Saturday, May 26, 2012


Before the first meeting with your priest, you'll have to prepare the steering committee for what lies in store. Unity is the key to success. If you don't hang together, then you'll all hang separately. So, to prevent the team from making a false start, be sure two essential points are clear in everyone's mind.

The first thing a lawless priest will argue is that lay-governance violates canon law. This ploy often catches law-respecting laymen off guard; indeed, they sometimes surrender as soon as they hear the lie. Yet there's a very simple rebuttal to the objection. Inasmuch as neither modernists nor traditionalists possess authority,  canon law is more than likely suspended:  no authority exists to hear cases, render binding decisions, or administer sanctions. Furthermore, in spite of some clerical impostors' claims, Sedes possess no formally trained, credentialed, and experienced canonists who could competently and objectively comment one way or another.

Many legal realities support this thesis. One that immediately comes to mind is the fact that Traddie priests cannot be "defrocked," no matter how grave the scandal or how serious the crime*. Neither one of the two canonical forms of degradation can produce its juridical effects in the Sede Vacante precisely because there is no authority to inflict the sentence**. Therefore, your priest's "canonicity objection" will be, at the very best, dubious; at the very least, untrue. Believe us, when you counter his protest with the example above, he won't be able to come up with a plausible response -- and you won't be made to feel guilty.

The priest's second maneuver will be to tell you that if he leaves (or banishes you),  you'll be home alone. No big deal, so don't flinch! Your soul--and certainly your wallet--will be better off at home than under the malignant influence of a malformed cultist about whose orders there are so many doubts. As Pistrina has pointed out many times, you may by no means be certain that "One-Hand Dan" has conferred the priesthood validly on the rector's pesthouse completers. Tony the Blunderer's defense of his master's one-handed sacerdotal ordination is too shoddy to be taken as the last word on the matter, and there's no report that Dan attempted to remove any doubt through a later conditional ordination. Therefore, staying home alone might well prove to be a spiritual benefit.

At home, you can maintain a rich Catholic life. Recite the Divine Office daily by subscribing to the Roman Breviary online. On Sundays, rather than listening to rambling, incoherent, irrelevant, and/or self-celebrating sermons, read a well-written one with authentic Catholic content; there are many collections of fine sermons available, for example, Dearly Beloved by the Capuchin friar Venantius Buessing. Furthermore, you have the act of perfect contrition, about which there is no doubt at all. Most importantly, you and your family have at your hands the rosary.

You will not be alone.

*As many of us know, prison terms, court judgments, and personal bankruptcies can't keep Traddie clergy from plying their priestcraft to earn their daily, well-buttered bread. When all is said and done, with their deficient education, they can't do anything else except sponge off gullible laity (naturally with the collusion of their clerical c0-conspirators).

**And besides, even if one of these over-reaching, drama-prone wandering bishops were whip out the Pontifical and try the second form, would any of the proud, hard-headed Traddie clergy undergo humiliating thumb-and-finger abrasions when they know that no authoritative sentence had been pronounced? They're well aware they owe ecclesiastical obedience to no one in the Traddie movement; they are under no man, except by way of a civil compact or as a hireling.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Once you've raised the awareness of your fellow chapel members, the next step is to get organized by forming a steering committee. Make sure you have a good mix of expertise on the committee, and choose as your leader the most efficient, task-oriented, "can-do" person in the group. Key competencies to be represented are finance and bookkeeping, property management and maintenance, knowledge of technology, organizational governance, and professional supervisory experience.

A highly competent steering committee will give your group a decided advantage over cultish priests who are, to a man, disorganized, procrastinating bunglers with no real-world skill sets. Everything these sad-sack clergy do is ad hoc. They've been known to drive their staunchest supporters to exasperation with last-minute changes of mind, poor planning, and dismal judgment. (Just look at the Blunderer's projects or "One Hand's" liturgies!) A solid steering committee will be able to foil the priest's irrationality when you propose sound governance reform for the chapel. (You can often get the upper hand with these weak characters just by standing your ground and refusing to be intimidated.)

At this stage, the first job of the committee is to gather  information about the chapel as a corporation. Find out the state in which it's incorporated and who the corporate officers are (usually they're the priest's relatives or other clerical accomplices).  This portion may take a little sleuthing on the Web or in bank records because many chapels have been purposefully set up in other states in order to minimize transparency. After you gather as much documentation as possible about the corporation, then research everything you can about the chapel property, focusing especially on ownership, rules, and mortgage details. Most of this is on the 'Net.

Next, encourage friends to share recollections and anecdotes about their experiences with the corporation and the priest. If someone kept the books or made deposits, ask him or her to recall details or to narrate any unusual transactions. (There'll be plenty.) Try to capture reminiscences of off-hand remarks the priest may have made in sermons or in conversations. Remember that these clerical ne'er-do-wells attempt to mask their incompetence by bragging about their goof-prone romps through non-profit-land: there's a wealth of history and telling fact behind all that bluster, which the committee can use to its advantage.

Make no mistake here: Once you start on this third step, the word will get out that something is afoot. So be prepared for the clergy to begin to weaponize the sacraments and sow dissension within the chapel. It probably may become inadvisable to go to the priest for confession, so now is the time to begin to practice making the act of perfect contrition

Steel yourself for the fourth step.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Once you’ve taken the measure of your priest’s affinity for cultish domination, your next step is to talk to your friends and acquaintances in the chapel. Don’t worry. You won’t be the only one who’s concerned about what’s going on. If you’ve concluded that your priest is NOT a cultist, you and your friends may with confidence approach him privately with your proposals for good governance. A decent, holy priest will welcome your initiative because he, too, will have sensed something amiss in the current circumstances.

However, if your priest is a my-way-or-the-highway cult-freak like his mentors, then you must abandon the private approach. A dyed-in-the-wool cultist will respond savagely at the first sign of moral resistance, so speaking to him as if he were well intentioned could spell the undoing of your hopes for reform. In addition, if your priest is a spendthrift who brags about big-ticket dinners in fine restaurants and traveling "apostolates" at home and abroad [code for luxury vacations on your dollar], there will be no lack of committed supporters. You’ll receive even greater backing if your priest is the type of clerical incompetent who forgets the consecration or can’t perform elementary rituals or invents new mortal sins out of thin air.

Once you’ve got your friends on board, ask each to reach out to other chapel members. The key here is to widen the circle to bring to the surface all the underlying misgivings about the priest’s arrogant, lawless behavior. All too often, Traddies tend to repress their discontent, for they’ve been indoctrinated to believe that no one can criticize a priest or a wandering bishop. (That’s nonsense, of course.) But as soon as people see they’re not alone, they’ll grow more courageous, especially when they realize they’re preserving their investment in the faith for their children.

Then just wait for a critical mass to develop. It may take weeks, even months, but eventually you’ll feel the solidarity. You’ll first notice the whispers and the sidewise glances. Then you’ll see the shaking of heads and grimaces of disgust as the would-be cult-master stumbles and tries to reassert dominion, often with the support of disreputable, brainwashed lay stooges. Finally, however, you’ll hear loud, opposing voices demanding reform and reorganization.

When that moment arrives, you’re ready for Step III.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


The first step toward saving your chapel is to survey the psychological terrain and assess the degree to which your priest promotes and models cult-leader behavior. If he has a low cultish profile, then his reason will be unclouded, and you’ll be able persuade him to accept lay governance. However, if he exhibits the telltale signs of a cult-totalist, then you’ll know the struggle will be harder. (This is the more likely case owing to these priests’ formation under inveterate cult-masters.)

From the sociologist’s perspective, Traddie cells are sects (i.e., offshoots that retain a connection with mainstream religious beliefs) rather than cults (spontaneously formed new religious movements). However, in a Catholic context, cult is the more apt word, for the meaning of cultus, as a term of art, makes clear how far these priests’ behavior deviates from the Catholic religious ideal.

Dogmatic theologians define cult, or cultus, in general, whether civil or religious, as an act by which we honor and esteem someone on account of his excellence. Pietro Parente observes that inherent in this reverence is

the feeling of one’s own inferiority and subjection with respect to the person honored. Thus, in the proper sense, cult is the external manifestation of honor paid to a superior person in recognition of his excellence and our own submission.*

In the religious domain, the cultūs of Christ, our Lady, and the saints are wholesome and due. The problem arises when a mere man makes a cultus of himself.

As we all know, the priests of dysfunctional, cultist Traddie chapels are prone to emulate the indecent civil cult of celebrity, which strives to make an often contemptible human personality the center of everyone's admiration. If you notice any of the following signs, you may be certain your priest is an rabid cultist:

  • In bulletins or on websites, an undue focus on the priest’s personality, signaled by details of his vacation adventures, chatty accounts of his visits to up-market restaurants and posh resorts, frequent mention of the antics of his pet cat, pompous personal observations on everything under the sun, photos with himself always at the center, and unflagging efforts to hype his and his colleagues’ (imagined) superiority;
  • Establishment of a pyramid-shaped authoritarian regime that refuses to listen to the concerns of the faithful.
  •  Highly manipulative behavior from the pulpit, with the goal (a) of creating demons to deflect criticism or (b) of increasing the laity's esteem for the priest;
  • Psychological exploitation and cynical abuse of the religious sensibilities of the faithful, from the pulpit, in publications, on the web, and during private counseling;
  • Absurdly self-aggrandizing pronouncements  of accomplishment accompanied by the humiliation and patronization of laymen (particularly of those who voice concerns); and
  •  Implicit or explicit assertions of authority and jurisdiction.

Once you’ve determined that your priest is a cultist, you should then evaluate the degree to which your chapel has been infected by his malignant mind-controlling strategies. Here's a checklist of eight dimensions of thought-reform and totalist psychology based on psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton’s classic 1956 study of brainwashing in Red China:

Milieu Control. Here the priest deploys tactics to control information and to limit communication with individuals outside the group, including other family members and dear friends. He becomes the exclusive means through which the faithful are to filter all their experiences. Look for attempts to restrict interaction with others outside the chapel, and beware of group-identity catch phrases like “Our [Name of Chapel] Family,” "The [Name of Chapel] Way," or “Our Enemies.”
Mystical Manipulation. Be alert for staged events that appear to be spontaneous as well as sudden “miracles” or intercessions, which the priest interprets as divine intervention. Listen for such phrases as “brilliant” and “eminent theologian,” “world-renowned expert,” etc.  In addition, listen for suggestions that the chapel’s priest and clerical associates alone can interpret history, theology, and scripture because of their special relationship with the divine.
Demand for Purity. Be very sensitive to efforts to induce shame and guilt whenever anyone questions the priest’s motives or attempts to hold him accountable. Key thought-terminating clichés are “it's un-Catholic,” “that's unholy,” “it's uncanonical,” and “they're evil.” Watch carefully for attempts to stigmatize earnest inquiry into his motives or activities and to reward mindless, submissive deference.
Confession. Not sacramental, or auricular, confession, but the demand for self-abasement in public for invented offenses against the “dignity” of the priest. Nothing is confidential; no private communication is sacred: everything is for public consumption. Typical signs are the demand for letters of apology, which are posted on bulletin boards for all to read, and, of course, the shrill call to "make reparation." 
Sacred Science. This isn’t the approved dogma and theology of the Church, but rather the personal opinions of the priest and his clerical coterie. Most often the content of this “science” consists of unwarranted interpretations and audacious extensions of traditional Catholic belief (e.g., the Una Cum bugbear). The priest and his collared associates are above criticism; they even suggest that, in fact, they are the sole representatives of God on earth during the Sede Vacante.
Loading the Language. Sermons, web pages, and published communications are contrived to force the faithful into believing they must conform to the priest’s way of thinking or fall into mortal sin.  Cloying, sugary pieties replace right reason and authentic religious discourse. Genuine Catholic phrases and terminology are perversely manipulated to make it appear as though the faith resides only in the priest and his close associates. 
Doctrine over person. Only the solemnly declared opinions of the priest and his priestly comrades may be tolerated, no matter if these are at odds with the teachings of the Church before Vatican II. Anyone who asserts otherwise, notwithstanding the factual merits of his objection, is branded an outcast to be rejected by the group.
Dispensing of existence. Anyone who opposes the priest’s ideology is considered a non-person. The only credibility allowed is that of the priest; if he is inconsistent or self-contradictory, no one dare tell him so without the risk of becoming a non-existent by way of formal banishment.

If your priest meets four or more of these criteria, you'll be certain that saving your chapel will be an uphill climb (for the simple reason that many of your fellow laymen will have lost much of their ability to think independently and clearly). If he matches all eight, then, unless your investment in your chapel has been substantial, you may wish to consider gathering all like-minded friends and leaving at once.

Staying safely "home alone" is better than dying spiritually in the Traddie Gulag.

* Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology (1951, tr. Doronzo), sub voce