You go Pope Francis! Normally I wouldn't pontificate so casually regarding the Pontiff, but this One seems to be inviting us to be more real and familiar.
I liked so much of what he is reported to have said in his recent interview. Particularly this, speaking of the social issues that the church obsesses over:
The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently ...
We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.
How about the role of women? When asked about this, he sounded pretty much like all male authority figures in the church:
I am wary of a solution that can be reduced to a kind of “female machismo,” because a woman has a different makeup than a man. But what I hear about the role of women is often inspired by an ideology of machismo. Women are asking deep questions that must be addressed.
Let me say clearly, I don't understand an "ideology of machismo." Apparently it is much clearer in Latin cultures and this Pope would know much more about that than I ever could.
So I will write what I do know. For many years I had a role in ministry to young people, mainly adolescents. All of this was within the Southern Baptist Convention. I am so sad to say that the most conservative of this denomination still hold to a narrow view of the role of women in the church and, unfortunately, beyond the church walls too. I am very happy to say that I've been blessed to know many, many women who identified with Baptists who were strong, effective leaders despite the rhetoric and ranting of church fathers. All of the dogma on the matter comes from a few verses in the letters of the Apostle Paul. I don't know of anything in the words or life of Jesus that would lead anyone to the conclusions the church has drawn on the matter.
Judy, Jane, Paula, Brooke, Jessica are just a few of the young women I've known who believed they had a calling to serve the church. It broke my heart to know of the hurdles, roadblocks and discouragement they would face if they pursued this calling in a Baptist church.
Again the good news is, as I've already said, many women have just forged on anyway: my Mom, my Aunt Betty, my Mother-In-Law Betty, my Daughter-In-Law Kara and my own Amazing Missus Arlene.
Yes that's my youngest grand girl, Harper, in the cape pictured above. I hope she always believes she has super powers. Her cape is just as significant to me as the priestly garments of the Pope himself.
You go Harper and Karlee and young girls everywhere.