|Funny how the Church has ignored Mary's presence at Pentecost. She too was 'annointed' by the Holy Spirit at the very beginning of things. Maybe God was recognizing her for more than motherhood.|
I decided to take a break, a self imposed sabbatical if you will, because I could not make up my mind about Pope Francis. (Well, truthfully, my real job had a lot to do with it as well.) I still can't make up my mind about Francis, and I will get into some of the reasons for this state later in other posts, but for now I will address one issue which has the potential to make or break any reform of/or future for Roman Catholicism. That issue is women, their place in the Church, and the conceptualization this pope in particular has of women. Let me start by offering the following quote from a sermon Pope Francis gave Tuesday morning:
“This dimension of widowhood of the Church, who is journeying through history, hoping to meet, to find her Husband… Our Mother the Church is thus! She is a Church that, when she is faithful, knows how to cry. When the Church does not cry, something is not right. She weeps for her children, and prays! A Church that goes forward and does rear her children, gives them strength and accompanies them until the final farewell in order to leave them in the hands of her Spouse, who at the end will come to encounter her. This is our Mother Church! I see her in this weeping widow. And what does the Lord say to the Church? “Do not cry. I am with you, I’ll take you, I’ll wait for you there, in the wedding, the last nuptials, those of the Lamb. Stop [your tears]: this son of yours was dead, now he lives.”
And this , he continued, “is the dialogue of the Lord with the Church.” She, “defends the children, but when she sees that the children are dead, she crys, and the Lord says to her: ‘I am with you and your son is with me.’” As he told the boy at Naim to get up from his deathbed, the Pope added, many times Jesus also tells us to get up, “when we are dead because of sin and we are going to ask for forgiveness.” And then what does Jesus “when He forgives us, when He gives us back our life?” He Returns us to our mother:
“Our reconciliation with the Lord end in the dialogue ‘You, me and the priest who gives me pardon’; it ends when He restores us to our mother. There ends reconciliation, because there is no path of life, there is no forgiveness, there is no reconciliation outside of Mother Church. So, seeing this poor widow, all these things come to me somewhat randomly - But I see in this widow the icon of the widowhood of the Church who is on a journey to find her Bridegroom. I get the urge to ask the Lord for the grace to be always confident of this “mommy” who defends us, teaches us, helps us grow and [teaches] us to speak the dialect.”
I have come to the conclusion that it has never dawned on Pope Francis that daughters do not relate to their mothers the way sons relate to their mothers. He has an idealistic concept of motherhood that most daughters would not espouse about their own mothers. The mother/daughter relationship is not the mother/son relationship. Maybe he could expand his thinking if he entertained the notion that all of the Church's metaphors about Mary and motherhood and brides and bridegrooms might never have developed at all if Mary had had a daughter and not a son. I think he can make this mental leap based on some of the things he stated in his recent interview with his Jesuit compatriots. I think he needs to make this mental leap or his stated desire for a 'deep theology' of women will never come to pass because it will be blocked and stymied by our exclusively male hierarchy who have an exclusively male concept of that very quintessential female vocation--motherhood. Mothers are the ones who know they aren't always what the Church fathers think we are, or should be, or idealize us as, and for sure, real mothers know Holy Mother Church isn't any representation of mothering at all--especially as it's teachings impact real women and real children.
This is one 'mommy' that wishes Pope Francis would cease and desist with all the 'mommy' talk and get on with the adult business of reforming the Church. He could start with adding some real 'mommies' to the governing and teaching structure of the Church. If he needs a scriptural basis for including women all he need do is refresh himself with the scriptural FACT that Mary herself was present at Pentecost and received the same Holy Spirit the Apostles did. She wasn't just a mother, she was also a Holy Spirit appointed founder of what we have all come to know as the Roman Catholic Church. That would be a good place for him to start his evolution in his understanding of women as spiritual beings in their own right and not just the mothers of sons.
For another really well expressed take on Francis and motherhood and this business of how women are treated in the real world of Roman Catholicism, this post at Questions from a Ewe is well worth the read.