I have to say that I almost never agree with E.J. Dionne Jr. In his June 3 column "Father Greeley, Loving Pugilist," he got the Rev. Andrew Greeley right. Father Greeley's phrase "marginal but not alienated" is right on. Father Greeley got the church right, and the majority of the powers of the church did not get it right: Membership in the Catholic Church (or any group) is a voluntary association.
Catholics will remain in the church, as Father Greeley pointed out, because they love it, not because the officials of the church help to make it easy. In other words, the Holy Ghost speaks both from the top down and from the bottom up.
Father Greeley defended the church while he criticized it. And he did both out of love for it, a love lived in his life.
As Mr. Dionne said, he documented (from his sociological methods) the errors of Paul VI and others on birth control and sex, empirically, not looking at what should be but at what the facts on the ground are.
And, using his social research, he predicted the election of John Paul II.