A Model of Mutuality: A Conversation with Natalia Imperatori-Lee

Patriarchy is a habit that some say cannot change, yet those of us whose patriarchal habits have undergone transformation know it can and must be done.

– Miriam Therese Winter, The Singer and the Song

Our special thanks to Dr. Natalia Imperatori-Lee for joining us on May 9, 2024, to discuss her latest book, Women and the Church: From Devil’s Gateway to Discipleship (Paulist Press, 2024). Natalia walked us through the core tenets of feminist theology, introduced us to important distinctions between the “blueprint” and “historico-critical” understandings of the church, shared some of the ways that Catholic feminist theologians employ “creative interpretation” to recast biblical stories in more liberating ways, and inspired us to “unlock rooms in our imagination” through the rich tradition of feminist spirituality. We also touched on related issues in the contemporary church, including the Synod on Synodality and the movement for women in the diaconate.

Women and the Church: From Devil’s Gateway to Discipleship (Paulist Press, 2024)

The Beginnings of the Church by Rev. Frederick J. Cwiekowski

Truly Our Sister: A Theology of Mary in the Communion of Saints by Elizabeth Johnson

Catholic Women Preach

Nuns & Nones


Natalia Imperatori-Lee is professor of religious studies at Manhattan College in Riverdale, Bronx, New York. Her areas of research include the relationship between Catholic theology, sexuality, and education; the intersection of Mariology and ecclesiology; intercultural theology; gender studies; and the relationship of women, the poor, and other marginalized groups to church structure and governance. Dr. Imperatori-Lee is the author of Cuéntame (Orbis Books, 2018), which explores how narratives shape ecclesiology. She holds degrees from Fordham University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Notre Dame.

Image: Detail of fresco depicting St. Erasmus, St. Hildegard, and a bishop, ca. 1500. The Church of Our Lady, Oberwesel, Germany. Wikimedia Commons / Tilmann2007 / CC BY-SA 4.0 Deed

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