So Pope Francis acknowledged in an interview published last week that the Catholic church needs to end the obsession with abortion, contraception and gays because it’s hurting the overall mission of the church. Good for him! The world is astounded and proclaim what a great, new, modern Pope he is!
It’s what he isn’t saying that merits attention. He’s not saying contraception and abortion are a woman’s personal, private decision – between her and God; and he’s not saying it’s OK to be gay. In fact, he reaffirms the church’s teaching on all 3 matters. He’s just saying he doesn’t think we should be talking about these things so much. Because God loves us, even if we take the pill, terminate a pregnancy or marry our same-sex lover.
He also goes on to say that the church should find situations where women can lead and have real influence on the direction the church takes. Just as long as it’s not in the priesthood. Because women don’t belong there. Never mind that all the influential, direction changing leadership positions in the Catholic church have ordination as a prerequisite. But at least he’s opening a dialogue. I think.
Frankly, I’m not so desperate to go back to the church that I’m going to seize on these comments and delude myself into thinking that anything has changed. Because it hasn’t, really. The church’s teachings about the role of women are the reason I left; so I’m still as alienated from the church as I was before Pope Francis gave this interview. The message has not changed – my brothers are blessed by God and can choose any path in life they want. I am blessed by God to have as many children as God chooses to give me, and die in the process if necessary. And then I can follow my own path, if I’m not too old or worn out, or dead.
Thanks, Pope Francis; but I’m much happier as a Methodist – they treat me with respect. I’m a person, as important as the eggs I may carry, more than a mother, encouraged to seek my path hand in hand with God and my husband, and I can have any role in the church I aspire to – even Pastor. I’ll take that over what you offer any day.