Julia Episcopa, A Women’s Struggle in the Church, John H. Rigoli
For a purely fictional tale, John Rigoli gets a lot of things right. Spanning more than 2000 years time, Julia Episcopa highlights the legalized and cultural politics of power men have maintained against women. In a skillful translation of fictional events from the 1st to the 21st century, Julia’s privileged status in higher society moved her through family lineage, political arrangement through marriage and later into the role of a first century Bishop. Unburdened by the politics of marriage, the two 21st century women moved into the Vatican’s clerical society by specialized education in the field of archeology. What follows is a mythic travelogue marked by displays of age old heroism in the midst of treachery, betrayal, and murder that follows all cultures as they dealt with women who stood up to male dominators. The book excels in giving definition to the Vatican’s centuries-old struggle to control women who cleverly continue to make their mark and shift their influence at every juncture in time.
Review by Diane Dougherty