Chicago Catholics and the Struggles Within Their Church
Chicago-area Catholics mostly approve of the pope, their cardinal and their parish priest, but they don’t like being told how to conduct their sex lives and they find the Sunday mass deadly dull, best-selling author and former Chicago Sun-Times columnist Andrew Greeley writes in his latest and final book.
“How can you become enthused about a ceremony that doesn’t know how to end?” Greeley writes in Chicago Catholics and the Struggles within Their Church, released today, “but must extend itself through semi-literate or inarticulate comments from laity who add at least 10 more minutes to the agony of boredom?”
The book is based, in part, on a 2007 telephone survey of some 524 Catholics living in the Chicago Archdiocese, which encompasses Cook and Lake counties and includes 2.5 million members. Father Greeley, 82, completed his analysis of the study just weeks before his traumatic brain injuries, his family says.
The survey of the archdiocese, which Father Greeley describes as “a very complicated place” demographically, asks what it means to be a “good” Catholic. The most popular response — given by 94 percent of those questioned — is a belief in the resurrection of Jesus. Seventy-five percent chose giving money to the poor, while 37 percent said accepting the teaching that abortion is always wrong made a believer a good Catholic.
Another question asked why Catholics don’t attend the weekly mass. Forty-four percent cited “poor” sermons, another 35 percent said the service was “boring,” while 12 percent cited the “terrible” singing.
Father Greeley says the church “desperately needs reform,” and he is both “surprised and shocked” by the numbers who have left the church.
“If the Church expects to increase the size of its Sunday congregations, it has a lot of work to do on the quality of preaching and the quality of the Sunday liturgies. . . .” he writes. “We are not supposed to be entertainers, complain the clergy. Yet, people followed after Jesus because they liked to listen to his stories.”
There’s reason for hope, Father Greeley says. He points out that 78 percent of those questioned said Catholicism is either “extremely important” or “very important” in their lives.
“Most are not about to leave the church, no matter how sick they might
be about the incompetence of its leaders,” he writes.
Falling into Grace: The Fiction of Andrew Greeley: A Study of the Message Behind the Words
By R.W. Carstens
Foreword by Andrew M Greeley
About the Author
Home for Christmas By Andrew M Greeley
Petey Pat Kane and Mariana Pia Pelligrino have been in love with each other their whole lives. But on a night that is supposed to be one of the best of their lives, Peter makes a choice that forces him to leave Chicago—and Mariana—behind. Guilt leads him into the Army, where he becomes Captain Kane, war hero. But nothing can make him forget his love for Mariana.
On his third deployment in Iraq, Peter is injured and finds himself both alive and dead on a wondrous spiritual journey where he is given a second chance at life from God Himself. With Christmas approaching, time is running out for Peter to complete the most important mission of his life: convincing himself that he and Mariana were meant to share a special message of love with the world.
“Greeley interweaves both spiritual and educational topics into another supremely entertaining adventure.” — Booklist
“Home for Christmas is another rich and satisfying concoction by one of America’s most popular storytellers”. — L.A. Post
From Publishers Weekly – Petey Pat Kane and Mariana Pelligrino have loved each other since the first grade, but a tragic prom night accident sends Kane running. He ends up a grunt in Iraq, where he’s killed—briefly—by a suicide bomber. While dead, he goes on a spiritual journey, meets God and learns that he is destined to be Mariana’s lover and protector. Back among the living, stubborn Petey’s reminded by his local priest what’s really important in life… (Oct.) – © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
An Inspirational must read for everyone, November 9, 2009
By Deborah Haupt (Portage des Sioux, MO United States)
Before I talk about Fr. Greeley’s wonderful new novel I want to say Thank You God for letting us have him in our lives a while longer and hope that my personal prayers to “The One” might have reached his ears. As many of you know Fr. Greeley survived a horrendous accident last November and nearly died. With the continued effort of his family, friends, therapists and physicians he continues to recover and improve.
In his new novel Father Greeley gives us an unforgettable love story of two remarkable characters who from childhood have been loved and in love with each other. He also takes us on an incredible journey of our hero Peter Patrick Kane from his near fatal injury while serving in Iraq. This is a tale full of whimsy, full of wit and full of faith. Faith in not only God but in the power of love. His characters are unforgettable and so intimately detailed that you can’t believe the whole novel only consists of 192 pages. Quite a feat and yet knowing our prolific author not a surprise. From his uncomplicated yet complex Peter to his enigmatic heroine Mariana to his varied and many supporting cast which includes one of his most beloved characters from other novels Bishop Blackie. His storyline is fresh and unique and yet it’s as old as time itself. His dialogue is descriptive and fills your minds with the pictures conjured by his words. It’s full of color and light and just enough blarney and fey to make it uniquely his own. The love story is sweet and heart wrenching and often times brings you to tears and not always tears of joy. Father Andrew Greeley is or should be considered on of the greatest living authors of our time, in my humble opinion. In his ageless wisdom he has brought us countless tales of love, of crisis, of human frailty, but mostly of humanity at it’s best. And this inspiring holiday novel is right there as one of his best. If you’re not acquainted with this gifted artist then this is the perfect first read for you. And if you are a fan and have read him be prepared to be in awe once again.
When a young Irish American soldier goes missing in Iraq, it falls to Dermot Coyne and his adoring, sensible, fey wife, Nualla McGraill, to do what they can to see about making sure he gets home safely.
A Stupid, Unjust, And Criminal War: Iraq 2001-2007 He calls to task those who justified, planned and executed the war and reminds us that God weeps at the destruction of war, whether lives lost are ‘ours’ or ‘theirs.’
Countless readers have been delighted by Father Greeley’s best selling tales of Nuala Anne McGrail, a fey, Irish-speaking woman from Galway blessed with the gift of second sight and a knack for unraveling mysteries.
The Bishop at the Lake
Ryan is sent to check up on a fellow priest who’s jockeying for a prestigious appointment. Blackie discovers that matters are both simpler and more complex than he’d imagined.
Jesus: A Meditation on His Stories and His Relationships with Women
strips away centuries of false and mistaken interpretations to get at the essential truth of who Jesus really was and what he believed.
The Truth about Conservative Christians: What They Think and What They Believe
by Andrew M Greeley and Michael Hout
This eye-opening book expertly conveys the complexity, variety, and sensibilities of conservative Christians, dispelling the myths that have long shrouded them in prejudice and political bias. What do conservative Christians really think about evolution, homosexuality, or even the meaning of the word of God?