Philip F. Lawler , Editor of Catholic World News, has authored a new a book called The Faithful Departed, The Collapse of Boston’s Catholic Culture. Not yet released, the book can be ordered from at a pre-publication special price. Mr. Lawler has posted a sneak preview online, from which we excerpt the paragraphs below.

Note the passage I have italicized. Guess who the 1950’s-Boston priest is (and don’t cheat by looking at the tag I stuck on this posting!).

“For more than a generation, the American hierarchy has done its best to convey the impression that the Church is a noble civic institution— that the demands of Catholicism will never clash with the claims of a democratic government. (You might say that this argument is the ecclesiastical equivalent of the Charles Wilson’s belief that “what was good for General Motors was good for the country, and vice versa.”) When Church-state conflicts did arise, many Catholic leaders were quite willing to sacrifice the claims of their faith in order to minimize the conflict and preserve their privileged status as community leaders.

“Yet again, the most conspicuous examples of this attitude have been shown in Massachusetts. In the 1950s, an Archbishop of Boston discouraged a priest from his energetic public preaching of a defined Catholic dogma, because some people found that dogma offensive. A decade later the same archbishop— now a cardinal— announced that Catholic legislators should feel free to vote in favor of legislation that violated the precepts of the Church. In 1974 his successor encouraged Catholic parents not to send their children to parochial schools. And in 1993 yet another Boston archbishop instructed the faithful that they should not pray outside abortion clinics. In each of these remarkable cases, the Archbishop of Boston obviously thought that he was serving the cause of community peace. But just as obviously, he was yielding ground, and encouraging the Catholic faithful to yield as well.”