Chicago has never recovered from the Meatpackers Strike of 1904. Though engulfed by flames in 1871, Chicago rose from its roots again like an oak forest on steroids. The Pullman Strike, put down by George Custer's replacements, Illinois Yellow-legs and Pinckerton's goons, was as nothing compared to what lay ahead on the tracks.
Chicago's steel tentacles pulled cattle, hogs, sheep and any other hooved hide that could be tanned, eaten, rendered or husbanded to a vast yard owned by sharp men of business. The amalgamation of tanners, packers, renderers, and shippers had cheap, disorganized and willing pool of people to labor, bleed, and exploit - Czech, Irish, Lithuanian, Polish, Russian, Westphalian, Belgian, Prussian, Bavarian, Norwegian, and Swedish.
Some of those immigrants had skills as carpenters, millwrights, metal workers, coopers, cartwrights, and teamsters; most had no skills other than brute strength. Today they would be called Caucasian, though very few had passed through Caucases to get to America.
On July 12, 1904, a strike was called by the Almagamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen (AMC) whose President Michael Donnelly announced the strike.
The causes of the strike ranged from low wages to the excessive pace required while on the job. The strike lasted for nearly two months and included rioting and murder with few periods of peace. The strikers used tactics such as demonstrations and parades while the packers responded by hiring strikebreakers. Although factory conditions were unchanged, the strike had many far reaching effects on the city of Chicago, the union, and the nation as a whole. . . . The Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen played a major role in the strike. It was a giant organization and employed both skilled and unskilled workers, a circumstance often resented by skilled workers.(Halpern 32) Though unity was not one of the union's strong points, the union did give workers some sense of it, which was vital when the strike finally began. The main protagonists of the strike were the common laborers, the skilled and unskilled butchers of the Chicago packing plants. The workers, now somewhat organized, demanded higher pay and an end to the relentless "speeding up" of the packing progress. The typical laborer at the time of the strike was foreign, unskilled, worked long, hard hours, and was paid less than twenty cents an hour. The strikers were also very violent which resulted in numerous murders and riots. ("Strikers Firm" 2)
The murders and riots were in reaction to the bringing of strikebreakers, most African Americans from the South and hired goons to agitate and incite viollence. Chicago Tribune archived articles from the period of the strike - roughly July through September 1904 bear witness to the actions and motives behind those acts.
The violence brought home to the heart of readers the intense frustration felt by the strikers and their families and the malice and greed that Chicago's leading families were willing to orchestrate in the name of profit. 8,750 strikebreakers, mostly miserably poor blacks, were lured with promises of a better life in Chicago and train fare to this abatoir of the human heart. Strikers and their families were in fact starving despite the effort of Strike relief Committes and the sympathy for strikers crossed state lines. However, the need to feed the greed was greater than articulating an agreement with the AMC. The owners intended to break this strike and they succeeded.
After a unanimous vote to maintain the strike, AMC President Michael Donnelly announced the strike ended on Sept. 9 1905 - 59 days after the strike was called.
The resulting antipathy between multi-cultural,lingual, and religious Caucasians and the strikebreaking African Americans would play out for next one hundred and two years in Chicago. The nature of race relations would always be reduced to the simple 'color of a man's skin' equation by people with the luxury of not being close to the conflict.
The descendants of the strikers would recoil from relations with the people who came North in the hope of a better life. They were shoved into combat with people themselves the victims of exploitation and those who profited by that combat. Those same descendants, one hundred and two years later, contine to be at odds with one another. The strikers descendants moved away as the Black Belt expanded to Berwyn, Cicero, Maywood and the southwest sides - places that since the 1904 strike have been branded as single-mindedly racist, unlike neighborhoods far removed from killing floors on the south side. The Armours and the Swifts and their co-industrialists did well by the strike and became clean with wealth, while the strikers and the strikebraekers were set at odds with one another and continue to be.
The horrific race riots of 1919 were confined to battlefields of Back of the Yards and the Black Belt. The fight for fair housing from the 1940's through the new Millenium mirror that combat zone. Dr. King marched in Marquette Park, where the descendants of the strikers lived and not in Highland Park where the people who prospered by that broken strike. Southside white ethnic neighborhoods continue to be referred to as 'racial hotbeds' as recently as last week in the Chicago media. Blacks continue to be pitted against ethnic whites and exploited for political and economic gain.
Maybe, some talk about the causes and consequences of the 1904 Meatpackers Strike should preclude any 'Let's talk Race' challenge.
Halpern, Rick. Down on the Killing Floor: Black and White Workers in Chicago's Packinghouses, 1904 - 54. Urbana, Illinois : University of Illinois Press, 1997.
Strike is Ended; Men Surrender." Chicago Daily Tribune. 9 Sept. 1904
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Posted by pathickey at 7:51 AM
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Tim King, former CEO of Hales Franciscan and founder and CEO of Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men-Englewood Campus set to open in fall 2006, states in a Chicago Tribune op-ed piece (May2, 2006) that 'It's time to set a new dinner table.' King , who left Hales Franciscan for ventures in philanthropy education and now Charter Education, wants African American fathers to sit down with their sons and 'show them an alternate future, one that includes hard work, being accountable and going to college.' He warns, 'Until we embrace this responsibility, they (African American Young Men) will continue to fail and so will we.' Riffing on this third and most important topic, the need to provide great black male role models for young men, King's dualism bashes 'bling with books; rims with reading; and chillin' with college.' King echoes what Hales Franciscan has argued since 1961 and Leo High School has been teaching since 1926. But allow me to articulate the core of the message.
Tim King stated earlier in his essay that he had learned the value of education at the dinner table from his entrepreneur father, lawyer uncle, and Georgetown University graduate older brother. Tim King went to Georgetown, law school, and started his own business. He'll be a great role model for the young men of Urban Prep Charter in Englewood. He has lived the lesson.
I have helped provide funding for Leo High School for the last eleven years. Leo High School, like Hales Franciscan is a Catholic college prep serving African American young men. I am not black; I am Irish American and so is my boss Bob Foster, Leo's President. Bob has been serving Leo High School as Principal and President since 1991 and has devoted most of his forty-four years in education to the boys at Leo. Like Bob Foster, I was a teacher and also the first member of my family to go to college. My County Kerry - born Grandfather and founder of the Engineer's Union always told me that I had better go to college or I'd starve to death. He was slighting my practical labor skills more than working on my self-esteem. Bob Foster's father and all of his older brothers were Chicago Police Officers. He too was the first in his family to finish college.
My dad was a blue color worker with three jobs, who had gone to war instead of college. In fact only one of my seven uncles went to college and only completed his degree before his death from cancer at 43 years of age. Like Tim King, our dinner conversation revolved around the subject of school, hard work, and meeting my responsibilities. The topic of college hung out in the ozone as a possibility merited by hard work, good luck, and God's intervention. Most important was the subject of responsibility - be on time and be prepared to work.
College Preparatory means just that - prepare for for college. Leo High School, like Hales Franciscan, has a remarkable record of sending young men on to some of the best colleges and universities in America. The lessons taught at Leo High School are these - be on time and be prepared to work. One young man, a 2000, graduate was accepted at six major universities: University of Illinois offered him the full-boat. Though a great athlete, this young Leo Man merited an Academic scholarship. Forsaking all offers of a college career for now, this Leo grad chose to apply for the Pipefitters Apprenticeship Program and was accepted. Unlike me, this young man had the aptitude for success in the trade, as well as books smarts. Not only that, this young man had an aptitude for meeting his responsibilities. The Director of the Apprenticeship Program, John Lean, reported to me that 'our guy' not only attended all of the required classes but showed up at the Pipefitters school on his days off - to bone - up on welding techniques.
Once in the trade and in the field, the poor guy was pulled this way and that way by contractors and superintendents wanting his skills, work ethic, and unfailing dedication. This black young man is making a great deal of money and enjoying a wealth of respect. He was prepared for college, but he excelled as a man.
I sit at the kitchen table with my son. We talk about his classes and his work in school. We talk about what is really important in life - be on time and be prepared to work. My son might go to college, but I pray that he is prepared to be a man. Hales Franciscan and Leo High School are two pretty good schools. They are Catholic schools, but most of the young men attending both are not necessarily Catholic themselves; they are all African American and they are all taught - be on time and be prepared to work.
Posted by pathickey at 7:09 AM
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Last Tuesday, The Daily Southtown printed an opinion piece by me asking Cardinal George to step in and help Queen of Peace Principal Patty Nolan Fitzgerald remain with her young women at the school and continue to make such a great impact on young lives. Mrs. Fitzgerald was dismissed last month by the Queen of Peace board of directors.
Ignoring the over-whelming support of students, staff, Alumnae and Catholics at large in the southland community, the board of director chose to play hard-ball: ignoring phone calls, e-mails, protests, and going so far as to order students and staff to cease and desist in this matter.
I have great personal and professional regard for Patty Nolan Fitzgerald. I wrote a very strong letter in order to get the Cardinal's attention, arguing that Illinois legislation creating ' a corporation sole' for the Chicago Archdiocese in the 1840's was enough of a hammer to make a difference. I went so far as to use the Cardinal's own words as leverage in the argument to make a phone call in Mrs. Fitzgerald's cause.
The fact of the matter is that the Archbishop of Chicago can not legally dictate to separate corporations calling themselves Catholic: Loyola University, DePaul University, Alexian Brothers Hospital and those schools operated under a corporate trusteeship like Queen of Peace( run by Carmelites, Augustinians, Jesuits, and the Sinsinawa Dominicans). The Cardinal can, and will admonish as Chicago's leading minister and priest.
On Friday night at about 6 P.M., Cardinal George called me at my home to discuss the matters facing Patty Nolan Fitzgerald, the young women of Queen of Peace, and all Catholics in our area so effected by the summary dismissal of a great Catholic educator.
We talked for a good twenty minutes and Cardinal George straightened me out about his powers and their many limitations. It was like talking to one of the guys working the parish festival, or a Mom working Market Days. The entire time we spoke Cardinal George exacted as much information about the situation at Queen of Peace from me as was in my powers to give. I mentioned that the Daily Southtown more than any other Chicago news medium, kept the struggle for justice at Queen of Peace in the public eye.
Cardinal spoke of the limits he has in the matter and said ' I'll make a call to the Provincial of the Sinsinawa Dominicans and make note of the concerns people have in this matter.' Instead, of dressing down one of his employees - I work for a school that is an Archdiocesan school - Cardinal George was more concerned about the injustice done to one of his Faith. The Cardinal is going to do what is in his power to do. He'll talk to the Head of the Sinsisnaw Dominicans, but that does not mean they will do as he asks. However, after my conversation with this great priest, I feel that Cardinal George's powers of persuasion may be enough. I feel like I did when I received my First Holy Communion - the Cardinal recharged my Faith in a loving and resilient Church.
Francis Cardinal George, the Thirteenth Bishop of Chicago, is my priest. Say what you want about Cardinal George and I will have an answer for you - He is a Great Shepherd!
Posted by pathickey at 5:42 AM
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Kathleen O'Neill, Public Relations Manager for Chicago's Irish American Heritage Center, announced the production of Gardner McKay's Sea Marks as Chicago's Shapeshifters entry into Toronto's Acting Irish International Theatre Festival.
Some of us 'touch of grey' types might remember Gardner McKay from the Adventures in Paradise TV series from the 1960's - I do anyway. McKay's Irish-theme'd play was produced as a film-drama for Public Television back in the 1970's.
The Shapeshifters Production of SeaMarks is directed by Gregory Gerhard of Chicago.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Kathleen O’Neill, PR Manager
773-282-7035, ext. 13
SHAPESHIFTERS THEATRE TO PRESENT “SEA MARKS”
FOR SPRING SHOW
Shapeshifters Theatre, the resident theatre company of The Irish American Heritage Center, is proud to present its spring production, Sea Marks this spring. The play is written by Gardner McKay and will be directed by Gregory Gerhard of Chicago.
Miss O'Neill writes:
Sea Marks is a bittersweet tale of love between an Irish fisherman who becomes smitten by an English woman he has glimpsed only once. Though unschooled in letter-writing, he courts her by mail. She finds primitive poetry in the way he writes and asks him to come to Liverpool to live with her. The publishing house that employeer her prints his "poems" and for a moment he becomes a celebrity on the rise, but their different ways of life are in dreadful conflict. "
Sea Marks will be Shapeshifters’ entry into the Acting Irish International Theatre Festival in Toronto in June, where they will proudly represent the IAHC.
Shapeshifters’ spring production of A Mislaid Heaven in 2005, directed by Gregory Gerhard, brought home two top awards at the Acting Irish International Theatre Festival, a yearly theatre competition among various Irish theatre groups throughout North America.
Sea Marks opens May 5 and runs through May 20 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm. There will be a matinee performance on Saturday, May 20th at 3pm. Tickets are $10 for IAHC Members/Seniors and $15 for general admission. To purchase tickets, call 773-282-7035, ext. 10.
Shapeshifters, the Irish American Heritage Center's resident theatre company since 1987, continues to build on the tradition of Irish Theatre and expanding the presentation of established and new works.
The Irish American Heritage Center, located at 4626 North Knox, occupies an 86,000 square foot building on Chicago’s northwest side. The Center fosters the practice, study and celebration of Irish, Celtic and Irish-American cultural traditions. Membership in the Center is open to anyone with an interest in these traditions. The IAHC houses a 650- seat theatre, an authentic Irish pub, a Social Center, a museum, dance/music studios and meeting rooms.
Posted by pathickey at 9:29 AM
Friday, March 24, 2006
Patty Nolan-Fitzgerald began her teaching career at her Alma Mater, Queen of Peace High School, an all girls Catholic prep school in Burbank, IL. Through her dedication to the young women who attended, their parents, her colleagues, and most of all the school's mission, Patti Nolan Fitzgerald became the school's Principal.
For more than three decades, Mrs. Nolan-Fitzgerald brought honor and distinction to Queen of Peace and the working-class kids who attended. Patti Nolan-Fitzgerald formed and directed the Catholic Schools Opposed to Racism, which received the blessing of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Students from all over Chicago attended workshops on how to fight racism in its many manifestations and developed programs to do just that.
Queen of Peace High School enjoyed the distinction of being in the vanguard of social justice in Chicago. Patty Nolan- Fitzgerald deflected the glow of honor from herself and allowed the light to shine on her students and the Sinsinawa Dominican Order.
Two weeks ago, the newly re-organized board of directors for Queen of Peace High School, thick with members of the Sinsinawa Dominicans, fired Patty Nolan -Fitzgerald for failing to work well with the school's newly appointed President and for doing the social justice work with her students that have so benefited the Sinsinawa Dominicans. The Kids are Angry. The Parents are angry, The Alumnae are Angry. The Board of Directors Could Care Less.
Here is a sample of the letters pouring into the Daily Southtown, the voice of the community served by Queen of Peace:
My name is Julie Egeland, and I am a senior at Queen of Peace High School, where I have spent all four years under the guidance of Ms. Patricia Nolan-Fitzgerald. During this time, Queen of Peace has helped shaped who I am. I know, as well as anyone who has ever had this woman as principal, that to lose her would be detrimental not only to the school, but also the students.
As students, we were shocked when our teachers were punished for defending someone so beloved in our community. We were confused when told we could no longer protest her removal and had to sign petitions outside of school boundaries. We were hurt when told that the decision was final; we, as well as our teachers, could do nothing about it.
Queen of Peace, however, has taught us differently. We can make a difference and our voice is significant. We are a frightened and discontented student body, but we will not rest until Ms. Nolan is reinstated. The board's decision has not made me ashamed to be part of Queen of Peace, nor could it ever.
Above all, I value the excellent education I have received there. This has made me ashamed to be part of the Dominican order. If the board cared any way in the least about the students, Patricia Nolan would always have a place at our school.
And this from a Parent:
The recent nonrenewal of the contract of Patty Nolan-Fitzgerald, principal of Queen of Peace High School, needs to be addressed. This is a woman who runs a school that prides itself on ethnic diversity. It is the birthplace of Catholic Schools Opposing Racism, an organization that came into question when the principal was told earlier in the year to cut back on such activities.
What exactly is the goal of the board of directors? Parents, teachers, alumni and students are left in the dark because of the lack of communication, lack of returned e-mails and phone calls and the abrupt cancellation of meetings in order to avoid parents.
I'm sure the reason many parents send their daughters to Queen of Peace is because it has a sterling reputation as a place of learning, growth, respect, and diversity. Are these the values the board hopes to change? I cannot understand why, in the year 2006, efforts to combat racism and efforts to open the lines of communication between people of different races and religions still are being rejected.
This is an issue far greater than the lack of a contract. It involves corporate politics, unethical practices, and unprofessional behavior from a board of directors who have no interest in the preservation of a school, community and a place where young women of all races feel they have a place and a voice.
J. Owens, Oak Lawn
Recently, Cardinal George uttered a statement marked by grace in its recognition of a personal and ecclesiastical failure in addressing the Church pedophile scandal. "You read it and you weep," said our Cardinal about a damning report concerning the handling of the scandal.
Cardinal George grew up in Chicago. His family lives in Chicago. He knows the Chicago way. Queen of Peace, though sponsored by the Sinsinawa Dominicans, is his school. Patti Nolan Fitzgerald is one of his lambs. She has been unjustly terminated.
Cardinal George has the keys to the kingdom over at Queen of Peace and an excellent hammer thanks to Bishop William Quarter. Bishop Quarter, the first Bishop of Chicago -consecrated by no less giant than Archbishop John 'Dagger John' Hughes of New York ( My favorite Catholic prelate of all time http://www.city-journal.org/html/7_2_a2.html.) Bishop William Quarter was enough of a Chicago man to steer legislation through Illinois Government in 1847 that made the baby Diocese a Corporation Sole. That is one big hammer.
The newly published Chicago Encyclopedia presents this innovative legal hammer thus:
The juridical entity known as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago is the chief organizational framework for Catholic life in Cook and Lake Counties. Defined according to Illinois law as a corporation sole, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago oversees thousands of employees, lay, religious, and clerical; owns millions of dollars' worth of prime city and metropolitan property; and most important, structures the spiritual lives of millions of Chicagoans. Through their spiritual and legal authority, as well as their own personal prestige, the bishops and archbishop of Chicago have exercised enormous influence. Although higher echelons of leadership in the Chicago Catholic Church have until recently been reserved for men, women and men have in many cases labored side by side in behalf of Catholic ideals and institutions.
In short, Queen of Peace High School belongs to the Archbishop of Chicago. This is a great opportunity for Cardinal George to weep a little less. A grave injustice has been done to a good servant of the Church; a valued employee has been summarily dismissed after thirty-one years of dedication and honorable service. A vital Principal at school for young women, who worked well under President/Principal model established by the Sinsinawa Dominicans has been sand-bagged by mean-spirited and short-sighted people allowed to yield too much power.
Cardinal George, you have had a rough ride here in Chicago. You now have an opportunity to carve out a place of honor in the hardened hearts of people who love to see our Church suffer. The touch of the Holy Spirit from the rough fingers of Dagger John Hughes, who consecrated Chicago's First Bishop, might give you the opportunity to right a grave wrong.
Do the right thing. Exercise the Chicago Way - A Corporation Sole - pick up the phone and make things happen. Give the Sinsinawa Dominicans, if not the members of the Queen of Peace Board, a real piece of your mind, which should reflect the feelings of the student and parent above. Don't allow this opportunity to escape you. You deserve to weep no more.
Posted by pathickey at 5:23 AM
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Chicago's South Side parade is the Real DeaL and it has the World Championship Trophy to prove it! Charlie Comiskey's Chicago White Sox behind owner Jerry Reinsdorf led the parade south from 103rd & Western Ave. to 112th and Western for the 28th time.
Parade Grand Marshall is the Chicago Fire department's Bucks for Burns and the Chicago Special Olympics as Honorary Grand Marshall. A family event since the time that the Coakley family and the Wee Folks of Washtenaw and Talman Streets imitated the great parades of the 1950's when Chicago's Irish marched across 79th Street from Halsted to Ashland.
The South Side Parade enjoyed sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 50's and welcomed a crowd estimated at 350,000. 143 units including Police and Fire units from New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, and Cleveland. The Irish Government was well represented along with groups of all ethnic backgrounds in support of Immigrant Reform. Prominent among Chicago politicians was Democratic Candidate for the 3rd Congressional District John T. Kelly, son of Irish immigrants from Galway and a leader in the fight to reform American immigration laws.
One Unit that brought the crowds to their feet was NYFD Engine # 343, named for the number of New York Firefighters lost in America's greatest attack by an enemy. Lt. Billy Schillinger and Lt. Pat Concannon commanded the vehicle. The Day after the Parade, this reporter witnessed the two firefighters giving long-sleeved white Engine # 343 T-Shirts to a large group of Chicago homeless persons, while waiting in traffic on the south side. Heroes 24-7!
Photos: Top left -Daily Southtown Soxcess Flat - Top right: Chicago Police Homicide's # 1. Closer Det. William Higgins, CPD; Second Row Left- Keegan's Pub Owner County Armagh's Bernard Callaghan and Mary Doherty ; Second Row Right Chicago's Trinity Irish Dancers; Third Row Left FDNY Lt . Billy Schillinger and Chicago's Local 597 Ed Malone and Tom Kotel of the Pipefitters Third Row Left: Keegan's Pub and Cork and Kerry at 6AM Parade Started at 12PM;
Bottom Left: The Chicago White Sox World Champship Trophy in the Hands of Chicago's Finest.
Posted by pathickey at 9:23 AM
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
John T. Kelly Will "Represent" the People of the 3rd District
This morning, my favorite Illinois newspaper The Daily Southtown endorsed John Sullivan as Democratic candidate for the the 3rd Congressional District. Do I need to call Mayflower, start packing,move and make room for more 'enlightened' emigrants from Evanston or is there a huge exodus from Hyde Park expected soon? Just asking,because the rationale for TDS's endorsement over Kelly seems to indicate that the voters of the 3rd District are not the people that the editorial board has in mind. Thus:"But the Daily Southtown endorses Sullivan because we believe he can be a more dynamic lawmaker, and because we believe he is more in touch with mainstream Democratic Party ideals — not strictly those of the Bungalow Belt that is Lipinski's base. Sullivan supports universal health care and urges withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq in a year. He also backs emergency contraception, stem-cell research and abortion rights."( Italics - my own) So our Congressional representative - SHOULD NOT - represent the views of the people HE REPRESENTS? What are 'mainstream Democratic Party Ideals?"John Sullivan lives two blocks from me. I met him. Nice Enough. Never asked for my vote. Never saw him at any of the many,many, many fund-raising benefits that are so much a part of the mindset of our Bunglow Belt. Never heard of the guy flipping pancakes at the parish. I know he is on some public school councils - his name is anyway.I have not seen ONE Sullivan lawnsign - heartbreaking. That is some endorsement. I love the Daily Southtown, but this One got hot Beverly Beverly Bean Haitian Blue up though my nasal passages. I might call one of those Progressive Democratic ambulance chasers from Evanston.
Posted by pathickey at 6:24 AM
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Carol Marin Bashes Lura Lynn Ryan for Helping Her Husband: Was Marin complicity to and FBI Frame-up of a Chicago Couple While at NBC? Just Asking.
Carol Marin of the Chicago Sun Times raked the wife of former Governor George Ryan over the coals in Sunday's Sun Times
Marin, a news icon for boldly refusing to go on air with an alleged news drip, has a reputation for fair and balanced coverage. Mrs. Lura Lynn Ryan went on TV last week and linked the attacks on her husband to his 'fight against the Death Penalty.' I don't buy that, but I respect the tactic.
It might work. Gov. Ryan might walk. I would be glad if he did. My days and nights will be more affected by the monsters George Ryan helped out of the joint. How many have made a return to the steel Sheraton?
But Carol Marin's acid-in -the- face to Lura Lynn is uncalled for. I won't repeat or post any of the column. Instead, I will post an interesting passage from The Blanket a website dedicated to a united Ireland. Two Chicagoans, Mary and Chris Fogarty, had their life's savings depleted in an attempt to defend themselves from the FBI, IRS, MI-5, and other acronymic agencies with the complicity of NBC 5's Carol Marin.
I remembered the case, because one of the murdered people was related to a girl who taught at Bishop McNamara in Kankakee ( funny how that town dovetails ( George & Lura Lynn & etc.), and I remembered how much storm the story had around the time of the Good Friday Peace Accords and the horrific Omagh bombings.
There should be a 'Follow-up' story to this - but the News media rarely do that when a story goes south on them. Carol Marin, how about some answers?
Reader, read on:
From The Blanket:
Why Ireland is Unfree; Continued
MICHAEL McKEVITT is in Portlaoise Prison for the last two years awaiting a Brit-type, non-jury trial. Ireland’s Justice officials evidently know what everybody else knows; that the RUC, British Army Intelligence, MI5 and Chicago FBI converted an IRA property damage bomb into the Omagh massacre, and because they know it they cannot charge McKevitt with it. Instead, they have adopted a clever ruse: they have charged McKevitt, not with murder of the Omagh innocents, but with Directing the Real IRA (RIRA). They then get Ireland’s news media to add “The RIRA bombed Omagh” to all reports of McKevitt’s impending trial. Thus, though the gov’t cannot charge McKevitt with that crime, it fosters the belief that he will be convicted of it. McKevitt’s wife, Bernadette, was arrested along with him; but being a sister of internationally-revered Bobby Sands (RIP), the smears necessary to frame an innocent would hardly adhere to her. She was soon released, uncharged. At first glance McKevitt appears to be facing a Soviet-era show trial; but it is far more: it is the latest of a series of MI5 crimes that began in Chicago over a decade ago. Michael McKevitt has been framed by the self-same MI5/FBI criminals who framed me twice and wrongfully charged and incarcerated my wife Mary and me by similarly coordinated felony crimes. Here’s what happened in Chicago.
THE WARNING came from FBI Agent Joe Doyle. He informed Mary and me that some of his fellow agents were bribed and subverted by MI5 and planning “dirty tricks” crimes against us to stop our human rights and media watch work for the Occupied Irish. (MI5 evidently fears truth-tellers more than funders of the IRA, as it never attacked Irish Northern Aid.) Though Doyle spent a few hours describing the forms of MI5’s bribes and much other detail we ultimately doubted him and his warning when, despite the absoluteness of his Oath to uphold the law, he said there was nothing he could do to stop the crimes. Later, he proved too fearful of his fellow agents to testify that he had warned us. The proven accuracy of his warning of impending crimes now alarms us - as he has more recently re-contacted us to warn that the FBI will murder us if we continue to expose their crimes.
THE LANGERT FAMILY was massacred in the Chicago suburb of Winnetka a few weeks after Doyle’s first warning. The murder weapon was FBI agent Lewis’ 357 Magnum; the shooter was 16-year-old David Biro. Local detectives met and each wrote on a card the names of possible suspects and placed it onto a pile. The cards contained only one name; David Biro. Also, a detective had spotted Biro near Langerts’ home the night of the murders. He had previously shot others with his BB gun and poisoned a carton of milk in his own family refrigerator. His ambition was to be a hit-man.
FBI AGENT PATRICK “ED” BUCKLEY promptly arrived and took charge. He ordered investigators away from Biro and sent them on nationwide pursuits of phantom perpetrators, particularly the IRA. As head of the Chicago FBI’s new “Irish Terrorism” unit, Buckley was the leader of the MI5-bribed traitors about whom Doyle had warned us. During the six months that Buckley shielded Biro, Biro would impress his classmates by taking them on tours of the murder site. They kept mum. Agent Lewis never reported her gun, the murder weapon, missing.
CORRUPT NEWS MEDIA personified by TV anchorwoman Carol Marin in my case, abetted the MI5/FBI criminals the same way they abetted the Omagh perpetrators - by blaming it on the RIRA and, by extension, McKevitt. Within days of the Langert massacre Buckley got Marin to announce on prime-time network TV that “the IRA are linked to Langert murders.” When I phoned her the next day to learn the basis for her “scoop,’ she told me that her source was “an FBI agent.” When I asked her how she had met her responsibility to verify it she said she had not done so but had accepted the uncorroborated word of the FBI. She never issued a correction; and the rest of the news media parroted her lies.
BUCKLEY THEN FRAMED ME. Having gotten the news media to do to me what it has been doing to McKevitt, Buckley took his next step; he inserted into a signed police murder investigation report “my” words that doubly nailed me. Of all of Earth’s population, “my” info could be known first hand by nobody but the murderer and the first investigators on the crime scene. I was headed for Lethal Injection; but Buckley didn’t arrest me - yet. It suited MI5 to wait; as memories fade, while murder has no Statute of Limitations. Besides, his protégé Biro’s blabbing was becoming problematic; it eventually demolished Buckley’s frame-up of me. Nobody other than Biro was ever arrested for these crimes, and he was arrested only after fellow students informed police of his plan to rob the local bank and murder its entire staff.
BUCKLEY’S 2ND SERIES OF CRIMES were against my wife Mary, two others and me. He began them soon after Biro demolished his previous attempt to have me executed. He falsely arrested us and incarcerated us in the Federal Correctional Center at Clark and VanBuren streets. We barely bonded out after three days and spent the next fifteen months defending ourselves with seven attorneys. We were doomed had we been poor. We eventually proved in federal court that the FBI’s only evidence against us, an audiotape, was a criminally altered version of the original demanded by the judge.
There is more, a great deal more to this story. As of Friday, RTE the Irish national broadcasting company reported that the FBI, MI-5, and other intelligence agaencies had information about the Omagh Bombings weeks before thirty-six people were killed. Let's see that's six times the number of children George Ryan is to have had complicity in the deaths of. . . . As I recall it was a piece of a hitch that fell off the truck and collided with the Willis's van and caused the deaths of those six babies. Maybe George Ryan is guilty of that, but some one is sure guilty of helping frame a Chicago couple.
Posted by pathickey at 7:22 AM
Friday, February 24, 2006
One of America's greatest political cartoonists, Thomas Nast, the man who first depicted Santa Claus as we know him to be, found a home in American Progressive thought. Like Lyman Beecher, Samuel Morse, Margaret Sanger, Frances Willard, William Garrison, and John Quincy Adams, Thomas Nast believed that the Catholic Church was an evil institution dedicated to world domination and sexual perversions of all manifestations. This cartoon from Harpers Weekly seems suitable to today's climate.
There is a great old American tradition of vilifying the Catholic Church. In the 19th Century, immigrant Catholic children attended public schools where they learned how horrible the 'faith of their fathers and mothers' was to them. Pretty soon Catholics built their own schools. Today, those schools dominate post season athletics 'because they have an unfair advantage over Public Schools.'
The ministers of the Catholic Church are monsters; in the 19th Century they were recruiters for the Pope's Vatican Army and today they are sexual predators. The trouble is - the American Catholic Bishops are leading supplier of fuel to the fires raging in today's headlines.
I attended Catholic grammar school, high school, university and graduate school. In high school I attended a seminary in Holland Michigan ( all male) the only nuns were Mexican Hermanitas who cooked for us. We played football, basketball, baseball, and boxed.
We lived in a barracks-like dormitory. I was there for three years ( 1966-1969).
I had daily classes, athletics, and punishments under the supervision of priests and brothers. I was never approached, courted, flirted with, touched ( other than clouted for the best of reasons; I was a jerk) , much less sexually molested. I'll admit that I ain't much to look at.
I received a magnificent education and learned charity from some
wonderful people. What did I miss?
Back home, my Dad asked if I wanted to finish at Leo with my buddies from the neighborhood, but I had missed the allure of feminine company; I finished at a co-ed Catholic high school - Little Flower. There were nuns in control again but they were not as prone to violence as the grammar school sisters had been. Parish priests, including the guy who called for Cardinal George to resign, filled out the theology staff. One priest Father Charles Ruby spent what seemed like every hour of the day with us punks from Wood Street.
Father Ruby opened the gym for us during his 'free time;' talked to us about racial change and our obligations to civil rights as Catholics; counseled draft age guys about military service; warned us about Irish arthritis - getting stiff in a different joint every night; and bailed out malefactors from the lock-up at Gresham. He did not grab boys.
The only abuse from the clergy, aside from eight years of clouts in grammar school, that I have ever experienced was being hit by Cardinal Cody's driver while running across Chicago Ave. when I was late for a class at Loyola. I got a 'Watch where the hell you're going!' from Louisiana Fats, yelling from the rolled down window of his Limo. The Progressives loved Louisiana fats, who spent his early tenure in Chicago undoing the great works of Card. Mundelein and Bishop Sheils.
As a baby teacher at Bishop McNamara High school in Kankakee, IL, I witnessed Father Ken Yarno C.S.V. courageously report sexual abuse of a boy in the 'care' of another priest and that was in 1979. It's in the public record.
Boys and girls are and have been abused by priests, as well as some laymen from what I understand. It is a horror. The bishops of the Catholic Church and their chancery office spin-doctors have screwed the pooch and with the arrogance of people who have been 'right and correct' all of their lives have dismissed the charges of abuse against the clergy like so many used votive candles.
Punish the sexual predators; I have no problems with guy who shanked Geoghan in Massachusetts. Each man's death diminishes me and I can stand to drop a few pounds.
But, let's try to keep our eyes open. There are people who have made a cottage industry from the clergy abuse scandals. What is going to be left when ever person who has passed a stiff collar on the street brings a charge of abuse? Class Action suits. Remember the Children! Well, remember the children when they no longer have a Catholic school to attend. Remember the Poor! Well, remember the thousands of Catholic employees who will not see their pensions. Remember the Hurting! Well, remember the hurting when there is no Catholic Charities! Remember Justice! Well, remember justice when people like Bishop Joseph Imesch of Joliet, are tried and convicted in the court of public opinion. If Bishop Imesch is guilty of a crime, bring a case against him and convict him based upon evidence.
We , the fair minded American People, would burst the back-side out our Depends, if any Bishop had fired an openly GAY priest ten years ago. If a charge of homosexuality were leveled against any priest how soon would it have taken for the ACLU and Gay activist lawyers to sue the diocese? As quick as a lawyer can say, "40%." How long would an issue like "PRIVACY" been not taken for granted?
We want it now! We want it to go away. Well, things do go away. The money. The services. The schools. The opportunities.
Let's remember that the man who gave use Santa Claus, 19th Century cartoonist Thomas Nast, also HATED the Catholic Church and Catholics in particular. His sentiments are an American tradition. Faith is larger than tradition and so are the laws of Cause and Effect.
Posted by pathickey at 5:44 AM
Thursday, February 23, 2006
An add appearing in Chicago's Irish American News February edition ( page 10) announcing the February 22nd opening of Donal O'Kelly's One-Man Play Catalpa, presented by the Irish repertory of Chicago noted that "His script is the true tale of The catalpa, an American whaling ship hijacked at sea and forced to sail to Australia is rescue a group of Irish political prisoners."
That note is misleading, neither the good ship Catalpa nor playwright/actor/director/film star O'Kelly is forced into the rescue or presenting that skewed bit of history. Donal O'Kelly and composer Trevor Knight present the mission of the Catalpa with attention to historical detail.
John Devoy, New York's exiled Irish Republican Brotherhood leader paid for the services of the Bedford Mass. Whaling ship, its Captain, Crew, and voyage, in order to bring about the escape of the Freemantle Six - Irishmen in the British Army found to have taken the oath of the IRB, sentenced to Life in Penal Servitude in Her Majesty's Western Australia Colony.
I attended the opening night performance in The Getz Theatre of Chicago's Columbia College. From the opening chords of Trevor Knight's musical adaptation to the final sounds of O'Kelly's child persona the packed house was made the willing participant of the sea saga about infidelity, patriotism, courage, skill, desperation, and hope.
The premise of Donal O'Kelly, a familiar face in the Celtic Tiger's cinema roll call, is of a man coming out of a failed movie pitch to Hollywood Producers. This fictional pitcher tries one more time and strikes one across the letters of O'Kelley's audience. Applying sound and sense from a palette thick with experience, O'Kelly and Knight treat their audience with the respect and the audio-caresses the Hollywood Players missed out on.
Verbally visualizing every shot, sound and mood O'Kelly's would-be movie maker takes the audience on a sound-voyage and verbal cruise through the adventures and psychological peculiarities of every character in 'the movie' to be.
Yankee Ship owners, West Indian Harpoonmen, Irish Icons, French chambermaids, A Sea Bird, Australian spies, Fenian Prisoners, an andry Wife and the angrier ghost of the Captain's mother-in-law pour from the soul and talents of Donal O'Kelly. One of the great lines of dialogue comes from the Yankee Ship owner who agrees to the Catalpa's place in the Fenian plot - for a handsome price of course states as his reason, ' We may at some time run out of whales to hunt, but we will never run out of Irish Americans!"
I had the pleasure to speak with the author/ performer after the thrilling two hours vanished like the Australian sea storms - Howling, Blasting, and Surging - now calm - assured - and trusting.
We met in the dark and chilly backstage of the Getz Theatre.
MY TALK WITH DONAL O'KELLY - 2/22/06 at Columbia College's Getz theatre
Pat Hickey for Wild Geese Today - PH
Donal O'Kelly - DO'K
PH - I am with the author and performer of Catalpa, Mr. Donal O'Kelly. We are at the Columbia College Theatre ( Getz Theatre) and you put on a brilliant performance. It's a remarkable piece as its a presentation to some movie producers 'gone south.' Would you talk about that a little bit?
Do'k -Well the whole idea is of a man writing a screenplay who can never really pitch the idea to producers - he always makes a mess of it. So, my idea of Catalpa is to present the idea to the audience as this guy sees it in his mind. We can theatrically and with live music recreate what the man wants to get across that a film might not allow and the audience is invited in to experience what this man wants to get across.
PH - The language of this play is remarkable - its sights and sounds and cadences. It's remarkably rhythmic.
DO'K - It's sort of our ( performer and audience) little short-hand -so that -unwittingly -the audience participates they get the images very vividly in their minds. Its economic use of language - At least in theory ( laughs)
PH - Well it works. This magnificent story presented in such an inviting manner. You had a packed house enthralled.
D"OK - We try not to draw a certain amount of attention the mechanics of the language so much as visualize through the sounds - rather than say 'Oh, isn't that such wonderful writing - as a distraction to them - try to be too clever. So what the audience gets is the features in their heads.
PH- Trevor's work picked up on your cadences and Language - particularly in the whales care of its child and how it merged with George Anthony's thoughts of home.
D'OK - Well Yeah, George has a bit of Mother Fixation or should I say the Ghost of a mother-in-Law Fixation. Throughout the play George ( Capt. of the Catalpa) is haunted by the ghost of his mother-in-law for breaking his vow never to go to sea again - its was a death-bed promise.
PH - You kept the historical background intact without drumming away at it too much. Here is Chicago the IRB was a great influence.
D'OK - Quite right for the sake of theatrics we did not include John Devoy's rival Goff of Chicago. As theatre piece we had to leave Chicago's part out of it.
PH - Well you must be exhausted and I'll get out of your hair. Let me thank you for bringing this play to Chicago.
DO'K - On the contrary it was through the support of Irish report Theatre and their sponsoring agencies - I will say this that they were an intelligent and responsive audience. They got the punchlines to the jokes set early on in the play. It was a great pleasure to bring them in.
Along with Knight and O'Kelly, Ms Sorcha Fox did a great job of balancing the lighting to meet the many moods created by the sound and sense of O'Kelly's presentation of Catalpa.
Posted by pathickey at 9:55 AM
Thursday, February 09, 2006
The Chicago Tribune, from its earliest days as Chicago's best fish wrapper, has had a tradition of joyfully condemning the Catholic Church and Catholics. As a Whig and later Republican paper, the Chicago Tribune has never missed an opportunity to hit Catholics and the Archdiocese of Chicago as foreign, criminal, puritanical, clannish, racist, anti-semetic, Poilitical Machine driven, drunken, licentious, corrupt, and devious. From Medil, through McCormick, to its current Board of Directors, the Chicago Tribune never misses an opportunity to bash the Catholic Church, its ministers, and its congregants.
But Chicago is a Catholic city and Catholic make up a heavy portion of the Tribune's readership. I do not and have not bought a Chicago Tribune in years, but I read it. My neighbors always throw it out and itis available on-line. Today's editorial is another such example.
America's leading clerical-abuse ambulance chaser, Jeffery Anderson of Minnesota, is hard at work in Illinois to rake in millions of dollars from people who claim to have been abused by priests. The Chicago Tribune's tack on Herr Anderson is that he is a fearless dragon-of-Babylon slayer and champion of helpless victims. That's nice. I read the news. Amderson is always in the News - CNN, Times-Picayun, Boston Globe, and etc. Lawyer Anderson was broke in the early eighties until he took up the case of a drifter who wandered into a Catholic Church in order to relieve himself. Anderson won a huge settlement by portraying the Catholic Church as hostile to the homeless and deflecting the the charge of unlawful entry. Sharp guy.
From there it was gravy. Taking cases that allowed huge settlements from individual dioceses around America, Anderson amassed millions of dollars in fees and with the sexual abuse cases pouring in, Anderson made more millions.
Let's pause there . The Catholic Church in America was devastated by the size and scope of priest sexual abuse cases that were swept aside by Chancery nit-wits and monstrous asses like Boston's Cardinal Law - who skulked off to the Vatican. The Catholic Conference of Bishops convened to combat abuase and with their usual aplomb screwed the pooch by an inability to understand the anger of the Catholic laity. Nevertheless, sexual abuse cases began to see the light of day. But I am no lawyer and can only imagine the dent that reform will make in the coffers of a pettifogging crumb like Anderson. So after a breather - it's full charge against the Church.
The Chicago Tribune has decided to bring its artillary down on Bishop Joseph Imesch of Joliet. They don't have the grapes to opennly criticize Chicago's Cardinal George but at least they can get a few licks in on the Bishop of Joliet.
I detest the the Tribune. When it wants someone 'dead' in the media, it takes the leash off its dogs. Sheriff Michael Sheahan was a frequent target but he punched back and theTribune yelped its way back under the couch. The Tribune wanted to destroy Sheahan professionally and personally in the press and when the Tribune's orchestrated Cook County Jail assault straw-man went to the jury , it only took the sober judgment of 12 good people to toss the charges in twenty minutes. I hope that Bishop Imesch diplays the same toughness as Mike Sheahan. When asked by reporters from the balance of Chicago's mediums about the quality of Chicago Tribune investigative powers, Sheahan succinctly and accurately summed up ' Tribune invesitgative journalism is BS.' Chicago agreed.
But that does not stop the paper that declared Dewey a Winner! Take a look at what the Chicago Tribune's editorial brain-trust opines:
Bishop Imesch, in his wordsPublished February 9, 2006
Americans curious about the failure of many Roman Catholic bishops to report sexual abuse by clerics owe gratitude to Joliet Bishop Joseph Imesch. During a deposition given last August and unsealed by a judge last week, the bishop put words to the code of silence that insulated his subordinates--if not the innocents they allegedly exploited:- In one deposition excerpt, attorney Jeffrey Anderson quizzed Imesch about a deacon's report to diocesan officials in 1985 that a Woodridge priest, Rev. Edward Stefanich, might be having an improper relationship with a 14-year-old girl. Did Imesch contact police? "I would not do that," the bishop said. "There is no verification. There is no hard evidence that this was happening. And I'm not going to go say, `Hey, police, go check on my priest.'"Anderson: "If you had reported this to the police in 1985 to investigate the suspicion ... this girl wouldn't have been raped?"Imesch: "I'm not going to go to the police and say I've got a suspicion that one of my priests is dating a young girl. I'm not going to do that."Anderson: "She was a 14-year-old girl."Imesch: "We didn't know that at the time."Anderson: "You didn't ask."Imesch: "We didn't know who to ask."The deacon, sensibly, did go to the police. Stefanich pleaded guilty in August 1987 to criminal sexual abuse and was sentenced to 6 months in jail. He also left the priesthood.- Anderson asked about Rev. Larry Gibbs, accused of abusing boys in Lombard. Imesch said Gibbs acknowledged skinny-dipping with the boys and playing games while they were nude--conduct Imesch called "inappropriate." Imesch moved Gibbs to a Lockport parish, where he again was accused. When Anderson asked Imesch if he considered the 1980 Lombard allegations against Gibbs credible, the bishop replied: "Well, I think what happened happened. It was not considered a crime or a criminal activity so there was no reason for me not to transfer him."- In the late 1970s, a Michigan priest confided to Imesch that he had sexually abused an altar boy there. The admission came after the priest, Rev. Gary Berthiaume, had been arrested, but before he was convicted of molesting the boy. Why hadn't Imesch reported Berthiaume's admission to Michigan investigators? "Well, I don't think that was my responsibility," the bishop said. "He is charged with a crime. He has to be given a trial. My going to the police doesn't have anything to do with whether he's guilty or not." Years later, Imesch invited Berthiaume to work at a retreat house in the Joliet diocese.Imesch's words eloquently explain why this abuse crisis is not a matter for the church alone to resolve. Many of the bishops who covered up crimes, and who enabled predators to hurt new victims, still face no formal consequences.Imesch said in a weekend letter to his flock that these incidents occurred "before psychologists recognized that behavior of that kind was indicative of a severe problem that could not be adequately treated." The diocese now notifies civil authorities of any abuse allegations, he said. "The media reports tend to portray me as someone who doesn't care about the safety of children. Nothing could be further from the truth. All of us can look back on our lives and find things we should have done differently."No, it's not the news media that portray Imesch in a troubling light. His words suffice.A diocesan spokesman told the Tribune that Imesch, who is 74 and plans to retire at 75, has asked the Vatican to look for his replacement.So Bishop Imesch, it appears, will be allowed to leave on his terms. How convenient for him.The people molested by criminals he didn't report will continue to live with the consequences.And the many honorable, selfless priests of the Joliet diocese can soon begin rebuilding the trust that Bishop Imesch has destroyed.
Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune
I am stopping at DiCola's for some cat-fish after work. I know I'll find a Trib in the parking lot there.
Posted by pathickey at 5:29 AM
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Edward 'Spike' O'Donnell lived in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood at about 83rd and Loomis - near Foster Park. He died there - with several trips to Englewood and later Little Company of Mary Hospitals, where he recovered from gun-shot wounds and assorted broken limbs due to the nature of his vocation. Spike O'Donnell was a Slugger, A Tough Guy, A Hard Egg, A Bootlegger, A Crime Czar, A Hitter, A Burglar, A Strong Arm Guy, A Lecturer . . . yes, a lecturer.
In his varied career spanning four decades Edward J. O'Donnell managed to stay one-step ahead of the undertaker and two steps ahead of the G-Men. He is the original American Hood - The Real M'Coy. George Raft tried to emulate him no actor could duplicate him. Humphrey Bogart was scared to death of him.
In the next couple of weeks I plan to put together some points of reference and reprint some Chicago Tribune newscopy. I would like to learn more about this guy from the neighborhood Hood.
February 8m 2006 1:28 PM
Posted by pathickey at 11:16 AM
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Besieged and Accused Father Dan McCormack of St. Agatha's Parish has had a horrific month - arrested and accused of pedophilia and daily front page coverage in the Sun Times and The Chicago Tribune.
He is charged with the sexualmolestation of several young boys. A horrific charge. Recently, in the Chicago Sun Times, Cathleen Falsani surfaced an annoymous Nun to continue the pounding on McCormack.
The Archdiocese of Chicago has been unable to unstick its self from the pedophile scandal briar patch. Father McCormack's brow has been crowned with some pretty thick thorns. He is charged with abusing at least three boys, all African American, and faces the talents of professional priest abuse ambulance chaser Jeffery Anderson. He's got the pedophile smear all over himself, scented by racism 'a white priest abusing poor Black children - who would beiev them over a white priest?' and now broad-brushed by the ulitmate anti-clerical gun slinger in the Yellow Pages. McCormack is toast from the get-go. It does not matter if he is guilty of the crimes for which he is charged. In today's anti-clerical climate and with the derth of testosterone in the American Catholic Church hierarchy - the lads most responsible for the scandal in the first place - Father Dan McCormack is toast.
The Chicago media have been wearing McCormack like a tight-fitting pair of Haynes since early January and the accused now wears Cook County Corrections Center Orange. No one, not even McCormack himself - on the advice of his attorney, has spoken out against the charges levelled against him.
I am not enthralled by the timing of the charges, nor by the people championing the allegedly abused boys. I think that Jeff Anderson is a punk and the Church scandals have been great to him. I think that the Nun is really a suspicious accuser. The substance of the charges against McCormack hit the fan when Francis Cardinal George exercised his frequent flyer options again. Everytime this Prelate hits the Gate at O'Hare or Midway he is opening the door to a new Pandora's Box in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
A few years ago the Cardinal took off for Poland - it was Easter Time. He comes home and finds that the Faith Community of St. Sabina had been denied entry into the Southwest Catholic League Conference. For the next year, The Catholic Church in Chicago self-flagelatted up a storm over 'just how racist are we?' All of this occured less than two weeks after the Cardinal had issued his Pastoral Letter against Racism. There have been other upsetting set-backs to follow close on the heels of an episcopal globe-trot but none so damaging or potentially lethal to the Archdiocese as this one. Cardinal - stay home.
The Church has really been blistered by sex abuse scandals and Chancery Office cover-ups in the last twenty years. In that time, the Faithful have continued to worship and support Catholic programs and schools and attorney Jeffery Anderson, a failed Minnesota hippie, has become a multi-millionaire. In the early eighties, Anderson was broke and then he sued the Church for drifter and founded a cottage industry for himself.
I keep thinking - 'Where are the real Churchmen, like Cardinal Mundelein, or Bishop Sheil, or Bishop Hoban, or, I wish, Dagger John?' Bishop Sheil started the Catholic Youth Organization(CYO) here in Chicago: Sheil started education programs for recently release felons, developed adult education programs in the 1920's, stood on picket lines with striking workers, and was instrumental helping the John L. Lewis form the AFL-CIO. Every neighborhood had a gym and every kid had an opportunity to compete in sports programs - many of Chicago's great Jewish boxers like Barney Ross got their starts in CYO. Most of the work claimed by the Dorothy Day Catholics and the Catholic Workers Party had been co-opted from Bishop Sheil's programs. Before Bishop Sheil in New York we have the example of Archbishop Hughes. Here is a piece, from a 1997 Edition of City Journal in New York about this great priest:
How Dagger John Saved New York’s IrishWilliam J. Stern
PRINTWe are not the first generation of New Yorkers puzzled by what to do about the underclass.
We are not the first generation of New Yorkers puzzled by what to do about the underclass. A hundred years ago and more, Manhattan’s tens of thousands of Irish seemed a lost community, mired in poverty and ignorance, destroying themselves through drink, idleness, violence, criminality, and illegitimacy. What made the Irish such miscreants? Their neighbors weren’t sure: perhaps because they were an inferior race, many suggested; you could see it in the shape of their heads, writers and cartoonists often emphasized. In any event, they were surely incorrigible.But within a generation, New York’s Irish flooded into the American mainstream. The sons of criminals were now the policemen; the daughters of illiterates had become the city’s schoolteachers; those who’d been the outcasts of society now ran its political machinery. No job training program or welfare system brought about so sweeping a change. What accomplished it, instead, was a moral transformation, a revolution in values. And just as John Wesley, the founder of Methodism in the late eighteenth century, had sparked a change in the culture of the English working class that made it unusually industrious and virtuous, so too a clergyman was the catalyst for the cultural change that liberated New York’s Irish from their underclass behavior. He was John Joseph Hughes, an Irish immigrant gardener who became the first Catholic archbishop of New York. How he accomplished his task can teach us volumes about the solution to our own end-of-the-millennium social problems.
John Hughes’s personal history embodied all the virtues he tried so successfully to inculcate in his flock. They were very much the energetic rather than the contemplative virtues: as a newspaper reporter of the time remarked of him, he was “more a Roman gladiator than a devout follower of the meek founder of Christianity.” He was born on June 24, 1797, in Annaloghan, County Tyrone, the son of a poor farmer. As a Catholic in English-ruled Ireland, he was, he said, truly a second-class citizen from the day he was baptized, barred from ever owning a house worth more than five pounds or holding a commission in the army or navy. Catholics could neither run schools nor give their children a Catholic education. Priests had to be licensed by the government, which allowed only a few in the country. Any Catholic son could seize his father’s property by becoming a Protestant.
When Hughes was 15, an event he was never to forget crystallized for him the injustice of English domination. His younger sister, Mary, died. English law barred the local Catholic priest from entering the cemetery gates to preside at her burial; the best he could do was to scoop up a handful of dirt, bless it, and hand it to Hughes to sprinkle on the grave. From early on, Hughes said, he had dreamed of “a country in which no stigma of inferiority would be impressed on my brow, simply because I professed one creed or another.”Fleeing poverty and persecution, Hughes’s father brought the family to America in 1817. The 20-year-old Hughes went to work as a gardener and stonemason at Mount St. Mary’s college and seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Working there rekindled in him a childhood dream of becoming a priest, and he asked the head of the seminary, John Dubois, if he could enroll as a student. Dubois, a French priest who had fled Paris during the French Revolution armed with a letter of recommendation from Lafayette, turned him down, unable to see past his lack of education to the qualities of mind and character that lay within. This was no ordinary gardener, Dubois should have recognized; indeed, as he went back to his gardening chores, Hughes wrote a bitter poem on the shamefulness of slavery and its betrayal of America’s promise of freedom. Not one to forget a slight, Hughes harshly froze Dubois out of his life when he became prominent and powerful. Indeed, in later years, Hughes won the nickname of “Dagger John,” a reference not only to the shape of the cross that accompanied his printed signature but also to his being a man not to be trifled with or double-crossed.With the good luck that marked his career, Hughes met Mother Elizabeth Bayley Seton, who visited Mount St. Mary’s from time to time, and impressed her deeply with all those talents that Dubois had failed to see. A Protestant convert to Rome who had become a nun after her New York blueblood husband died, Mother Seton was a powerful influence on American Catholicism and was canonized as America’s first and only native-born saint after her death. When she wrote to Dubois, recommending the un- educated immigrant laborer for admission to the seminary, her prestige carried the day. Ad-mitted in September 1820, Hughes graduated and was ordained a priest in 1826. His first assignment: the diocese of Philadelphia.Recognized as a born leader from his early seminary days, he first came to prominence in Philadelphia as an eloquent and courageous crusader against bigotry. Between 1820 and 1830, immigration had swelled the U.S. Catholic population 60 percent to 600,000, with no end in sight. The new immigrants were mostly Irish—impoverished, ignorant, unskilled country folk, with nothing in their experience to prepare them for success in the urban environs to which they were flocking. Hughes believed that the relentless barrage of anti-Catholic prejudice that greeted them in their new land was demoralizing the already disadvantaged immigrants and holding back their progress.The “nativists,” as the highly organized anti-Catholics were called, included Protestant fundamentalists who saw the Catholic Church as the handiwork of Satan and superstition, intellectuals who considered Catholicism incompatible with democracy, ethnocentric cultural purists who believed the United States should be a land for Anglo-Saxons, and pragmatic citizens who thought it not worth the trouble to integrate so many culturally different immigrants. The nativists counted among their number many of America’s elite, including John Jay, John Quincy Adams, John Calhoun, Stephen Douglas, and P. T. Barnum, all of whom spoke publicly against the Catholic Church and the threat to liberty that allowing Catholics into the country would create. In Boston a mob led by Congregationalist minister Lyman Beecher, the father of Harriet Beecher Stowe, burned a convent to the ground; church burnings were common. Samuel Morse tapped out rumors of Catholic conspiracies against liberty on his Atlantic cable long before such trash circulated on the Internet. Books depicting concupiscence in convents and sex in seminaries were everywhere.Hughes was outraged. He didn’t want Catholics to be second-class citizens in America as they had been in Ireland, and he thought he had a duty not to repeat the mistakes of the clergy in Ireland, who in his view had been remiss in not speaking out more forcefully against English oppression. Resistance was imperative. He began a letter-writing campaign to the newspapers, decrying what he saw as a tendency toward chauvinistic nationalism in his new country. In 1829, for instance, outraged by an editorial in a Protestant religious newspaper about “traitorous popery,” he fired off a missive to its editorial board of Protestant ministers, calling them “the clerical scum of the Country.” During the 1834 cholera epidemic in Philadelphia, which nativists blamed on Irish immigrants, Hughes worked tirelessly among the sick and dying, while many Protestant ministers fled the city to escape infection. After the disease subsided, Hughes wrote the U.S. Gazette that Protestant ministers were “remarkable for their pastoral solicitude, so long as the flock is healthy, the pastures pleasant, and the fleece lubricant, abandoning their post when disease begins to spread dissolution in the fold.” He pointed to the work of the Catholic Sisters of Charity, who had cared for cholera victims without regard for their own safety, and wondered where all the people who spoke about perversion in the convents had gone during the epidemic.The next year he became a national celebrity when a prominent and well-born Protestant clergyman from New York named John Breckenridge challenged him to a debate. The American aristocrat and the articulate, combative priest, who had developed a large following among Philadelphia’s Irish immigrants, did not disappoint their fans. Breckenridge luridly conjured up the Catholic Church’s Inquisition in Spain, tyranny in Italy, and repression of liberty in France. Americans, he said, wanted no popery, no loss of individual liberty. Hughes countered by describing Protestant tyranny over Catholic Ireland. He related what had happened at his sister’s grave. “I am an American by choice, not by chance,” he said. “I was born under the scourge of Protestant persecution, of which my fathers in common with our Catholic countrymen have been the victim for ages. I know the value of that civil and religious liberty, which our happy government secures for all.” Regardless of what had happened in Europe, he said, he was committed to American tolerance.Hughes’s performance against a man of Breckenridge’s stature made him a hero with America’s Irish. Not long thereafter, when John Dubois, Hughes’s former teacher and now bishop of New York, grew sick and frail, Rome appointed Hughes, just over 40 years of age, coadjutor-bishop of the New York diocese, which then included all of New York State and part of New Jersey. He was consecrated a bishop in the old St. Patrick’s Cathedral—still standing on Mott Street—on January 7, 1838. James Gordon Bennett, the famous Scottish-born editor and publisher of the New York Herald, was one of the rare souls among New York’s 60,000 Cath-olics (out of a total population of 300,000) who weren’t Irish. He harrumphed that Catholic rituals were pure poetry, especially episcopal consecrations, but to hold such a ceremony before the “general run of New York Irish was like putting gold rings through a pig’s nose.”After the consecration, John Hughes was ready to lead. Unsystematic, disorganized, impulsively charitable, unable to keep his checkbook balanced, vain enough to wear a toupee over his baldness and combative enough to have to apologize to a valued colleague for “a certain pungency of style” in argument, Hughes was also, in the words of future president James Buchanan, “one of the ablest and most accomplished and energetic men I had ever known.” Hughes’s first New York crusade was to get his flock educated, so that they could benefit from the new nation’s almost limitless opportunity. He passionately believed that the future of the Irish in America depended upon education: indeed, he knew it firsthand from his own experience.He immediately stirred up a war over the city’s schools, then run by the Public School Society. Though the society received state funding, it was essentially a private Protestant organization that taught Protestantism and used the Prot-estant Bible. Worse, from Hughes’s point of view, it had pupils read such books as The Irish Heart, which taught that “the emigration from Ireland to America of annually increasing numbers, extremely needy, and in many cases drunken and depraved, has become a subject for all our grave and fearful reflection.” Hughes (with the support of New York’s 12,000 Jews) wanted an end to such sectarian education, and he wanted, above all, state aid for Catholic schools, just as the state had funded denominational schools before 1826 (with no one dreaming of calling such aid unconstitutional). The outcome of the struggle pleased no one: the Maclay Bill of 1842 barred all religious instruction from public schools and provided no state money to denominational schools. On the night the bill was passed, a nativist mob ransacked Hughes’s residence, and the authorities had to call out the militia to protect the city’s Catholic churches.Having at least partly reformed the public schools to help those Catholic children who attended them, Hughes threw his energies into building a Catholic school system that would educate Catholic children the way he thought they should be educated. No need was more urgent, in his view. He did not believe that a society hostile to the Irish and certain they were incapable of accomplishment would produce schoolteachers and administrators interested in and good at teaching Irish children. “We shall have to build the schoolhouse first and the church afterward,” he said. “In our age the question of education is the question of the church.”Hughes’s schools emphasized not just the three Rs but also a faith-based code of personal conduct that demanded respect for teachers and fellow students. Parents had to attend meetings with teachers and do repair work and cleaning in the schools. These schools then, as now, produced children capable of functioning in the mainstream of American life. By the end of his tenure, the original boundaries of Hughes’s dio-cese contained over 100 such schools. Not content to build just primary and secondary schools, he founded or helped to found Fordham University and Manhattan, Manhattanville, and Mount St. Vincent colleges.In 1845 Hughes began to face his greatest challenge. That year the potato crop failed completely in Ireland, and the Great Famine struck, lasting until 1849. The worst famine in the history of Western Europe, it brought complete social collapse to Ireland and caused some 2 million Irish to flee to the United States between 1845 and 1860, not primarily for religious freedom and economic opportunity but to reach a place where they might eat. Most arrived at the port of New York after crossing the Atlantic on what they called “the coffin ships.” As Thomas Sowell so vividly describes this journey in Ethnic America, the Irish packed into the holds of cargo ships, with no toilet facilities; filth and disease were rampant. They slept on narrow, closely stacked shelves. Women were so vulnerable to molestation that they slept sitting up. In 1847 about 40,000 died making the voyage, a mortality rate much higher than that of slaves transported from Africa in British vessels of the same period.In New York they took up residence in homes intended for single families, which were subdivided into tiny apartments. Cellars became dwell-ings, as did attics three feet high, without sunlight or ventilation, where whole families slept in one bed. Shanties sprang up in alleys. Without running water, cleanliness was impossible; sewage piled up in backyard privies, and rats abounded. Cholera broke out constantly in Irish wards. Observers have noted that no Americans before or since have lived in worse conditions than the New York Irish of the mid-nineteenth century.
Hughes harbored no illusions about the newcomers. “Most move on across the country—those who have some means, those who have industrious habits,” he observed; “on the other hand, the destitute, the disabled, the broken down, the very young, and the very old, having reached New York, stay. Those who stay are predominantly the scattered debris of the Irish nation.” Lost in a land where many didn’t want them, violent, without skills, the Irish were in need of rescue. This was Hughes’s flock, and he was prepared to be their rescuer.New York’s Irish truly formed an underclass; every variety of social pathology flourished luxuriantly among them. Family life had disintegrated. Thomas D’Arcy McGee, an exiled Irish political radical, wrote in The Nation in 1850: “In Ireland every son was a boy and a daughter a girl till he or she was married. They were considered subjects to their parents till they became parents themselves. In America boys are men at sixteen. . . . If [the] family tie is snapped, our children become our opponents and sometimes our worst enemies.” McGee saw that the lack of stable family relationships was fatally undermining the Irish community.The immigrants crowded into neighborhoods like Sweeney’s Shambles in the city’s fourth ward and Five Points in the sixth ward (called the “bloody sixth” for its violence), which Charles Dickens toured in the forties and pronounced “loathsome, drooping, and decayed.” In The New York Irish, Ronald Bayor and Timothy Meagher report that besides rampant alcoholism, addiction to opium and laudanum was epidemic in these neighborhoods in the 1840s and 1850s. Many Irish immigrants communicated in their own profanity-filled street slang called “flash talk”: a multi-day drinking spree was “going on a bender,” “cracking a can” was robbing a house. Literate English practically disappeared from ordinary conversation.An estimated 50,000 Irish prostitutes, known in flash talk as “nymphs of the pave,” worked the city in 1850, and Five Points alone had as many as 17 brothels. Illegitimacy reached strato-spheric heights—and tens of thousands of abandoned Irish kids roamed, or prowled, the city’s streets. Violent Irish gangs, with names like the Forty Thieves, the B’boys, the Roach Guards, and the Chichesters, brought havoc to their neighborhoods. The gangs fought one another and the nativists—but primarily they robbed houses and small businesses, and trafficked in stolen property. Over half the people arrested in New York in the 1840s and 1850s were Irish, so that police vans were dubbed “paddy wagons” and episodes of mob violence in the streets were called “donnybrooks,” after a town in Ireland.Death was everywhere. In 1854 one out of every 17 people in the sixth ward died. In Sweeney’s Shambles the rate was one out of five in a 22-month period. The death rate among Irish families in New York in the 1850s was 21 percent, while among non-Irish it was 3 percent. Life expectancy for New York’s Irish averaged under 40 years. Tuberculosis, which Bishop Hughes called the “natural death of the Irish immigrants,” was the leading cause of death, along with drink and violence.Inflamed by this spectacle of social ruin, nativist sentiment grew and took a nastier, racist turn, no longer attacking primarily the superstition and priestcraft of the Catholic religion but rather the genetic inferiority of the Irish people. Gifted diarist and former mayor George Templeton Strong, for example, wrote that “the gorilla is superior to the Celtic in muscle and hardly their inferior in a moral sense.” In the same vein, Harper’s in 1851 described the “Celtic physiognomy” as “simian-like, with protruding teeth and short upturned noses.” Cel-ebrated cartoonist Thomas Nast constantly depicted the Irish as closely related to apes, while Orson and Lorenzo Fowler’s New Illustrated Self-Instructor in Phrenology and James Redfield’s Outline of a New System of Physiognomy gave such ideas the color of science.By 1850 the New York City lunatic asylum on Blackwell’s Island (now Roosevelt Island) was filled with Irish, most of them probably hallucinating alcoholics. Doctors of the day had a different view, speculating that insanity grew from degeneracy and violation of the moral law. Compounding the problem, according to Ralph Parsons, superintendent of the asylum, the Irish were people of exceptionally bad habits. They were, he said, of “a low order of intelligence, and very many of them have imperfectly developed brains. When such persons become insane, the prognosis is unfavorable.”Hughes’s solution for his flock’s social ills was to re-spiritualize them. He wanted to bring about an inner, moral transformation in them, which he believed would solve their social problems in the end. He put the ultimate blame for their condition squarely on the historical oppression they had suffered at the hands of the English, which he said had caused them “to pass away from the faith of their ancestors,” robbing them of the cultural heritage that should have guided their behavior. But that was in the past: now it was time for them to regain what they had lost. So he bought abandoned Protestant church buildings in Irish wards, formed parish churches, and sent in parish priests on a mission of urban evangelization aimed at giving the immigrants a faith-based system of values.With unerring psychological insight, Hughes had his priests emphasize religious teachings perfectly attuned to re-socializing the Irish and helping them succeed in their new lives. It was a religion of personal responsibility that they taught, stressing the importance of confession, a sacrament not widely popular today—and unknown to many of the Irish who emigrated during the famine, most of whom had never received any religious education. The practice had powerful psychological consequences. You cannot send a friend to confess for you, nor can you bring an advocate into the confessional. Once inside the confessional, you cannot discuss what others have done to you but must clearly state what you yourself have done wrong. It is the ultimate taking of responsibility for one’s actions; and it taught the Irish to focus on their own role in creating their misfortune.
Hughes once remarked that “the Catholic Church is a church of discipline,” and Father Richard Shaw, Hughes’s most recent biographer, believes that the comment gives a glimpse into the inner core of his beliefs. Self-control and high personal standards were the key—and Hughes’s own disciplined labors to improve himself and all those around him, despite constant ill health, embodied this ethic monumentally. Hughes proclaimed the need to avoid sin. His clergy stated clearly that certain conduct was right and other conduct was wrong. People must not govern their lives according to momentary feelings or the desire for instant gratification: they had to live up to a code of behavior that had been developed over thousands of years. This teaching produced communities where ethical standards mattered and severe stigma attached to those who misbehaved.The priests stressed the virtue of purity, loudly and unambiguously, to both young and old. Sex was sinful outside marriage, no exceptions. Packed together in apartments with sometimes two or three families in a single room, the Irish lived in conditions that did not encourage chastity or even basic modesty. Women working in the low-paid drudgery of domestic service were tempted to work instead in the saloons of Five Points, which often led to a life of promiscuity or prostitution. The Church’s fierce exhortations against promiscuity, with its accompanying evils of out-of-wedlock births and venereal disease, took hold. In time, most Irish began to understand that personal responsibility was an important component of sexual conduct.Since alcohol was such a major problem for his flock, Hughes—though no teetotaler himself—promoted the formation of a Catholic abstinence society. In 1849 he accompanied the famous Irish Capuchin priest, Father Theobald Mathew, the “apostle of temperance,” all around the city as he gave the abstinence pledge to 20,000 New Yorkers.A religion of discipline, stressing conduct and the avoidance of sin, can be a pinched and gloomy affair, but Hughes’s teaching had a very different inflection. His priests mitigated the harshness with the encouraging Doctrine of the Sacred Heart, which declares that if you keep the commandments, God will be your protector, healer, advisor, and perfect personal friend. To a people despised by many, living in desperate circumstances, with narrow economic possibilities, such a teaching was a bulwark against anger, despair, and fear. Hughes’s Catholicism was upbeat and encouraging: if God Almighty was your personal friend, you could overcome.Hughes’s teaching had a special message for and about women. Women outnumbered men by 20 percent in New York’s Irish population partly because of famine-induced emigration patterns and partly because many Irish immigrant men went west from New York to work on building railways and canals. Irish women could find work in New York more easily than men could, and the work they found, usually as domestics, was steadier. Given the demographic facts, along with the high illegitimacy rate and the degree of family disintegration, Hughes clearly saw the need to teach men respect for women, and women self-respect.
He did this by putting Catholicism’s Marian Doctrine right at the center of his message. Irish women would hear from the priests and nuns that Mary was Queen of Peace, Queen of Prophets, and Queen of Heaven, and that women were important. The “ladies of New York,” Hughes told them, were “the children, the daughters of Mary.” The Marian teaching encouraged women to take responsibility for their own lives, to inspire their men and their children to good conduct, to keep their families together, and to become forces for upright behavior in their neighborhoods. The nuns, especially, encouraged women to become community leaders and play major roles in church fund-raising activities—radical notions for a male-dominated society where women did not yet have the right to vote. In addition, Irish men and women saw nuns in major executive positions, managing hospitals, schools, orphanages, and church societies—sending another highly unusual message for the day. Irish women became important allies in Hughes’s war for values; by the 1850s they began to be major forces for moral rectitude, stability, and progress in the Irish neighborhoods of the city.When Hughes went beyond spiritual uplift to the material and institutional needs of New York’s Irish, he always focused sharply on self-help and mutual aid. On the simplest level, in all parishes he encouraged the formation of church societies—support groups, like today’s women’s groups or Alcoholics Anonymous, to help people deal with neighborhood concerns or personal and family problems, such as alcoholism or finding employment. In these groups, people at the local level could exchange information and advice, and offer one another encouragement and constructive criticism.Hughes worked hard to get jobs for his flock. The nuns in his diocese became employment agencies for Irish domestics: rich families knew that a maid or cook recommended by the nuns would be honest and reliable. The nuns encouraged Irish women to run boarding houses for new immigrants and to become fruit and vegetable vendors. Irish women came to dominate the city’s produce business, and some went on to succeed with their own grocery stores.Hughes encouraged the formation of the Irish Emigrant Society, out of which the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank later grew. The society helped find people jobs in sail making, construction, carriage repair and maintenance, and grocery stores. The society expected those it sponsored to behave properly on the job and work conscientiously, so as to reflect credit upon their patron. Those who misbehaved in-curred the wrath not only of their employers but of the Emigrant Society and the parish priest, both unembarrassed about using shame to encourage good behavior.
When it came to charity, Hughes had nothing but contempt for the way New York officials went about it, warehousing the poor in the municipal almshouse and giving them subsistence levels of food, shelter, and clothing until they died, usually of typhus, ty-phoid fever, consumption, or cholera. Hughes dismissed this approach, which made no effort to re-moralize the demoralized poor, as “soupery.”By contrast, Hughes imported church groups that had shown elsewhere in the world that they could help solve tough social problems. The most famous was the St. Vincent de Paul Society, a group of laymen who gave personal service to the poor. They visited prisons, organized youth groups, and taught reading and writing. Whenever they provided food, clothing, or shelter, they required the recipients, when possible, to work in return. An order of nuns, the Sisters of Mercy, worked closely with the St. Vincent de Paul Society, visiting the city’s almshouses and prisons and urging the women in them to find work and to conduct themselves according to Church teachings. They founded their own home for immigrant girls, a halfway house between dependency and work, where they provided spiritual guidance, taught such basic skills as cooking and cleaning, and helped women find jobs, usually as domestics.Faced with perhaps as many as 60,000 Irish children wandering in packs around New York City—not attending school, not working, not under any adult supervision—Hughes encouraged the formation of the Society for the Protection of Destitute Catholic Children, known as the Catholic Protectory, which was in a sense the forerunner of Boys Town. To rescue these children, who in the words of the Protectory’s head, Dr. Levi Ives, were “exposed to all the horrors of hopeless poverty, to the allurements of vice and crime in every disgusting and debasing form, bringing ruin on themselves and disgrace and obloquy,” the Protectory purchased a 114-acre farm near Westchester and erected buildings for boys and girls. The mission was clear: the Protectory staff believed that, in Ives’s words, “by proper religious instruction and the teaching of useful trades they could raise the children above their slum environment.” Ives had no doubt that the children had to be taught sound values before they would have a chance at a productive life.Though the Protectory received some city and state money, the Irish themselves provided its main support with enthusiastic private contributions. Hughes and Ives made it clear that these children were the community’s responsibility: their own Irish parents—not the nativists or the unfeeling city—had abandoned them to their plight. The Irish, as Hughes and his priests and nuns tirelessly taught, had a moral responsibility to give money to this cause, as well as to the Church and all its other charitable organizations. For Hughes, such community self-help and personal responsibility were the essence of Christian charity.
By 1850 the city’s Catholics had become so numerous that Rome made New York an archdiocese and Hughes an archbishop. He received the pallium, the woolen band that was the symbol of his new authority, directly from Pope Pius IX, a sign of the growing importance within the Church of American Catholics in general, of New York’s Catholics in particular, and of Hughes himself. As the 1850s wore on, the archbishop began to conceive a plan that would give magnificent, concrete expression to the rise of New York’s Catholics. He would build a great cathedral, financed by the Catholics themselves, as proof to the Protestant elites that the Irish, too, knew how to make New York the premier city of the world. More important, such an accomplishment would give an enormous boost to the morale of the Irish community itself—which, however poor, was not too poor to achieve something grand.Hughes laid the cornerstone on August 15, 1858, before a crowd of over 100,000, their imaginations fired by the hugely ambitious project. He had raised only $73,000 of the project’s estimated $1.5 million cost (a figure that ultimately rose to over $4 million, a staggering sum for the nineteenth century). But Hughes believed that if you took on a challenge, you would perforce rise to meet it. St. Patrick’s was finished in 1879 by his successor, John McCloskey, who raised the final $172,000 by holding a giant fair in the nave of the new cathedral for 42 days.In 1863, with construction of the cathedral suspended because of the Civil War, the worst urban rioting in United States history broke out among the Irish in New York. Over 1,000 people were killed in three days. The Irish were enraged that the Union army was drafting them in disproportionate numbers because they could not afford the then legal practice of buying their way out of military service. Irish boys, who made up about 15 percent of the Union army, were suffering horrific casualty rates since they were commonly used as frontline troops against better-trained and better-led Confederate soldiers. In addition, rumors spread that once the slaves were freed, they would take Irish jobs or live off taxes on the Irish. The rioting Irish attacked blacks, nativists, and, on the third day, anybody who was around.A then-dying Archbishop Hughes summoned the leaders of the rebellion to meet with him. However disturbed he might have been that the Irish were being called on to do so much of the dying in the struggle against the South, he supported the war and was totally opposed to slavery, having preached against it since his ordination as a priest in 1826. He told the riot leaders that “no blood of innocent martyrs, shed by Irish Catholics, has ever stained the soil of Ireland” and that they were dishonoring that impeccable history.The riot leaders went back to their neighborhoods, and the violence melted away. The riot saddened the dying archbishop: he felt he had failed as a prelate. His friend and loyal subordinate, Bishop McCloskey, was saying the prayers for the dying when the end came for Hughes on January 3, 1864.He had not failed, of course. The Draft Riots of 1863 were the death rattle of a destructive culture that was giving way to something constructive and edifying.Though just 30 or 40 years before, New Yorkers had viewed the Irish as their criminal class, by the 1880s and 1890s the Irish proportion of arrests for violent crime had dropped from 60 percent to less than 10 percent. The Irish were the pillars of the criminal justice system. Three-quarters of the police force was Irish. The Irish were the prosecutors, the judges, and the jailers.
Alcoholism and drug addiction withered away. By the 1880s an estimated 60 percent of Irish women, and almost a third of the men, totally abstained from alcohol. Many Irish sections in the city became known for their peacefulness, order, and cleanliness—a far cry from the filth, violence, and disease of the Five Points and Sweeney’s Shambles of mid-century. Gone, too, was the notorious Irish promiscuity of those years; New York’s Irish became known by the latter part of the nineteenth century as a churched people, often chided by the press for their “puritanical” attitudes. Irish prostitutes virtually disappeared in the city, as did the army of Irish youths wandering the streets without adult supervision. Irish family life, formerly so frayed and chaotic, became strong and nourishing. Irish children entered the priesthood or the convent, the professions, politics, professional sports, show business, and commerce. In 1890 some 30 percent of New York City’s teachers were Irish women, and the Irish literacy rate exceeded 90 percent. In 1871 reformer “Honest” John Kelly became the leader of Tam-many Hall, and with the election in 1880 of shipping magnate William Grace as mayor, the Irish assumed control of city politics.How important a figure was John Hughes in American history? Suppose the mass immigration from Ireland of the mid-nineteenth century had turned into a disaster for the country. How likely is it that the open immigration of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries would have been permitted? Nativism would have won, and America would be an unrecognizably different country today—and an immeasurably poorer one.
Can you imagine a punk ambulance chaser like Anderson trying to get fat on Dagger John's Church? Father Dan McCormac, I know very little about, but I feel that he might be wrongly accused. I feel that he is up the creek because the temperature for cooking an accused priest is just right, the people in command, the bishops, are not of the moral or inetellectual substance of a Dagger John, the news media is more than willing to try the accused in the media, and people taking up the cause of the innocents seem to be very shakey human beings.
Posted by pathickey at 6:49 AM