As Pope Francis states in his interview, " A Big Heart Open to God,"
"being prophets may sometimes imply making waves."
Not only are there more than 160 ordained women contemporary prophets in the Roman Catholic Church serving inclusive communities in Europe, Latin America, Canada and the United States, but in more and more places, the people of God are affirming the full equality of women as the voice of God in our times.
In response to the Pope's concern with "female machismo," our brothers at the Vatican must embrace gender justice, including women priests. Women's human rights, including spiritual authority, is the elephant in the living room of the Roman Catholic Church! It is our pastoral responsibility to make the connections between oppression of women within the church and violence toward women and their children in the world.
The international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement is a prophetic new path where all are welcome to receive sacraments and which mirrors Gospel equality and the inclusiveness that Pope Francis is calling the church to live.
(Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests: Media Statement/ Janice Sevre-Duszynska firstname.lastname@example.org and Bridget Mary Meehan, email@example.com
Albany Catholics react to pope's comments
By: Steve Flamisch
Several Catholics, speaking before Sunday evening Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Downtown Albany, told NewsChannel 13 the pope's message was on the mark.
"I think that makes a lot of sense," the Rev. Paul Smith, who celebrated the 5 p.m. Mass, said outside the cathedral. "I notice that he didn't say that those issues were unimportant and that they deserve no focus -- he didn't say that -- but he wanted to balance it."
In a lengthy interview published Thursday, Francis told the magazine America, "We have to find a new balance, otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards."
"I think he was right," parishioner Andrew Lauria said. "The church's fundamental goal is for the salvation of souls, and so we have to do that in a particular manner, and that starts first by taking care of people."
A day after the pope's comments were published, Francis denounced abortion and the “throw-away culture” that justifies it.
Francis, who made headlines in July by saying "Who am I to judge?" when asked about a gay priest, spoke broadly about homosexuality in the magazine interview.
"When God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love or reject and condemn this person?" he asked. "We must always consider the person."
Mary Martin, an Albany parishioner who noted that Francis "seems like a grandpa" to her, said she agrees with his assertion that such controversial issues should not dominate the conversation.
"We have other things to think about," Martin said. "Those people should take care of themselves by shaping up... the ones who are going into homosexuality and all those things.”
Martin continued, “That's their business, but I don't think we should have it spread all over the newspapers for children to read and wonder what that is and try it."
ROLE OF WOMEN
Though Francis said he does not support the ordination of women priests, he told the magazine, "Women are asking deep questions that must be addressed. We must therefore investigate further the role of women in the church."
Smith, in Albany, said he welcomed the possibility.
"I hope that he would do some reversal as far as just giving consideration and taking a long look at women as priests, which is only one part of that issue," Smith said.
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests recently ordained an Albany woman, Mary Theresa Streck, but the Catholic Church does not recognize her as a priest.
Bishop Howard Hubbard was not available to comment Sunday on the pope's recent remarks.
"And what about the role of women in the church? The pope has made reference to this issue
on several occasions. He took up the matter during the return trip from Rio de Janeiro,
claiming that the church still lacks a profound theology of women. I ask: “What should be
the role of women in the church? How do we make their role more visible today?”
We must therefore investigate further the role of women in the church.
He answers: “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 byan ideology of machismo. Women are asking deep questions that must be addressed. The
church cannot be herself without the woman and her role. The woman is essential for the
church. Mary, a woman, is more important than the bishops. I say this because we must not
confuse the function with the dignity. We must therefore investigate further the role of
women in the church. 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 wherethe authority of the church is exercised for various areas of the church.”