At Religion News Service, David Gibson explains why many women wince when Pope Francis opens his mouth and speaks . . . about women:
I would like to note, in the context of the increasingly diverse composition of the Commission, the greater presence of women — still not enough. … They are the strawberries on the cake, but we want more!
The pope said this to the International Theological Commission several days ago. It's one of seven ("old maid," "masculinity in a skirt," taken from a rib," "under the authority of their housekeeper," "a 'grandmother,' no longer fertile and vibrant," "more like a spinster than a mother") wince-worthy comments Gibson compiles.
Francis has made it clear that he sees childbearing and child rearing as crucial womanly roles.
It is too much to expect, even with Francis at the helm, that the church would decide to admit women to the clergy. But it would be no violation of doctrine to recognize women as contributing to the life of the church, as being intrinsically and equally valuable, regardless of their familial role or fertility. Francis has had many opportunities to express these sentiments, yet he hasn't. It's hard not to conclude that he sees procreation as the end goal — and the functional utility — of a woman's life.
They're correct in this assessment, it seems to me.