Octogenarian Chicago mystery novelist, columnist and theologian Andrew M. Greeley was hospitalized after a fall on Friday. His Web site says he remains in “critical but stable” condition at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois. According to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, the accident happened when his jacket got stuck in a taxi door:

As the cab began to pull away, the 80-year-old priest fell to the ground and hit his head, fracturing his skull. He was taken to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, where he was in critical condition, friends and family said Saturday afternoon.

“Right now he’s critical but stable, very stable,” niece Laura Durkin said. “Doctors are hopeful and pleased with his progress from [Friday] to [Saturday].”

Greeley, who was wearing a Barack Obama baseball cap when he fell, suffered bleeding on the brain.

Greeley was in the news most recently when he compared then vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin to South Pacific’s racist Nellie Forbush. From Greeley’s column:

“South Pacific” is a morality play for our time. Sarah Palin is the Ensign Nellie Forbush–an All-American girl as racist, this time a racist with her eye on the White House. She can stir up crowds to shout “Kill him!” at the mention of the presidential candidate of the other party a couple of weeks before the national election.

Greeley’s accident happens just as his 17th Bishop Blackie Ryan novel, The Archbishop in Andalusia (Forge), heads into bookstores to meet its November 11 publication date. According to Publishers Weekly, Greeley hasn’t lost his touch. “Greeley’s breezy 17th Blackie Ryan novel … takes Ryan to the south of Spain for a conference, where the local cardinal requests his help preventing the murder of a beautiful and wealthy widow … whose many relatives envy her money, title and power in the community …. some readers may feel the travelogue aspects overshadow the mystery untangling, but all will enjoy Greeley’s wit and good humor.”

Greeley’s Webmaster is posting regular health updates here.

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