The Bishop in the West Wing: A Bishop Blackie Ryan Novel

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9780812575989: The Bishop in the West Wing: A Bishop Blackie Ryan Novel

Andrew M. Greeley's bestselling sleuth meets The West Wing . . .

Blackie Ryan gets a call from his friend, the newly-elected Democratic president Jack Patrick McGurn―whom the media has seen fit to call "Machine Gun McGurn"―but of course the call is interrupted by Blackie's boss, the autocratic Cardinal Cronin. Cronin, without consulting Blackie, sends him off to the White House to solve a poltergeist problem. Ghosts in the White House? Of course.

Blackie encounters a great deal more than ghosts; an evil spirit out to get the President, a right wing conspiracy, and four beautiful women, any one of whom could be contributing to the mischief in the West Wing.

How Blackie solves the problem of the ghosts and the conspiracy, and perhaps even finds a beautiful wife for the lonely, recently widowed President makes The Bishop in the West Wing the best Blackie Ryan novel yet.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About 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.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

1
"Your good friend was on the phone earlier this evening."
Cardinal Sean Cronin leaned casually against my doorframe as though he was posing for a fashion magazine shoot, in light blue pajamas and royal blue robe. He had never appeared at my doorway in such array. I noted with some pleasure that he did not wear his cardinalatial ruby to bed at night and that his slippers were also royal blue, not crimson.
"Ah," I said as I turned away from the purgatorial task of catching up on my e-mail. Naturally I had no idea who friend was-a beautiful but troubled woman, a penitent Mafioso, a haunted priest, someone from Rome, a mystic with revelations that must be passed on instantly to the Pope. The rhetoric of Chicago discourse, however, required that he begin with such an indirect approach, as though all the rooms of the Cathedral Rectory were wired by hostile law enforcement agencies.
"The Megan thought I should talk to him since you were not around."
It was therefore a serious matter. None of the four porter person Megans who presided over the entrances to the Cathedral Rectory from after school to 9:30 would dream of disturbing the Cardinal Archbishop (whom they adored as "extreme cute") unless some important game was afoot.
(One must understand that for the younger generation "extreme" has become an adverb.)
"Indeed!"
"We have you on the 6:00 flight. Your friend Mr. Woods will pick you up at 4:30."
"P.M.?" I said, knowing full well that it was not.
Milord Cronin permitted a frown to furrow his handsome brow.
"The monks get up a lot earlier, Blackwood."
"Such as they are these days. However, patently I am not a monk."
"He was going to send Air Force One to pick you up, but I said it wouldn’t look good for a lowly auxiliary bishop to fly around in that. Create a lot of comment, which he doesn’t need right now."
"Arguably," I conceded.
So that’s who "my good friend" was-John Patrick McGurn, POTUS, aka to the media "Machine Gun Jack."
Without asking my permission-he never does-Milord Cronin opened the secret cabinet on the wall of my study (hidden behind a portrait of our currently gloriously reigning Pontiff), removed a bottle of my precious Jameson’s Twelve Year Special Reserve, and poured himself a good-size splash into one of the attendant Waterford goblets.
"You’re proposing to assign me to the White House." I protested. "That won’t look too good."
"You always say that you’re the little man who isn’t there. They won’t notice you." He leaned against the door and sipped complacently from his goblet, looking all the more like a cover for GQ.
"The Nuncio won’t like it."
"I’ll worry about him."
If he did worry about the reaction of the ambassador of the Holy See’s reaction to my translation to the White House, it would be the first such worry in his career.
"Why is it necessary that I abandon all my serious responsibilities here in your Cathedral parish?"
A weak argument, I acknowledge. Yet the game had to be played out.
The Ryan family has a gene that inclines them to resist travel. In my own case the power of the gene is primordial. The upper limit of my tolerance is the drive from Chicago to South Bend, Indiana, home of the fighting Black Baptists. However, the apparent need of the first South Side Irish Catholic from Chicago to become president of the United States overrode my reluctance, though not without a loud west-of-Ireland sigh which might suggest an attack of asthma.
John Patrick McGurn indeed needed help, though he would have been the first to deny it.
The media, especially the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Washington Post, hated President McGurn. They persisted in calling him "Machine Gun Jack" because the name broadly hinted of the Capone era and Chicago Irish political corruption. So deep in the subbasement of Chicago memory is the name of the alleged perpetuator of the St. Valentine’s Day massacre that Jack McGurn had never been identified with a machine gun during his brief career in Chicago politics.
"He has some serious problems," the Cardinal continued with a sigh as loud as mine.
"Surely not the sexual harassment charges!" I protested.
Milord waved his hand in a graceful, dismissive gesture.
"Those go with the territory if you’re a Democratic president. Jack will survive them."
"Arguably," I said without much conviction. The top national media hated Irish Catholics, especially from Chicago. They were determined, even though they would piously deny it, to drive Jack McGurn from office. Such assaults sold newspapers, increased TV ratings, satisfied needs to experience pious self-righteousness. Typically Jack did not shy from the Chicago identity, though he and his family had been at best minor figures in the various Daley administrations.
"Though I deserve little credit for it"—Jack would smile and his blue-green eyes would glitter with mischief—"I am proud to be identified with the most effective municipal administration in America."
"Why then," I persisted, "this late-night emergency call for the lowly sweeper to the Cardinal Prince of Chicago?"
This was a none-too-oblique reference to my conviction that an auxiliary bishop’s main raison d’être is to sweep up his Ordinary’s messes, as the worthy Harvery Keitel had done for the Outfit in the film Pulp Fiction.
"Ghosts," Sean Cronin said in his most gloomy apocalyptic voice.
"Ghosts!"
I warned myself mentally that I must not seem too enthusiastic.
"Ghosts. Or psychic phenomena or whatever."
"Legend has it that Mr. Lincoln’s ghost haunts the building."
"It’s more than that."
"Ah?"
Sean Cardinal Cronin hesitated, something he almost never does.
"There are psychic phenomena happening all over the White House-in the West Wing, including the Oval Office, in the bedrooms, in the family quarters on the third floor, in the various museum rooms on the first and second floors, in the basement offices under the West Wing, in the guest bedrooms like the Lincoln Bedroom and the Queens’ Bedroom, even out in the Rose Garden and the South Lawn..."
"Appalling!" I murmured with little conviction. "Of what sort are the phenomena?"
"The usual junk-doors slamming, chains rattling, paintings falling off the wall, vases flying across the room, windows springing open during snowstorms, thermostats going crazy, televisions switching on and off..."
"Nothing ever breaks, I presume?"
"No."
"Poltergeists," I said with some disappointment.
"Presumably...There’s a twist to it..."
"Ah?"
The Cardinal hesitated again.
"The rumors around the White House, which still includes some service personnel who worked for the last president, are that Ellen has come back to harass Jack over the sexual harassment."
"Absurd!" I said hotly. "Ellen was not and is not that kind of woman! She might burn the White House down if she were sufficiently angry, but poltergeist phenomena are beneath her."
"Steady, Blackwood! You and I know that and so do most people in this city. However, the media have stirred up so much hatred for Jack and his family th

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