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The Cardinal Virtues

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Overview

Father Laurence O’Toole McAuliffe, the pastor of Saint Finian’s parish in Forest Springs, is weary and worn out, his priesthood and faith in tatters. Once literally a bomb-throwing radical and then a Vatican Council liberal, Lar McAuliffe has grown old and cynical. To make matters worse, he’s smart enough to know what is happening to him.

God, the cardinal, or some combination of the two plays a dirty trick on Lar by sending him Father James Stephen Michael Finbar Keenan, ...

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The Cardinal Virtues

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Overview

Father Laurence O’Toole McAuliffe, the pastor of Saint Finian’s parish in Forest Springs, is weary and worn out, his priesthood and faith in tatters. Once literally a bomb-throwing radical and then a Vatican Council liberal, Lar McAuliffe has grown old and cynical. To make matters worse, he’s smart enough to know what is happening to him.

God, the cardinal, or some combination of the two plays a dirty trick on Lar by sending him Father James Stephen Michael Finbar Keenan, the “new priest.” Lar expects a classic confrontation between young and old, between sardonic maturity and enthusiastic inexperience. But the new priest does not fit the stereotype and the two become friends.

Together they face the conflicts and joys, the hopes and pains of the contemporary Catholic parish—the old-fashioned school principal; the broken family; the reactionary finance committee; frustrated young lovers; and the chancery office and a timid Cardinal, who interferes with the priests’ work on every possible occasion.

Alternately sad and uproariously funny, The Cardinal Virtues is about the meaning of religion, the meaning of faith, and the meaning of life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This extremely busy follow-up to The Cardinal Sins brings back Father Larry McAuliffe aka Lar, the former ``bomb-throwing radical'' now ``disillusioned'' pastor of St. Finian's parish. Pressure from the Cardinal persuades Lar to take on an assistant, Father Jamie Keenan, a man from what Greeley terms the ``new priesthood,'' whose homilies offend the traditionalists. Particularly offended is George Wholey, leader of the ultra-right-wing Catholic group, Corpus Christi, who makes life hard for the young priest. Fighting to save Jamie from a vile set-up helps Lar regain his youthful enthusiasm, and several parishioners benefit as well. While the plot is plausible, Greeley simply fails to engage us; with the possible exception of Lar, the characters remain two-dimensional, serving Greeley's nostalgia for those who believed in Vatican II and his revulsion for those who fought the reforms. The bestseller lists prove there are many who revel in relentless detailing of rectory life; the suggestion, however, that this tale is a taut thriller, is preposterous. Literary Guild selection; author tour. May
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780792481584
  • Publisher: Bantam Books
  • Publication date: 9/15/1991
  • Pages: 449

Meet the Author

Priest, sociologist, author and journalist, Father Andrew M. Greeley built an international assemblage of devout fans over a career spanning five decades. His books include the Bishop Blackie Ryan novels, including The Archbishop in Andalusia, the Nuala Anne McGrail novels, including Irish Tweed, and The Cardinal Virtues. He was the author of over 50 best-selling novels and more than 100 works of non-fiction, and his writing has been translated into 12 languages.

Father Greeley was a Professor of Sociology at the University of Arizona and a Research Associate with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago. In addition to scholarly studies and popular fiction, for many years he penned a weekly column appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times and other newspapers. He was also a frequent contributor to The New York Times, the National Catholic Reporter, America and Commonweal, and was interviewed regularly on national radio and television. He authored hundreds of articles on sociological topics, ranging from school desegregation to elder sex to politics and the environment.

Throughout his priesthood, Father Greeley unflinchingly urged his beloved Church to become more responsive to evolving concerns of Catholics everywhere. His clear writing style, consistent themes and celebrity stature made him a leading spokesperson for generations of Catholics. He chronicled his service to the Church in two autobiographies, Confessions of a Parish Priest and Furthermore!

In 1986, Father Greeley established a $1 million Catholic Inner-City School Fund, providing scholarships and financial support to schools in the Chicago Archdiocese with a minority student body of more than 50 percent. In 1984, he contributed a $1 million endowment to establish a chair in Roman Catholic Studies at the University of Chicago. He also funded an annual lecture series, “The Church in Society,” at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois, from which he received his S.T.L. in 1954.

Father Greeley received many honors and awards, including honorary degrees from the National University of Ireland at Galway, the University of Arizona and Bard College. A Chicago native, he earned his M.A. in 1961 and his Ph.D. in 1962 from the University of Chicago.

Father Greeley was a penetrating student of popular culture, deeply engaged with the world around him, and a lifelong Chicago sports fan, cheering for the Bulls, Bears and the Cubs. Born in 1928, he died in May 2013 at the age of 85.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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