And, to complement what I have just posted about theologian Matthew Fox's open letter to Pope Francis, which insists that compassion exists at the intersection of peace and justice, and that justice requires that women be treated as full equals to men within the Catholic church, here are two more important statements in the past several days about Pope Francis's statement last week that he will uphold John Paul II's "definitive" ban on ordaining women:
I don't see where [Francis's remarks about gays can have much positive effect on the lives of LGBT laity] precisely because Pope Francis seems blind to the Church's rejection of any notion of a positive contribution for the feminine. To this point his stated idea of the contribution of the feminine is wrapped up in Marian theology and childbearing and housekeeping and he has so far admitted to being influenced only by his mother and some 'grandmothers'. The fact he stated we need to work on a deeper theology of women was mind blowing to me. Women have been doing feminine theology for well over half a century--the very half century he's been a priest. Which makes me wonder just who he envisions doing this 'deeper theology of women', and I'm afraid he means male clerics--preferably Jesuit.
Bottom line: Your Holiness, women understand perfectly well where power resides in the Catholic Church. You can try to diminish clericalism -- a laudable goal -- and increase the role of the laity, but in any parish the ultimate decision-making power rests with the pastor who, in the current Church structure, is always a male priest. Higher up, at the diocesan level, it rests with the bishop and ultimately with your office. Women do not presently have access to those positions and that needs to change. No amount of ethereal Marian theology will compensate for that or satisfy the demands of women today who are used to equality in every other sphere of society. With all due respect, it's time for you to start to listen to women for a change.
"It's time for you to start to listen": the proof of the pudding of Francis's papacy and his "new" tone for the Catholic church? It lies wholly and absolutely with his willingness not merely to deplore the marginalization of some members of the human community, as he did when he spoke to reporters about those who are gay.
It lies wholly and absolutely with his willingness to listen to those who have been systemaically and ruthlessly marginalized--within his own church. By the very predecessors whose non-infallible words he pretends to find "definitive" . . . .
I find the graphic--about listening with the ears of our heart--at several websites, including Rebecca Lim's sunscribble blog site, but it's not clear to me where it originates. If anyone reading this posting knows its source and the image is copyrighted, I'll be grateful for the information. I'm using it here with the assumption that this graphic is in the common domain, since it is used by other bloggers without attribution of a source.