Issue Date: September 3, 2004
Women challenge the church
The title says it all. In her latest book, Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittister draws on her spiritual journals to weave together an examination of the important themes of her busy and remarkable life. Called to Question is divided into six parts examining these themes; sections include The Inward Life, Feminist Spirituality, Ecology and Dailiness. Chittisters narrative exposition is interspersed regularly with paragraphs from her journals. The journal excerpts are reflections -- and often questions -- that were prompted by passages she encountered in her spiritual reading, with sources ranging from the Bible to Madeline LEngle. The jacket characterizes Called to Question as Chittisters most personal and intense writing to date.
Jane Kelly, a Sister of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
worked for years at St. Mary of the Angels Church in the Santa Rosa, Calif.,
diocese. While there, she discovered that Fr. Jorge Salas was stealing from the
collection -- and sexually molesting young men. Kelly went public with the
issue in 1999, and the resulting press coverage about Salas and Bishop Patrick
Ziemann was, as she says, the beginning of a revolution in the Santa Rosa
diocese, if not the entire Roman Catholic church. Taught To Believe gives
Kellys first-person account of her Catholic upbringing in the 1940s and
50s, her early religious life, her run-in with uncooperative diocesan
officials at the time of the scandal and her ideas about the future of the
church she still loves.
Theologian Eileen P. Flynns book, Catholics at a Crossroads, uses
the priest sex scandal as a point of departure for her clearheaded critique of
the American Catholic church and the dilemmas and possibilities it confronts
today. Catholics have undergone a radical change as hierarchical complicity and
duplicity have become more apparent, she reports. "No longer are [they] willing
to allow their pastors to exercise unquestioned authority, nor are they
susceptible to intimidation by bishops." Flynn brings passion, realism and
positive prescription to the current discussion.
National Catholic Reporter, September 3, 2004
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