The Wit and Wisdom of Andy Greeley (by Melissa Wilde)

One of the very first times I met Andy, I had to pick him up at his hotel and bring him to the Survey Research Center at UC Berkeley.  He and my advisor Mike Hout were planning to spend the day crunching numbers.  It was during that trip that they probably wrote the first draft of two, if not more, of their many co-authored pieces in the American Journal of Sociology or the American Sociological Review.

When he came out to my car and got inside, he looked at the clock and gave a little start, “I didn’t realize it was that late!”  (Andy hated to be late.)  I said, in true Berkeley-graduate-student-style, “Oh, don’t worry about it.  It is ten minutes fast.  I set it that way so that I’m on time.”  Andy’s response, “Well, that’s stupid!”

My clocks have been on time ever since. Continue reading

Some Memories of Andrew Greeley (by Larry Cunningham)

lawrencecunninghamI received a letter out of the blue from Andrew Greeley sometime in the late 1980s commenting on a book I had just published. As a postscript, he asked me if I wanted to see a yet unpublished work of his which, of course, I did want to see. Not to put too fine a point on it, within a few months I had on the floor of my study a pile of Xeroxed manuscripts of works “to be published” with approximate dates of their publication. When I joined the faculty of the University of Notre Dame in 1988 he invited me over to Chicago for lunch. It was then that I discovered that however pugnacious Andy was in print, he was reserved in person almost to the point of reticence. From that time until his terrible accident in 2008 I was the recipient of newsletters, books at Christmas, occasional exchanges of emails. And a few chance meetings when I would spy him on campus for football games. Continue reading

Remembering Fr. Andrew Greeley

I am pleased to announce that our next few blog posts will be short reflections on Fr. Greeley from people who knew him.   To avoid any unnecessary confusion:  While most of these posts will show up under my byline (since I will be posting reflections sent or e-mailed to me), these are not my reflections and the actual writer’s name will be found in the post title.  I hope you enjoy the reflections.

What do data tell us about feetwashing at Catholic Parishes?

Question_mark_3dSo, what do sociological data tell us about how the mandatum is practiced in the US?  What percentage of parishes (or dioceses) allow women’s feet to be washed as part of their Holy Thursday service?  What types of parishes are more (or less) likely to do so?  Does engaging in this (yearly) practice of footwashing have a measurable impact on a parishioner’s capacity to empathize with and/or serve others?

The answer to all of these questions and more is:  I don’t know.  The ugly fact is that I know of no data exploring footwashing practices in U.S. Catholic parishes.

OK, so the title of my post is  a bit misleading, because my point is actually to highlight how little we (social scientists) know about parish practices, such as the mandatum.  Or even about much more common practices such as receiving the Eucharist, confession or other sacraments, and devotions.   (The two practices that most commonly receive  attention are mass attendance and prayer, but even these are investigated in rather thin terms.)  Indeed, there is much too little systematic research exploring the contours of Catholic parish life within Sociology.  This is a lacuna within Sociology that needs to be filled.   Continue reading

Giving the Pope a Chance: Correction of the Week

The Inauguration Mass For Pope FrancisOn the day of Pope Francis’ election, a good friend of mine (who is not Catholic) posted a link to a 2 year old Guardian news story discussing (then) Cardinal Bergoglio’s purported complicity in human rights violations:

“The extent of the church’s complicity in the dark deeds was excellently set out by Horacio Verbitsky, one of Argentina’s most notable journalists, in his book El Silencio (Silence). He recounts how the Argentine navy with the connivance of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now the Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires, hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship’s political prisoners. Bergoglio was hiding them in nothing less than his holiday home in an island called El Silencio in the River Plate.”

It later turned out that the story was incorrect and the newspaper’s website now lists the following correction:

This article was amended on 14 March 2013. The original article, published in 2011, wrongly suggested that Argentinian journalist Horacio Verbitsky claimed that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio connived with the Argentinian navy to hide political prisoners on an island called El Silencio during an inspection by human rights monitors. Although Verbitsky makes other allegations about Bergoglio’s complicity in human rights abuses, he does not make this claim. The original article also wrongly described El Silencio as Bergoglio’s “holiday home”. This has been corrected.
Continue reading

Welcome to the World, Samuel!

Big News from Gary Adler:

“I’m happy to report some exciting news: Samuel was born Friday at 12:10 PM.  He weighed 8 lbs 12 ozs, stretched to 21 3/4 inches, and announced a preferred papal candidate on the first day of the ‘interregnum.’ Our lips, however, are sealed.  Baby and mommy are doing great after getting home late Monday afternoon.”

Reflecting on the March for Life

Last week, I went on the March for Life with over 600 Notre Dame, St. Mary’s, and Holy Cross students.

The trip was entirely student-run and student-led.  As a faculty member, I tagged along semi-incognito and observed (as sociologists love to do).  I cannot say enough how impressed I was by the students, both the leaders (who did an outstanding job of organizing a very complicated and logistically challenging trip) and the other students I met and got to know.

Sarah Moran is going to write a post reflecting on her own experience and has promised some pictures, but I wanted to mention some of the smaller aspects of the trip there and back that touched me.  These were not part of the march itself–but they impacted me. Continue reading

On the 40th Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision

Below are some graphs worth reflecting on today (click on the pictures to view them at a larger size):

(from a tweet by Conrad Hackett at Pew)


The graph  above of the number of abortions by time is from Wonkblog at the Washington Post.  As is the one below, showing how view few states had repealed or liberalized anti-abortion laws prior to Roe v. Wade:


There are additional charts worth investigating at Wonkblog as well.  All of this should be food for thought and reflection as we contemplate what it means to evangelize our culture and ourselves with the good news of Christ.

Sociology and the Newtown Shootings

Almost exactly a month ago, a friend of mine wrote on facebook:

“My beautiful Emily just came bouncing off the bus, giant smile, big brown eyes gleaming, singing ‘Feliz Navidad,’ and I nearly lost it. Jesus. Not a good day for parents.”

As the father of a 5 year-old daughter in pre-K, I knew exactly what he meant.  In the aftermath of the Newtown shootings, just interacting with my daughter (or son, who turns three later this week) left a lump in my throat. Continue reading