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Radical social activism, lay Catholic women and American feminism, 1920-1960

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dc.contributor.advisor Gundani, Paul en Johnson, Kathleen Carlton, Ph.D. en 2009-08-25T10:50:35Z 2009-08-25T10:50:35Z 2009-08-25T10:50:35Z 2006-09-30 en
dc.identifier.citation Johnson, Kathleen Carlton, Ph.D. (2009) Radical social activism, lay Catholic women and American feminism, 1920-1960, University of South Africa, Pretoria, <> en
dc.description.abstract This dissertation describes a movement I am calling Radical Social Activism that flourished among Catholic women between the years 1920-1960. The Catholic women participating did not abandon their Church's teachings on women but worked within the androcentric Catholic Church to achieve some lasting results as Radical Social Activists. This Radical Social Activism worked in the lives of Dorothy Day, Maisie Ward, and Dorothy Dohen, three women who retained a firm attachment to the Catholic faith and who would not align themselves with the incipient feminism of the times, but who, nevertheless, strove for social change and justice without regard for political or social recognition. Their work was radical because they were not complacent with the status quo and worked to change it. Their work was social because they ignored Church politics and reached outside their individual egos. And their work was definitely action oriented in that they practiced their beliefs rather than simply preach them. Few Catholic women were involved with the early women's Suffragist movement; the overwhelming majority did not participate in mainstream feminism, in part due to their immigrant background. Women stepped out of the family setting and into active roles in a society that increasingly measured success in terms of economic well being. These role changes produced trade offs in terms of how the family was viewed and it de-emphasized society's spiritual well being. Some of the issues and solutions for women in modern society collided with moral and ethical teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. I have selected three such women who responded with Radical Social Activism, and participated in the American Catholic Church, however, they did not participate in the general feminism of the times. These women, Dorothy Day, Maisie Ward, and Dorothy Dohen, represented in their Radical Social Activism, a feminism of the spirit, as it were, while still remaining within the structure and Magisterium of the Church proper. As women moved into secular society, they made compromises concerning their duties and responsibilities to family. Issues of divorce, birth control, and abortion became popular remedies that helped limit family duties and responsibilities. However, the Catholic Church has always viewed these as problematical and theological challenges to Catholic teaching and has consistently refuted the expediency of these solutions on moral grounds. Yet, if the Church's view on women limits women as feminists have claimed, it did not stop Day, Dohen, and Ward from participating and changing the secular world around them, while still remaining loyal to the teachings of the Catholic Church. en
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (156 leaves)
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject.ddc 230.0820973
dc.subject.lcsh Day, Dorothy, 1897-1980
dc.subject.lcsh Ward, Maisie, 1889-
dc.subject.lcsh Dohen, Dorothy
dc.subject.lcsh Feminist theology -- United States
dc.subject.lcsh Catholic Church -- United States -- History
dc.subject.lcsh Radicalism -- Religious aspects -- Catholic Church
dc.subject.lcsh Suffragists -- United States -- History
dc.title Radical social activism, lay Catholic women and American feminism, 1920-1960 en
dc.type Thesis en
dc.description.department Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology en D.Th. (Church History) en

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