The New Catholic Feminism: Theology, Gender Theory and Dialogue

The New Catholic Feminism: Theology, Gender Theory and Dialogue

by Tina Beattie

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It is hard to over-estimate the challenge that feminism poses to Roman Catholicism. Pope John Paul II's call for a 'new feminism' has led to the development of a Catholic theological response to the so-called 'old feminism'. The New Catholic Feminism sets up a dramatic encounter between the orthodox Catholic establishment and contemporary critical theory, including feminist theology and philosophy, queer theory, and French psycholinguistics, in order to explore fundamental questions about human identity, personhood and gender. From the naked bodies of Eden to the 'gay nuptials' of liturgy, it argues that the strange and volatile world of Catholic sexual symbolism cannot be 'tamed' to meet the ideological agendas of either feminist theology or conservative Catholicism. Only through a radical re-evaluation of the sacramental significance of the sexed human body might the Catholic Church provide a redemptive response to the sexual politics of contemporary society.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781134417933
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 06/01/2004
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 382
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Tina Beattie is Senior Lecturer in Christian Studies at the University of Surrey Roehampton, where she also convenes the MA programme in Religion and Human Rights. A leading Catholic and Marian theologian, she is the author of Woman: New Century Theological Studies (2003); Eve's Pilgrimage (2002); God's Mother, Eve's Advocate (2002); The Last Supper according to Martha and Mary (2001); and Rediscovering Mary (1995).

Table of Contents

Preface     ix
Introduction     1
The middle     17
Catholicism, feminism and faith     19
The Vatican and feminism     20
Catholicism and the end of feminism?     23
Secular theory and feminist theology     26
The secularization of knowledge     29
Feminist bodies and feminist selves     33
The disembodied self     33
Butler's absent God     37
Sex, gender and the secular body     40
Rethinking essentialism     42
The self as gift     45
Gender, knowing and being     49
Heidegger and the question of Being     50
Sexual difference, being and language     54
Feminist theology after Heidegger     57
Towards a feminist Thomism     60
Gendering apophaticism     65
Knowledge, desire and prayer     68
The secularization of vision     70
The problematization of prayer     72
Desire and reason     76
Praying as a woman     81
The end     89
Incarnation, difference and God     91
Balthasar and Irigaray: engendering difference     92
Language and embodiment     95
Irigaray and the otherness of God     96
Balthasar's theo-drama     99
Balthasar and the otherness of woman     101
Eve, Mary and the Church as woman     103
The end of woman     107
Masculinity, femininity and God     112
Acting up: man as material girl     113
Sexual difference in eastern and western Christianity     117
Sexual difference and the imago Dei     121
Sexuality and sacramentality     126
Cherchez la femme: gender, Church and priesthood     129
The nuptial significance of the priesthood     130
The Marian and Petrine Church     133
Justifying the male priesthood     137
The sacrament of the body     139
Sacramentality and the female body     142
Cherchez l'homme: Balthasar's sexual paradoxes     145
Desire, death and the female body     149
Balthasar's suprasexuality     150
Woman, sex and time     152
Sex, death and the polarities of human existence     155
Kenosis, sex and death     158
Kenosis, masculinity and vulnerability     161
Sex, death and melodrama      163
Sexual role models? Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr     163
Hell and the female body     167
Balthasar's struggle     170
Casta meretrix     173
The female sex as other     179
The indictment of theology     182
The beginning     185
Being beyond death     187
Befriending death     188
Beyond necrophilia     190
Lacan, Heidegger and death     197
Rene Girard: desire and violence     201
Girard and the peace of Christ     204
Maternal beginnings     208
The maternal sacrifice     210
Maternal abjection     212
The maternal subject     215
The incineration of meaning     220
Redeeming fatherhood     225
God, suffering and sacrifice     225
Masculinity and violence     229
Christ the dragon-slayer     231
Peace and martyrdom     233
God's origins     234
The compassion of the father     239
The community of the father     242
Redeeming motherhood     246
God and the status quo     246
Balthasar's motherly God     249
Maternity and natality     253
The maternal Church     256
The cosmic mother     260
The Church as Eve     265
Redeeming language     269
The silenced sex     269
The body that speaks     273
Redeeming the nightmare     277
The elemental matrix     281
Difference beyond death     284
Theology beyond feminism     287
Redeeming sacramentality     290
The fire and the rose     292
The knowledge of angels     293
The liturgical body     298
The maternal priest     302
Fecundity and sacrifice     304
God's grandeur and the body's grace     310
Notes     312
Bibliography     357
Index     370

What People are Saying About This

Dr. Janet Martin Soskice

It is only right that a theologian of Von Balthasar's influence should have a "Devil's Advocate." Tina Beattie's animated discussion will surely be read by all who are interested in his work and in the sexual dynamics of Catholic Christianity. (Dr. Janet Martin Soskice, Reader in Philosophical Theology, University of Cambridge)

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