EUNUCHS FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN: The Catholic Church and Sexuality by Uta Ranke-Heinemann

EUNUCHS FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN: The Catholic Church and Sexuality

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Mean-spirited blast at Catholic teachings on sexuality by a professor of religion at Germany's Univ. of Essen. It's not that this nasty bit of work doesn't have its points. Ranke-Heinemann tackles some meaty topics here--contraception, abortion, priestly celibacy, and the like. To these front-burner issues she brings formidable but mangled scholarship; this is a scholar deft at dredging up absurdities--one Church Father considered masturbation worse than incest--but who shows not a shred of objectivity or good will toward the inevitable errors of earlier times. Instead, she ruins her sometimes potent points, which add up to the contention that the Church is anti-sex and anti-woman, with ad hominem arguments and plain vulgarities. Christianity is ""two thousand years of schizophrenia""; Augustine ""wanted to ban pleasure""; the Catholic Church is ""heartless,"" gripped by ""madness,"" a purveyor of ""theological rubbish,"" and so on. Readers who wade through all this will find much to chew on, but it should be noted that this is just the sort of book that, if aimed against a minority group instead of an establishment institution like the Church, might be roundly condemned as hatemongering. Those looking for a sensitive dissenting view of the Church's stance on sexuality are far better served by David Rice's Shattered Vows (reviewed below).

Pub Date: Dec. 6th, 1990
Publisher: Doubleday