The Authority of Women in the Catholic Church is a 200 page treatise written by Dr. Monica Migliorino Miller. The book begins with a foreword by Dr. Scott Hahn, who explains that gender is the topic of our generation. He then lends support to Dr. Miller and explains that this book will contain nothing novel, but instead, be rooted in the tradition of St. Paul and the Early Church Fathers. Dr. Miller then begins her first chapter with a personal story of how she was arrested protesting a National Organization for Women (NOW) rally in 1987. While she was briefly in prison, she met many women who were victims of domestic violence, and found it ironic that the NOW women were nowhere to be found to help these battered women. This leads to the beginning of her discussion on the role of women in the Catholic Church, the meaning of authority, and how authority can properly be understood within the context of the Trinity.
The book continues with a chapter devoted to how radical feminism is in direct conflict with Jesus and the Catholic Church. In fact, in this radical feminist worldview, there is no place for Jesus or the priesthood of Christ. Dr. Miller then transitions into male authority in the Catholic Church. The prime example is of course Jesus. However, Jesus' authority is not the type of authority we see from a superior, but as one who sacrificed His life for us. She then uses the scriptural passage of Ephesians, about husbands and wives, to further crystallize her point. This leads to the authority of male priests in the Catholic Church and how Christ's sacrifice is the ultimate example of a nuptial mystery. This is shown in the Church every time a priest says Mass and consecrates the bread and wine into the Body and Blood. The remaining chapters discuss the authority of Mary, how the Church Fathers viewed the authority of women, the authority of women in the Church, and examples (both Biblical and saints) of mothers of the Church.
Overall, this was book was exactly what I thought it was going to be. If you are looking for a book that is going to re-write history or bang the drum for women priests, then look elsewhere. If instead you are looking for an intelligent explanation of women's authority in the Church, with Scripture; the Church Fathers; and two millennia of Tradition as your guide, then this is the book for you. This book is not an attack on feminists, but an invitation to see what role women already have in the Church. It is also an excellent source when it comes to the discussion of gender. Dr. Miller doesn't seek to equate man and woman, but she instead shows that the two are different and complementary. Sadly, this book probably won't convince the staunchest of feminists, but hopefully, it will be eye-opening for the genuine seeker of what the Church teaches on women and their role in the Church.
This book was provided to me for free by Emmaus Road Publishing in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!