An Irish Sports Writer

The Boston Herald's Steve Buckley throws a few stereotypes under the bus:

A candid admission: There was a time when I hated it when my mother would call with an urgent request that I drop everything to take her shopping. These trips often involved the pursuit of trivial items shoes, a table lamp, frozen strawberries.

Or scatter rugs: In any given year, my mother would acquire enough scatter rugs to cover every inch of the playing field at Fenway Park, including the bullpens. I, on the other hand, had much more important things to do such as go on the radio to share my concerns about the depth of the Patriots’ special teams, or take Dan Duquette to task over his stated belief that Jose Offerman was going to replace Mo Vaughn’s on-base capabilities.

I like the way he buried his lede: it's a coming out column. And I know this sounds parochial or ethnic in a way I don't usually feel very much, but it has surprised me in a way how friendly Irish-Catholic communities have often turned out to be for gays over the past couple of decades. Obviously there are exceptions, but the polling bears it out as well: Catholics are fine with the homos. And the powerful beacon of gay equality in New England reflects that.

Why? We're so used to asking why the Vatican cannot grapple with this question coherently we forget to ask why Catholics are in fact so pro-gay. My own view is that it's a human thing. The Catholicism I grew up in and love was all about human dignity and compassion. Once a Catholic, even a dyed-in-the-wool type, wraps her mind around the human life of an actual gay person, the prejudice and fear dissipates. Dignitas kicks in. Even more striking: for many straight Catholics, especially those with gay family members, this is a wake-up call to social action and conscience. The idea that gays should continue to be marginalized, ostracized or even euphemized away ... well, it's fading fast.

Or to put it another way: when Irish mothers on the hunt for scatter-rug bargains have joined your team, the game is pretty much over.