This month marks the fifth anniversary of the catastrophic SGG School Scandal. In November 2009, after a stormy year of impassioned protests over the harsh treatment of innocent children enrolled at the "school," Dannie made a colossal error: he fired the good guys who objected to the school "principal's" intolerable excesses instead of the man who caused the uproar.
In so doing, Li'l Dan mortally wounded the cult and all those associated with it. His suicidal misjudgment brought down upon all Tradistan a revolution, following which nothing has ever been the same. Wee Dan lost half the SGG membership. In addition, his principal satellite chapels split apart like rotten pumpkins lobbed from the observation deck of a skyscraper. New, independent chapels were founded under different priests and bishops, never to return to his control, not even after the spectacular self-immolation of "the Reverend" Marvelous Ebola. Fed-up Catholics everywhere abandoned their restraint, characterizing His Idiocy in words they'd never dreamed of pronouncing before the 2009 calamity.
The fatal miscalculation put Wee Dan and the entire cult under the microscope. The monsoon of revelations washed away the tawdry veneer of Tradistan. The ugly past returned to bedevil him. His problematic "ordination" leaped back into the public forum, as the Blunderer's inept defense of Dan's orders was decisively refuted/rebutted. A united movement emerged to expose him along with his grasping cronies. One of the first casualties was Tony Baloney's useless,* embarrassingly amateurish, and mistake-disfigured Work of Human Hands. Another was the swaggering, loud-mouth rector and his clown college in the stinking swamp. For Dannie and Big Don, money is harder to come by, and defections are on the rise. One important mission appears to be actively looking for a new pastor to replace the doubtful cult "priest" assigned to it.
Of late, Deacon Dan's been disclosing his concerns about declining participation. A few weeks ago, at a pity-party in his woolgathering "Corner," he wrote with bitter wistfulness:
... many of the stalwart old-time Catholics of the past are gone as well. “Demand is down,” as they say. Beginning in 1982, the enemy has provided limited “legal Latin Masses,” a clever bait to get Catholics to swallow the hook of the new Vatican II religion. Since then as well, our groups have divided and subdivided, and Vatican II “traditionalists” of varying stripes have multiplied.Then again on November 2, he agonized:
And what a joy it is to see an unexpected face or two each year, so welcome to swell our thinning ranks!If just one or two passing visitors a year can "swell" the cult's "thinning ranks," then Dannie's situation is dire. People are not showing up for Li'l Dan's big shows any more. Despite an occasional bump in reported collection receipts, donations since November 2009 have flat-lined, remaining stuck far below pre-scandal highs.
In this autumn of Deacon Dan's career, he should have an extensive, well-established organization. Additionally, his collections should be topping $10K a week, at the very least. Instead Dirtbag Dan finds himself trying to postpone the oncoming train wreck. He's barely hanging on, hemorrhaging scarce money for costly repairs to the collapsing cult temple, cutting back on luxuries, forsaken by the French, avoided by the Italians, and reeling from his many adversaries' criticism. And another polar vortex is coming to the Midwest with the promise of sky-high heating bills this winter. (Will that stop him from junketing to Mexicali, Mexico, to escape the cold? Will the same suckers bail him out again this year? )
At this point in his life, as he approaches his sixty-fourth year, he ought to be basking in the warm glow of general esteem, the subject of homages and admiring regard. His current predicament, however, is quite the opposite: since that fateful November of 2009, he's been reviled and ridiculed throughout the nation and the world by laity and clergy alike. He'll never receive the benefit of the doubt. Outside his diminished, savage cult following, he's as unwelcome as a rabid dog at Petsmart.
Gone are the heady days of steady revenue growth. The cherished pipe dreams of a luxurious, comfy-cozy retirement with a lasting legacy have vanished. At the rate he's losing supporters, the cult may close before he and the Cheeseball can escape to some fancy Southwestern digs in Old Santa Fe. His "golden years" won't have an ounce gold in them, just iron regret plated with tin nostalgia for what never was. All trust has withered, and as social scientists know, communities with low or no trust cannot thrive.
As Dan's lamentations confirm, there's a crisis of confidence in Tradistan. The heathens who remained after the November 2009 cataclysm are more guarded, less enthusiastic. The human waste who returned to Dannie after first leaving him in outrage is suspicious and tightfisted with money. He can incant "be generous, be generous" until Judgment Day , but his cauldron will never fill up.
The depraved Gerties come for the Sunday show, not the man. That's why attendance at events like Forty Hours is down: there's no sense of common purpose under righteous leadership to motivate the cultlings to do more than the minimum. No decent person wants to be at SGG except to fulfill the Sunday precept. Additionally, there are bound to be fewer in attendance at Mass since everybody knows that most of the resident "clergy" have doubtful priestly orders.
Five years ago, wretched Dannie failed to do the right thing for the children. He thereby proved himself unworthy to shepherd souls. It was an unforced error, and it was one of those life-changing blunders from which no man can recover. The SW Ohio-Brooksville cabal is a "dead man walking." The folly of November 2009 won't be forgotten. Good people will not allow the disgraceful events of that month to fade from memory. Furthermore, the darkly disturbing rôle "One-Hand Dan" played in that tragedy will keep morally grounded Catholics ill at ease with hardcore sede clergy for decades to come.
The price of one man's unprincipled misreckoning was the ruin of Trad Nation.
* Useless not only for its laughably faulty scholarship and superficiality, but also because Prof. Lauren Pristas's genuinely scholarly The Collects of the Roman Missals of 1962 and 2002 authoritatively and reliably settles the question whether Catholics who worship by means of the post-Vatican II missal receive substantially the same doctrinal, moral, and spiritual formation as do those who worshiped by means of the pre-Vatican II missals. For more on Dr. Pristas's work, see our post of June 8, 2014. This is the book Catholics must own and read, not Tony Baloney's third-rate, mistake-filled, ill-written embarrassment.