For The Daily Beast: Meet Cardinal Raymo...

Pope Francis demoted the reactionary Burke, but that hasn’t stopped him popping off about how the Church panders to radical feminism.

Meet Cardinal Raymond Burke, Catholicism’s Most Offensive Mansplainer

Cardinal Raymond Burke is a 66-year-old guy who lives in Rome, dresses like Queen Elizabeth, and talks like someone who majored in misogyny at some bogus, backwoods, Bible-banging tent school. Until Pope Francis stripped him of the powerful Vatican post Pope Benedict had handed him, Burke behaved like the Catholic Church’s version of Ted Cruz, operating with an ego and an attitude that proclaimed him to always be right on matters of doctrine and dogma.

Burke’s new post makes him the equivalent of a head waiter at the annual Knights of Malta Communion breakfast, but the demotion has only emboldened him. A few days ago the former archbishop of St. Louis was interviewed by some pamphlet geared to restoring guy-talk in Catholicism, and Burke did not disappoint.

“Unfortunately, the radical feminist movement strongly influenced the Church, leading the Church to constantly address women’s issues at the expense of addressing critical issues important to men,” Burke told the correspondent from a pamphlet called (get this) The New Emangelization.

“Sadly,” he pointed out, “the Church has not effectively reacted to these destructive cultural forces; instead the Church has become too influenced by radical feminism and has largely ignored the serious needs of men.”

As I read Burke’s manifesto on his desire for more arm-wrestling, towel-snapping, locker-room guys to play larger roles in Catholicism, a couple of thoughts went round and round in the carousel within my noggin: those attending mass today in too many American parishes resemble people sitting around the day-room of an assisted living facility. God love them but they are old, committed, and slowly disappearing.

The church in the United States is not exactly a growth industry. Parishes are being closed or merged. There are too few priests and not exactly a lot of people lining up for a vocation that requires and insists on celibacy.

The second, almost immediate thought was of a woman I knew quite well whose husband died young, leaving her with a few children and an absence of both money and employment in a struggling New England factory town where the paper mills and textile plants were heading south at a pace that soon left Main Street looking like abandoned property.

She buried her husband on a bitter cold December morning two days before Christmas during John F. Kennedy’s first year in the White House. She could curse in Gaelic and pray in Latin.

She had no job, but quickly, within weeks of her husband’s death, she began working at the rectory of the large Irish parish where the church steeple was just about the highest point in town, built by other immigrants in the 19th century as a bold statement announcing their arrival. She did the priest’s laundry, washed and ironed altar linens and vestments, and prepared lunch and supper for four or five priests, two of them veterans of World War II.

She took home less than $60 a week. She went back to school, enrolling in one of what was then called a “teacher’s college” in the old Massachusetts community college system.

After she got her diploma she began teaching fourth and fifth grade at the parish parochial school, where she remained for three decades. She went to mass every day of the week and prayed nearly as much as she breathed. When her youngest boy was in Vietnam she became a daily communicant, a routine that continued after his war service ended.

Her faith was stronger than steel. Her belief that God was all-knowing and forgiving was unshakeable. She was in the forgiveness business and had a deep understanding of human frailty, an insight that never left her until she died at 93.

I called her “my mother the nun.”

So when I read Raymond Burke clowning it up with his bogus beliefs that the Catholic Church has lost a few steps because of the absence of “manly men,” I could hear Mom muttering, “pol’thoin” (asshole) to describe him. That description would have been applied for many reasons but the biggest would be the most obvious: Burke is a guy whose most firm belief is in himself and his own pronouncements.

The cost of his gilded, ornate vestments could feed a family of four across a decade. He has exhausted himself and more than a few who have had to listen to him trying to ban pro-choice politicians from receiving communion. He has attacked St. Louis University basketball coach Rick Majerus for attending a Hillary Clinton rally and tried to prevent Sheryl Crow from giving a concert to raise money for a Catholic hospital.

Last year, as Pope Francis began turning the lights back on within a church that has seen legions depart simply because so many in the clergy said so little about the criminality and obstruction of justice surrounding the reality of sexual abusers wearing roman collars, Burke said, “There is a strong sense that the Church is like a ship without a rudder.”

Raymond Burke: Member of the College of Cardinals and captain of a ship of fools.


Newly elected Pope Francis I speaks to the waiting crowd from the central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica on March 13, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as the 266th Pontiff and will lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. (Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

I have never been anywhere in the world, working, writing a newspaper column, from distant, sometime dangerous places like Cambodia, Vietnam, Northern Ireland or in neighborhoods closer to home in the poorer precincts of Boston, the Bronx, New Orleans or South Central L.A. where I have not encountered priests, Jesuits and Maryknolls, and nuns, plenty of them too, literally doing God’s work: caring for the least among us.

That, my friends, is the Catholic Church.

And that seems to be what too many at the top – assorted Bishops and Cardinals and the crew that control the Vatican – seem to have forgotten. It is not the Church that is in crisis. It is the hierarchy of the Church because it has grown distant and inaccessible to the faithful who are in fact the Church.

So the next pope’s job definition is rather simple: restore the faith and belief of millions of Catholics who have had theirs squandered in a tsunami of secrecy, clerical arrogance and law-breaking blindness to a sexual abuse scandal and finally admit that too many cardinals and a couple popes apparently figured they could ignore that evil as they enabled, hid and allowed priest-predators to victimize again and again.

Pope Francis’ mission is to re-focus that hierarchy on what Catholicism is all about: forgiveness, compassion, helping the poor, social justice, humility, the victims, and the disenfranchised. He must be willing to open the windows of The Vatican to the life around us, to the reality that the Church, to grow and prosper, must be an inclusive vehicle ministering to all who need it. To people of all color, to gays, to the divorced, to women, to those who feel distant from the faith they acquired at birth and baptism or the faith they found and perhaps lost as they watched and witnessed the official negligence of church leaders who forgot their mission but now due to God’s grace have the opportunity to restore a faith that is universal.


With husband Bob, Myra Kraft attended many fund-raisers, smiling and greeting donors.
With husband Bob, Myra Kraft attended many fund-raisers, smiling and greeting donors. (1997 File/The Boston Globe)

Boston Globe Columnist / July 21, 2011

She was the conscience and soul of the Patriots, a woman who came to football reluctantly, through marriage, then used the currency of football fame to enhance her lifelong missions of fund-raising and philanthropy.

Myra Kraft was a wonderful wife, mother, and grandmother. She spent her life trying to make things better for everyone else. And we can pay tribute to her here on the sports pages today because by any measurement, Myra Kraft was one of the most important women in the history of New England sports.

“Without Myra Kraft, it’s quite possible we’d be going to Hartford to watch the Patriots,’’ former Globe columnist Mike Barnicle said yesterday after it was announced that Myra succumbed to cancer at the age of 68. “Obviously, Bob Kraft has deeps roots in this area, but Myra was so much a part of this community – the larger community beyond the sports world – she was never going to allow her husband to leave.’’

We all knew Myra was failing in recent years, but she never wanted it to be about herself. Through the decades, thousands of patients were treated at the Kraft Family Blood Donor Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, but when Myra got cancer there was no announcement; instead, the Krafts announced a $20 million gift to Partners HealthCare to create the Kraft Family National Center for Leadership and Training in Community Health.

It was always that way. You’d go to a fund-raiser and Myra would be standing off to the side with Bob, smiling, greeting donors, and gently pushing the cause of the Greater Good. They were married for 48 years and had four sons who learned from their mom that more is expected of those to whom more is given.

It’s fashionable to enlarge the deeds of the dead and make them greater than they were in real life. This would be impossible with Myra Kraft. She was the real deal. Myra Hiatt Kraft was a Worcester girl, a child of privilege, and she spent her life giving back to her community.

Not a sports fan at heart, Myra was a quick study when Bob bought the team in 1994. Sitting next to Bob and eldest son Jonathan, she learned what she needed to know about football. When something wasn’t right, she spoke up. Myra disapproved when the Patriots drafted sex offender Christian Peter in 1996. Peter was quickly cut. She objected publicly when Bill Parcells referred to Terry Glenn as “she.’’ Like Parcells and Pete Carroll before him, Bill Belichick operated with the knowledge that Myra was watching. Keep the bad boys away from Foxborough. Don’t sell your soul in the pursuit of championships.

The base of Myra’s philanthropic works was the Robert K. and Myra H. Kraft Family Foundation. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston were a particular passion. Among its other missions, the Kraft Foundation endowed chairs and built buildings at Brandeis, Columbia, Harvard, BC, and Holy Cross.

BC and HC are Jesuit institutions. Myra Kraft was Jewish and worked tirelessly for Jewish and Israeli charities, but that didn’t stop her from helping local Catholic colleges.

“She was the daughter of Jack [Jacob] and Frances Hiatt,’’ Father John Brooks, the former president of Holy Cross, recalled. “Jack was a great benefactor of Holy Cross. He was on our board and was a very important person to the city of Worcester. I was a regular attendee of the annual Passover dinner at the Hiatt home when Myra was still living in Worcester. What struck me about Myra was that she was very proud and was a wonderful mother to her four boys.’’

During the 2010 season, Myra steered the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation toward early detection of cancer. Partnering with three local hospitals, the Krafts and the Patriots promoted the “Kick Cancer’’ campaign, never mentioning Myra’s struggle with the disease.

Anne Finucane, Bank of America’s Northeast president, held a large Cure For Epilepsy dinner at the Museum of Fine Arts last October and recalled, “Myra showed up at our event even though she was battling her illness and they were in the middle of their season. That’s the way she was. She could come and see you and make a pitch on behalf of an organization. There are people who just lend their name and then there are people who take a leadership role to advance an issue. She was a pretty good inspiration for anyone in this city.’’

Just as it’s hard to imagine the Patriots without Bob Kraft, it’s impossible to imagine Bob without Myra. After every game, home or away, win or lose, Myra was at Bob’s side, waiting at the end of the tunnel outside the Patriots locker room.

We miss her already.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist.

Mike Barnicle Remembers reverend Peter G...
By Jess Bidgood


Mar. 1, 2011

BOSTON — The Harvard community — and people the world over — is mourning the death of Reverend Peter Gomes, the man who ran the university’s Memorial Church for over forty years.

Gomes died Monday night because of complications from a stroke he had in December. He was 68.

The Reverend Peter Gomes died Monday at the age of 68, after a more-than 40-year ministry at Harvard University.

Gomes’ longtime friend, writer and columnist Mike Barnicle, met Gomes because the two would regularly spend early mornings at the same restaurant. “He was an education to sit with, next to, to listen to, a sheer education. Not just in terms of his moral values but his view on the world,” Barnicle told WGBH’s Emily Rooney on Tuesday.

A black, openly gay minister, Gomes was a decided rarity. He came out about his sexuality in 1991.

He was also politically conservative for most of his career, although he changed his political affiliation to Democrat to vote for Gov. Deval Patrick in 2006.

Barnicle said Gomes learned from his own experience being different, and set out to help others with theirs.

“He was was an expert at honing in on the demonization of people,” Barnicle said. “He could see people and institutions being demonized well before it would become apparent tthat they were being demonized.”

That, Barnicle said, gave Gomes a sense of fairness that underguarded his political and religious beliefs.

“It’s not fair to go after people because of who they are, or because of their sexual orientation, or because of their color, or because of their income, or because of their zip code. That’s who he was, he was an expert in what’s fair,” Barnicle said.

Gomes was known for his soaring, intricate speaking style. “I like playing with words and structure,” he said once, “Marching up to an idea, saluting, backing off, making a feint and then turning around.”

“His sermons were actually high theater in my mind,” Barnicle remembered.

Gomes did not leave behind a memoir; He said he’d start work on it when he retired, at 70. It’s a shame, Barnicle said. “We need more of him than just a memoir, we need people like him every day.”

Gomes reflected on his life’s work — and his death — on Charlie Rose’s talk show in 2007.

I even have the tombstone the verse on my stone is to be from 2 Timothy. “Study to show thyself approved unto God a workman who needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” That’s what I try to do, that’s what I want people to thnk of me after I’m gone. When I was young, we all had to memorize vast quantities of scripture and I remember that passage from Timothy I thought, ‘Hey that’s not a bad life’s work.’ And in a way I’ve tried to live into it. So my epitaph is not going to be new to me, it’s the path I have followed in my ministry and my life.


Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009

Barnicle on Kennedy: Of Memory and the Sea

Here was Ted Kennedy, 74-year-old son, brother, father, husband, Senator, living history, American legend. He was sitting on a wicker chair on the front porch of the seaside home that held so much of his life within its walls. He was wearing a dark blue blazer and a pale blue shirt. He was tieless and tanned on a spectacular October morning in 2006, and he was smiling too because he could see his boat, the Mya, anchored in Hyannis Port harbor, rocking gently in a warm breeze that held a hint of another summer just passed. Election Day, the last time his fabled name would appear on a ballot, was two weeks away.

“When you’re out on the ocean,” he was asked that day, “do you ever see your brothers?”

“Sure,” Kennedy answered, his voice a few decibels above a whisper. “All the time … all the time. There’s not a day I don’t think of them. This is where we all grew up. There have been some joyous times here. Difficult times too.

“We all learned to swim here. Learned to sail. I still remember my brother Joe, swimming with him here, before he went off to war. My brother Jack, out on the water with him … I remember it all so well. He lived on the water, fought on the water.”

He paused then, staring toward Nantucket Sound. Here he was not the last living brother from a family that had dominated so much of the American political landscape during the second half of the 20th century; he was simply a man who had lived to see dreams die young and yet soldiered on while carrying a cargo of sadness and responsibility. (See pictures from Ted Kennedy’s life and career.)

“The sea … there are eternal aspects to the sea and the ocean,” he said that day. “It anchors you.”

He was home. Who he was — who he really was — is rooted in the rambling, white clapboard house in Hyannis Port to which he could, and would, retreat to recover from all wounds.

“How old were you when your brother Joe died?” Ted was asked that morning.

“Twelve,” he replied. “I was 12 years old.”

Joe Kennedy Jr., the oldest of nine children, was the first to die — at 29 — when the plane he was flying on a World War II mission exploded over England on Aug. 12, 1944.

“Mother was in the kitchen. Dad was upstairs. I was right here, right on this porch, when a priest arrived with an Army officer. I remember it quite clearly,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy remembered it all. The wins, the losses and the fact there were never any tie games in his long life. Nobody was neutral when it came to the man and what he accomplished in the public arena. And few were aware of the private duties he gladly assumed as surrogate father to nieces and nephews who grew up in a fog of myth.

He embraced strangers. Brian Hart met Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery on a cold, gray November day in 2003. Brian and his wife Alma were burying their 20-year-old son, Army Private First Class John Hart, who had been killed in Iraq. “I turned around at the end of the service, and that was the first time I met Senator Kennedy,” the father of the dead soldier said. “He was right there behind us. I asked him if he could meet with me later to talk about how and why our son died — because he did not have the proper equipment to fight a war. He was in a vehicle that was not armored.

“That month Senator Kennedy pushed the Pentagon to provide more armored humvees for our troops. Later, when I thanked him, he told me it wasn’t necessary, that he wanted to thank me for helping focus attention on the issue and that he knew what my wife and I were feeling because his mother — she was a Gold Star mother too.

“On the first anniversary of John’s death, he and his wife Vicki joined Alma and me at Arlington,” Brian said. “He told Alma that early morning was the best time to come to Arlington. It was quiet and peaceful, and the crowds wouldn’t be there yet. He had flowers for my son’s grave. With all that he has to do, he remembered our boy.”

Ted Kennedy was all about remembering. He remembered birthdays, christenings and anniversaries. He was present at graduations and funerals. He organized picnics, sailing excursions, sing-alongs at the piano and touch-football games on the lawn. He presided over all things family. He was the navigator for those young Kennedys who sometimes seemed unsure of their direction as life pulled them between relying on reputation and reality.

An emotional man, he became deeply devoted to his Catholic faith and his second wife Vicki. He even learned to view the brain cancer that eventually killed him as an odd gift — a gradual fading of a kind that would be easier for his family and friends to come to terms with than the violent and sudden loss of three brothers and a sister, Kathleen. He, at least, was given the gift of time to prepare.

The day after Thanksgiving in 2008, six months after his diagnosis, Kennedy had a party. He and Vicki invited about 100 people to Hyannis Port. Chemotherapy had taken a toll on Ted’s strength, but Barack Obama’s electoral victory had invigorated him. His children, stepchildren and many of his nieces and nephews were there. So were several of his oldest friends, men who had attended grammar school, college or law school with Kennedy. Family and friends: the ultimate safety net. (See video of Kennedy from the 2008 Democratic National Convention.)

Suddenly, Ted Kennedy wanted to sing. And he demanded everyone join him in the parlor, where he sat in a straight-backed chair beside the piano. Most of the tunes were popular when all the ghosts were still alive, still there in the house. Ted sang “Some Enchanted Evening,” and everyone chimed in, the smiles tinged with a touch of sadness.

The sound spilled out past the porch, into a night made lighter by a full moon whose bright glare bounced off the dark waters of Nantucket Sound, beyond the old house where Teddy — and he was always “Teddy” here — mouthed the lyrics to every song, sitting, smiling, happy to be surrounded by family and friends in a place where he could hear and remember it all. And as he sang, his blue eyes sparkled with life, and for the moment it seemed as if one of his deeply felt beliefs — “that we will all meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when” — was nothing other than true.

“I love living here,” Ted Kennedy once said. “And I believe in the Resurrection.”

Barnicle was a columnist at the Boston Globe for 25 years



Ted Kennedy failed to match brothers’ legacies, but forged own flawed future

Wednesday, August 26th 2009, 6:30 PM

He died on a soft summer night, at home in Hyannis Port, a few days after a storm, the edge of another hurricane, ripped the waters of Nantucket Sound, turning the sky an angry gray.

But now, on the day after he died, the air was clear and there was only the heat of the August sun beating down on the boat, the Mya, that Ted Kennedy so often took to sea, seeking comfort from the past and refuge from the illness now ravaging his system.

Some months before he died, he sat on the porch of the big, white clapboard house he shared with his wife, Vicki, his dogs and his memories – the Hyannis Port house both a home and a museum containing the story of seven decades in the life of one man and a single country.

“When you’re out on the ocean,” I asked, “do you ever see your brothers?”

“Sure, all the time, all the time,” he answered, his voice a whisper. “There’s not a day I don’t think of them. This is where we all grew up.”

And this is where it came to an end, the long dynastic thread woven through world wars, politics, scandal and redemption.

At 77, Edward Moore Kennedy was a man who learned to live with his flaws, his failures and a prematurely ordained future that never was and, after 1969, could never be.

He was the most Irish of four brothers, had the loudest laugh and the biggest voice. He was familiar with pain, emotional and physical. He was sentimental, given to song, poetry and painting. His own hand-painted watercolors adorn the walls of his house.

He suffered greatly from self-inflicted wounds – Chappaquiddick, an affinity for alcohol – as well as the weight of constant expectation that he would, could, might rise and eventually take the White House.

But disruptions caused by the hand of two different gunmen in two different American cities altered him forever, detoured him from the family dream, pushed him to live without a calendar, measuring his days and hours by the whim of a fate he knew he could never truly control.

He became, Kennedy did, a religious man, often attending early Mass with his wife at Our Lady of Victory in Centerville on Cape Cod, knowing that his Catholic faith was rooted in forgiveness.

It is easy to consider how Ted Kennedy might have approached the Lord:

“Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been – What? – Three weeks? Three years? Three decades? – since my last confession.”

And his penance, if you will, was to serve as a surrogate for three dead brothers and the cargo of lost and wounded children left in the wake of war and assassination; to lose and immerse himself in the freedom of being a legislator rather than be shackled by a myth or become a political vessel for others driven by dreams of dynasty.

He carried his Cross through all the decades, carried it with honor and nobility. He heard every slur, each slander, lost his only quest for the Oval Office and emerged from defeat with a deeper knowledge of who he was and what was meant to be: a life lived in the United States Senate, to negotiate, deal and fight for laws that simply changed how we lived.

Now, the house by the sea, a place once filled with high hopes and even higher ambition, is quiet. And last night’s dusk arrived with a brutal truth: This man who came through the fire of life, scarred but whole, is silent forever, while the fog of memory, seven decades deep, becomes legend on the summer wind.

MIKE BARNICLE IN THE BOSTON GLOBE: `Education is the true liberator’


May 20, 1998

DUNGANNON, Northern Ireland — He has stood over too many fresh graves filled with victims of a stale hatred that is quite pervasive but he manages to greet each day with a grin along with a hope that the children he teaches will somehow manage to prosper here in a small country where education might eventually prove to be a larger asset than a ballot measure that has all the politicians talking while the public on both sides — Catholic and Protestant — approach the election with sealed lips anda grim pessimism.

He is 66 years old, Monsignor Denis Faul is, and he is the principal of St. Patrick’s Academy, where 940 boys and 930 girls attend classes in a huge school set on a hillside alongside an awkward neighbor — a British Army post — as constant noise from helicopters interrupts geometry and geography. “They’d never get away with flying in and out over a Protestant school,” the monsignor said yesterday. “It’s just the way it is here.”

Denis Faul is not a shy man. He has specific views and certain opinions. He also has credentials among Catholics: For years, he said daily Mass for prisoners in the Maze prison and alienated the IRA when he was instrumental in ending the hunger strike nearly two decades ago.

“We had 10 already dead and they had had 20 more ready to die,” Faul recalled. “Enough was enough. Ireland doesn’t need any more funerals or any more martyrs. I helped get the lads to stop and the IRA never forgave me.

“Let me tell you what will happen Friday,” he declared. “It will be a 55 to 45 vote for the Yes position. Just enough to create chaos. People are truly torn about this because it’s an argument between the head and the heart.

“For most people on both sides — the majority in the middle — their heads tell them to stay with Great Britain because they’re afraid of losing their benefits, their free education, free health as well as what they get from the dole. But their heart tells them to vote with Dublin. And, of course, they’ve had “Moses” Mitchell and “Moses” Hume with their new commandments, but the real issues are not discussed.

“There is indeed a strong element of bigotry among Protestant leaders and the only way this will work is for everyone to take a vow to protect human life, get rid of the guns, and look after the victims. That will have to be done street by street, parish by parish, and town line by town line. And it will only succeed by bringing charity and a lot of forgiveness to the task.

“There are very long memories here,” he added. “People know that whenever Catholics have shown advances in acquiring legal rights, civil rights, poltical and economic rights, that’s when the assassinations begin again. The Protestants fear Catholic advancement.

“When Sinn Fein had the prisoners appear at the rally last week, it was a dreadful blunder, but it was done because the IRA runs Sinn Fein. Gerry Adams is a very clever man. But he’s a vain man, and that’s dangerous. Yet he’s patient. He knows time is on his side, so he can wait to see how unmanageable the new process will be because he knows, in the end, the British will have to deal with him. Not Dublin. Not Washington. Him. He views a Yes vote as a tactical vote for the IRA and Gerry Adams.ts do not know who they are. They have no sense of identity. They’re not Irish, not British, not Welsh; all they have to cling to is the fact that they won the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 — not that long ago in Ireland — and that’s why they go crazy during marching season in July.

“That gets to the issue of justice, too. The application of the law toward Catholics is unjust. It’s at the heart of the whole debate over the release of the prisoners. Since 1968, not a single RUC [Royal Ulster Constabulary] man has served a day in jail for killing while on duty or torturing people arrested under emergenecy laws. Twelve children and many adults were killed and no one was ever charged. So the Catholics say, “Why am I doing 25 years in prison when the man who killed my son or

“Now I’ll be voting Yes on Friday,” Monsignor Denis Faul stated. “But you can’t build a government on a 55 to 45 vote. You have to have education with a spiritual background as well as human rights, and you must have a soul and be willing to forgive. That’s the foundation we need to build.”

Then he stood at his desk and glanced out the window behind him at an Army helicopter skidding through the sky above his school. The noise was fierce, but the priest’s smile was gentle as he said, “They wouldn’t dare do that to any other people.

MIKE BARNICLE IN THE BOSTON GLOBE: Where it’s too late for peace


May 19, 1998

POYNTZPASS, Northern Ireland — She came into the pub through a back door that led to a courtyard alongside a stone house that is actually an extension of The Railway Bar, where two men were murdered a few months ago in a rural village that had always provided residents with great pride because faith never infringed on friendship and blood never spilled due to religion. She came past a door shattered by bullets, carrying a pot of tea and a plate of sausage.

“My supper,” she smiled. “It has to last me the night. “Who was working then?” she was asked.

“Who do you think?” Bernadette Canavan said. “Me. I was right here behind the bar. They put the lads down on the floor and killed them. Both of them. Damien and Philip, killed them for no reason. Just hate.”

Bernadette Canavan is 69. She and her husband, Des, along with their son Brian, 39, run the place plus the grocery next door. At 9 p.m. on March 3, Damien Trainor, a 26-year-old Catholic, and Philip Allen, a 35-year-old Protestant, were murdered inside the Railway, a snug stop with five stools and a 20-foot bar that attracts customers throughout the quiet area.

“They grew up together,” Brian Canavan said. “Damien was going to be best man at Phil’s wedding. There was never any religious war here.”

The Allens live 50 yards from the tavern. Their son, a truck driver, is buried 200 yards up the road, behind the Presbyterian Meeting House.

“I’ll never be right again,” his mother, Ethel, said. “I can think of nothing else. I don’t know that I can bring myself to go vote.”

The country is days from a referendum aimed at reducing the terror that has haunted Ireland, a measure that would drastically alter how people live. But the ballot arrives too late for a place so small it remains crushed by the type of mindless murder that created a violent claustrophobia within the culture of the North, keeping people apart on the basis of religion and fear. Always, the village seemed immune to the illogical reality around them, until two of their own died on a barroom floor.ative to a land hardened by dark shadows of gunmen.

“I was sitting right here at home,” Trainor said in her living room. “I ran up to the pub. I leaned over and told Damien I was there with him.

“He’d been shot four times, three in the chest, one in the head by those savages. They took him to the hospital in Newry, but he died. I told them I wanted to see him. They brought me to him. I put my forehead on his and kissed him. I shut his eyes. I pulled back the white sheet and straightened the crucifix around his neck. Philip was there in the same room, the two of them dead side by side. I never cried.”

“Having Damien was hard work,” she continued. “Raising him was hard work. And he’s still hard work because it hurts so much to think about him. My friends send me memory cards, but I don’t need any cards to remember how wonderful my son was. To everyone.”

“I’ll tell you something,” the victim’s mother announced. “There might be peace in Northern Ireland someday. But there will never be any peace for me.”

The men charged with the murders of two friends who lived yards apart in a hamlet where news arrives by word of mouth, and there are no secrets, were caught within a week. In jail, seven days later, one of them was executed by Catholic inmates. Killing is contagious here.

Yesterday, Ann Trainor walked sadly up the hill from her home to St. Joseph’s Cemetery where Damien is buried. She stood in silence, and when she looked up from her son’s plot, out past a low stone wall, she could see Philip Allen’s grave 100 yards away, behind the Presbyterian church; the two men together forever, in a village scarred and ruined by a historical hate that finally found the last few innocents of Poyntzpass.

MIKE BARNICLE IN THE BOSTON GLOBE: Prejudice from a pulpit


May 18, 1998

BELFAST — Ian Paisley stood yesterday at the pulpit of a fairly new church in order to preach ancient hatred to a dwindling congregation of old people, afraid they might be losing their future on Friday. Paisley, besides being a politician who prospered over the years on a platform built with bigotry, is minister at Martyrs Memorial Free Presbyterian Church, which is directly across the street from the 12th fairway of the Ormeau Golf Club.

Yesterday morning, promptly at 11:30, Paisley climbed the steps of a high pulpit inside his modern church, where no more than 50 men and women sat scattered through the huge double-decked arena waiting for word on what to do this week when Ireland votes on a referendum that could end decades of unreasonable death. He is a big man with a huge head covered with a shock of white hair. He has thick lips, strong hands, and a booming voice, and all were employed yesterday to push his faithful followers toward rejection of work done by George Mitchell, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and Gerry Adams. “I had a confrontation the other day with a very nasty journalist,” Paisley shouted. “He asked me why I always say, `No,’ and I told him that God gave us 10 commandments and He said no in nine of them.

“The body says `no’ to germs or it will die. The soul says `no’ to sin or it dies too. And we must say `no’ Friday or our nation dies.”

Paisley built a constituency as well as a congregation around themes of contempt, revenge, and pure, raw anti-Catholicism. Yet, as election day nears, his grip on Protestant East Belfast — where many are poor and tired of visiting cemeteries or jails — seems weaker than ever.

“He’s a faker, he is,” Freddy Wilson was saying. “He’s only trying to keep himself in power now. He led us up the top of the mountain years ago, telling us all the time the Catholics would never get this and they’d never get that. And oh, how he hated the pope! But Protestants got just as tired of all the killing as Catholics did. Old Paisley, he just never changed. He’s still in it for himself, is all.”

Wilson is a 37-year-old unemployed dock worker and a Protestant. He stood at the bar of the Park View Lounge down the road from Paisley’s church, where the politician-preacher was merely halfway through a Sunday schedule of prayer meetings and speeches where his words become weapons hurled at anyone who favors peace. Paisley’s version of religion is simply prejudice from a pulpit; his sermons are cold and cruel and leave no room for any of the forgiveness found across town yesterday where 15,000 Catholics gathered at Milltown Cemetery for the annual blessing of the graves. How utterly Irish.

Milltown is a huge burial ground off Falls Road. Ten years ago, several people were killed here during a funeral for three unarmed Irish Republican Army members shot to death by British security forces in Gibraltar. Yesterday, the place was teeming with relatives saying the rosary in unison under a hot sun on Belfast’s version of Memorial Day, where the past is never farther away than the very next sentence out of someone’s mouth and where every headstone is a marble memory of a son, brother, uncle, or father lost in a long, weary war.

“My Tommy died two days after his 24th birthday,” Tom Kelly said about his son. “He was stabbed to death downtown by Protestants. They caught someone for it but nothing ever happened. My wife took a heart attack from it, and she died too. She’s over there.” He pointed past a row of granite Celtic crosses toward his wife’s grave. “So it has to be `yes’ Friday, doesn’t it? Otherwise it’s back to the same old thing.”

And as one crowd seemed comforted by hymns and rosary beads, Ian Paisley was across the river getting ready for the ritual of his evening sermon, where he twists prayer into a polemic and faith is defined by the depth of a parishioner’s fear. His thunderous hate has always been the beating heart of so many Protestants, but this week that thunder seems, more and more, to be off in the distance and part of a past that people on both sides want to bury.

MIKE BARNICLE IN THE BOSTON GLOBE: Do this in hope, remembrance


May 17, 1998

BELFAST — A hundred children of parents from a poor, shattered neighborhood where the past always conspired to defeat any decent future streamed into Holy Trinity Church yesterday to make their First Holy Communion. All the girls wore dazzling white dresses and boys were dressed in light gray suits as entire families watched, dizzy with pride.

“It’s like a fashion show,” the Rev. Matt Wallace said. “Most of these people go into debt to buy the outfits. Father Wallace is pastor of Holy Trinity in the Turf Lodge section of town. He is 55, a priest for 28 years, and he brings an infectious laugh and wonderful sense of humor to a parish of 6,000 people living in an area smaller than Beacon Hill. The church is the focal point of the community. It is a large, square cement-block building with a flat factory roof, located high on a hill above Center City, all right in the shadow of a British Army facility.

“Lock your car,” he advises visitors. “We share cars around here. Nearly everyone belongs to the D.L.A. club. That’s disability living allowance, and without it there wouldn’t be a single car in Turf Lodge.”

He and Father Patrick McCafferty were in the sacristy putting on their chasubles and stoles for Mass. The church was packed for a simple ceremony that manages to offer hope and optimism to an area more familiar with funerals after 30 years of violence.

“This church opened on Bloody Sunday,” Father Wallace recalled. The people here have suffered a lot but they are the most forgiving people you’ll find. And I think that this is the last community in the Western world where the extended family is so important.”

The pastor, two altar boys, and Father McCafferty strolled to the altar promptly at 11 a.m. Everyone rose as voices from the grammar school choir filled the building while the service began.

All the doors were open for a breeze so at the Offertory the sound of an Army helicopter overhead competed with the song, “We Love You Jesus.” Due to the huge numbers receiving, communion took 15 minutes to complete as the place filled with the light of flash bulbs as youngsters, hands folded in prayer, accepted the host and new responsibilities.

After Mass, everybody flooded on to the driveway between the rectory and the church where most of the adults lit a smoke before lining up for family pictures with the two priests. “Like I’m a rock star,” Father Wallace laughed.

Maria Coogan stood off to the side of the happy crowd, cigarette in hand, surveying the long line of two-story attached stucco bungalows as if each building contained a single story with a separate memory. Across the years, Turf Lodge has lost 27 men in a struggle rooted in politics, economics, and religion; a bitter, bloody fight that seems to have lessened a bit recently and might even recede more with this week’s vote on peace.

“Billy Gibson lived right across the street,” Coogan said. “He was 15 when the soldiers murdered him. Sean Savage lived two houses up; he was killed in Gibraltar. Died for his country, he did.”

“Terry Enright was the last we had,” Father Wallace pointed out. “They shot him to death in January. He was a wonderful lad. Worked with Catholic kids as well as Protestants. A youth worker, he was. Wonderful man.”

“Why was he killed?” the priest was asked.

“Catholic,” he replied.

“Then there was Brian Stewart,” Maria Coogan added. “He was 9 when a British soldier murdered him; the soldier’s name was Mark Thien. He did a year in jail and he’s back in the Army today. I don’t think there’ll ever be peace in Northern Ireland. Too many splinter groups. Too many bad memories.”

The parish population has an unemployment rate of 35 percent. It is presently enduring the horror of teenage suicide and rising drug usage. But yesterday, with marvelous weather and all these terrific children, smiling and almost saintly in their appearance, the past disappeared for a morning while a whole community took time out to concentrate on this country’s one true future.

MIKE BARNICLE IN THE BOSTON GLOBE: Ray Callahan, a noble man


July 31, 1997

As soon as everyone had gathered in St. Ignatius Church at Chestnut Hill yesterday for the funeral Mass, a full company of Jesuits marched silently down the center aisle of the handsome stone edifice to bury a brother, Rev. Ray Callahan, SJ, who fell dead at his desk last week at 59. Until his death, Father Callahan had been president of Nativity Prep in Roxbury, a miracle of the city where children are given the gift of a future.

It was 10 a.m. when the Jesuits took their seats directly across the aisle from Marie Callahan, the deceased priest’s mother, who sat sadly with her daughters. She wore a black dress and held a single white rose Outside the church, the sun stood sentry in a cloudless sky and a wonderful breeze danced across the day. Inside, people stood shoulder to shoulder singing “Here I am, Lord” as five Jesuits began the beautiful ceremony.

There were no TV cameras or any reporters clamoring for participants to discuss the quiet, noble life of Ray Callahan, who never sought a headline. He was born in Framingham, son of a newspaperman, and he went to Fairfield University until God tapped him on the chest with such ferocity that he chose the Marine Corps of Catholicism — the Jesuits — as a life.

He taught at Boston College as well as at BC High, but for the past several years he had run Nativity Prep. It is a small, private school — 15 students in 4 grades, 5 through 8 — where boys from places like Mattapan, Roxbury, and Dorchester get just about the finest free education around.

“Anybody can learn math,” Ray Callahan used to say, “but our job is to help these boys gain pride and dignity, too. They are wonderful, strong children.”

All this week, the town has witnessed a flood of publicity concerning the future of William Weld. And as the funeral began, a new governor, Paul Cellucci, was in the State House discussing tax cuts and judgeships. All of it is considered news because these people and their policies affect so many.

However, Ray Callahan was a single man who touched a thousand lives. He was a Jesuit priest who had a hand on someone’s shoulder every single day, pushing or prodding them toward heights once thought to be unattainable.

As Rev. William Russell, SJ, delivered the homily, one of the many Nativity Prep students at Mass bowed his head in grief. His name was Adrian Rosello. He is a 13-year-old from Mattapan who will be in eighth grade this September.

“I never expected him to die,” Rosello said quietly. “I loved him. He always made me laugh and told me I could do better. He believed in me. How could he die in the summer?”

Now, at Communion, Mike Burgo came from the sacristy holding a guitar. He began to sing the infectious hymn “Be Not Afraid” and soon the huge congregation joined Burgo, the sound of their grateful voices filling the church and spilling out toward the trolley tracks and the campus of Boston College.

“You shall cross the barren desert, but you shall not die of thirst. You shall wander far in safety, though you do not know the way. You shall speak your words in foreign lands, and all will understand. You shall see the face of God and live.

“Be not afraid. I go before you always.”

Both song and service are part of the constant comfort of Catholicism, a religion that blankets the start and conclusion of life with splendid ritual. But Ray Callahan represented the finest aspects of his faith every single day. He led by example, a humble man dedicated to God and to education.

And yesterday his legacy filled St. Ignatius: Former students; young people like Amy Shields, who went straight from Duke to teaching at Nativity Prep because providing a child with the excitement of ideas is far more rewarding than making money; hundreds of friends; and his fellow priests.

Then the Mass ended and the Jesuits filed out to the front of the church where they stood in a circle on the sidewalk, resplendent in white cassocks, as six Nativity Prep boys carried a black casket down gray cement steps. They were followed by Marie Callahan, who walked slowly out of the church into the bright sun of a day, comforted by the knowledge that while others elsewhere celebrated temporal rewards of prosperity or politics, the crowd around her had gathered to celebrate the rich and marvelous life of Raymond J. Callahan, SJ.

“Thank you for your son,” Rev. William Leahy, the president of Boston College, said to Marie Callahan.

“Thank God for my son,” his mother replied.