Getting money is like digging with a needle; spending it is like water soaking into sand. Japanese Proverb
We like to think the obscure, easy-to-overlook, mundane details tracing the arc of sleazy cult life are more telling than a written confession. Take, for instance, the $GG calendar item for Sunday, October 15, 2017. There, sandwiched between parentheses, we learn the "2017 YAGers" will offer the stipend for the 9:00 A.M. High Mass.
But it's not the only explanation.
A little thought will make our suspicions clearer. We see two plausible* scenarios behind the calendar entry:
A. One of the Gertie YAG attendees, either upon his or her own initiative or at the self-interested prompting of a cult master, shares with erstwhile get-together companions the sad news of the tragic death and polls them about offering a Mass from the unspent fees they wasted for their book-burning weekend last summer. YAGGIES, who got the message and who bothered to respond, give their express approval. Therefore, the Gertling informs the cult to make some of the funds in the YAG account liquid for the celebrant's spending pleasure. **
B. The cult masters, in need of Mass stipends, decide independently that surplus YAG registration fees should be applied for a Mass for the repose of the young man's soul and the comfort of his family. After all, the money's theirs now and should be used for necessities.Laying aside (but never forgetting) the important question of the validity of $GG "clergy's" holy orders, in either scenario a Mass is said for the departed. That's objectively good, so the question is:
Why does PL give a hoot about who requested the Mass?Why don't we just let it go? Besides, it may well be nigh impossible for outsiders (and even rabid Gertie loyalists) to learn which is the more correct explanation.
Well, we've got three reasons for our inquiry:
First, scenario A is just a trifle too complicated, while B is simplicity itself. (But out of fairness, until we confirm B, we won't dismiss A. In addition, our faith in mankind's basic decency is so strong, we'll presume A until there's no doubt about B.)
Second, we've always argued that in justice the unspent funds from the 2017 YAG registration fees should have been returned to the "2017 YAGers" and not squirreled away in $GG's bank account for uses other than the 2017 lonely-hearts misadventure. (Don't forget, they were originally baited with a Golden Corral buffet before the bowling-alley soggy pizza switch.)
Third, we've been observing lately how Mass stipends are paid by the Rosary Confraternity, the Alter Christus fund, or some other cult-sponsored-and-controlled moral person rather than by named human beings.
We surmise this absence of individuals' Mass intentions might be another sign of rapidly diminishing enthusiasm for the cult, a statistical oracle of its last days. Most independent priests we know are booked solid with Mass requests for months into the future. In fact, some are so overwhelmed that they're obliged to binate occasionally on weekdays. Common sense argues that $GG should be experiencing the same high demand from the faithful, so stipends shouldn't have to be paid from the accounts of cult enterprises.
For the time being, we can only wait, watch, and hope the end comes soon. (Tales of malaise in all the bishop-led trad cults abound.) Nevertheless, if only out of intellectual curiosity, we'd like to know whether scenario A, or something like it, is true. Accordingly, we're asking "2017 YAGers" to confirm whether they were asked either (1) to approve spending surplus 2017 registration fees to put money in "priests'" pockets or (2) whether they contributed afresh for the Mass. They can either e-mail us (firstname.lastname@example.org) or comment anonymously. (We'll keep all email names confidential.)
* Some might argue there's a third scenario where some non-$GG YAGGIES learn of the tragedy, ask for contributions, and send in a stipend on their own. In our mind, that doesn't sound plausible.
** PL wonders about the exact amount of the stipend. We recall from our pre-Vatican II youth in upper-middle-class parishes that a High Mass stipend was twice the amount of a Low Mass stipend. Perhaps someone can tell us whether $GG charges more for a High Mass and what that amount is.