"It may be Women’s Week at the Vatican, but you have to look carefully at the skirts to find many women. However well-intentioned Vatican officials may be, they embody Murphy’s Law when it comes to women: everything that can go wrong does go wrong. Maybe if women were more than bit players, things might improve.
The Pontifical Council for Culture in Rome, presided over by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi and made up of cardinals and bishops who are all men, are discussing “Women’s Cultures: Equality and Difference” from February 4-7, 2015 in mostly closed-door sessions. There are enough contradictions in that sentence to end my analysis right here.
I persist, if only to encourage others to trust their intuitions about such dubious endeavors and to think about women when they sing the praises of Pope Francis. Women make up slightly more than half of the Catholic population, and many more than half of its active members. Only by ignoring women can Francis fans herald his achievements.
Only by setting aside the all-male priesthood, bracketing any mention of kyriarchal decision-making structures, and passing over outmoded notions of gender can one honestly say that Francis, who captains the ship, is any better than his immediate predecessors when it comes to half of the church.
His own unfortunate choice of women-related words like “Europe is now a ‘grandmother,’ no longer fertile and vibrant” and women theologians are “the strawberries on the cake!” reveal his personal limitations with regard to women. Let every praise of his papacy contain an asterisk until it is no longer necessary. Maybe that will motivate some people who want him to succeed to get working on women’s issues as well as poverty, war, the environment and the like, all of which have disproportionate impacts on women...."
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Excellent work, Mary Hunt! I appreciate your strong voice always speak truth to power in the Catholic Church and offering a comprehensive critique of patriarchy from a feminist perspective. Your humor adds a wonderful light touch to a heavy topic, sexism in our church and the bungling of the Vatican at this pontifical conference. Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org