In 1963, as Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique appeared and civil rights activists marched on Washington, a separate but related social movement emerged among American Catholics, says Mary Henold. Thousands of Catholic feministsboth lay women and women religiousmarched, strategized, theologized, and prayed together, building sisterhood and confronting sexism in the Roman Catholic Church. In the first history of American Catholic feminism, Henold explores the movement from the 1960s through the early 1980s, showing that although Catholic feminists had much in common with their sisters in the larger American feminist movement, Catholic feminism was distinct and had not been simply imported from outside. Catholic feminism grew from within the church, rooted in women's own experiences of Catholicism and religious practice, Henold argues. She identifies the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), an inspiring but overtly sexist event that enraged and exhilarated Catholic women in equal measure, as a catalyst of the movement within the church. Catholic feminists regularly explained their feminism in terms of their commitment to a gospel mandate for social justice, liberation, and radical equality. They considered feminism to be a Christian principle. Yet as Catholic feminists confronted sexism in the church and the world, Henold explains, they struggled to integrate the two parts of their self-definition. Both Catholic culture and feminist culture indicated that such a conjunction was unlikely, if not impossible. Henold demonstrates that efforts to reconcile faith and feminism reveal both the complex nature of feminist consciousness and the creative potential of religious feminism.
|Publisher:||The University of North Carolina Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Mary J. Henold is John R. Turbyfill Professor of History at Roanoke College.
Table of Contents
2. Demythologizing Ourselves
3. No Cakes in Hands unless Ideas in Heads
4. The Spirit Moving
5. The Love of Christ Leaves Us No Choice
6. Making Feminism Holy
7. A Matter of Conversion
8. Sustained Ambivalence Epilogue: 1980-1986
Notes Bibliography Index
What People are Saying About This
Feminists are the hope of the Catholic Church. I applaud Mary Henold for her scholarship, her insight, and her vision. Catholic and Feminist shows the way that women can take the best of our traditions to shape our church and make it the moral anchor that we need.Kathleen Kennedy Townsend