• E-Books
  • Latest Catalogs
  • Books for Courses
  • Exhibits Listing
  • View Cart

About the Book

Stay Connected

Beyond the Book

304 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 17 illus., notes, bibl., index

Paper
ISBN  978-0-8078-7353-3
Published: January 2012

Catholic and Feminist

The Surprising History of the American Catholic Feminist Movement

By Mary J. Henold


Awards & Distinctions

A Nota Bene selection of The Chronicle of Higher Education

A Choice Outstanding Academic Title

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 feminists--both lay women and women religious--marched, 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.

About the Author

Mary J. Henold is associate professor of history at Roanoke College.


Reviews

"Compelling reading. . . . Provides a lively, cohesive narrative for non-Catholic feminists and readers from Generation O. . . . This concise, lively, carefully prepared volume will be useful to Catholics who want to know more about their own recent past and to students of American history, women's history, and religious history. . . . Highly recommended."
--Choice

"An example of feminist scholarship that deserves the name: professional yet personal, documenting assertions without hedging and offering a vision that balances the real and the ideal. . . . [Henold's] scholarship is careful, her writing style clean."
--America

"A splendid history of the American Catholic feminist movement. . . . Highly recommended for all seminary, academic, and public libraries."
--Library Journal

"The first substantive history of Catholic feminism."
--American Catholic

"Superb . . . at tracing and analyzing the history of Catholic feminism in the United States. . . . Henold's research is impressive, relying on extensive archival research and a variety of fascinating oral histories. . . . An important contribution to the fields of religious history and women's studies and should be required reading in those areas for years to come."
--American Catholic Studies

"[Henold] is to be commended for taking several thousand bits of information and weaving them into an engaging and informative narrative without masking the complexities of interpreting a period of enormous change."
--Journal of American History

Related Titles

<SPAN STYLE= "" >For God, King, and People</SPAN>

For God, King, and People

Forging Commonwealth Bonds in Renaissance Virginia

By Alexander B. Haskell

Ideals of commonwealth formation in Virginia colonization

Learn More »

<SPAN STYLE= "" >The Furnace of Affliction</SPAN>

The Furnace of Affliction

Prisons and Religion in Antebellum America

By Jennifer Graber

Prisons illuminate the unfolding relationship of church and state in the early republic

Learn More »

<SPAN STYLE= "" >The Weston Sisters</SPAN>

The Weston Sisters

An American Abolitionist Family

By Lee V. Chambers

A new look into the history of abolitionism--and the lives of the women who led it

Learn More »



© 2014 The University of North Carolina Press
116 South Boundary Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514-3808
How to Order | Make a Gift | Privacy
Greenpress Initiative Network Solutions