Father Andrew Greeley died yesterday, and a more prolific author you would be hard-pressed to find. The word "Irish" shows up 20 times in his Wikipedia entry, only one fewer than the word "priest." Clearly, his Irish roots played a large poet in his opus.

According to Wikipedia, "Greeley's literary output was such it was said that he "never had an unpublished thought." He published his first novel, The Magic Cup, in 1975,[1] a fantasy tale about a young king who would lead Ireland from paganism to Christianity. His first work of fiction to become a major commercial success was the novel The Cardinal Sins (1981). This was followed by the Passover trilogy: Thy Brother's Wife (1982), Ascent into Hell (1983), and Lord of the Dance (1984). Thereafter, he wrote a minimum of two novels per year, on average. In 1987 alone, he produced four novels and two works of non-fiction."

So, given that prodigious body of work, I was wondering, which of Greeley's work have you encountered, and perhaps most enjoyed?

The good padre's unconventional work as a priest, BTW, calls to mind for me another staunch witness to the Faith and to the Fenian faith, Father Sean McManus, who recently penned his memoir.

Tags: Books, Faith, Journal, Literature, Nonfiction

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The Magic Cup was my portal into the Greeley realm. Even though it was a tale which had been told and retold, it seemed fresh and lively. I eagerly awaited the next Greeley novel the way children look forward to Christmas or Summer vacation.  Nuala, Blackie...all of his characters became like family.


I confess to not having read any of Greeley's work, typically preferring nonfiction and newspapers and magazines back in the day. "The Magic Cup" -- was this his first on an Irish theme, Bit? Do you feel he wrote in a genuinely Irish voice?

I would more say that he wrote with the nuance of an Irish sense. You could still feel the Chicago Irish come through but there was a very definite turning of phrase or word use that marked him as decidely Irish to the marrow

If I were to recommend one of his writings for you, it would actually be three, "The Passover Trilogy" is a very deep and moving look at an Irish-American family with all of its twists, foibles and introspections.

Interestingly enough, I didn't realize when I first started reading his fiction works that he was a priest. As steamy as some of his novels could get, I did have a slight problem juxtaposing his writings with his religious side. Then I read a quiote from him somewhere in which he explained "I suppose I have an Irish weakness for words gone wild. Besides, if you're celibate, you have to do something" and whilst still hard to wrap my head around, it made a little more sense.


I confess to having read all of Fr. Greeley's fiction and some of his less entertaining works.  The fiction is pure pulp, easy reads, A "genuinely Irish voice", that's what inspired my response.  Just what is that?  Of all peoples we are the least homogenious of the earth.  The Irish, as I know us, are the last to be described as being from the same or even similar mold. To me that voice is a universal one, our seed has been cast upon the winds and taken firm root in many places.  We have become "everyman" (woman) and are the voice of everywhere.  By our dispersement by wind and sea we have become a part of the world, hopefully a contributing part.

Growing up Irish Catholic in Chicagoland, you'd think that I might be more familiar with Father Greeley. Sadly, I hold only a vague recollection of his name and the fact that he was an accomplished priest and author. I think I must have missed him by a generation as he was more of a contemporary with my parents.

Reading the news and Wikipedia article, I am fascinated by his story and somewhat led to learn more about his life and his work. I am particularly interested in his loyalty to "the Catholic Church" despite its' shortcomings and despite some of the things Father Greeley has said about the church and the "moral bankruptc" of the leadership! Hopefully, his loyalty and choice to continue his work from within may inspire others to do likewise if that is their calling. As for me, I shut the door on my church after the twenty or thirtieth sex scandal, when I learned of my local Bishop's involvement in covering up abuse and especially when my own spiritual director went to prison! Now I attend the Church of Tom and I'm quite happy with its moral code and teachings. I do enjoy a good chuckle when I see our local "Catholics Come Home" campaign, wondering if the bedroom light is on or off for our return. Please pardon my attempt at humor if this offends anyone.


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