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Bright future beckons for Catholic women

New potential for exploring women's role in the Church

  • Elizabeth Tenety for Washington Post On Faith
  • International
  • August 22, 2013
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When Pope Francis convened his now-famous press conference aboard the papal plane during his trip home from World Youth Day, international attention was seized on his comments on homosexuality, specifically his words, “Who am I to judge?” (Only the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.)

But many in the church are raising their eyebrows–and their hopes–over the first Jesuit pope’s call for a “deeper theology of women” and his note on “a lack of a theological development” when it comes to the female half of the world’s population.

Sure, Francis dismissed the possibility of women’s ordination to the priesthood, calling it a “closed door,” but he also said that “the role of the woman in the church mustn’t only end as mom and worker.” He said women are ”more important than the bishops and priests” and referenced debates over women in the church, implying that the controversy over whether women can be altar servers, lectors and heads of major organizations is over. They can. They are.  And Catholic women are eager for more.

There is no one “Catholic woman.” They are single and married, nuns and lawyers (sometimes both), liberal and conservative, gay, straight and bisexual. Some are even religion reporters. (Full disclosure: I am Catholic and a woman.) But in an age of the “nuns on the bus,” the “mommy wars” and the “war on women,” Catholic women leaders see in Francis’s call to action tremendous potential for new conversations about gender in the church and society, with possible consequences as vast as finding feminine ways to describe the divine to church support for paid maternity leave.

What do Catholic women want?

Full Story: What Catholic women want 

Source: Washington Post On Faith

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