CHICAGO -- The Rev. Andrew Greeley, best-selling author and longtime critic of Cardinal John P. Cody, labeled 'absurd' allegations by a magazine that he instigated an investigation into Cody's handling of archdiocesan funds.
An article to be published Monday in Chicago Lawyer magazine 'will disclose a plot by Greeley to discredit Cody and get him removed with the worst kind of public scandal,' Rob Warden, editor of the magazine and author of the article, charged Friday.
Warden would not elaborate further.
The Chicago Sun-Times disclosed earlier this month that a federal grand jury is examining Cody's handling of church funds and the possibility he diverted large sums to support a woman friend.
Greeley, a controversial Roman Catholic priest who long has opposed Cody, denied the allegations.
Greeley is an author, sociologist, newspaper columnist and lecturer. Besides the fictional novel, 'Cardinal Sins,' Greeley authored a non-fiction work, 'The Making of a Pope.'
In a statement released Friday, Greeley said that while he has 'talked to many different reporters' about the archdiocese of Chicago, he 'did not instigate directly or indirectly an investigation either by the United States Attorney, the Sun-Times or any other media outlet.'
Greeley, who is vacationing in Europe, released a statement through his lawyer in the wake of other published reports suggesting he may have had a role in prompting the federal grand jury investigation of Cody.
Greeley termed 'absurd' speculation that his actions led to the investigation but added, 'If it were in my power to secure a change in the archdiocese, I would surely endeavor to do so. And I would accept whatever blame or credit would accrue.'
Greeley said he learned private diaries stolen from his sealed archives were being circulated in an effort to prove he engineered a 'plot' to undermine Cody.
He contended the diaries are 3 to 5 years old and 'reveal absolutely nothing about present investigations.
'They describe the moods, feelings, fantasies and emotions of the moment -- the things I would like to have seen happen in my late-night, sleepy musing in a hotel in Rome. They represent my own imagination and no one else's.'
Greeley said he would 'deny and repudiate' any statements said to have come from his diaries 'since those who will accept stolen documents are quite capable of changing them.'
His comments about the stolen diaries apparently refer to material said to be in the possession of Jim Winters, managing editor of Notre Dame Magazine, the Sun-Times said Friday.
Winters, while conducting research for a profile of Greeley, gained access to transcripts of tapes in which Greeley, talking to himself, reportedly referred to Cody in derisive terms and contemplated ways to influence papal elections. The tapes were recorded three to five years ago in Rome while Greeley was researching his book, 'The Making of the Popes 1978.'
Winters has said that Greeley placed no restrictions on his review of the priest's files. However, Greeley's attorney, Patrick W. O'Brien, said Greeley never intended for Winters to see certain memoranda containing the names of Greeley's confidential sources and other 'raw, unsubstantianted data.'