“These thought-provoking profiles brim with hope and concern for the future of the Catholic Church.”
Each woman’s story of internal conflict, theological development, and spiritual growth is, of course, unique, and yet together they form a nuanced account of women in the American Church today and offer models for those who experience both deep belief and religious structural doubt. An excellent companion to Sarah Bessey’s Jesus Feminist (2013) and Michal Smart and Barbara Ashkenas’ Kaddish: Women’s Voices.
By offering these ten stories, Wexler provides role models for not only women who did not capitulate to oppressive forces in the Catholic Church, but who were able to see beyond man-created religious (and other) institution to the seeds of faith that gave their lives meaning and connected them to the sacred. In sum, I saw role models of confrontation, but also engagement, represented in these stories.
Celia Wexler explores an important question for many modern women of faith: Is it possible to be a professional, independent thinking woman—who believes in gender equality—and still be a Catholic? Through the personal stories of ten notable women, herself included, Wexler navigates the clash of traditional Catholicism and the realities of twenty-first century womanhood with wisdom and insight. A must-read for any person of faith living in today’s secular world.
~ Joanne Bamberger, author/editor of Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox
The courageous Catholic women profiled in this timely book have issued a clear call for the transformation of the institutional church. Their faith is profound; their voices are strong. Their message has the power to change hearts, minds, and hierarchies.
~ Joan Connell, former editor of Religion News Service
In Celia Wexler’s meticulously assembled inquiry into the state of mind of contemporary Catholic women, we hear from nine different subjects, each as riveting and articulate as the next, calling for compassionate and heartfelt change. The result is a stunning choral effect, worthy of being heard in the sacristy and in the streets, by men and women alike. Wexler’s prose reads with the clarity and conviction of a beautiful prayer.
~ Madeleine Blais, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, University of Massachusetts Amherst
For most of modern history, Americans have been religious outliers—we’re the rare society that’s both prosperous and devout. In recent decades, however, a growing number of Americans, especially the young, have drifted away from organized religion. This is a complex phenomenon with multiple roots. Celia Wexler has summoned her impressive journalistic skills to tell one aspect of this story with great insight, empathy, and humanity.
~ Paul Taylor, Pew Research Center, author of The Next America: Boomers, Millennials and the Looming Generational Showdown
This well-reported story of smart, committed, progressive Catholics proves that women are church. In light of the corrupt, often-criminal institutional Roman Catholic Church, Frances Kissling, Diana Hayes, Theresa Delgado, Marianne Duddy-Burke, and the others profiled in this book model the best of the Catholic tradition—faith, primacy of conscience, social justice work, and dedication to equality. Ironically, these women who are variously mistreated and dismissed give Catholicism a good name.
~ Mary E. Hunt, Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER)