The lesson here is : do not underestimate the power of hardliners in the Vatican Curia to oppose Pope Francis' agenda of openness to dialogue and to a more pastoral approach in the Catholic Church.
One example is Pope Francis recent announcement of a commission to study women deacons. Some of the Curia fear the changes that a church that treats women as equals and partners--like Jesus did in the Gospels. Indeed, ordaining women deacons would be a first step towards gender equality that could shake the patriarchal power structure to its core! The stained glass ceiling would crack, rocking the good old boys club top down approach. In my view, this would be a positive development as women bring their gifts to minister at the Table. The church would grow, flourish and become more whole.
The Pope's recent apology to gays and mistreated women is opening doors to further dialogue and much needed healing in our church. While these words must be followed by changes in teaching, policies and laws, Pope Francis has made a courageous beginning.
My prayer is that Pope Francis hangs in there through the hostility and opposition of the Vatican Curia. All of us are the church, not just the hierarchy. Let us stand together with Pope Francis, in loving solidarity, as we work for justice, equality and renewal!