In response to the column "Did Pope Francis open a door -- or minds -- for women?":
I believe that there is a sliver of light, and a positive change in tone.
Yes, I agree with Pope Francis that "women have much to tell us and are able to ask questions men cannot understand" -- if the hierarchy will listen.
However, in order to achieve gender equality in the Catholic Church, the pope must affirm women priests as sacramental ministers and listen to women's experiences on issues such as birth control, marriage equality, divorce and remarriage.
Where is the all-male, celibate hierarchy's openness to women's experiences in the following example? The Roman Catholic diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, wants a judge to dismiss a jury's verdict that it discriminated against a former teacher who was fired for trying to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization. According to church teaching on primacy of conscience, all Catholics must follow their consciences in making moral decisions. St. Thomas Aquinas, a medieval theologian, once stated that he'd rather be excommunicated than violate his conscience.
In my view, Pope Francis should have a worldwide gathering, a Synod, in which women share how they see things with different eyes so he can deal with the questions that men can't understand. That is why it is so imperative that we have women priests and that women are decision-makers in the Vatican.