Saturday, April 30, 2011


Ed. Note: Here’s a word to the wise from a sadder but a wiser man, who sorely wishes he and his family had never responded to the fervent and frequent pleas for more and more money for the pesthouse.

My family supported the MHT building project at the church we attended. We stopped when we saw this unbelievable quote [in the Nov. 2009 newsletter]:

“The electrician has been working a great deal on the chapel, and practically cleaned us out of what money we have thus far collected for it...The wiring in the chapel walls has been repaired, and now they are completing the rewiring of the ceiling…Then there would remain two big projects before the completion: (1) replacing the curved ceiling in the chapel, which had to be removed for the sake of the re-wiring, and (2) the installation of the parking lot. These final stages will cost approximately $80,000 total (emphasis added by correspondent).”

It doesn’t take a construction expert to see the digusting foul-ups behind the underlined words. Tens of thousands of dollars of donor money had to be used to re-do work that should have been right in the first place. This was new construction not a remodel job. Anybody will want to know who is making the decisions before they give another nickel.

The Reader replies: When we saw the article at the time the SGG scandal erupted in all its lurid horror, we were dumbfounded that no public explanation or apology was given for the costly blunders: our experts said it sounded like the wiring must not have been up to code, to say the least. Someone should have been held accountable. Of course, the Readers had learned the full back-story, so we weren’t really surprised. What we found most unsettling was how the rector coolly and calmly concluded, “So your continued support of our building project would be very much appreciated.”

Now that’s chutzpah!

By the way…


Saturday, April 23, 2011


Ed. Note: This week Pistrina’s publishing a little early. Here’s an analysis we just received about the April 2011 Most Holy Trinity Newsletter, wherein the rector dons his beggar’s weeds and aggressively demands alms.

Next month, in an attempt to return to the ancient profits, the rector will -- so he threatens -- deliver his proposal to squeeze $30,000 a year out of traditional Catholics already overtaxed by the unending solicitations to prop up their failing SGG cult masters. Before he sends out his May dunning notice, let me quickly analyze what he wrote this month.

In a rare moment of candor, the rector confesses that the “supplementary donations” he relies on to keep the pesthouse open “have dried up.” Then returning to his old ways, he blames the shortfall on “the general downturn of the economy.” Like all his amateur analyses, this one is laughably full of holes.

Anyone who has been following the reports on the charitable-giving trends of the past three years knows that while giving has declined, it hasn’t taken a dive. In fact, in 2009, the Giving USA Foundation of the Giving Institute reported that donations to religious groups increased by 5 percent in 2008! As the Association of Fundraising Professionals has commented, in this deep recession, donors are still givers, and they have not stopped making contributions. A quick glance at real data, not make-believe, is instructive here. In the comparable recession of 1973-75, giving fell by 5.5 percent in 1974, but in the current crisis, it fell only by 3.2 percent in 2009.

It’s time for that panhandling prelate to wake up and smell the coffee. Here’s my take on the data for the Big Kahuna: It’s NOT the economy, Stupid! Contrary to what the rector says, there is indeed a real “lack of enthusiasm” for that vocational clerical training program. Furthermore, although the generosity of the faithful remains completely intact, the rector and MHT will not be the beneficiaries. The well isn’t dry -- it’s just off limits to the ever-thirsty swampland beggars.

No one in his right mind buys the rector's expense list. If seminarians must be clothed, why must cassocks for some come from the papal tailor in Rome? Additionally, six seminarians (that seems to be average number, if not lower) is not an economy of scale that would justify a cook (presumably full time). There certainly exist alternatives that would be cheaper, such as meals prepared and delivered by an institutional food purveyor. (For instance, if there is a senior citizen home nearby, the rector might arrange to order several additional meals for each day; to save money, the rector or the vice rector could run over and pick them up. Bonus: the seminarians could study in the time saved by being relieved of K.P.)

Another way to raise money is to raise tuition AND require every seminarian to pay. If there is indeed a promising but needy young man, then the faithful could offer to underwrite his tuition in return, say, for service at their chapel. I don’t mean give the money to the Kahuna and let him use it as he sees fit. I mean give the money to the individual seminarian and let him pay his fees alone. (Remember, however, to insist on a receipt stamped paid!)

The worst thing about MHT is that there is no mechanism of accountability to assure donors that their money is being well spent. We always hear of all the new seminarians coming in, but we never hear when they’re expelled or leave or run away. So in the end, no one ever knows where the money went or how many seminarians there really are at any one time. The money might just as likely be going for upscale interior decoration or first-class vacations or extravagant clerical bling instead of campus upkeep.* Who can tell? There are no public, audited reports of expenditures. You just have to take the rector's word that he needs $30K more per annum.

Above and beyond all these considerations, the rector, without realizing it, provided a sovereign reason to stop giving him any more money. He claims he has to send the seminarians out to cult chapels during Holy Week because without a choir, servers, or sacristans, he can’t put on the ceremonies in Brooksville. (Hmmm⁉ Where are all the sisters and the laity down there⁈)

The only cult center that mounts really elaborate functions is SGG in West Chester, Ohio, so in effect many seminarians are being sent out to stroke the ego of the very man who’s responsible for the loss of monetary support for MHT. Everyone, including the rector, knows that if “One-Hand” didn’t have these ceremonies, there'd be nothing for him to do. (In the old days, before the majority of the faithful abandoned SGG and its satellite cults, many of the chapels couldn’t have full Holy Week rites because their priests were required to be in West Chester for the over-the-top theatrical productions featuring the "One-Hand" cult-meister center stage.)

More to the point: What kind of seminary is it, anyway, that can't accommodate the celebration of Holy Week in some form? Rather than waste time and resources on arcane pontifical ceremonies the seminarians will never need if they get a chapel of their own, it would be more practical (and cheaper) for them to stay coiled in the swamp; then they could learn how to celebrate Holy Week for small churches as detailed in the Memoriale Rituum. Now that would be of real value for their training: They would be prepared to do their jobs after ordination! Instead, these clerical trainees now spend hours and hours learning ceremonies that will be of no use to them as pastors. They’ll just remember the foul-ups; the long, tiring hours of disorganized practice; and nerve-wracking, last-minute changes that characterize “One-Hand Dan’s” stage-management style. How sad that they can’t begin to master the rituals they will need to edify the faithful who will pay their salaries and support them.

Take a page from Nancy Reagan’s book: Just say NO when the rector holds out his hat.

The Reader replies: All we can add is


* Next week Pistrina will offer a post based on a revelation in an earlier MHT newsletter, which should scare any prospective donor.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Ed. Note: While a few Readers take the next couple of weeks off for a well deserved vacation, Pistrina will post some of the many messages it has received from correspondents all over the world. From the U.S. comes this one:

I am sure you know that those three will never correct the errors you exposed. It has never been their style to acknowledge failure or incompetence. The triad's priests will go through life with those original error-stained ordination documents because the trio will never issue corrections. I suppose that no one, even in civil life, has a right to an error free certificate, and it's obvious that the triplets don't care about their reputation, or they wouldn't behave as they do. The ordinati are plain out of luck. You probably already realize that those simpletons wouldn't care anyhow.

Your stuff is very funny and very accurate, but it will have zero impact on their behavior. Your imaginary phone conversation may be quite close to reality. That said, I for one would love to read Pistrina's observations on "West Chester." I hope you'll print them some day.

The Reader replies: Yes, we're well aware that the Gang of Three won't alter a jot or a tittle of their mistakes. In fact, we're counting on it. For years their strategy has been to tell people that they were the best of all traditional Catholic groups. It's time that people know these three guys are definitely not what they claim to be. The Threesome's hard-headed persistence in error is just what their adversaries need to convince intelligent Catholic laymen to stay away from them.

As far as we're concerned, the triplets are welcome to the imbeciles who curently follow them. We don't want to have to sit next to such Neanderthals when we're in church, especially now that warm weather is upon us.

For Reader #1's comments on their pompously hilarious Latinization of West Chester, click here for "What's in a Name?"

Saturday, April 9, 2011


O judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason. William Shakespeare

“One-Hand” Dan, a.k.a. “the old bishop,” writes a weekly weather report and potluck food blog for his cult center. Most of the time, it’s just a string of purple-prose patches, cloying pieties, dainty observations to his Dear Vacation Diary, and school girlish self-pity. In one post a couple weeks back, however, his stream-of-consciousness twaddling sounded a more ominous note when he threatened, “signs of good American vocations are appearing.”

Let’s hope this is just one of Danny’s many poetic flights of fancy aimed at getting his cult members to cough up a few hard-earned dollars for the rector to waste on interior decoration. With enough mental reservation, we can see how the birth of a few male children in Butler County, Ohio, might be interpreted as “signs” of vocations. And the present-progressive “are appearing” is really a fine way to stay just this side of science fiction, isn’t it?

We’ll rely on our knowledge of “One-Hand” Dan’s transparent fund-raising tricks to set aside any worries about young men in danger of being committed to MHT. (But we’ll keep our ears to the ground in the unlikely event that there’s some truth in the remark.) The “signs” we see and smell are of the decomposition of MHT. The rector cannot be too happy. Recall that “One-Hand” Dan’s and the blunderer’s behavior in the infamous St. Gertrude the Great School scandal resulted in the loss of thousands of dollars annually to the pesthouse.

“One-Hand” could easily have ended the crisis, but he miscalculated the just anger of Catholics and so collapsed his own house of cards. Inasmuch as the rector hitched his rickety wagon to “One-Hand” Dan’s plummeting star, this wayward little experiment in clerical vocational training is just about over. Gone forever are the heady days filled with “One-Hand’s” boasting about becoming the new Lefebvre and the "World's Bishop": nowadays he must vainly shill for MHT.

There’s a lesson here somewhere if we remember that the rector and “One-Hand” Dan were never really bosom buddies. The anecdotes are legion: a September 1990 ad-cautelam letter about someone’s “dubious” ordination; private Masses in Michigan at the homes of adversaries; a very peevish tantrum as a result of an unforeseen (and unwelcome) episcopal consecration; something about prancing around in pontificals; a heartbreaking, party-pooping RSVP over what to wear to a jubilee.

When the shocking scandal at SGG School came to light, why, then, didn’t the rector react with what he himself has recently called “proportionate intolerance and outrage”? Why did he attempt to defend “One-Hand” Dan? Why did he judge softly the clergy who brought the traditional community to the precipice? Where was his firm sense of right and wrong? Where were his vaunted hardness and rigidity? From a purely practical point, the notorious SGG crisis should have been a welcome opportunity to sever any remaining ties to one who for years had been more a rival than a colleague.

We won’t descend into the meretricious pop psychological or political analysis the rector favors in his monthly screeds. Perhaps he thought he needed “One-Hand’s” chapels to house and feed his ill-trained and inept completers. Perhaps he hoped to retain access to the pocketbooks of the faithful at SGG and its satellite cults. Perhaps he was afraid that he’d have to spend more time in the classroom if the blunderer were no longer allowed to “teach” at MHT. Whatever the reason, the rector’s continued alliance with “One-Hand” Dan attests to a catastrophic failure of judgment.


Saturday, April 2, 2011


Blanche DuBois: [telephone rings]

[rises out of seat]

Blanche DuBois: That's for me, I'm sure.

Stanley Kowalski: [pushes her back down roughly] Just keep your seat, I'm not so sure.

“A Streetcar Named Desire”

Ed. Note: Last week, we suggested that “One-Hand” Dan’s ordinati insist on getting a new certificate of ordination (Litteræ Ordinationis) free from the grammatical errors in Latin, which the original document contains. On second thought, that might be a problem. Here’s how such a ’phone call might go for a feckless MHT loser who dares to ask for justice:

“Hello, Your Excellency. You know, in the future, I may be working with priests and bishops who received a real formation in a good seminary, so I’d like you to correct the errors printed on my ordination certificate. Are you still there? Ahem! I...I...I don’t want them to think my ordination is...dubious, you know what I mean? Heh, heh. What errors? Well, uh, like Pistrina said, change Cincinnatensis to Cincinnatensi. All you have to do is delete a little s.

"And, while I’m on the subject, if you wouldn’t mind, it would also be rather nice if you used the better spelling archidiœcesi or even archidioecesi rather than the archidiocesi you guys printed. What the hey, since you claim we’re in the Sede Vacante, your cult center can’t be a canonically erected parish in Cinci, so why not just drop it altogether? A diocese or archdiocese is probably more about jurisdiction than about geography anyway. Hmmm? What did you say? No, Excellency, I’m not teaching my father how to make children. Just trying to help out, that’s all. No pressure, you understand. Of course you can say no. You're the boss.

“Come again? No, no, Excellency: Cincinnatensis is definitely wrong. I checked four Latin reference grammars, and the Reader is right, as usual. Well, then…why not check with the rector…you know, the Big Kahuna himself? (Your goofy buddy can ask, if you’re afraid to.) Pistrina gave the rector a private lesson last week. He’ll tell you it’s wrong. What’s that you say? The Kahuna doesn’t know his what from a what? Well, if that’s how you feel, then don’t call him! Ummmm, now that I think about it, you can leave the archidiocesi alone. That’s OK by me. Just fix the really bad grammar. No sweat, right? Right?

“Anything else, did you say? Well, why, uh, yes. Thanks for asking, because there is one other teeny, tiny request: Can you correct ad ordinem PRESBYTERATUM to ad ordinem PRESBYTERATUS… if you wouldn’t mind?

“What did you say? Whoa, Excellency! Now I know what they meant by the Ecône “Door-Mouse”! Forgive me, but I don’t think that last order is anatomically possible, do you? I mean, even if I could, my confessor wouldn’t believe me, would he? Besides, that’s one of the many topics we missed in moral theology at the rector's pesthouse. Class was probably canceled that day, I guess, or I couldn’t understand the prefect’s heavy accent.

“Now please calm down! Sorry I brought up the past. Just chill out a little. Give me a chance to explain, won’t you? What you meant to express (I hope) was: “to the order of the priesthood (or ‘presbyterate’).” Well, begging Your Excellency’s pardon, but that requires a genitive, not an accusative. You remember, don’t you, that presbyteratus is fourth declension? Yes? You think you do? Fan-taass-TIC! So then, the genitive is presbyteratūs, right? Now you don’t have to print the macron; real Latinists will understand.

“Oh, what’s that, Your Excellency? You don’t believe me? What? You want to apologize to the faithful for ordaining me? I’m a liar? Wait! What’s that he said? No way! Tell him that I’m definitely not mentally ill! What? You’re going to call in the authentic interpreter of my perpetual agreement to indentured and inescapable clerical bondage, world without end?

“Listen, Excellency, please! I’m begging you: I want to get out of here in a few years. Those slobbering peasants are going to revolt, and I don’t intend to wind up on the sharp end of a pitchfork. No, Siree, Bob! So look here! I’ve got an idea. Do you have a Pontificale Romanum nearby? You do? Of course you do! Yes, you’re the best. Good! Turn to the first page of De Ordinatione Presbyteri. Now look where the Archdeacon calls the ordinands. See that? Accedant qui ordinandi sunt ad ordinem Presbyteratus.

“It’s the same phrase! Even you can see that, can’t you, Your Excellency? I’m not mentally ill, right? You just made a typo, that’s all. A little, widdle boo-boo. Sure, I understand: you can’t soar with the eagles with all the turkeys you’ve got down here. (They were my classmates and teacher, after all, so I know what you mean.)

“You see, all you have to do is change the M to an S. (We can even use the s we removed earlier so you can save some face. Heh! Heh!) Then it’ll all be copasetic. You won’t even have to put my name in the right Latin case. I can explain that (I think). I’ll say you did it to avoid confusion. Yes, that’s it! It’ll be our little secret. Just don’t call in the Big Kahuna to authentically interpret, all right?

“Hello? Hello? Are you still there? Hello? Hello? Say something? Please! EXXXXCCCCELLLLENNNNNCCCYYYYY!

Ed. Note: Poor soul. Didn’t even get a chance to mention the moronic Latin name that Tweedle-Dumb and Tweedle-Dumber invented for suburban and upwardly-mobile West Chester, Ohio. Don’t worry. We’ll post a little note about that soon, for anyone interested. “One-Hand” Dan, like Blanche DuBois, is very used to depending upon the kindness of strangers. Maybe he’ll clean his act up for the Finnish seminarian he’ll ordain in the fall. The Finns have a real fetish for good Latin – Radio 1 Finland broadcasts a news program in the language, Nuntii Latini. Wouldn’t it be embarrassing if the boy took home an ordination certificate full of errors, especially since the Finnish Lutherans in 2002 completed a Latin version of Martin Luther’s catechism?