Eventually, the tables were turned on the natives as the Irish Catholics gradually became the majority of the people in Massachusetts. The Irish became involved in politics and other aspects of social life. For many Irish their religion was very important to them – making the Catholic Church very powerful. Lawler tells one story of Archbishop O’Connell of Boston as an example. A Catholic governor had proposed to have a lottery to raise money for a project that many Catholic legislators supported. However, this all changed when the Archbishop spoke out against it and the lottery was overwhelmingly defeated.
In contrast, in the 1980s, an archbishop of Boston spoke out against something and he was ignored by the Catholic electorate and politicians. In his book, Lawler shows how this change came about.
When the Catholic population became the majority in Boston, it was a very conservative city. The Church was extremely powerful, 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. It has gotten so bad that so-called Catholic Massachusetts is now the most liberal state in the union. Many liberal Massachusetts Catholic politicians ignore Catholic teachings and still say they are Catholics in good standing with the Church. They use the phrase, “I am personally against abortion, but…”