no scandal this time
Gennaro Angiulo was laid to rest yesterday, after a funeral at St. Leonard's church in Boston's dear old North End. The funeral, like the wake that preceded it, was a high-profile affair. "Junior" Patriarca was there, as was "Cadillac Frank" Salemme. "Cheese Man" DiNunzio would surely have attended, but he couldn't break free from a previous 6-year social obligation. "Whitey" Bulger was missing, and that's probably just as well, because Whitey isn't popular with the Angiulo family; he was largely responsible for the sting operation that put Gennaro behind bars for 24 years.
Cardinal O'Malley did not attend the funeral. That's quite proper, because the truth is that Gennaro Angiulo had not led an exemplary life.
The newspapers called him "Jerry" Angiulo, but insiders knew better. “Anyone who knew him well enough called him Jay,” his son said. “Everyone else called him Boss.” Boss, indeed. Until Whitey came along, Angiulo was the acknowledged boss of the rackets in Boston.
Still, by the time he died at the age of 90, the Boss had enjoyed the aforementioned 24-year period of reflection, followed by two years of quiet retirement. He had plenty of time to repent his misconduct, confess his sins, and amend his life. The Church is always ready to welcome a penitent. "We are a people of faith, and we believe in a loving and forgiving God from whom we seek mercy," remarked Cardinal O'Malley in a slightly different context. At Angiulo's funeral, his pastor struck the same note, acknowledging the unfortunate past record of the deceased but saying simply: "We all need forgiveness."
As surely we all do. We don't know for sure that Jerry Angiulo repented. But we hope he did, we presume he did, and most importantly we pray that he did. That was the reason of the funeral: not to celebrate his life but to pray for a merciful judgment.
Just one more thing: Jerry Angiulo might have been involved in illegal gambling, loan-sharking, protection, intimidation, and the occasional contract hit. But he never held a press conference to encourage the legalization of those pernicious activities, nor did he advocate legislation to give taxpayer subsidies to those who engaged in them. If he had done any of those things, and had not made a public recantation and apology, then of course it would have been grossly improper for the cardinal to attend his funeral. But that's a moot point, because, again, Cardinal O'Malley did not preside at this funeral.
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