cover image Good Catholics: The Battle over Abortion in the Catholic Church

Good Catholics: The Battle over Abortion in the Catholic Church

Patricia Miller. Univ. of California, $34.95 (344p) ISBN 978-0-520-27600-0

Among Catholics no moral issue is as contentious as abortion. Miller, a journalist and former editor of Conscience magazine, traces the history of the battles over abortion among and between the Catholic faithful and the hierarchy. Groundbreaking feminist theologians in the mid-20th century such as Mary Daly and Rosemary Radford Ruether challenged the Catholic Church’s long-standing prohibition of contraception and abortion by offering alternative interpretations of Scripture and traditional scholarship. Not surprisingly, when dealing with abortion and religion, politics pops up as a key force as well. The author describes how politicians nuance or hold a hard line on the abortion question to garner votes. Also addressed are grassroots organizations, such as Catholics for a Free Choice, which arose to offer an alternative to the faithful who love the Church but are unable in good conscience to support what is perceived as an extreme position on abortion. While the author does not attempt to hide her own pro-choice perspective, her research is impressive. Anyone interested in discovering how and why the abortion issue is so inextricably tied up with Catholicism will be fascinated by this important work. (May)