Letter: Papal decree disappointing
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Friday, Nov. 25 is "International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women." I am very disappointed by the recent statement by Pope Francis that he supports the apostolic letter written in 1994 banning women from ordination.
Many of us have been expecting a more egalitarian teaching from him. He has called for dialogue on many of today's most pressing problems. Violence done to women and girls is a great problem in the world. The official church teaching is that since Jesus was a man, the priesthood is closed to women. This leads one to conclude that God is a man. Genesis tells us that God made man and woman in God's image and St. Paul wrote that “...nor is there male and female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus.” The historical evidence is clear that in the early Christian church women were ordained. Once Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire this practice was eventually eliminated.
The world needs the feminine dynamic to balance the unhealthy over-masculinized style of doing things. Feminine attributes of gentleness, relationship building, listening and empathy are clearly attributes that Jesus lived and taught. Solving conflict by violence, domination and winning at all costs are masculine characteristics that have led the way for too long. Teaching that men and women are fully equal and image God in unique and wonderful ways sets a standard that impacts everything.
I pray Pope Francis studies the work of contemporary scripture scholars and educates himself on this very important issue.
Pastor, Free Spirit Inclusive Catholic Community