Skip to main content

How Do Roman Catholic Womenpriests Contribute to Our Understanding of Church

FutureChurch welcomes co-authors, Sharon Henderson Callahan and Jeanette Rodriguez, to discuss their new book,  Women Called to Catholic Priesthood: From Ecclesial Challenge to Spiritual Renewal (Fortress Press, 2024).

In their compelling and carefully crafted ethnographic work, Sharon Callahan and Jeanette Rodriguez explore the contexts, calls, journeys, spirituality, and theology of women called to priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church. Posing the questions of how womenpriests’ stories illustrate both ecclesial challenges and spiritual renewal, the authors encourage readers to thoughtfully engage these women on their own terms.

Sharon Henderson Callahan, EdD, is professor emerita and past academic dean of the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University. A scholar of ministry and leadership , Callahan has focused her research on both Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant ecclesial formation.

Jeanette Rodriguez, PhD, is a professor of theology and religious studies at Seattle University. Currently she also serves as Executive Director of the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture at the university. She is a ‘border theologian” studying Christian faith experience among different cultural groups; her books include studies of Haudenosaunee and Mexican American cultural identity.

Both Callahan and Rodriguez have performed qualitative, ethnographic research in locations around the world.

Purchase the book in paperback or Kindle on Amazon. 

Lenten Fasting and Body Hatred with Jessica Coblentz, Ph.D.

Jessica Coblentz joins FutureChurch to present on her article “Catholic Fasting Literature in a Context of Body Hatred: A Feminist Critique” in which she argues that the social conditions of misogynistic body hatred and the culture of fasting during Lent perpetuates disordered eating.

Jessica Coblentz, Ph.D. is an associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies and Theology at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, where her research and teaching focuses on Catholic systematic theology, feminist theologies, and mental health in theological perspective. She is a graduate of Santa Clara University and Harvard Divinity School, and received her PhD from Boston College. She was previously a resident scholar at the Collegeville Institute in Collegeville, Minnesota, and has taught at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California.

Co-Creating Beauty: Queer Bodies and Queer Love with Craig Ford, Jr.

Dr. Ford’s presentation, “Co-Creating Beauty: Queer Bodies and Queer Loves Beyond the Anathemas” explores how our roles as co-creators with God allows for new ways to understand the truth revealed by sexuality and gender identity beyond the boundaries of heteronormativity. Such redeployment of this theological status as co-creator, Ford argues, may provide a pathway beyond the impasse currently experienced at the level of official church teaching with respect to these topics.

Craig A. Ford, Jr., Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Saint Norbert College, where he teaches courses in Christian Ethics, Ecclesiology, and on Race, Gender and Sexuality while also serving as Co-Director for the Peace and Justice Interdisciplinary Minor. He is also on the faculty at the Institute for Black Catholic Studies—hosted at Xavier University of Louisiana, the nation’s only Catholic HBCU— where he teaches courses on Black Theology as well as on Topics in Moral Theology from a Black Perspective. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Yale Divinity School, and Boston College, Dr. Ford writes on topics at the intersection of queer theory, blac studies, and the Catholic moral tradition. His most recent book project, All of Us: The Future of Catholic Theology From the Perspectives of Queer Theologians of Color is a co-edited volume with Bryan Massingale and Miguel Diaz, drawing scholars and activists from North and South America, the Pacific Islands, Australia, and Europe who seek to chart new directions for Catholic theology when the oppressive realities of racism, heteronormativity, and sexism within church and world are engaged equally and fiercely. This volume is currently under contract with Fortress Press.

How Americans (Don’t) Talk about Abortion with Tricia C. Bruce

FutureChurch welcomes sociologist, Dr. Tricia C. Bruce, Ph.D., to present on the findings of her qualitative study of American views on abortion. Using data from in-depth interviews with hundreds of everyday Americans, Dr. Bruce underscores the imperative of productive conversations about abortion in a post Roe v. Wade era. Her research exposes the limitations of available labels, assumptions, and boundaries separating Americans’ moral and legal views. Study insights help to forge pathways beyond polarization, making room for greater complexity, ambiguity, understanding, and cross-cutting collaborations. Learn more about and read the study here. 


Tricia C. Bruce, Ph.D. (University of California Santa Barbara) is a sociologist of religion with expertise in organizational, attitudinal, and generational change. Her award-winning books and reports include Parish and Place: Making Room for Diversity in the American Catholic Church(Oxford University Press, 2017), Faithful Revolution: How Voice of the Faithful Is Changing the Church (Oxford University Press, 2011/2014), and How Americans Understand Abortion (also forthcoming as a book with the University of California Press). She is also coeditor of Polarization in the US Catholic Church (Liturgical Press, 2016) and American Parishes: Remaking Local Catholicism (Fordham University Press, 2019). Her writing has appeared in Time Magazine, Science Advances, The Wall Street Journal, the LA Times, Religions, Journal for the American Academy of Religion, Review of Religious Research, and more.

She is an affiliate of the University of Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Religion and Society and Director of Springtide Research Institute. Previous appointments include tenured associate professor of sociology at Maryville College and research assistant professor with Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). She serves as President-Elect for the Association for the Sociology of Religion and as Past-Chair of the American Sociological Association Religion Section.


Respect Women: A Catholic Plan for Justice with Emily Reimer-Barry, Ph.D.

Emily Reimer-Barry, Ph.D. presents FutureChurch’s first Respect Women Lecture. In her presentation, Dr. Barry addresses obstacles to women’s full participation in the leadership and decision-making of the Church and the justice consequences of such exclusion. She also presents an action plan for structural change and the full inclusion of women.

More Media:

Dr. Emily Reimer-Barry is an associate professor and the chair of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego. She teaches courses in Catholic theological ethics, including sexual ethics, feminist ethics, war and peace, and ethical responses to HIV and AIDS. Reimer-Barry’s research explores the intersection of sexuality and social justice. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (B.A. 2000), Weston Jesuit School of Theology (M.T.S., 2002), and Loyola University Chicago (Ph.D., 2008).