Good Catholics: The Battle over Abortion in the Catholic Church, by Patricia Miller (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014, ISBN 978-0-520-27600-0) 332 pp. Hardcover, $34.95.
In America, the biggest stumbling blocks for women’s rights of conscience on reproductive matters are the Catholic bishops and the leaders of the various Protestant fundamentalist camps. Patricia Miller’s excellent new book, Good Catholics: The Battle over Abortion in the Catholic Church, deals primarily with the top-down leadership of the Vatican and the bishops, who, it should be very clear, do not represent the views of most Catholics but are able to spook many politicians into thinking otherwise. The fact is, well over 90 percent of Catholic women have used contraception of one sort or another; most Catholics are pro-choice to one degree or another; and Catholic women have abortions at about the same rate as non-Catholic women. Separately, it might be noted that most Catholics disagree with the Vatican, referred to by some wags as the Old Boys Club on the Tiber, on divorce and remarriage, the ordination of women, clerical marriage, and the need to send their children to church schools, especially since the last traces of Protestant hegemony in U.S. public schools vanished half a century ago.