Furthermore, he sees the church thriving to the point of busting at the seams in these same developing areas while it atrophies amongst the European and North American/European-descent crowds. Therefore he further questions the European folks as credible guides. It's sort of a "walk a mile in another person's shoes" kind of commentary in that Francis thinks the European and North American folks lack street creds to tell Africans and Latin Americans what to do.
He also disagrees with having a shrinking minority group within the church guide the growing majority. Basically Francis describes why he's tired of Western / European hegemony within the church and why it's an invalid governance model.
Amen, Brother Francis! I am standing up applauding you, but I am also shouting, "Welcome to the world of women in the church, my friend!" We are as thrilled with male hegemony in the church as you are with European hegemony..
I think Francis understands how hegemony blinds people because he's felt the stinging ill effects of it. I can only hope that he is self-aware enough to see the parallel. He is frustrated by a bunch of people with a different worldview trying to boss him around - i.e., "hegemony." Francis, do you understand that male hegemony isn't any more fun or effective than European hegemony?
Unfortunately, a persistent issue when addressing hegemony is the hegemonic group's lack of self-awareness to acknowledge that they, in fact, are part of a hegemonic group. This historically has been the case with Catholic hierarchy with regards to male hegemony, but I'm hoping Francis' primary experience being outside of one hegemonic group opens his eyes to realize he operates within another hegemonic group.
Francis, to see the parallel, in the description below, try substituting "Europeans" where you see "men," or "clergy." Then substitute "Africans and Latin Americans" where you see "women." I'll help by making the substitutions in parentheses.
Men (Europeans) in the church tell women (Africans and Latin Americans) what to do. Yet men (Europeans) lack primary experiences to understand women (Africans and Latin Americans) Plus, women (Africans and Latin Americans) are the increasing majority of the church while the clergy (Europeans) seem to be doing many things to shrink the church...and their own ranks. Men (Europeans) who lack understanding and experiences of living as a woman (Latin American and African) make decisions that don't resonate with women (Africans and Latin Americans), don't apply to women (Africans and Latin Americans), or outright harm women (Africans and Latin Americans).
I hope that helped. However, not only are men in the church guiding women. Unmarried men who have given birth to zero children are telling women how to conduct themselves regarding conception, pregnancy and birth.
I hesitate to call priests "childless" because, especially in the developing nations, more than a few priests father children clandestinely. For example, in my recent trip to Africa, one of the Peace Corps workers told me a big cause for unwed mothers in her village was the local priest impregnating girls. So, in some cases, men who don't publicly acknowledge children they father feel qualified to tell women how to raise their families.
Unfortunately, I don't think Francis has yet seen the similarities around the two forms of hegemony. He recently announced the attendees for his upcoming Synod on the Family and all 26 voting members are unmarried, childless, ordained men. Yet, they are going to make decisions about women...and families...and child-rearing.
Actually more than 71% of the 250 synod participants are unmarried, male clergy. Even amongst the non-voting observers and experts, only a minority are women. Pretty much all of those women are either avowed religious sisters...and no offense sisters, but you don't have much child-bearing and child-rearing experience either...or are employed by church organizations. Somehow, I don't think a woman who runs a natural family planning organization represents the huge majority of Catholic women.
Francis, you say the church is a woman. Where are the women's voices of this womanly church?
Francis, you chose participants that do not mirror the church. Do you think the church will see herself in what they write or hear herself in what they say? Why should she listen to a disconnected minority?