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Angela Bonavoglia is a self-described "itinerant Catholic." Born a Catholic, she knew she would die a Catholic. She was resigned to living with the knowledge that the Church had failed to live up to its own ideals, but then she heard the story of one woman who had the courage to say no to the pope. That launched Bonavoglia on a journey of discovery, through which she found many contemporary women, all over the world, stepping forward to challenge one of the last bastions of male authority -- the Roman Catholic Church. She began to believe that change just might be possible.
The recently exposed transgressions of priests within the Church stunned the faithful and sent a new surge of energy through the progressive Church reform movement in the United States. Despite the movement's growing profile, the world has only recently learned that Catholic women are the driving force behind reform. Good Catholic Girls is a lively account of these courageous women, as seen through Bonavoglia's eyes. They include Joan Chittister, the Benedictine nun who refused to obey a Vatican order not to speak at the first international conference for women's ordination groups worldwide; Mary Ramerman, ordained a Catholic priest before 3,000 jubilant supporters in a packed theater in Rochester, New York; Frances Kissling, whose fight for women's reproductive rights has shaken the Church at its highest levels; priest abuse survivor Barbara Blaine, who created the most powerful voice for victims, the Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests; and Sister Jeannine Gramick, who built a pioneering ministry to gaysand lesbians, despite Vatican orders to silence her and ban her work.
Backed by supporters worldwide, these and other women are rethinking Catholic theology, changing the face of ministry, and resurrecting the lost lives of female Church leaders. They are working to open ordination to all, challenging the Church's sexual repression, and calling the Church to openness and accountability. Their work is brave, provocative, and vital, for what becomes of women in the Catholic Church will determine what becomes of the Church itself. As Bonavoglia shows in this compelling book, the hierarchy ignores them at its peril.
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