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Christianity and the oppression of women

To mark International Women’s Day we have an interview with Dr Michael O’Sullivan SJ, about how world religions in general, Christianity in particular, has  contributed to the denigration and oppression of women through some of its own theology, and in its complicity with patriarchy.

Michael O’Sullivan is the director of SpIRE –the Spirituality Institute of Ireland – and  author of the book How Roman Catholic Theology Can Transform Male Violence against Women. When first launched the book was described as “groundbreaking”, by Professor Linda Hogan of Trinity College Dublin, who said that O’Sullivan’s theological analysis of male violence against women “brings a new and unique perspective to bear on the discussion about the sexist substrata of the Christian tradition. It treads where few male theologians have previously gone.”

In this interview with Pat Coyle of Irish Jesuit Communications, Michael says that violence against women is a world-wide phenomenon, and that Christian and Catholic teaching must be called on how it has contributed to this. He also outlines how the gospel stories of the New Testament, and the actions of Jesus with women, can serve as a counter-cultural challenge to the prevailing oppression experienced by many women.