Thursday, August 1, 2013

Pope Franics Is Not All That Evolved On Issues Of Sex And Gender

Thought I'd put up a bit of a plug for a truly deep woman theologian.  It's sort of a post card to Pope Francis from the margins of Catholic theology.

There certainly has been a lot of gigabytes used up on Pope Francis' impromptu interview on his way back to Rome.  Not surprisingly the comments concerning Msgr Ricca and the 'gay lobby' have so far generated the most commentary.  Personally I think that will change as more people take in some of the other statements Francis made, such as his comments on women's place in the Church. I think it was because I red flagged on these comments that I did not view Francis' statements on gays as particularly noteworthy.  To me all he seemed to be saying was that celibate gay priests should not be marginalized just because they are gay or have made mistakes (sins not crimes).  This may signal less pressure on gay priests to leave and a more open stance towards gay seminarians per se, but not a whole lot more than that.  I certainly did not see where these comments will have much effect at all on GLBT laity one way or the other.  I don't see where they can precisely because Pope Francis seems blind to the Church's rejection of any notion of a positive contribution for the feminine. To this point his stated idea of the contribution of the feminine is wrapped up in Marian theology and childbearing and housekeeping and he has so far admitted to being influenced only by his mother and some 'grandmothers'.  The fact he stated we need to work on a deeper theology of women was mind blowing to me.  Women have been doing feminine theology for well over half a century--the very half century he's been a priest.  Which makes me wonder just who he envisions doing this 'deeper theology of women', and I'm afraid he means male clerics--preferably Jesuit.

None of what I've just written contradicts the fact I still see Pope Francis as very close to if not at Stage 6 spirituality.  Even the most spiritually advanced folks I have met have had their blind spots and cultural filters.  It's the nature of the human game. I can see Francis making real change in Church governance and reprioritizing the instituional mission while never even conceiving of changing the teachings on sex and gender.  Given all that, I found this article in SpiegelOnLine with conservative gay theologian David Berger most in line with my own response. Berger was a prominent lay theologian at Rome's Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas who came out of the closet in 2010 in frustration over the hypocrisy of Rome's gay clergy.  I've re posted this interview in full:

Gay Comments: Pope Francis Not as Liberal as He Seems

Annette Langer - SpiegelOnLine - 7/31/13
Pope Francis has sparked enthusiasm with his call for greater tolerance toward gays. But it's too soon to celebrate, says theologian David Berger. The pope's warning not to engage in gay propaganda puts him on par with homophobes like Russian President Vladimir Putin, he contends.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: On the flight from Brazil to Europe, Pope Francis was unexpectedly candid. "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" he said, causing many commentators to rejoice. Was this really such a big sensation?

Berger: It is incredibly naïve to liken it to a dam bursting. What are gays or lesbians to think when someone tells them: I don't want you to be discriminated against, but you are not allowed to live out your "tendency" anyway? According to doctrine, the homosexual act is still a sin. Here lies the central problem and the reason I feel further marginalized as a Catholic.
  SPIEGEL ONLINE: Nevertheless, Francis has explicitly opposed the exclusion of gays. Has he been urged by his advisors to do this or is a genuine concern of his?

Berger: I don't believe that it was a PR move. But he also didn't say anything revolutionary. The notion that gays shouldn't be discriminated against is already in the catechism. But when Francis says in the same breath that gays should please not advertise their sexual orientation, he puts himself in a category with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who supports laws against "homosexual propaganda." 
(No Pope Francis is not another homophobic Putin. This may be a perfect example of the conservative bent to see things a little too black and white.)
SPIEGEL ONLINE: So this wasn't a call for greater openness of the Church?

Berger: I would like to see more openness. But there would have to be fundamental doctrinal revisions for that -- and I don't see that happening. Take Francis' categoric rejection of the ordination of women. "This door is closed," he said. This shows that when it comes to liberality, the pope is committed to the old gender roles. That's why I don't think he will be able to stop the ranks of priests from shrinking dramatically. (Yes, this Pope is definitely committed to the older gender roles.  Not surprising since it is precisely the older gender roles which prop up all the theology about the hierarchy in the Church he leads.)

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is there really a so-called gay lobby in the Vatican?

Berger: There are loose networks that maintain connections in order to have sex without being discovered. But there is no organized group that advocates gay rights and wants to change the Church's doctrine. During my time in Rome, I rather experienced the opposite. Most gay priests are very pious, well-behaved people --organizing an uprising couldn't be further from their minds.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Defensive personalities who can be blackmailed because of their sexual orientation?

Berger: Sure, it's always about power. It is common knowledge in the Catholic Church that supervisors put pressure on gay priests in order to exploit them for their own interests. (And that some less scrupulous people will use the threat of exposure as gay to intimidate all priests--gay or straight.  This must have been especially effective in the Benedict papacy.)

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Since Bergoglio became pope, Italian gay activists say their relationship with the Church has already improved.

Berger: Francis's remarks may well bring about improvement in the predominantly Catholic countries. But in Germany we are having this discussion on a different level. As a gay man in Italy, you are satisfied just to get the crumbs that fall from the table of the lord. There, gentle discrimination is already a step forward. It's completely different in Berlin or in Cologne: We have no need to eat the crumbs. Either we sit at the table or we will not take part in the dinner. (I think this is very true and that Pope Francis is going to be somewhat blind sided by this difference.  And not just over the gay issue, but also over the divorced/remarried issue.)

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Francis says that any form of lobbying is harmful, making reference to the Freemasons and other political forces in the Vatican. Where does the pope stand theologically?

Berger: While John Paul II and Benedict XVI could be gauged, that's not possible with Francis. His theology is rather a kind of folk Catholicism of Latin American origin. Much of what is currently fascinating believers is really the Catholic version of the rites of popular evangelical sects. For example, when he asks people at his discretion to bless him before he does it himself, he is acting out a blessing rite of the Pentecostals. (Exactly, and this is one reason I think Pope Francis will elevate the Catholic Charismatic movement to new heights--it's the Catholic version of Pentecostal and Evangelical protestantism.)

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You get the feeling that the new pope expresses himself without much precision and sometimes contradictorily, which leads to misunderstandings.

Berger: Yes, that's right. Benedict XVI spoke as he would have written. Almost everything he said was well thought out in every detail. Francis's statements often contradict each other. So he first said that atheists are devils, only to say shortly later that they are just as good as Christians. Then it was up to his spokesman to correct the statements and put them into perspective accordingly. From an intellectual perspective, the election of Francis is a fiasco for the Catholic Church. But the general public is presumably already won over by his charisma. (That's probably a little strong, but then Berger seems to be another of those conservative gay men who think Pope Benedict's theology was the cat's meow.)
  SPIEGEL ONLINE: What about the celibacy rules under Francis?

Berger: There is currently a lot of movement on this, which is also supported by conservative forces. But from a pedagogical standpoint, nothing will really change. The prohibition of sex remains the most important factor of the Church's power. (That's certainly true in it's need to control the faith of individuals. It's proven ineffective in the Church's attempt to control the politics of any 21st century democracy.)


Pope Francis' trip to Brazil has to be judged a success for his nascent papacy.  It was sort of a no brainer.  It might have been a bit different if WYD had been held in say Austria or Ireland.  It seemed that as the week progressed Francis unveiled more and more of his thinking and his blue print for the Church.  For me, his most important speech was the one he gave to the organizing committee of CELAM.  It was his longest and most detailed speech.  He did not deviate very much from it's text.  I kept this speech in mind as I read through the transcript of his news conference on the plane back to Rome.  Maybe that's why I didn't find his gay comments to be particularly liberating.

Where as Francis has a well developed spirituality when it comes to the mission of the Christian individual and how the Church should support that mission, that outreach to the poor and marginalized he repeatedly delineates, he has a very traditional and not so developed view of personal morality and internal Church organization.  In these latter two cases he is not going to change any traditional view of sexuality or gender definition.  To do so is to remove the actual foundational rock of the institutional clerical church.  That foundational rock is not Peter, it's the fact Peter was male. If one were to really look at someone other than Jesus as the foundational rock of the Church, logic would dictate it was Mary.  In the case of the incarnated Jesus, the hen came before the egg.  Unfortunately, while Pope Francis can state that Mary is more important to the Church than any of the Apostles, that importance will never be ascribed to women in the same way the maleness of Jesus and the Apostles has been weaved into our theology of the priesthood and the over all primacy of men in the general scheme of things.  This maleness is so overwhelming it has even allowed an all male power structure to clothe it's institutional face as a boat or something.   Every time some priest or pope uses the term "Holy Mother' Church I want to scream:  "No, No, No, it's neither Holy nor feminine!  It's corrupt and utterly masculine!"  

Unfortunately, Pope Francis has spent his entire adult life in this exclusively male culture.  He's lived and breathed it, and climbed it's rocky slopes until he's reached it's pinnacle. I doubt he's really had much time to seriously question it's underlying patriarchal assumptions.  Until that happens there can be no 'deep theology of women' coming from Rome or anywhere else in the official Catholic world.  The LCWR has seen the truth of the that fact.  So have specific female theologians like Margaret Farley and Elizabeth Johnson.  

There's a part of me that hopes Pope Francis is experiencing a little cognitive dissonance over the Church's official positions on women and gays as he takes in the views from the top of the pinnacle.  I would hope he looks down the slope he climbed and discerns that he crawled over lots of marginalized folks to get to the top.  I would hope that might be part of why he can forgive a gay priest his youthful indiscretions and now say 'who am I to judge'---at least not judge gay priests who are genuinely seeking God.  They are after all, his brother priests.  

As for women, well according to Francis, JPII had the final say on that. Brotherly solidarity, or papal solidarity in this case, still trumps cognitive dissonance, but that dissonance is there in his speeches.  He keeps calling for more feminine input, ever for a deeper theology of women, and he's placed women on his commissions. Eventually he may see that these kinds of band aids will not cover the wound patriarchy has inflicted on the Church's soul, nor solve his cognitive dissonance problem.  In the meantime the right wing can breathe easy on the fronts of Catholic sexual morality and gender hierarchy.  Straight male thinking still rules.


  1. My sentiments to a T "Every time some priest or pope uses the term "Holy Mother' Church I want to scream: "No, No, No, it's neither Holy nor feminine! It's corrupt and utterly masculine!"

    Pope Francis has elevated the conversation quite a bit, however, as your analysis says to me is that there is really nothing new for most of us to be happy or excited about in the RCC on the issue of gays and women. Might be some relief for gay priests as you say. Quite sad after he gave such profound speeches recently at WYD in Brazil which I was delighted to see. He is very male-centered and been too sheltered. He may understand and/or identify with Jesus in many ways as a male, however, from a broader perspective, not having a female's perspective leaves some beams in his eyes and real blindness. I guess it is hard to break a tradition of having a male superiority claim.

    It is going to take time, maybe another Pope to address the blindness for the men to see not just the big picture, but a broader scope and perspective of the equality of women and of gay persons. It is discrimination, plain and simple. Conservative and/ traditional types don't want to rock a boat and women in Opus Dei will go right along with the false and narrow-minded teachings, imho.

    Funny, last night I watched an old re-run of All in the Family that was about Edith and her daughter connecting as "friends" and "women." It wound up being a lesson in women's rights and liberation and how Archy Bunker shouldn't be ordering Edith around. Edith didn't care. Her daughter did though. The parallel to this story is that the women just aren't going to take it anymore!

    This is not good news for the RCC to stay stuck and essentially stupid. I really do love this Pope though and wish and pray to God the men would wake up! Love them, but.... We've had enough of the stupidity.

  2. Wow, All in the Family was forty years ago. We have not come along way baby. And that is what makes this gender role aspect of Francis so utterly disheartening.

  3. Yes... and I was just thinking that too.... It was a long time ago that was aired. I remember my parents watching that show.

    My sentiments again match yours. The other day I was so impressed with him and it was a real downer to grasp the fact that he just doesn't get the BIG PICTURE yet.

  4. I really don't think this pope said anything different as compared to the catechism. Nor was I expecting him to say anything different. Would it be nice if some man at the top of the hierarchy would come out and admit the church is neither feminine nor holy? Absolutely. But they just can't - the formation process must be too strong.Sadly.

    What I found stunning is his admission that the church hierarchy has no deep theology of women. Hmmm.... I wonder why that is. Could it be because the church does not see women as human beings and children of God? Or [and I find this more likely for some reason today] is this some bizarre corruption of the 'feminine' church that it just can't tolerate competition from real, living, breathing, spiritual women encroaching on its territory except under very heavy restrictions? At any rate, it is pretty obvious to me that Francis' idea of 'woman' and 'theology' is a total and complete contradiction of terms.

  5. For how one of the Pope's employees thinks, see this:

    No rubbish about "respect, competition, and sensitivity" there - the Pope is the smiley face of the Church's contempt and hatred for gay people; what the Pope says is worth only as much as the gay-bashers among the bishops allow it to mean. This man makes the Pope's words to all intents and purposes meaningless. The situation has not changed - it's received a shiny new veneer, that's all. Gay-haters R Us is under new management, but its heart is no different.

  6. Sobering and thought provoking. Thanks! Martin

  7. These statements by the pope are atmospherics. Period. I wonder if the time is ever going to come when Catholics are going to 'be the change they want to see' instead of waiting for officials in costume a few centuries down the road decide that real human beings matter too.

  8. Excellent point. I really hope Francis is on the road to decide that real human beings matter too. Platonism has ruled the day for far too long.

  9. James, I read this kind of thing and seriously have to ask: "Where were you guys when no fault divorce came up for vote? Gay marriage may effect 2-3% of the population, and by definition, does not include straights. Divorce involves 50%+ of the straight population, and so far is all heterosexual. I want to yell from the roof tops. "C'mon you 'straight' celibate males, you are screaming about the 2- 3% while literally half the flock is engaged in what Jesus defined as adultery.

    I have yet to hear a sermon aimed at the child responsibilities of adult heterosexual males, and I doubt I ever will. I think the mercy that Francis talked about is really enabling behavior for clerical gay men. He's willing to give them the same pass Latin America has given straight priests with their concubines. Wink wink nudge nudge.

    In the meantime women will be the ones, and we always have been, who pay the real price for sexuality based in 'natural law'. Abortion, gay sex, and birth control are only being taken off the burner by Francis himself, his underlings will keep those issues boiling on the front burner because they do not physically effect heterosexual males and they appeal to the immature who think sex is the end all and be all of human existence.

  10. Thank you Martin. Thank you for hearing what I truly believe is an abyss this pope, like all those before him, can not see or admit too. Mary, is not a real feminine model for women in this real world. She is a male created fantasy. Other wise why did Jesus not appear first to His mother, rather than Mary Magdalene. The fact Mary Magdalene was fantasized into a prostitute is telling about the men whose opinions are the bedrock of Catholic theology.

  11. "What I found stunning is his admission that the church hierarchy has no deep theology of women. Hmmm.... I wonder why that is."

    I think you answered it in this sentence: "is this some bizarre corruption of the 'feminine' church that it just can't tolerate competition from real, living, breathing, spiritual women encroaching on its territory except under very heavy restrictions?"

    I don't even know if it's a matter of not tolerating the competition, or if it's a matter of not being able to deal with the fact women have a spiritual authority that men had to create as a sacramental authority given exclusively to themselves. (The Inquisition burned a lot of female 'witches'.)

    I do know this, there was a point when Christianity lost it's ability to 'do as Jesus did' and at that point we see the rise of the ordained priesthood and the replacement of the mystical with the idea of sacramental 'grace'.

    I do think that Francis 'sees' this and gets that the Pentecostals have driven through that gap like a knight on a charger through peasant foot soldiers. We will see a new emphasis on the Charismatic movement. A 'deeper theology of women' is more than likely going to come in context of the Charismatics. If Francis lives long enough to see this through. It's basis will be Mariology and that psychic/mystical talent will be women's contribution to the Church. A kind of reverse Inquisition. In the meantime, scientific studies in human consciousness will plow through this kind of thinking like, well, a knight on a charger through peasant foot soldiers.

  12. A priest friend asked me the other day if my admiration for Pope Francis might attract me from my small community with our own liturgies and our own presiders back to the Church. He agreed it will be a long time before the Church will become that free. For now, we are the change we want to see happen in the church.

    I heard some woman who has a position in the Church saying that women priests are so two decades ago. Maybe we'll find that soon any priests will be so two centuries ago. Many friends right now are presiding at funerals and weddings... can Sunday liturgies be far behind?

  13. "James, I read this kind of thing and seriously have to ask: "Where were you guys when no fault divorce came up for vote ?"

    ## I would like to know that, I really would. Just why is gay marriage seen as so uniquely damaging, unlike so many other changes in society ? If the Pill hasn't destroyed marriage, or condoms (they've been around for ages) have not, and IVF has not, and the making easier of divorce in the UK in 1857, and Roe v. Wade in the US did not - why should gay marriage ? How is this change so troublesome, when the Church has managed to survive the others ?

    "I want to yell from the roof tops. "C'mon you 'straight' celibate males, you are screaming about the 2- 3% while literally half the flock is engaged in what Jesus defined as adultery."

    ## I so agree with that. What straight people do does not always help marriage, but the Church does not get in a tizzy about them, & a good thing too. But if two men or women in love with one another want to marry one another, even if they are totally committed to another, and are admirable Christian people, apparently that's a terrible danger to the Church & to society. The institutional Church doesn't seem to be willing to consider the possibility that there is more than one orientation, and that not every one is heterosexual; or that the current model for thinking about the sexes - that that there are two sexes and one normal orientation - is not adequate. Why can there not be 2 or more normal orientations, with LGBT Christians all being as normal as heterosexual Christians ?

    A Church that does not listen to gay Catholics, cannot learn from them that realising and accepting one is gay is life-enhancing; the lie would be to try pretending one is not gay. It's an offence against the truth to pretend one is not gay one when one knows one is. If gay Catholics are not shunned by Christ, the CC has no authority to reject us; it has to accept gay people, not as the people it might like them to be, but as they are.

    "In the meantime women will be the ones, and we always have been, who pay the real price for sexuality based in 'natural law'."

    ## I believe natural law is a valid concept, but I think it needs to be enlarged & revised, so as to "speak to our condition". I also think there needs to be far more emphasis on the NT vision of relations between the sexes, and of both men and women to Christ. I have no objection to talk of male headship - as long as it is not made into an excuse for male chauvinism. The justification for male headship is that the man has to love his wife "as Christ loved the Church" - IOW, self-sacrificially. A headship based on sexual pride, or on self-assertion in any form, is not Christian. I would love to read sermons about that. It might do something for marriage, and for relations between men & women. IMO, for matters in the Church to improve, we will need to drop all the factionalism, and look after one another. Talk about a challenge !

    TY for the "Like", as well :)

  14. I dislike painting with a broad brush. I think there is a very definite aura of base human territoriality on the part of the clerics that moves them to exclude women.

    I wonder about the story of Mary, Martha and Jesus. What would be our theology now if instead of Jesus nearly reprimanding Martha when she complained about Mary's leaving all the 'women's work' of hospitality to Martha, he had said something like Ok. You are right. And joined Martha in the kitchen to help get that work done Himself. Part of thinks He may have done just that but it got edited out of Scripture. While I understand what Jesus was trying to say in the story as told, it still seems to me as if the value of the housekeeping was discounted.

  15. tpel, I agree and feel that Francis may have made a very good Pope instead of JPII, but there has been so much damage that I doubt he will be successful in allowing clergy and himself to see women as thy just like I. There is a wonderful book by the Jewish philosopher, Martin Buber, entitled "I and Thou." I don't think even Pope Francis gets the thou part when it comes to Women. Certainly most of the clergy do not treat anyone the way Buber suggests. I believe it is because the theology of so much of the leadership is fearful of the present that they can not entertain the idea of thinking in a new way because they fear that the consequences lead to disaster. In fact the consequences of eventual change will be the dismantling of a very poor clerical system of governance. It is apparent that the clergy as a system is not listening to the Holy Spirit, the person of God that clearly has feminine traits. Remember that not only would the clergy need to treat religious women as discerning people but also the laity. In there feelings of omniscience, they can not believe that others might have new and better ideas about human spiritual behavior. I am not too optimistic about Francis as I feel that either he or his work will be assassinated by catholics that use fear as their primary motivation in life. I also fear that Francis will not even see it coming.

  16. It's Monday rdp46... Did you forget to take your medicine last weekend?

  17. What is your opinion about this? thanks a lot.

  18. Pope Francis has said that one of the things he liked about Mary is that she acted quickly. He mentioned that when they told her that Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist, Mary didn't say "Oh, someone there will help her", instead she acted quickly and went to help her. He also likes the image of Mary the Untier of Knots. I get the idea this Pope knows what a 16 year old mom whose baby is born into poverty looks like.

    I do think they might want to talk to what real moms, and what real working women think are saintly qualities before they canonize another female saint, if they want to draw in more people and get people to try to live saintly lives.

  19. I don't go for the idea of one spouse being the "head" of the other one, although some people like that idea and they seem relatively happy, so I cannot judge.

    On the divorce topic, I think that the Church should start to preach about how married Catholics should be going out of their way to be accepting of divorced couples. There is a sort of snobbery that exists with married couples, I have done it without thinking about it, so I know it exists. I think the Church should not only give communion to all practicing Catholics, I think they should be stressing reaching out to lonely people, because I think that is what Jesus would have done. I don't get the idea he was a snob or only associated with "proper" people.

    I agree that the Church should listen to the voices of women and gays and not speak for them.

    I also think there should be more done for inter-faith marriages, which it looks like they are beginning to do. You have no idea what it is like to talk your other faith person into coming to Mass with you and then you hear some bizarre exclusionary rhetoric or they are asking for money that Sunday and you spend all week explaining the situation. That thing Pope Francis said about atheists being redeemable did more good in one sentence. I feel like shouting "Emphasize that!"

  20. Colkoch, I did hear a sermon like that on a Father's Day one time. I was sort of pleasantly surprised and I remember my mom was also. As we left mass, she said something like, "Now that is what I call the Word of God!" The priest had stressed how Dads should listen, be understanding and spend time with their kids. He was stressing being a good Father. There is usually an emphasis on this when they talk about St. Joseph too. (You know how he was always busy with his carpentry, but would stop to listen to Jesus and he also taught him his trade, worked hard, was faithful to Mary and provided for Jesus and Mary)

  21. I don't feel that the Pope is in any danger. He seems to be very in control and well respected. I think that fearful Catholics would love him, as he has great presence. He is a unique combination of gentle, strong, commanding and humble and he is 76 and surrounded by very smart people. Pope Francis seems to me to be very intelligent and knows exactly what he is doing.

    On women in the Church, I don't really see him doing a whole lot there. It could be he is going to appoint women to leadership roles that don't involve the priesthood and he appears to be vocalizing a kind of respect for women of all ages that we don't usually hear about.

    On the theology of women, I think it will have to go beyond the self-sacrificing emphasis and get into action or it won't really resonate. And it would have to involve action beyond reproductive issues from a male point of view. Reproduction is very important and basic and it is holy, but it is not fulfilling in a spiritual way for all women, so there needs to be something else beyond that. We all have different gifts. ( I am not the most theological person in the world, you can tell) I only notice that raising kids is important but as they get older you have to move on and listen more and give some breathing room.

  22. I thought EJ's final paragraph is worth the whole read. I too have thought Francis' initial appeal for Catholics to take on social and economic injustice and practice a whole lot more compassion was the only bridge between religious progressives and conservatives. I think the Republican Party would do well to meditate long and hard on the demographics and beliefs of the millennial generation. Their concerns go much more to the heart of this basic beliefs of the US, where as my generation at that same point were focused on a more specific agenda--the Viet Nam War, the draft, and the liberation movements of blacks and women. The global aspects of the economy and the ecology of the planet weren't on the radar. Most of us still believed we had a future ahead of us better than our parents. Not enough of us were realistic about that, nor very vigilant about it either.

  23. Much new evidence indicates that JPI was indeed assassinated. Some even think Paul may have been murdered as well. It is interesting to note that JPI is buried in a led covered vault deep in the Vatican. There was never an autopsy and with all the new evidence and scientific forensics. Why not do it now? As with the banking and sex scandals, the Curia seem to have a lot to hide.

  24. I wonder (and hope) that what Francis meant was that the half century of work women theologians have done needs to become integrated into the offical theology of the church the way that the last two centuries of science also needs to become integrated into the Church's offical ethics. As long as the highly inaccurate natural law method of science is the basis of ethics and the way the world is made (and biology is considered destiny) nothing of signaficance can evolve or change. Until we do ethics with the understanding that humans are more than animals, and theology with an understanding that humans can actually grow and mature beyond bronze age tribalism the church is stuck. I hope the pope can see this and is willing to lead us out of the mud.

  25. I totally fail to see how Francis is doing anything to illustrate any form of respect for women. He openly says the church has no deep theology for women. This readily translates to me as women are simply not human beings and are not thought of as the human persons with which the vast majority of theology deals. He is again reiterating that the whole 'human beings' = 'males persons' and no women need to apply.

  26. Once again I agree tpel. The church leadership is not just a sexist organization that prefers men over women, It is frankly misogynistic and that is a whole other bag of (male) worms!

  27. Church is boring.

  28. Pope John Paul II claimed that the risen Christ appeared first to his mother -- presumably an early morning trip before running back to the tomb to meet the Magdalene.