Women Erased Series

FutureChurch will host multiple online presentations which will uncover the many ways women's leadership, witness, and ministries have been erased from our Church's Scriptures and Lectionary, historical record and memory, and communities. These sessions, featuring leading Scripture scholars and Church historians, will not only name and explore the history, but also put forth resources for correcting the record and telling the true story of women's central role in shaping and spreading Christianity from its beginnings to today. 

Please use the registration form following the presentation descriptions to sign up to join us. 


Women Erased:   #NunsToo -- Media's Role in Obscuring the Abuse of Women by Priests

October 8, 2020 at 8pm Eastern Time

The sexual exploitation/abuse of women religious by Catholic priests was first reported by Sr. Maureen O'Donoghue in her 1994 report to the Vatican -- a report that remained largely overlooked until 2001.  This practice of "erasing" the experience and reality of Catholic women remains today.

Professor Tara M. Tuttle probes the manner in which media outlets submerged the experiences and realities of Catholic women, both lay and consecrated, as they sought to affirm their own biases regarding the connection between clergy sexual abuse and homosexuality.  That motif, along with inordinate deference for prelate and priest abusers, corrupted the truth and propped up the abuser's narrative where women's credibility was questioned and their efforts to access justice were routinely discounted or despised.  Thus, women, accused of treachery against the Church for going public, suffered, too often, in silence.

Professor Tara M. Tuttle is the Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion and a Senior Lecturer in the Lewis Honors College. She has a Ph.D. in Humanities with an emphasis in 20th century American culture, a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Louisville, and an MA in Humanities from Indiana State University. Passionate about Honors education, she worked in the Honors Program at Indiana State University, taught Honors courses as affiliate faculty in the Honors Program at Ball State University, and developed the Honors Program at St. Catharine College (now closed) before joining the faculty in the Lewis Honors College here at the University of Kentucky. Her research examines contemporary women writers’ uses of scriptural allusion to challenge conventional understandings of gender and justice. She is interested in the ways in which members of marginalized or contested groups deploy biblical allusion to prompt reconsiderations of hierarchical interpretations of scripture used to validate social, political, and legal inequities as moral or divinely mandated.  Her recent contribution, "#NunsToo" in Crisis and Challenge in the Roman Catholic Church, provides a window into the research she conducted on this topic



Women Erased from the Lectionary

Wednesday May 6, 2020 at 7pm Eastern Time
The books, witnesses, stories, and accomplishments of Biblical women are disproportionately underrepresented in the assigned Scripture readings for the Church year. Some women are omitted entirely, others are only read at weekday mass, and still others are made "optional." Who are these women? And how can we recover their stories? Michael Peppard, PhD, associate professor of New Testament Studies at Fordham University, will offer insights from his research on the women of Romans 16 and previous studies of women omitted or made optional in the Roman Catholic Lectionary. Read Michael Peppard's Commonweal article, "Household Names: Junia, Phoebe, & Prisca in Early Christian Rome" by clicking here.  



Women Erased:  Reading the Bible "Against the Grain"

Thursday June 18, 2020 at 8pm Eastern Time 

For centuries, readers and interpreters of the Bible have traditionally read the text “with the grain.”  Many have sought to use the Bible for personal and spiritual enrichment and nourishment Today, however, we live in the twenty-first century globalized world, and if we want to achieve global justice, then we have to begin reading the biblical text “against the grain.” and interpreting it critically. New interpretation theories help us to see how cultures and cultural attitudes have shaped the Bible and how the Bible, as the most read book in the world, continues to shape and re-inscribe various oppressive cultural attitudes today that have had an effect on our political, social, economic, and religious institutions.   Professor Carol J. Dempsey, OP is an internationally recognized and award-winning scholar who teaches courses in Biblical Studies, specifically in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. With particular expertise in the Prophets, Professor Dempsey’s interests lie in a feminist and liberation approach to biblical texts, gender studies, biblical theology, literary and rhetorical criticism, and environmental/ecological studies. She teaches an introductory course in Bible as well as courses in the Prophets, Wisdom, Gender, Biblical Spirituality.   Prof. Dempsey is the author of eight books and the editor/co-editor of 12 books. The former Vice-President of the National College Theology Society, she serves on the editorial board of The Catholic Biblical Quarterly and Old Testament Abstracts. She is active in several professional societies and has lectured widely, both nationally and internationally. She is currently working on two commentaries on Isaiah among other contracted research projects.


Women Erased: In Search of the Majority

Tuesday July 14, 2020 at 8pm Eastern Time
Throughout the early (2nd-6th) Christian centuries, the lives of most women were lived in silence, while the few elite ascetic women got at least some attention. What about the rest? Dr. Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ, Catholic Professor of New Testament emerita at Brite Divinity School and past president of the Catholic Biblical Association, will explore the lives of these early Christian women, paying attention to how prevailing cultural norms and philosophies - not the gospel of Jesus - silenced them. 


Women Erased: Restoring the Memory of Black Catholic Women in Our Tradition and History

Thursday August 27, 2020 at 8pm Eastern Time
Black Catholic Women have been instrumental in shaping the life and faith of the Church, yet, our collective memory of their work, courage, challenge, generosity, and faith is too often made "invisible" in our Catholic education, Catholic liturgy, and Catholic art.  Sr. Anita Baird, a native of Chicago, IL,  and a member of the Religious Congregation of the Society of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary will share the stories of some of the Black Catholic Women who challenged the Church, challenged their communities, and brought enormous change to this country as they stood against racism and for a more just Catholic Church and world.



Women Erased:  Talking Truth About Women and the Sacraments

September 22, 2020 at 8pm Eastern Time

Women have always been at the heart of the sacraments and the sacramental life of the Catholic Church.  In the real world where Catholics participate in the Eucharist and the Eucharistic life of the parish/community, women are the backbone.  As evidenced recently by women's witness at the Amazon, they heal, teach, preach, bury, baptize, witness marriage, listen to confessions, offer liturgies of the word, and more.  But their ministry is, too often, erased -- unrecognized, and undervalued in that they do not receive the same official sanction as male ministers - yielding both sacramental grace and authority for their ministry.

Dr. Susan A. Ross, argues that when it comes to the sacraments, the requirements of Catholic social justice have not applied, a disjuncture that severely limits the transformative power of the Eucharist and our common sacramental life.  Yet, she also calls attention to what is changing - mapping the opportunities for transformation and emerging realities that are currently redefining our common sacramental life.  

Dr. Susan A. Ross is Professor Emerita.  She retired last year after a long illustrious career as professor of Theology and Faculty Scholar at Loyola University Chicago.  She is the author of Anthropology: Seeking Light and Beauty (Liturgical Press, 2012), For the Beauty of the Earth: Women, Sacramentality and Justice (Paulist, 2006), Extravagant Affections: A Feminist Sacramental Theology(Continuum, 1998) and over 75 journal articles and book chapters. She is the recipient of a Louisville Institute Sabbatical Grant, the Book of the Year Award from the College Theology Society in 1999, and the Ann O'Hara Graff Award of the Women's Seminar of the Catholic Theological Society of America. She is Past President of the Catholic Theological Society of America (2012-13) and served as Vice President and member of the editorial board of Concilium: International Theological Journal.From 2008-2016 she served as chair of the Theology Department at Loyola. She has taught many courses including Beauty and Ethics, Theological Anthropology, Conscience, and Religion and Gender.


***Additional presentations forthcoming. After registering just once below, we will send you updates about future presentations and links to join.*** 

Registration Form