James Kavanaugh was born on September 17, 1928 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He entered St. Joseph's Seminary in Grand Rapids at the age of 15. He was ordained in 1954 and served as a parish priest in Lansing and Flint, Michigan. He received a doctorate at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He was a priest teaching at Notre Dame University when he wrote his controversial book, A Modern Priest Looks at His Outdated Church, in 1967. In the book, he called for church reforms on issues such as birth control, divorce, premarital sex and celibacy for priests. The book eventually led him to leave the priesthood. His wrote more than two dozen books during his lifetime, including works of poetry, nonfiction, and allegories. His works included The Birth of God, There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves, Celebrate the Sun: A Love Story, A Village Called Harmony: A Fable, A Coward for Them All, The Celibates, and Search: A Guide for Those Who Dare to Ask of Life Everything Good and Beautiful. He died after undergoing surgery for an aortic aneurysm in July on December 29, 2009 at the age of 81.