Greeley, Andrew M(oran) 1928-

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GREELEY, Andrew M(oran) 1928-

PERSONAL: Born February 5, 1928, in Oak Park, IL; son of Andrew T. (a corporation executive) and Grace (McNichols) Greeley. Education: St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, A.B., 1950, S.T.B., 1952, S.T.L., 1954; University of Chicago, M.A., 1961, Ph.D., 1962. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Roman Catholic.

ADDRESSES: Home—1012 East 47th St., Chicago, IL 60653. Offıce—National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago, 1155 East 60th St., Chicago, IL 60637; Department of Sociology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721.

CAREER: Ordained Roman Catholic priest, 1954. Church of Christ the King, Chicago, IL, assistant pastor, 1954-64; University of Chicago, National Opinion Research Center, Chicago, IL, senior study director, 1961-68, program director for higher education, 1968-70, director of Center for the Study of American Pluralism, 1971-85, research associate, 1985—; University of Chicago, lecturer in sociology of religion, 1962-72, professor of social science, 1991—; University of Arizona, Tucson, professor of sociology, beginning 1978, currently adjunct professor. Professor of sociology of education, University of Illinois—Chicago. Member of planning committee, National Conference on Higher Education, 1969; member of board of advisers on student unrest, National Institute of Mental Health; consultant, Hazen Foundation Commission. Has made a number of appearances on radio and television programs.

MEMBER: American Sociological Association, American Catholic Sociological Society (former president), Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Religious Research Association.

AWARDS, HONORS: Thomas Alva Edison Award, 1962, for Catholic Hour radio broadcasts; Catholic Press Association award for best book for young people, 1965; C. Albert Kobb award, National Catholic Education Association, 1977; Popular Culture Award, Center for the Study of Popular Culture (Bowling Green State University), 1986; Mark Twain Award, Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature, 1987; Freedom to Read Award, Friends of the Chicago Public Library, 1989; U.S. Catholic Award, 1993, for furthering the cause of women in the Church; Illinois Outstanding Citizen Award, College of Lake County. LL.D., St. Joseph's College (Rensselaer, IN), 1967; Litt.D., St. Mary's College (Winona, MN), 1967; honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH), 1986; honorary Doctorate of Humanities, St. Louis University (St. Louis, MO), 1991; honorary Doctorate, Northern Michigan University.



The Church and the Suburbs, Sheed, 1959.

Strangers in the House: Catholic Youth in America, Sheed (London, England), 1961, revised edition, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1967.

(Editor, with Michael E. Schlitz) Catholics in the Archdiocese of Chicago, Chicago Archdiocesan Conservation Council, 1962.

Religion and Career: A Study of College Graduates, Sheed (London, England), 1963.

Letters to a Young Man, Sheed (London, England), 1964.

Letters to Nancy, from Andrew M. Greeley, Sheed (London, England), 1964.

Priests for Tomorrow, Ave Maria Press, 1964.

And Young Men Shall See Visions: Letters from Andrew M. Greeley, Sheed (London, England), 1964.

(With Peter H. Rossi) The Education of Catholic Americans, Aldine, 1966.

The Hesitant Pilgrim: American Catholicism after the Council, Sheed (London, England), 1966.

The Catholic Experience: An Interpretation of the History of American Catholicism, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1967.

(With William Van Cleve and Grace Ann Carroll) The Changing Catholic College, Aldine, 1967.

The Crucible of Change: The Social Dynamics of Pastoral Practice, Sheed (London, England), 1968.

Uncertain Trumpet: The Priest in Modern America, Sheed (London, England), 1968.

Youth Asks, "Does God Talk?," Nelson, 1968, published as Youth Asks, "Does God Still Speak?," 1970.

(With Martin E. Marty and Stuart E. Rosenberg) What Do We Believe? The Stance of Religion in America, Meredith, 1968.

From Backwater to Mainstream: A Profile of Catholic Higher Education, McGraw, 1969.

A Future to Hope In: Socio-Religious Speculations, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1969.

Life for a Wanderer: A New Look at Christian Spirituality, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1969.

Religion in the Year 2000, Sheed (London, England), 1969.

New Horizons for the Priesthood, Sheed (London, England), 1970.

The Life of the Spirit (also the Mind, the Heart, the Libido), National Catholic Reporter, 1970.

(With William E. Brown) Can Catholic Schools Survive?, Sheed (London, England), 1970.

The Jesus Myth, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1971.

The Touch of the Spirit, Herder & Herder, 1971.

What a Modern Catholic Believes about God, Thomas More Press, 1971.

Priests in the United States: Reflections on a Survey, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1972.

The Sinai Myth, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1972.

The Unsecular Man: The Persistence of Religion, Schocken, 1972.

What a Modern Catholic Believes about the Church, Thomas More Press, 1972.

The Catholic Priest in the United States: Sociological Investigations, United States Catholic Conference, 1972.

(Editor, with Gregory Baum) The Persistence of Religion, Seabury, 1973.

The Devil, You Say! Man and His Personal Devils and Angels, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1974.

(With Gregory Baum) The Church as Institution, Herder & Herder, 1974.

May the Wind Be at Your Back: The Prayer of St. Patrick, Seabury, 1975.

(With William C. McCready and Kathleen McCourt) Catholic Schools in a Declining Church, Sheed (London, England), 1976.

The Communal Catholic: A Personal Manifesto, Seabury, 1976.

Death and Beyond, Thomas More Press, 1976.

The American Catholic: A Social Portrait, Basic Books, 1977.

The Mary Myth: On the Femininity of God, Seabury, 1977.

An Ugly Little Secret: Anti-Catholicism in North America, Sheed (London, England), 1977.

Everything You Wanted to Know about the Catholic Church but Were Too Pious to Ask, Thomas More Press, 1978.

(Editor, with Gregory Baum) Communication in the Church Concilium, Seabury, 1978.

Crisis in the Church: A Study of Religion in America, Thomas More Press, 1979.

The Making of the Popes, 1978: The Politics of Intrigue in the Vatican, Sheed (London, England), 1979.

Catholic High Schools and Minority Students, Transaction Publications (New Brunswick, NJ), 1982, reprinted, with a new preface by Greeley, Transaction Publishers, 2002.

The Bottom Line Catechism for Contemporary Catholics, Thomas More Press, 1982.

Religion: A Secular Theory, Free Press, 1982.

The Catholic WHY? Book, Thomas More Press, 1983.

How to Save the Catholic Church, Penguin (New York, NY), 1984.

(With Mary G. Durka) Angry Catholic Women, Thomas More Press, 1984.

American Catholics since the Council: An Unauthorized Report, Thomas More Press, 1985.

Patience of a Saint, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1986.

Catholic Contributions: Sociology and Policy, Thomas More Press, 1987.

When Life Hurts: Healing Themes from the Gospels, Thomas More Press, 1988.

Religious Indicators, 1940-1985, Harvard University Press, 1989.

God in Popular Culture, Thomas More Press, 1989.

Myths of Religion, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1989.

Religious Change in America, Harvard University Press, 1989.

Complaints against God, Thomas More Press, 1989.

Year of Grace: A Spiritual Journal, Thomas More Press, 1990.

(With Jacob Neusner) The Bible and Us: A Priest and a Rabbi Read Scripture Together, Warner Books, 1990, revised edition published as Common Ground: A Priest and a Rabbi Read Scripture Together, Pilgrim Press (Cleveland, OH), 1996.

The Book of Irish American Prayers and Blessings, Thomas More, 1991.

The Catholic Myth: The Behavior and Beliefs of American Catholics, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1991.

(Contributor) The Seven Deadly Sins: Stories on Human Weakness and Virtue, Liguori Publications, 1992.

Love Affair: A Prayer Journal, Crossroad (New York, NY), 1992.

Religion as Poetry, Thomas More Press, 1994.

Sociology and the Religion: A Collection of Readings, Harper (New York, NY), 1994.

Sacraments of Love: A Prayer Journal, Crossroad (New York, NY), 1994.

Windows: A Prayer Journal, Crossroad (New York, NY), 1995.

(With Albert Bergesen) God in the Movies: A Sociological Investigation, Transaction Publishers (New Brunswick, NJ), 2000.

The Catholic Imagination, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2000.

My Love: A Prayer Journal, Sheed & Ward (London, England), 2001.

Catholic High Schools and Minority Students, (with a new preface by the author), Transaction Publishers, 2002.

The Great Mysteries: Experiencing Catholic Faith from the Inside Out, Sheed & Ward (London, England), 2003.

The Catholic Revolution: New Wine, Old Wineskins, and the Second Vatican Council, University of California Press, 2004.

Priests: A Calling in Crisis, University of Chicago Press, 2004.

Also author of Teenage World: Its Crises and Anxieties, Divine Word Publications, and of a number of shorter works. Author of syndicated column "People and Values," appearing in approximately eighty newspapers. Contributor to Catholic magazines.


Why Can't They Be like Us?: Facts and Fallacies about Ethnic Differences and Group Conflicts in America (also see below), Institute of Human Relations Press, 1969.

A Fresh Look at Vocations, Clarentian, 1969.

(With Joe L. Spaeth) Recent Alumni and Higher Education, McGraw, 1970.

Why Can't They Be like Us?: America's White Ethnic Groups (includes portions of Why Can't They Be like Us?: Facts and Fallacies about Ethnic Differences and Group Conflicts in America), Dutton (New York, NY), 1971.

The Denominational Society: A Sociological Approach to Religion in America, Scott, Foresman, 1972.

That Most Distressful Nation: The Taming of the American Irish, Quadrangle, 1972.

The New Agenda, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1973.

Building Coalitions: American Politics in the 1970s, New Viewpoints, 1974.

Ethnicity in the United States: A Preliminary Reconnaissance, Wiley, 1974.

MEDIA: Ethnic Media in the United States, Project IMPRESS (Hanover, NH), 1974.

The Sociology of the Paranormal: A Reconnaissance, Sage Publications, 1975.

Ethnicity, Denomination, and Inequality, Sage Publications, 1976.

The Great Mysteries: An Essential Catechism, Seabury, 1976.

(With William C. McCready) The Ultimate Values of the American Population, Sage Publications, 1976.

(Also photographer) Neighborhood, Seabury, 1977.

No Bigger than Necessary: An Alternative to Socialism, Capitalism, and Anarchism, New American Library, 1977.

(Editor) The Family in Crisis or in Transition: A Sociological and Theological Perspective, Seabury, 1979.

The Irish Americans: The Rise to Money and Power, Times Books, 1980.

(With William C. McCready) Ethnic Drinking Subcultures, Praeger, 1980.

The Sociology of Andrew M. Greeley, Scholars Press, 1993.

Religion in Europe at the End of the Second Millennium: A Sociological Profile, Transaction Publishers, 2003.

Editor, Ethnicity. Contributor to sociology and education journals.


The Friendship Game, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1970.

Sexual Intimacy, Thomas More Press, 1973.

Ecstasy: A Way of Knowing, Prentice-Hall (New York, NY), 1974.

Love and Play, Thomas More Press, 1975.

Faithful Attraction: Discovering Intimacy, Love, and Fidelity in American Marriage, Tor, 1991.

The Sense of Love, Ashland Poetry Press, 1992.


Nora Maeve and Sebi, illustrated by Diane Dawson, Paulist/Newman, 1976.

The Magic Cup: An Irish Legend, McGraw (New York, NY), 1979.

Death in April, McGraw (New York, NY), 1980.

The Cardinal Sins, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1981.

Thy Brother's Wife (book 1 of the "Passover Trilogy"), Warner Books (New York, NY), 1982.

Ascent into Hell (book 2 of the "Passover Trilogy"), Warner Books (New York, NY), 1984.

Lord of the Dance (book 3 of the "Passover Trilogy"), Warner Books (New York, NY), 1987.

Love Song, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1988.

All about Women, Tor (New York, NY), 1989.

The Search for Maggie Ward, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1991.

The Cardinal Virtues, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1991.

An Occasion of Sin, Jove (New York, NY), 1992.

Wages of Sin, Putnam (New York, NY), 1992.

Fall from Grace, Putnam (New York, NY), 1993.

Angel Light: An Old-Fashioned Love Story, Forge (New York, NY), 1995.

A Midwinter's Tale, Tom Doherty Associates, 1998.

Younger than Springtime, Forge (New York, NY), 1999.

A Christmas Wedding, Forge (New York, NY), 2000.

September Song, Forge (New York, NY), 2001.

The Priestly Sins, Forge (New York, NY), 2004.


Virgin and Martyr, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1985.

Happy Are the Meek, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1985.

Happy Are Those Who Thirst for Justice, Mysterious Press, 1987.

Rite of Spring, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1987.

Happy Are the Clean of Heart, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1988.

St. Valentine's Night, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1989.

Happy Are the Merciful, Jove (New York, NY), 1992.

Happy Are the Peacemakers, Jove (New York, NY), 1993.

Happy Are the Poor in Spirit, Jove (New York, NY), 1994.

Happy Are Those Who Mourn, Jove (New York, NY), 1995.

White Smoke: A Novel about the Next Papal Conclave, Forge (New York, NY), 1996.

The Bishop and the Missing L Train, Forge (New York, NY), 2000.

The Bishop and the Beggar Girl of St. Germain, Forge (New York, NY), 2001.

The Bishop in the West Wing, Forge (New York, NY), 2002.

The Bishop Goes to the University, Forge (New York, NY), 2003.


Angels of September, G. K. Hall, 1986.

God Game, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1986.

The Final Planet, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1987.

Angel Fire, Random House (New York, NY), 1988.


Irish Gold, Forge (New York, NY), 1994.

Irish Lace, Forge (New York, NY), 1996.

Irish Mist, Tom Doherty Associates (New York, NY), 1999.

Irish Eyes, Forge (New York, NY), 2000.

Irish Love, Forge (New York, NY), 2001.

Irish Stew, Forge (New York, NY), 2002.

Irish Whiskey, Forge (New York, NY), 2005.


Come Blow Your Mind with Me (essays), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1971.

(With J. N. Kotre) The Best of Times, the Worst of Times (biography), Nelson Hall, 1978.

Women I've Met (poetry), Sheed (London, England), 1979.

A Piece of My Mind . . . on Just about Everything (selection of newspaper columns), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1983.

Confessions of a Parish Priest: An Autobiography, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1986.

An Andrew Greeley Reader (essays), edited by John Sprague, Thomas More Press, 1987.

Andrew Greeley's Chicago, Contemporary Books, 1989.

(Author of introduction) John Appel, Pat-Riots to Patriots: American Irish in Caricature and Comic Art, Michigan State University Museum, 1990.

Andrew Greeley (autobiography), Tor (New York, NY), 1990.

"The Crooked Lines of God," in Authors of Their Own Lives: Intellectual Autobiographies, by Twenty American Sociologists, edited by Bennett M. Berger, University of California Press, 1990.

(Editor, with Michael Cassutt) Sacred Visions (science fiction anthology), Tor (New York, NY), 1991.

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

Furthermore: Memories of a Parish Priest, Tom Doherty Associates (New York, NY), 1999.

(With Jacob Neusner and Mary Greeley Durkin) Virtues and Vices: Stories of the Moral Life, Westminster John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 1999.

(Editor) Emerald Magic: Great Tales of Irish Fantasy, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Also author of Star Bright, Summer at the Lake, The Bishop and the Three Kings, Contract with an Angel, and I Hope You're Listening, God.

Also author of forwards to Janet Fredericks's From the Principal's Desk, P. Lang, 1991; Jason Berry's Lead Us Not into Temptation: Catholic Priests and the Sexual Abuse of Children, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1992; George A. Hillery's The Monastery: A Study in Freedom, Love, and Community, Praeger, 1992; and Mary E. Andereck's Ethnic Awareness and the School: An Ethnographic Study, Sage, 1992.

Author of a weekly column that appears in the Chicago Sun-Times and other newspapers. Contributor to America, the National Catholic Reporter, the New York Times, and Commonweal. Contributor of "Incidence and Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse," to Bad Pastors: Clergy Misconduct in Modern America, edited by Anson Shupe, William A. Stacey, and Susan E. Darnell, New York University Press, 2000.

SIDELIGHTS: Andrew M. Greeley is, according to a Time writer, "a Roman Catholic priest, a sociologist, a theologian, a weekly columnist, the author of [numerous] books, and a celibate sex expert. He is an informational machine gun who can fire off an article on Jesus to the New York Times Magazine, on ethnic groups to the Antioch Review, and on war to Dissent." Time reported that Greeley's friend, psychologist-priest Eugene Kennedy, called him "obsessive, compulsive, a workaholic. . . . He's a natural resource. He should be protected under an ecological act." While dividing his time between the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, where he has been involved in sociological research since 1961, and the University of Arizona, where he holds a professorship, Greeley has also published scores of books and hundreds of popular and scholarly articles, making him one of the nation's leading authorities on the sociology of religion.

The adjective "controversial" arises often in articles on Greeley and in reviews of his many books. Much of the controversy surrounding Greeley stems from the difficulty critics have experienced in trying to label him. As another Time reporter explained: "On practically any topic, Greeley manages to strike some readers as outrageously unfair and others as eminently fair, as left wing and right wing, as wise and wrongheaded." Greeley advocates a great many changes within the Catholic church, including the ordination of women, liberalized policies on birth control and divorce, and a more democratic process for selecting popes, cardinals, and bishops; as a result, he is often at odds with church leaders. On the other hand, he feels that priests are most effective in serving the people when they remain celibate and that the church has taken the correct stand on abortion; he is, therefore, open to criticism from his more liberal colleagues. He maintains, the Time writer continued, that "the present leadership of the church is morally, intellectually, and religiously bankrupt" and has referred to the hierarchy as "mitred pinheads." At the same time, he feels no affinity for the more radical element within the church and has said of activist Jesuit Daniel Berrigan, "As a political strategist, he's a great poet."

Greeley has further fueled the fires of controversy by writing more than a dozen bestselling mystery, fantasy, and science fiction novels, often filled with corruption, murder, and lurid sex. Because many of these novels—such as The Cardinal Sins and Thy Brother's Wife—feature priests and other members of the clergy as principle characters, they are regarded by critics as a forum in which Greeley can air the church's dirty laundry. Other critics have simply dismissed him as a pulp writer. Greeley wrote in Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series (CAAS): "I became in the minds of many the renegade priest who wrote 'steamy' novels to make money." Furthermore, he has been ostracized from the Archdiocese of Chicago, refused a parish, and treated as a "non-person" by the Catholic church. (He related in CAAS: "When I tried to pledge a million dollars from my book royalties for the inner-city Catholic schools, [Chicago's] Cardinal Bernardin bluntly turned down the pledge without giving a reason—arguably the first time in history the Catholic Church has turned down money from anyone.")

Despite his marginal status within the church, Greeley still considers himself a man of the cloth first. "I am not a novelist or a sociologist or a writer or any of those things, not primarily, not essentially, not in the core of my being," he told CAAS. "I'm a priest who happens to do these other things as a way of being a priest. . . . I will never leave the priesthood. If ecclesiastical authorities try to throw me out—a serious danger in these days of Thermidor against the Vatican Council—I won't go." As to his novels, and their subject matter, he explained in the New York Times Magazine that he attempts in his fiction to address those religious issues closest to him: "Stories have always been the best way to talk about religion because stories appeal to the emotions and the whole personality and not just to the mind."

As a young man in Catholic school, Greeley was enthralled by the works of such Catholic poets and novelists as G. K. Chesterton and Evelyn Waugh. "It seemed to me that fiction was a brilliant way of passing on religion," he recalled in CAAS. "I thought that it must be challenging and rewarding to write 'Catholic fiction,' even if I never expected to do it myself." Still, within a few years Greeley was contributing articles and essays to Catholic magazines and conferences; the first of these were written pseudonymously, but later he grew bold enough to use his own name. In 1958 an editor at the Catholic publishers Sheed and Ward offered to expand two of Greeley's articles into a book titled The Church and the Suburbs. He wrote in CAAS: "This was a big step, much bigger, it would turn out, than I had expected. For a priest to set a word on paper in those days was a dangerous move (it still is). To write a book was to cut oneself off from most of the rest of the priesthood."

Though The Church and the Suburbs was, in the author's own words, "not exactly a best-seller," it awakened in Greeley a desire not only to express his controversial viewpoints, but to express them in print. Within twenty-five years he would produce more than sixty works of religious and sociological study. "It would be many years [after the publication of The Church and the Suburbs] before I would think of myself as a writer," he told CAAS, "but in fact the writer in me was out of the box and would not go back into it ever again."

Greeley's writings have covered myriad topics, many of which deal with the role of religion in modern life. His subjects have included ethnicity, religious education, church politics, secular politics, the family, death and dying, vocations, history, and the future. His opinions in most of these areas have proven controversial to some extent, but when he tackles the subject of sex—particularly as it relates to religion today—he stirs up more than the usual amount of critical commentary. A good example is his book Sexual Intimacy, which the Time writer called "a priest's enthusiastic endorsement of inventive marital sex play," and which J. W. Gartland of Library Journal recommended to Catholics who "seek a 'sexier' sexual relationship with their spouse and need supportive religious sanctions." In a much-quoted chapter titled "How to Be Sexy," Greeley portrays a wife greeting her husband "wearing only panties and a martini pitcher—or maybe only the martini pitcher." According to the Time critic, "One right-wing Catholic columnist declared that even discussing the book would be an occasion of sin." But, Greeley explained to Pamela Porvaznik in an interview for the Detroit News Sunday Magazine, "a vigorous sexual life is one of the biggest problems confronting married couples. How can people grow in intimacy? How can they consistently reassure themselves and each other of their own worth? These are real issues, and it's time the Church put them into perspective."

In a review of Sexual Intimacy for America, T. F. Driver wrote: "Whatever scholarship may lie behind the book's judgments has been carefully (or do I mean carelessly) hidden. Though the book contains precious little theological reflection, it is based, I think, on an erroneous theological assumption namely, that the God we have known all along as Yahweh is the same who presides over the modern sexual revolution. It sounds to me like the old game of baptizing everything in sight." However, Charles Dollen of Best Sellers called it "by far one of the best books on marriage and sexuality that has been published in many, many years. . . . [Greeley's] style is witty, charming and far above average. But it is the content that sets this book apart. He has some vital insights into what sex and sexuality are all about."

One of Greeley's best-known nonfiction works is The Making of the Popes, 1978: The Politics of Intrigue in the Vatican. In this book he details the series of startling events that took place in Rome beginning in the summer of 1978: the death of Pope Paul VI in July; the subsequent election of John Paul I, who died after only thirty-three days in office; and the election of John Paul II, the first non-Italian pope since 1522. The book is particularly noteworthy for its inclusion of little-known "inside information" on the process of electing a new pope, much of it supplied by an informant that Greeley called "Deep Purple." The title of the book and the use of stylistic devices such as a diary format are intentionally reminiscent of Theodore H. White's Making of the President books, reinforcing Greeley's thesis that papal elections have all of the mystery, the jockeying for power, and the behind-the-scenes intrigue of an American presidential election. Several reviewers, including R. A. Schroth of the New York Times Book Review, noted that Greeley's choice of the name "Deep Purple" for his unnamed source suggests that "he clearly identifies with Woodward and Bernstein." Thus, although the author sees himself as a journalist covering what is, essentially, a political event, he still leaves himself the option of injecting personal comments (as White is known to do) on the various candidates, the election process, and the diverse political powers that subtly influence the voting. "The White model works pretty well," wrote Robert Blair Kaiser of the New York Times, "freeing the author to present an account of [the] doings in Rome, which, for all its ambiguous partisanship, tells us more about the election of two popes (and the future of the church) than less knowing reporters ever could."

Greeley's partisanship leads him to offer in The Making of the Popes the opinion that the church did not need another leader like Paul VI, "a grim, stern, pessimistic, solemn-faced pope who did not appeal to the world as a man who is really possessed by the 'good news' he claims to be teaching." He would prefer, Kaiser said, "a hopeful holy man who smiles," a man "whose faith makes him happy and whose hope makes him joyful." Greeley was satisfied with the choice of John Paul I and just as happy with his successor, John Paul II, but his approval of the cardinals' choices has not altered his view of papal elections. He told Linda Witt of People: "The cardinals are a closed group of men who have spent their whole lives strictly in ecclesiastical activities. Their average age is over sixty, and they are extremely cautious and conservative. In many cases they are totally out of touch with the world. There were between thirty and thirty-five cardinals—about one-third of those voting—who had no notion of what was going on, and who drifted from candidate to candidate depending on who seemed likely to win." Asked what kind of election process he would prefer, Greeley replied: "In the early church, the Pope and all the bishops were elected by the people of their diocese. The cardinals would go into St. Peter's and pick a man and bring him out. If the faithful applauded, he was the Pope. If they booed, the cardinals went back inside and tried again. I'm not suggesting we revert to that, but I would like to see a gradual sharing of power with the rest of the church." J. J. Hughes of America, while expressing a few misgivings about Greeley's reportage, concluded that "the book is a remarkable achievement. We are fools, and guilty fools, if we dismiss it as unworthy of serious consideration."

Though the research Greeley conducts at Chicago's National Opinion Research Center is not officially opposed by the Catholic church, each of Greeley's many sociological and religious studies inevitably sparks at least some discussion among church leaders; on more than one occasion, this discussion has turned quickly to open hostility toward the author. "My colleagues and I soon became accustomed to the pattern of reaction to our work," he related in CAAS. "First of all it would be distorted, ridiculed, rejected. The attacks would never touch the work itself (with which no competent scholar has ever found serious fault) but would rather concentrate on my character and personality and on distortions of what the research actually reported. Then, sometimes in a year or two, certainly in five years, our findings would be accepted as what everyone knew to be true, rarely with credit to those who originally reported it." Even liberal Catholics, such as the editors of Commonweal, have railed against Greeley's research, accusing him of aspiring to bishophood. "I was astonished at the hostility of Catholic 'liberals,'" he continued in CAAS. "In their world . . . there was no such thing as objective evidence if it seemed to go against their biases. To disagree with them on the basis of evidence was grounds for character assassination."

The gap between Greeley and the rest of the Catholic Church was further widened in 1981 with the publication of The Cardinal Sins. Though not his first work of fiction, The Cardinal Sins was attacked by church officials for its unflattering portrayal of Cardinal Patrick Donahue, a fictional character who swiftly ascends to the top of Chicago's religious hierarchy despite his penchant for brutal sex. The church accused Greeley of using this character to slander the late John Cardinal Cody, then Archbishop of Chicago and a longtime rival of Greeley's. These accusations are not unsubstantiated: The Cardinal Sins's Patrick Donahue funnels church funds to his mistress sister-in-law in South America; at the time of the novel's publication, coincidentally, Cardinal Cody was under investigation for allegedly channeling close to one million dollars to a female companion who also happened to be his step-cousin. Greeley denied any connection between the fictional cardinal and Chicago's Archbishop. "Patrick Donahue is a much better bishop than Cody and a much better human being [than Cardinal Cody]," he explained in the New York Times.

Greeley produced several additional novels in the 1990s. Fall from Grace centers on Irish Catholic clergy and laity in Chicago and their involvement in several scandals, mainly a priest's alleged pedophilia and an aspiring political candidate's secret homosexuality and spousal abuse. Though reflecting actual events in contemporary Chicago, Greeley noted in the introduction that the novel "was drafted before the explosion of the pedophile crisis in the Archdiocese." In Irish Gold an American commodities broker embarks for Dublin to investigate mysterious circumstances surrounding his grandparents' emigration to Chicago in 1922. There he falls for a beautiful Trinity College student who translates his grandmother's diaries, leading to the discovery that his grandparents knew who murdered a prominent Free Irish patriot during the period of the "Troubles" in Ireland. Mary Ellen Elsbernd praised Greeley's "piquant characters" and "delightful Irish mystery" in a Library Journal review.

In White Smoke: A Novel about the Next Papal Conclave, reminiscent of his exposé The Making of Popes, Greeley reintroduces the character Father "Blackie" Ryan to address the contentious and often vicious politics behind the selection of a new pontiff. Upon the death of the incumbent pope, Father Blackie leaves Chicago for Rome with Cardinal Cronin to lobby for the election of a more liberal successor. Their cause is aided by a New York Times reporter and his ex-wife, a CNN correspondent, who implicate the Vatican in an investment scandal. A Publishers Weekly reviewer concluded, "Greeley knows his material and his opinions, and sets both into delicious spins here."

Greeley has also written several mystery novels featuring an Irish-American folksinger, Nuala McGrail, and her husband, Dermont Coyne. Gifted with second sight, McGrail is drawn into such mysteries as the 1898 sinking of a passenger ship on Lake Michigan and the 1927 assassination of Irish rebel Michael Collins. Reviewing Irish Mist for Booklist, Margaret Flanagan called McGrail "a delightfully fey and unconventional sleuth" and rated Irish Mist a "supremely entertaining mystery-romance."

Generally speaking, Greeley's novels have not received much critical praise. Christine B. Vogel of the Washington Post Book World described them as "distinctly unscholarly and unpriestly," bearing "dubious literary merit." America's Sean O'Faolain observed that the author is "all too visible" in his novels, "constantly manipulating both character and plot and infusing everybody, most notably the women, with his own often silly romantic notions." The novels' protagonists are, according to Elaine Kendall of the Los Angeles Times Book Review, "so tormented by temptations of the flesh that a questioning reader wonders whatever made them take the vow of celibacy in the first place." And the New York Times Book Review's Sheila Paulos proclaimed: "Andrew M. Greeley may be a great priest, a great sociologist, even a great fellow. But . . . a great novelist he is not." However, if not a great novelist, Greeley is undeniably a popular one. His novels consistently reach the best-seller lists and linger there for weeks or months. Even his critics have admitted, at times, to his novels' appeal. "To give credit where it's due," Washington Post Book World reviewer Maude McDaniel wrote, "anybody who reads Andrew Greeley's fiction gets involved." Webster Schott supported this claim in the New York Times Book Review: "He is never dull, he spins wondrous romances and he has an admirable ideal for what his church should become." Toronto Globe and Mail critic John Doyle attributed the author's popularity to the mystique of the clergy: "Greeley's novels have all been bestsellers because they help satisfy a natural need to know about the private lives of powerful, celibate men. Ecclesiastical power is as much an aphrodisiac as any other type." Abigail McCarthy of the Chicago Tribune offered a similar opinion, noting Greeley's ability to combine "an apparently inside view of Catholic Church politics" with "a judicious mixture of money and clinically detailed sex."

"In recent years," Greeley told CAAS, "critical writers have begun to understand the themes of my fiction and to attribute considerable value to the books." However, this has had little impact on the Catholic church's determination to treat him as a peripheral member; although Greeley has since made peace with Chicago's Cardinal Bernardin, his "celebrity" status keeps him outside the fold. It is this continuing marginality that is hardest for Greeley to endure. He once told a CA interviewer: "I have to say in fairness to the Catholic hierarchy that, off the record and privately, many of them are very friendly and encouraging. . . . The thing I find hard in the church . . . is the criticism from other priests who define me as a success because I have published a lot of books, do a lot of traveling, and get my name in the paper. Their resentment is, first of all, a big surprise, and it is also very hard to bear."

In 1994 Greeley published Sacraments of Love: A Prayer Journal, containing the author's private meditations recorded between September, 1991, and December, 1992. Greeley reports daily activities and shares his own struggles with mortality, public personae, conflicting demands as priest and novelist, church reform and scandals, friendships, and most importantly his relationship with God, whom he addresses as "My Love." According to Kirkus Reviews, the book represents "the journal of an exceptionally active man whose life, or so he prays, is 'possessed by love.'" A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that Greeley's avowed "relationship with Spirit is indeed intimate and accessible."

Greeley has no plans to stop writing novels; rather, he defends both his fiction and nonfiction writing as portraying the church and clergy as real people. "I'm saying here's my church, made up of human beings with all the weaknesses and frailties and yet with the capacity to transcend those limitations and to produce great people, great art, great mysticism and great missionaries," Greeley explained in the New York Times. "If it shocks people to hear a priest say we're not perfect, then it's high time they be disabused of wrong notions about us." As for his reputation as a greedy author of "steamy" novels, he contended in CAAS: "The books were not 'steamy' (and research on the readers indicates that they don't think so) and I gave most of the money away. . . . My stories of God's love and the presence of Grace in the universe were vilified and denounced without being understood and often without being read (many of the bishops who complained had only read passages torn out of context). . . . The objections seemed to be that (1) a priest ought not to know anything about sex and (2) a priest ought not to write novels that millions of people read. But there is nothing wrong with sex. And a priest would not 'know' about sex only if he were not human."

Greeley examined his own sense of aesthetics, and that of millions of others, in his book The Catholic Imagination. In it, he put forth the idea that those raised in the Catholic faith—even if they later abandon the practice of that faith—have a unique way of seeing the world, one that is filled with enchantment and an expectation of the miraculous. "As a sociologist of religion, Greeley claims that there is a correspondence between the works of Catholic high art and the sensibilities of ordinary Catholics," explained Leo D. Lefebure in Christian Century. "He presents the central arguement of his essay as sociological rather than theological, grounded in studies of the opinions and practices of Catholics and Protestants in ten North Atlantic nations. . . . Greeley repeatedly protests that he is not expressing a preference for being Catholic rather than Protestant (or Hindu or Buddhist). Nonetheless, his own enchantment with the enchanted world of the Catholic imagination comes through clearly." The author asserts that Catholics are more likely to enjoy and patronize the arts, and even that they are likely to have more imaginative, enjoyable sexual relations than non-Catholics. His "central arguement is quite persuasive," decided Lefebure, "and his perspectives are often thought-provoking."

Priests: A Calling in Crisis and The Priestly Sins, both published in 2004, examine the sexual abuse crisis of the clergy, one from the viewpoint of sociology, the other fictionally. In the National Catholic Reporter Paul Philibert wrote that Priests: A Calling in Crisis "is the prophetic outcry of a public intellectual who wants to weigh in on the significance of the scandal with empirically based interpretations of its impact for the future." The protagonist of The Priestly Sins is "tall, handsome, blond, broad-shouldered, slow-moving, right thinking, straightly lusty Father Herman Hugo Hoffman, Ph.D., witness to the brutal rape of an altar boy by a priest now dead of AIDS," a Kirkus Reviews critic noted. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that it "makes its valuable point without resorting to unnecessary violence or cheap and easy shock effects."

Greeley once said: "I never courted controversy, but I also never walked away from it." That willingness to create and confront controversy, Jacob Neusner claimed in America, makes Greeley exactly what the Catholic Church has needed: a catalyst. "He has defined the issues, set forth the propositions for analysis and argument and brought public discourse to the public at large. . . . He has taught us what it means to be religious in the United States in our time." Neusner concluded: "Had Greeley not lived and done his work, I may fairly claim that we religious people in the United States—Christians and Jews alike—should understand ourselves less perspicaciously than we do."



Becker, Allienne R., The Divine and Human Comedy of Andrew M. Greeley, foreword by Andrew M. Greeley, Greenwood Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series, Volume 7, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1988.

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The Incarnate Imagination: Essays in Theology, the Arts, and Social Sciences in Honor of Andrew Greeley: A Festschrift, edited by Ingrid H. Shafer, Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1988.

Shafer, Ingrid, The Womanliness of God: Andrew Greeley's Romances of Renewal, Loyola University Press, 1986.

Shafer, Ingrid, editor, Andrew Greeley's World: A Collection of Critical Essays, 1986-1988, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1989.


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Andrew Greeley's Web Page, (November 28, 2000).*

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Greeley, Andrew M(oran) 1928-

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