Ex-Marine and unmarried mother Macrina McGrath leads her Church out of the Middle Ages and becomes the first woman pope.
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Macrina McGrath, a young 23-year-old Catholic ex-Marine and unwed mother, begins to see cracks in the Church she grew up loving. Bad priests preying on children, harsh treatment of the divorced and LGBTQ, a deep-seated and toxic sexism, and archaic dogmas force her to choose between leaving the Church or trying to make it better. Pursuing graduate school in theology at Georgetown and a trip to India help form her resolve: She will stop at nothing to take the Church out of the Middle Ages and deliver women from their abject status. Macrina McGrath joins and soon after heads the excommunicated Womanpriest movement and, with the help of the Archbishop of Boston, begins an ascent she never imagined. But her love for Ezra, a Jewish physicist and colleague at Amherst where they teach, is getting in the way.
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In this daring and unusual story, Stafford Betty puts us not in the 20th Century shoes of a fisherman, but in the 21st Century shoes of a fisherwoman named Macrina, destined to become the first female pope. He takes us on a bittersweet, breathtaking journey of self-discovery and unflinching service to the church, the world, and the One who called both into being. Along the way, Betty wrestles with more pressing personal and social issues, more spiritual and secular conflicts, than would seem possible in a single book. Yet they hold together, work together, in the life of a captivating character large enough, strong enough, brave enough, to embrace them all. Here’s a roller coaster ride with ups and downs, twists and turns, that matter even more than they amuse. Take a seat, I urge you, and hold on. ~ Newton E. Finn, retired public interest attorney and community organizer, ordained American Baptist minister, award-winning author (Kogan certificate
Dr. Stafford Betty’s writing is captivating. He has found a style in which he can address theological, political, cultural, and gender issues in an assertive, yet thoughtful and scholarly way. His latest novel, “The Womanpriest,” offers an inclusive view of world faiths, while maintaining a solid grounding in Christianity. In a time of doubt and darkness in the world, Dr. Betty offers the possibility of hope. ~ David Atkins, Marriage and Family Therapist
Dr. Stafford Betty weaves mystery and intrigue into this powerful story, set in the second half of the century. Macrina McGrath, an American Southerner, challenges the limits set by the Catholic Church and after many roadblocks gains the priesthood for women. But this is only the beginning of her ascent. Betty builds into the story, with its many twists and turns, deep insights about the human condition. I could hardly put the book down. It would make a great series on Netflix. ~ Tina Antonell, Life Counseling and Coach, Mindfulness and Meditation Teacher
Although I am a long-lapsed Catholic, I still feel a certain affinity with the Church and very much appreciate the spiritual foundation and moral compass it provided me. Professor Betty’s engaging book prompted much musing and pondering over the history of the Church, its faltering prominence, and its possible future. It offers many feasible twists that I had not considered and that much of the world in the years ahead will probably see unfold—some with delight, others with dismay. A standout novel for thoughtful Catholics, ex-Catholics, and anyone interested in the story of a single woman who shakes the world. ~ Michael Tymn, author of The Afterlife Revealed and No One Really Dies