“How is the reign of God revealed through the suffering experience of women and the marginalized?” That is the question Kathleen McManus seeks to answer. She employs the Lukan image of the “bent-over-woman-standing-up-straight” as the paradigm for all who are marginalized because of gender, sexual orientation, or race. Her viewpoint arises from encounters with individuals and communities who suffer exclusion, negation, diminishment, and violence in relation to a patriarchal church in a still-patriarchal world. Engaging Edward Schillebeeckx’s method of negative contrast experience, McManus explores what may be known in the space of encounter between the institutional church and these suffering “others” and draws out latent possibilities for mutual conversion and transformation. She reflects on the meaning of Schillebeeckx’s insight into “the superior power of God’s defenseless vulnerability” in creation and on the cross and asks what it might mean for the church to embody the vulnerable rule of God in its own structures, doctrines, symbols, and rituals.
Kathleen McManus, OP, currently teaches at Fordham University in New York, where she lives and works as an independent scholar. Previously she served as associate professor of theology and director of the M.A. in Pastoral Ministry Program at the University of Portland, and held the Rev. Robert J. Randall Distinguished Professorship at Providence College (Spring 2017). She serves on the international editorial team for the Bloomsbury/T&T Clark Series in Edward Schillebeeckx.
Part I: Overture to the Bent-Over-Woman-Standing-Up-Straight
1. The Mysticism of Resistance: The Global Suffering of Women as an Ethical Imperative for the Church
Part II: Experience and Revelation: Whose Experience Counts, and Who is Doing the Counting?
Introduction to Part II
2. Women Fermenting Impasse
3. The Spiritual Suffering of LGBTQ+ People and People of Color
4. Race, the Reign of God and the Catholic Church
Part III: Sequela Jesu: Encountering the Vulnerable Rule of God
Introduction to Part III
5. Encounters on the Periphery: Revealing the Reign of God
6. Creation, the Spirit, and the Church’s Ethical Imperative
In this prophetic, provocative, well-written book, a Catholic theologian who both knows the tradition well and listens attentively to voices from the margins provides a vision for the end of patriarchal domination in the Church. Kathleen McManus brings the wisdom of Edward Schilllebeekx's theology to investigate the challenges of gender, race and sex for the Christian community. Highly recommended.
This creative text adds complexity and challenge to longstanding as well as contemporary assumptions about power—the power of God, the power of the cross, ecclesial power, and the ethical power that emerges from listening to the voices of those who are marginalized in and by the church as well as around the globe. Drawing on the experiences of women from diverse countries and social locations, including those of her students, Kathleen McManus offers a welcome model for theological reflection rooted in listening and dialogue which can open a space for reimagining the church and human life lived according to the vulnerable rule of divine love proclaimed and embodied by Jesus.
This wise and highly anticipated book takes readers on a life giving theological journey. It employs ecofeminist epistemologies to draw back the curtain on the myriad of ways the Catholic Church and Christian theology often unwittingly reinforce misogyny, heterosexism, and racism. All the while, Kathleen McManus discerningly turns her readers’ attention to the primacy of salvation, the in-breaking of God’s Reign, and the workings of the Holy Spirit. A must read.