Theologian Mary Hunt thinks the jury is still out on Pope Francis, though early impressions of his pontificate are positive on several fronts. She notes that she expects, however, more than friendly cosmetic changes:
Rather than washing feet, I suggest looking Catholic women in the eye and saying, “You are my sister, equal in every way to me,” and then changing structures accordingly. To atone for centuries of discrimination against women will take more than four clean female feet. I despair of those who say, “It is a start,” to which I respond, “Obviously, but how pitifully inadequate.”
And her conclusion:
I urge that if women are not welcomed into all forms of ministry, decision making, and administration of the Roman Catholic Church in the very near future—I mean a year, max two, not a lifetime—then the jury find this pope as guilty as the rest in the ‘disappearance’ of half of the Catholic community. Maybe we will be surprised, and I will be the first one to rejoice that my skepticism was unwarranted.