But he is not, for well or for ill, the competent ecclesiastical authority in the Diocese of Rome.
And I empathize with his love of the poor and downtrodden. I've been on a number of mission trips to Haiti and the first world western nations don't have a clue about the reality of poverty in our own back yard. My oldest son just returned from a spring break "mission trip" with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in the Bronx and gained a new perspective on the reality of poverty in our own country (as well as some of the sinful structures that cause and prolong it.)
But ultimately the goal of all apostolic work is the salvation of souls. Our charitable efforts mean nothing if that is not at its core.
So this humble-man-of-the-streets pope can do whatever he pleases just as long as in the end it contributes to the ultimate salvation of the greatst number of souls. And evangelization requires humility.
It also requires Christian unity. We've wasted 50 years trying to be ecumenical with the Protestants, and its gained us nothing except the watering down and protestantizing of our liturgy and theology. We should have never tried to build ecumenical relations with the Protestants when it came at the expense of our ecumenical relations with Orthodoxy. Because when we disregard and belittle our own liturgical traditions and Traditions (i.e., protrstantize them) it negatively effects our ecumenical relations with the East.
Protestantism is eventually going to cease to exist and what remains of it more and more will become an enemy of the orthodoxy of Eastern and Western Christianity.
These little things Pope Francis is doing are being watched very closely by the only ecumenical partners we have in the world that truly matter, the Orthodox. And if this disregard for important gender issues that directly relate to things like the institution of the all male priesthood on Holy Thirsday continues, it will set back our common work and common cause with the Orthodox. And the longer that is set back and set aside, the longer we fail to work towards the salvation of the greatest number of souls.
Because that ultimate goal, the salvation of the greatest number of souls, will never happen until East and West are once more ONE.
That's not going to happen soon if the East sees this Holy Father as disrespecting the efforts of Benedict XVI to restore our liturgical traditions that we gutted following Vatican II or playing fast and lose with the liturgy most closely tied to the institution of the all male priesthood on Holy Thursday, an all male priesthood common to both East and West and shared only by these true Churches as delineated in Dominus Iesus.
It always comes back to Fatima, and the reunion with the East is an integral part of the Fatima plan for peace and the final evangelization.
"I am worried by the Blessed Virgin's messages to Lucy of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in Her liturgy, Her theology and Her soul. I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject Her ornaments and make Her feel remorse for Her historical past."- Msgr. Eugene Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII