THE VATICAN'S WOMEN: Female Influence in the Holy See

Paul Hofmann, Author
Paul Hofmann, Author . St. Martin's $23.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-312-27490-0
Reviewed on: 09/30/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
Paperback - 207 pages - 978-0-312-28372-8
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-4299-7547-6
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How do women influence the inner workings of the male-dominated Roman Catholic Church when the door to priesthood remains closed to them? To find out women's impact on the Vatican, Hoffman, a former Rome bureau chief for the New York Times, conducted interviews with more than 40 representatives of the church's distaff side and did historical research aided by two of the Vatican's women professionals. He learned that although they are barred from many official positions of authority, women have managed to exercise persuasive power at the Vatican into the present day. Indeed, some of Hoffman's strongest examples are of women who wielded great power while assuming traditional and even subservient roles. Chief among these was Mother Pascalina, a Bavarian nun who spent more than 40 years attending to the personal needs of Pope Pius XII, and who had so much influence that she was referred to by some as "the popess." This book is as much about the Vatican as it is about women and is full of interesting, gossipy tidbits drawn from the author's years of working and living in Rome. Although such details make for interesting reading and will certainly attract readers with a taste for scandal and rumor, their inclusion detracts from what otherwise might have been a more serious study of the role of women in the church. (Oct.)

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