Saturday, October 3, 2015

With whom the pope meets...

The soap opera around, "Did he? Didn't he? Did she? Didn't she" seems to be fading as the Vatican claims Pope Francis' meeting with Kim Davis did not endorse her behavior refusing to issue same sex couples marriage licenses.  And now his meeting with an openly gay man and that man's longtime partner are paraded before us as evidence to refute any political intentions on Francis' part by meeting with Kim.

Whatever....  I think the pope can meet with whomever he wants.  Jesus met with all sorts of people: saints, sinners and social pariahs all the time.  I applaud anyone willing to receive any human being with Christ-like, humble, non-judgmental hospitality.  That we could all have genuine warmth towards all people...

That being said, I do question why, despite requests, he did not meet with Catholic women ordained as priests.  Why didn't he meet with any of the plethora of sanctioned and excommunicated people in this country - enduring marginalization due to their support of women priests?  Just curious....

I also question Francis' dismissive and patronizing statements about women made during his homeward flight press conference.  On one hand he calls for and lauds conscientious objection while in the same press conference he repeats his unwillingness to engage in his signature "dialogue" activities regarding women's ordination...with some of those pesky conscientious objectors to unjust hierarchical edicts.  Irony...or perhaps hypocrisy.

He repeated his call for a "theology of women" and joked about not having done a darn thing about it like actually reviewing the compendium of female theologians' works that already begin to describe such a theology.  He found time to meet Kim but not meet with any one of the many outstanding female theologians living in the U.S. who could help him make his wish about a "theology of women" a reality.  Elizabeth Johnson, Joan Chittister, Mary Hunt, Rosemary Radford Ruether, and Elisabeth Scussler Fiorenza are a few who come to mind.  Many live in the very geographic localities Francis visited.

Perhaps he prefers talking to regular folk versus professional theologians.  I did extend multiple invitations to meet and discuss this very topic beginning with a request in my Christmas card last year...which I know arrived because I got a nice impersonal acknowledgment of its arrival.  Yet, his schedule evidently was too packed to spend time with such women though he claims they are more important than men in the important that he could not squeeze in one meeting on the topic...  

There is a saying that people show their true priorities by voting with their time...  Women and their theology are so important that Francis admits to spending zero hours working on it in the two or so years since he said it was so gosh darned important.  Oh....ok, I see very clearly now how important it is.  Thanks.

It makes me wonder if his encounter with Kim went something like this, "Little daughter, be glad you live in America rather than my country.  I expel conscientious objectors and refuse them the bread of life.  Here you only get a few days in prison, some press, and many wealthy right-wing friends...look, you even get a meeting with me, Mr. Papal Popularity!  Trust me, I do not meet with people who conscientiously object to laws of my organization.  Look at my schedule...not a one on the list."

"But, do not worry; in my country you would not be allowed such a position of authority anyway.  We only let men dressed in medieval gowns, many of whom are gay and have longtime homosexual lovers but pretend to renounce sex, living emprisoned by centuries of flawed understanding about human sexuality, make such important decisions.  You would not be troubled by having to make such big decisions in my organization.  Maybe you want to lessen your stress and move to the Vatican where the biggest decision you will have to make is what brush to use to scrub our toilets, or what broom to use to sweep our floors.  One or two ply toilet tissue? Percale or jersey sheets for the beds?  Coffee or tea?  Snacks or no snacks for the meeting?  See how easy it is?"

"Anyway, we in the Catholic hierarchy are masters at professing one thing and doing the opposite.  Here, let me get you the names of some clergymen; they can give you some nice lessons and tips on how to live in duplicity.  But, seriously give it some thought to move to my country."

I look forward to the day Francis engages in meaningful dialogue with conscientious objectors to Canon Law.  I would happily rearrange my calendar for such a discussion.  

As a side note, I work for one of the top companies for women and this week, one of my daughters' employers was also named as one of the top places for women to work.  Maybe Francis could consult with award winning secular business leaders for advice on treating women...

Second side note before the die-hard Francis fans complain, acknowledging his short-comings around women does not negate his good works with the poor.  However, his good works around the poor do not negate his flaws dealing with women either.


  1. Your perspective and voice are incredibly important to me. Thank you for writing and sharing them.

  2. Just making sure you hears this one when the pope was at Charles Borneo in Phila: The Pope told a "joke" that indicative of the Catholic church's thinking about women. He said: A woman comes to the Pope and says her 34 year old son doesn't want to get married. His advice? "Stop ironing his shirts." Cause that's what wives are for, right?