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John Henry Cardinal Newman

and the Absurdity that is Boston


Given the dismal and often sordid history of the Archdiocese of Boston over the past 50 years, some — perhaps many —are inclined to believe that God has either forgotten or forsaken Boston. The lack of theological and catechetical oversight by the Episcopacy — that is to say, Cardinal O'Malley — does not, as many have long concluded, verge upon irresponsibility. It exceeds it. We have witnessed and suffered the aftermath of that indifference from our seminaries that had largely become domains of homosexuality (to our shame, civil authorities had to step in where the bishops had stepped aside), to our Religious Education classrooms where our children learn little of the Faith and are passed from grade to grade as a rite of passage until their Confirmation — knowing little or nothing of what they are confirming or being confirmed in.

Every available metric has indicated a decline in the Church in Boston, from vocations to Mass attendance. How many Boston Catholics declare themselves, without the slightest sense of contradiction, to be both Catholic and Pro-Abortion? How about Catholic and advocates of Gay Marriage? Not enough? How about Catholic and Pro-Contraception? Even the most casual and indifferent observer would say that there is something at least inconsistent in one holding oneself to be authentically both.

Rank with Absurdity

Illogical absurdities such as these, however, are not just persistent hallucinatory episodes in Boston — they have calcified into a mind-set. If we wish to adduce evidence to this we merely have to look upon our long-standing Catholic politicians — who are consistently put in office by Catholic voters. And both are heedless of the mind of the Church, to say nothing of the Heart of Christ.

In a word, Boston is rank with absurdity and contradiction extending from the State House to to the Chancery. In many ways it is a political and theological cesspool from Boston City Hall to Boston College. Only bottom-feeders survive. A harsh assessment? To be sure. But an accurate assessment no less.

Examples always vivify, so let us indulge. Take the charnel house called Planned Parenthood at 1055 Commonwealth Ave. as something of a paradigm. It is a remarkable cross-section of Catholics. The abortuary itself is staffed by some who are Catholic, while outside it is carefully guarded by husky women with short hair and shorter tempers who keep a careful, if disdainful eye on the other group of Catholics, the Rabble who quietly stand in witness, prayer and protest against the killing inside (funded to the tune of $336.7 million dollars of taxpayer money). The huskies, in turn, are backed up by Catholic" Boston police who, according to sources close to the killing fields, are quick to manhandle and cuff any protestor who steps so much as an inch over carefully defined lines on the sidewalk (that small deadly space between life and death, freedom and imprisonment) — and who routinely ignore physical and verbal violence inflicted on the protestors from rabid passersby. Women have been literally punched in the chest, while Catholic police looked away ... This is, of course, hearsay ... and such a selective approach to law enforcement would clearly cause a controversy ... wouldn't it?

Welcome to Boston. Leave your morals, your religious convictions, and your integrity at the first toll both on the Mass Pike ... and keep your mouth shut. In a bizarre turn on an old aphorism, If you can't say anything socially and politically correct, don't say anything.

Is it any wonder that some people could credibly believe that God has forsaken Boston, or simply left it to wallow in the filth of its own making?


And What does this have to do with John Henry Cardinal Newman?

Boston is the academic hub of America ... perhaps the world. Some of the greatest and most prestigious universities and colleges lay within a 10 square mile area. In fact, it is an area disproportionately populated by the students of over 50 colleges, many of which are (nominally) Catholic. Students —especially the more affluent —from around the world flock to Boston. It is the stepping stone to success measured as money, especially through its professional, medical, and legal schools. It is, in short, deeply rooted in education and as such, the venue par excellence of a scholar such as Newman.

Surely a man of such erudition and renown would be embraced as one of their own ...

However, in Boston the notion of being embraced is rather ... equivocal. Here, where the genitalia is not only a longstanding social fixation, but the very axis of everything interpretable as human,  it comes as no surprise that even the cause of the canonization of Newman  is construed in terms fraught with sexual implications — homosexual implications, to be precise— as evidenced in an article in the Boston Globe suggesting that Newman was a homosexual Boston, it appears, wants to embrace Newman as one of their own, not so much for any imputation of sanctity, or even for his academic contributions, but as a potential cause célèbre, however spurious the reasoning or specious the conjecture, to further promote homosexuality in Boston. Facts, of course, have little to do with the state of affairs — political, social and ecclesiastical — in Boston. Unwarranted but distinctly sordid conjecture suffices. Especially if it brings one to ill-repute ... something, admittedly, extremely difficult to do these days in Boston, given the inverted valuation that has taken deep hold where virtue becomes vice and vice virtue.

Nevertheless Newman has come to Boston, welcome or not, through the miraculous healing of a Boston area deacon, which furthered the cause of his canonization. In this sense, we come in some respect face to face with God and the realization that He has not forsaken Boston in toto despite the stench of sexual immorality that covers it like soiled sheets in some cheap motel. That we all sin goes without saying. It really takes little effort. What takes considerable determination is the effort to make sanctity sin. It involves some devilishly clever subterfuge. But Boston is, if anything, a devilishly clever town.

It is odd that God comes, of all places, to Boston through Newman. He knew that His servant would be abused here ... too. Rather much like Abraham's nephew Lot ... with the exception that Newman is dead. And still the crowd lusts after him.

Perhaps there are ten just men in Boston. Pity that we know so few.


Geoffrey K. Mondello
for the Boston Catholic Journal


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Also see: Blessed John Henry Newman on Hope

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