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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.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.