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Incompatible with God's Design

A History of the Women's Ordination Movement in the U.S. Roman Catholic Church

Mary Jeremy Daigler

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Paperback
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Incompatible with God’s Design is the first comprehensive history of the Roman Catholic women’s ordination movement in the United States. Mary Jeremy Daigler explores how the focus on ordination, and not merely “increased participation” in the life and ministries of the church, has come to describe a broad movement. Moving well beyond the role of such organizations as the Women’s Ordination Conference, this study also addresses the role of international and local groups.

In an effort to debunk a number of misperceptions about the movement, from its date of origin to its demographic profile, Daigler explores a vast array of topics. Starting with the movement’s historical background from the early American period through the early twentieth century to Vatican II and afterward, she considers the role of women (especially Catholicism’s more religious adherents) in the movement’s evolution, the organization of the ordination movement in the United States, the role and response of clergy and Vatican teachings, the reality of international influences on the U.S. movement, and the full range of challenges—past and present—to the ordination movement.

Incompatible with God’s Design is compelling reading for any student of theology and women’s studies, as well as those interested in staying abreast with the changing role of women within the U.S. Roman Catholic Church.
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Scarecrow Press
Pages: 216Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
978-0-8108-8479-3 • Hardback • October 2012 • $87.00 • (£60.00)
978-1-4422-4582-2 • Paperback • October 2014 • $26.00 • (£17.95)
978-0-8108-8480-9 • eBook • October 2012 • $25.99 • (£17.95)
Mary Jeremy Daigler has been a visiting scholar at the Mount St. Agnes Theological Center for Women in Baltimore since 2008. She holds a doctor of ministry in church administration, a master of divinity from the Andover Newton Theological School, Massachusetts, and a master of arts in Classical Languages from the Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of Through the Windows: A History of the Ministry of Higher Education among the Sisters of Mercy (2001).
Preface
Introduction
Chapter One: Illuminating a Design
Early American Period (civil and church influences)
Early 20th Century to Vatican II
Chapter Two: Braid
Immediately Post-Vatican II
Chapter Three: Mosaic
Roles of Women Religious in the Movement
Chapter Four: Circles
The U.S. Movement Organizes
Chapter Five: Cross
Clergy, Vatican Teachings, Hierarchy
Chapter Six: Centripetal Lines
International Influences on the U.S. Movement
Chapter Seven: Upward Spiral
Early and Ongoing Challenges
Appendixes
Bibliography
Index
Mary Jeremy Daigler states her purpose quite clearly – to present (1)the history of (2)the women’s ordination (3) movement in (4) the Roman Catholic Church in (5) the United States. In a well-documented and detailed account of nearly two hundred pages she does just that. . . The level of detail in the book is impressive. . . There are more than enough acronyms (explained in a very helpful Appendix A) to impress anyone familiar with “navy-talk” and facts, facts and more facts in some chapters-which for this writer is a good thing. Anyone interested in a comprehensive history with the important names and significant events in the women’s ordination movement will find this book extremely helpful and interesting. . . . Daigler’s book offers anyone who is serious about gaining a deeper understanding of where the movement came from in order to reach where it is today a valuable resource.
Journal of Interdisciplinary Feminist Thought


Daigler has. . . provided a genuine service for historians, because in this work she pulls together and preserves for the future a great many American initiatives and individuals in the area of women’s ordination. Individuals working alone, and small organizations with a brief lifespan and no identifiable headquarters or archives, are the bane of the historian’s craft. . . . Daigler’s own immersion in the women’s ordination movement in the United States over the past quarter-century has given her a unique knowledge of the players and how they are connected, as well as a perspective on “who influenced whom,” that helps to piece together the broader story. ... It is likely that many of the individuals mentioned in Daigler’s work would have similarly slipped away except for their inclusion in this book. Daigler has done her fellow historians a genuine service and will be broadly consulted in the future.
The Catholic Historical Review


An astonishing aspect of getting older is having something you consider a part of your life turn into an object of historical research before your very eyes. This, I suspect, will be the experience of man Catholic women's ordination activists when they curl up with Jeremy Diagler's new book, Incompatible with God's Design. . . Diagler's reflections on the international dimensions of the movement are informative. . . . Incompatible with God's Design is a genuine contribution to the history of the U.S. Roman Catholic women's ordination movement and provides a foundation for the studies.
Equal Writes


This is a rigorous and thoroughly researched history of the movement that will be required reading for anyone who wants or needs to be informed on our movement as well as a good read. Incompatible with God’s Design is a page-turner filled with personal stories and drama and yet it is also balanced with the keen insight and reporting of a seasoned historian. . . . The women’s ordination movement owes a great debt of gratitude to Mary Jeremy Daigler for this magnum opus. She has put in writing the definitive story that needed to be told.
New Women, New Church


It is heartening to see a. . . book that documents the many years of work for women’s spiritual justice in a world where silence is no longer acceptable. . . . The book. . . is an integral, one might say 'compatible' part of the growing and ever more accessible media on this controversial and topical exploration of God’s design for women religiousand their secular sisters.
National Catholic Reporter


As a historical record of the women’s ordination movement in the United States, Daigler’s latest publication is highly recommended for its fair and balanced treatment of a most controversial subject. This work would be highly appropriate for institutions of higher education, with collections dedicated to church history, feminist studies, and pastoral theology.
Catholic Library World


Documenting the history of a living social movement is a challenge, but this is what Mary Jeremy Daigler has undertaken in Incompatible with God's Design, the first history of the U.S. Roman Catholic women's ordination movement.
American Catholic Studies


Incompatible with God's Design: A History of the Women's Ordination Movement in the U.S. Roman Catholic Church. . . is without question an admirable piece of work. Daigler provides her readers with a depth and breadth of detail that cannot be found anywhere else. She traces the roots of the women's ordination movement to origins that predate its emergence in the United States. . . . Readers—even relatively well-informed readers—will become acquainted with new foremothers (and a few forefathers) whose names, prior to this work, remained woefully unfamiliar even among specialists. ... It must be emphasized that Jeremy Daigler's, Incompatible with God's Design really is a remarkably comprehensive, substantial. . . piece of scholarship.
The MAST Journal


Mary Daigler’s Incompatible with God’s Design delivers the first comprehensive history of the Roman Catholic women’s ordination movement in the United States. . . .Diagler’s research offers intriguing insights for scholars interested in gender and Catholicism in the post-Conciliar era. . . .This survey of the women’s ordination movement in the U.S. is suited for readers who are unfamiliar with the topic and eager for a basic understanding of its origins, goals and disappointments. Educators teaching at the undergraduate level might find it useful as an introductory text because of its comprehensive scope. Daigler’s book will provoke interesting discussion and reflection in any lower-level college course which aims to introduce students to gender struggles within the post-Conciliar Catholic Church.
History of Women Religious of Britain and Ireland


There was a time in my life when I devoured every article and book on women’s ordination. I was passionate about every aspect of the issue. Those intense feelings waned over the past decade or so as I moved on to understand and live out my priesthood in different ways. Yet over the years I wondered if I’d ever experience that intensity again. To my surprise, reading Daigler’s book brought back that excitement for me. This is a rigorous and thoroughly researched history of the movement that will be required reading for anyone who wants or needs to be informed on our movement as well as a good read. . . .The women’s ordination movement owes a great debt of gratitude to Mary Jeremy Daigler for this magnum opus. She has put in writing the definitive story that needed to be told. Our other good fortune is that Daigler wrote this book to not only honor those early disciples of the women’s ordination movement in the United States but she also hands over the mantle to the next generation of leaders who are also deftly carrying on this important work.
Women's Ordination Conference: A Voice for Women in the Catholic Church


[Incompatible with God’s Design] is a story of intense dedication, ingenuity, and frustration. Using all the tools of the historical investigator, Mary Jeremy Daigler pieces together the narrative of women in the Roman Catholic Church on a quest for priestly ordination. It is a story that has not been told before…. [T]his work is groundbreaking and of great interest. Where Daigler exercises her considerable narrative powers and lets the story speak, discerning eyes can glimpse a whole segment of the Body of Christ struggling to be heard by those in authority. Readers may recognize charismatic individuals whose attempt to act on what they have been taught to believe runs headlong into harsh judgments about their motivations. Women will see throughout how seemingly impossible it is to enter into true dialogue in a Church where women are still considered, in practice, subordinate—no matter how the rhetoric has changed. More’s the pity that there cannot be a free and open discussion of the issue in the U.S. Roman Catholic Church. It is an old story made new at the hands of a fine writer.
Mary Aquin O’Neill, Mount Saint Agnes Theological Center for Women


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