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Breaking Through: Catholic Women Speak for Themselves Hardcover – September 27, 2012
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From the Inside Flap
America is flirting with the idea that being a Catholic female means saying "yes" to the faith as a private source of comfort, but "no" to living out its more countercultural moral and social teachings.
Catholic women are facing unprecedented questions about sex, money, marriage, work, children and the church itself -- questions with innumerable personal and societal repercussions. Is it even possible that the teachings of a 2,000 year old religion are still relevant for today's toughest issues?
A quick tour of leading cultural indicators seems to say "no." But this is far from the whole story. Many women, courageously facing questions their mothers and grandmothers would never have encountered, are finding intellectually and spiritually satisfying answers within the framework of their Catholic faith.
Nine such Catholic women -- varying widely in age, occupation and experience -- share personal stories of how they struggled toward the realization that the demands of their faith actually set them free. Their stories -- full of honesty, but ultimately hope -- shed new light and new clarity on women's continued attraction to the Catholic faith.
"Topics include: "
Navigating dating and sexpectationsFeminism, freedom and contraceptionChildren versus a "better me"Being Catholic in light of the sexual abuse scandalFaith, psychology and same-sex attraction
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Top Customer Reviews
Anybody who's read one, then two, then all of Patrick Madrid's "Surprised by Truth" series will understand why you will be engrossed by this book. You can't get bored when each author is only given the length of a short story for commentary. And besides, these are so nakedly personal. So real.
And it's also so encouraging to read the stories of women whose struggle to be a faithful Catholic is so close to your own.
There can be no question that to be a believing, practicing Catholic for a woman today means that you have to take a stand against the corrosive tide of today's culture.
The first essay is written by the editor herself. She's a doctor who didn't want to question the orthodox liberal acceptance of abortion and birth control. And she had very good, personal reasons for refusing to listen to the Church.
When she was in medical school her position was that she was "appalled that the Church banned what I believed to be some of the best achievements science had to offer" (p 36).
Returning to her faith and to acknowledging that abortion and birth control were wrong would be a painful, difficult journey.
Another essay was written by a woman struggling to date and remain Catholic, even though casual sex is practically a given in our culture. There is another, very moving essay by a woman who chose to enter the cloister. There is even one written by a woman tempted by same sex attraction.
These are touching essays about living the faith in a modern world. They will move you and inspire you.
In reality, they did.
What I found weren't boring essays that read more like lecture notes on a given faith-based topic. They were very personal stories outlining the contributors' journeys of living their faith, written, for the most part, conversationally. As in, you felt like you were having a deep conversation about faith with a friend or neighbor.
One essay in particular, was written by a physician who struggled daily with reconciling her Catholic faith and prescribing birth control and performing abortions. Hers wasn't an overnight transformation, but one that took place in baby steps and throughout the essay, you could feel her anguish, her pain, and yet understand her point of view. I can understand her because I've been offered birth control by doctors in the past...to which I politely declined with one phrase: I'm Catholic. Sometimes I would get a strange look -- is that a yes or a no? I'm sure they wondered. I'd like to think that this doctor would have understood my response immediately and smiled a little in her heart.
This collection of essays isn't just about abortion, and other topics are addressed as well. Dating and being Catholic, with the "sexpectations" of the modern world, Homosexuality (discussed at length as same-sex attraction), and of particular interest, the essay by the Catholic Sister that revealed one Sister's journey to a consecrated religious life and offered a few heart warming moments to make you smile too.
Overall, I liked Breaking Through. I felt that I took something away from each essay.
The collection begins strongly with an essay by the editor concerning her (at first reluctant) acceptance of children into her life. The second essay, from an ob/gyn, is a gripping read of her growing unease with the procedures she was expected to perform. Later on in the book, a nun talks about her call to the religious life. I thoroughly enjoyed these three essays.
Most of the other essays are treatises from attorneys and academics on vague topics, which I didn't find as enjoyable to read. The one essay I did appreciate was an examination of same-sex attraction. It presented a more nuanced view than we get in the loud, polarized debates about homosexuality that we're usually subjected to.
I am not Catholic, but I don't think you have to be in order to appreciate these essays. I always enjoy hearing the viewpoints of others.
Considering all the media coverage and the phony "war on women" meme and the fact that Catholic women who are dissenters are constantly being presented to us this book is quite timely. This book is partly a response to the attacks on religious freedom and how the narrative was shaped concerning Catholic women and the use of contraceptives.
This book in some ways could have been called "Surprised by the truth of the Church's teachings on sexual morality" as it is partly a "Surprised by Truth"-like format of conversion stories. Not the common Protestant-to-Catholic conversion stories but mostly concerning Catholic women who were in opposition to Church teaching and who came to see the wisdom and the truth of her teaching. These women from a variety of backgrounds and professional experience not only provide the genesis for how they came to accept Church teaching, but explain those teachings in a very accessible way. All of these chapters were very well written and had me quite captivated by their personal stories. Along with these stories are also a couple of essays that go with the subject at hand.
Seeing how God worked in these women's lives was a joy to see and a couple of the stories related really had me praising God - which unfortunately is not something I do as much as I should. The story of one women's affect on another headed to get an abortion is worth the price of the book - just so awesome!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was very well-thought out and touched on many important issues. As a practicing Catholic woman, I can say that this book presents Catholic teachings truthfully, which is... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Catherine Boudreaux
It is sometimes difficult to confidently speak up on these tough topics but these women's perspectives gave me confidence to do so.Published 20 months ago by Judy Janssen
Well articulated Perspectives - For a perspective on what the average Catholic woman is thinking in today's world, this is an excellent compilation of articles by articulate,... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Cecelia Cody
This book should be part of every thinking woman's arsenal as she questions how her faith, femininity and gifts can help shape and save our culture.Published on April 8, 2014 by guinnessgirl64
As a Catholic woman myself it felt great knowing that I am not alone in my struggle to live the life our faith intends us to. I feel it is a good read for anyone ... Read morePublished on February 25, 2014 by gregoria de ramos
I saw Helen Alvare speak a couple of months ago and she stirred a fire in me to learn more. Excellent book and must-read for Catholics (women AND men) to stay true to their faith... Read morePublished on January 2, 2014 by Leslie Prevish
Really enjoyed the way the chapter on same sex attraction was laid out. I enjoyed the way the essay presented church teaching from a Catholic Women's perspective. Read morePublished on December 27, 2013 by Jon Murray
Read this book. 17more words? This is the last review You'll get from me. Time is valuable. Red whit bluePublished on November 21, 2013 by Barbara Johnston