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True Catholic Heroes

by Fr. Robert J. Carr

The faithful of the Archdiocese of Boston mark a rather ominous anniversary this month. One year ago on December 6th, Cardinal Bernard Law resigned as Archbishop. We may be a place of many faiths, but the Catholic Church stands out for reasons that go far beyond any crisis. I am not saying this just because Boston has been traditionally a strongly Catholic city. I am not saying this because of the many Catholic churches in the city, nor even that many of our politicians call themselves Catholic. I am saying this because of one group of parishioners, heroes all. They make up the congregation at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston.

Many felt Boston suffered the most in the priest abuse crisis of late. The city saw intense, successful efforts to force out Cardinal Law, the most senior Cardinal in the United States. He stood accused in the court of public opinion of supporting pedophilia, even though investigations showed no evidence he intentionally supported pedophiles.

Protesters, mostly from our local universities, some paid professionals, worked for just short of a full year to bring down this man. Yet, in the midst of this mess were those who suffered along with the whole church and in a sense on behalf of the whole Church: The parishioners of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston.

These innocent men and women of various races and economic strata endured epithets thrown at them every Sunday. Protesters harassed these innocents who sought to do nothing more than to enjoy the constitutionally guaranteed right to attend mass weekly at the Church of their choice in the United States of America. Meanwhile, as the families stepped upon the Cathedral grounds and walked towards the front steps, two men with bullhorns joined dozens of other protesters screaming epithets.

“Children, hold onto your privates, there are priests in there!”
“You are entering the House of Rape.”
“I am a good Catholic you should keep away from priests.”

Week in and week out the screams. Standing behind the bullhorns one could still hear them two blocks away.

University students and professors, professional protesters and some victims stood on the sidewalk holding signs to passing children and adults. The faithful saw words like “Bernie the Pimp” as they entered the Church. Indeed, someone stenciled that insult on jersey barriers throughout the city. You can still find it around some construction sites.

Many parishioners suffered severe anxiety attacks on Friday as they prepared to just simply attend mass on Sunday.

I could give you a list, but instead let me name three organizations whose members stood outside that Cathedral-Harvard University, Boston College and Voice of the Faithful. Indeed, Harvard supplied the media equipment for the additional quarterly demonstrations held on Sunday mornings. The local Hearst-Argyle affiliate, WCVB-TV used the footage from a Voice of the Faithful demonstration on the Cathedral steps as the channel’s CEO, Paul LaCamera called for the support of Voice of the Faithful.

What did the elected officials say about all this? They said nothing. The Mayor said nothing, The Governor said nothing; the Senators and Representatives said nothing; they all said nothing. Meanwhile, every Sunday, Catholics testified to their faith in the true presence of the Eucharist. They testified to their faith in Christ. They testified to their trust in the Magisterium, in the gospels, in the bible, in the tradition of the Church. Every Sunday they were there and each time they showed up, the faithful demonstrated over and over again that they believed enough to endure what became known as the gauntlet-The crowd of protesters standing at the foot of the cross shaped Cathedral.

They eventually ran Cardinal Law out of office as head of the Archdiocese of Boston. The politicians remain silent. The Universities pretend they were not there. Yet, the parishioners are free to hold their heads high. They have testified to the truth of our faith better than anyone else in Boston has. They demonstrated just how much they believe. Reports indicate that some protesters' main goal was to silence the Church on life issues. Since Cardinal Law resigned:

The Massachusetts Senate passed a bill calling for embryonic and stem cell research.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court demanded "gay marriage".

John Geoghan former priest and one of the convicted pedophile priests was murdered in the most secure unit in the Massachusetts Prison System.

"Catholic for Free Choice" began an ad campaign claiming "Good Catholics Use Condoms".

Boston College announced plans to bid on what once was the Cardinal’s residence.

Boston University received a 120 Million grant to build a BioSafety Lab, which residents say is a BioTerrorism Unit.

And the faithful continue to attend mass.


Fr. Robert Carr is presently the Parochial Vicar at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. A United States Navy Veteran (Sonar Technician), he is also a published writer and a former radio producer and announcer. Ordained in 1993 he serves both the English and Spanish speaking populations in Boston.

Fr. Carr is from a writing family, he is the son of the late Boston Globe writer Robert B. Carr. His brother Brian is an Executive Editor for Lycos.

He resides and ministers in Boston at the Cathedral Rectory. Currently, he is working on a book of spiritual reflections based on his spiritual journey at the mother Church of the Archdiocese of Boston, the hardest hit diocese in the sex abuse crisis.


Holy Cross Cathedral  MA, US
Fr. Robert J. Carr - Parochial Vicar, 617 230-3300




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