Recent studies of Boston 's desegregation crisis, most notably J. Anthony Lukas's Common Ground, have been highly critical of the Catholic church and its local leader, Humberto Cardinal Medeiros, archbishop of Boston. Their criticisms have been that the church, guided by the ineffective leadership of Cardinal Medeiros in an effort to save its own schools, allowed its schools to become havens for those Bostonians attempting to escape busing. This article is an account of the church's effort to develop a desegregation policy that would allow it to preserve its own schools but not at the expense of court-ordered desegregation and its attempt to implement that policy in the face of strong opposition. In assessing the success of the church's effort, this article also raises the question of what is the proper role of the church in the construction and implementation of public policy.



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