Hurray for Pope Francis for focusing the church on living the beatitudes. He is promoting Jesus priorities: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and visiting the imprisoned for all of us.
He has tackled some major internal church reform issues such as Vatican finances and changing the rules of the Synod of Bishops so that there would be open debate. Moreover, Francis has promoted pastoral care of divorced and remarried Catholics and a non-judgmental attitude toward gays, lesbians and transgender.
He has put social justice issues, including solidarity with immigrants, economic justice and the rights of workers at the top of his agenda. Francis has confronted the greed of the international weapons' industry as a reason why governments go to war.
He has begun important reforms in the Curia: Why is the opposition within the Curia so vehement about holding bishops accountable for predatory priests?
In this article, Michael Sean Winters mentions that most Catholics don't understand the church's teaching on conscience. How true! The church teaches that one must follow one's conscience even if it is in error. Imagine how many women would not have stayed in abusive marriages if they were aware that they had this freedom of choice?
Since women are half the population and suffer greatly from a male-celibate priest perspective, we believe that this is another reason why women priests are imperative to a more real and healthier pastoral approach to relationships. Ask any woman who is getting a divorce and you will discover the need for women priests in pastoral care in our church.
The closer Pope Francis comes to touching the realities of the marginalized, including the bond between Mother Earth and women, the closer he will be to making the Holy connections between all oppressions, including abuse, violence and misogyny.
Then it will be time for a conversation between Francis and women priests.
Janice Sevre Duszynska ARCWP and Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP