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Father Andrew Greeley
The reverend Father Andrew M. Greeley (born February 5, 1928 in Oak Park, Illinoismarker, to Andrew and Grace Greeley) is an Irish-American Roman Catholic priest, sociologist, journalist and best selling author.

Father Greeley is Professor of Sociology at the University of Arizonamarker and is a Research Associate with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicagomarker. He writes a weekly column for the Chicago Sun-Times and contributes regularly to The New York Times, the National Catholic Reporter, America, and Commonweal. He has given numerous interviews on both radio and television.


After studies at Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminarymarker in Chicagomarker, he received an AB from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Chicago in 1950, a Bachelor of Sacred Theology (STB) in 1952, and a Licentiate of Sacred Theology (STL) in 1954, when he was ordained. From 1954 to 1964 he served as an assistant pastor at Christ the King parish in Chicago, during which time he studied sociology at the University of Chicago. He received a Master of Arts in 1961 and then a PhD in 1962. His doctoral dissertation dealt with the influence of religion on the career plans of 1961 college graduates.

Father Greeley had many other honors and awards bestowed upon him, such as honorary degrees from the University of Arizonamarker and Bard Collegemarker, New York state, and the National University of Ireland in Galwaymarker. In 1981, Father Greeley received the F. Sadlier Dinger Award, which is presented each year by educational publisher William H. Sadlier, Inc. in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the ministry of religious education in America.

His fiction often deals with romances, including details of sexual encounters, typically written with underpinnings of a theology based on what theologian David Tracy calls the Catholic "analogical imagination", in which human love serves as a metaphor for the love of God for humankind. They reveal the author’s strong attachment to Irish culture: indeed, Greeley perhaps illustrates the Irish maxim that people from other countries of Irish descent are "More Irish than the Irish themselves". His major characters tend to be Irish-American Catholics from Chicago, and one example of this is John Blackwood "Blackie" Ryan, a mystery-solving clergyman (first priest, later bishop, most recently Archbishop of Chicago), who is apparently one of Greeley's alter egos and who is sometimes compared with G. K. Chesterton's Father Brown.

Father Greeley's first work of fiction to become a major commercial success was The Cardinal Sins (1981). He then put out the Passover Trilogy: Thy Brother's Wife (1982), Ascent into Hell (1983), and Lord of the Dance (1984). After that, he wrote on average a minimum of two novels per year. In 1987 alone he produced four novels and two works of non-fiction. He labels himself as "a smart-aleck, in other words, and a glib smart-aleck who can be dangerously humorous and even pugnacious when someone tries to put him down". His literary output has been such that it has been said that he "has never had an unpublished thought".

At the height of the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal, Father Greeley wrote The Priestly Sins (2004), a novel about a young priest from the Plains Statesmarker who is exiled to an insane asylum and then to an academic life because he reports abuse that he has witnessed. His book, The Making of the Pope (2005) was intended as a follow-up to his The Making of the Popes 1978. This was a first hand account of the coalition building process by which Joseph Ratzinger ascended to the papacy as Benedict XVI. In 1996, his novel White Smoke described the scenario of the election of a new Pope. The author has also dabbled in science fiction, writing the novels God Game and The Final Planet. Politically, he has been an outspoken critic of the George W. Bush administration and the Iraq War, and supports immigration rights. His book entitled A Stupid, Unjust, and Criminal War: Iraq 2001–2007 (2007), succinctly evaluates and presents the logic of the rush to start the Iraqi War by the Bush administration and its consequences for the United States.

Income generated from the sale of his books has been used to fund many charitable organizations. For example, In 1986, Father Greeley established a $1 million Catholic inner-city School Fund, providing scholarships and financial support to schools in the Chicago Archdiocese with a minority student body of more than 50 percent. In 1984, he contributed a $1 million financial endowment to establish a chair in Roman Catholic Studies at the University of Chicago. He also funds an annual lecture series, “The Church in Society,” at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois, from which he received his S.T.L. in 1954. He has also donated several thousand dollars to the 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama.

Father Greeley is an ardent supporter of the Chicago Bears, Bulls and the Cubs.

He suffered a fractured skull and left orbital bone near his eye in a fall on November 7, 2008 in Rosemont, Illinoismarker, when his clothing got caught on the door of a taxi as it pulled away, and was hospitalized in critical condition.His most recent health update (May 15, 2009)listed on his webpage indicates he is recovering at home in the care of his family.


  • The Social Effects of Catholic Education (1961)
  • And Young Men Shall See Visions (1964)
  • Letters to Nancy (1964)
  • The Education of Catholic Americans (1966)
  • The Catholic Experience: An Interpretation of the History of American Catholicism (1967)
  • From Backwater to Mainstream: A Profile of Catholic Higher Education (1969)
  • Religious Change in America (1989)
  • Myths of Religion: An inspiring investigation into the nature of God and a journey to the boundaries of faith (1989) ISBN 0-446-38818-1
  • The Catholic Myth: The Behavior and Beliefs of American Catholics (1990)
  • The Catholic Imagination (2000) ISBN 0-520-23204-6
  • The Great Mysteries: Experiencing Catholic Faith from the inside Out (2003)
  • The Catholic Revolution: New Wine, Old Wineskins, and the Second Vatican Council (2004) ISBN 0-520-24481-8
  • Religion and Career: A Study of College Graduates (1963)
  • The Education of Catholic Americans, with Peter H. Rossi (1966)
  • The Hesitant Pilgrim: American Catholicism After the Council (1966)
  • The Catholic Experience: A Sociologist's Interpretation of the History of American Catholicism (1967)
  • The Changing Catholic College (1967)
  • Uncertain Trumpet: The Priest in Modern America (1968)
  • The Crucible of Change: The Social Dynamics of Pastoral Practice (1968)
  • What Do We Believe? The Stance of Religion in America (1968)
  • The Student in Higher Education (1968)
  • From Backwater to Mainstream: A Profile of Catholic Higher Education (1969)
  • Religion in the Year 2000 (1969)
  • A Future to Hope in: Socio-religious Speculations (1969)
  • Life for a Wanderer (1969)
  • Recent Alumni and Higher Education: A Survey of College Graduates (1970)
  • Can Catholic Schools Survive? (1970)
  • Why Can't They Be Like Us? (1971)
  • The Denominational Society (1972)
  • Unsecular Man (1972)
  • Priests in the U.S.: Reflections on a Survey (1972)
  • That Most Distressful Nation: The Taming of the American Irish (1972)
  • The Catholic Priest in the U.S.: Sociological Investigations (1972)
  • American Priests. Chicago: National Opinion Research Center (1971)
  • Ethnicity in the U.S.: A Preliminary Reconnaissance (1974)
  • Building Coalitions (1974)
  • The Sociology of the Paranormal (1975)
  • Ethnicity, Denomination and Inequality (1976)
  • The American Catholic: A Social Portrait (1977)
  • No Bigger Than Necessary (1977)
  • Neighborhood. New York (1977)
  • The Making of the Popes (1978)
  • Crisis in the Church: A Study of Religion in America (1979)
  • Ethnic Drinking Subcultures (1980)
  • The Religious Imagination (1981)
  • The Young Catholic Family (1980)
  • Young Catholics in the United States and Canada (1981)
  • The Irish Americans: The Rise to Money and Power (1981)
  • Catholic High Schools and Minority Students (1982)
  • Parish, Priest and People (1981)
  • The Bottom Line Catechism (1982)
  • Religion: A Secular Theory (1982)
  • The Catholic Why? Book (1983)
  • The Dilemma of American Immigration: Beyond the Golden Door (1983)
  • Angry Catholic Women (1984)
  • How to Save the Catholic Church (1984)
  • American Catholics Since the Council (1985)
  • Confessions of a Parish Priest (1986)
  • Catholic Contributions: Sociology & Policy (1987)
  • An Andrew Greeley Reader: Volume One (1987)
  • The Irish Americans: The Rise to Money and Power (1988)
  • When Life Hurts: Healing Themes from the Gospels (1988)
  • God in Popular Culture (1988)
  • Sexual Intimacy: Love and Play (1988)
  • Myths of Religion (1988)
  • Religious Change in America (1989)
  • The Catholic Myth. New York (1990)
  • The Bible and Us (1990)
  • Faithful Attraction: Discovering Intimacy, Love, and Fidelity in American Marriage (1991)
  • Sex: The Catholic Experience (1995)
  • Religion as Poetry (1995)
  • Sociology and Religion: A Collection of Readings (1995)
  • Common Ground (1996)
  • Forging a Common Future (1997)
  • I Hope You’re Listening God (1997)
  • Furthermore! (1999)
  • The Mysteries of Grace
  • Book of Love (2002)
  • The Great Mysteries: Experiencing Catholic Faith from the Inside Out (2003)
  • Catholic Revolution: New Wine (2004)
  • Priests: A Calling in Crisis (2004)
  • The Making Of The Pope (2005)
  • The Truth about Conservative Christians: What They Think and What They Believe (2006)
  • Jesus: A Meditation on His Stories and His Relationships with Women (2007)
  • A Stupid, Unjust and Criminal War: Iraq 2001-2007 (2007)


  • The Magic Cup (1975)
  • Death in April (1980)
  • The Cardinal Sins (1981)
  • Thy Brother's Wife (1982)
  • Ascent Into Hell (1983)
  • Lord of the Dance (1984)
  • Virgin and Martyr (1985)
  • Angels of September (1985)
  • Happy are the Meek (1985)
  • God Game (1986)
  • Happy are the Clean of Heart (1986)
  • Patience of a Saint (1987)
  • The Final Planet (1987)
  • Happy Are Those Who Thirst for Justice (1987)
  • Rite of Spring (1987)
  • Angel Fire (1988)
  • Love Song (1989)
  • St. Valentine's Night (1989)
  • Andrew Greeley's Chicago (1989)
  • All About Women (1989)
  • The Cardinal Virtues (1990)
  • The Irish (1990)
  • The Search for Maggie Ward (1991)
  • An Occasion of Sin (1991)
  • Happy Are the Merciful (1992)
  • Wages of Sin (1992)
  • Happy Are the Peace Makers (1993)
  • Fall from Grace (1993)
  • Irish Gold (1994) (first in the Nuala Anne McGrail series of mystery novels)
  • Happy Are the Poor in Spirit (1994)
  • Angel Light (1995)
  • Happy Are Those Who Mourn (1995)
  • White Smoke (1996)
  • Happy Are The Oppressed (1996)
  • Irish Lace (1996)
  • Summer at the Lake (1997)
  • Star Bright! (1997)
  • The Bishop at Sea (1997)
  • Irish Whiskey (1998)
  • Contract With an Angel (1998)
  • A Midwinter’s Tale (1998)
  • The Bishop and the Three Kings (1998)
  • FURTHERMORE! Memories of a Parish Priest (1999)
  • Irish Mist (1999)
  • Irish Eyes (2000)
  • The Bishop and the Missing L-Train (2000)
  • A Christmas Wedding (2000)
  • The Bishop and the Beggar Girl of St. Germain (2001)
  • September Song (2001)
  • Irish Stew! (2002)
  • The Bishop in the West Wing (2002)
  • Second Spring (2003)
  • The Bishop Goes to the University (2003)
  • Irish Love (2001)
  • The Priestly Sins (2004), referenced in List of books portraying paedophilia or sexual abuse of minors
  • Emerald Magic: Great Tales of Irish Fantasy (2004)
  • Golden Years (2005)
  • Irish Cream (2005)
  • The Senator and the Priest (2006)
  • Irish Crystal (2006)
  • Irish Linen (2007)
  • The Bishop at the Lake (2007)
  • Irish Tiger (2008)
  • The Archbishop in Andalusia (2008)
  • Irish Tweed (2009)

Other work

His column on political, church and social issues appears each Friday in the Chicago Sun-Times and each Sunday in the Daily Southtown, a Chicago newspaper.


Andrew M. Greeley. "On Studying Religion." Pp. 197-212 in The Craft of Religious Studies, edited by Jon R. Stone. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998.

See also


External links

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