Odd Man Out: A Modern Morality Play
Andrew Greeley * Joseph Cardinal Bernardin * Eugene Kennedy
by Ingrid H. Shafer
This article is part of Andrew Greeley's biography on which I have been working sporadically for about eight years. It is also a response to Eugene Kennedy's book Cardinal Bernardin(1989) which is as much of an assault on Andrew Greeley as it is an accolade to Joseph Cardinal Bernardin. I sent an earlier version to Commonweal where it was rejected because the editors didn't believe me. Mike Lenehan of the Chicago Reader subsequently accepted the manuscript, provided that I make certain revisions, and I had begun to rework it to fit a popular journalistic style (editing out theological reflections, academic notes, references, and so forth) when Cardinal Bernardin became ill, and I decided that this was the wrong time for publication--not because it contained material critical of the Cardinal (which it doesn't) but because I was convinced that Bernardin hoped with all his heart that strife among humans should cease and that Andrew Greeley and Eugene Kennedy would lay aside past resentments and reconcile. I did not want to involve this good man in a controversy concerning two men whom he considered friends as he was fighting for his life, preparing for death, and doing his utmost to leave a legacy of peace. When I contacted Mike Lenehan after the Cardinal's death he wrote back that the story had died with the Cardinal. At first, I was simply going to wait until I had written the remainder of the Greeley biography. However, when I discovered that the Kennedy book is taken seriously as legitimate source for Andrew Greeley's life and actions I realized that not making my research and interpretations available immediately is academically indefensible and morally wrong. For this reason I decided to place the article in my website.
Ingrid Shafer, 10 February, 1997
I am in the process of scanning, proofing, and html-coding James Winters' 775 page long 1985 discovery depositions in order to place them on the web as evidence for my allegations. As soon as this work is competed, I'll return the depositions to the Greeley archives in the Chicago Historical Society where they can be examined. Currently, the electronic edition of the depositions is in draft form. It is possible that there are minor scanning errors. Suggestions for corrections will be greatly appreciated.
Ingrid Shafer, 20 August, 1998
Link to the Winters Depositions
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Odd Man Out: A Modern Morality Play
Andrew Greeley * Joseph Cardinal Bernardin * Eugene Kennedy
(July 1995 Draft)
Ingrid H. Shafer
"I said a special prayer every morning that we could be reconciled."
Cardinal Bernardin concerning his relationship with Andrew Greeley
HISTORICAL CONTEXT AND STAGE:
This story spans the three decades (1965-1995) following the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) in the intersecting paths of three extraordinary Chicago priests, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, Andrew Greeley, and Eugene Kennedy (inactive and married since the late 1970s). While these men are hardly ordinary, they still exemplify and reflect on a grand scale what has happened among priests in the United States since the Second Vatican Council--those who stayed, those who left, and those who rose to power. Their story is at once a psychodrama, a morality play, and a mystery. Depending on which one of the three characters we consider the protagonist, it can be read as comedy or tragedy. It is also a story somehow put in motion by the "Old Church" triumphalism of John Cardinal Cody whose ghost continues to lurk not quite off stage. While the plot develops against the immediate background of the Catholic Church in Chicago it is also and inevitably stamped by the universal context of two-thousand years of Church history.
In September 1962, Pope John XXIII called the twenty-first ecumenical council. It came to be known as the Second Vatican Council, and challenged the Church to open up doors and windows to self-analysis, democratic ways, cultural pluralism, and the richness of other religious traditions. Among the great liberal leaders of the Council were several Americans, particularly Archbishop Paul Hallinan of Atlanta, then Joseph Bernardin's mentor, and Chicago's Albert Cardinal Meyer, Andrew Greeley's mentor.
The "New Church" came to inhabit a different theological cosmos from the "Old Church." With Vatican Two ecumenism became a reality in the global Catholic Church, and Chicago with its ethnic neighborhoods and enlightened leadership was considered a model for other U.S. dioceses. Alas, Cardinal Meyer, who had fought so valiantly for its ideals did not live to see the final document on religious freedom, dated December 7, 1965. He died of brain cancer on April 9, 1965. Four-and-a-half months later his successor, John Patrick Cody, rode into town with an agenda diametrically opposed to Meyer's and a vision of the Church much closer to that of Pius IX (who was responsible for the infamous Syllabus of Errors that condemned liberal Catholicism and all accommodations of the Church to the modern world) than John XXIII or Paul VI.
Men who knew him well, such as priest-sociologist Joe Fichter, warned that Cody's arrival would kill any sort of genuine collegiality: "You can't do a thing. Daddy's going to take care . . .." Cody lived up to the predictions. His reign was marked by tremendous ambiguity. He immediately replaced chancery staff with "his" men and removed "dissidents" from positions of power. Eventually, he fired about thirty pastors (generally old and/or fond of "the creature"), closed parishes and inner city schools, and cut funding for ecumenical and social justice community action programs. Cody knew he was right. Always. Collegiality and consultation cramped his style. He disapproved of the Catholic Theological Union, the largest Catholic theological school in the US. He resented the institution's independence from the archdiocese, the democratic intellectual climate, and, especially, the large number of women students. He supported Catholic media--as long as only his perspective was represented. Ed Wall, editor of the archdiocesan newspaper and one of Cody's close associates during his waning years, cites a characteristic comment: "I often yearn for the old days when I could issue an edict and know that my will would be carried out." Instead, toward the end of his life, he had to post a "private property" sign to keep protesters off his 1555 State Street driveway and lawn.
Ed Wall told writer John Conroy that toward the end of his life Cody expected Pope Paul VI to strip him of his power by appointing a coadjutor, probably Joseph Bernardin, archbishop of Cincinnati. According to Wall, Cody hated Archbishop Bernardin and Pope Paul VI. The Pope's death on August 6, 1978, saved Cody for the moment, but he was not entirely in the clear until Karol Wojtyla was elected after the untimely death of Paul VI's successor, John Paul I, the "September Pope." Cody and John Paul II had arrived at an agreement. When Cody died on April 25, 1982, he died in office but was largely dishonored.
THE PLAYERS--Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, Eugene Kennedy, and Andrew Greeley:
Three remarkable American priests were ready for the challenge presented by Vatican Two. Born in February, August, and April of 1928, and ordained within a couple of years of one another in the early nineteen-fifties, they were two scholar-writers and an up-and-coming member of the hierarchy. Their names were Andrew M. Greeley, Eugene C. Kennedy, and Joseph L. Bernardin. One was a native of Chicago, and two were transplants to the windy city from South Carolina and New York, respectively. But it is in Chicago that their lives become inextricably entangled, so entangled, in fact, that they live within walking distance of one another--Greeley in one of Chicago's landmarks, the Hancock tower, Kennedy in a high rise apartment building at 1300 Lakeshore Drive, and Bernardin at the Bishop's Victorian residence, 1555 North State Parkway. Together and separately they symbolize the promise and the pitfalls of the priesthood in the post-Vatican Two Church.
From the moment of conception, Joseph Louis Bernardin seemed destined to rise in the Church, to construct bridges and compromises, to be both a citizen of the world and a man firmly rooted in the local community. He was born on April 2, 1928, in Columbia, South Carolina, to parents (named Mary and Joseph) who had recently immigrated from northern Italy, a region barely a decade removed from Austrian rule and famous for the Council of Trent. His father had come in the early twenties, establishing himself as stone-cutter before returning to his native village in 1927 to marry Maria Simion. In later years the cardinal is known to have quipped that though he was born in America he had been conceived in Italy.
Joe's father underwent his first cancer operation before he proposed to Maria. He wanted to delay marriage until he was reasonably sure he would be in shape to support a family. Alas, after four years' remission the disease returned, and he died when his son was six. At least the young widow was not totally alone in a strange country. Maria and Joseph had made their home with Maria's sister Lina who was married to Joseph's brother Severino. Despite the extended family, Maria had to work as seamstress to support little Joe and her daughter Elaine, four years younger than her brother. In those years, Joe would care for his baby sister and cook meals to help out (among his friends, the Cardinal is still known for his skills as amateur chef of elegant Italian dishes). By the time the U.S. entered the Second World War, Mrs. Bernardin had begun to sew uniforms at Fort Jackson and was able to afford her own apartment.
Growing up in a predominantly Protestant community, young Joe attended public schools and eventually enrolled at the University of South Carolina on a pre-med scholarship. However, the following year he decided to enter the priesthood. After a brief period at St. Mary's college in Kentucky he went to St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore; he graduated with a bachelor's degree in philosophy when he was twenty. By 1952, the year of his ordination, he had earned a master's degree in education from Catholic University. Archbishop Paul Hallinan was impressed by the young priest, and Bernardin advanced rapidly, from Assistant Pastor in 1952 to Chancellor of the Charleston diocese in 1954. He was promoted to monsignor in 1959, and continued to serve the Archbishop as Chancellor and, after 1966, as Auxiliar Bishop of Atlanta. In Atlanta he was rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King; in March of 1968, after the death of his mentor, Bernardin became administrator of the diocese. In 1968 he also began a four year term as General Secretary of the US Catholic Conference under its president John Cardinal Dearden. It was in that capacity that he met Greeley and Kennedy during a 1968 committee meeting of bishops and scholars at Saint Catherine's Park called to follow up on Cardinal Dearden's suggestion to launch a multi-year study of the US clergy. During the course of the study, Bernardin, worked closely with the various teams, and served as liaison between the scholars and bishops.
In 1972 Bernardin assumed his new post as Archbishop of Cincinnati. He served as USCC President 1974-77, and was called to Chicago after John Cardinal Cody's death in 1982. The following year he attained the highest honor the Catholic Church can bestow (short of being elected Pope): he was created Cardinal.
In his quiet, non-confrontational way, Bernardin has been an extraordinary able administrator and is now one of the cardinals most respected by liberal and moderate colleagues across the globe. This is not exactly an advantage in the increasingly conservative U. S. Bishops' Conference. Last November, Bernardin was, for example, defeated as Chairman of the Priestly Life and Ministry Committee by doctrinally conservative Bishop Harry Flynn. A bishop who prefers to remain unnamed says that Bernardin is perceived as a key member of the more progressive wing.
His commitment to the principles established by the Second Vatican Council are particularly evident when we consider his dedication to ecumenical dialogue which led to the formation of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago in 1985. He was elected first president, and Chicago Catholics now have official covenants with both the Episcopal Diocese and the Metropolitan Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Bernardin also actively participated in the World Parliament of Religions in Fall of 1993, a gathering boycotted by several Christian groups.
Most importantly, Bernardin broke the church's tradition of stone-walling sexual abuse cases in the priesthood. Four years ago, Bernardin instituted the most vigorous church reforms anywhere in the country concerning clergy accused of pedophilia by initiating a policy of removing accused priests from parish work and establishing a lay dominated review board over strong opposition from his clergy. At the time, he stood out as the one archbishop in the United States who addressed this painful issue openly and effectively. There is a profound irony about the twist of events that dragged him into the suit former minor seminarian Steven Cook filed against Father Ellis Harsham, a priest whose sexual indiscretions had been known to his superiors for many years. If Harsham had been a Chicago priest, the diocese would presumably have offered to settle and Harsham would almost certainly have been removed from parish work by the Permanent Review Board on the grounds that he posed a threat to children. But Harsham is in Cincinnati, and Bernardin's reforms have not be in place for a sufficient period to affect policies elsewhere. Being falsely accused himself, however, gave Bernardin the opportunity to forgive his accuser.
Andrew M. Greeley was born to second generation Irish immigrant parents in Oak Park on February 5, 1928. His mother Grace Anne was thirty-three and his father Andrew T. forty. Grace had given up a career as executive secretary at Sears when she married the previous year. Andrew T. was a moderately wealthy trader of stocks and bonds, hoping to retire when his savings of $37,000 had grown to $100.000. Both parents had an adventurous streak; before marriage, Grace had flown in a by-plane, ridden a burro down into the Grand Canyon, and crossed Lake Michigan in a small sail boat. The elder Andrew liked to hunt from the back of a mule, and caught malaria while canoeing in Mississippi bayous. When little Andy was two, his sister Grace was born. At the time the family lived in a yellow brick apartment building on Austin Boulevard, and Mr. Greeley would get off the double-deck bus after work, cheerfully sweep little Andy up in his arms, and call him "partner." In 1931 the Greeley business collapsed, and the proud man turned silent and melancholy. Mary Jule, a second daughter, was born in 1935. While the family recovered to some extent financially during the war, like the proverbial egg which had tumbled off the wall, the pre-Depression innocence was irrevocably shattered. Particularly for Mr. Greeley, life's tasks remained a grim challenge, to be attacked with somber intensity.
Young Andrew had decided that he would be a parish priest when he was in second grade. Even then he was insatiably curious, and soon he would imitate his father's habit of interminable reading. Eventually, his intellectual gifts combined with his classmates' taunting and his parents' monosyllabic reserve to give him a sense of being an outsider. At fourteen he insisted that he would attend Quigley over his parents' initial objections. He was an excellent student, loved academics and the competition of sports (mainly as a fan). After graduation he entered St. Mary of the Lake Seminary. He had been at Mundelein for ten days when his father died at the age of 60. His mother went back to work to help support the family.
Andrew Greeley holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy (1950) and a licentiate in theology (1954) from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, and earned both an M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago in 1961 and 1962, respectively. He was ordained in 1954 and appointed assistant pastor of Christ the King parish in Beverly Hills where he remained until his brief reassignment to St. Thomas the Apostle in June of 1964. The following year Greeley requested and was given special, non-parish status which reinforced his attachment to Beverly. He wrote, in 1975, and again, in 1986: "For many priests, the first assignment is something like a first love--something you get over, but you never get quite out of your system. For me, the impact was much stronger: I will never get over Christ the King. It is still my parish, still my neighborhood, and always will be."
Greeley read a great deal--poetry, fiction, history, sociology, and French theology. Hence he was better prepared than most of his contemporaries for the Second Vatican Council. In 1958 Albert Gregory Meyer came to Chicago as Archbishop. He encouraged the young priest to do graduate work in sociology, and even agreed to send him to the University of Chicago despite its notoriety among pious Catholics as "Moscow Tech." Thus, in September of 1960, during the Kennedy/Nixon battle, Greeley began to prepare him-self for service to the Church as a sociologist. He aced the midterm of his very first course by explaining how Friar Lawrence in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet acted as an "dissonance reducer," anticipating the themes of his life's work: the Church, sociology, literature, and romantic love. By the time he enrolled at the University of Chicago he had already published two books and numerous articles. He completed the doctorate in twenty months with a straight A average while continuing parish work.
While he defines himself first and foremost as priest, Greeley's career has been primarily in the secular world of research, higher education, and publishing. He has been with NORC at the University of Chicago since 1961, serving at various times as director of the Center for the Study of Pluralism, senior studies director, and research associate. In the 1960s and 70s he taught at the University of Illinois and lectured at the University of Chicago. In the late sixties he was given the opportunity to combine his commitments to Church and sociology. He was appointed to head the sociological branch of a multi-year study of the American priesthood. While the sociological investigation was financed by the American bishops, the research was not conducted at a parochial university but at NORC, which led to some controversy. Since 1978 Greeley has been professor of sociology at the University of Arizona, Tucson. In 1991 he was also appointed professor of social science at the University of Chicago, and he now splits the academic year into Arizona and Chicago quarters. As of Spring 1994, Greeley had published approximately 130 non-fiction and scholarly books and twenty-one novels.
Eugene Cullen Kennedy was born in Syracuse, NY, on August 18, 1928 to second generation Irish parents, James Donald Kennedy and Gertrude Veronica Cullen. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Maryknoll College in 1950, a bachelor's in sacred theology from Maryknoll Seminary in 1953, a master's in religious education in 1954, and both an MA (1958) and PhD (1962) from Catholic University. Kennedy joined the order of Maryknoll missionaries and was ordained Roman Catholic priest in 1955. He began his teaching career at Maryknoll College as instructor that same year. Since 1969 he has been in the Clinical Psychology department at Chicago's Loyola University. He is currently professor and chairman of the department.
In the middle sixties, around the time when post-Vatican Two euphoria began to sweep through the American Church, Kennedy met Maryknoll nun and psychiatrist Sara Charles, M.D. They became friends while he was hospitalized in New York for a dangerous pericardial infection. Kennedy recovered, and a couple of years later, like Greeley, he was appointed to chair one of the subcommittees of the proposed national priest-study. Sister Charles served on that committee. Like Greeley, Kennedy would head one of the major branches of the study once it got under way; he was responsible for the psychological investigations.
For about a decade, Father Kennedy and Sister Charles managed to combine deep friendship with their continued celibate commitments. In the middle 1970s, however, pressures increased on Sara. Her Maryknoll superiors demanded that she give up her psychiatric practice and return to her community to care for elderly nuns and their medical needs. In October 1976 a former patient who was permanently injured in a botched suicide attempt filed a ten million dollar malpractice suit against her. Around that time the relationship between Sara and Eugene entered a new phase. Eventually, both followed the spirit of the times--like so many other priests and religious in the wake of Vatican II, they left their respective communities. They were married in September of 1977. Three years later the case against Sara came to trial. She was represented by attorney William Maddux and fully exonerated.
Kennedy has had a distinguished career at a respected university. He is financially secure. He has two homes. His students speak highly of his teaching. He counts among his friends such prominent thinkers as Saul Bellow and David Tracy. He has written around fifty non-fiction books, primarily on Catholic issues and psychology. In addition, he has published three novels, Father's Day (1981), Queen Bee (1982), and Fixes (1989).
ACT ONE: AFTER THE COUNCIL
Scene One: The Priest Study
After the Council, Detroit's John Cardinal Dearden proposed a wide-ranging multi-disciplinary scholarly investigation into the U.S. Church. In April 1967 the Bishops' Conference authorized the study. For the first time in all of history a segment of the Roman Catholic Church would subject itself to a rigorous self-assessment and publish the findings. As I mentioned above, Bernardin served as liaison between the bishops and the researchers. At the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center a team was assembled to conduct the sociological study. Another research team at Chicago's Loyola University was responsible for the psychological study. Principal investigators were Andrew Greeley and Eugene Kennedy, respectively. One of the initial psychological consultants was Maryknoll Sister Sara C. Charles, M.D. who in another decade would leave her order and marry a laicized Dr. Kennedy. In retrospect, the priest study emerges as critical turning point that would profoundly affect the intertwined lives of Bernardin, Greeley, Kennedy, and Charles.
There were opportunities both for collaboration and rivalry involving the two teams. The budget for the NORC study was three-hundred thousand dollars. The budget for the Loyola study was a fraction of that amount. Psychology and sociology are closely related disciplines, and it is not surprising that the sociological volume contains a chapter dealing with the personality of priests. It is puzzling, however, that the conclusions reported by Greeley differ sharply from the conclusions reported by Kennedy.
While methodologies differed and findings were published separately, both the Greeley chapter and the Kennedy volume are based on responses of subsamples of men drawn from a common sample of 7,474 priests surveyed by the NORC investigators for the sociological study. The psychology chapter of the NORC report was based on the responses to a 917 active priests and 270 resigned priests who had filled out Personal Orientation Inventories suggested by the Loyola team and sent out by NORC. The Loyola report was based on 218 individuals who had also participated in a series of personal interviews. Surprisingly, Kennedy and his associate Victor Heckler made almost no use of the data gathered by NORC and totally disregarded the NORC material on bishops and resigned priests. In fact, Kennedy had already reported virtually identical findings three years before the study commenced in the book he coauthored with Paul F. D'Arcy, The Genius of the Apostolate: Personal Growth in the Candidate, the Seminarian and the Priest (1965). He expected to find immature men, "bachelors in their souls . . . dried up and selfish, incapable of generous love." He expected the healthy to "ignore the possibility of becoming priests" because the church did not permit normal, adult growth, and predicted that the "inadequate and passive . . . will be attracted by a structure which they will perceive as protective." Kennedy reported precisely what he expected to find: that a large proportion of American priests are underdeveloped, arguing that the personal level of growth of priests is "not equal to that which is expected of them at their age in view of their careful selection and lengthy training." On the other hand, Greeley concluded that "after standardizing for age, priests' scores on measures of self-actualization are higher than the scores of most comparison groups on which data are available," that is priests were at least as mature and capable of intimacy as comparable laymen. A recent study of Chicago clergy conducted by Thomas Nestor, ironically for the Loyola psychology department, reconfirms the twenty-five-year old NORC findings: priests are as mature, as capable of interpersonal intimacy, and as satisfied with their careers as lay men of comparable age, background, and education. From the hierarchy's perspective, the NORC sociologists' most controversial findings concerned a trend in teachings concerning sexual morality. In the late 1960s only thirteen percent of priests under 35 still accepted the official prohibition on artificial birthcontrol and the vast majority felt that such decisions should be left to people's personal conscience. Quietly and secretly, the American presbytery had stripped the Pope and the bishops of their authority to speak with credibility on the issue.
After Greeley had presented his preliminary oral report in the autumn of 1970 at a hotel near O'Hare, neither the bishops nor priest activists were amused. Greeley found himself under attack from several directions. Priests with political agendas had hoped that the study would somehow pave the way toward abolishing celibacy and were disappointed that so many priests were shown to be happy. Conservative bishops had assumed that the study would show that all priests were satisfied and toeing the Vatican line. Members of various factions were lining up to behead the messenger, particularly since Greeley, never known for suffering fools (or those he considered fools) gladly had made a number of enemies among the project staff, all priest-sociologists, but most with relatively little experience in survey research. Despite (or because of) his extensive experience in national survey research, they resented Greeley. Who did he think he was? As Greeley put it in his autobiography, "the priests on the project were convinced I was an authoritarian interested in providing the bishops with a report that confirmed the existing celibacy discipline." In addition the study was almost compromised before publication because the staff director, according to Greeley a highly skilled sociologist, had decided to leave the priesthood and marry a former nun. In this crisis Cardinal Krol turned out to be, as Greeley put it, "sympathetic and helpful." The report would be published minus the ex-priest's name as co-author. The man left for his honeymoon, and Greeley ended up completing the data analysis and writing the report himself--in three weeks of furious activity.
Krol and his fellow bishops were less helpful when the report was finally about to appear in its official printed version. Without telling Greeley or giving the NORC team a chance to respond, they included the opinions of three outside evaluators critical of the study in the official U.S. Catholic Conference publication of the report. One can speculate that in order to avert Roman wrath, the bishops were trying to put some distance between themselves and a study they had financed the Vatican was certain to find repugnant. Greeley heard about the planned appendix through the New York Times. Outraged, he called Bernardin who saw to it that a copy of the evaluation was belatedly sent to Greeley. While the evaluators found no technical flaws in the study, they disagreed with the method itself--the use of surveys and quantitative analysis. They would have preferred personal observation instead of survey research. In fact, the three evaluators would have preferred that the NORC team had done sociology much like the Loyola team had proceeded in the psychological investigations.
Greeley ended up preparing a report for Archbishop Philip Hannan's committee, charging the bishops with "spiritual, intellectual and moral bankruptcy, because of their attempts to discredit their own research project." He released that document before the meeting with Hannan's group to The National Catholic Reporter. Ultimately, Hannan saw to it that the disputed evaluation was removed from the volume and published separately. The Catholic Priest in the United States: Sociological Investigations, finally published by the United States Catholic Conference in 1972, received excellent reviews and is now considered a classic in the field. The considerably shorter Loyola report, The Catholic Priest in the United States: Psychological Investigations, went almost unnoticed.
Scene Two: Greeley and Bernardin
In the years during and after the priest study, Greeley and Bernardin were in regular contact, though for a while their relationship was rather awkward as a result of some of the priesthood study disagreements. After Bernardin had become archbishop of Cincinnati, and particularly after Greeley decided in 1975 to do research for a book on papal elections, their friendship deepened. The following February, for example, Bernardin toasted Greeley's birthday at a small dinner in Dayton, noting what a shame it was that the occasion wasn't being celebrated in Chicago, and that he wasn't getting the recognition there to which he was entitled. Later that evening, he introduced Greeley who was about to speak at the university, noting that "one of the things that really bothers those bishops about Andy is that he's right all the time. We hate to admit it, but he is."
Today Bernardin recalls the period when he and Greeley first met, "over 20 years ago, when I was General Secretary of NCCB/USCC. If I remember correctly, it was in connection with the priesthood study which the Conference had commissioned and in which Father Greeley participated." Bernardin remembers Greeley as "someone who is highly gifted and committed to priesthood, though at times controversial. I remember that there was some consternation among the members of the Priesthood Study Committee that he gave some of the results of his study to the New York Times. There was a difference of opinion as to whether this was proper or not." Bernardin and Greeley had a "positive relationship" that somehow, over time, "seemed to deteriorate." Bernardin says that he did not exactly know what happened to his friendship with Greeley, but that "I have never disliked Father Greeley though I have at times been upset with things he has said, especially in his columns and articles."
Scene Three: Greeley and Kennedy--Friends on Diverging Roads
Greeley and Kennedy first met back in the middle sixties. Kennedy had called Greeley with some technical question. The two priest-social scientists decided to get together for lunch, and discovered they had much in common. Greeley recalls admiring Kennedy's early books, and being delighted at the chance of getting to know the psychologist better. Around 1967 Kennedy rented a house for the winter down the street from Greeley in Grand Beach and the two friends started to spend evenings and weekends together. While Greeley thought the extent of Kennedy's attachment just a bit odd, he also considered it an enormous tribute and came to think of Gene as the best friend he had in the priesthood at the time, "a man whom I could trust totally and utterly." In a 1967 book Kennedy calls Greeley his "close friend and helpful critic."
During that same period, Greeley and Kennedy travelled to the Orient together to visit Maryknoll stations all over the world. Greeley was not aware of any hostility on Kennedy's part during the Priest Study, though he says he was disappointed that not more use was made of the NORC data in the psychological volume. There is much evidence in Greeley's work in the sixties and seventies that he considered Eugene Kennedy one of his dearest friends. He acknowledged Kennedy in such books as The Hesitant Pilgrim (1966) and A Future to Hope in (1968). In 1970 Greeley not only dedicated his book The Friendship Game to Kennedy but also cited one of Kennedy's 1968 books as convincing evidence against critics of the celibate life.
Kennedy's writings in the 1970s show that he began a gradual process of separating himself from the priesthood after the Priest Study. In Return to Man (1972) he compares severing the bond with the institutional church with regretfully turning "from an old friend who is no longer capable of understanding or no longer willing to stand and struggle through a serious problem with you. . . . You want to confess knowing that you will not be judged, but penitence curdles when there is no comprehension of your agony. You want a relationship fit for an adult, but your friend cannot deal with you now that you are no longer a helpless and passive child." He wonders "whether one can in conscience remain in the institutional Church that seems so determined to preserve its old view of reality." In Living with Loneliness (1973) he writes "There is the loneliness of the person who is misunderstood by his colleagues or friends. Probably no experience is so desolating and estranging as that of being misread or misinterpreted, especially by those on whom we count for real understanding." He speaks of the loneliness others impose on "those sensitive people who cannot help but resonate to the truths they feel forming in the world around them. Instead of paying them the debt of gratitude which we owe them for their signals, we exile them, ridiculing them, failing to understand them even as we so often fail to understand artists and their works during their lifetime." In A Sense of Life, A Sense of Sin (1975) Kennedy writes: "I recall an enthusiastic priest, deep in various contemporary movements, shaking his head about some of his brother priests who had chosen to get married. Very confident of his judgment and very sure of his holiness, he proclaimed to me at lunch one day, 'They have simply lost their faith, they have no faith anymore. . . .' It was all very simple and very consoling to this priest, who prided himself so much on having kept his faith. Unfortunately, his interpretation of the actions of men whom we both knew was cheap and inaccurate. . . . Far from losing their faith, most of them had deepened it in the process, because they took it and themselves seriously.'" This sounds like a direct reaction to a passage in Greeley's New Horizons for the Priesthood (1970): "For some of them their departure from the priesthood is, indeed, part of the process of growing up, of maturing emotionally. But for most of them one fears that there is little maturation involved. They move from one context of unhappiness to another context of unhappiness, and their claims of relevance or moral superiority or of validated manhood are simply pathetic attempts at self-justification. . . . Those who leave the priesthood because of contagion or fear that the ship is sinking must be judged to be men who lack both strength and personal integrity. They may also lack faith."
In fact, Greeley vaguely recalls such a conversations with Kennedy and suspects he was, indeed, that anonymous lunch companion, adding that he meant loss of faith in the priesthood and in the near term future of the Church, not a loss of faith in God. As his novel Ascent into Hell shows, Greeley strongly supports the idea that men who are truly not meant to be priests should be allowed to leave with honor, and that marriage is as strong a sacrament of God's love as celibacy. From Kennedy's perspective, however, the fact that his friend had no doubts about remaining in what must have seemed both the enemy camp and a place he would always cherish may well have looked like betrayal. Greeley and the Church were turning into the equivalent of a divorced (and once much loved) spouse.
In Priests in the United States (1972), Greeley notes that if he had filled out the NORC questionnaire, his response would have been "agree somewhat" with the statement "'celibacy should be a matter of personal choice for the diocesan priest.'" He qualified his statement with the adverb "somewhat" not so much because he objected to optional celibacy but because he considered the issue "exceedingly complicated." He suggested that "when a priest wishes to marry, a diocesan board would determine whether he would be permitted to leave the priesthood with honor in order to marry or be invited to continue in the priesthood in some special kind of work." He also proposed limited term service in which people would commit themselves for five years at a time. Even if "A man, it is said, becomes a priest permanently . . ., it does not seem to me that a man necessarily commits himself permanently to the exercise of the ministry. May he not be given an option of exercising it on a renewable basis?"
Greeley freely admits that he was taken completely by surprise when Kennedy left the priesthood. "I was astonished," he says, "and saddened." To this day Greeley thinks a great deal of Eugene Kennedy, the priest: "I think his departure from the priesthood was a loss for the Church and for the priesthood. This is not to say that somebody who leaves the priesthood is a devoid of influence on the Church, but something very important is lost. I think he was an authority in the Church. I say that in a good sense of the word. He was somebody bishops and priests looked to for advice, leadership, for vision. It's hard to play that role, at least in a public way, after you've resigned from the priesthood and are married. So I felt it was a tremendous loss."
Gradually, Kennedy distanced himself more and more openly from Greeley who had remained in the priesthood and was publishing a flood of non-fiction, scholarship, and finally, popular fiction during precisely the period that ex-priest Kennedy sought to establish himself as a writer in at least two of those areas.
Even Greeley began to notice the shift. "Not on my doing," Greeley says today. By this time Gene and Sara had a vacation house in St. Joseph, Michigan. Greeley invited them to Grand Beach for supper several times, but they did not come, declining with such excuses as sudden illness or car trouble on the way. Greeley understood why Kennedy might wish to curtail some of the relationships that had existed when he was a priest. "That certainly didn't occasion any suspicion or distrust in me. Sadness but not suspicion."
In St. Patrick's Day with Mayor Daley (1976), a collection of portraits and sketches, published shortly after his marriage, Kennedy describes the courtroom scene during the Harrisburg trial. It is obvious that at that point in time these people are his heroes and heroines, that they present the "real" church to him. There are "a former priest and nun, now married to each other, Anthony and Mary Scoblick; she sits, as she often does, with her back to the spectators, . . .; her husband, . . ., smiles as he touches her long dark blonde hair. Next to them Sister Elizabeth McAlister, by now "Liz" to all reporters and observers, embraces Father Philip Berrigan and they settle down in chairs next to each other."
Around the same time, shortly before he left the active ministry, Kennedy had written in an article for priests: "One could, of course, write about many sides of Greeley but let us choose just one aspect of his personality. I would celebrate his passion even when it is outrageous to many because it is authentic and deeply rooted, because he cares very deeply about the people and issues of the day and never hesitates to join battle with the self assured and the pompous." The accolades continue: "Greeley's position is profoundly pro-life; he's fighting for us even when he is fighting with us. Unlike many commentators who make an art out of watching the world like the judge at a tennis match, Greeley is in the midst of the contest all the time. You may disagree with the side he chooses--disagree, if you will, with his style--but do not miss the truth of his passion, the clarity of his presence, the vote ho casts always for life and against those who would abridge its possibilities or dilute its nature. And that is especially true about the Roman Catholic Church. Beyond his forthright confrontations with prelates beyond counting there is an almost unique and pulsating commitment to the Church and what it can do for the human family. The trouble with the Church is that we do not have enough persons who care enough about it to prod it, fight with it, but always stand with it in a passionate relationship that deserves the name love." He concludes with this passionate endorsement: "Wanting him to tone down his style sounds like a reasonable request, especially if we want a more placid and denatured world. But that is not what he wants and, in his zeal for his Father's house, he is not likely to let us forget that life is magic and wonder, that a lively faith is what mon and women long for, and that the Church he loves can still deliver these to mankind."
By 1982, in "The End of the Immigrant Church," Kennedy projects Greeley in an entirely different light, as a tragic figure, sentimentally attached, like Cardinal Cody, to the dying church of the past. He writes: "Chicago's new archbishop, Joseph L. Bernardin, is the first true leader of post-immigrant Catholicism. Ironically, Andrew Greeley, Cody's most vociferous critic, stands with him as a symbol of magisterial time gone by" (16). Kennedy insists that Greeley's "vision of the church is that of a liberalized autocracy in which newly enlightened and charismatic leaders will sit nobly on the thrones of the departed autocrats of old. He is concerned that they be . . . good father figures. . . . The well educated Catholics who have emerged from the immigrant culture to participate in and shape the fate of pluralistic America no longer need or pay much attention to those who comport themselves as father figure ecclesiastics." While this is a serious misreading of Greeley's definition of leadership in the church (or other social groups) it is yet another example of Kennedy's tendency to see what he wants to see. By 1982 Greeley had become the enemy. Kennedy concludes his 1982 assessment of Greeley by noting: "Bright, seemingly isolated, the subject of enormous controversy, insistent on being identified behind a Roman collar, Greeley is an arresting and touching figure. He may be the last ardent supporter of the essential dynamics of a bygone Church. He cares more about the archiepiscopal office of Chicago than almost all of the lay Catholics he has encouraged." This is quite a contrast to the 1975 piece in which Kennedy wishes that the Church had more Greeleys willing to take on the hierarchy.
ACT TWO: SEPARATION
Scene One: Unmasking the Making of Popes
One summer afternoon in 1975 Greeley was enjoying Lake Michigan and the sunny beach of his Grand Beach vacation home, reading about the U.S. election process and reflecting on Theodore White's accounts of presidential elections since 1956. It occurred to him that the time might be right to do for the papacy what Theodore White had done for U.S. presidents, and to do so from a similarly concerned insider's perspective. Before his eyes, the hopes of the Council were disintegrating and confidence in the papacy was eroding. He proposed the idea to Jim Andrews with Universal Press Syndicate. Andrews approved. Next Greeley visited Bernardin in Cincinnati, at the time president of the U.S. Bishops' Conference. Bernardin thought the project an excellent idea and suggested that Greeley should not only report what had happened after the next conclave but should try to analyze conditions and trends ahead of time. In his book on the papal election Greeley characterizes his activities as "about one-third social science, one-third journalism, and one-third espionage." He made dozens of trips to countries all across Europe to talk with "cardinals, archbishops, bishops, monsignors, abbots, priests, laity, apostates, pagans, Jews, Protestants, and full professors." He kept a detailed diary on a series of blessedly shrinking tape-recorders, often dictating late at night, in moods ranging from jet-lagged, conspirational, and depressed, to playful and wildly elated.
The papal election project reversed the slight chill that had marked Greeley's relationship with Bernardin since the priesthood study and ushered in a period of growing collaboration and friendship between the two men. In the prologue to The Making of the Popes 1978, Greeley writes that "I didn't figure I could influence the outcome; but I thought I could at least watch the drama up close." He left for a week-long reconnaissance trip to Rome the middle of November 1975. As the book-diary progresses from then to December 1978 it becomes obvious that over the years Greeley, Bernardin and others began to hope that indeed they might be able to affect the election.
Practically from the moment he arrived in Rome, Greeley found himself surrounded by rumors of plots designed to assure the election of one cardinal or another, or at least victory for the Italians over the foreigners. He also discovered that the Church was far less efficiently organized at the top than he had imagined. Greeley saw his beloved Church adrift, at the mercy of radicals, conservatives, and charismatics, while the ship's captain, Pope Paul VI, was too weak to steer a decisive course. "The next pope," Greeley argued, "should be strong, and strong does not necessarily mean autocratic; rather it means confident. He should be a visionary with a sense of direction." At the moment Greeley found himself watching a farce--"men parading around in red robes, white robes, and with fans an banners waving. Mind you, this is all in the name of a church that was founded in the name of simplicity."
This trip was followed by a series of jaunts: a couple of days in spring and June of 1976, and a week that November. Greeley returned to Rome for another week in October 1977 during a global bishops' conference. He was disgusted with the bishops' unwillingness to confront contemporary issues honestly and especially to take the needs of young people seriously. "Religious education is discussed ad nauseam without any reference to the fact that human beings are sexual creatures. One would think that the race is continued by some sort of parthenogenesis. An almost complete conspiracy of silence veils the subject of sexuality." During a brief trip in May, 1978, a priest Greeley calls by the pseudonym Father Adolpho, a high-ranking Jesuit in the Curia and good friend, told him that Paul VI was in very poor health. Over supper they discussed the possibility of writing a series of articles containing a profile of the ideal pope to be published in Italian, German, French, and American magazines. Greeley reports that Adolpho said "we ought to put together a conspiracy as the people in England did to get Hume made archbishop of Westminster." Greeley liked the idea but was troubled by the fact that there seemed to be no candidates, and "you can't beat nobody with nobody." The two conspirators decided, however, that their kind of job description might be taken seriously "because it fills the vacuum." They also hoped that a few more good men, including Joseph Bernardin, would be appointed to the college of cardinals before the next conclave.
In June 1978, back in Chicago, Greeley wrote the job description by putting himself into "the position of a non-Christian sociologist looking at the papacy." The job description reflects contemporary conditions, especially the fact that a pope will be followed by television cameras wherever he goes. In order to function effectively, the pope should realize that his "'media image' will have a profound effect for good or ill on his followers and on others, regardless of whether he knows it or approves of it." Greeley's paradigmatic pope was a "media personality par excellence," a man who trusted colleagues and subordinates, a man of "transparent virtue and authentic holiness," a man who radiated faith, hope, confidence, and joy--in short, "a Hopeful Holy Man Who Can Smile." This description would in fact circulated among the cardinals during the subsequent conclaves.
In the first few days of August, 1978, Greeley reports in his book, Sebastiano Baggio, prefect for the Congregation for Bishops and Vatican diplomat, made a secret visit to Cardinal Cody in an effort to get Cody to resign, wielding a huge dossier of charges against the cardinal, including racism, financial maladministration, poor administration, conflict with the clergy, unpopularity with the laity, and extraordinary personal habits, such as obsessive secretiveness and vindictiveness. According to Greeley's unnamed sources, there was a late night shouting match at the Cardinal's Mundelein villa. Greeley's account is consistent with a passing comment in Antoni Gronowicz' carefully researched if cautious biography of Pope John Paul II. Gronowicz reports that when Paul VI heard that Cody had papal ambitions, he referred to Cody an "American businessman" and told Cardinal Wyszy■ski that he couldn't stand his "shallow piousness" and "meager intellect." Cody refused to resign and was saved by the death of Paul VI on Sunday, August 6.
Greeley heard about the Pope's death when CBS called him at 2:45 in the afternoon while he was celebrating a NORC colleague's birthday on the beach. They sent a correspondent in a helicopter to interview Greeley, and ended up re-interviewing him the next day because the tape was lost. Somehow the birthday got celebrated, the Mass said, the television cameras faced, the trip to Rome planned. During the conclave Greeley would lead a United Press Syndicate task force and write daily dispatches for more than a hundred daily papers in various parts of the world.
Greeley arrived in Rome two days later. He describes the papal wake (comparing it to the King Tut exhibit), London bookies giving odds on the election, and gossip concerning cardinals as they arrive one by one over the next several days. "Franz Koenig has repeated his idea that the next pope ought to be a young man and non-Italian, possibly non-European. Leo Suenens has suggested that it might be a good idea to have four popes, one for each part of the world." He is troubled by the fact that the Northern European cardinals are slow in coming and apparently reluctant to organize, causing "the local right-wingers to feel their oats." On Sunday, August 13, his job description was be released during a press conference by the Committee for the Responsible Election of the Pope (with the creepy acronym CREP), a committee of primarily North American journalists including Jim Andrews and John McMeel formed to counteract what they considered the collective irresponsibility that masquerades as "mathematics of the Holy Spirit" and hides in the traditional secrecy surrounding papal elections. They had commissioned Gary MacEoin to write a book of dossiers of all the cardinals. Greeley was not a member but donated the papal job description to the cause. On his own, Greeley had already called Bernardin and suggested he get Cardinal Dearden to take on a leadership role. Bernardin's response was non-committal. Greeley resigned himself, "That's not his style." During the press conference someone asked Greeley what he thought about the possibility of a woman pope. "Why not?" was his response. Italian journalists were appalled.
In the subsequent week, Greeley describes the ongoing campaigning ranging from subtle to ruthless. It reminds him of Cook County politics: "All appearances of conflict are avoided; decisions are made often by what is not said rather than what is said; understandings are implicit; commitments, such as they are, are at most gentlemen's agreements; loyalty to friends and allies is taken for granted; and occasionally someone says something vigorous to the press, just to keep the pot boiling." Greeley's dream is an "open, outgoing papacy," but it seems most unlikely under prevailing conditions of Byzantine plotting and secrecy.
The unexpected happened. Albino Luciani of Venice was elected on Saturday, August 26. He took the name John Paul. Greeley, who had underestimated Luciani during the campaign and was not particularly impressed when the election was announced found himself dazzled by the new pope's acceptance speech and ended up praying the Angelus in Latin with him, tears streaming down his face. Luciani was a once a down-to-earth man of the people and a brilliant scholar, so brilliant that he could make the complex seem simple. His father had been a migratory laborer and Socialist from Northern Italy near the Austrian border. Throughout his ascending career in the Church, Luciani remained a parish priest, a caring human being, a man who radiated joy, a neighbor who loved children and enjoyed pedalling his bicycle around. In the whirl of official church condemnation of Dr. Steptoe's first successful test-tube impregnation that led to the birth of Louise Brown in July of 1978, the bishop of Venice had represented a happy exception. He started out by congratulating the parents and taking note of their good faith which he thought made their decision morally right. One the other hand, he drew carefully nuanced attention to the possible dangers of such procedures and the need for careful further study. His response was exactly the kind of reaction appropriate to a world never dreamed of by 13th century moral theologians, no matter how well intentioned. Gradually Greeley realized that his job description fit the new pope perfectly. This man had the kind of guileless transparent personal goodness that captures the hearts and minds of ordinary people. He was the perfect media personality precisely because he didn't need to pretend; there was nothing phony about him. He swept away the signs of medieval monarchical splendor--the royal "we," the throne, the crowning. "The curial ideologues of the right objected to him because he spent more time on sermons than signing papers. And the liberals on the left objected to him because his style was not that of a radical theologian. But the kids in the street knew what he meant and so did the people of the world--and they loved him and he revolutionized the papacy."
Thirty-three days later the newly elected pope was dead. He died in his bed, around 11 p.m. on September 28, with some notes in his hand. Almost immediately people began to whisper and shout that "their" pope had been poisoned by the Curia. Conspirational scenarios and plot theories proliferated. Greeley insists there was no evidence, particularly since according to official Vatican rules the body of a pope cannot be degraded by an autopsy. Still, the rumors persisted and rapidly spread around the globe.
Once again Greeley observed a papal election. Meanwhile, back in Hyde Park at the National Opinion Research Center Research Assistant Christian Jacobsen's computer model to simulate the conclave was finally in place. It had been commissioned by Universal Press Syndicate, but was not completed until just before Luciani's election. The simulation involved predicting a range of possible winners based on the candidates' positions on fourteen issues facing the church and their perceived relative influence as rated by experts on a scale from 1-5. Interestingly, Luciani was ranked number three in the simulation, much higher than human observers of Vatican politics would have placed him. Since the computer simulation had been considerably more accurate than unaided human prognostication it was once again pressed into service. Greeley flew back to Chicago to play with the models himself. Another dark horse, Karol Wojtyla of Cracow emerged with the closest profile to Luciani's. Greeley wearing the journalist's hat didn't accept the computer's analysis. Wojtyla wasn't even a candidate! On the other hand Greeley the sociologist did use the program's nose-counting capabilities to reassure people back in Rome that Genoa's archconservative Cardinal Giuseppe Siri didn't really have a chance, no matter how impressive his initial showing might be.
The days went by as Greeley gave television interviews, counted projected votes, stood in the crowd, watching ambiguously blackwhite noon and evening smoke emerging from the Sistine Chapel chimney, and recorded shifting configurations of coalitions in support of potential popes. He writes of possible curial blitzes complete with panic orchestrated to inspire cardinals to jump on the bandwagon of a front runner to be with the winner. Again he comments on the need for ant-curialists and non-Italians to organize.
On October 16, coincidentally the Feast of Saint Hedwig, one of the patron saints of Poland, Karol Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II, the first non-Italian pope since 1522. As if by magic, his words in their native language from the balcony moved the silent, sullen, disappointed Italian crowd in Saint Peter's Square to laughter and cheering. Greeley spent much of the night explaining the significance of events to CBS and NBC audiences. Despite his delight at the conclave's outcome, he was concerned: "The big risk," he noted, "it seems to me, is whether a man can make the leap from Cracow to Rome, from being a brilliant leader of a garrison church to being the one who presides in charity over a worldwide pluralistic church." The past sixteen years have shown just precisely how prophetic Greeley's insight was. Since he ascended to St. Peter's chair, Pope John Paul II has emerged as a highly ambivalent figure, a man who in profound faith and with all the integrity of a true believer governs global Catholicism as though it were a fortress under siege. He travels and smiles and makes friends, while remaining deaf to democratic voices within the Church, at least if they belong to women or anyone in support of family planning or collegiality in decision making. An old friend of mine, a priest and teacher for almost sixty years, is close to tears whenever he speaks of our "poor church" and all the wondrous promise of growth and openness being slowly throttled under rigid papal authority.
Scene Two: The Winters Affair
In 1975 Jack Egan invited Greeley to give a speech at the University of Notre Dame for the Catholic Committee on Urban Ministry. The audience of peace and justice change-agents was more interested in passionate action than dry survey research figures and pelted Greeley with what he considered a barrage of hostile questions. Jim Winters, an American Studies junior with journalistic ambitions, had been assigned to critique the speech and interview the speaker for a course in news writing. Before the lecture Greeley had tentatively agreed to the interview but ended up leaving without talking to Winters. Two years later Winters graduated and accepted a position with the Notre Dame alumni magazine. Over the next two years he advanced from editorial assistant to copy editor and finally managing editor.
In June 1979, shortly after Greeley had accepted a tenured professorship at the University of Arizona at Tucson, Winters asked Greeley if he might interview him in order to write his profile for the Notre Dame Magazine. Greeley turned him down, but Winters didn't give up. In December, he invited Greeley to contribute an article to the magazine. Greeley called Winters and told him that he didn't have time for the article but would agree to the interview after all.
Before flying to Tucson, Winters talked to Eugene Kennedy, on the advice of Jack Egan. "Off the record" Kennedy gave Winters an extensive run-down on Greeley, including his opinion that Cody had been fairly nice to Greeley but that Greeley was paranoid and had a thing about father figures. Winters took no notes but typed up his recollection of their two-hour conversation later.
Greeley gave Winters many hours of taped interviews between Monday, March 24 and Friday, March 28, 1980. At one point he told Winters that another reporter, a man from Washington, was in town to talk to him as well, but had gotten sick. When Greeley discovered that Winters was unfamiliar with his fiction, he suggested Winters read the Death in April manuscript and said he would send him a draft of his current novel, the Cardinal Sins. When Winters was getting ready to leave, Greeley asked him to send a transcript of the tapes to his archives at Rosary College. At that point Winters mentioned that he might want to look at some of Greeley's manuscripts there. Greeley said that was fine. This bit of conversation became crucial evidence later. Winters, however, erased that part of the tape, supposedly in order to spare a transcriptionist's feelings. He had made some comment about her incompetence during that segment of the interview.
After returning from Tucson, Winters talked to a number of Greeley's friends and associates. In April he made arrangements to visit the Rosary archives. He decided not to go, however, and did not even bother to call the librarian to cancel the appointment. In June he once again discussed Greeley with Kennedy who also kept his private papers at Rosary College. Shortly thereafter he visited the archive on July 7, 8, and 17. Greeley's papers were stored in cardboard file boxes of varying sizes. There was no index. When he asked to make copies, Sister Field, and elderly nun who had been ill and was about to retire, showed him the copiers and gave him the auditron, telling him he could pay whoever was at the desk a nickel for each page.
Winters went through the boxes methodically, looking not only for manuscripts of articles and books but anything that might help him write an exciting story. On the second day of research, he came across written Roman diaries material and ten audio tapes, all marked "Top Secret, Confidential." As a former part-time private investigator I can imagine no more enthralling words. On July 17, Winters spent all day copying his windfall in batches of 25 pages at a time. In addition to the copies, he took the ten tapes out of the library in order to listen to them in his South Bend apartment. He claimed later that he saw nothing inappropriate about removing tapes from the premisses without asking permission or trying to check them out. He had become convinced that Greeley intended to "rig a Papal election" and that the material he had uncovered promised to turn a mere profile into an explosive Watergate type cover story. He was convinced that Greeley had planned to get his friend Joe Bernardin into the College of Cardinals by siccing a hot shot investigative reporter on Cody to write the kind of expose Rome couldn't ignore. Cody would be retired, Bernardin would come to Chicago, and in due time he would become cardinal as well as Greeley's inside man. In his exhilaration Winters did not stop to think that nothing done to Cody in 1980 could possibly affect the 1978 conclave. Besides, there would always be a next time, and one can imagine an eager young reporter hot on the trail of a parish priest who is not only plotting to topple a cardinal but also intends to rig a papal election. In addition, the materials included numerous candid, off-the-record, and potentially embarrassing interviews with Bernardin and other church leaders who had spoken to Greeley in confidence.
Greeley was out of the country at the time but heard rumors of Winters' activities. On July 29 he called Winters to find out what was going on. Winters said nothing about the ten tapes or all the copies of confidential documents. Worried about the damage a possible leak could do, Greeley called Father Hesburgh who in turn ordered Winters to return all copies to Rosary College. Hesburgh had no idea at the time that Winters had walked out with ten original tapes. Winters accused Hesburgh of asking him to become party to a coverup. Just in case, while he was in Hesburgh's office, Winters had his set of copies xeroxed at the Notre Dame copy center. Eventually, under duress, he returned the "original" copies but retained the copied copies. Winters had also contacted the audiovisual center at Notre Dame to copy the tapes, but they did not have the proper equipment.
While Winters still had the tapes at his apartment, Carlton Sherwood came to see him. Sherwood is a prominent (if cynical) investigative reporter who had aggressively gone after a group of corrupt monks, winning a Pulitzer prize for the resulting piece. After looking through documents and listening to part of a tape, Sherwood told Winters that he thought he himself was the investigative reporter Greeley hoped would topple Cody. They discovered that they had almost crossed paths in Tucson the last week of March when both of them were there to interview Greeley. Sherwood explained he had to check into a hospital as soon as he arrived because of an ulcer attack. That meeting in Tucson with Greeley had marked the beginning of Sherwood's investigation of Cardinal Cody's handling of finances and Cody's relationship with Helen Wilson. When Winters returned the tapes to Rosary he had listened to most of them and transcribed relevant portions.
Winters realized that Notre Dame wouldn't do the kind of story he had in mind. Over the following year, while continuing to work at Notre Dame Magazine, he negotiated repeatedly with the Sun Time and the Tribune about trading his story for a job. Throughout this period Winters went to Kennedy for advice. In January, when his Notre Dame employers discovered Winters' activities, and it seemed likely that he would lose his job for deceiving Hesburgh, Kennedy contacted the editor of Chicago Magazine, John Fink, on his behalf. Winters was not fired, but eventually sent Fink the manuscript anyway. As soon as he finished it, around June 1981, Winters also gave Kennedy a copy of the thirty-thousand word draft for critique. When Fink had their lawyers take a look at the piece, Winters wanted to get a legal opinion of his own. Kennedy suggested Bill Maddux, his wife's attorney, and the three of them met for lunch to discuss the issue.
After the Sun-Times published the first installment of their explosive Cody expose on September 10, 1981 Winters found himself near the eye of the storm. Everyone seemed to want his story but no one offered him a job. Hence he was still working at Notre Dame. Besieged, Winters called Kennedy for advice. Sherwood came back to town and introduced him to Rob Warden, the editor of the Chicago Lawyer, on September 15. Warden offered to publish the article but Winters still thought he had a chance with the Tribune and turned him down. At the time Sherwood and Kennedy also cultivated one another in a complex mutual information-gathering cat and mouse dance. Winters recalls that on September 17, Kennedy called him and said "The Tribune is trying to fuck you. They are calling people with information that they could only have gotten from you and they are telling people they have documentation for it. They said they called Bernardin [and] Father Roache and that they are trying to bluff their way into a story in this fashion." That same day Warden once again called Winters. He had been talking with Larry Green, the Los Angeles Times' Chicago correspondent and suggested the two publications split the story. Winters turned down this proposal as well. That evening Sherwood called Winters at home and said that Greeley had phoned him from London on his way to Corfu. Apparently Ken Briggs of the New York Times had contacted Greeley and told him that excerpts from his confidential notes were being circulated in Chicago. Sherwood said that Greeley had asked, "Does this have to do with our friend at Notre Dame?"
On September 18 Winters broke off his negotiations with the Tribune and contacted Fink to retrieve the copies of his draft article. Warden put more pressure on him to release the story to the Chicago Lawyer, citing the example of Seymour Hirsch, a reporter who got credit for a story actually researched and written by someone else. After Warden's call, Winters left his apartment and checked into a motel for the week end to get some peace. On Monday morning he discovered that his activities had been mentioned in a New York Times article and Notre Dame depart- ment heads wanted to meet with him.
Winter called Kennedy for advice. Kennedy told Winters to "make sure that you do not let anyone portray you as less than you have been, which is totally honorable." Winters told Kennedy that he would call him back to let him know what had happened. He was not terminated. When Winters called Kennedy with the good news, Kennedy said that he had heard that Warden had something, but he did not know what, and he did not even know if that was the truth. Winters called Sherwood who said that Warden seemed to have documents similar to or exactly like the ones Winters had copied at Rosary College.
Rumors began to fly that the Chicago Lawyer had Winters' materials. Sherwood speculated that Warden might have obtained the materials from Universal Press Syndicate or from Chicago Maga- zine or its lawyers. On September 24, Kennedy and Sherwood warned Winters that the Tribune was going to run a story about an upcoming Chicago Lawyer expose. Kennedy told Winters "that he had heard that there was something of a circus atmosphere at Warden's office."
On September 25 the Sun-Times published an article and Greeley's press release, according to which Greeley's "private diaries" had been "stolen" from his "sealed archives" and "were being circulated." In Winters was furious. As far as he was concerned there were not private diaries. There were communications with Greeley's publisher. Nothing was stolen. The archives were not sealed, and nothing was being circulated. Winters immediately phoned Kennedy who told him that he had already called the Sun Times and asked Larson if he was trying to ruin Winters' career and life. When Winters told Kennedy he was thinking of suing Greeley Kennedy suggested he get in touch with Maddux.
In the October 1981 Chicago Lawyer cover story, "The Plot to Get Cody," Rob Warden published lengthy excerpts from the Winters draft to substantiate his theory that Greeley, his friend James F. Andrews, Chairman of University Press Syndicate, and Archbishop Bernardin of Cincinnati had conspired to overthrow Cody. Selectively citing from transcripts of the tape recordings Winters had removed from the Rosary archives, Warden presented a sinister scenario in which Andrews' newspaper investigation would force the Vatican to remove Cody, making way for Bernardin to come to Chicago, be promoted to cardinal, and "in a grand finale . . . organize the College of Cardinals to elect a liberal successor to the then ailing Paul VI." As I pointed out earlier, Winters refused to deal with Warden and did not give him a copy of his manuscript. No one has ever explained how extended segments of Warden's piece came to be identical with Winters' draft.
On April 23, 1982 Kennedy called Winters in South Bend from his summer house in Michigan to tell him that in about an hour Greeley will be featured on the Donahue Show, and may be talking about the events reported in the press in the fall of 1981. During the show Donahue confronted Greeley with the Chicago Lawyer article, and Greeley blew up, calling Winters a liar and a thief on national television. Significantly, Donahue and Kennedy are acquaintances and Donahue and Maddux are friends. On January 11, 1991 Irv Kupcinet wrote, "Phil Donahue will be in town today to emcee at a party at Chez Paul for his attorney and long-time friend William Maddux. (They were fellow students at Notre Dame.) It's a celebration of Maddux's appointment as a Circuit Court judge." Hence, Winters' attorney in a five-million dollar suit against Greeley was a good buddy of the man who goaded Greeley into making the statements that would become the cause of the action.
After the Donahue show, Kennedy advised Winters to sue Greeley-- as, according to Winters, did Monsignor John Egan. Neither suggested to the inexperienced young man, now a free lance journalist in Chicago, that in the journalistic profession, a reporter who sues for libel inevitably becomes a pariah because he is seen as threatening the First Amendment rights of his own trade. This is a point made by Carlton Sherwood who is still furious at Kennedy for sacrificing Winters to what he calls a "twisted appetite for revenge," saying "Winters was a good kid. . . . He just fell in with the wrong crowd. He was given a lot of bad advice. And I tried to give him good advice. . . . If Winters had done what I told him to do, he would never have gotten into all this trouble. And he would probably be working at a good publication by now, and be well on his way to a nice career."
Ironically, the suit led to a series of depositions which made the entire Kennedy-Winters-Greeley affair a matter of public record. According to Winters' sworn deposition, during the relevant period (1980-82) there was only one individual with whom he discussed the Greeley affair as frequently as "Dr. Kennedy," and that was his friend Jim Cushing, at the time a law student with the firm of Kennedy's attorney Tom Boodell. In his book Defendant, Kennedy identifies Boodell as the attorney who took the most significant depositions in the malpractice case involving his wife, Dr. Sara Charles. Boodell was also one of Greeley's "young people" when he was doing parish work. By the time Winters returned the "original copies" to Rosary College, Kennedy had become in Winters' mind his principal adviser. They spoke regularly on the phone and met often in Chicago. Winters sought Kennedy's counsel about every major move he made. Kennedy arranged interviews for Winters with Chicago publications without any apparent misgivings about encouraging the young man to behavior that was disloyal to Notre Dame (behavior which Father Hesburgh in his deposition would describe as having been deceived and criminal). By thus helping put the Winters article in circulation he made inevitable their eventual leak to the public record.
Greeley still recalls how badly shaken he was when he first discovered Kennedy's connection to the Cody-Plot affair. He says, "The first hint I had that we weren't friends was the Winters depositions (in 1985), and that really made the world tilt and sway back and forth," adding, "In my wildest moments, I would not have been that paranoid." Why was Kennedy so angry at Greeley? In retrospect timing was essential. In 1981 both Greeley and Kennedy published novels. Greeley's The Cardinal Sins turned into a major international bestseller; Kennedy's Father's Day, on the other hand, was critically acclaimed but commercially unremarkable. While Greeley's novel had already been on the New York Times bestseller list for many months before the Cody-Plot publicity, Kennedy subsequently hinted that somehow Greeley had engineered the whole affair to boost book sales. Once again, Greeley had beaten Kennedy. And this time Kennedy would have his revenge.
Scene Three: The Kennedy Plot
As I have already indicated, during the period when the Chicago Lawyer revelations were breaking Greeley was on sabbatical leave in Corfu. Greeley traces his estrangement from Bernardin to a phone call in fall of 1981 when he was sitting in his small apartment on the island, listening to the ocean roar and trying to get over a case of food poisoning. His agent Bernard Geis called him with good news about book sales, and added that Carlton Sherwood (another one of Geis's clients) had given him a message to pass on, purportedly from Cincinnati's Archbishop Bernardin, to stop writing about Cody or face expulsion from the priesthood.
Carlton Sherwood recalls a rather different scenario. While he was in Chicago on the Cody investigation he had frequent contact with both Greeley and Kennedy. He mentioned to Kennedy that during a long interview in a Cincinnati motel room in summer of 1980 (which the future cardinal attended in disguise), Bernardin had told him that he had been asked by the Vatican to befriend Greeley in order to "contain him." Sherwood also told Kennedy that he had passed this on to Greeley and warned him to watch his back. Kennedy feared that once Greeley found out he would consider this a form of betrayal and start to hound Bernardin the way he had gone after Cody. Therefore he asked Sherwood to relay a message to Greeley, allegedly from Bernardin, warning him that, while there would be no objection to his continuing to write on other matters, he would be dismissed from the priesthood if he ever wrote on the Cody affair again. Moreover Sherwood was supposed to indicate that this command came from the "highest authority." Kennedy then arranged for Bernardin who was in Rome at the time to assure Sherwood (via a long-distance call to Italy from Kennedy's apartment) that he would protect Greeley if he complied. In Sherwood's words: "And frankly, here's . . . this thing . . . of trying to set up this deal with Greeley, you know, this 'you don't bite me, I don't bite you' . . . those little sessions where Gene was calling Bernardin, and he's the one who, Gene's the one who proposed that deal, basically immunity from prosecution for Greeley. He is the one who proposed it to me." Earlier in the interview, Sherwood elaborated on Kennedy's Byzantine tendencies: "The one thing Gene has done consistently, he always likes to be the guy behind the guy. He likes to be the power behind the throne. He used to wax Machiavellian to me about how great it was to be the guy who was moving and grooving behind the scenes. Old style Chicago politics. Never go out but be the guy who's pulling the strings."
As Kennedy, a psychologist, should have anticipated (in a benign scenario) or did indeed anticipate (in a malevolent scenario), Greeley was irate at the threat of intimidation. He fired off two enraged letters to the Archbishop, warning Bernardin never to attempt such tactics with him in the future. Later Kennedy would quote Greeley's mid-December letter: "Don't ever threaten me again, . . .. Pass that up as high as you go. Ask, don't threaten. . . . Don't call me or write me. The less I have to do with you the better." Bernardin, not knowing the reason for this assault (perhaps not even aware that he had been presented as threatening Greeley) was baffled and apparently showed the letters, marked "personal and confidential," to Kennedy, the man he considered their common friend.
In a letter to me dated February 22, 1993, Cardinal Bernardin states, "I have no knowledge of such a threat," and denies having asked Kennedy to pass on such a message. He adds, "I was quite upset by the 'revelations' in Father Greeley's papers which became public and which gave the impression that somehow I was engaged in a plot--which was not true. Rather, we had discussed some of the problems which existed in the Archdiocese--problems which were publicly known. Indeed, other priests and lay people had taken the initiative to discuss them with ne. However, frank discussions are not the same as a plot. To his credit, Father Greeley said at the time that what he had written was more a matter of fantasizing than reality. On his part, I think Father Greeley was upset because he thought I had used an intermediary to threaten him."
Thus, presumably to protect Bernardin from what he considered Greeley's potentially vitriolic reaction to the revelation that the Cincinnati Archbishop had been asked by Rome to cultivate him to keep him in line, Kennedy set in motion events that would keep Bernardin and Greeley apart for a crucial decade in which the diocese was rocked by a series of fiscal woes, school closings, and sex scandals. Greeley worked into Kennedy's design--if indeed it was a design--by nursing his anger at Bernardin and automatically distrusting the Cardinal's intentions. Reflecting on the ten-year rift Bernardin writes in 1993: "During that period, there were a number of critical remarks on his [Greeley's] part (both in his columns and in personal letters to me) which served to maintain the tension which existed between us. During that period, however, I said a special prayer every morning that we could be reconciled -- something which I later told him."
The full extent of Kennedy's anger at Greeley becomes a matter of public record with the publication of Cardinal Bernardin, Kennedy's biography of the Cardinal in 1989 which is as much an assault on Greeley as it is a tribute to Bernardin.
In Cardinal Bernardin, Kennedy describes Greeley as "a controversial figure," a man of "prickly sensitivity," who would shift from being a "charming . . . little boy" to a "remote and unhappy person, uncertain of what he wanted or needed to achieve contentment." He is "a restless" man, "feeling unappreciated in the church" wanting "to be noticed in the world beyond it" and willing to do practically anything for publicity, including "uncharacteristically allow[ing] a chapter of his book [on the papal elections] to be published in Playboy." His personal style is "strident"; he is given to "dramatic flourishes and threats" and is "unpredictable in his professional attitudes"; his volume of the Priest Study suffered from his "herculean but necessarily hurried treatment" of the data. In addition he caused the bishops "needless grief." Ultimately he emerges "not a sage to guide the policies of the Chicago church, but a calculating and self-interested agitator."
According to Kennedy, Greeley is largely driven by the profit motif; he is an unabashed, "restless if prosperous" self-promoter who celebrated his 40th birthday by "throwing himself a lavish party in the tower of the Chicago Hilton." Kennedy makes sure that readers know that Greeley, after accepting a professorship at the University of Arizona in Tucson, "purchased a house there on Big Rock Road" (was he supposed to live in a trailer? And how does Greeley's purchase of a home pertain to the Bernardin biography?). Kennedy writes that Greeley cultivated Bernardin "as the fruitful and project saving source of the inside information he would need to write a bestseller." During the Chicago Lawyer revelations, Kennedy tells us, Greeley kept "in touch with developments by telephone from the Hilton Hotel on Corfu" from where "he talked to Sherwood of the otherwise satisfactory outcomes of the blow-up: Things had worked out much as he had hoped, his book, The Cardinal Sins, was selling wildly because of the incident and he was, he claimed, already 'working on my second million.' The priest would reappear to reap the other harvests of his newfound celebrity after things cooled down." Sherwood absolutely and vehemently denies that Greeley ever said such a thing to him or that he told Kennedy anything of the sort.
When Kennedy discusses Greeley's fiction his account becomes wildly inaccurate. Consider the following passage: "His first novel, Blue in Chicago, had appeared but had not attracted the readership he had hoped for. He was finishing a second novel as 1980 dawned, one in which he would combine his knowledge of Rome and Chicago as well as his previous research into sexual intimacy. Warner Books thought that with intrigue in high church places flavored with sex he had at last found the ingredients of a bestseller. They planned to publish it in the spring of 1981 under the title The Cardinal Sins." All of this is pure fabrication. In fact, Cardinal Sins was Greeley's third novel. It was preceded by The Magic Cup (1979) and Death in April (1980). Both were published by McGraw-Hill, and Warner's would not even bid on the manuscript until Bernard Geis, Greeley's agent, auctioned it off upon completion. Greeley never wrote anything called "Blue in Chicago."
Whenever possible, Kennedy ridicules, patronizes, and maligns Greeley's literary work. Concerning The Cardinal Sins, for example, he writes that "Father Greeley claimed later to have selected personally the photograph of a naked woman viewed from the rear that would decorate its bright red cover. For good measure, he decided that the sex scenes should appear in italics." The "naked woman viewed from the rear" evokes images of graphic Penthouse buttocks, when in fact the image Greeley picked is of an elegant, chaste, almost Grecian back, nude from shoulders to hips, against the burgundy folds of flowing drapery. In addition, Kennedy fails to mention that the photograph is an artist's self portrait and that the italicized scenes are portions of the novel written from a perspective other than the first-person narrator's. Why is Kennedy so critical of the book? It seems that he never recovered from the thrashing he thought he took in the Cardinal Sins-Father's Day publicity race.
It had not occurred to Greeley at the time that Kennedy saw him as a rival. It did to Sherwood, however, who still snickers, "Gene would kill to have Greeley's royalties." In retrospect the psychological dynamics seem clear. In our telephone conversations, Sherwood commented repeatedly on Kennedy's "irrational" and "obsessive" resentment of Greeley, noting that compared to Greeley, Kennedy was a "loser," and wondering, "How would you like to grow up in that shadow? How would you like to emerge in that same city? The same archdiocese? Next to a guy who could sit on a plane from New York to Chicago, and do more than it took you a whole month of sweating bullets to do."
Concerning the one million dollar gift Bernardin rejected in 1986, Kennedy writes: "If the archbishop accepted money that had been earned through novels that had, among other things, savaged his predecessor and attacked him as well, Bernardin would be indirectly approving of them, granting the imprimatur that Greeley wanted for himself. Such a public endorsement would redeem Greeley from the widespread criticisms that he was a purveyor of sado-masochistic themes rigged up in ecclesiastical settings. Such approbation would be equivalent to the cardinal's imprinting his ring in a waxen seal on his novels."
Quite often, Kennedy twists his stiletto by quoting others--both accurately and inaccurately, but generally out of context and always with the clear agenda of skewering Greeley. Thus he writes that while he "was comforted by many who enjoyed his work, Greeley was disturbed by analyses of his fiction such as that that appeared in Forum, a magazine of the Penthouse empire of Bob Guccione. In an article titled 'The Phallic Priest,' he was described as 'the Harold Robbins of the Catholic Church' who had undergone 'a literary sex change.' Attacking Greeley's frequent comparison of himself to the writers of the bible who told similar stories of human problems, the Forum writer offered examples of what he considered the 'whacko art' of the priest's 'violent pornography.'" How did Kennedy come by the Penthouse Forum piece? Somehow, the publication does not seem his kind of literary journal. But there is a connecting trail. In May 1981 Philip Nobile had published an admiring interview with Kennedy (who had just published Father's Day) in the National Catholic Reporter, and a particularly nasty review of Greeley's Cardinal Sins. After going on to the Forum, Nobile wrote yet another attack on Greeley in 1985 under the pseudonym Defoggia--the piece Kennedy gleefully (and utterly gratuitously) cites in Cardinal Bernardin. Kennedy writes that late publisher Dan Herr "remonstrated with Greeley, urging him to give up what Herr judged to be excessive and, at times, even distorted criticism [of Cardinal Cody]" (134-35). He quotes Herr as stating that "the only way the bishops can shut Andrew up is by making him a bishop, by making him part of their club. The he couldn't criticize them" (172), and writes that Herr refused to be interviewed by James Winters, "telling friends that no good could come of such a project because Greeley would want to control it from start to finish and that the priest would be furious with anybody who did not give him unqualified praise for everything he did" (190). In May 1990, I asked Herr on the phone about the various comments Kennedy attributed to him. Herr emphatically denied having said any of those things, adding that he had written Greeley a letter to that effect. As far as he was concerned, he chuckled, there was only one way to deal with Eugene Kennedy, "he does not exist." After Herr's death I obtained a copy of Herr's letter to Greeley. The note reads in part: "Several months ago when I was first informed of Kennedy's infamous book and the three quotations attributed to me, I wrote him a vehement letter. But after due consideration I decided not to send it--the book was sure to be a dud and the worst revenge against a publicity-hound is to ignore him. Because of our very long friendship I was not concerned that you would take his charges seriously, particularly because you would know better than anyone how distorted his portrait of you was. . . . Now, at your request, I do so deny their veracity for the archives" (Personal Letter 24 Oct. 1989).
As I already indicated, Kennedy puts much of his speculation concerning Greeley into Sherwood's mouth: "Sherwood would later claim that not only did Greeley want a public scandal, as he had spoken of three years before, but he wanted it to take place when his novel The Cardinal Sins was in the book-stores. That way, according to Sherwood's recreation of Greeley's motivation, the priest would realize his long term goals in one season: Cody would be so embarrassed that he might be forced out of office, Greeley's sex and church scandal book would receive enormous additional publicity, and he would get the credit for slaying the dragon-like Cody as well as for making the way clear for the appointment of Joseph L. Bernardin as archbishop of Chicago." Sherwood insists that most if not all the quotations attributed to him by Kennedy on the subject of Greeley (and Bernardin) are false. Sherwood is understandably miffed that Kennedy made no attempts to confirm the account of events before publication. It would have been easy for him to do so since during that period Sherwood left repeated messages on Kennedy's answering machine. Sherwood fumed on the phone to me, "Gene was obviously working on this book at the time, so it wasn't just a matter of, 'Gee, I lost your phone number' or 'we have to talk, I couldn't find you.' He could have reached me easily; in fact I tried to reach him." No wonder Sherwood concluded "I would never, frankly, trust him on another thing that he wrote."
Ironically, at the time when he was presumably writing Cardinal Bernardin, Kennedy went out of his way to blast the editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association, George Lundberg, M.D., for not making an effort "to corroborate, or to verify independently, the existential truth" of a first-person account of mercy killing he published. In a Chicago Tribune guest editorial (10 February 1988) Kennedy goes on to pontificate, "That author who does not speak the truth cannot have authority, cannot enlarge our lives."
Whenever possible, Kennedy puts an anti-Greeley spin on events. He argues, for example, that "James Winters, then 24, the managing editor of Notre Dame Magazine, a distinguished periodical sponsored by the famous University" was urged by Greeley "to inspect his papers in the library at Rosary College, as, indeed, he had urged a Protege of his, John Kotre, to do when writing an admiring biography several years before."
Throughout the Bernardin biography, Kennedy characterizes Greeley as the Cardinal's nemesis. Greeley is "this priest whose internationally publicized monologue had almost imperilled Bernardin's reputation." The following passage illustrates Kennedy's method of associating himself with members of the literary elite and psychoanalyzing Greeley: "At a pre-football game president's luncheon at Notre Dame that October, Father Theodore Hesburgh interrupted a chat with novelist Norman Mailer to respond to some concerned clergy who wondered if anything could be done to support Archbishop Bernardin's reputation against the damage that Greeley might have done to it. One of them noted that in Greeley's novel, The Cardinal Sins, the real villain was not the character loosely based on Cody but rather the sibling figure, the man who in the book became archbishop of Chicago despite his polymorphous perverse sexual activity. 'Perhaps,' that priest said to the university president, 'Father Greeley's target was Bernardin, the sibling figure--they're the same age and Joe is scheduled for the job Andy has always wanted--maybe he unconsciously wanted to prevent that all along.'"
Sherwood still chuckles when he recalls Kennedy's habitual harping on Greeley's supposed psychosexual problems. "On one occasion Kennedy was going on and on and on about how screwed up Greeley was, and this whole father image thing with Cody and his sexuality being sublimated from an Irish family, and how he had heard that Andy was involved in sexual stuff with some of the women he was counseling. Raging hormones. I looked at Kennedy and thought you really got a sick mind. The weird thing was, maybe a couple of months later, he was ranting and raving that Greeley might be a closet homosexual. I reminded him, hey you told me before that you thought he might be a womanizer, which is it, Gene? It was an obsession with him to do this whole psychoanalytical bit on Greeley." Kennedy's habit of psychoanalyzing Greeley has not diminished. In 1993, one of the Chicago priests I interviewed in connection with the Greeley biography I am writing mentioned that Kennedy had recently come up with a reason for Greeley's concern for the victims of pedophiles: Greeley is himself an incest survivor! My informant was appalled but others were sure to disseminate this bit of information via the clerical rumor mill.
Scene Four: "More Leaks Than a Liberian Tanker . . ."
There is yet another major strand to the puzzle: the circumstances surrounding the publication of the Chicago Lawyer article. No one has ever discovered with certainty just exactly who turned Winters' draft over to the Chicago Lawyer. At first Cody's attorneys (or some other associate) were suspected. This is Greeley's explanation in his autobiography. Then the rumor was spread that Carlton Sherwood had read the article to Rob Warden, the magazine's editor, over the phone. This is Kennedy's explanation in Cardinal Bernardin.
Sherwood vigorously denies his involvement (and Warden, in a telephone interview, concurs), saying that while he had read the Winters draft he never had a copy of the piece in his possession, and that in any event he would have had no reason to give the story away. Moreover since he was supposed to have dictated the article over the phone to Rob Warden, at a rate of sixty words a minute transmission would have taken eight hours without a break.
If one closely compares the Chicago Lawyer version of Winters' article and the draft itself, one discovers that Rob Warden, the journal's editor, may well have been telling the truth when he denied seeing Winters' article. The congruence of the two pieces is so compelling that the Chicago Lawyer piece is unquestionably based on material found between pages 31 and 81 of the Winters draft. At the same time, the discrepancies (deletions and changes) are extraordinarily telling. Warden was given excerpts from the article by someone who (a) possessed the Winters draft, (b) wished to protect Bernardin as much as possible in the circumstances, (c) wanted to do as much damage to Greeley as he could, and (d) was far better informed about international Catholic matters than would be an ordinary priest or Jim Winters or a lawyer for Cardinal Cody or Rob Warden.
Thus, for example, the Winters article states that Father James Roache, Cody's sometime press secretary and later Bernardin's Vicar General in Chicago) collected a dossier for Bernardin to send to Rome on Cody's behavior in Chicago. Winters' references to the actual existence of dossiers on Cody are softened, and references to Bernardin's admitted involvement in collecting evidence for those dossiers are omitted in the article. Winters clearly writes that Sebastiano Cardinal Baggio (a curialist) instructed the Apostolic Delegate (Archbishop Jean Jadot) to collect dossiers of charges against Cody. Jadot in turn asked Bernardin to do the same. All of this would have been relevant and explosive in any account of a plot to get Cody because it would reveal that Bernardin, and indeed the Vatican itself, were apparently involved in a plot of their own. Moreover Winters also reported that Bernardin had urged Greeley personally to affect the outcome of the papal conclave by his writing, something that would have fascinated Rob Warden (who had no interest in protecting Bernardin) and his readers.
There is one even more astonishing change from the Winters draft to the Chicago Lawyer article: In the original manuscript (and in Greeley's notes) a congenial conspiratorial supper in Amsterdam is described with two Dutchmen--Antoine van den Bogarde, a businessman, and Edward Schillebeeckx, a theologian. The Chicago Lawyer changes the names of the two dinner companions; they become two prominent liberal churchmen--Cardinal Leo Suenens of Maline/Brussels and Franz Cardinal König of Vienna. Moreover, in this latter version, astutely nuanced opinions of the two cardinals on papal elections are described as being discussed at the supper, and those opinions are taken verbatim (albeit out of context) from Greeley's published book, The Making of the Popes, 1978. Neither Winters nor Warden nor Sherwood nor Cody's lawyers would know or care about the two cardinals. Even more bizarrely, Andrew Greeley says that has never personally met Franz Cardinal König.
Eugene Kennedy perfectly fits the four criteria--he possessed Winters' draft, he wanted to protect Bernardin, he disliked Greeley, and he knew about Suenens and König. As for having the article, Kennedy was evasive in the deposition. First he insists that he destroyed the manuscript "within a month or so" after receiving it, next that he didn't "really recall when it was destroyed," and finally that he sent it to novelist John Gregory Dunne, who destroyed it at his request. Moreover, according to Sherwood (and suggested in the Bernardin biography), he was a friend and an admirer of Warden. Sherwood believes that Kennedy gave the material to Warden, noting, "If he had Winters' manuscript, that's got more leaks than a Liberian tanker." In a telephone interview, Warden denied that he had made the changes (or even knew about them before my call), noting that he was an atheist with absolutely no knowledge of or interest in the Catholic Church. He didn't think his immediate source could have made them either because he (or she) was equally uninformed about the Church. He said that my theory about Kennedy was "good thinking," but that he didn't meet Kennedy until a couple of years later. On the other hand, Sherwood says that Kennedy introduced him to Warden and Kennedy reports in Cardinal Bernardin that Warden talked to him on the phone at the time of the leak. Hence somebody's memory seems incomplete. The obvious explanation is the use of a third party to convey the material to Warden. A Chicagoan (not Greeley) who knows Warden has suggested that the scheme of involving an intermediary to disguise the trail to a source would be a typical Warden ploy. From Kennedy's point of view, passing the material on to Warden would preempt the inevitable leak with a sanitized version in the Chicago Lawyer that would protect Bernardin.
ACT THREE: RECONCILIATION OR ODD MAN OUT
After 1981, from being Bernardin's friend and confidant, Greeley turned into an outside voice of criticism. Their relationship remained frigid, except for a minor thaw in 1985 when Bernardin visited Greeley at his Grand Beach summer home and left with a stack of manuscripts. A year before the actual reconciliation I asked Greeley about that visit in a taped interview: "Well, it was a number of summers ago, five maybe six. I had been up in Alaska lecturing for Archbishop Frank Hurley, and Frank said Joe really wants to make peace, but he doesn't know how, and you're going to have to show him how to do it. Well, I thought about that, and since I believe in peace I dropped Joe a note inviting him to stop by here [Grand Beach] to talk. Which he did, and I bought him lunch and we had a conversation that was very friendly. Much like the old days, much in fact like the conversations we had at St. Catherine's twenty years before. He was greatly concerned about how many languages my books were being translated into. The idiot I was, I thought multiple languages was something of which he would be proud, but it turned out he was worried about complaints. He already got complaints from bishops in Ireland and Australia about my books. Had they read the books? No, but passages had been read to them and that sort of thing. I said, 'Well you know, maybe there's a way we can work this out, we're not talking censorship. But you see the manuscripts beforehand and if there's things you think ought not to be in there, I'd take your advice seriously.' He found that an appealing notion. I gave him some manuscripts, and best as I can figure out after that he went off to Rome and he heard more complaints. So he came back and established an informal commission to review my work and gave them the books I had given him. I learned about this quite accidentally; I just said to a man, 'Hey, are you part of the crowd that's reading my books for the cardinal?' I had begun to sniff something wrong because the response was so long acoming. This member of the commission sort of gulped and said, 'How did you know?' Now the commission had been set up as such things are, to give the cardinal the advice he wanted to hear and the advice was that nothing should be done about this man at the present time, and that was relayed to Rome and achieved what the cardinal wanted to achieve, so he could say we were advised not to do anything. That made me very angry. I just didn't want to have anything to do with him after that. You can see there's a certain rhythm in my relationship with him. I get angry but I can't stay angry. He's a very hard man to dislike. You ask would I help him now? In the most unlikely event he called, and said I need your help, will you help, the answer is I probably would. I would be very careful, but I might make the same mistake of trusting him again."
The following year Bernardin turned down a million dollar gift to the Church Greeley had intended for Catholic schools. By then Greeley was convinced that the Cardinal really was an enemy.
In an ironic twist, Kennedy may in fact have done the Church a favor by freeing Greeley to be more harshly outspoken in public than he might even have been in private if he and the Cardinal had visited regularly over a cup of tea or a plate of pasta. We will never know whether he was more effective, as effective, or less effective as outside voice of media criticism than he would have been as a personal confidant. We do know that as far back as 1987, Greeley wrote the following prophetic words in the paperback edition of his autobiography: "There is a loose national network of priestly pederasts. . . . Parents no longer cover up assaults on their children. . . . The problem is especially acute in the Archdiocese of Chicago where, in the last years of Cardinal Cody, many such men came to power, . . .. Cardinal Bernardin inherited the problem and the personnel. . . . The network of such priests in Chicago is so blatant as to almost seem to be flaunting its power and influence and immunity from retribution" (Confessions 130). He went on (emphasis mine): "It is not unlikely, in my judgment, that sexuality, indeed perverse sexuality, will be to the Bernardin archdiocese of Chicago what financial corruption was to the Cody archdiocese of Chicago. I hasten to add that I do not question the Cardinal's own sexual orientation. (Some who do not know him but are aware of the prevalence of it in Chicago do have their doubts.) From the years during which I knew him well (or thought I did), I would say that he is at least as heterosexual as I am and enjoys women as much as I do. The difficulty is his apparent unwillingness to face a terribly serious crisis and act decisively in it." (Kennedy includes the bold portion of this passage in his Bernardin biography, and twists it to mean that this is Greeley's ingenuously oblique way of accusing the cardinal of homosexuality.)
This passage was published in 1987. Conceivably, if those in charge at the archdiocese had taken Greeley's suggestions (and the admonitions of Vatican II) seriously when the book first came out, a number of pedophiles might have been removed from parish work in time to save several recent victims (plus a great deal of embarrassment and lots of money).
A few years ago, in a powerful column pondering the implications of Judgment, a Home Box Office docudrama about a much publicized Louisiana clerical pedophile case, Greeley blasted the then vicar for priests, Rev. Raymond Goedert (subsequently rewarded by being named auxiliary bishop), for calling the film diabolical "because it is going to destroy the faith the average person has in their minister or priest or rabbi." According to Greeley, "the diabolical people are not people who make films like 'Judgment' but those who cover up and continue to cover up." He then called (at the time sole voice in the wilderness) for an outside commission to investigate all sex-related charges in the Archdiocese in the past fifteen years.
Greeley has consistently refused to play the officially sanctioned ostrich game. He kept the pedophile issue alive with such column headlines as "Pedophile priests--clergy can't sweep them under the rug." Again and again he called for precedent setting action, insisting that "The archdiocese can no longer be judge in its own case. Only a credible outside review board (like those in most other professions) will save the image of the priesthood." He is sensitive to both aspects of the issue--the need to balance shielding possible victims against abuse and ensuring priests' rights to be protected against frivolous (or vindictive) false accusations. Indeed, in his novel Cardinal Virtues, he shows the latter side of the coin: an innocent associate pastor is accused of molesting an altar boy and almost sacrificed to the fictional archbishop's eagerness to mollify the boy's super-conservative father who disapproves of the priest's open-minded theology and earthy story homilies.
Paradoxically, there are many priests in Chicago who blame Greeley the messenger for the current crisis. One of Greeley's friends, for example, wishes he had never turned Greeley's attention to the issue in the middle eighties when he told him about his pastor who kept teenage Hispanic boys in the rectory for entertainment. Now, this man is embarrassed to walk down Michigan Avenue wearing his Roman collar for fear that someone will call him a pervert. "People have lost all respect for the priesthood," he complains, "it isn't fair; why can't Andrew just stop writing those terrible columns!" This priest and others simply don't accept that things are as bad as they seem. The Church is their family, and they react much like family members who stick together, "my country, right or wrong."
There are times when loyalty is not a virtue but a vice. That was Greeley's message as he hammered relentlessly at official church policies in his Sun-Times columns, such as the following, dated 17 December 1989: "Covering up won't work any more. Nor will attempts to silence priests who speak the truth. The cardinal should lay out procedures for protecting not the guilty priest, not the already tainted reputation of the priesthood, nor the tattered respectability of the archdiocese, not his own image, but the victims and their families. That's the only way the priesthood and the Church can be saved from disgrace--and innocent priests protected from false attack." In the aftermath of Steven Cook's false charges against the Cardinal Greeley's unconsciously prophetic words take on added poignancy.
It is one of the ironies of this twisted tale that Greeley now recognizes that he might not have been nearly as publically outspoken if Kennedy's machinations had not put up a wall between him and the Cardinal. Yes, as I noted above, there seems to be a twist to the twist: Kennedy may in fact, unintentionally, have done both of his old friends a favor. If Greeley and Bernardin had been close friends, Greeley might have been considerably less likely to metaphorically hold the Cardinal's feet to the fire, and do so in public.
Scene Two: Reconciliation
Almost exactly ten years after their estrangement, Bernardin and Greeley suddenly and unexpectedly reconciled. On November 1, 1991 tardy Halloween tricksters presented Father Andrew Greeley with a certified return receipt requested spiritual mail bomb, a subpoena commanding him to give a deposition in one of Chicago's simmering clerical pedophilia cases. An order to break the seal of confession and violate priestly confidentiality. An order which originated with the accused priest's attorneys and appeared to pit the weight of archdiocesan politics against Greeley. Once again Greeley was incensed by what seemed another instance of cardinatial Gestapo tactics. But this time he was not in Corfu, and Bernardin's house was just down a couple of streets. And so, after stewing all night, early on Saturday morning, he stormed over to the State Street mansion where the cardinal's housekeeper was so confused she tried to close the door in his face. The Cardinal's aide, Father Ken Velo, came rushing to the door to let him in. "Sister and I are now good friends," Greeley chuckles today.
And so, on the feast day of the dead when the Church dedicates itself to commemoratione omnium fidelium defunctorum, a quarter century after they had originally met, Greeley made peace with Bernardin. The Cardinal assured Greeley that he was neither responsible for that authoritarian message in 1981 nor for the subpoena. He also explained to Greeley's satisfaction why he had assembled the priest panel to examine Greeley's manuscripts and why he had rejected the 1986 donation. I wonder if either of those two men stopped to considered the poignancy of the liturgical date, a day on which the church calls us to remember the transience of all things, life as well as death; a temporal juncture to ponder the Christian enigma of hope, fusion, birth ensconced in despair, alienation, death; a day to forgive old hurts; a day for beginning anew? For Irish folk, such as Greeley, the season has yet another association: samhain, the ancient Celtic feast of the dead when disembodied spirits were supposed to slip through a cosmic crack from the manycolored nether world back into our realm.
"I hope he knows how to deal with me now," Greeley says of the Cardinal. "There's nothing ever between us ever again that can't be settled with a phone call." Ironically their rift might not have happened if one of two phone calls back in 1981 would have gone through. Greeley notes, "I did try to call him, and he tried to call me. I tried to call him before I left for Corfu and he tried to call me when I was in Corfu. The failure of those two phone calls, . . .." His voice trails off. The road not taken . . .
I asked Sherwood what he would think if Bernardin were to offer renewed friendship to Greeley. "Andy better be careful," he said, "you got to remember something about Andy Greeley: for all his Irish toughness and blustering he has got a soft spot in his heart, he's a sucker for a sob story. One of Andy's traits is that he keeps getting screwed by the same people over and over. He keeps buying the same goddamn bullshit. He is a soft-hearted Irishman. He'll go to war with you for ten years, but if you come to him with your hands out, bloodied and battered, then Andy'll take you in like you're a lost relative."
"What happened to our friendship?" the Cardinal wondered when he and Greeley met on All Souls' Day of 1991. Several answers are possible: "What friendship? You only pretended to be my friend because your Roman bosses told you keep me in line!" Another might be "1981 happened," or "Gene Kennedy happened," or, maybe, "my pride happened." Was the Cardinal's offer of reconciliation with Greeley genuine or a way to lure with honey where vinegar failed to work as Sherwood might conjecture? Only time will tell, but more than two years have passed since the reconciliation, and so far the two men continue their association in the form of occasional visits and regular phone calls. In February 1992 the Cardinal sent out a pastoral letter on the role of the Parish in the Church which parallels much of what Greeley had written on the topic over the years in novels, columns, and articles, and in June of that years the Cardinal announced exactly the kind of laity-based review board Greeley had suggested as equitable solution to the pedophile morass. The Chicago approach to dealing with priests accused of sexual wrongdoings is gradually turning into the model for dioceses all over the country.
Scene Three: Beyond Chicago
About three decades ago, in the opening session of the Second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII announced the central aim of the Council--the promotion of unity among the peoples of the earth by countering the "prophets of gloom" with a program designed to help all the diverse members of the global family learn to live in peace. By the end of the fourth session in 1965 the majority of over 2,500 voting bishops had redefined the Church according to a considerably more egalitarian and less monarchical paradigm than the one generally accepted before the Council: they called the post-Vatican Two Church to come to see itself as consisting not just of the hierarchy but of all the People of God, and not of Catholics alone, but of all Christians.
This re-vision was bound to be difficult, particularly for those who were passionately committed to (or hopelessly mired in) the very model of the Church to be changed. Convinced that they were God's elect, somehow beyond the rules which apply to lesser beings (i.e. non-clergy and non-Catholics), clerical triumphalists would find this new self-image unbearable. Vatican Two was a general call to accountability; no longer could the clergy hide behind a screen of secrecy or perch on a pedestal of privilege, head conveniently tucked under a wing. Somehow a balance would have to be struck between two irrational extremes--fearful clinging to institutional certainties and blind rejection of the past in favor of novelty for the sake of novelty. Somehow both darkness and radiance of the past would have to be acknowledged--the evil to be exposed, the good to light the way.
In order to implement the transformation, a new breed of bishops, priests, and people were needed, and the American Church, with one foot firmly rooted in democratic soil, was in an excellent position to set an example of fruitfully combining Catholicism and pluralism, as Karl Rahner, one of the great theological architects of Vatican Two, noted at the time. The archdiocese of Chicago, second-largest in the United States, an ethnically diverse miniglobe of parishes and neighborhoods under the nuanced leadership of Albert Cardinal Meyer, could have provided such a prototype. Meyer died in April, 1965, however, and by the time the Council came to a close, Archbishop John Cody had begun to rule the Chicago Church in precisely the autocratic style under attack by the Council, effectively killing the opportunity. In the past fourteen years, Cardinal Bernardin, in his quiet, bland, non-confrontational style, has reversed the course set by Cody. In 1986, Greeley predicted that sexual scandals would be to Bernardin's Chicago what financial corruption had been to Cody's Chicago. He was right in the sense that both crises represent major ordeals. The financial chaos, however, was largely engineered by Cody himself. He failed that test at the outset. The pedophile scandal, on the other hand, was certainly not caused by Bernardin. It has come to pervade the entire church with the complicity of leaders who stick their heads in the sand instead of cleaning house. So far it seems that Cardinal Bernardin, with at least some behind-the-scenes prompting from Andrew Greeley, is acing this particular test and setting an example of appropriate response for the global church.
It is becoming clear that the sexual scandals currently haunting the Church are in fact a unique opportunity to reform and live up to the challenge of the Council. In an interview on NBC on June 16, 1992, Greeley said that during their conference in New Orleans, the bishops should call for public penance, admit the guilt of the church, and openly apologize to survivors and their families. Unfortunately, given the tendency of the Vatican to appoint conservative and weak men, this kind of courageous and imaginative response is unlikely. Still, an important first step in the right direction is being taken in Chicago, and it is a step that could not have happened without either Cardinal Bernardin or Andrew Greeley.
Scene Four: Odd Man Out
Why would a distinguished, successful, and deeply religious professional go to so much trouble to damage a man who thought he was his friend, and even more perplexing, why would he continue, at times, to call him his friend? In his review of Kennedy's novel Fixes, John Blades neatly captures this fundamental ambivalence: "Conspicuously missing from 'Fixes' is another prominent Chicago cleric, Andrew Greeley, the renegade priest and novelist with whom Kennedy is often confused, much to his dismay. A Greeley-like character was written out of the novel after Kennedy had second thoughts about the priest he called 'my old comrade in-arms in the battle for church reform. He was a close friend of mine, years ago, and I still like to think of him that way.'" I am tempted to dismiss the comment with the cliche, "with such friends, who needs enemies?" But that is far too facile. Their story shows that on some pre-conscious level of his psyche Eugene Kennedy will always love Andrew Greeley, and that he has spent most of his adult life painfully impaled on the dual prongs of love and hate, the need to be accepted and the greed to compete.
Whenever Greeley accomplished something, Kennedy yells "Me too!" Shortly after Greeley referred to the "City as Sacrament" in his photographic tribute to Chicago, Kennedy published a column on Chicago in the Tribune. Under the title "The City of Sin," he tells us that "Sinners feel at home here." Just before Greeley's book, The Cardinal Virtues came out, Kennedy ran excerpts from Cardinal Bernardin in the Tribune under the title, "Cardinal Virtues." No wonder he suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, an insidious, vitality-sapping, enigmatic illness that many experts associate with psychosomatic causes. Trying to keep up with Greeley while struggling to keep the flame of love alive and the hounds of malice at bay would exhaust the strongest of humans.
When we turn the kind of psychoanalyzing gaze Kennedy has so often focused onto others toward Kennedy himself in Fixes he unwittingly reveals himself in a trail of Freudian slips. The protagonist of Fixes is Michael David Tracy, surely named in honor of Father David Tracy, renowned theologian, long-time friend of both Greeley and Kennedy, and one of Kennedy's cultural heroes. Tracy holds a chair in Modern Catholic theology endowed by Greeley (partially from the proceeds of such novels as the Cardinal Sins) at the University of Chicago. He won't read Kennedy's book on Bernardin because he has heard that it knocks Greeley; he finds this sort of conflict too painful (a few years ago he said he hoped I'd respond to a vicious article on Greeley in Commonweal. I wondered why he didn't do so himself and he answered that he couldn't even continue reading the piece; it made him physically ill). In the early 1990s, Tracy and Greeley team-taught a course at the University of Chicago on theological and sociological aspects of the European Church.
The point is that Kennedy, Greeley, and Bernardin not only inhabit the same city, they inhabit the same neighborhood, geographically as well as in terms of their commitments, interests, and network of friends. If the urge should strike, from his perch on the 46th floor of the 100 story John Hancock tower, Greeley can safely point his slingshot toward Kennedy's splendid but comparatively stunted high rise on Lake Shore Drive and the cardinal's multi-chimneyed Victorian palace. Or, to put it the other way, Kennedy and Bernardin (along with chancery, rectory, and Holy Name Cathedral) exist literally in the shadow of Greeley's home. The three men are bound to bump into each other. If Kennedy is subconsciously motivated by a twisted love (and I do NOT mean homosexual attraction but the kind of tormented devotion toward other men some adult males feel whose fathers were cold and disapproving) for both Greeley and Bernardin, and if he looks at love as a pie which shrinks as it is shared, then the line between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, love and hate, is fine indeed, and one may easily flip into the other.
In Fixes a fictional pope, his hero's idol, bears the name Solieri. Solieri is only one vowel removed from the notorious Antonio Salieri who was suspected of poisoning Mozart with arsenic. This traditional Viennese legend is the basis of Peter Shaffer's play, Amadeus. Joseph Berke, in his fascinating study of envy, The Tyranny of Malice, describes circumstances which exactly parallel the Kennedy-Greeley relationship: "Shaffer's Salieri is a cultured and immensely ambitious man who achieves considerable renown during his lifetime. But in comparison with Mozart he is a . . . mediocrity. And Salieri knows this. Overtly he tries to help Mozart and appears concerned about his career. But secretly Salieri plots to grind Mozart into the ground . . .. Fate intervenes to help Salieri in his machinations. . . ."(21). Replace Salieri with Kennedy and Mozart with Greeley, and you have the psychological dynamics of this bizarre case.
But there is love as well as hate, and when one is spent the other rises. This love makes it impossible for Kennedy to face the malevolence and grave implications of his own words and actions. In fall of 1991 he sauntered up to Greeley at an official dinner for the President of Ireland, talking amiably and asking "Andy" to come to the table and chat with Sara. "He has grown a beard," Greeley chuckled, adding that he did not accept the invitation, "Heavens, there is an upward limit! Now, if he says to me, 'Look I'm sorry about everything that has happened,' then that's another matter. Then I got to go along." Some time earlier, not too long after Cardinal Bernardin with all of its invective against Greeley had hit the book stores, Greeley bumped into Kennedy at the Treasure Island super market on Oak Street: "He was effusive. How wonderful it was to see me again, it made his day, we really ought to get together and have lunch. Whatever had happened in the past we stood shoulder to shoulder together. I mean, I was just overwhelmed to speechlessness by the display of friendship. It just kept coming, and coming, and coming; he wouldn't let me get away. Christians believe in reconciliation, but they also believe in cutting the cards! I was astonished that he would think I would want to resume a relationship after all that had happened, without anything being said by way of clarification."
And yet, if Sherwood is right about Greeley's tendency to forgive his enemies then he might yet renew his friendship with Eugene Kennedy. "In the past," Sherwood said, "Andy has been screwed, blued and tattooed by people whom he trusted. It's part of his makeup. Oh, he gets mad a people, he gets angry, but he's also got this other side. He turns to mush when people are in trouble and come to him for help. He can really be down on somebody for a decade and that same person comes to him in trouble and Andy will forget everything. That's one of the problems with him: he opens himself up; he is very vulnerable that way."
Over the past years Kennedy has sent Greeley several cheerful notes, generally addressed to his "old comrade in arms," congratulating him effusively on the good work he is doing and suggesting they get together soon. One of those letters from Florida concluded with a handwritten postscript: "Sally [Dr. Sara Charles Kennedy] sends her love."
Did Salieri love Mozart as well as hate him? There is no way of knowing, but we can be reasonably sure that despite his success in 19th century Austria he would be forgotten today except for his obsession with Mozart.
As for the present century, while Eugene Kennedy might yet be reconciled to Andrew Greeley, at the moment he remains: "Odd man out."
Epilogue: February 1997
Eugene Kennedy was an honoray pall bearer when the Cardinal's body was moved from his house to Holy Name Cathedral. Andrew Greeley commented throughout the funeral ceremonies on Chicago's NBC channel. Cardinal Bernardin's memoir The Gift of Peace is on the New York Times Best seller list.
Posted 10 February 1997 by Ingrid Shafer
Last Revised 20 August 1998
Copyright © Ingrid H. Shafer 1997-1998