Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr. “The Rib Uncaged: Women and the Church”

Firing Line Videos, Hoover Institution, taped on June 24, 1968, uploaded to YouTube on February 11, 2011.

Guests: Rosemary Radford Ruether, Sidney Cornelia Callahan


This show proves to be less of a bare-knuckle battle and more of a conversation than one might have expected, ranging back and forth from the historical development of Christianity–especially Catholic Christianity–to the effect of women’s changing roles in the secular world. One sample: RR: “I am more interested in this, sort of, threatening the Church with women; it’s mostly a way of breaking up the clerical bag, because I don’t think you can put that into it without the bag breaking.” MD: “Luckily the clerical bag is falling apart. Both forces are working at the same time.” WFB: “When you refer to ‘the clerical bag’ do you mean the series of perquisites that they uniquely enjoy?” MD: “Yeah. I think the whole concept of ministry, a special state of life … I think that we will have much more community ministry, part of each other.” SC: “That whole rectory culture. You know, Christian gentlemen–there’s a whole thing that goes with it.”