Pope Francis: A Breath of Fresh Air-But one more thing…
Pope Francis is taking his case of transforming reclamation of the church to the people,and that is where it belongs.
And many who could not hear the church anymore are now listening again-carefully.
His is a breath of fresh air and we welcome and support his return to simplicity, the dignity of all of God’s children, loving not judging, a priority on the poor and outcast and his broadening of the church’s concerns. We welcome his words of respect for women. He speaks, though, of the need to develop a theology of women and it is important that we know women theologians have been sharing their theology of everything for many years. Elisabeth Johnson’s She Who Is remains my favorite treatise on the nature of God and ultimately the nature of women.
This is a populist pope whom we can love. He is wonderfully courageous, but does it extend to all of us? One thing remains of great concern. Pope Francis speaks of seeking places where women can share the authority of the church as if the priesthood is not the place where that authority rests in the church’s present structure. One day,we hope, the priesthood of all believers will become a reality in a structural way, but for now the ordination of women remains the key question for women in the church. As the article below points out there are already over 160 women validly ordained as priests and deacons in the Roman Catholic church through the Roman Catholic Women Priest world-wide movement. We are wondering if, eventually, Pope Francis will include his sisters in the reclamation of outcasts. Odds are that he may not take on an issue of this magnitude-but this Pope has already surprised us happily in many ways. We are open for another good surprise!
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Women Priests Respond to Pope Francis’ Interview with Anthony Spadaro, SJ in America/Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests,www.arcwp.org
As Pope Francis states in his interview, ” A Big Heart Open to God,”
“being prophets may sometimes imply making waves.”
Not only are there more than 160 ordained women contemporary prophets in the Roman Catholic Church serving inclusive communities in Europe, Latin America, Canada and the United States, but in more and more places, the people of God are affirming the full equality of women as the voice of God in our times.
In response to the Pope’s concern with “female machismo,” our brothers at the Vatican must embrace gender justice, including women priests. Women’s human rights, including spiritual authority, is the elephant in the living room of the Roman Catholic Church! It is our pastoral responsibility to make the connections between oppression of women within the church and violence toward women and their children in the world.
The international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement is a prophetic new path where all are welcome to receive sacraments and which mirrors Gospel equality and the inclusiveness that Pope Francis is calling the church to live.
(Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests: Media Statement/ Janice Sevre-Duszynska firstname.lastname@example.org and Bridget Mary Meehan, email@example.com
Pope’s comments in Interview on Women in the Life of the Church
“And what about the role of women in the church? The pope has made reference to this issue
on several occasions. He took up the matter during the return trip from Rio de Janeiro,
claiming that the church still lacks a profound theology of women. I ask: “What should be
the role of women in the church? How do we make their role more visible today?”
We must therefore investigate further the role of women in the church.
He answers: “I am wary of a solution that can be reduced to a kind of ‘female machismo,’ because a woman has a
different make-up than a man. But what I hear about the role of women is often inspired byan ideology of machismo. Women are asking deep questions that must be addressed. The
church cannot be herself without the woman and her role. The woman is essential for the
church. Mary, a woman, is more important than the bishops. I say this because we must not
confuse the function with the dignity. We must therefore investigate further the role of
women in the church. We have to work harder to develop a profound theology of the woman.
Only by making this step will it be possible to better reflect on their function within the
church. The feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions. The
challenge today is this: to think about the specific place of women also in those places wherethe authority of the church is exercised for various areas of the church.”