Synopses & Reviews
Four hundred of the 3,800 people who permanently live or work in the State of Vatican City, the smallest sovereign and independent state on the globe, are women. They are nuns and members of the laity; some are housekeepers of churchmen; others are secretaries, translators, editors, lawyers, and middle-level officials of the papal administration.
Expansive in scope and enlightening in detail, The Vatican's Women recalls women who wielded power in the Vatican, including St. Catherine of Siena, Queen Christina of Sweden, Mother Pascalina (Pope Pius XII's longtime housekeeper and confidante), and Mother Teresa. With an unflinching eye, Paul Hofmann examines the papacy's reaction to Catholic women's (and nuns') liberation, and women's struggles, especially today, to fortify their positions within the Church. The Vatican's Women is a thorough and revealing exploration that will herald a new level of insight and dialogue amongst feminists, theologians, and laypeople alike.
"If Hofmann is to be believed, this institution has managed to quash female agency more thoroughly than the most hidebound rural village. The much-reviled strictures of conservative Islam sound almost paradisiacal by comparison." Washington Post Book World
Praise for The Vatican's Women
"This study by a veteran journalist may tell us more about the Vatican and women than any systematic study."
--Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, The New York Times Book Review
"Paul Hofmann combines the skills of a great reporter with keen yet detached observational powers."
--Eugene Kennedy, author of The Unhealed Wound: The Church, the Priesthood, and the Question of Sexuality
"Written in the engaging style of an insider"
"This books is as much about the Vatican as it is about women and is full of interesting, gossipy tidbits."
"If you are interested in the Vatican and its workings, you will find this a good read... I picked it up intending to give it a good skim. I ended up reading every word."
--John W. O'Malley, S.J., America
About the Author
was a foreign correspondent for The New York Times
for almost thirty-five years and was chief of its Rome Bureau. He is the author of many nonfiction books, including Seasons of Rome
and That Fine Italian Hand
. He lives in Rome.