Apr 9, 2008
Philip Lawler presents the history of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, Massachusetts from its early days to the present. Massachusetts was founded by Puritans who did not like Roman Catholics. As time went along more and more Catholics, many from Ireland came to Massachusetts and raised their families there. The Puritan natives of Massachusetts discriminated against the Irish Catholics and made sure that they were only able to get low paying jobs and lived in horrible conditions.
The Irish Catholics gradually became the majority of the people in Massachusetts. The Irish became involved in politics and other aspects of life. For many Irish, their religion was very important to them which made the Catholic Church very powerful. Lawler tells one story of Archbishop O’Connell of Boston to explain this point. A Catholic governor had proposed to have a lottery to raised money for a particular project. Many Catholic legislators were for it. However, this all changed when the Archbishop spoke out against it. The lottery was overwhelmingly defeated showing the influence of the Catholic Church.
To differentiate the times, Lawler contrasts this story with one of a later Archbishop of Boston during the 1980s who spoke out against politicians was ignored by the Catholic electorate. Lawler in his book shows how this change came about. Boston, Massachusetts when its Catholic population became the majority was a very conservative city. The Catholic Church was extremely powerful as was shown above, but as time progressed this changed especially after the Second Vatican Council. Lawler presents the case that the cardinal archbishops should have done more to oppose or stop liberal Catholic clerics and liberal Catholic politicians from openly opposing Church teachings.
Lawler points out that the sexual abuse scandal in the Church extremely hurt the Church’s credibility. He accuses the cardinal archbishops of covering up problems and moving abusive priests from parish to parish. Lawler also accuses the bishops of the United States as having done this too or staying quiet when they learned that other bishops were doing this. He says the bishops should have corrected each other instead of sweeping the problem under the carpet.