...Sister Suzanne and her Prioress, Sister Patricia Crowley, both said the Pope’s popularity and symbolic acts like openly refusing to judge gay priests are creating a new image of the papacy and the church.
And while they acknowledge he’s had a busy first year, they are waiting for him to take on women’s issues in the church.
The Pope previously said he has a “vivid hope” women will play a “more capillary and incisive” role in the church. In an interview with Latin American nuns, he told them if they got a letter announcing an investigation similar to U.S. nuns, not to worry.
Sister Patricia is cautiously optimistic this could translate to action. Someday, she said, she even hopes to see women’s ordination. But she admits the church moves slowly.
“I think it’s gradual,” she said. “But basically, I’d like to see that women are equal to men within the church because the first witness to the resurrection was a woman, and I think that’s a pretty clear gospel message that indeed women are equal to men.”
In the meantime, Pope Frances still hasn’t lifted oversight from many U.S. nuns. That doesn’t surprise Charles Reid, a Catholic blogger and professor of law at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.
“When he renewed that investigation, he was brand new on the job. He wasn’t going to upset apple carts that quickly,” Reid said. “I do not think he will do what (Pope) Benedict was doing, and that is relentlessly pursue nuns.”
Reid explained that Pope Francis – who’s a Jesuit – comes from a tradition that values spirited academic debate.
“Will he open doors to the ordination of women? No,” Reid said. “Will he open the doors to scholarship that could lead there in 20 years? Maybe, maybe.”
That day can’t come soon enough for Sister Donna Quinn, a local activist nun. She wants women to have an equal voice and vote in the church.
“I really don’t see any action,” Sister Donna said. “I see this nice wonderfulness of words and the media. Why doesn’t the media pick up on the fact that the church is all men? All men are in power....”
Bridget Mary's Response:
Pope Francis is a warm friendly, and compassionate pope. However, he needs to open up top leadership positions in the Vatican and throughout the church to women. The full equality of women in the church, including priesthood, is the will of God in our times. Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org