly in his attack upon the courageous Father Markus Ramolla on Sunday, November 15, 2009, has all of the earmarks of how he has treated others in the past, pronouncing sentences of "excommunication" upon people before they had been given a chance to defend themselves. Bishop Dolan had a sentence ready to be pronounced on Father Ramolla as he, Father Ramolla, manfully sought to remove people whose actions had been the cause of grave scandals at Saint Gertrude the Great Church and have caused some, including children, to lose the Faith altogether, which is hardly, as he noted in a sermon he, Bishop Dolan, gave two days ago, a "half-forgotten" hurt.
Here is Bishop Dolan's "An Apology" as transcribed at my request by a reader of this site:
Before I give the sermon this morning I want to make an apology to you and in order for me to do this I think I first of all have to apologize. You may have noted some familiar faces in church are missing and the choir sounds a tad thin, although’ they really do still sound very good, of course. And you may have been exposed to some unsettling conversations, or speculations -- that sort of thing, or it may be that you have heard nothing at all, and what I am going to say may disturb your Sabbath peace. In either case, I do beg your understanding and forgiveness.
There has been quite a little controversy in our church, really for a number of months now, and finally the truth has come to light and I must break the rule that I have observed – I think for 31 years.
I don’t speak about these things at Mass or from the pulpit ever, but it is so grave that I have decided that it is my duty.
Tomorrow will be the second anniversary of the ordination of Father Markus Ramolla a young German priest who had been with us for just over a year He taught some courses at our school and was the pastor at our mission church St. Clare in Columbus.
If you are aware of any of these controversies or are missing someone today, know that it is because Father Ramolla began a systematic program of both denunciation and whispering to destroy first the seminary and the bishop who trained him for the priesthood – he began that before he was even ordained, it comes to light – the bishop who had educated him from our . . . garden nursery store to a rather polished and impressive young priest. He arrived here just over a year ago and soon turned his campaign against this church and its clergy and our school, and its principal and their family whom he hated and hounded and humiliated, and for this I am particularly sorry. But in all that he said and did and incited others to say and to do he meant to destroy us personally as well as in our capacity as clergy or as lay workers in a Catholic Church.
Now, I alone bear the blame for all of this. I ordained Father Ramolla, indeed I brought him here from Germany, and then I sent him to St. Gertrude Church in effect to break hearts and to bring us low. He ought never to have been ordained.
Of all people a poor man who is a former seminarian and taught for a few months at our school, someone who struggles with mental illness and has now been running a full time internet campaign against St. Gertrude’s and so forth – of all things this man had warned me 2 years ago not to ordain him to the priesthood, citing the counsel of a certain lady who lived near Germany who was the housekeeper of our dear friend Father Schoonbroodt in Belgium.
This lady had gotten to know this seminarian, Markus Ramolla, very well, and on her death bed – she died of cancer – she warned this priest and others of the disaster that would happen if he were ordained. But I did not listen because that’s not my way. Um, he seemed to be so pious and I am an optimist, and after all he had signed a promise of obedience to me as to a bishop. He signed a promise of obedience. And I thought to myself “Well now he ought to be given a chance as I was when I was a seminarian.”
But now I am afraid that we all have been paying and rather dearly and I beg your pardon for myself and for my poor priest son, Markus Ramolla. His only experience in the holy priesthood these two years has been to destroy what we have built up at St. Gertrude the Great over the last 31 years when the mission of St. Gertrude was begun in Milford, Ohio with some thirty people. Numbers don’t really worry us one way or another. But let me say again that I am so very sorry. Let me ask your prayers for those who have made themselves our enemy and for this poor, wretched priest and for SGG and for her children, her devoted workers, our lovely little school, our church, and our clergy, indeed our clergy throughout the world who have felt the wrath of this priest’s tongue.
Now, I want to make a particular request of you, tomorrow’s our anniversary day: Could you see it in your own heart to begin tonight a nine-day Rosary novena -- to pray the Rosary nine days in a row in honor of St. Gertrude the Great and Our Mother of Good Counsel for all of our very pressing needs at this time. If you, if we will all do this, I have no doubt that Our Lady, through her Rosary, will protect us once again.
So much has been written about this subject on this site in the past eight days that it would be redundant to continue making points have been made in Sanctimony Won't Work This Time and Justifying Glory Into Shame.
Suffice it for the moment to note that Bishop Dolan only knows how to character assassinate his critics even though they have sought to be his best friends by pointing out to him privately serious matters that had to be addressed and corrected. Readers can see for themselves that his first instinct is to denounce and to exclude his critics from "communion" at Saint Gertrude the Great Church, yes, even if this means misrepresenting the facts of Father Ramolla's true pastoral concern for the flock of Saint Gertrude the Great Church and his repeated, tireless efforts to get Bishop Dolan to open his eyes to how his own actions have caused the scandals that have taken place there to explode into full public view as former friends have been set against each another.
Father Ramolla did not "hate" or "hound" the Lotarskis. He sought their removal for the common good of Saint Gertrude the Great Church and School and for the good of their own immortal souls. None of us who are opposing the grave misuse of clerical authority by Bishop Dolan and Father Anthony Cekada "hates" anyone or is seeking to destroy anything, no less Saint Gertrude the Great Church and School.
Does Bishop Dolan "hate" Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI when he opposes the pretender on the papal throne as he, Ratzinger/Benedict, promotes propositions condemned by the Catholic Church?
Did the nine priests of the Society of Saint Pius X who opposed various policies and practices of the late Archbishop Lefebvre "hate" the very bishop who ordained them to the holy priesthood when they brought their concerns to him in 1983?
Did Fathers Anthony Cekada, Daniel Dolan, and Donald Sanborn "hate" Father Clarence Kelly when they recognized the validity of the episcopal line of the late Archbishop Pierre Martin Ngo Dinh Thuc even though Father Kelly, their superior, rejected it?
Do those of us who oppose the beliefs and policies of Barack Hussein Obama "hate" him or harbor "racist" sentiments against him?
It is emotionally manipulative for Bishop Dolan to claim that those who are opposing him at this time are filled with "hate" or that they have permitted "half-forgotten" problems to fester in their hearts. The loss of the holy faith in the souls of children is not a "half-forgotten" problem. It is a scandal caused by entrusting the operation of Saint Gertrude the Great School to a family whose members have treated children with brutality and who have even visited contempt and disdain upon adult parishioners with no fear of repercussions from Bishop Dolan or Father Cekada.
I sought to express this exact message to Bishop Dolan in a e-mail that I sent to him on Friday, November 5, 2009, prior to posting From The Heart: Father Markus Ramolla's Farewell Letter to His Excellency and his farewell letter to his flock:
As I noted in my letter to you of July 29, 2009, Saint Thomas Aquinas said that the laity have the right to remonstrate with their clergy if private efforts to redress grave problems meet with no success. [See appendix of this article.]
I beg you as your friend who loves you and who is grateful for all that you have done for Holy Mother Church and for souls to recognize that it is not the messenger, Father Ramolla, who is your problem, but Father Cekada and the Lotarskis, as well, of course, as your own Irish intransigence in the face of opposition.
Father Ramolla has asked me to publish his letter to you and his farewell letter to the faithful. I will do so after I send you this letter. We stand with Father Ramolla and I will fight with vigor any false accusations made against him.
Sharon begs you to put an end to this now. Let Father Ramolla do his priestly work. You have told us that it is so important for a priest to offer Mass so as to give glory to God. Sharon says that you should not spend a single dime on shylock attorneys to prevent Father Ramolla from staying in this country. We need Holy Mass. We need honor and glory given to God. "Please, Your Excellency, cease a defense of the indefensible". . . .
We pray for you daily. If you do not recognize now that critics such as Father Ramolla and us are your best friends, it is my prayer that you will come to see this in eternity, please God that each of us dies in states of Sanctifying Grace as members of the Catholic Church, relying always upon the maternal intercession of the Mother of God.
Does this appear to be a note written by a man filled with "hate," one who is an "enemy" of Bishop Dolan's? Others have made similar pleas. It is the height of hubris for Bishop Dolan to claim that those of us who are criticizing him and his modus operandi are filled with "hate" and are his enemies. This is most self-serving. It is most self-piteous. This impression exists only in his own mind and nowhere else. It is beneath the episcopal dignity he says that he is defending by "standing tall" against his critics, who tried over and over and over again to bring their documented concerns to him in private so as not to create the sort of scandal that has now erupted in full public view.
Bishop Dolan has been morally obtuse in his dealing with these matters, convinced that he can ride out any storm that comes his way without having to admit any fault other than being mistaken about ordaining Father Markus Ramolla. It is, however, more than a little curious that Bishop Dolan once said that he was wrong to have ordained Father Jeremy Cyr to the holy priesthood, making his, Bishop Dolan's, first and last (to this present date) ordinations to the priesthood to have been mistaken.
How can Bishop Dolan denounce Father Ramolla in his "An Apology," using The Lord Hath Done This to denounce also those who have broken through the glass house of clerical arbitrariness by leaving Saint Gertrude the Great Church and assisting at Father Ramolla's Masses, when he included the following in the "Bishop's Corner" of the Saint Gertrude the Great Bulletin for the Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost and the Commemoration of Saint Albert the Great?
As you may have heard, Fr. Ramolla decided to leave us a while ago, and we certainly thank him for all his good efforts and help during the little over a year he spent with us, and wish him Godspeed in his future endeavors. (www.St. Gertrude the Great)
Good efforts? How can a priest who is said to have an agenda to "destroy" Saint Gertrude the Great Church and School have had "good efforts"? How can any rational human being praise "good efforts" in writing while denouncing a priest in the most bitter, self-serving and sanctimonious terms possible from a pulpit in the presence of the tender ears of children, some of whom were taken out of earshot of the bishop's hateful, untrue words in order to keep them from this scandal that has been caused exclusively by Bishop Dolan's refusal to admit he has made any kind of mistake in keeping the Lotarskis in the positions of trust in which he has placed them?
Bishop Dolan's "Bishop's Corner" also repeats the lie that Father Ramolla "decided to leave" Saint Gertrude's." As Father Ramolla confirmed to me once again this morning after Holy Mass, he was dismissed in person by Bishop Dolan on Thursday, November 5, 2009, the day after his work visa had been revoked. Any claim that Father Ramolla "decided to leave," no less the lie that Bishop Dolan told to first grade students on Monday, November 2, 2009, that Father Ramolla "missed Germany" and wanted to "return" there, is without any credibility whatsoever.
Moreover, if, as Bishop Dolan contends, Father Ramolla intended to "destroy" Saint Gertrude the Great Church and School, why did not he make temporal provisions for his departure. Why was he not soliciting funds for a residence? Why did he not solicit funds for his own automobile so that he could drive to his various Mass centers? Why was everything so ad hoc upon his dismissal?
If Father Ramolla had a "plan" to "destroy" Saint Gertrude the Great Church and School, why was he such a poor planner in making provisions for his temporal welfare when he found the time propitious to leave after doing his "dirty work"? Why did not Father Ramolla make plans months ago for another sponsor for his work visa so that he would not have prepare paperwork hastily to remain this country? There is not a shred of proof that Bishop Dolan can bring forth to show that Father Ramolla was squirreling away part of his $200 a month allowance to provide for any kind of an "exit" from Saint Gertrude the Great Church that he neither planned nor wanted to occur.
For those who need a lesson in moral theology, it is not calumnious to state a fact and to call a lie by its proper name. What a tragedy it is that young Father Charles McGuire's sermon at the 5:45 p.m. Mass on Sunday, November 15, 2009, warned people not to listen to "calumnies" when nothing but the truth has been told about the clerical abuse of power that has been visited upon the sheep who have brought to them their heartfelt and truly serious concerns.
Bishop Dolan used The Lord Hath Done This to speak of the "mental illness" of at least some of those who are following Father Ramolla out of Saint Gertrude the Great Church, where many parishioners are fed up with having contracts held up over their heads to silence them about things they have seen with their own eyes that are contrary to the Catholic Faith and, quite possibly, in violation of the civil law. It appears as though a lot of "mentally ill" people are attracted to Saint Gertrude the Great Church. There were about one hundred of these "mentally ill" people at the Wingate Hotel in West Chester, Ohio, on Sunday morning, November 15, 2009, to assist at Father Ramolla's offering of Holy Mass. Others of these "mentally ill" people who have left Saint Gertrude the Great Church are taking refuge at Immaculate Conception Church in Norwood, Ohio.
Does Bishop Dolan really think that the hard-working people who donated the money that made possible the building of the new Saint Gertrude the Great Church campus, which opened in 2003 and is owned in toto by Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada, wanted to walk away from very the church that they helped to build and maintain? They took this step reluctantly and not without a lot of tears in many cases. To attack these people as ungrateful or "full of pride" or "full of hate" is beneath contempt. These are courageous people who will not stand by silently as a good young priest is being punished for doing his pastoral duty of seeking to rectify problems that have been ignored or dismissed as "minor" by Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada.
The use of the "mental illness" card to dismiss critics is a tactic that is quite commonly used by Novus Ordo 'bishops" to seek to silence "conservative" priests, some of whom have been shipped out to psychiatric centers for "reprogamming" after complaining about doctrinal or moral abuses.
Indeed, Father Stephen P. Zigrang was urged by the then "Bishop" Joseph Fiorenza of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston to seek counseling from Father Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R., after Father Zigrang offered the Immemorial Mass of Tradition publicly at Saint Andrew's Church in Channelview, Texas, on June 29 and 29, 2003, indicating to Fiorenza that Father Zigrang was in need of emotional counseling. I reported in the 1990s in The Wanderer of other cases of priests being threatened with psychiatric evaluation because of their efforts to preserve the Faith in the conciliar structures as best they knew how. That Bishop Daniel Dolan and Father Anthony Cekada have used this "mental illness" card with great liberality speaks volumes about their common kinship with those in the conciliar structures from whom they are otherwise separated in matters of Faith and Worship as they mistreat priests and members of the laity who complain to them.
The use of the "mental illness" card was employed by the likes of Joseph Stalin to denounce and imprison and even kill anyone who opposed his brutal reign over the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in particular or Communism in general. It is an old "card," a tired "card," and no intelligent Catholic will fall for this trick of the devil, Bishop Dolan, as you attempt to make yourself the victim in this piece when you are the one whose actions and attitudes of indifference to various moral crimes have brought it about, thus scandalizing so many around the world.
One could ask a very pertinent question at this point: do either Bishop Dolan or Father Cekada have the clinical credentials to diagnose people with "mental illness" and then to stigmatize them with it publicly? Where have they received their professional training in making such diagnoses? Where have they done their internships to evaluate the mental stability of other people as they themselves have had their evaluations and diagnoses reviewed by peer professionals in the field of mental health? What qualifies them to make these "instant diagnoses" of "mental illness," some of which, at least one report published in 1989 indicates, goes back at least to 1988?
Then again, Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada have shown themselves to be in no need of any particular professional training to make pronouncements of "mental illness" or, in the case of Father Cekada, to dismiss the professional expertise of leading Catholic neurologists such as Dr. James Gebel, Jr., and Dr. Lawrence Huntoon (see Dr Huntoon on Terri Schiavo's Autopsy Report) and experts on the myth that is "brain death" as Dr. Paul Byrne (see Dr. Paul Byrne on Brain Death). Bishop Dolan went so far as to praise Father Cekada's dismissive and even satirical response to Dr. Gebel's report on the murder of Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo that was included as an insert in the Saint Gertrude the Great Bulletin.
Bishop Dolan and Father Cekada, however, overreach repeatedly when claiming to have expertise in fields in which they are not professionally or clinically trained. It is indeed very contemptible for them to use the "mental illness" card as they do without any credentials to make such diagnoses.
Father Anthony Cekada wrote an article in 1990 entitled Follow Me or Die concerning those who demand complete submission to their positions. What a supreme irony it is that Saint Gertrude the Great Church has become a caricature in 2009 of the belief criticized by Father Cekada in 1990, a belief that, in actual point of fact, was already in practice at Saint Gertrude's at the time his article was published.
The facts have been laid out. The pattern of abuse of critics has been made clear. Those who have the eyes to see the truth of this matter will do so. All one has to do, however, is to listen to Father Ramolla's sermon of Sunday, November 15, 2009, Faith, to see that his sole concern is the protection of the Faith in the souls of the sheep, starting with those of our children.
We continue, of course, in prayer, especially to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. As sinners ourselves, we hold grudges against no one. We hate no one. We will the good, temporal and eternal, of all involved. This does not mean, however, that we cannot pursue justice without vengeance as lies and clerical abuse of authority, dating back more than twenty years, are brought to light for all to see that, barring a miracle of Our Lady's graces, things will be the same at Saint Gertrude the Great Church in 2029 as they are in 2009 and as they were in 1989 unless the two clerics responsible for fostering a veritable cult of personality, Bishop Daniel Dolan and Father Anthony Cekada, remove themselves and retire to live as the monks as they started out to be in 1969.
Let us keep this whole matter uppermost in our prayers, especially in the Rosaries that we are to pray today.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, triumph soon.
Viva Cristo Rey! Vivat Christus Rex!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Gertrude the Great, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints
Saint Thomas Aquinas on Rebuking One's Clergy
"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)