Among the distinguishing characteristics of Irish Catholics—in America as much as Ireland—was our version of omertà: the code of silence. We never opened our mouths about the church outside the tribe. Most times we didn't do it among ourselves.
The English might have rammed their language down our throats, sneered at our primitiveness and meager mental capabilities, decided that it was better to let us perish or depart for America than to end our starvation—but, we had the...
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