Catholics, Conflicts and Choices
An Exploration of Power Relations in the Catholic Church
Many Catholics today are disenchanted with the Church's continuing distrust of women and laity. But, despite this widespread dissatisfaction, traditional power relations have hardly changed over the last century. "Catholics, Conflicts and Choices" presents detailed interviews with lay people, priests, Sisters, and Christian Brothers, each discussing their personal struggles with church teachings and practices. The conversations are selected to illustrate different experiences of power relations - particularly different aspects of gender dynamics - within the organisational structures of the Church. The interviews are examined within a framework of feminist, sociological and psychological theory. "Catholics, Conflicts and Choices" reveals how, despite a long history of challenging official notions of authority and obedience and assumptions about intimate relationships, there is little potential for change if the established power relations of the Church are not confronted.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Experience and Knowledge 1. When this Story Began 2. Growing up Catholic 3. Thinking about Experience 4. Sharing Knowledge Part 2: Catholic Experiences of Power 5. Questioning the Catholic Institution 6. Engaging with other Catholics 7. Managing One’s Self Part 3: Gender Work in Christ's Household 8. Catholic Housework 9. A Most Un/natural Order
Angela Coco is Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences at Southern Cross University, Australia.