Skip to comments.Pope Francis retains patriarchal view of women
Posted on 12/06/2014 3:19:28 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o
At first, it was easy to overlook. With all of his statements about caring for the poor, the disabled and immigrants, and all the fanfare surrounding his famous "Who am I to judge?" proclamation, Pope Francis seemed like a breath of fresh air for a church stuck resolutely in the past. The fact that he never commented on the long-standing marginalization of women in the Catholic Church, and asserted quite plainly that there would be no ordination of women, did nothing to dampen progressive enthusiasm for the new pope. There has been a hopeful sense that he would get around to it eventually.
He hasn't, however, and there is reason to question whether he ever will. Instead of a more compassionate and understanding take on the standing of women in the church, Francis has repeatedly embraced the traditional Catholic view that a woman's role is in the home.
Ten days ago, Pope Francis organized and addressed an interfaith colloquium on the subject of "The Complementarity of Man and Woman in Marriage." The use of the doctrinal term "complementarity" signals the conservative underpinnings of Francis' views on marriage. The religious teaching of complementarity holds that men and women have very different roles in life and in marriage, with men outranking women in most areas. Although Francis did acknowledge that complementarity could take "many forms," he nonetheless insisted that it is an "anthropological fact."
Last week, in chastising the European Parliament on the subject of immigration policy, Francis provided another alarming insight into his attitudes toward women, this time in his choice of metaphor. He described Europe as a "grandmother, no longer fertile and vibrant," but instead "elderly and haggard." At 77 years old, presumably Francis still thinks himself relatively vibrant and useful to society. Women of his age, however, have apparently outlived their utility.
Francis has made it clear that he sees childbearing and child rearing as crucial womanly roles.
But his remarks about European immigration marked the first time Francis has used the natural loss of fertility and change in appearance that accompany aging to cast a moral judgment. By selecting the image of an aging woman someone who is, to use Francis' words, no longer "relevant" to the world is nothing other than crass chauvinism. Francis has elsewhere condemned our modern "throwaway" culture that discards the elderly, but here when the subject is exclusively female he demonstrates exactly the same attitude.
Even when ostensibly elevating women, Francis reveals a highly patriarchal view of where their value lies. In a July statement that many took as a positive sign, he said that women are "more important than bishops and priests." But it is unclear just how progressive we should understand that statement to be. Repeatedly, Francis has come back to extolling the role of women specifically as mothers, noting that "the presence of women in a domestic setting" is crucial to "the very transmission of the faith."
To his credit, Francis has called for an expansion of women's participation in the life of the church, and he has said that "the role of women in the church is not only maternity, the mother of the family." But he seems to have trouble articulating that role in non-maternal terms, or at least in terms that are not circumscribed by the familial: "I think, for example, of the special concern which women show to others, which finds a particular, even if not exclusive, expression in motherhood." Although women may have lives outside the home, Francis has urged that we not "forget the irreplaceable role of the woman in a family."
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.
Candida Moss is professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame. Joel Baden is professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale University. They co-wrote the forthcoming "Reconceiving Infertility: Biblical Perspectives on Procreation and Childlessness."
that’s right Candida the “progressive” Pope still thinks of you as a baby-making machine as feminists put it.
bubble burst! — Now get over it and stop whining.
And busy brainwashing all her students, no doubt. I'm sure that President Jenkins is very proud of her.
I don’t think that this writer spends much time in the average parish. The women pretty much run things. I see no marginalization. And when I have visited protestant churches with women pastors they seem feminized and sterile. oops - there’s that metaphor.
She doesn’t understand the difference between a Discipline and Doctrine. The Pope cannot admit women into the priesthood even if he wanted to.
Well, he IS the Patriarch of the West.
Umm... any thinking person understands that childbearing is a UNIQUELY female role.
In a July statement that many took as a positive sign, he said that women are "more important than bishops and priests." But it is unclear just how progressive we should understand that statement to be. Repeatedly, Francis has come back to extolling the role of women specifically as mothers, noting that "the presence of women in a domestic setting" is crucial to "the very transmission of the faith."
Show me where this is flawed, or not true. And if the author purports to be Catholic, how is this a bad thing? Show me, outside of the "traditional" church, where Catholic and other Christian women who DO value their traditional roles find support for them?!?
That sounds harsh.
Oh Candida we can make it together
Obviously, although Pope Francis is from South American, he is in line with the Pope Emeritus from Germany and Bismarck’s motto: Kuche, Kinder, und Kirche fur die frauen.
Those dang men just want to keep wymin under their thumbs. (the above said seeping with sarcasm toward goggle.)
CANDIDA? What parents name a daughter after a bodily mold?
The pope praised his own grandmother last year:
So, apparently, he recognizes the importance of grandmothers. (I hope to be one myself someday.)
what’s so wrong with praising the traditional role of women? It gives women who choose to live so comfort that their choice is honored by their faith.
It looks like to me the most harsh judgey people are Leftists enraged the Catholic Church isn’t judging women choosing traditional roles.
I’m a woman posting this.
“men and women have very different roles in life and in marriage”
And the authors pretend otherwise?
He described Europe as a “grandmother, no longer fertile and vibrant,”
Meaning that Europe has been contracepting and aborting itself into extinction.
Do the authors disagree?
“Francis has made it clear that he sees childbearing and child rearing as crucial womanly roles.”
Do the authors disagree?
They would prefer votes for the anti-Christ at the next conclave.
A friend of mine said that, with a name like Candida Moss, she sounds like an employee at South Bend’s notorious Torch Club.
She is ND’s resident heretic (well, one of many). John Iscariot Diocletian Jenkins should be ashamed of himself.
Western women are freed from the oppressive biological role a patriarchal society would impose upon them. Any children needed can be imported from the Third World and their parents in their hundreds of millions can provide the goods and services all the wonderfully free and childless Europeans need into their old age!
Good-bye France, Italy, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Scandinavia. A great Big Hello to EURABIA!
Some protestants do not ordain women either. My synod does not and will never ordain women. And I agree with it. We all have our unique place in the Body of Christ. Men cannot bear children. Women do. Men are designated by God as the head of the household and head of the Church. It works better when we do it the way God ordained it.
I will say that the passage about women obeying their husbands is often misinterpreted. Women are to obey their husbands, no question. But the last half of the verse is usually left out. Men are to love their wives as Christ loves the Church - and to lay down their life for their wives. What a privileged place God has given us. To bear children, be loved and cherished!
The Pope is a Catholic, film at 11. :)
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.