Despite the popularity of Pope Francis as a theological progressive, some people are beginning to question his understanding of women in the life of the Church. According several of his public remarks gathered in the Huffington Post, a highly patriarchal view of women seems to be part of his papacy:
For all his positive comments and reforms, they said, the pope “reveals a highly patriarchal view” of the value and traditional role of women.
1. “Be a mother and not an old maid!”
“Please, let it be a fruitful chastity, a chastity that generates sons and daughters in the church. The consecrated woman is a mother, must be a mother and not an old maid (or “spinster”). … Forgive me for speaking this way, but the motherhood of consecrated life, its fertility, is important.”
— Address to nuns from around the world, May 8, 2013
2. “I am wary of ‘masculinity in a skirt.’“
“It is necessary to broaden the opportunities for a stronger presence of women in the church. I am wary of a solution that can be reduced to a kind of ‘female machismo’ (“machismo in gonnella,” he said in Italian, or “masculinity in a skirt”) because a woman has a different make-up than a man. But what I hear about the role of women is often inspired by an ideology of machismo.”
— Interview with Jesuit publications, September 2013
3. “The fact is, woman was taken from a rib.”
Q: Do you see a bit of misogyny in the background (of your references to women mainly as mothers and wives rather than leaders)?
A: “The fact is, woman was taken from a rib.” (The pope gives a hearty laugh.) “I am kidding, that was a joke … ”
— Interview with the Italian daily Il Messaggero, June 29, 2014
For the rest of the story, please visit the Huffington Post religion page here.