Now, let’s quickly recall the sentence which followed those Francis quoted. John 20:24 says, “Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.” Hmmm, one of the Apostles wasn’t even there. Yet, most likely, women were.
In the stratification of evasive tactics, these questions require a lot more effort than "light" evasion, but, mind you, they will be evaded. It's just going to take more effort to evade them than other topics the hierarchy wishes to avoid. For example, the hierarchy must make-up stories to discredit the very apparent depictions of early Christian women leading worship services such as appear in the Roman catacombs and other similar archaeological evidence. Making-up alternate realities and histories takes no small amount of effort - hence ignoring them cannot be done with everyday "light" evasion tactics like sipping a diet cola. One needs full-octane, classic-Coke strength robustness in those evasive efforts.
It’s starting to seem like the only “profound questions” asked by women Francis is willing to address are the ones he’s asking not the ones women are actually asking. It’s kind of like trying to repair a sinking ship without talking to the crew or restricting the crew from talking about the huge hole in the ship’s hull. What are the chances of fixing a ship when such restrictions apply?
Take it from a real mother, “Because I said so” is almost never an effective parenting technique and its efficacy diminishes if not disappears the more your children mature.
Demands that the legitimate rights of women be respected, based on the firm conviction that men and women are equal in dignity, present the Church with profound and challenging questions which cannot be lightly evaded. The reservation of the priesthood to males, as a sign of Christ the Spouse who gives himself in the Eucharist, is not a question open to discussion, but it can prove especially divisive if sacramental power is too closely identified with power in general. It must be remembered that when we speak of sacramental power “we are in the realm of function, not that of dignity or holiness”. The ministerial priesthood is one means employed by Jesus for the service of his people, yet our great dignity derives from baptism, which is accessible to all. The configuration of the priest to Christ the head – namely, as the principal source of grace – does not imply an exaltation which would set him above others. In the Church, functions “do not favour the superiority of some vis-à-vis the others”. Indeed, a woman, Mary, is more important than the bishops. Even when the function of ministerial priesthood is considered “hierarchical”, it must be remembered that “it is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ’s members”. Its key and axis is not power understood as domination, but the power to administer the sacrament of the Eucharist; this is the origin of its authority, which is always a service to God’s people. This presents a great challenge for pastors and theologians, who are in a position to recognize more fully what this entails with regard to the possible role of women in decision-making in different areas of the Church’s life.