The Whitey Myth: Dave Boeri and Dick Lehr’s Attempt to Malign Father Drinan and Bill Bulger 1 of 4

The Whitey Myth arises because of the failure to put events into their proper place in time. We know much about James “Whitey” Bulger today because of all the books, the overtop media coverage of him, as well as all the all the gangster testimony telling of his exploits. Too many take what we know today about him and assume that was known back when he began his criminal career. In doing that they attribute to people knowledge that they could not possibly have possessed at the time they acted.

With Whitey there was no limit to ascribing evil motives to those who interacted with him in his past. A prime example of this is the involvement of Father Robert Drinan, S.J. with Whitey back around 1956. To put things in context, it is necessary to know a little about Father Drinan. He was born in 1920, grew up in Hyde Park and graduated from Hyde Park High School in 1938. The year he graduated the favorite movie stars of his class were Bette Davis and Spencer Tracey, Tommy Dorsey was their favorite band leader, and Gone with the Wind their favorite book. Father Drinan was voted the most likely to succeed.

He went to Boston College. To understand the times he lived in he and a classmate went to see the movie Gone with the Wind. They were startled when Rhett Butler said: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!” not believing he would utter the word “damn” on the big screen. He graduated in 1942. He joined the Jesuits. A classmate a year ahead of him, Daniel Berrigan, said he “had a good sense of humor, liked to joke, worked very hard, and clearly aspired to be the best.” 

In a book about his life, Bob Drinan, The Controversial Life of the First Catholic Priest Elected to Congress, the author Raymond A. Schroth, S.J. noted: “But Drinan was engaged in one extra activity that profoundly affected his social philosophy. He taught religion to juvenile delinquents and adult prisoners. Twenty-five years later, prison reform would be another of his driving issues as a congressman.”

He was ordained a priest on June 20, 1953. After his ordination he spent a year studying theology at Weston College located in Weston, Ma. “This time exercising pastoral ministry in a variety of places – parishes, retreat houses, hospital and military bases.”  In 1954 Drinan left for Italy spending time in Florence and Rome doing advanced studies. The author of his biography noted: “Drinan shared the two mainstays of his philosophy “that in a democracy: faith must respect a wide range of legitimately divergent views, and that it is society’s oblligation to help all those who are less fortunate than we.”

Drinan returned to Boston in 1956. He became dean of Boston College Law school having passed the bar examination the same year. He would stay in that position for 13 years.

When Whitey went to the  penitentiary in the summer of 1956 he listed Father Drinan on a form the people he would like to be in communication with as a friend.  The prison officials asked the Boston Police to check with Father Drinan to see if that was all right. He told them he had known the Bulger family for a long time. He said he would be happy to correspond with him.

Looking at Drinan’s life by 1956 there seemed to be little time for him to have become involved with the Bulger family. They were not from the same neighborhood, none of the Bulgers were at Boston College when he attended there. Except for the period 1953 to 1954 when he was at Weston College and exercising his pastoral ministry in various parishes it seemed they would not have connected with each other. Was there something in the 1953 to 1954 period that would have brought them into contact?

9 thoughts on “The Whitey Myth: Dave Boeri and Dick Lehr’s Attempt to Malign Father Drinan and Bill Bulger 1 of 4

  1. The most intriguing thing about the book was its title. In one adumbrated crepuscular dawn of a trope the title took out the Catholics and the entire South Boston Irish political tradition.

    Black Mass, Bill’s Arse !!!

    Get it ?

    1. Matt:

      If the origin story of any myth is …. A Myth … Then we have a myth defying situation indeed !!!

      Start there .

  2. Matt
    I re-read the Connolly 5 part series. In part 3 you bring up excellent points but don’t really state WHY Connolly did what he did when he retired. Specifically what could Flemmi have had on Connolly? You imply IMHO that Connolly nay have been corrupted. Why else would he have done anything with or FOR Flemmi Bulger and Weeks after retiring. Please explain. Thanks

  3. Matt
    I hope you respond to this message. In my opinion you started a great series on Connolly yet didn’t explain at all WHY Connolly behaved in the manner he did after he retired. You brought up excellent points regarding Connolly behavior and involvement with Flemmi once retired and then abandoned that line of thought.

    I mean most of what Connolly did before retiring was part of his job but he continues his involvement with Flemmi and Weeks. WHY? And did he commit federal crimes in doing so. Posts are kind of all over place without going into depth regarding Connolly “suspicious” behavior. My 2 cents

  4. I suppose Father Drinan might have encountered Whitey in the course of his teaching religion to juvenile delinquents and prisoners. Certainly there would have been nothing sinister in a Drinan-Bulger connection in the early 50’s for any but the most paranoid.

    I think Kerry might have been among those Drinan beat for Congress. As Dean of BC Law Drinan earnedthe enmity of many by efforts to being BC “national” and make the Triple-Eagle an endangered species.

  5. The point is when a historian or law student or political scientist or honest reporter goes to read the Federal record, what he’ll be reading is 20 years of the FEDs prosecuting guys falsely . . . .and Federal Civil Trials where no one is defending the so-called rogue agents . . . .
    So, beware of getting your “FACTS” from the “Findings of Facts” in a Civil Trial where both parties (the defendant Federal Government and the plaintiff victim’s attorneys) are throwing some guys under the bus . . .in this case so called “rogue agents” . . .and NO ONE IS DEFENDING THESE GUYS IN THE CIVIL CASES . . .and the foolish reporters who are cheering for one side from the get go to begin with (the anti-Bill Bulger, anti-Southie, anti-Conservative-Traditionalist values side) , the foolish reporters are writing articles and books quoting these phony Findings of Facts which of course find the Rogue Agents at fault because both sides in the FEDERAL COURTROOM are throwing mud at the supposed ROGUE AGENTS and no one is defending them.

    The Criminal Trial of John Connolly, painted as a rogue agent in Boston and Miami, of course was a farce, circus, frame-up, Stalinistic-show trial from the get go.

    Get it?

    I gotta go . . .there’s other things in life to do than throw stones at corrupt FEDs . . .and remember when Jesus said to love your neighbor he did not mean you should not stand up and fight against Federal Bullies, Character Assassins, Thugs and Terrorists. Jesus drove the Money-Lenders out of the Temple . . .whipped them out . . .and we should whip out the corrupt ones from the Federal Courthouses and Federal Agencies and hope the Press does its own housecleaning and whip the biased ones out of that theater of operation in America, too

    As Leonard Cohen sang, “Democracy is Coming to the USA . . .for here we have the Range and the machinery for change and here we have the Spiritual Thirst . .” We’ll bring true democracy and Leonard Cohen warned us of some of our failings and some pitfalls in “The Future.”

  6. Lehr, Cullen and Howie Cur, a.k.a. Howie Cur Carr, Mr. Schadenfreude who delights in others’ suffering and Mr. Smear and Mr. Character Assassin . . .all three have corruptly tried to link good men with the nefarious work of mobsters like Whitey.

    Drinan may have “known” the family as Bill Bulger first enrolled in BC in 1952, left for two-plus years to serve in the Army during the Korean War and then graduated in 1957. Drinan might have known the brilliant young academic who got is BC LAW degree in 1961, was married by then, and elected State Rep in 1960.

    Drinan may have known Whitey as a juvenile felon he tried to help out and got to know the rest of the family, mom and dad and the six kids via brief encounter with Whitey. You know, how a coach, teacher, pastor, probation officer can get to know a family, via the family’s errant miscreant son.

    Billy was 5.5 years younger than Whitey and had zero to do with his criminal career . . .as said, Billy was in school, the Army, married, practicing law, an elected Rep then State Senator, while Whitey was in federal custody, having the FEDs conduct LSD experiments on his sociopathic cerebral cortex.

    When Whitey got out of Prison . . .around 1970s, let’s say, Billy, with five or six of his nine children by then, got Whitey a job as a janitor . . .

    So, Father Drinan had about as much contact with the Bulger Family as Bill Bulger had with his older brother Whitey . . . and of course Billy testified truthfully in 2003 before Congress after the FEDs planted his GrandJury Testimony with the Boston Globe and the Boston Globe demanded Congress interview him . . .Billy testified that he thought he was brother was in the “gaming” business, i.e., a bookmaker, a bar-owner, a low level crook . . . .later when Whitey was arrested in 2006(?) Billy said he hoped the “rumors” of his worst deeds (murders) were not true . . .

    Even the Globe did not connect Whitey to the murders until the late 1998s-1999, after Weeks and Martorano began confessing.

    2. Lehr’s highly tauted book made into a movie Black Mass was warped> It was based largely on CIVIL TRIALS in the Federal Courthouse where both the defense counsels (to maximize their negligence claims) and the FED District Attorneys (to avoid liability and lessen monetary payments) BOTH painted a number of honest FBI agents as Rogue Agents complicit in murders . . .it was a Federal Courthouse Re-Writing history and portraying good agents as evil men . . .all to “protect the integrity of the FBI/DOJ” . . .to protect the image of the DOJ/FBI . . .and to do so the FEDs decided to throw a few good men to the dogs . . .SO TAKE BLACK MASS with a grain, with a ton of salt . . .it’s a bias track intended to blacken the reputations of good men . . .it too is wonderful at Monday Morning Quarterbacking . . .it too never questions the malignancy of Fred Wyshak, Sterns, Durham and the Federal Prosecutors in the Boston Office nor their bosses in DC, like Muellar, who oversaw and approved the whole sham “rogue agent” travesty . . .

    I had a chapter in one of my books titled, Black Mass, My Arse . . .It was in The FIX or CHARACTER ASSASSINS II, as I recall . . .

    1. Bill, you stated that, ” Whitey was in federal custody, having the FEDs conduct LSD experiments on his sociopathic cerebral cortex.”
      There are a few problems with the statement:
      1) Are you qualified to diagnose him as a sociopath? Have you spent time with
      2) Those the FEDs conducted their LSD experiments on were all human guinea
      pigs. None were aware of what was being done to them — including Bulger.
      3) Did the high doses of LSD three times a week for more than a year cause what
      you diagnose as the “sociopathic cerebral cortex”? If you’ve read the 1977
      Senate Hearing then you know the CIA was attempting to create murderers.
      Were they successful? We have Bulger and Kaczynski as examples. How many
      others might there be?

  7. Please,kindly forward anything on Father Drinan.
    He was a fine person,open minded and available to all.
    If I recall,Barney Frank and “ friends” managed to pull off a coup with a rather
    Most nor amount of voters.
    Frank was not from Boston.

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