Responsive image
Nederlands/Vlaams Deutsch Francais English language Spanish language Portuguese language Catalan Chinese Czech Malayalam Finnish Igbo
Japanese Korean Romanian Malay language Norwegian Swedish Polish Swahili Chichewa Tagalog Urdu
The Catholic Woman. Difficult Choices in a Modern World

The Catholic Woman. Difficult Choices in a Modern World

by Jeanne Pieper

Published by Lowell House, Los Angeles, and Contemporary Books, Chicago, in 1993, hardbound, 252 pages. ISBN 1-56565-081-6. The highstreet price is U. S. $23.95, Canada $21.55. Copies are available at a reduced price from the author.

"The Catholic Woman"

‘The Catholic Woman’ is an unusual and interesting book. The book presents the views and opinions of a wide cross segment of the Church in the USA. The information contained in the book comes from many in-depth interviews.

Jeanne Pieper interviewed a wide variety of Catholic women, from those who insist that all the pronouncements of the Church must be followed to those who feel their religious beliefs are their own personal business. The one thing all these women have in common is that they consider themselves Catholic and religious. The intense faith of many of these women is perhaps the most surprising fact you’ll find in The Catholic Woman. You’ll hear from many women who feel they need the comfort and moral stability of a traditional religion. These women tell you about the support and sense of participation they felt the Church gave to them and their families when they were growing up. And they speak of the sense of structure and meanmg they get from organized religious activities. At the same time, they realize they must critically sift through the old teachings of the Church to weed out specific rules they consider either flawed, unjust, or simply impossible to apply to their contemporary lives. The author persuades these women to talk about specific issues like birth control, abortion, divorce, and women celebrating the mass.

All these voices, from feminists to fundamentalists, open their hearts and tell you what they really believe and how they are putting these beliefs into practice.They explain what they get from being Catholic, how they feel about the stated beliefs of the Church, and how they are taking charge of their spiritual lives in the same way they are taking charge of their personal lives. If you know that your Catholicism is an important part of you and your life, because of or in spite of what the established Church has to say, or if you have ever wondered why some of your intelligent, liberated women friends remain Catholic, The Catholic Woman is for you.

Table of Contents of The Catholic Woman


CHAPTER ONE. A Glance at Our Past

  • Growing Up Catholic Religious and Intellectual Immaturity
  • The Magic and Mysticism of the Church
  • Convent Life Before the Late 1960s
  • Leading the Way in a Changing Church
  • The 1960s and 1 970s
  • The 1980s

CHAPTER TWO. Parts of a Whole: The Makeup of Women in the Catholic Church

  • Intense, Angry, Radical Feminists
  • Moderate Feminists
  • Codependent Catholics
  • The Nothing-Has-Changed Fundamentalists
  • Advocates of Feminist or Creation Spirituality
  • Traditionalists
  • The Average Woman in the Pew

CHAPTER THREE. Catholic Women and the Issues of the 1990s

  • The Indispensable Role of Conscience
  • Sanctity-of-Life Issues
  • Until Death Do Us Part
  • Marriage and Sexuality Issues
  • Controversial Sexual Topics
  • Optional Celibacy for Priests
  • The Sacrament of Marriage
  • The Forbidden Subject The Ordination of Women
  • What Do Catholic Women Want? A Discipleship of Equals and a Renewed Priestly Ministry
  • Taking Charge of Our Own Spiritual Lives
  • New Roles for Women in the Institutional Church
  • Catholic Women and Social Justice
  • Multiculturalism: The Challenge of the Coming Century

CHAPTER FOUR. The Good News and Bad News About the Catholic Church 195

  • Why People Come, Why People Stay
  • What to Do About Church Laws A Difference of Opinion
  • Turning to Jesus in Times of Personal Crisis
  • Despite Love, There Still Is Anger
  • Coping with Frustration and Nurturing Our Spiritual Lives
  • Why Women Stay


  • Appendix A Biographies of the Women Interviewed
  • Appendix B A Feminist Liturgy
  • Appendix C An Experience in Awareness
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Overview Signs of a Vocation A woman's journey Steps to take Answering critics Writing your story
Six options for Catholic women who feel called to the priesthood?

Please, credit this document
as published by www.womenpriests.org!

Wijngaards Institute for Catholic ResearchThis website is maintained by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.

The Institute is known for issuing academic reports and statements on relevant issues in the Church. These have included scholars' declarations on the need of collegiality in the exercise of church authority, on the ethics of using contraceptives in marriage and the urgency of re-instating the sacramental diaconate of women.

Visit also our websites:Women Deacons, The Body is Sacred and Mystery and Beyond.

You are welcome to use our material. However: maintaining this site costs money. We are a Charity and work mainly with volunteers, but we find it difficult to pay our overheads.

Visitors to our website since January 2014.
Pop-up names are online now.

The number is indicative, but incomplete. For full details click on cross icon at bottom right.

Join our Women Priests' Mailing List
for occasional newsletters:
An email will be immediately sent to you
requesting your confirmation.