It is impossible, Holy Father, to be serious about doing anything for the poor and at the same time do little or nothing for women.
Calling his papacy “a model of pastoral listening” which “gives us new hope in the integrity and holiness of the Church itself,” Chittister praises the way in which Francis has made “the world see what we have forgotten,” the invisible poor.
But there is a second issue lurking under the first that you yourself may need to give new and serious attention to as well. The truth is that women are the poorest of the poor. Men have paid jobs; few women in the world do. Men have clear civil, legal and religious rights in marriage; few women in the world do. Men take education for granted; few women in the world can expect the same. Men are allowed positions of power and authority outside the home; few women in the world can hope for the same. Men have the right to ownership and property; most of the women of the world are denied these things by law, by custom, by religious tradition. Women are owned, beaten, raped and enslaved regularly simply because they are female. And worst of all, perhaps, they are ignored—rejected—as full human beings, as genuine disciples, by their churches, including our own.
We’re glad you are here to speak to these things. We trust you to change them, starting with the Church itself.
Will Pope Francis change the way that the Church accommodates and advocates for women? Read the whole letter here.
Photo credit: JoanChittister.org