Skip to comments.Daily Beast Laments Pope Francis's 'Woman Problem'
Posted on 12/20/2013 10:33:46 AM PST by Kaslin
The Daily Beast has a new year's resolution for Pope Francis: be open to women in the priesthood.
Correspondent Barbie Latza Nadeau opened her December 20 story "Does Pope Francis Have a Woman Problem," with the obligatory statement that "Pope Francis is undoubtedly a good guy" who "has managed to impress almost everyone." But, alas, "for all the papal cheerleading there is still at least one demographic that won’t be lauding the great pontiff quite yet: women." Nadeau explained, with decidedly loaded language:
During an exclusive interview with La Stampa newspaper last week, the pope flatly ruled out the possibility of women ever ascending to any leadership position equal to men within the Catholic Church’s hierarchy. Ever. Answering Vatican expert Andrea Tornielli’s question about whether or not Francis’s Church would ever see female cardinals, the much-loved pontiff scoffed, “I don’t know where this idea sprang from. Women in the Church must be valued, not clericalized. Whoever thinks of women as cardinals suffers a bit from clericalism.”
This is not the first time Francis has seemingly dismissed women as equals, keeping in line with his predecessors’ views that women are somehow lesser creatures. In a September interview with a group of Jesuit magazines, including America, Francis said that it was necessary to expand opportunities for a stronger presence of women in the church, but he clearly doesn’t want them behind the altar. “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 by an ideology of machismo,” he said.
Women are lesser creatures? That should come as a shock to practicing Catholics who venerate many female saints including the Virgin Mary, whom the Catholic Church -- yes, including the current and previous popes-- teaches to be the Queen of Heaven.
Furthermore, the Catechism says this about women's equal dignity with men:
2334 "In creating men 'male and female,' God gives man and woman an equal personal dignity."119 "Man is a person, man and woman equally so, since both were created in the image and likeness of the personal God."120
2335 Each of the two sexes is an image of the power and tenderness of God, with equal dignity though in a different way.
Furthermore, to Pope Francis's argument about clericalism, the Church teaches thus, again, in the Catechism (emphasis mine):
1546 Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church "a kingdom, priests for his God and Father."20 The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly. The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ's mission as priest, prophet, and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the faithful are "consecrated to be . . . a holy priesthood."21
1547 The ministerial or hierarchical priesthood of bishops and priests, and the common priesthood of all the faithful participate, "each in its own proper way, in the one priesthood of Christ." While being "ordered one to another," they differ essentially.22 In what sense? While the common priesthood of the faithful is exercised by the unfolding of baptismal grace --a life of faith, hope, and charity, a life according to the Spirit--, the ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood. It is directed at the unfolding of the baptismal grace of all Christians. The ministerial priesthood is a means by which Christ unceasingly builds up and leads his Church. For this reason it is transmitted by its own sacrament, the sacrament of Holy Orders.
In the truest sense, then, the clerical leadership of the Church is confessed to be a leadership of service unto the "common priesthood" of all Catholics. Rather than seeing Holy Orders in the way the world sees it, as an exercise of power, it is rather to be seen as an exercise of sacred trust to "unceasingly [build] up and [lead the] Church."
It's quite understandable that a secular journalist sees women excluded from the priesthood and complaining that it's an exclusion from power. But to a spiritual leader like the pope, the worldly way of viewing the priesthood is fundamentally out of whack with the biblical and magisterial understanding of the vocation of priesthood.
But no, Nadeau seems only in dissenting, liberal voices -- including those who reject the Church's teachings on the sanctity of unborn life (emphasis mine), while ignoring the voices of Catholic women who are joining more traditionalist orders of women religious. When Nadeau does turn to a woman religious, it's an infamously leftist one who does not vigorously defend the Church's teachings on things like abortion and same-sex marriage:
Francis’s apparent disinterest in creating a church where women can be part of the highest ranks of leadership is troubling to many Catholics. Jon O’Brien, head of Catholics for Choice, told The Daily Beast that Francis is doing a great job on many issues. “There is absolutely no doubt that among rank and file Catholics, Pope Francis offers hope that things could change in the church,” he told The Daily Beast. “But when it comes to women, this pope, like past popes, has a blind spot.”
O’Brien says the pope is missing a golden opportunity to include women in his reforms. By marginalizing women as spectators or caretakers when it comes to hot-button issues like social justice, he is missing a vital voice. “It’s almost like women can wait while he takes care of more important issues,” says O’Brien. “It is a shortsighted approach.”
O’Brien and many other Catholics hoping for more equality in their church are particularly bothered by Francis’s statements on women needing what he called a separate theology. In the September interview with the Jesuit publications, he said, “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 where the authority of the church is exercised for various areas of the church.” O’Brien argues that the statement is not about seeing women as equals. “Theology of people should include women,” he says. “The idea that the Church needs a separate theology for women is plain condescending.”
Last April, Pope Francis affirmed his predecessor’s crackdown on American nuns whose orders are under the umbrella group known as the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The group, which represents some 80 percent of all American women religious, was scorned in April 2012 for pushing so-called “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith” by not staying silent on the Vatican’s favorite topics like birth control, same-sex marriage and euthanasia. And when Francis made his first significant changes within the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops last week, he replaced two ultra-conservative bishops with moderates, but he left Cardinal William Levada, who authored the original condemnation against American nuns, in place.
Sister Joan Chittister, writing in the National Catholic Reporter questions whether women will ever be taken seriously in the Catholic Church. She says that the role of women isn’t even addressed as one of the top 39 areas of concern listed in a recent Vatican survey, which was lauded by many Francis supporters as ground-breaking. She worries that Francis insistence to separate women and label them as nurturers and mothers does little for the idea of change beyond rhetoric. “The pope’s recent statement on women to a meeting of the Women’s Section of the Pontifical Council for Laity in Rome concentrated almost entirely on women’s maternity, which occupies—at best—about 20 years of a woman’s life,” she says. “Most modern women, demographic data indicates, live at least another 35 to 40 years after the youngest child leaves home. And after that? What is her role then? Is maternity her only value, her perpetual definition? What does she do now with her personal talents, her insights, her gifts that, they tell us, are given for the sake of the world?”
O’Brien agrees. “What Francis has done has helped us [Catholics] refocus,” he says. “But we still have a whole half of the Church who have been neglected and forgotten. When it comes to women, Pope Francis needs some study. ”
Nadeau is incredibly condescending and dismissive of conservative Catholics, and seems to think that Catholic women who are perfectly fine with the male-only priestly either don't exist or aren't worthy of engaging as thoughtful, committed Catholics.
To borrow from biblical imagery, as a balanced, objective journalist, Nadeau has been weighed in the balance and found lacking.
The necessity for the male priesthood is based in Eucharistic theology which, although “mysterious” in the spiritual sense, is logically consistent and understandable by anyone who isn’t blinded by ideology.
That is to say, these people don’t seem to realize what idiots they seem.
Yes, they have done so great for us in government.
He’ll be called a racist if he doesn’t allow women in to the priesthood. I guess it would be the priestesshood? Racist because they’ll say so. No matter if “actual” race is involved. Just sayin’ it means it’s true.
You mean what idiots they are, or what idiots they seem to be. Don’t you?
Jesus chose only men as HIS Apostles. What “womyn” want to do is to get a Pope to say Jesus was wrong.
Have you ever had the unfortunate experience of being in a worship service conducted by a woman “minister”? It becomes apparent that their focus is on themselves and their performance. Grinning and giggling during the distribution of the sacrament is truly disturbing. However, no doubt parishioners become used to this behavior, which is even more disturbing.
Why do you hate women so much?
I never noticed that with Joyce Meyer.
How could they forget about Pope Joan?
People like Fr. Whosis, S.J., and Sister Joan Chittester are highly educated. They aren’t “idiots” in the sense of lacking basic reasoning capability. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say they have corrupted minds.
I never noticed that with Mother Angelica.
“The necessity for the male priesthood is based in Eucharistic theology which, although mysterious in the spiritual sense, is logically consistent and understandable by anyone who isnt blinded by ideology.”
Jesus Christ selected men as His priests; as a married man I can’t be a priest. Doesn’t make me think the Pope hates me, though. With the number of “churches” available to these malcontents, I don’t know why they don’t just pick one.
I’m not sure that scripture mandates an all male priesthood. But I do know for a fact there is nothing the Bible (that I can find) in either the Old Testament or the New Testament which mandates celibacy as a requirement for serving in the priesthood. In the early Church, popes, bishops, and priest were married men. As late as the 12th Century the overwhelming majority of priests and bishops were married men. Celibacy was introduced in the Middle Ages as a response to nepotism and corruption in the Church.
Since he’s celibate, I imagine that’s one problem he doesn’t have!
Not in offering Holy Holy Communion, you haven’t noticed her trademark humor and delight in being Catholic.
In the end nothing else matters.
"But I have known one or two women. They're not bad people. So I'm not offended at all."
Many women serve Communion at my church. Never noticed that ever.