Women are the elephant in the Church. They have been perpetually silenced, ignored and discounted. They are not required to make any contribution to the Church, except for obedience. In every public ecclesiastical event, such as the election of a pope, it is glaringly obvious that women are entirely irrelevant.
This revised edition of The Elephant in the Church explores what the author terms ‘Women Christianity’ from a historical perspective, following the story from biblical times to the women mystics of the Middle Ages and, finally, the Christian feminists in the years following Vatican II who, like Mary herself, began their own journeys of discovery into the history of women in the Church after failing to find it in traditional theological texts.
If the Church is to survive, it is clear that it must be more inclusive, where the gifts of women and men are equally recognised, until then women will continue to keep the faith in their own communities outside the institutional structure.
Mary T. Malone is a former member of the Faithful Companions of Jesus. She retired home to Ireland in 1997 after almost 40 years in Canada where she taught in Toronto’s St Augustine’s Seminary and in the University of St Jerome’s, the Catholic College on the campus of the University of Waterloo. Mary has written a trilogy on Women & Christianity, 2000, 2001, 2003, and Praying with the Women Mystics, 2006, all for Columba Press.