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Catholic Does Not Equal the Vatican
     

Catholic Does Not Equal the Vatican

by Rosemary Radford Ruether
 

In the 1960s, the hopes for a blossoming progressive Catholicism awakened by the Second Vatican Council were cut short by conservative opposition and the rightward agendas of the previous and current pope.

Forty years later, Catholic ­ ≠ the Vatican heralds the revival of a newly democratic and participatory church that transcends narrow Vatican

Overview

In the 1960s, the hopes for a blossoming progressive Catholicism awakened by the Second Vatican Council were cut short by conservative opposition and the rightward agendas of the previous and current pope.

Forty years later, Catholic ­ ≠ the Vatican heralds the revival of a newly democratic and participatory church that transcends narrow Vatican doctrine. Destined to be a seminal text of progressive Catholicism, this beautifully written and uncompromising book by renowned scholar and activist Rosemary Radford Ruether examines the serious moral contradictions in Vatican Catholicism and offers a vision of a faith committed to justice and peace. Ruether calls for the dismantling of sexist teachings and ascetic values, while promoting healthy sexual ethics and egalitarian communities that welcome women, gays, and lesbians into full equality in the church and even ordination. Reverend Doctor Susan Thistlethwaite’s introduction explains Ruether’s pioneering leadership in progressive Christianity and her unwavering commitment to ecological responsibility and human rights.

Grounded in her civil rights work in the Mississippi Delta and the Latin American tradition of liberation theology, Ruether’s long overdue vision of the church as it should be will serve as an inspiration for Catholics everywhere.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Scholar and activist Radford Ruether issues a clarion call to fellow progressive Catholics to stay the course for change in a church she says has become "deeply polarized." In what the book's foreword (authored by Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, president of Chicago Theological Seminary) calls a "great 'encyclical,' " Radford Ruether lays blame for the present situation at the feet of the late Pope John Paul II. It was he, she writes, who sought to reverse much of the progress that was achieved in ecumenism, modern scholarship and social justice following the reforming Second Vatican Council of the 1960s. In the face of a church leadership that is committed to John Paul II's vision, Radford Ruether restates the progressive agenda, zeroing in on such issues as reproductive rights and clericalism and taking aim at the church's male-only priesthood in her concluding essay, "Can Men Be Ordained?" Radford Ruether will have her intended audience cheering and perhaps inspired to work anew for the church she envisions-one that is multicultural, admittedly fallible, free from sexism, democratic and committed to the poor and oppressed. (Oct.)

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Library Journal

In her contribution to the New Press's "Does Not Equal" series, progressive evangelical Harper (executive director, New York Faith & Justice) questions the relationship between our political worldviews and our theological worldviews. She chronicles the history of traditional evangelical movements like Campus Crusade and Promise Keepers as well as the Southern Baptist Convention, challenging their current stance on racial reconciliation and economic justice, concerns that she feels represent a new breed of faithful evangelicals. More manifesto than dispassionate account, Harper's work lambastes evangelicals who focus solely on abortion and homosexuality, overriding any biblical mandate for caring for others. She further concludes, "Unquestioning alignment to a political party is idolatry." She describes true evangelicals as "people aligned with Jesus, and Jesus aligns himself with the least in society," offering a stronger social gospel than traditional evangelicalism.Similarly, Ruether (Sexism and God-Talk) confronts the notion that American Catholicism is uniformly in step with Rome. For her, Catholic clericalism has disadvantaged the faithful: "The simple act of blessing and distributing food and drink as a symbol of giving and nurturing life is turned into a power tool to control access to God." As the introduction says, this is vintage Ruether. She finds the Vatican an entrenched, out-of-touch dinosaur, patriarchal and parochial in perspective, more concerned with enforcing its antiquated and oppressive policies than spreading the love of God. Like Harper's, this is Ruether's deeply personal manifesto. She calls the Church to an essential Catholic faith, rooted inJesus's message of freedom from violence and oppression, which she sadly identifies as part and parcel of the hierarchical Church today, resulting in its tradition of misogyny and injustice. Both of these books are passionate and personal; they may not convince those outside their particular perspective, but they certainly offer compelling and challenging reads. Highly recommended.
—Sandra Collins

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781595584069
Publisher:
New Press, The
Publication date:
10/14/2008
Series:
Does Not Equal Series
Pages:
150
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author


A groundbreaking Catholic feminist, Rosemary Radford Ruether is the author of the seminal work Sexism and God-Talk, has written over thirty books, and is an outspoken activist and distinguished scholar. She lives in Claremont, California. The Reverend Doctor Susan Thistlethwaite is President of the Chicago Theological Seminary, the author and editor of over a dozen books, and a frequent contributor to the Washington Post. She lives in Chicago.

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