Author: Kathleen M. Henry
Publisher: IUniverse
ISBN:  978-0-595-52412-9

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In many denominations, women’s rights are repressed to the barbarism of the Middle Ages.  Women are stripped of their equality, told they may not preach the word of God, aid in church offices, or even teach teenage boys because a woman may not teach a man.  Were these acts committed in the public sector, women could sue and win for discrimination but in the church not only is this accepted but passed off as the Lord’s will.  And women have had enough!

So has Kathleen M. Henry.  She is a child of the pre-Vatican II Catholicism, attending parochial school all through graduate school and is today a community-ordained priest.   In this book she looks at the Church through the glasses of realism and the picture isn’t necessarily pretty.  However, truth is stronger than the fiction of any faith.

 The format of the book takes the reader through the Catholic Mass, giving stories that while relate superficially to each part actually tears into the very fabric of the Mass and all it represents.  In the stories, we are introduced to four Catholic women who are in a sense betrayed by the beliefs of the Church.

 The stories appear at first reading to randomly switch from one character’s story to another.  This is the book’s greatest downfall and most interesting quirk.  While reading, the reader can get lost trying to follow the plot.  A lot of the time is spend struggling to remember if we have met this character and wondering how she fits into the lives of the other characters just read about.  The confusion hinders the understanding of the important message.

 On the other hand, the unique format keeps readers on their toes.  The frantic setup creates a stimulating read and in their hyped up state readers are more likely to pick up on subtle hints that in a lazy read might be lost.

 The asides at the bottom of the pages are pure gold.  Occasionally, there are numbers in the text, directing the reader to the bottom of the page.  Yes, it is easy to ignore, but there is great stuff lurking at the bottom.  Instead of telling the reader a reference to another source text, the footnotes are a source of extra information about the background of the woman’s time in history or, even more important, insight into the character herself.  It gives facts that could not be worked seamlessly into the story and presents the necessary information in a easy matter-of-fact way.

 This book is a great read if you are one to question the status quo.  If you aren’t, read the book, and you might start to see things are not as they appear.

 Click Here To Purchase Critical Mass