Publishing and Media

No Place for a Woman

The Spiritual and Political Power Abuse of Women within Catholicism

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  •    19.95 paperback
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  •    258 pages
  •    6 x 9
  •    Paperback, eBook
  • Paperback ISBN  978-1-59056-722-7
  • eBook ISBN  978-1-59056-723-4
  • Publisher: Lantern Publishing & Media
  • Publication Date: March 2024

This radical book examines the historical formation of Catholic theology from the perspective of the spiritual abuse of women. Debra Flint defines spiritual and political power abuse before considering female influence in the Church from New Testament times to date. She clearly demonstrates how women, who were respected by Jesus and authoritative in the early Church, were gradually eliminated from positions of influence by patriarchy and the growing development of misogyny.

Tertullian, a late second–century Church Father, was one of the first to decry the ordination of women that occurred during his lifetime. He did this in a spiritually abusive way. Later, the fourth-century Synod of Laodicea took up this mantle, but despite this, women continued to be ordained as deacons until the ninth century in some areas. In Anglo-Saxon Britain, women were never ordained, but they held exceptionally high powers of governance on the same level as that of a bishop. These female powers of governance were lost due to the Viking raids, which were highly convenient to Rome. The East-West Schism was another historical event that further demised women as it left the Western Church free to promote mandatory celibacy, which the Eastern Church had always opposed. This led to an unbiblical elevation of the status of priest in the Western Church, which further reinforced a misogynist view of women. This demise of women was enshrined in ecumenical councils and through the development of Catholic Canon Law.

In No Place for a Woman, Flint examines the hierarchical structure of the Church today and notes that in recent years there have been some attempts to involve women more fully, but these have been mere tinkering at the edges. What is really needed is a complete change of culture and a new feminist theology for which Flint seeks to lay the ground.

“The exclusion, marginalisation, mistreatment and oppression of women lies at the very heart of the systemic and deep-seated crisis of the abuse and misuse of power within the Church over many centuries. This powerful book combines research and analysis with far-reaching experience and testimony to show what has gone wrong and what needs urgently to change, both practically and theologically. For many in the Catholic Church and beyond this book will make difficult and painful reading. Its message, while rightly unflinching and uncompromising in calling out spiritual and power abuse, is ultimately hopeful and positive. But only if those in positions of influence are willing to engage with root and branch reform, to give up privilege themselves, and to put the voices and authority of women at the centre of a major reversal in the way power is understood and exercised by the Church.”—Simon Barrow, Director, Ekklesia thinktank

“Meticulous research, presented in an accessible style, presenting a compelling apologetic for the urgent reform required, to ensure gender equality, at every level of ecclesiastical life, as Jesus intended. The author provides vital information to empower the countless women, whose genuine vocations are being suppressed, to continue to bear witness to Christ’s call to them. No Place for A Woman exposes the shocking and systematic exclusion of women, by men throughout history, in contrast to the positions of authority to which Jesus had appointed them, and that they enjoyed in the early Church. Every Christian should equip themselves with the facts that this shrewd book reveals, to enable them to play their part, in ensuring the church evolves, to comprehensively integrate women in the apostolic holy orders, mission, and magisterium of the church.”—Archbishop Jonathan Blake, Open Episcopal Church

“Sadly, Christians are having to become ever more familiar with the concept of spiritual abuse, as we are being forced to recognize that beliefs can and have been used to manipulate and control. Up to now the concept of spiritual abuse has tended to be applied to the behavior of individuals towards individuals. In this sweeping and searing analysis of the place of women in the Roman Catholic Church, past and present, Debra Maria Flint argues that the institution is guilty of spiritual abuse towards half the human race. It is an argument that will shock and disturb many, but it cannot be ignored, particularly at this crucial point in the history of the Roman Catholic Church when, under the leadership of Pope Francis, it seeks to become a listening and inclusive Church.”—Elizabeth Stuart, Professor Emeritus, University of Winchester

“Debra Maria Flint has masterfully woven her viewpoint from her lived experience into a timeline of historical events using the Holy thread of inspiration. Flint’s writing is clear and accessible. Her message is unmistakable. The Spirit of her work should cause pause in anyone seeking to understand how women experience a world created by and for men. If this book isn’t the impetus for immediate change to our current paradigm of perception and action in the world, then the people holding hostage all the worldly power, who have hoarded and who guard the resources needed for moving with the Spirit, are not in the Holy Space of listening and acting in God’s name. The action taken by those claiming the ultimate authority should resemble the embrace from the arms of a loving Mother, with Her support in all forms, to let Her children grow into independence so they can embrace both their Parents from a place of complementary equality. Debra Maria Flint’s work should be widely disseminated and used for contemplation by all people of God and especially by those claiming any sort of authority over another with the understanding that true authority comes from letting go and finding our own beginning and ending in the company of each other. This book helps us do this by offering a viewpoint that hasn’t been considered; a woman’s viewpoint, the viewpoint of the conquered. We need this because where two or more are gathered in Christ is where God lives in this world. It’s not ‘two or more gathered,’ no matter how many there are, if the ‘two or more gathered’ aren’t sharing the story from their unique perspectives. Debra Maria Flint’s book is an invitation to see with different eyes, to be open to Christ and to bring God’s love to our actions in this world.”—Rev. Jill Striebinger, Association of Catholic Women Priests

“Debra Maria Flint has researched a complicated subject extensively: The current marginal position of women within the Roman Catholic church when it comes to policies and a religious life and the power abuse, spiritual abuse, and sexual abuse they still risk today that are sustained by a hierarchal power structure of celibate, male and mostly old clergy.

No Place for a Woman unravels the heralded ideas behind the harsh and hostile degrading threads of misogyny that led to the current situation where women have the least place in the Roman Catholic church in its history despite the fragile steps by pope Francis to instigate the synod on synodality and the inclusion of some women in an assembly of thousands of bishops.

Flint debunks false ‘biblical’ and ‘traditional’ claims that whitewash misogynous decisions regarding the role and position of women. Once read, the authority of the Roman Catholic church lies in tatters. Her arguments are strengthened by the examples where the other church of all ages, the eastern orthodox church, has steered clear of numerous pitfalls. For example, women diaconate nor marriage are forbidden fruits but canonized.

No Place for a Woman broadens the current debate on women’s ordinations yes or no through a well-researched historical overview of the many forms that gave women a religious place in the church and where women held positions of influence. Although several forms of religious life were restored in modern times the regard of women as teachers, thinkers or spiritual directors is, but a bleak shadow of the influence and positions held in earlier times.

Having been a member of the flock Flint is also compassionate for the Roman Catholic church to become again a church fitting the people of this day and age. When human rights and women’s rights are upheld by numerous organisations worldwide and abuse in its many forms can no longer be hidden behind cloaks of pseudo respectability the Roman Catholic church faces the challenge to engage with the world or to wither.

It would be a brand-new day when the words of Flint ‘Time and time again, the hierarchy have shown that they will stop at nothing to destroy the core of someone’s being in order to maintain their control on dogma,’ will be obsolete.

Having faced spiritual abuse herself, and being ordained deacon in another catholic denomination, Flint unravels the conditions by which this and other forms of violence against women are sustained to this very day.

Flint’s recommendations to end all forms of power abuse contain inclusion of women in the hierarchy, a vow of respect instead of obedience along with open and accountable procedures in case of any abuse, freedom of conscience and freedom of debate for all church members.

No Place for a Woman is a brave, intelligent and well written book for all who advocate a religion with a heart and soul. A must read for all women who have a calling for religious life to make informed choices.”—Bishop Paula-Willemijn van Rooijen, Old Catholic Apostolic Church, diocese Europe

“In this rigorously researched and brilliantly written book, Debra Maria Flint examines the historic treatment of women by the Catholic Church. She documents the prominence women once had and explores the causes of the destruction and erosion of female influence, including disordered attitudes towards God, human nature, and sexuality. Flint challenges the Church to make radical changes and to rid itself of its entrenched misogyny if it is to survive as a faithful witness to Christ in the world.”—Rev. Christina H. M. Rees CBE

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