Mary Daly

On this date in 1928, Mary Daly was born in Schenectady, N.Y. She graduated from the College of Saint Rose in Albany in 1950 with a degree in English and Latin. She obtained her M.A. in English from the Catholic University of America in 1952, her Ph.D. in theology from Saint Mary’s College in 1953, and Ph.D.s in theology and philosophy from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland in 1963 and 1965. She was one of the first American women to earn a degree in theology from a Catholic college. Daly was a radical feminist and theologian who taught feminist theology and ethics at Boston College from 1966 to 1999. She published eight books, including Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism (1978) and Pure Lust: Elemental Feminist Philosophy (1984).

In 1968, Daly wrote The Church and the Second Sex, a book examining the harm of the Catholic Church on women. “A woman's asking for equality in the church would be comparable to a black person's demanding equality in the Ku Klux Klan,” Daly wrote. She later called the book “a celebration/cerebration of my departure from the catholic church in particular and christianity in general” in her introduction to the 1985 edition of The Church and the Second Sex. She was briefly denied tenure from the Jesuit Boston College due to the book’s content. "If God is male, then male is God. The divine patriarch castrates women as long as he is allowed to live on in the human imagination," Daly is quoted as saying in Castrates: Webster’s Quotations, Facts and Phrases (2009). D. 2010

“‘God's plan' is often a front for men's plans and a cover for inadequacy, ignorance, and evil.”

—Mary Daly, Beyond God The Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women’s Liberation, 1973.

Compiled by Sabrina Gaylor

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