CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 14 September 2019

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Father Andrew Greeley author and scholar dead

CHICAGO (Agencies): Father Andrew Greeley, who is described as being a controversial priest and a prolific writer with over 120 books to his name, died in Chicago in the United States of America on May 30 at the age of 85 after a long illness.

A sociologist, who taught at the University of Arizona and University of Chicago, Father Greeley worked with the National Opinion Research Centre and produced dozens of studies on American Catholicism, the most notable of which is his 1977 work, The American Catholic: A Social Portrait.

He also wrote many novels, which commentators noted drew more attention to their sex scenes than their plot lines. described him as an opinionated liberal columnist and commentator, who described himself as a loudmouth. Father Greeley was frequently at odds with the bishops under whom he served in the Chicago archdiocese.

“His greatest readership certainly stemmed from his scores of novels, many of them rife with Vatican intrigue, straying priests and explicit sex. At least 10 of them appeared on The New York Times’ best-seller list, including his first, The Cardinal Sins (1981), a tale of two Irish-American boys from Chicago’s West Side who entered the priesthood together, one of whom contrives to become the cardinal of Chicago, takes a mistress and fathers a child,” a eulogy published in The New York Times on May 31 reads.

“Exuberantly combative, he could be scathing about the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops; at one point he described them as ‘morally, intellectually and religiously bankrupt.’ If the Church wanted ‘to salvage American Catholicism,’ he wrote, it would be well advised to retire ‘a considerable number of mitered birdbrains’,” it continues.

“But he could be equally critical of secular intellectuals, whom he accused of being prejudiced against religion, and reform-minded Catholics, who he said had a weakness for political or cultural fads.”


Father Greeley had been in bad health since 2008 when his overcoat caught in a taxi door and he was dragged along the road for some distance.

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