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Catholic Does Not Equal the Vatican: A Vision for Progressive Catholicism [Hardcover]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   160
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.72" Width: 6.16" Height: 0.65"
Weight:   0.57 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 5, 2008
Publisher   New Press
ISBN  1595584064  
EAN  9781595584069  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
A stirring manifesto for progressive Catholics and a challenge to Vatican politics, from pioneering feminist Catholic Rosemary Ruether--in the acclaimed "Does Not Equal" series.
""In a truly just world, Rosemary Radford Ruether would be Pope.""--from the foreword to "Catholic Does Not Equal the Vatican" by Susan Thistlethwaite, president of Chicago Theological Seminary
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 Does Not Equal 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.

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More About Rosemary Radford Ruether

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! 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.

Rosemary Radford Ruether currently resides in the state of Illinois. Rosemary Radford Ruether has an academic affiliation as follows - Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary Pacific School of Religion Pr.

Rosemary Radford Ruether has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Creative Pastoral Care & Counseling
  2. Ecology & Justice
  3. Facets
  4. New Vectors in the Study of Religion and Theology

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General   [5549  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Roman Catholicism   [2524  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Brilliant and Provocative  Apr 17, 2010
Another outstanding contribution from this seminal theologian which will not be easily understood or accepted by more conservative minds, but unfortunately we are at a turning point in history regarding religious institutions in general and Catholicism in particular. Polarization seems difficult to avoid since a significant minority remain stuck in the past, adhering to outmoded forms, while the Spirit of life is moving us forward. I really believe Dr. Reuther is one of those who are pointing the way for us to new modes of being both christian and catholic. To quote the Irish theologian, Diarmuid O'Murchu:

"Supposing you have this group...and let's put this into percentages...and you have 50% that are totally rigid and stuck, if you like, and you have 50% that are yearning to go. Insofar as there are people that are committed primarily to life and to the evolution of life, the primary energy should move with the 50% that want to move. And then we keep a secondary energy to try and help and maintain the others in a meaningful way. So this principal is that you go primarily where the life is!"
Read it and Hold Your Head Up High!  Jan 24, 2010
This book is clear, in depth, scholarly, and fun! It is filled with examples, history and background of the topics offered.

It clearly shows the inroads made by women and the feminist approach. And it raises current questions raised by the church's responses and behaviors in this time that is so vital in the ongoing life and people/church and church/people.

I strongly suggest that anyone who reads this book start with the epilogue which expresses not just everything in the book, but everything that has accompanied women's journey to be truly part of the church.

Patricia Nicholson
An amusing and ridiculous book  Feb 2, 2009
Rosemary Radford Ruether's extended rant is difficult to review, mainly because the Catholic Church about which she complains is a thing of her own creation bearing no resemblance to the real Church. It is a classic straw man. Her progressive manifesto is by now so familiar that it's almost a caricature. It's all here: the tired old separation between Jesus and the Church, the appeals to the mythical "spirit of Vatican II" against "reactionaries" who hijacked its promise, good "liberals" vs. bad "conservatives," the inability to refrain from dragging the Bush administration into things and politicizing theology, and of course the old litany of changes needed in the Church -- changes that would turn it into the Anglican/Episcopal church. Not surprisingly, Ruether has nothing good to say about popes from Paul VI on. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the writings and character of John Paul II or Benedict XVI will not recognize the dastardly silent film villains portrayed here, and a quick consultation of a dictionary of Catholicism quickly dismantles many of Ruether's claims.

As she repeatedly asserts in her introduction, Ruether's "progressive Catholicism" is something that she and others created about 50 years ago. She does not pretend that what she preaches is authentic orthodox Catholicism, at least not "as defined by the Vatican." Despite her academic credentials (which she keeps in front of us at all times), Ruether has little understanding of Catholic ecclesiology, and at bottom that is perhaps the fatal flaw in her entire project. She speaks often of "my vision of the church," "what I believe is the perennial meaning of the gospel," "truths that we can construct," and in all this she lays all her cards openly on the table. She speaks of the need "to build alternative church communities and organizations" and approvingly cites as models a who's-who list of dissenting organizations that are Catholic only in name. Aware of this, Ruether immediately asks "Why call such groups Catholic?" Her answer is very revealing: "For the simple reason that they see themselves as Catholic . . . [and] as being church. Their Catholic identity is self chosen." That sums up the whole book very well. What Ruether offers in these pages is a Catholic Church created in her own image, and therefore a Protestant church.

This is a sad book in many ways. Ruether has a tremendously inflated sense of her own importance, as if she has heard for too long that she is a vital force and has come to believe it. She repeatedly calls attention to her long list of scholarly publications and offers a 20-page account of her indispensible contributions to the world, as if she knows she's being ignored and has to make sure that she is noticed. In this she is like a spoiled child striking out at her parents because she is not getting her way. Imagine someone like Avery Dulles drawing attention to himself like this. Ruether's book is all unfurled banners, protests and marches, a re-fighting of long-ago battles and an unwillingness to move on. There is nothing of beauty, unity, life, or hope in these pages -- only anger, bitterness, divisiveness, arrogance, and stubborn pride. Nothing can be built on such a foundation. Who could be inspired by such hostility?

Well, there are some. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, in her foreword, calls Ruether a "blast furnace of feminist theology" and says that "when I open her books, a roar comes out, a force of mind and heart that simply WILL NOT submit to patriarchy." That sounds about right. Ruether is an immovable wall, holding a megaphone and wearing earplugs. There is no room for dialogue when faced with a roaring blast furnace, nothing of the God who speaks in a still, small voice. There are, however, many echoes of the one who defiantly proclaimed "Non serviam" ("I will not serve") before being cast out of Heaven. But Ruether is not interested in a genuine conversation or exchange of ideas. She is utterly convinced that she is right -- convinced, ironically, of her own infallibility even as she rails against what she wrongly believes to be the Catholic doctrine of infallibility (again, a simple theological dictionary would clear this up for her). She is like a madman standing in the town square shouting, "There is no absolute truth, and that's the truth!" What dialogue could be possible when you have framed the whole issue as a battle between ignorant popes or bishops and brave, learned feminist theologians? Hers is an all-or-nothing proposition, without a hint that she might be able to learn something from the Church. Ultimately, Ruether's recipe for progressive Catholicism consumes itself and collapses under the weight of its own incoherence. At the end of her introduction, she admits the possibility that "those of us concerned with such reforms will grow tired of institutional intransigence and go elsewhere" (please God, let it be so), but in the meantime she'll go right on building a church in her own image and call it Catholic, "not waiting to be allowed to do so in some distant future."

In the end, this little book is a childish, intolerant, delusional, self-centered rant from someone who seems to recognize that the sun has already set on her project and that it will prove over time to have been little more than a disruptive blip in the history of Western Christianity. That Ruether has devoted her life to such a project is indeed sad and a terrible misuse of her intellectual gifts. She is a bomb-thrower with a vanishing audience, and her response is simply to yell louder. "In a truly just world," writes Thistlelthwaite, "Rosemary Radford Ruether would be Pope." That nicely encapsulates the bizarre egotistical fantasy world outlined in the pages of this book.
Well written  Jan 1, 2009
This is a difficult book for me to review, and at first, I thought that I wouldn't comment. Before I begin the review, I should state that I am catholic and hold firm to the teachings of the church. So there are several points when reviewing this book. First, as a book, the presentation was well done, the arguments interesting. I found myself, for the most part, in disagreement with her assessments, but the arguments themselves did help me clarify some of my own views. I did find myself in agreement with some of the social justice points, but those are not theological issues.

From a personal perspective, I found it telling that she defined one persons religious vocation as in terms of the woman finding a place where she could do research and study. Dr. Ruether doesn't misunderstand or misdefine catolic religious vocation purposely, she just really has no comprehension. I find it strange to be a theologian without faith.

Yes, Dr. Ruether, we all know the Catholic church is patriarchal (and, on a humerous aside, didn't you get a degree in patristics?). We all know that we, all of us, are living in a fallen world, doing the best we can. And analysis and criticism is not a bad thing. But I do think that you have stepped across the line and may not be a member of the Roman Catholic church any longer.(ADDENDUM added several weeks later: I don't think I had the right to make that last statement, and I apologize. Not my business in a book review). I do wonder, why the author doesn't, as another reviewer stated, join what she considers a perfectly good alternative to the catholic church and be at peace?

The book is interesting, and I recommend it if you want to know these sorts of arguments and theories. But it isn't catholic.
Even the Title is Wrong  Dec 16, 2008
Let's be serious. One can question the validity of the teachings of the Catholic Church -- that is legitimate intellectual debate and expression of freedom of conscience. But one cannot profess to be a Catholic and deny the Church itself.

The author wishes to define the Catholic Church in terms of her own wishes and desires. One cannot have it both ways.

In the forward to the book, Susan Thistlewaite, president of Chicago Theological Seminary, writes: "In a truly just world, Rosemary Radford Ruether would be Pope." It should be noted that the Chicago Theological Seminary is under the auspices of the United Church of Christ. On that organization's website, it explicitly states: The United Church of Christ embraces a theological heritage that affirms the Bible as the authoritative witness to the Word of God, the creeds of the ecumenical councils, and the confessions of the Reformation. The UCC has roots in the "covenantal" tradition--meaning there is no centralized authority or hierarchy that can impose any doctrine or form of worship on its members.

As one reads the book, it is obvious that Ms. Radford Ruether seeks to re-design the Church based upon her own beliefs, which essentially remake the Catholic Church into something resembling (if not mirroring or becoming) the United Church of Christ. One can only speculate why she does not convert to the UCC, or the Church of Gaia, or to that which is consistent with her views. Why belong to the Catholic Church, when one rejects its fundamental doctrines and teachings?


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