In the stale and overworked field of gender studies, The Church Impotent is the only book to confront the lopsidedly feminine cast of modern Christianity with a profound analysis of its historical and sociological roots. Dr. Podles identifies the masculine traits that once characterized the Christian life but are now commonly considered incompatible with it. In an original and challenging account, he traces three contemporaneous medieval sources: the writings of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the rise of scholasticism, and the expansion of female monasticism. He contends that though masculinity has been marginalized within Christianity, it cannot be expunged from human society. If detached from Christianity, it reappears as a substitute religion, with unwholesome and even horrific consequences. The church, too, is diminished by its emasculation. Its spirituality becomes individualistic and erotic, tending toward universalism and quietism. In his concluding assessment of the future of men in the church, Dr. Podles examines three aspects of Christianity--initiation, struggle, and fraternal love--through which its virility might be restored.