Sunday, October 10, 2010

Women, Sex, and the Church.

Erika Bachiochi has here gathered a series of essays in Women, Sex, and the Church to address the Hot Button List of "women's issues" in Catholic teaching. The Catholic understanding (and, yes, the is a Catholic understanding!) of sex, contraception, abortion, marriage, and the feminine vocation often draws fire. Surprisingly, I've experienced the bullets at what ought to be some of the safest places for young moms: the park, Friendly's restaurant (!), playgroup, and unfortunately Mom's Bible Study. This book is a great reference for Catholic (or, I would hazard, Orthodox) moms and women who know and believe their faith but want a review of the basic arguments and even some fresh approaches. If you wonder just how to articulate what you believe about, say, being open to more children in your marriage, Bachiochi and her crew of educated gals probably have something for you. They base their insights not only on official magesterial teaching, but also on arguments from nature, papal encyclicals, the witness of saints, art, and insights based on recent advances in medicine and neuroscience.

The essays are also a real morale boost: Sometimes I start to feel isolated in the practice of my faith and wonder whether I'm crazy. These women assure me that there are good, beautiful reasons for a life of obedience to God's design for our bodies. We are not lunatics bent on circling the wagons, but rather joyful women engaged in an heroic struggle for truth, goodness, and life.

That being said, I wonder whether the essays would convince anyone who had not already decided to be convinced of a new way of looking at the world. Before handing it to your yoga instructor or local Mary Kay seller, make sure that she already has some sympathy for the Good Things of life: children, God, redemption, heaven.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company, and the reviewer received a free copy of the text in exchange for her opinion. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Women, Sex, and the Church. Also be sure to check out their great selection of baptism gifts.


Melanie B said...

Yay! Two of my favorite Erikas! I haven't got a copy of Erika Bachiochi's new book yet, though she was telling me about it earlier this summer (She and her husband are friends with my brother- and sister-in-law). Her first collection of essays, The Cost of Choice, was very good. If you haven't got it, I recommend it.

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur said...

Great review. It sounds like a very interesting book. Although now I am worried that you felt insulted at Bible Study. We definitely want everyone to feel welcome, and (while I can't speak for everyone) if I in any way unintentionally said anything that offended you, I'm really sorry. We love having you as part of our group.

Erika said...

Oh, Melanie! I have a dream that one day you and I and Erika B. will sit down for a long chat over tea.

Patrice: Oops! I was actually referring to a relative/friend's Bible Study which is an interesting mix of angry Catholic women who really thought we'd have female priests by now. I can't imagine anyone in the Western MA group ever saying anything against Church teaching! Y'all are rock solid!

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur said...

Glad to hear it! You had me worried :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review! I sent an acquisition request to the library of the Catholic college at my university, and they told me it's on order and should be on the shelves next week. I can't wait to get my hands on it, and I hope it finds lots of undergraduate readers after me.