Religious Sunday: Oy Vey! – Where’s The Thought of Others – Another Catholic Church Mess

Are they out to accelerate the destruction of what is left of the Catholic Church. An article in 2019 noted: Gallup has previously reported that church attendance has dropped ore among Catholics than among Protestants. Consistent with this, the decline in church membership has been greater among Catholics. Twenty years ago, 76% of Catholics belonged to a church; now, 63% do.”

Actually, it is surprising that figure is not greater given the seemingly endless scandal among the priests and the ham-handed response of the bishops. Despite the horrid news of bishops knowing priests who sexually offended young boys rather than being drummed out of the priesthood were transferred to other places and their sins covered up, most Catholics remained faithful to the Church. Sadly, the scandal of priests abusing youngsters and bishops covering up their offenses spread from Boston throughout the United States and the world.

No country has seen a greater exodus from the Church than Ireland. There are interesting takes on why that happened. Here one author disagrees that it had anything to do with the scandals. “Because as long as Catholic Ireland is being maliciously depicted as one long abuse scandal, there is little prospect of lapsed Catholics being drawn once more to the Faith.” and here an author suggests the groundwork existed for the scandals: “With many admirable exceptions, the Church in Ireland was run for decades by a faithless, feckless, group of bluffers and charlatans. The inauthenticity of their prayer, of their music, of their preaching, and of their actions has driven generations to see the faith as inauthentic, bluffing, nonsense.” 

An article by Father D’Arcy noted: The Church played politics with the State. We controlled education, health, morality and most damaging of all, we expected the State’s laws to mirror Catholic morality. Religion became part of our oppression. Then along came the clerical abuse scandals. The hypocrisy of religion was uncovered; it dismantled both the power and the faith of Catholic Church within a few years.” Father Brian D’Arcy went on to say: “The best example of moribund clericalism is the institutional Catholic Church in Ireland. It’s even worse in the United States, but that’s for another day.” [For a discussion of clericalism see: “David Gibson “What is Clericalism? ” It has been defined as: “clericalism has come to mean a division between ordained church leaders—that such leaders have an exclusive society unto themselves—and the lay followers.”]

The Catholic Church in Ireland’s experience is worth noting in examining what is happening in the United States. Nothing points to the abstruseness of the Church leaders than the recent revelations about Msgr. Jeffrey D. Burrill, the general secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. In such position he “maintained significant influence over church policies and statements—including those dealing with reporting on sexual misconduct—that have an impact on the entire church.” He resigned from that position after it was disclosed he was most likely “regularly breaking his promise of celibacy” in sexual affairs with other men.

What is most inexplicable is how could he put himself in this situation knowing the scandals of the Church in America. The last mentioned article while speaking to his actions spends most of its time on condemning the way that his actions were reported as does other publications. See here and here.

It appears that many in the Church find satisfaction that there was no indication that Msgr. Burrill was involved with minors and only in consensual actions with adults. They fail to see his actions bring back to mind the hypocrisy of Church leaders. Is he still to remain a monsignor or priest having scandalized the Church while in a high position?

It was the clericalism of the past – the clerics protecting themselves from the rest of the Church members – that brought about the scandals and dismay. The more the bishops remain out of touch with the average church members the more the flock will flee. The Church must look to Ireland, get out of politics, and back to its basic role. As Christ said: “Render unto Caesar . . . “

7 thoughts on “Religious Sunday: Oy Vey! – Where’s The Thought of Others – Another Catholic Church Mess

  1. Waiting for Matt to exhale…
    Here is the agenda for tonight’s teleconference!

    9/11 and Other Deep State Crimes Teleconference
    July 28, 2021

    8 p.m. (ET) / 5 p.m. (PT) teleconference dial-in #
    (605) 313-4118 Access code: 464958#

    [Note: Some telephone service providers block access to this teleconference service, or require additional charges. If you encounter any of these difficulties, please try calling this alternative number: (425) 535-9195. You will then be required to key in the original phone number above before entering the access code. Please inform of us of any technical difficulties you encounter in accessing the teleconference.]
    On the death of John F. Kennedy Jr.

    On tonight’s call, we’ll have a very special presentation on the death of John F. Kennedy Jr., which researcher and aviator Damon Ise contends was not an accident. Ise has spent years researching the topic, and he’ll give us the benefit of what he has found out.

    Following Ise, Ted Walter of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth will join us to provide a brief summary of the organization’s plans for the 20th anniversary of 9/11. He can also update us on the upcoming lawsuit by AE11Truth against NIST for its refusal to seriously address challenges to its 2008 report on the destruction of Building 7.

    DRAFT AGENDA for Wednesday June 30, 2021 teleconference

    I Roll call/minutes approval/agenda approval (5 min)

    II The murder of JFK Jr. [Damon Ise] (40 min. + Q & A)

    III AE911Truth and the 9/11 anniversary [Ted Walter] (10 min. + Q & A)

    III Open discussion (as time permits)

    IV Announcements

    V Updates on 9/11 topics (as needed)
    · New articles, books, films, or recent news about 9/11 or other Deep State crimes
    · 9/11 and the Deep State on the legal front, including current adjudicatory efforts by Lawyers for 9/11 Inquiry, JASTA, 28 pages, William Pepper’s efforts with AE911Truth against NIST and the Dept. of Commerce
    · Censorship and cognitive infiltration: new examples of censorship or harassment of members of the Truth community; MSM treatment of 9/11 Truth
    · Google (et al.) censorship
    · 9/11 Truth political candidates

  2. I guess the limit rule is gone. Maybe the Catholic decline is steeper because the Protestant decline happened long ago. Their church-going member numbers tanked twenty years ago.

  3. Matt
    Since the early 70’s I have been a fan of Robert Monroe.
    You do know what to do?

    Robert A. Monroe on Exploring Expanded Consciousness

    Did Jesus have a concealed carry permit?
    This just in from Coldwell Realtors For Christ

    Vatican reveals it owns more than 5,000 properties
    Real estate holdings published for first time show it owns 4,051 properties in Italy, 1,120 abroad


    White Privilege Couldn’t Save This Idiot

  4. Apologize in advance for the length of this response….my oldest gave me the ‘gift’ of Story Worth….resulting in a book of responses to his questions…this is about Voice of the Faithful and the church crisis….Ireland’s RTE filmed a segment in Boston as Dublin had the same experience with West Point style hierarchy who rarely laid hands on dying parishioners….a sadness too sad to be true!

    This is a cold place; the Chancery in Boston. Mark asked about brave things we tried to do and I guess our work with Voice of The Faithful counts. We tried to make the Church a safer place.

    In “A Man for All Seasons”, by Robert Bolt, his
    Thomas More says,

    “Set your mind at rest – this (tapping himself) is not the stuff of which martyrs are made.”

    Neither am I. I did discuss with our parish priest, however, that if threatened with death by a robber, I would beg that bum to ask me to renounce my Faith in hopes of achieving martyrdom if murdered. Father McGaugh seemed startled I had even considered that!

    That I was speaking with the pastor is pretty startling anyway. As God is my witness, I am not a religious man. I was among the Pharisees sitting way in back at church where I ‘paid, prayed and obeyed.’ That changed in June of 2001. Taking on the Roman Catholic Church may have been the bravest thing I have ever done.

    Back then, the law firm defending the Boston Archdiocese against charges that a priest named Geoghan, who had abused many children, made indefensible court filings. Like many others, I objected to a defense by the Church that, among other things, charged the parents of survivors with having been culpable in the abuse. That is when I wrote my first letter to the Chancery.

    In January of 2002, the sex abuse crisis exploded when the Globe published the first of its Spotlight articles about the horrors perpetrated against children by the pedophile priests within our church.

    Mom and I tried to work within the parish but the old pastor there only allocated two minutes to any parishioner to express concerns or to offer resolutions about a decade’s old problem.

    We joined a reform group, Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) that started at Saint John’s in Wellesley. Mom became the Regional Representative for Arizona and Colorado. I did the same for Oregon, Washington, Montana and Idaho. I advised my troops that, should they want a competent Regional Representative, they should move to either Arizona or Colorado. I do take pride in enlisting a Woolly Mammoth in Montana!

    You might recall a film crew arriving at our house in Needham from Ireland. The national Irish TV network, RTE, was filming in Boston because there was an equally horrible situation of abusive priests in Ireland. We were the sacrificial lambs for VOTF. RTE had done a telephone interview about us before they arrived in Boston. My completely unimpressive background was discovered and they told me, “I would play well in Dublin.”

    Mom carried the day in that interview. The crew also filmed Jeff’s “oice hockey” practice in Milton making him the most famous goalie in the Emerald Isle.

    We continued to advocate for justice for survivors through VOTF. Our new pastor, Father McGaugh, invited us to present the Child Abuse Protection program at the parish where Mom had begun teaching CCD classes and became a great Lector. I was appointed to the Parish Council where I managed to avoid every meeting!

    We continued to carry on a one-sided correspondence with the hierarchy in Boston and beyond. We wrote from Needham to Boston and Rome and several other places in between, at first requesting, then demanding, accountability in the church and justice for survivors. I am copying two of the many letters we sent that give a taste of those efforts. The first was written around December 31, 2005. It read:

    The Fitzgerald Family
    20 Elmwood Road
    Needham, MA 02492

    “We are not saying that they are baseless claims,” he said. ”We are just saying that we don’t have a sufficient basis to determine whether or not the claim has merit at this time.”

    Thomas H. Hannigan Jr.

    Good morning Father Phil:

    I read the quote above in today’s Boston Globe after reading the Herald’s article about ongoing settlement negotiations. I am trying my hardest to give our Church the benefit of doubt that they are seeking what Tom says, as quoted in the Globe:

    “We are very much trying to design a process that is just and sensitive to the survivors,” Hannigan said yesterday. ”We are not trying to re-victimize anyone or demean them.”

    Like most Catholics, I have followed this horrible matter closely since first becoming aware of the Church’s misguided and unfounded pleadings that claimed parents were negligent for entrusting children to care of our clergy. The public revelations, in January of 2002, that the Archdiocese enabled and covered-up criminal behavior, were shocking. Those crimes were compounded by the abusive, rather than pastoral, manner by which we treated our survivors and their families. Despite overwhelming evidence, reported in the Attorney General’s report, that our hierarchy was shameful in failing to protect our children, they chose to employ legal defenses against moral wrongs. Apologies from leadership rang hollow then; claims that the Church does not have sufficient resources, or basis to judge the merit of current claims, are beyond any credible standard now.

    If, after the years of public inquiry and civil discovery, and decades after the Church maintained records of clergy abuse, Archbishop O’Malley and the chancery still cannot determine who the abusers had been, they are unfit to protect our children.

    I have consulted with companies who, facing a challenge to the integrity of their financial standing through internal or external thefts, move heaven and earth to examine and investigate who had been responsible for the crime, and spare no effort to determine not only the systemic weakness that allowed the embezzlement to occur but also to identify which personnel failed to identify or correct the scheme. This is accomplished without benefit of decades of internal admissions or the inherent power Church structure offers the hierarchy to resolve questions about what had been patterns of behavior. It is truly unbelievable that our Church still says that it cannot determine the merit of claims at this point. Perhaps our leadership has chosen not to discover the truth or perhaps they are incompetent and still cannot protect our children.

    The proffers that this process does not demean and re-victimize our survivors, that our Church is sensitive to them, make no common sense to anyone who has paid the slightest attention to the facts of this mess. It is stunning to think our leadership remains as arrogant, ignorant and tone-deaf in 2006 as it had been when this horror was first publicized in 2002. Imagine the pain they continue to cause to our survivors by actions that attempt to defend the indefensible while muttering words like fairness and compassion!

    Our leaders have already failed miserably at compassion; they need redemption. They should be throwing themselves on the mercy of their flock and begging the forgiveness of survivors. Their moral crimes remove them from any ability to attempt to control negotiation or legal settlement. By their proven failure to seek justice over the decades, they have condemned our good priests to the indignity of false claims that are better paid than contested under the circumstances they have created.

    If they really want justice, it is time to drop legal defenses, turn over every record to law enforcement or a judicial commission, to open their financial statements to the laity and let the truth be known. This is a time when the Church should take some heroic measure to redeem itself and retain the allegiance of its members. Our leaders need confession, contrition, penance and amendment.

    I am sending a copy of this letter to the chancery. Please feel free to share my sentiments with Archbishop O’Malley tonight.


    Bill Fitzgerald

    The second letter was to the interim Bishop at the end of February, 2006:

    Richard Lennon
    The Chancery
    2121 Commonwealth Avenue
    Brighton, MA

    Richard Lennon:

    My mother, to whom you gave the Last Rites when you were stationed in Scituate, used to tell me not to write when I was angry. That is advice I took to heart so I waited, having read Brain McGrory’s article, “the wedding present” online in the Globe yesterday (2/24/2006). My family does not subscribe to the Globe because of its bias against the issues the Church and issues we support. But McGrory’s article, about your treatment of the Gates at Caritas Good Samaritan Medical Center last August, evidenced behavior up with which no caring Catholic should put.

    My mother’s funeral Mass was con celebrated by her childhood friend from South Boston, Monsignor Stapleton. He referred to her as “Mary, of Faith.” Like all members of the prior generation in both my own and my wife’s family, she spent each day of her life thanking God for her Catholicism. I know she would be appalled at what has happened in our Church. She would have, as a Catholic and a teacher, stood up against the horrible abuses inflicted on children by that the clergy and the Archdiocese.

    My wife, a teacher, mother of our three children, who also teaches CCD and is a Lector at our parish, read about what you had done, and spoke as my mother would have. She does not see you as being fit for the position you hold based on your handling of the abuse crisis and other issues since 2003. We all have our breaking points, and your application of the word “scandal” in connection with the Gates’ terminations, might well be ours.

    The true “scandal” is how you have behaved. The men with whom you served were the “scandal.” To accuse two people, who are truly Catholic, at Caritas Good Samaritan Medical Center, who serve others, of being a cause of scandal, in light of the child abuse tolerated and enabled by our leadership, is deeply offensive.

    The “scandal” was that our seminary was known as a place for homosexuality and homosexual relationships, as early as 1976. Some seminarians left there rather than have their rooms invaded. You and the Church failed horribly in its responsibility to its members. Our leaders were complicit in a crime against children through their silence and hubris and are as guilty as the men who committed such unspeakable acts against our children.

    Your behavior towards the Gates disgraces our mothers’ church. We pray God affords you the kindness and mercy that you failed to offer them. Your behavior towards them challenges us, once again, to remember our Church has value beyond its current leadership. Your actions towards them make it clear this is not the church we loved “like a child,” nor the church our mothers loved. Your administration is less a Church of Christ and Resurrection than it is an organization of men who need to exercise power and control over the lives of others; a fraternity that has supported each other’s crimes.

    The continuing failure of the Church leadership to manage, honestly and openly, the sacrificial giving of its members, causes us to have no respect for them. Your regime’s handling of retirement funds, parish closings and settlements with survivors, compound our concern. Why is there still no transparency?

    Perhaps we have stayed and stayed when we should have walked. Unless leadership replaces arrogance with humility, offers true sorrow, a firm purpose of amendment and penance, we believe that, with each story, like your treatment of the Gates, more and more Catholics will be driven away. As McGrory concludes, “the hierarchy, or select members of it, keeps getting in the way of grace.”

    How sad.

    Bill Fitzgerald

    Your question asks what was the outcome of all of this. That is very difficult to answer. We hope the training sessions helped parishioners to identify and report abuse. We pray that the Church will be guided from above to heal deep wounds and reform its terrible abusive behaviors. Thomas More offers:

    “ If we lived in a state where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us saintly. But since we see that avarice, anger, pride and stupidity commonly profit far beyond charity, modesty, justice and thought, perhaps we must stand fast a little, even at the risk of being heroes.”

  5. Article by Jack Thomas….among many things,
    he cogitates about having a beer with my cousin Dave McKenna in the afterlife.
    Let’s not rush any exits though!

    On 07/
    I just learned I only have months to live. This is what I want to say
    I’ve been a journalist for more than 60 years. So after doctors delivered the news, I sat down to do what came naturally, if painfully: Write this story.
    By Jack Thomas Updated July 21, 2021, 7:47 a.m.
    A portrait of writer Jack Thomas at work in the Globe city room in 1979, taken by his colleague Stan Grossfeld. STAN GROSSFELD/GLOBE STAFF
    A S A TEENAGER, I often wondered how my life would change if I knew that I would die soon. Morbid, perhaps, but not obsessed. Just curious. How does a person live with the knowledge that the end is coming? How would I tell family and friends? Would I be depressed? Is there an afterlife? How do you get ready for death, anyhow?

    I’ve taken a college course in Kübler-Ross’s stages of grief and written papers for philosophy classes about Deists, Darwinists, and the afterlife. Sometimes I agree with one side, sometimes another. I was raised Episcopalian, though I didn’t turn out to be a very good one. Unlike Roman Catholics, Jews, and atheists, we Episcopalians are very good at fence-sitting. We embrace all viewpoints, and as a result, we are as confused as the Unitarians.


    Several years ago, in pursuit of a degree at Harvard, I took a seminar in writing. We had to compose an essay each week and submit it to each classmate, so that each essay underwent scrutiny in class, not only by the professor, but also by 12 colleagues eager for the professor’s approbation.

    One week, I imagined that I had been told by doctors that I would die within a few months. In my essay, I pulled out all the stops. I described whom and what I’d miss. I hoped for a comfortable afterlife, and wondered if, after death, I could still hear favorite music, choose savory foods, and even whether the Globe would arrive on time.

    The essay worked, perhaps because even then, at age 70, I was already an old fogey compared to my classmates. As I approached the classroom, I noticed a young woman holding the door open for me, and I quick-stepped so as not to detain her.

    How could my wife have Alzheimer’s? She was only 56. We lost our dear friend to breast cancer. We wear her clothes and remember Too many Americans still can’t talk about death, even after 15 months of pandemic
    “How are you, Jack?” she asked.


    “Fine, how are you?”

    “No,” she said, tenderly. “I mean, really. How are you?”

    I realized at once that she had taken the essay literally.

    Fellow students, believing my essay to be truth, were laudatory and compassionate. Throughout the semester, thinking that I soon would die, classmates judged my writing with mercy. I never had the courage to tell them I was healthful.

    Now, however, destiny is about to get even with me.

    After a week of injections, blood tests, X-rays, and a CAT scan, I have been diagnosed with cancer. It’s inoperable. Doctors say it will kill me within a time they measure not in years, but months.

    As the saying goes, fate has dealt me one from the bottom of the deck, and I am now condemned to confront the question that has plagued me for years: How does a person spend what he knows are his final months of life?

    Atop the list of things I’ll miss are the smiles and hugs every morning from my beautiful wife, Geraldine, the greatest blessing of my life. I hate the notion of an eternity without hearing laughter from my three children. And what about my 40 rose bushes? Who will nurture them? I cannot imagine an afterlife without the red of my America roses or the aroma of my yellow Julia Childs.

    We told each of the three children individually. John Patrick put his face in his hands, racked with sobs. After hanging up the telephone, Jennifer doubled over and wept until her dog, Rosie, approached to lick away the tears but not the melancholy. Faith explained over the telephone that, if I could see her, she was weeping and wondering how she could get along without her dad. Now, she is on the Internet every day, snorkeling for new research, new strategies, new medications. My wife cries every morning, then rolls up her sleeves and handles all doctor appointments and medication. Without her . . . I cannot imagine.


    Till now, life’s been grand. I was blessed to write for a newspaper, a career H. L. Mencken described as the life of kings. I was a teenager when I began to work for the Globe as a copy boy in sports, followed by beats as police reporter, State House reporter, city editor, editorial writer, Washington correspondent, national correspondent, television critic, feature writer, and ombudsman. My first story was in 1958, so publication of this essay today marks the eighth decade that my writing has appeared in the Globe.

    In every newsroom, death has a full-time job, and so, like most reporters, I’ve written a lot about it, about murders, suicides, and fatal accidents. I’ve written too many obituaries for my family, friends, and colleagues.

    Not every story about death has been depressing. I interviewed a man in Florida who was 104 years old. When I arrived at his nursing home, he was not, as I had imagined, sitting around in a bathrobe, drooling. He had dressed in a sports jacket, as he did every day, and was reading a book about Civil War history. I have decided not to lumber through Bruce Catton’s centennial history of the Civil War — 1,680 pages in all — but I did admire that old man from Florida.


    I also interviewed a sweet woman, 101 years old, who was annoyed at God, and she intended to give him a piece of her mind. Her greatest grief was not her pending death, but the fact that she had outlived her four sons. “I can’t imagine what God had against me that he would take them before me,” she said. From the mantel of her fireplace, with trembling hand, she lifted a photograph of each son and kissed it.

    Clockwise from bottom right: Thomas, his wife, Geri Denterlein, and children Jennifer Thomas Rando, John Patrick Thomas, and Faith Thomas Tracy, in 2016. FROM GERI DENTERLEIN
    EDITING THE FINAL DETAILS of one’s life is like editing a story for the final time. It’s the last shot an editor has at making corrections, the last rewrite before the roll of the presses. It’s more painful than I anticipated to throw away files and paperwork that seemed critical to my survival just two weeks ago, and today, are all trash. Like the manual for the TV that broke down four years ago, and notebooks for stories that will never be written, and from former girlfriends, letters whose value will plummet the day I die. Filling wastebasket after wastebasket is a regrettable reminder that I have squandered much of my life on trivia.

    The final months would be a lot easier if I could be assured that, after death, we’d get a chance to see people who have died already. I’d like to shake hands with my best friend, my father, who died in 1972 and whom I’ve missed every day since. I owe him an apology. When I was 12, I stole 50 cents from his trousers, two quarters. The guilt was suffocating, though, and 10 days later I replaced his 50 cents, and I added an extra 25 for interest and atonement.


    The only thing we argued about was politics. He was an ardent Republican. I am a boring liberal. When my son was born in 1994, the doctor held him by his ankles, upside down, as they do in movies, and announced that it was a boy. “I know that,” I said, nervously. “Is he a Democrat?”

    Later that year, at Mount Auburn Hospital, as my mother neared death, I asked: “Where do you think we go after death?”

    “I don’t know,” she said, voice aquiver, “but I think I am going on a long trip, and I think I am going to see your father.”

    “If you see Dad, tell him we finally got rid of that S.O.B. Nixon.”

    As usual, she leaped to his defense.

    “Don’t talk about your father that way.”

    SOME PEOPLE GROW into adulthood confused about a career, but I was lucky. From age 14, I wanted to be a newspaperman. Although my father never graduated from high school and worked long hours for a meager salary as a machinist, and although my mother raised five children and mopped floors nights at Filene’s, and although our family lived at the edge financially and dressed in hand-me-downs, the one thing never in short supply at our house was the newspaper — four a day, the Boston Post, the Globe, the Boston American, and the Daily Record.

    In my working-class Boston neighborhood, at age 14, I delivered the weekly newspaper, the Dorchester Argus, and the daily Hearst tabloid, the Record, paying 3.4 cents per copy and selling each for a nickel, a profit of 1.6 cents per paper, plus whatever tips I could finagle. On the porch in front of my father’s boarding house, I practiced folding the tabloid Record into thirds, without creasing it too much, so that when I tossed it high toward a front porch, with a spin, the newspaper would open flat, with the headline facing the customer as she opened the door to retrieve it.

    I’ve had the privilege of having spent more than 60 years working for newspapers. There was not a day when it wasn’t a pleasure to go to work. Any doubts I had about newspapering as a career were dissolved on my paper route one Friday night in March 1953. I picked up my bundle of 45 copies of the Record that were tossed from a truck into the doorway of Berry’s hardware store and I was startled at the biggest, blackest headline I had ever seen: “STALIN DEAD.”

    Newspaper bag over my shoulder, I began my one-hour route, crossing the railroad tracks in Port Norfolk, a neighborhood where the teenage gang took pride in calling themselves Port Rats. So eager were people for their evening newspaper and details of Stalin’s death that many were waiting for me on their front porch.

    To me, every daily newspaper was a wonder — all those stories, local, national, global, all written on deadline, with photographs, analysis, columns, editorials, comics and crossword, not to mention all that news about the Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins — if that isn’t a miracle, what is?

    The Stalin story required coordination among correspondents in Moscow, telegraphers transmitting their stories, and among others in Boston, at the Record, foreign editors, photo editors, copy editors, compositors, pressmen, truck drivers and the least significant cog in the entire process, me, although I was the luckiest, because it was I who handed the newspaper to the grateful reader, and it was I who heard the words, “Thank you.”

    DOES THE INTENSITY of a fatal illness clarify anything? Every day, I look at my wife’s beautiful face more admiringly, and in the garden, I do stare at the long row of blue hydrangeas with more appreciation than before. And the hundreds and hundreds of roses that bloomed this year were a greater joy than usual, not merely in their massive sprays of color, but also in their deep green foliage, the soft petals, the deep colors and the aromas that remind me of boyhood. As for the crises in Cuba and Haiti, however, and voting rights and the inexplicable stubbornness of Republicans who refuse to submit to an inoculation that might save their lives — on all those matters, no insights, no thunderbolts of discovery. I remai­­n as ignorant as ever.

    I am now so early into this new hell that I have no pain, although that is coming, surely, and no symptoms except moments of utter exhaustion and, in the past three months, a loss of 20 pounds. After decades of turning down desserts, candies, and pastries to control my weight, it now seems cruel to be pressured to eat more food for which I have less appetite.

    As my life nears the finish line, the list of things I’ll miss grows.

    I’ll miss my homes in Cambridge and Falmouth. I’ll never again see the sun rise over the marsh off Vineyard Sound, never again see that little, yellow goldfinch that perched atop a hemlock outside my window from time to time so that both of us could watch the tide rise to cover the wetland.

    Never again will I stretch out on the sand with a drink and stare in amazement at a sky filled with diamond stars. How is it possible that there could be more than 100 thousand million stars in our Milky Way, let alone who can say how many millions upon millions more in other galaxies, and yet, among them all, there is no planet that supports life? Imagine how newspapers will report that discovery!

    I wish the afterlife were arranged so that I could hear Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 again and Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, especially the one in D for two violins and cello. In the afterlife right away, I’d test whoever’s in charge immediately by requesting “Till We Meet Again” with George Lewis, who played the clarinet with as much dexterity and imagination as Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, yet never received the same fame because he was Black.

    And then, I hope for a playlist that includes Nina Simone’s “The Laziest Gal in Town” and everything by Sarah Vaughan, especially “Easter Parade” with Billy Eckstine, and while we’re at it, let’s throw in Bessie Smith singing “Nobody in Town Can Bake a Sweet Jellyroll Like Mine.”

    All of us who, like me, are blessed with a pause before death, spend some time reliving the better moments. I enjoy recalling that I played pool against two of the greatest, Willie Mosconi in Denver, and in Boston, Minnesota Fats, who was the inspiration for the Jackie Gleason role in The Hustler. I lost both games, never had a shot. Willie and Fats ran the table, and Fats did it from a wheelchair.

    After I die, I’m not expecting the world, but this business about the afterlife is more complicated than what they describe in the Bible. The experts say more than 100 billion humans have died. If you’re looking for a buddy to have a beer, like jazzman Dave McKenna or writer Jerry Murphy or possibly Peter Falk who played Columbo, how are you going to find him in a mob of 100 billion people?

    Speaking of music, if I bump into the great jazzman Earl “Fatha” Hines, who played with Louis Armstrong and the Hot Five back in the 1920s, you can bet your life I’m going to remind him that one night in the ’60s, between sets at Sandy’s jazz club in Beverly, I was the short guy who bought him that Heineken.

    The same with Julia Child. One doesn’t “bump” into Julia, exactly, but if I see her at a local restaurant, if they have local restaurants, I’ll find a way to mention that I’m the guy who wrote in the Globe that we should run away together, that I would peel potatoes, cut onions, and do dishes if only I could put my feet under her table forever. I’ll recite for Julia the response she wrote to me in a letter: “How flattering to be invited to run away with a younger man. However, my husband has a black belt in karate and so, in the interest of your continued good health, if nothing else, I must decline.”

    Thomas on his sailboat, The Butterfly. FROM GERI DENTERLEIN
    I KNOW THAT AFTER I DIE, I probably ought to forget all the treats of this life, like Lobster Savannah dinners on an expense account at an Elysium such as Locke-Ober, and with my luck, there’s probably some rule against chilled Hendrick’s martinis with a lemon twist. There will be no more nights of winnowing the hours away listening to Bob Winter’s piano at the Four Seasons. There’ll be no more lazy afternoons on Boston Harbor aboard my little sailboat, The Butterfly, and no more surprise telephone calls from buddies like Dave Manzo in Boston, Alan Pergament in Buffalo, and Jim Coppersmith in Marblehead, who never hang up without saying, “I love you, Jack.”

    As death draws near, I feel the same uncomfortable transition I experienced when I was a teenager at Brantwood Camp in Peterborough, New Hampshire, packing up to go home after a grand summer. I’m not sure what awaits me when I get home, but this has certainly been an exciting experience. I had a loving family. I had a great job at the newspaper. I met fascinating people, and I saw myriad worldwide wonders. It’s been full of fun and laughter, too, a really good time.

    I just wish I could stay a little longer.

    Journalist Jack Thomas lives and writes in Cambridge. Send comments to


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