The Archbishop in Andalusia: A Blackie Ryan Novel

The Archbishop in Andalusia: A Blackie Ryan Novel

by Andrew M. Greeley

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The Archbishop in Andalusia opens an exciting new chapter in the illustrious career of one of Andrew Greeley's most beloved characters.

Taking leave of his usual Chicago haunts, Archbishop John Blackwood Ryan travels to the south of Spain in this latest mystery by bestselling author Andrew M. Greeley. Ostensibly "Blackie" is in the historic city of Seville to attend a conference on American philosophy, but a far more critical assignment also requires his attention. The local cardinal has summoned the wily archbishop to Spain in hopes that Blackie can avert a murder before it happens.

The threat of violence hangs ominously over the regal palace of a family of wealthy Spanish aristocrats. Dona Teresa, a pious widow whose exotic beauty unsettles even Blackie, finds herself beset by avaricious relatives determined to control her life and fortune. A tangled web of obligations, traditions, and frustrated sexual desires binds the family together even as they bitterly contend against one another. With three generations of passionate nobility sharing the same roof, it seems only a matter of time before pride, greed, and lust leads to bloodshed.

But while the archbishop attempts to forestall a modern-day Spanish tragedy, dramatic events back in Chicago conspire to change his life forever. . . .

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429955607
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 09/29/2009
Series: Bishop Blackie Ryan , #7
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 463,200
File size: 390 KB

About the Author

Priest, sociologist, author, and journalist, Father Andrew M. Greeley (1928-2013) was the author of over 50 bestselling novels and more than 100 works of nonfiction. His novels include the Bishop Blackie Ryan series, including The Archbishop in Andalusia; the Nuala Anne McGrail series, including Irish Tweed; the O’Malley Family Saga, including A Midwinter’s Tale; and standalones such as Home for Christmas and The Cardinal Sins.

A leading spokesperson for generations of Catholics, Father Greeley unflinchingly urged his beloved Church to become more responsive to believers’ evolving concerns. He chronicled his service to the Church in two autobiographies, Confessions of a Parish Priest and Furthermore!

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.

Read an Excerpt

The Archbishop in Andalusia

A Blackie Ryan Novel

By Andrew M. Greeley

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2008 Andrew M. Greeley Enterprises, Ltd.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-5560-7


"So, Don Juan, I am told that your presentation this morning was brilliant?"

The Cardinal Archbishop of Seville was about to invite me, with the deviousness he shared with Milord Cronin in Chicago, to a dinner that would have distinctly unpleasant, if fascinating, consequences.

He honored me with the title applied to royalty and princes of the Church in this rather odd country. Even the King was Don Juan Carlos. One would hardly address the Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago as Don Sean or even Don Juan Patricio. It would be thought a pretentious affectation, much as if one referred to the putative president of our own republic as Don Barack.

I must respect the wisdom of the dictum "When in Rome ..."

"Call me Blackie!"

Not Ishmael surely, not in al-Andalus where it might be a fighting word.

The Cardinal, always effervescent, clapped his hands enthusiastically, though not as the flamenco groups in this part of the world clap, and permitted his dark-skinned face to erupt in a smile as bright as the Andalusian sun.

"Bravo! Bravo! Don Nero!" he exclaimed in his rich baritone. "It conveys perfectly the persona. But Nero is Italian. So we will call you El Padrecito Negro — the little priest called Blackie."

Which is what my siblings and my friends call me. Also my fellow priests, such as these may be, and my parishioners, when I had such, and my lay staff, and even the ineffable Megan, the porter persons in what used to be my rectory and now is the house where I live, and almost everyone else, save for deadly serious religious women for whom the name indicates an absence of seriousness, call me Blackie. The name fits me perfectly.

As in Boston Blackie and Black Bart and the Black Prince and the Black Knight, though not as in the Black Death and the Black Sox.

Said serious religious women choose to call me "Jack," a name that depresses me. I only vomit, however, when that is changed to "Jackie."

But what could "Blackie" convey to this tiny (at least four inches shorter than I) prince of the Church, resplendent in his watered silk crimson cummerbund, cape, and zucchetto (looking very much like "the fool" in a Renaissance painting of a royal family), as he struggled to make sense out of me.

"I do not fully understand you, Padrecito Negro. You wear black jeans, a black clerical shirt without a collar, a blue and red windbreaker celebrating the Chicago Cubs, whoever they be, and a baseball cap that depicts a fearsome toro, but not one of ours." Don Diego was finding it difficult to sort me out. "You do not act like a coadjutor archbishop with right to succession and a distinguished enough philosopher to be invited to a conference in Seville on American Philosophy. Still, I find the whole image charming."

I should not have put the man in such an awkward position. When Milord Cronin heard that the conference would be in Seville, he absolutely insisted that I had to live in the home of his good friend Don Diego. "You and he will hit it off perfectly. He's just like you."

I was not at all sure that I wanted to hit it off perfectly with someone who was just like me.

Don Diego sipped his superb sherry with the respect it deserved. He was a bright and quick man — he had dismissed my adversary at the morning conference as a "Dominican and they haven't had a decent philosopher since Aquino. You will, how do you say in America, crush him. That would be a good work if only he could realize that he had been crushed."

His grin was especially impish against his black face which earned him the admiring nickname among his priests of "El Moro" — the Moor.

El Moro and El Padrecito Negro.

"It is true that my ancestors were Moriscos, people who pretended to be Christian but in fact kept the faith of the Prophet. But that ended a couple of generations ago, I believe."

He laughed again, a deep, solemn laugh, somehow inappropriate for a man of his size.

"Touché, Don Diego."

We were sitting in the study of his rose-colored palace whose broad windows faced on the Cathedral Plaza. On one side was the Alcazar Royal, a network of palaces rebuilt by Don Fernando and Doña Isabella, and then again by Don Carlos, the first Hapsburg king. On the other side was the immense gothic cathedral which El Moro had claimed was the largest in Europe (a claim which my friends in Cologne would deny). Next to the Cathedral loomed the Giralda, the giant bell tower with the one-ton weathervane which had begun life as a Muslim minaret and appeared in the set of the Tyrone Power TCM favorite Blood and Sand.

It had been, as I told him upon return from the conference (in Carmen's tobacco factory, now the locale of the philosophy faculty), "a piece of cake."

This had delighted him and occasioned his first spasm of joy.

"You are not a serious man! That is excellent."

"It said in the islands, which were originally populated by migrants from Spain at the end of the ice age, that for the English a situation may be indeed serious but never desperate, while for the Irish the situation is always desperate, but never serious."

He celebrated again, toasting me with his sherry.

"You are, then, a desperate man, no?"

"In the land of my ancestors that would be a high compliment. Life is too short ever to be serious."

Though my worries about Milord Cronin these days violated that principle.

Don Diego did not look like an African. Rather he had the appearance of a Moor, the folk who had run this part of the world for hundreds of years until the arrival of Ferdinand III, a pragmatist who thought that the local folk, a mix of Arabs and Persians and Berbers, were brilliant architects and builders and should not be chased away. He also believed that the Jews were clever and ingenious and sometimes even wise. Tolerance had ebbed and flowed during the half millennium in which Christians and Moors had fought over the Iberian Peninsula. Pragmatic leaders on both sides were not as tolerant, perhaps, as political correctness would require today. But in many places and many times under Moorish and Christian monarchs the three religions of Spain lived together in relative amity.

Appropriately therefore in this new ecumenical age the Cardinal of Seville (Is BE ya) would be a Moor.

Sometimes a new dynasty of Berbers would sweep across the Straits of Gibraltar and proclaim "Death to the Infidel!" But the modus vivendi would survive. Sometimes a Castilian king would surround a city like Toledo and threaten "death to the infidels," and then change his mind. However, finally, one of San Fernando's descendants, Isabella the (so-called) Catholic, toppled Granada, the last Muslim city-state, and celebrated in due course (having dispatched Cristobal Colon, the Admiral of the Ocean Seas, to New York City) by banning all who were not Catholic from her brand-new kingdom.

It was in this very Cathedral Plaza that priests baptized Moriscos and Marranos by the thousands by the simple expedient of strolling about and sprinkling them with water while pronouncing the sacramental words. It was an act of blind folly, not to say horrific injustice, and was at least one of the causes of the terrible murders which have afflicted Spain ever since. Since there was some reason to suspect that not all of these converts were sincere, the local Holy Office of the Inquisition was set loose on those who might be heretics.

Why else would Don Diego be lifted from his comfortable chair of Philosophy at Salamanca and deposited here in Andalusia.

"But you did indeed crush that nasty English Dominican this afternoon! So I am informed by my best spies!"

"One can but try," I murmured with false modesty.

"You told him that William James's pragmatism converged with the reflections of his fellow Englishman Cardinal Newman. And when he asked you about the President of the United States, you told him that you were no more responsible for that gentleman than he was responsible for Ms. Thatcher."

"Cheap trick," I said.

"And the audience cheered like you were a matador in the bullring."

"I don't attend bullfights."

"Nor do I. Quite inappropriate."

It was a triumph that I would not dare remember for long, lest I fall victim to the temptation of morose delectation.

"Your nephew, I am told, is residing currently at the Alfonso XIII Hotel. He is the novio, I believe, to the young woman also residing there who flies her own jet plane."

"A novio in separate hotel rooms," I insisted.

My virtuous sister, Mary Kathleen, so impatient for a marriage date to be settled upon, had confided to me, "They won't sleep together, but I wish they would."

I understand nothing of these matters. I am at her own request the spiritual director of the good Peggy Anne. She had, however, on one occasion drifted away from addressing her prayer life, to explain the situation.

"We still love one another, but we have some things we have to tidy up first. Like he has to finish his dissertation and I must finish my term as president of ACE Fellowship."

ACE is the remarkable Notre Dame missionary effort to provide teachers for poor Catholic schools. They are an attractive, dedicated, and enthusiastic bunch of young men and women. The Fellowship is an alumni group, most of them still teaching in Catholic schools. About a third of them marry one another. A new form of a religious order? Why not?

"Peggy Anne," I had said, lapsing into a vernacular I rarely use with young women, "that is, you should excuse the expression, a crock of bullshit! You both are losing your nerve."

She blushed and then laughed.

"I guess you're right ... we don't want to give up our last bit of freedom."

I left it at that.

"I understand," Don Diego continued, "that both of the young people speak Spanish?" He took on a crafty look, like someone who had a plot. Only difference from Sean Cronin's plots is that Milord is much less obvious.

"No, they speak a Mexican dialect thereof, just like I do. None of this effete Castilian lisping for us."

"I understand also," he continued, "that they were at your lecture? I would have liked to be presented to them. Señorita Margarita and Don Jose are apparently striking people. But I was bound by the University rule that they don't want Cardinals at their academic events."

"Good rule. Too many Cardinals getting in over their heads."

"Though several times a week I walk over to one of the campuses and chat with the young people. They seem quite friendly despite the general hostility of all professors to the Church."

"A tendency for which they have some historic reasons."

"God knows." He made a reverent sign of the cross. "I would like to offer a dinner in your honor this evening. I will try to invite interesting people."

"That would necessitate my presence?"

"I fear so. Unfortunately we descendants of the Vandals eat our evening meals rather late in the day when the heat of the sun has cooled ... perhaps nine thirty? And I would instruct Don Pedro to invite your nephew and Señorita Margarita, if that would not displease you?"

"We will be honored." I tilted my head in what was the closest I could come under the circumstances to delight. Joseph and Peggy Anne (as she is called in our family) might be too much for the locals, so it could even be an amusing evening.

"Incidentally is that Gulfstream 560 really hers?"

"Oh, no," I said, as if I were horrified at the thought. "Her personal aircraft is a modest Cessna Citation 310 Bravo which does not have intercontinental capabilities. However she recently has been cleared to act as copilot on the Gulfstream. Actually it is a company plane. She is using it to demonstrate for European airlines the merits of a new radar system for intercontinental flights."


You better believe it, Don Diego.

"And she writes articles on spirituality too."

"Very interesting."

And in the unlikely event the conversation wanes to night she will intervene to save the party.

"May I have Don Pedro tell them that the dinner is in your honor?"

"Certainly, but they'll come anyway."

Don Pedro, whose last name I never learned, was the perfect cardinal assistant. He possessed all the admirable qualities that I lack for such a role — charm, youth, discretion, wit, enthusiasm, and a wonderful smile. He lacked, however, two indispensable qualities which I possess in superabundance — cynicism and skepticism.

"Now, since you have been traveling, you might wish to avail yourself of the afternoon siesta after you join Don Pedro and myself for some tapas and a sip of a different sherry, drier than this, but very interesting."

Tapas are a variety of fascinating snacks offered on a single plate, a small but vigorous version of the Swedish smorgasbord.

I confessed that his suggestion was very pleasant.

I don't believe in siestas or naps, but I do think it imperative that at certain times and on certain days one rest one's eyes.

None of the Ryan clan of my generation enjoy traveling. I think that the Notre Dame football stadium is the outer limit of my tolerance for a journey. Name all the troubles which affect the jet flyer and I have them — motion sickness, altitude sickness, jet lag, troubled digestive tract, irritability. "How long does it take you to get over an intercontinental flight, Uncle Blackie?" she demands as she aims the Gulfstream toward Andalusia (land of the Vandals, who were the first wave of invaders who attacked Roman Iberia, enjoying a brief interlude of destruction before the arrival of the Visigoths, moderately more civilized but also Arian heretics).

She laughs as she contacts the Santa Justa (pronounced Husta) Airport to announce our arrival.

The only aircraft problem I don't have is the classic fear of flying, perhaps because a crash would put an end to my various afflictions.

Nor did I particularly like Seville after less than a day. It was one more modern city with a million or so inhabitants, traffic problems, abundant graffiti, and swarms of tourists from every nation under heaven, not excluding Kazaks, Icelanders, and Micronesians, each equipped with digital cameras and sunscreen. What did the New Testament say, "Parthians and Medes and Elamites, Irish and Turks and Swedes and, oh, yes, Yanks."

The sun was bright and the white buildings in the old Jewish Quarter glowed. The gardens around the Alcazar dazzled. The gold in the Cathedral glittered until you realized it was stolen from the Aztecs. The outside of the arena where the bulls were killed looked like a set the Lyric Opera of Chicago had lent to Seville from its Carmen production. The souvenir shops were like all others around the world, and there was no one dancing the flamenco around the restaurants on the Avenida de la Constitucion. It was clean anyway and the cops in their gray baseball caps were polite and tried not to smile at my Mexican accent.

Seville did not conform to the image of Arturo Perez-Reverte or Pierre Beaumarchais or Prosper Merimee. No one was singing Mozart arias in the steets. My late mother, God be good to her and he'd better or he'll hear about it, used to complain that the TV version of The Lone Ranger ruined the story because no mortal white horse could live up to the image of the "great white horse Silver!" One would not find the cruel passion, tragic romance, ill-fated love, and fierce hatred which had allegedly marked Spain and Spanish culture since the Romans replaced the Celto-Iberians in this city with an Arabic name.

I could not have been more wrong.


The dinner party included one Moor and three Chicagoans. All the rest were Castilians, an extraordinarily handsome people with pale skin, thick black hair, and striking El Greco faces. This was the ethnic group which rallied to drive back the Muslim hordes. They were courteous, refined, and proud. Clustered originally beneath the Pyrenees, they had gathered a kingdom which had slowly spread over most of the remnants of Christian Spain and then taken advantage of the internecine conflicts among the Muslim principalities as the Muslims had exploited the disunity of the Visigothic kings, all fifty of them. They were also stalwarts of the Inquisition. My weary brain insisted that their infinitely polite refinement concealed, though just barely, dangerous emotions which might erupt at a hint of dishonor and would fill the room with drawn swords. They looked like Black Irish lords and ladies sitting around a table in a rocky keep on the western edge of the island, each one of them with a jug of stout in their hand and fully prepared to throw over the table and have at one another with terrible curses, as thunder and waves roared in the background, rain beat against the walls, and lightning danced across the sky.

When I am trapped in jet lag, my imagination turns violent. Yet this troop of elegant and attractive aristocrats in white dinner jackets and black gowns, with black lace mantillas covering possibly bare shoulders, scared me when they entered Don Diego's dining room. The barbarians were at the gates again and this time they were Irish. Were the Neolithic tribes who had walked from Iberia to the British Isles, over the land bridges that united the continent and the islands as the glaciers from the last ice age melted, cousins of the ancestors of these people? Or were the Black Irish, as was often claimed, descendants of Castilian survivors of the Armada? Did they recognize in my stalwart nephew Don Jose a possible distant cousin?


Excerpted from The Archbishop in Andalusia by Andrew M. Greeley. Copyright © 2008 Andrew M. Greeley Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
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