I learned yesterday of the passing of Rev. Andrew Greeley, 85, a Chicago priest, sociologist, newspaper columnist, and novelist. Greeley was one of the first American priests to speak out publicly against the sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic Church. While I didn’t always agree with him, his insights and advocacy for abuse survivors and the marginalized will be an important part of his legacy.
As a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Greeley often tangled with his bosses at the Chancery, particularly Cardinal John Cody. His writings concerning the sexual abuse of minors remain prescient and the institutional Church was slow to heed the warnings contained in Greeley’s commentary. Father Greeley was not afraid of the hierarchy or the court of popular opinion. He was one of the earliest supporters of the survivor advocacy group Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP).
His novels remain widely read and his newspaper columns for the Chicago Sun-Times reflect a liberal political bent reflective of his upbringing in Chicago and the times in which he lived and ministered as a priest.