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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Columns

Pope Francis is not as progressive as we thought


The topic of equality for women has been a recurring theme in 2016. From the presidential election to Hollywood and the average workplace, the fight for equal pay is an ongoing battle.

Unfortunately, where the Catholic Church is concerned, Pope Francis doesn’t plan on providing a remedy for that anytime soon.

Francis appeared to be the progressive leader that the church needed when he took on climate change, attitudes toward homosexuality and even gender pay gaps. When it comes to women in leadership positions within the Church, however, the pope is going to pass.

“The final word is clear,” Francis said, when asked about women’s ordination during an in-flight press conference following his two-day visit to Sweden. “It was said by St. John Paul II and this remains.”

The “final word” in question was written by Pope John Paul II in 1994, in which he reiterated a quote from an earlier pope with a discouraging reply to inquiries from the Anglican Communion about the ordination of women in the Church.

“She holds that it is not admissible to ordain women to the priesthood, for very fundamental reasons. These reasons include: the example recorded in the Sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing his Apostles only from among men; the constant practice of the Church, which has imitated Christ in choosing only men; and her living teaching authority which has consistently held that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God’s plan for his Church.”

However, like Francis, Paul went on to certify that women, while they held an important place within the Church, they could never be as a priest.

If one were to look at the Bible for views on how the world should be, many things would be different than it is today. If Francis were truly a progressive, he would see that the world is ever-changing, and some ways of life that were acceptable then may not hold true now.

At the time of Jesus’ life, women were subservient and restricted, per the law. In order to stay in accordance with those laws, Jesus chose men as apostles.

Now that the law has changed, as have the dynamics of society, wouldn’t it only be fair for the Church to give women a chance to become priests?

If Francis can have a forward-thinking view on gay rights, abortion and birth control, why not the position of women within the Church?

From the outside looking in, one could almost say that men are threatened to lose their positions in the Church. However, the apostle Paul also said this in Galatians 3:26-29:

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

If the Church chooses to cherry-pick Bible verses to deny women leadership roles in the Church, it’s only fair to point out contradictory ones.

The Pope can recite Jesus’ teachings. It might also benefit his progressive ideology to remember that Christ regularly defied convention and that many women followed Christ just like the apostles.

Pope Francis has shown that, while the fight against social injustices may be heading in the right direction, we still have a long way to go.

Senior staff Columnist Caprice Carter is a communication junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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