Priest Assails Church for Not Taking Money
Father Andrew M. Greeley, an outspoken priest and author, said Friday he was appalled that the nation’s largest Roman Catholic school system had refused his $1-million gift to help poor, inner-city students.
“The Catholic Church has taken money from corrupt politicians, stock market manipulators and Mafia dons,” said Greeley, who has written 11 novels dealing with love, sex, power and priestly life in the church.
“I think this may be the first time in history they’ve turned down any money, let alone a million dollars,” he said. “I was astonished and dismayed.”
Greeley, 58, announced the start of his own $1-million foundation to provide grants to about 100 Catholic schools serving Chicago’s poor Latino and black neighborhoods. He said he would donate royalties from his new book, “Confessions of a Parish Priest,” an autobiography scheduled for release Monday.
The Chicago Archdiocese rejected his $1-million gift offer in late August without explanation, he said.
Greeley, a sociologist who worked as a newspaper columnist and was a critic of the late Cardinal John Cody, said he believes his gift may have been refused because of controversy created by his novels.
Sister Joy Clough, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said Cardinal Joseph Bernardin made the decision to reject Greeley’s offer.
“As far as reasons for not accepting the gift, those are a private matter between the cardinal and one of his priests,” Clough said. “And we don’t comment on such matters.”