Eugene Kennedy

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For basketball player, see Goo Kennedy.
Eugene Kennedy
Born (1928-08-18) August 18, 1928 (age 86)
Syracuse, New York
Occupation psychologist of religion, columnist

Eugene Cullen Kennedy (born August 18, 1928) is an American psychologist, syndicated columnist, and a professor emeritus of Loyola University Chicago. He remained a professor of psychology at the university for several years. A laicized Catholic priest and a long-time observer of the Roman Catholic Church[1] he has written over fifty books on psychology, religion, Catholic church, and psychology of religion,[2] and also published three novels, Father's Day (1981), Queen Bee (1982), and Fixes (1989). He wrote a column for the Religious News Service, distributed by the New York Times syndicate.[3]

Kennedy is a noted dissident in the Catholic Church and has argued for a "post-clerical, de-centered priesthood, in which the adjustments to celibacy are varied." For Kennedy, the priesthood must be changed to include "the love and understanding of a specific woman, or, in some cases, a certain man."[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Eugene Cullen Kennedy was born in Syracuse, New York, on August 18, 1928, to second generation Irish parents, James Donald Kennedy and Gertrude Veronica Cullen.

Kennedy received a bachelor of arts degree from Maryknoll College in 1950, followed by a bachelor's degree in sacred theology from Maryknoll Seminary in New York City in 1953, a master's in religious education in 1954, and both an MA (1958) and PhD (1962) from Catholic University.


Kennedy joined the order of Maryknoll missionaries and was ordained Roman Catholic priest in 1955. He began his teaching career at Maryknoll College as instructor that same year. He joined in the Clinical Psychology department at Chicago's Loyola University in 1969, and eventually became professor and chairman of the department, retiring as professor emeritus.

Personal life[edit]

He first met Sara C. Charles, a Maryknoll nun and psychiatrist, in mid 1960s, while he was hospitalized in New York owing to a pericardial infection, after over a decade of friendship they married in September 1977 and authored several books together. The couple now live in Chicago.[2][5]


  • Fashion me a people: man, woman, and the church. Sheed and Ward, 1967
  • The Pain of Being Human. Ratna Sagar, 1972. ISBN 81-7108-372-2
  • The Catholic priest in the United States: psychological investigations. with Victor J. Heckler. United States Catholic Conference, Publications Office, 1972.
  • The New sexuality: myths, fables, and hang-ups. Doubleday, 1972
  • The Heart of Loving. Argus Communications, 1973. ISBN 0-913592-19-6.
  • The Trouble Book. Thomas More Press, 1976. ISBN 0-88347-064-0.
  • Believing. Image Books, 1977. ISBN 0-385-12614-X.
  • Authority: the most misunderstood idea in America. with Sara C. Charles. Free Press, 1997. ISBN 0-684-83665-3.
  • My Brother Joseph: The Spirit of a Cardinal and the Story of a Friendship. St. Martin's Griffin, 1998. ISBN 978-0-312-19515-1.
  • On becoming a counselor: a basic guide for nonprofessional counselors and other helpers. with Sara C. Charles. Crossroad Pub. Co., 2001. ISBN


  • The Unhealed wound: the Church and human sexuality. St. Martin's Press, 2001. ISBN 0-312-26637-5.
  • Cardinal Bernardin's Stations of the Cross: Transforming Our Grief and Loss Into a New Life. St. Martin's Press, 2004. ISBN 0-312-28306-7.


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