Reader's Retrospective: Rosemary Radford Ruether

This story appears in the Reader's Retrospective feature series. View the full series.

by Julie Gunter

View Author Profile

Join the Conversation

Send your thoughts to Letters to the Editor. Learn more

Editor's note: Introducing NCRonline's blog series "Reader's Retrospective": A special project that commemorates NCR's 50th anniversary by telling the stories of readers who have been faithfully subscribing to the National Catholic Reporter since its beginning. ​Read about the project's origins here.​​​​​

In 1964, when National Catholic Reporter began, theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether was finishing her doctorate at Claremont Graduate University, teaching at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles, and raising three small children with her husband, Herman. Increasingly "interested in renewal in Catholicism," Reuther began reading NCR at this time "because it was an expression of that renewal and self-criticism."

Ruether, today a renowned feminist Catholic scholar, recalls particular interest in stories about "the Second Vatican Council and the ongoing struggles of reform" that developed out of it. Such struggles for reform through a modern lens found expression in Reuther's own life, such as when she accepted, in 1966, a faculty position at the School of Religion of the historically black and male-oriented Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Over the next decade, Ruether would balance teaching and writing responsibilities with engagement in social activism. In 1976, she joined the faculty of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., where she taught for the next 28 years.

In addition to writing more than 600 articles in countless publications (including an estimated 185 in NCR), Ruether has published more than three dozen books on wide-ranging topics. Some of her best-known works include The Church Against Itself (1967), Religion and Sexism: Images of Women in the Jewish and Christian Traditions (1974), and Sexism and God-Talk: Toward a Feminist Theology (1983). She reflected on the long arc of her life and work in a 2014 autobiography, My Quests for Hope and Meaning.

Currently a visiting professor of religion and feminist theology at Claremont Graduate University and School of Theology, Reuther is also an active member of the Friends of Sabeel North America, an organization initiated by Palestinian Christians and committed to fostering justice and peace in the Holy Land. She and Herman are now living at Pilgrim Place, a progressive retirement community. Reuther also continues to write, remaining especially "focused on issues of international justice, with a particular emphasis on women's issues."

A version of this story appeared in the May 22-June 4, 2015 print issue under the headline: NCR a reader's retrospective: Rosemary Radford Ruether.

Latest News


1x per dayDaily Newsletters
1x per weekWeekly Newsletters
2x WeeklyBiweekly Newsletters