Durkin, Mary G(reeley) 1934-

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DURKIN, Mary G(reeley) 1934-

PERSONAL: Born 1934.

ADDRESSES: Home—Chicago, IL. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Forge, Tom Doherty Associates, 175 Fifth Ave., 14th Fl., New York, NY 10010.

CAREER: Theologian, author.


The Suburban Woman: Her Changing Role in the Church, Seabury Press (New York, NY), 1975.

(With James Hitchcock) Divorce ("Catholic Perspectives" series), Thomas More Press (Chicago, IL), 1979.

(With Joan Meyer Anzia) Marital Intimacy: A CatholicPerspective, Andrews & McMeel (Kansas City, KS), 1980.

(With others) Parish, Priest, and People: New Leadership for the Local Church, Thomas More Press (Chicago, IL), 1981.

(With brother, Andrew M. Greeley) A Church to ComeHome To, Thomas More Press (Chicago, IL), 1982.

Feast of Love: Pope John Paul II on Human Intimacy ("Campion" series), Loyola University Press (Chicago, IL), 1983.

(With Andrew M. Greeley) Angry Catholic Women: ASociological Investigation, Thomas More Press (Chicago, IL), 1984.

(With Andrew M. Greeley) How to Save the CatholicChurch, Viking (New York, NY), 1984.

Sexuality ("Guidelines for Contemporary Catholics" series), Thomas More Press (Chicago, IL), 1987.

Making Your Family Work, Thomas More Press (Chicago, IL), 1988.

(With Andrew M. Greeley) An Epidemic of Joy:Stories in the Spirit of Jesus, ACTA Publications (Chicago, IL), 1999.

(With Andrew M. Greeley) Virtues and Vices: Stories of the Moral Life, Westminster John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 1999.

(Editor, with Andrew M. Greeley) The Book of Love:A Treasury Inspired by the Greatest of Virtues, Forge (New York, NY), 2002.

SIDELIGHTS: Mary G. Durkin is a pastoral theologian and the author of many volumes, some with her brother, Andrew M. Greeley, one of the best-known Catholic authors of his time. Her works focus on family, women, marriage, and sexuality.

Durkin collaborated with Joan Meyer Anzia in writing Marital Intimacy: A Catholic Perspective, called "a little gem" by America's Mary F. Rousseau, "a personal, anecdotal vision of marriage in the form of a love story." The authors emphasize the importance of sexual love as being representative of faith and as the force that can revive a relationship that has faltered, enabling both partners to get beyond their misgivings and start over.

Rousseau concluded by saying that "the sexual attraction which originally brought the couple together—the grace of their vocation—is felt again, and in its strength they find a way to seek, to give, and to accept forgiveness in a renewed sexual dialogue. The result is a new beginning, a new falling in love marked by a purer generosity and intensified sexual pleasure."

Durkin, Greeley, and others wrote the study Parish, Priest, and People: New Leadership for the Local Church, in which they compare two churches, one in Chicago, and the other in a more modern and affluent Chicago suburb. They examine what brings people back to the Church and how the community of the Church can be enhanced by the leadership of the parish priest.

With Feast of Love: Pope John Paul II on Human Intimacy, Durkin paraphrases the meditations of Pope John Paul II on the beginning chapters of Genesis, presented to public audiences over the course of a year, and provides her own response and summary. She writes that the first three chapters have more to say about sexuality than is commonly thought, and that they elevate the partnership of the man and the woman with God.

Commonweal's Sebastian Moore wrote that the "profound meditations are seeking in the Genesis account a deeper and truer perspective on sex. Yet at the crucial point where the Fall is dramatized as involving a subtle disesteem of our sexual experience, the implication is missed. What the biblical text is saying to us here is not 'Sexual experience is not what God meant it to be,' but 'Beware of downgrading sex in your quest for God. Beware of neo-platonism. It is not quite Christian.'"

Moore noted that Durkin presents the Church's historical stand against birth control and that Catholics have drifted away because of it. He said in 1986 that it is because Pope John Paul II's "interpretation of Genesis reinstates, reestablishes this gulf between the sexual reality and sexual theologizing, that the present pope has felt able to reverse the trend that followed Humanae Vitae, namely the benign attitude of national hierarchies to contraception, which has been authority's way of admitting, at last, the laity's experience as crucial in this whole affair." Moore called Durkin's study a "profound work."

In How to Save the Catholic Church, Durkin and Greeley bemoan the loss of Church identity, piety, and discipline since Vatican II. They write that the Church continues to devalue women and sexuality and has allowed its support of scholarship and the arts to be diminished. The solution, they say, is to return to old-fashioned tradition and to accept the practice of birth control. They also advise that God can be found in all things and situations.

Raymond A. Schroth commented in the New York Times Book Review that Durkin and Greeley do not write about the life issues, including abortion, race, world hunger, and capital punishment. He said that "the authors, who have nothing substantive to say about arms control or economic justice and consider the bomb and the third world as fads, take broad swipes at unnamed liberation theologians and assail as incompetents the Catholic bishops staff members, who wrote the recent letters on nuclear arms and the economy."

Commonweal's Robert Imbelli said that the authors' purpose "is to identify, amid the swirling confusions of right and left, the essence of Catholicism, that distinctive Catholic sensibility which is the matrix of doctrines and the mainstay of specifically religious ethics. . . . The authors hope to recover the poetic depths of the Catholic experience which have been too long repressed by doctrinal desiccation and clerical literal-mindedness."

Sexuality is Durkin's examination of the subject in practice, from the biblical view, and as it has been looked upon by the Church in the past and may be in the future. Denise Lardner Carmody said in Common-weal that "Durkin's feminism allows her to approach sexuality from angles the mainstream tradition did not consider, without neglecting the wisdom in the traditional views." Carmody praised the work for its "healthy realism."

Durkin and Greeley collected a diverse group of writings from the Bible, the Koran, and by prominent authors, including William Shakespeare, Thomas Moore, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and others for The Book of Love: A Treasury Inspired by the Greatest of Virtues. The volume is divided into sections with titles that include "Married Love," "Family: The Birthplace of Love," "Friendship," "Everlasting Love," "Love of the Neighbor and the Stranger," and "Senior Love." The range of works include poetry, music, stories, folklore, and children's tales. Library Journal's Richard K. Burns called the collection "a sumptuous anthology of seminal reflections on a topic important to us all."



America, September 26, 1981, Mary F. Rousseau, review of Marital Intimacy: A Catholic Perspective, pp. 164-165; December 5, 1981, A. Robert Casey, review of Parish, Priest, and People: New Leadership for the Local Church, pp. 364, 366; June 11, 1983, Timothy A. Curtin, review of A Church to Come Home To, pp. 463-465.

Commonweal, October 19, 1984, Robert Imbelli, review of How to Save the Catholic Church, pp. 563, 565-566; November 7, 1986, Sebastian Moore, review of Feast of Love: Pope John Paul II on Human Intimacy, pp. 600-602; January 29, 1988, Denise Lardner Carmody, review of Sexuality, pp. 60-62.

Library Journal, November 1, 2002, Richard K. Burns, review of The Book of Love: A Treasury Inspired by the Greatest of Virtues, p. 88.

National Review, February 22, 1985, Thomas P. McDonnell, review of How to Save the Catholic Church, p. 42.

New York Times Book Review, January 6, 1985, Raymond A. Schroth, review of How to Save the Catholic Church, p. 18.*