cover image Catholic Women Confront Their Church: Stories of Hurt and Hope

Catholic Women Confront Their Church: Stories of Hurt and Hope

Celia Viggo Wexler. Rowman & Littlefield, $34 (216p) ISBN 978-1-4422-5413-8

Award-winning journalist Wexler tells the stories of 10 women (including herself) of various ages, ethnicities, and life experiences who have wrestled with their Catholicism and the institutional church’s approach to women. Each finely crafted profile includes a biographical story interwoven with a faith journey in progress, all of which include a strong sense of a call to service. Certain themes recur: the question of women’s ordination, ordination in general, issues of social justice, and a commitment to a “faith that transcends the institutional church.” Those profiled include Sister Simone Campbell, of “Nuns on the Bus” fame; Barbara Blaine, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests; and Marianne Duddy-Burke, “a full-throated advocate for gay Catholics.” Wexler quotes liberally, conveying the women’s own voices; for example, Frances Kissling, longtime president of Catholics for Free Choice, says, “Abortion is very serious for me. It is a moral issue”; Diana L. Hayes, an African-American womanist theologian and adult convert, says, “God knew not to ask me into this church prior to Vatican II.” These thought-provoking profiles brim with hope and concern for the future of the Catholic Church. (Sept.)