Father Andrew Greeley died: a tribute cartoon

father andrew greeley died tribute cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

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Father Andrew Greeley died yesterday.

Roman Catholic priest. Prophet. Defender of women. Theologian. Social critic. Child advocate. Author of novels with sex scenes. Church critic on issues such as birth control, preaching, youth, lay people, women and church leadership.

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.” (read more)

I remember seeing Greeley’s novels in my home growing up. He considered them “the most priestly thing I have ever done”.

We need more church leaders like him.

You can read more here.

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4 Responses

  1. Andrew O'Brien says:

    David – I know the few times I’ve commented on your site its been critical. The truth is, I enjoy many of your points and I’ll try to comment on some of those more often so I don’t come off as a total troll. But, I’ve gotta ask… when you say, “We need more Church leaders like him,” what do you mean? It sounds to me like you mean, “We need more Church leaders… who teach exactly what I want to hear.” At what point are you open to being taught by the Catholic Church (or any Church, really) about about an ethical issue or doctrinal issue?

    The reason I ask is that you seem to be evaluating my Church through your protestant lens, and I don’t think that’s really fair. If you are unwilling to be taught, I would appreciate it if you stuck to your own denomination.

  2. nakedpastor says:

    Andrew: Thanks for your comment. But I’m very used to this kind of approach. It is this: “If you don’t belong to something you have no right to critique it.” Then on the other hand, you get, “If you volitionally belong to something, why do you critique it?” I get it all the time: “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. If you don’t eat from that hand you have no right to criticize it.”

    I have learned much from the RCC. Like I’ve said before, I have received significant spiritual direction on an ongoing basis from RC nuns and priests and monks. Some of my greatest spiritual heroes are RC, such as Merton, Mother Teresa, Flannery O’Connor, etcetera, and continually read Catholic philosophers such as Rene Girard, etc…

    You assume, like so many erroneously do, that just because I critique something I have no love for it. Have you ever considered that the opposite might be true?

  3. Andrew O'Brien says:

    No, you can critique away. As you know, the sphere of things that can’t be critiqued (dogma) are pretty small – and even then you could critique the dogma by saying it needs further explanation. I’m going through a personal phase where I’m a little more critical with how things are done myself.

    What gets me is when its unconstructively critiqued through through a lens which we do not view ourselves through. For example, in your second paragraph you say relate how many Catholics have helped you. That’s good – but that in itself is unhelpful. You’re just picking and choosing what suits you and dismissing all the other stuff that doesn’t suit you.

    I think “outsiders” have a lot to teach us (and scriplture is chock full of “outsiders” teaching “insiders”), but very little of the criticism is helpful. For example, you infer that the Catholic Church is wrong about Birth Control, so your suggestion is to change the teaching. That isn’t helpful at all. A good criticism is to say, “If the Catholic Church is so serious about this prohibition on birth control they owe it to Catholic men and women to provide some better support for Natural Family planning.” Or, rather than say, “The Catholic Church must hate women because they don’t believe what I believe about women,” you could say, “If the Catholic Church isn’t going to ordain women, then maybe the clergy could at least start showing some respect by writing some thank you notes every once in a while to the women who help run the place.” That, again is helpful criticism.

    So critique away, but know the difference between critiquing and complaining.

  4. Andrew O'Brien says:

    But while I’m here, just to fill you in on what I find helpful about your blog, the reason I visit isn’t to troll. It is that I work for the Catholic Church and your blog is one of several I visit to try and understand the problems of spiritual abuse and clerical narcissism – problems that run pretty deep across every denomination. I don’t visit often, but every once in a while someone will link you and I’ll head over to see what you’ve been up to. So keep up the good work (‘cept the points I made above, maybe) and please, don’t kick me off for trolling!