Do people go bad? That seems like a pretty juvenile explanation. Rather, Some people do bad because they have the opportunity to do so and fore sake any and all ethical truths attached to themselves when opportunity patiently awaited arrives to grab it all. Most people do not do bad things, because of ethical truths which formed them and the moral consequences that civilized society forms out of those truths.
Catholics are obligated to attend Mass on Sundays, Holy Days of obligation within the liturgical year. Most Catholics go to Mass without consideration of consequences, rewards or punishments. As my Dad would say, " You join the club' you go the meetings."
My Dad and his brothers were devout Catholics, but they didn't 'work' at it. They'd pull a Murphy after the Gospels, or Communion - duck out for the car and a meet up at Billy Ellis's Wooden House on 79th & Ashland, or Louie Kotecki's at 77th & Ashland. Others, like Mr. Blue, would make note of their departures and shake their heads sadly that Veterans and Homeowners could give scandal to good men like themselves. Mr. Blue in particular. Mr. Blue was a red-lining real estate mogul and a basket passer at the Big Mass.
This was Little Flower Parish through the 1960's. Monsignor Stephen McMahon* owned real estate thoughout the parish. He was a CPA and JD as well as an STD. Tuition was free for parishioners' children at the grammar school and the high school set nominal tuition for parishioners. My senior year tuition in the fall of 1969 was $ 80, including fees. Mr. Blue also dealt in the real estate. He was what became know in Alinsky language as a 'block-buster.'
Mr. Blue was head of the League of Decent Chaps and the St. Dominic Savio Self-Satisfied Communion Gulpers and was aforce in the Christian Family Movement and quoted Bishop Pila, "The Church speaks clearly of the duties of family members to one another that build a radiant faith. . . . But the Church doesn't stop there; it also speaks of the relationship between families and the larger culture, the duty of service, working for the common good, welcoming strangers, and giving voice to the Christian conscience. That is the message; you are the messenger". Yes, Yes.
My Dad and his brothers were incorrigibles - they'd smoke Luckies and Chesterfields and make fun of Mr. Blue and the Rubber Pants Gang that hung around the rectory making pains in the ass of themselves and rules for the thousands of parishioners.
Mr. Blue did not like the fact that Monsignor Stephen McMahon, STD, JD, & CPA published a parish directory that identified not only member families, but exact dollar amount 'dropped' in the purple, green, and maroon velvet baskets attached to very long poles and passed through the pews at every Mass. Into those velvet vessels went white envelopes with names of the family. Monsignor accounted for every gift.
Mr. Blue, a Redline Race Hustling Real Estate Mogul, gave far less to parish bucket than Mr. Prendergast, the Kerryman brakeman, who had twenty-one (21) children and lived along the tracks at 75th Place between Wood and Wolcott Streets. Mr. Blue gave less than nearly every tradesman, copper, fireman, coal yard worker, dairyman, or the white collar salaried helots of Peoples Gas and Bell Telephone.
Mr. Blue was a reformer. Once Cardinal Cody made war on the old Irish Land barons as he had the New World identify pastors with money in the bank as racist neanderthals. Followers of Project Renewal, like Mr. Blue who could quote chapter and verse from the writings of the European Society of Catholic Theology. Monsignor McMahon was Emeritus'd out of power. Mr. Blue and Cardinal " Louisiana Fats" as he was know throughout the Chicago Church Militant, were thick as thieves.
Mr. Blue succeeded in having the finger-waggin annual Directory, as Blue called it, ended. Without competition, guess what happend. Yep. contributions paled. The high school was closed, though it had no debt and waiting list of hundreds from outside of the parish, by Cardinal Cody. Race relations nosed dived and real estate opportunities soared. Mr. Blue was making millions and property values vanished.
Mr. Blue was what we call a REFORMER.
Today, Dorothy Brown is being painted by Don Rose in the Chicago Sun Times ( interesting surnames, no?) as a REFORMER gone bad. Dorothy Brown is the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court starring in Governor Pat Quinn's Street Money to Community Folks Program, now under Federal and State investigation. Quinn needs Brown grabbing Green. Rose steps in to imply that Brown only grabbed Green after the Emerald Isle Lads lured her with Pots O' Gold.
“She’s one of those cases of a reformer gone wrong,” longtime Chicago political consultant Don Rose says. “She more or less joined forces with the regulars. She got into the big money and lots of patronage … Dorothy, unfortunately, found that politics is not only public service but privately beneficial.”
Rose says one of the main attractions of the job was the number of patronage jobs. As we’ve learned through the decades, the ability to hand out jobs significantly raises your clout rating.
“The clerk hasn’t had to do that much; it’s a moderate-level professional office, record-keeping basically,” Rose said. “I think you hear the legal community complain. It’s a pretty sloppily run office.”
In 2012, following the election to her fourth term in office, Brown stopped accepting campaign donations from employees.
Don Rose says Dorothy Brown was a REFORM-minded nit-wit and incompetent being played by evil Mexican and Irish bandits, “They are out there protecting her. The Burkes, the Berrios’ and the Madigans,” Rose says. “She’s part and parcel of the organization now.”
You see, THE ORGANIZATION is not REFORM. Coalitions are Reform.
I beg to differ, Don Rose.
Mrs. Brown is Mr. Blue - REFORMERS are thieves awaiting an opportunity. Opportunity knocks but once and that comes after waiting patiently and very loudly for a Cardinal Cody, or a Governor Pat Quinn.
Like mantra of the Christian Family Movement
"Progressive Government( REFORM) speaks clearly of the duties of family members to one another that build a radiant faith. . . . But the Movement doesn't stop there; it also speaks of the relationship between families and the larger culture, the duty of service, working for the common good, welcoming strangers, and giving voice to the Progressive conscience. That is the message; you are the messenger". and the Message is Opportunity.
Most people do not steal. Reformers? Give them the opportunity.
* I remember authority. The strongest figure of my childhood, stronger than my parents surely, was Father Stephen McMahon, Irish Chieftain Pastor of Little Flower, striding along the sidewalks of his realm with his two huge Saint Bernard dogs. Father McMahon would nod to the children, bow to the women, smile at the men—all of whom greeted him and stepped out of his way as he passed. When I became an intellectual I scorned Father McMahon’s aloofness. I thought a priest should be a pal or a mentor. Now I know that somewhere inside of me I was comforted by Father McMahon’s presence. He secured the boundaries. Everything inside his territory was stable, safe, dependable. That’s not a bad way to grow up. By Donald P. Costello