..."First, he could take steps toward the ordination of women. After all, there is a human right to not be discriminated against on the basis of sex. According to a Quinnipiac poll from last year, this wouldn’t be too controversial. (However, that poll just covered American Catholics. The Pope has to represent Catholics worldwide.)
It would take some political bravery on his part, but the ordination of women would go a long way toward showing that women aren’t just some weird, biological necessity with no other value. In fact, if Pope Francis really want to focus on economic justice, equal treatment of women and men in the Church is arguably a necessity:
The struggle over women’s ordination isn’t a culture war issue. It is a movement that shines light on the truth that the Roman Catholic church’s denial of the full equality of women has global consequences. It seeks to dismantle the poverty, abuse and violence that are intricately tied to the systematic belief that women and men are not equal.
Women’s ordination isn’t simply about making women priests. It’s about helping church leaders recognize that if they were to include women in their leadership as their equals, they could truly be a powerful force for economic and social justice for women and children throughout our world.
Or, you know, at least stop excommunicating priests who advocate for such a change. Sheesh.
Second, Pope Francis could signal that it’s OK to ease up on shaming women for using contraception. If a theme to his papacy is mercy, then this seems like a no-brainer. Not only is access to contraception good economically – which could help raise people out of poverty — it also decreases the abortion rate by preventing unwanted pregnancies to begin with.
This can also save women’s lives. According to the World Health Organization, poverty is one of the main causes of maternal mortality. It can also insulate women from unsafe abortions that account for about 8 percent of maternal deaths..."