Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pope Francis Sermonizes On The Church As "Mommy" And I Sigh---Again

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.


  1. He seems to me to be using the "mom" imagery to stress how the Church should be close to the people. I see it as a way to look at things, not so much that the Church is really a female entity. I liked the fact that he is stressing(according to the big interview) the Church as the people of God and I have a feeling that all the reforms we want will eventually flow from that emphasis on the people of God, instead of the hierarchical Church. I assume that some powerful people within the Church find this idea of the Church as "people" a threat. He has been pretty clear that he isn't going to change dogma or doctrine or whatever it is called. He is going to change the attitudes. I think everything will flow from that. This is just my idea, I have no real way of knowing anything about this other than reading blogs. I am glad you are posting again.

  2. I am a mother and I have a son. Like Mary, I have had to learn to let my child go and become his own person as an adult. The way that Pope Francis talks about women, mothers, is like you say, like a son and certainly not as a daughter or as a real mother. That seems to indicate, from his own words, a very narrow view, a very male-centered view of women.

    If he cannot connect to women and uses these metaphors about women in the narrowest of consciousness, I have little faith he can help guide the males out of their male-centered view, which imho lacks a kinder view of women in particular.

    And when I think of the view that was so male-centered about Mary Magdalene, and the Church heaping a great darkness over her wonderful light, and the light of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, I get disgusted, to be truthful about it.

    Since God is neither male nor female, I am pretty tired of the metaphors of women portrayed by the Church hierarchy of all men telling all women how they feel about everything & the selfishness of their not listening to us. A view that is just blind to the goodness & light God put in us from the beginning. We're shamed if we look too sexy. We're shamed just for being women and having different bodies. And this goes on all throughout the world in all of the religions. The males have taken over & I'm totally disgusted by the blindness such views exhibit towards women.

    And I say this from a deep personal sense of experiencing the consequences of being a woman born when I was born. While I am grateful that Pope Francis sees fit to prioritize the immediate situation of putting the poor and marginalized first in the Church's mission, I feel a great sense of loss that he does not act upon his many words by making some concrete changes, such as: doing away with the theology of the body nonsense that PJPII came up with, allowing for women to make decisions on what kind of birth control they choose to use or not use, and doing away with the falsehood that women should obey their husbands.

    If women merely obeyed their husbands, I seriously doubt that women could even vote in the USA.

  3. I think this “male-centeredness” is bigotry. Too many advantages accrue to the men when they stick with it. Here’s just one example of what we’re looking at. Acting together through laws and military forces males have come up with circumstances under which killing other people is regarded as acceptable because of the context. When women have an abortion, no questions are raised about the context: NB- the insanity in the diocese of Phoenix a couple of years ago. This seeking of advantages for your group---this is a contradiction of the gospel. I can’t take them seriously at all--a bunch of bigoted old fools or men who see the bigotry but who do not challenge it--enablers. Oh well.

  4. Colkoch,
    At the risk of generalizing too much and sounding patronizing at the same time, I am still going to comment one more time here and hope you don't become offended. I too am a little concerned about this comment about "feminine machismo". ( I am not good at explaining things and don't know if I am right about this, but this is what I see:

    There is this idealization of fathers and mothers that Hispanic cultures do that don't really come across as realistic to Americans, it sounds overly sweet and makes you want to roll your eyes. It is a concentration on the positive, virtuous characteristics of the family to the point of idealization. Our American honesty about family life comes across sometimes as blunt, even mean. I think when Pope Francis talks about mothers and stuff like "the genius of women" he really believes it. I also think his grandmother was around often when he was growing up and that when he speaks of these widows and mothers and women, his ideas were formulated by her and that he is in a sense remembering her. I think the "Queering the Church" blog has it right that he is setting things up so that the changes that must happen will be able to happen.

    The conclusion from the Queering the Church blogpost is:

    "Most importantly, he has acknowledged
    the simple principle that even in matters of doctrine, the church must
    gradually evolve to fit modern conditions and human understanding. He is
    not the man who will implement that change, or indicate in any detail
    what that change will be, except at the margins. (He has already
    accepted a need to be more inclusive of divorced people who remarry, and
    the need for a stronger role for women, but short of ordination). But
    the insistence on collegiality and openness to different ideas, he has
    created and will continue to create the conditions for just the kind of
    environment that will foster fruitful exchange of ideas, which in time
    will lead to clear discernment, to use his favoured Jesuit term, of just
    what those changes should be."
    He might be making more substantive changes than we think. I don't know.

  5. I was not unaware of the fact he comes from a culture that idealizes motherhood and women. I actually think his concept of 'feminine machismo' is a slap at 'male machismo' and it's definition of women. So on these points I don't think I really disagree with you, but I really do think there is a difference between how daughters view mothers and sons view mothers, and Pope Francis hasn't really thought that difference through in any real way.

  6. Until our male leadership truly understands that women have their own spiritual authority we women will have issues. Mary ascended into Heaven without dieing. Like her presence at Pentecost this scriptural FACT is ignored. How shortsighted and very male centered. The one thing I have serious hope for in Francis is that he knows on some level Mary is a very serious player in the whole story of the spiritual development of Christianity. I think we are missing the point of her many appearances in time and space. It's like she's sending a message in neon lights: "Hey guys, are you not wondering at all why my Son doesn't make these appearances?"

  7. Probably not, but that would be like expecting my son to think through that I idea or my husband and it is not that likely.

  8. It surely won't be likely until it's pointed out, and no theologian, except maybe Mary Hunt, has ever dared to point this out. It needs to be pointed out.

  9. Marni I happen to think you are pretty much on target with your analysis but I feel compelled to push Pope Francis' envelope by pointing out how his conceptualization of women is highly nuanced by his experience of his grandmother and mother. The Church needs him to understand that women do not see their mothers the way sons see mothers and if he can get this, we will get our 'deeper theology of women'. Once that happens the door opens to an evolved, or actually rediscovered, concept of priesthood. I will get into that thought of mine tomorrow.

  10. "...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."
    Woulda, shoulda, coulda. The fact remains that she had a Son. One could easily make the case that the metaphor of the Church as the bride of Christ and Mother of Christians is a part of the ecclesiology ordained by God since the beginning.
    We revere the saints for several reasons; first because they have accomplished what we have all been created to do, which according to Jesus most people don't. Secondly, the saints, mere mortals like ourselves, have in most cases shown us, primarily through example, how we too can achieve our eternal reward, and they intercede on our behalf. Why then should their own use of language be offensive? In the Apocalypse, 21:9-10, St. John writes the words of an angel using the same metaphor:
    "And there came one of the seven angels, who had the vials full of the seven last plagues, and spoke with me, saying: Come, and I will shew thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he took me up in spirit to a great and high mountain: and he shewed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God."
    We have the ability to choose whether or not to be offended; why then choose to be?

    You stated: "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."

    We all receive the Holy Spirit through the sacraments. Mary and the Apostles did not found the Church, Christ did.

    Last but not least, Mary did in fact die. She did not have to, but she chose to, in humble imitation of her Son. She was assumed, body and soul into Heaven.

  11. First of all Smarticus, there is no indication other than outdated metaphor that the Church is the bride of Christ. This metaphor was adopted by finite men not by God. It was adopted by men who made the partner of Christ, Mary Magdalene into a prostitute because of their misguided male orientation. God has NO human GENDER at all.

    Second it is now interesting who the Church chooses to make saints Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, was made a saint even though he was a fascias sympathizer of a fascist dictator. The method of sainthood did change, there was no one able to act as a counter or bring up facts that were not in his favor. Then there is St. John Paul the Great. He was the great enabler of child abuse and rape, the great misogynist, and a commensurate authoritarian. These too men as well as the Opus Dei Bishops provide very bad examples and yet they are called saints or saintly. Seems the standard for Catholic Sainthood is not at all high. Since the two MEN above have actually been made saints, we all seem to have a very big chance of getting there. The orifice to heaven is not such a small one as some who would want to control us want us to believe.

    Seems some of the more saintly figures of our day such as Thomas Merton and Anthony Demello are not well liked by the authoritarian leadership in Rome. None the less these men where both authoritative and holy. They provided much better standards to live by then a fascist and an enabler of rape.

    So smartikus, your ideas of ecclesiastic metaphors of sainthood and gender are way out in foul right field. The myth of Church as the bride of Christ and Mother of Christians is a part of the ecclesiology ordained by God since the beginning is completely false. This myth was ordained by finite men who need to make a better myth or “ecclesiology” more inclusive of both genders.

    Finally, the men of the Church went after the American nuns, not just because they were women, but also because they spoke much more authoritatively than do the “good” bishops. The ecclesiology or myths envisioned by these women are truly inspired by HER, the nurturing of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit though genderless is much better seen as the nurture we all need until the end of time thus FEMALE.

  12. Yes, but to use the mom imagery is not a good one. Yes we all need good women and good mothers in our lives. They are usually the nurturers represented by the Holy Spirit. That is why Francis would be better off representing this nurturing part of God as Female rather than the Church an organization dominated by men as female. One thing that Francis has mentioned is that he has learned from his mistakes. If he can continue to learn from experience perhaps he might be able to rid himself of the misogynistic imagery all together.

  13. Just because Pope Francis believes there's a need for a better theological and personal understanding of the role of women in the church doesn't mean he actually has that understanding.

    Perhaps he knows what he (and his fellow bishops and priests) doesn't know?

  14. Great to see you back, Colleen!

    I'm a non-catholic who is a paid section leader in a Roman Catholic church choir. I find myself continuously biting my tongue for what I might say and sitting on my hands for what I might throw at the clergy.

    Apropos to this issue, today a female parishioner got up to recruit attendance to the upcoming ACTS retreat for women. She concluded by saying something to the effect of "and this retreat will give you a short vacation from cooking, cleaning, doing laundry....." My friend, a female Ph.D student at UT and I looked at each other with horror. I was surprised that she didnt' mention embroidery and sock darning.

    Suffice it to say that there is something that resembles Stockholm syndrome that is exhibited by women involved/enmeshed in Patriarchal religions and institutions. Your point of the difference between mother/son relationships and mother/daughter relationships is well taken. My friend use to always say that "Women love their sons and train their daughters." Part of this training involves internalizing and conforming to these patriarchal definitions of a woman's position and function in the world.

    No, Pope Francis does not and will not get it, because a major factor of this kind of patriarchal thinking involves, in the words of author Shauna Singh Baldwin in her excellent novel "What The Body Remembers" "only seeing/looking at women out of the corner of their eye."

  15. Mother marrying son: Is it sloppy thinking, or deeply embedded psychological symbol manifested in various mythologies (mother Gaia and her son Ouranos, e.g.)?

  16. Dear Mr. Smart.....,

    You are correct from the likes of fundamentalist thinkers, there is no possible explanation that would make sense. This holds true for most well educated people who see right through the stale metaphoric myths that need updating. This is important because it is good myths that humans live by.

    That you would actually assign gender to an Infinite Being is incredible and that you would not understand the need for growth and development of new myth is more than unfortunate. At least Pope Francis understands the need to grow from his mistakes and learn from experience.

    It was actually JP II who decreased the standards for sainthood, as some saints like St. Christopher were correctly discarded by VII. You seem to be one of those right field people that want to gut Vatican II. That is a big mistake.

    I don't claim to be a mystic only a thinking Catholic with 22 plus years of Catholic education in which I was taught by the good Benedictines and Jesuits that critically thinking for ones self is actually a good thing.

  17. Who said I assigned a gender to God? (I wonder what is your subconscious need to make this sort of stuff up?) Didn't God do that? Isn't Jesus God? Didn't Jesus call the First a Person of the Trinity, "Father?" I am not assigning gender or gender roles to anyone, I am simply going with God's own example and the fact that Jesus is, unquestionably, male. You, on the other hand, would assign a female gender role to the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, so it would appear you have been hoisted by your own petard here.
    Yes, God, in the First and Third Persons, is a pure spirit and has no associated gender. My point is that God self identifies as male. He refers to Himself as "Father" and "Son". Jesus was made incarnate via the Holy Spirit. If Mary is His mother, then God is truly His Father. Are you unable to connect those dots? Or are you simply unwilling to do so out of sheer pride?

    So I am not a fan of Vatican 2. I've already made that clear. What does that have to do with our original disagreement?
    And because you and I disagree, this automatically makes you better educated? YOUR Catholic education is automagically superior to MY Catholic education? On what do you base your assertion? Besides orthodoxy, I can see that your Catholic education hasn't exactly translated into Catholic humility.

    The saints, both male and female, who describe or reaffirm the metaphor of the Church as the bride of Christ must not be "well educated," is that what you're saying? The Bible, replete with the same, is now too stale for you. We must not settle for the same religion that helped all those men and women develop into the saints they became; no, modern man is far more sophisticated and complex than those medieval rubes of yesteryear. Human nature itself has changed so drastically that something new is required! Obviously your education is so superior that one should not limit its description to merely "Catholic," we should praise it for what you seem to esteem it to be; it is "beyond Catholic!" You have transcended the Church! You have achieved level 20 spirituality! You are the Catholic equivalent to the Dalai Lame-a! (I have to ask, when you reach level 20, do you get any extra lives?)

    I didn't claim you were a mystic. I only asked if you were familiar with Anne Catherine Emmerick and her acclaimed work, and I did so to illustrate that this notion that the Church, as an institution, has been controlled by misogynistic men who devalue women, who think that women have nothing to contribute, is baseless and unsupported by the historical record. You punted on that question too. You always avoid those parts of a discussion that undermine or disprove your fallacious statements. Am I to assume that your self-vaunted critical thinking abilities aren't up to the task? Is that why you avoid answering specific questions? That's what I think. From my perspective I don't see that you are engaged in anything resembling critical thinking. I see that you are easily enamored with anyone with a dissenting view and an axe to grind against the apostolic faith of the Catholic Church. For you, the more a person dissents, the greater his or her authority.

    I might mention a multitude of Catholic saints who are female and very much respected and admired. Perhaps Catherine of Siena is one of my own personal favorites because she ferociously took on the bad pope of her time to stand up for Catholic orthodoxy. Her fame and respect, as with all the saints, have nothing to do with her gender, but who she was as a Catholic. She didn't feel it necessary to be a priest, or part of the hierarchy; gender wasn't viewed as an obstacle to holiness with her, or any of the Catholic saints for that matter, or their contemporaries and detractors.

  18. From the part of the interview about Pope Francis' grandmother:

    "This was the sanctity of my parents: my dad, my mom, my grandmother Rosa
    who loved ​​me so much. In my breviary I have the last will of my
    grandmother Rosa, and I read it often. For me it is like a prayer. She
    is a saint who has suffered so much, also spiritually, and yet always
    went forward with courage."

    Not to be nosey, but I wonder what he means that she suffered spiritually? I wonder what her story is.

  19. LOL I did read somewhere that he did the dishes and cooked for himself, so there is that!

  20. You see my case rests Mr. Smart....., you are unable to see that metaphors need to change and be undated. That men wrote in any text that God was a man and you agree shows that you are unable to critically asses by yourself that a great God can not and does not have either human gender or human emotion.

    Your disjointed views, however, are full of fundamentalist authoritarian emotion. I am just stating the facts that I have a strong and long Catholic education and therefore will not let your personal attacks humiliate me. Perhaps you could be humble enough to recognize the saintly features in the current Catholic nuns under attack by fundamentalist thinkers. Perhaps we could all learn from the humility of Pope Francis who admits to learning from his own past mistakes and be willing to learn from our own experiences rather than depend on idealized historical thought.

  21. Why do metaphors, or more precisely, why does this particular metaphor, need to be changed? Is this simply your opinion because you don't like it, or do you have some credible reason that you can provide? Perhaps if you explain that to me we can explore that concept more fully.
    So I have to ask, do you believe that Jesus has both a human and a divine nature; i.e., that He is God? The reason I feel compelled to ask is that you stated: "That men wrote in any text that God was a man and you agree shows that you are unable to critically asses by yourself that a great God can not and does not have either human gender or human emotion."
    I'm not trying to insult you, but if I break that statement down, it appears that you deny the divinity of Jesus, which would mean that you aren't really Christian at all. Moreover, you deny that Jesus Himself claimed He was God and referred to the 1st person of the Holy Trinity as "Father". And while doing so you discredit the saintly men who wrote the Gospels and gave their lives for their religion. If the words of these men are of so little value or veracity, why would you ever believe in any Christian tenant? Did you actually read all that I stated? I believe I said that the First and Third Persons of the Holy Trinity are pure spirit, but self identify themselves in the masculine. Did you miss that part? Because your answer seems to indicate that you either missed it, or that you purposefully ignored it in order to build up your never-ending straw man argument.
    My belief, that Jesus is the Messiah, the 2nd person of the Holy Trinity, has nothing to do with critical thinking, but everything to do with Faith. My belief that Jesus was indeed male also has nothing to do with critical thinking; it has everything to do with historic fact. Is your critical thinking ability so great that it transcends reality? Seriously, I'm not saying things like that to insult you, I'm merely trying to illustrate the absurdity of your logic. So, in all honesty, I have to ask, upon what do you rest your case, fairy dust?

    I also fail to see how my views are the disjointed ones. If you infer some sort of fundamentalist emotion, I hope it is the right one that I feel when reading your words. Laughter on one hand, sadness for you on the other. There is certainly a congruity to my faith. Please do expand upon the saintly features in the current Catholic nuns. As far as them being "under attack," isn't that really just a matter of opinion? For example, I see the Apostolic Faith of Jesus Christ under attack. If these nuns are champions of the unvarnished Catholic Faith, then certainly I could recognize their saintly qualities. If, on the other hand, these nuns are working to undermine said Faith, I wouldn't call them saintly at all. Are they under attack, as you assert, by eeeeeevil fundamentalist thinkers? Or are they attacking the fundamentals of the Faith?

    Did I miss something? When did learning from one's own mistakes get promoted from an Everyman virtue to some sort of papal virtue? At least some of us are willing to admit when and if we're wrong about something. You double-down!

    Can we also not learn from the mistakes of others? Isn't history, in a sense, a collective experience?

  22. Glad to see you back, Colleen. I can understand your wanting to take a break to sort out Francis.

    I've been trying to sort out how to think about what this pope is doing. I really did not expect any great changes. And I could not understand why it seemed so many people - at least in the media - insisted that is was a swing toward a more progressive aura in the hierarchy. Because really all he does is emphasize different sentences from the Catechism. If JPII stressed sentence A, Francis stresses sentence B. If Benedict goes with answer C, then Francis goes with D. The Catechism was written by politicians so it can be used just this way. As with the Bible, you can find what you want to justify your position and ignore the more troubling concepts. Is the tone different? Maybe, But tone is only the thinnest of veneers on reality.

    And please, for the love of God, can we get away from this divisiveness of a gendered church? Metaphor is fine as far as it goes.But.if you are going to talk about one gender exclusively as God's then you are leaving out half the human population. What does it take to get this through to people? We were ALL made in the image of God - that is the basic definition of human. It is high time we create the relationships including within the church that reflect this reality.

  23. If you are so Smart.... why are you beating a dead horse?

  24. A lot of his interview was thrilling, and it must have generated momentum for change; but there is still the possibility that he will disappoint like Obama. Just after the interview he excommunicates an Australian priest for being for women's ordination and being too gay-friendly, and he also gives a talk on abortion that could have been written by any conservative US bishop. I guess he thinks he is teaching us the Catholic both/and -- or is it ambiguity or double-dealing?

  25. FACT? Her presence at Pentecost is a powerful theological statement by St Luke, but how can we be sure that there ever was a single event of Pentecost, given the legendary quality of the narrative? The Bible has nothing about Mary's death or "dormition" or "assumption" --

  26. divine mother of Creation?

  27. How can we be sure of any of it, but if we're going to say our dogma and doctrine should have a scriptural basis then Luke's story about Pentecost works quite fine for me.

    I know the Bible has nothing about Mary's death, so like John Paul II I inferred a truth. LOL.

  28. Smartukus a mystic's ability to pass on information, which is generally received in a nuanced holographic matter--meaning loaded with information beyond the obvious visuals--is only as good as one's mental rolodex. That rolodex is not just education, but it is also psychological make up, and the way in which one relates to the world. The more astute one is about cleaning up or adding to their rolodex the less static--or idiosyncratic personal interference--will be in the message. In other words another mystic could have received the exact visionary experience of John and described it and prioritized it very differently.

    I used the term 'Founders' not in the sense of replacing Jesus, but in the sense that these were the people who got the Church and the evangelizing rolling after Jesus' Resurrection.

    As to your other points about traditional language and their usage by Saints etc, following that logic there would have been no reason for Jesus to come at all and to inspire His followers beyond Jewish understanding and spiritual experience? Now we are two thousand years further along and the metaphors are getting dated. The end all and be all of organizing our relationship to the world is no longer the gender we were born into or the expectations for that gender--especially those expectations for gender which are based solely in the experience and world view of one gender.

  29. Also Oedipus, which would be son desiring to marry mother. My mother might have been on to that tendency as she firmly told me to 'beware the man who wants to marry his mother'.

  30. I hope it's both/and Joe. The other alternative is too ugly to contemplate. I wouldn't be surprised if PF hasn't read something on the neurological data which supports the hardwiring theory of conservative vs progressive. If he has, it only makes sense that he pursuit a both/and strategy as Jesus did come for all. Peter versus John does seem to show Jesus was aware of the fact it takes all kinds to make things run.

  31. I wonder about how she suffered spiritually as well. Something has propelled Francis to go along way down the spiritual path. My question is how far will he take the Church down his path?

  32. Great post. I think it will take men seeing how they themselves have been conditioned before much will change. I can remember getting into a heated discussion with a male friend over Title IX funding for women's athletics. As a big time jock he thought it was a horrific attack on men's athletics. I suggested he might think differently when he had daughters. Well he had two daughters and no sons and got totally wrapped up in their athletic endeavors. He admitted he was wrong, not so much in words, but in his actions. That works.

  33. Test comment from tablet.

  34. Never mind Joseph. It was a thought. Not a theology course requiring an imprimatur. The gist of what I was saying is that the Pope, along with men, need to contemplate, meditate more and forget about trying to control women anymore. They can't control God and they can't control women. They don't understand women and it sure seems that they don't understand God either when they can't or refuse to understand women as also made in the image and likeness of God.

  35. If you are unhappy with Church authority, find another Church.

  36. New Boss, Old Boss....What's the difference? Prettier words to camouflage the same old, same old.

  37. Actions always speak louder than words. And the excommunication of Fr. Greg Reynolds in Australia for being an advocate of women's ordination and inclusion of gays speaks the truth about who Pope Francis is beneath the image and undermines all of his "happy talk."

  38. This is very bad news for in excommunicating this priest, he excommunicates so many of us who believe that women are indeed equal to men and who see a God that does not have human gender and human emotions. I am deeply ashamed of my church and of Pope Francis for this particular act. Even though Francis is doing more good things than did both of the last two popes combined, he continues to defend an all male clericalism that aligns himself with misogyny. Too bad for the Church and too bad for Pope Francis.

  39. Perhaps there is hope in NCR article today, but will Pope Francis now excommunicate a Jesuit man such as James Keenan? There are way too many of us that see the falsity in the Church teaching about gender. Pope Francis must realize this or his papacy will be a disaster.

  40. If you are suggesting that it is foolish of me to keep trying to get an answer from him that makes sense, I concede