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Something’s Missing From Pope Francis’ ‘Radical’ Vision of Equality: Women


Something’s Missing From Pope Francis’ ‘Radical’ Vision of Equality: Women

Roisin Davis

Pope Francis this week embarked on a seven-day “homecoming” tour of Latin America on his unstoppable quest to defend the planet and the poor.


Pope Francis’ defacto declaration of war on the 1% requires triage to be effective. Global capital is the 900 pound gorilla oppressing the 99%, therefore bank reform needs to happen prior to tackling climate change, women’s opportunity and other critical issues upon which no progress is possible until the banks are under control, at least to the extent they were under FDR’s New Deal.


No argument with that, but you seem to have missed the point of the article: that women --overly represented by far in the ranks of the poor, the displaced, and the victims of climate change-- have not been mentioned by the Pope in his recent speeches. It is a glaring omission, especially as he’s praising ethnic and cultural diversity and the struggle against poverty and oppression.


Why would any woman belong to an institution like the Catholic Church, an institution that is so obviously anti women’s rights? They stick with it because they are victims of psychological terror; the God who loves them will torture them forever if they leave the church.


While I agree that women should be ordained as priests and that priests should marry, I recognize that others may not agree. It is unfortunate that this Pope’s message which is dramatically beneficial to all including especially poor women that another issue becomes the only important thing to some people. Yes things should change but give credit where credit is due and recognize that women becoming priests won’t stop global warming.

Equality in everyday life may not be equality in the church but address that for what it is not weaken the message by a mono focus on only what is in reality a side issue. This Pope took a stand on equality and the poor (predominantly women) … acknowledge that at least.

It isn’t only about women becoming priests when the word ‘Pope’ is said.


The Pope is steeped in the miasma of early Catholicism, which developed the guidelines by which women were to be treated. St Ambrose: The only good woman is a virgin. St Augustine: women are not to be seen as useful or important as men. St Paul: women must remain hidden and subject themselves to the dictates of men. As long as males of this persuasion remain convinced of their innate superiority and see women as descendants of Eve the temptress (and themselves as Adam the victim), women will continue to be oppressed and denied their humanity.


True, this essay, Roisin Davis. A beautifully stated call for Francis to speak of women, whose faith and love provide the foundation of the Church. This is Francis’ glaring shortcoming, imho, and it is inexcusable. Best wishes.


Seems the Vatican’s policy on women remains what it has been for many centuries: God gave the Vatican women so they could produce more babies and children for the Vatican’s priests to molest.


A woman has done extensive work to expose the corruption of the leadership in the RC church.

She is a life long Catholic and is not attacking the faithful. She is going after the corrupted leadership which is part of the world wide oligarchy.

She has written a book and posts very long, well documented articles on the web site dailykos.com. Sometimes she gets noticed there, but often just ignored. When you say bad things about the most respected man in the world, not many want to go there.

Here is a recent article

Dear Pope Francis: Women’s Lives Matter

“> Overpopulation is the main driver of climate change, ill health and conflict,” according to the British Medical Journal.

“For the global poor, access to contraception can mean the difference between starvation and nourishment, poverty and stability, illness and health, death and life. Few issues are more crucial to the fate of poor families around the world.” Additionally, “Poor reproductive health outcomes - early childbearing, maternal mortality/morbidity, and unintended/mistimed pregnancy - have negative effects” not only on overall health but also on “education and household well-being.”

The pope links climate change to poverty. However, “Any poverty agenda must focus on women because they are 70 percent of the world’s poor. Women comprise two-thirds of the global illiterate population and all women face additional hurdles to their economic and social well-being, including the pay gap and the fact that women are much more likely to hold vulnerable jobs,” according to a UN report.> \

There are many of here other articles which can be found from her home page on dailykos.com



St Paul, St Augustine, and St Ambrose did not initiate this low opinion of women, nor did Christianity itself. It started with the Greeks and Pandora and Judaism and Eve and its very specific development in Jewish rabbinical teaching reached a kind of nadir about 200 years before Christ and strongly influenced early Christianity.

This said, both St Paul certainly, and perhaps St Augustine to a degree, did support the preaching of strong and outspoken Christian women in the early Church.


Isn’t that saying that whenever the Pope speaks that he must speak about the ordination of women or married priests or about abortion or about some other ‘one only’ issue each and every time he says anything?

How about addressing what he did say and not try to make it only about one issue? To speak about the poor of whom the majority are women doesn’t count then? Well it does. In fact if he had brought up these other issues then likely everything else he said would have been submerged in the hubbub that would follow.

Isn’t that true? If the Pope had spoke on women as priests then that would have been the message debated in the media and little else would have been mentioned?

Such is the way of our world isn’t it?


This is the right wing favored talking point: Take a major cultural, economic, social, or political phenomena and break it down to the INDIVIDUAL’S choice.

If you understood how religions operate and the ROLE of the paternalistic family unit in socializing children to fit into existing social/cultural niches, you would recognize that the INDOCTRINATION process for most, begins early. In that manner practices are adopted and become “part of life” before the child has developed his or her own thinking skills.

And of what bearing is it whether the individual woman follows Catholicism if the entire culture is suffused with sexism? Lower pay for women? Church blocking access to birth control in ways that have become pervasive here in the U.S.A. as well.

This “argument” is like that of the idiots who tell people to stop watching T.V. as if that will alter the impact the mass media has on the nation, as a whole.

Or they tell the INDIVIDUAL not to drive, as if that will shift the chokehold that fossil fuel corps. have over not just this nation’s governing officials, but also those of other nations.


You are 100% clueless to what women AS second class citizens means to all components of life. You managed to leave out (presuming you read the full article) the extreme forms of violence directed at too many women across Latin America. Are you aware of the thousands of young women factory workers murdered along the U.S. Mexican border?

Trying to turn the predominance of sexism into mostly the matter of women priests is a disingenuous way to attempt to make the MANY objections raised in this well-written, comprehensive article just disappear.


It is a glaring shortcoming, yet that particular “shortcoming” is the root to the tree of patriarchy. From it come all sorts of poison fruits.

Nonetheless, it is a good thing that this Pope is speaking out on wealth inequities and global warming.

In the same way that I (and others) notice what Mr. Sanders is not keen on addressing (perhaps in order to remain viable until he knows he has enough support), I applaud the areas that he does address. And so, with reservations, the same must be said for this Pope.

Few souls/individuals are so fully developed as to show mastery in all aspects of life. And as I frequently point out, we all have our blind-spots.

However, given the fact that the Catholic Church directly influences the lives of one billion persons, if it could evolve in the matter of gender equity, it would be a major impetus to soul growth and dislodging too much of mankind from self-limiting feedback loops that lead to the same redundant HIS-torical outcomes.

Next up, reforming Judaism and Islam and Hinduism of THEIR patriarchal prejudices.


Low opinion of women? Surely, you jest.

We’re talking:

  1. World wide femicide
  2. World wide poverty that disproportionately impacts women
  3. Women largely cordoned off from decision-making institutions starting with the all-male Catholic Church hierarchy. The original church of Rome sent its Roman soldiers on a virtual crusade to bring their misogynistic teachings up and through Europe. There, over the course of several centuries, those women who DID show moxie, independent views, spiritual gifts, and “medicine woman” healing powers… were summarily executed on the claim of being witches. Has the church EVER apologized for its own carnage aimed at women, exclusively?
  4. Birth control isn’t some luxury that lets women party on Garth, like males. If a woman gets pregnant, it is a life-altering event on every level. And as times toughen and costs rise, the decision to have a child must take economic factors into consideration. Unfortunately, the same societies that condemn both abortion and sensible forms of birth control do VERY little to ensure the safety and security of the pending child’s life.
  5. Preponderance of porn designed to cheapen the value of women and desecrate their bodies: the font of Life, itself
  6. Preponderance of video games that function as male adolescents’ coming-of-age rite of passage that too often FEATURE the rape and murder of female avatars

You have a superficial understanding of the dynamics.

Just as it was men who decided the rules of birth control FOR women, here in this comment thread it’s mostly (only?) males–apart from myself–weighing in. So typical.


Is this supposed to suggest humor, or is it an attempt to take the MANY points raised in the article and process it through the opinion-shaping mill’s fervent tag team members to regurgitate narrow talking points… such as the priesthood item.

One issue…

Half of humanity on the receiving end of long-held traditions, prejudices, and indoctrinated views that damage women…

NOT one issue, clown.

If it was your dick on the line, you’d be screaming to high heaven!


You are unnecessarily rude and obviously hostile and it would be appreciated if you would debate more civilly.

My point was about the tendency of many people who try to make it be that whenever the Pope speaks that he must speak about certain issues. I really have no way of explaining to you the distinction since you seem ready to attack for no reason so much. No one is saying that the points raised in the article aren’t important but I was commenting that the direction of the Pope’s message was more general.

If you talk about cars and CO2, you don’t have to also address that tires are environmentally problematical as well. That isn’t saying that the issue about tires isn’t important but only that that wasn’t the main gist of the conversation.

No his message didn’t specifically address women or married priests or lots of other things but no one can talk about everything all at once every time they speak or write. The author of this article wrote about her concerns but should people then say >>> Oh she didn’t talk about the XL pipeline or ‘Oh she didn’t talk about fracking’?

The Pope deserves credit for what he did say and if you disagree with it then yes he deserves that criticism but I don’t think that making it seem like every time he speaks that he must address certain issues specifically is illegitimate.

By the way didn’t you just recently post a long comment on a article in CD and say in writing that you didn’t have a chance to read the whole article but were commenting on it just the same?

I expressed a difference of opinion SR as to the point being made in the article. Moreover I do not not appreciate your simplistic accusations nor the rude and evidently overt hostility you display.

My guess is that you don’t like criticism …

but mine are at least civil… you could do the same if you don’t mind (and damp down the histrionics… we are all just conversing here. Try to remember that.)


SR, you always downplay the role of the individual. Of course it takes millions of people dropping out of a church, turning off their TVs, or avoiding fossil-fueled cars to have an impact. That does not mean that individuals should never take action. Arguments relying upon individual actions are not the arguments of idiots as you characterize them. You argue for hopelessness and despair when you say that it is idiotic to take individual action. The actions of millions of individuals are the only actions that have impact. Empty rhetoric calling for governmental and corporate reform is perhaps more properly characterized as idiotic.


You’re right Ms Davis. But half a loaf is better than none.

Gods bless Pope Francis.


Thanks for your thoughtful post, Wereflea, but Roisin Davis’ point isn’t about women priests.

In 15 paragraphs of text, the matter of women priests is mentioned briefly in para 14. The rest of her essay is about dignity and appreciation, education and equality. That’s how I read it.

Many CD readers who aren’t Catholic aren’t aware of the inquisition on women, particularly American women religious, dictated by Francis’ predecessor, Benedict. Very expensive two-year investigation that turned up no wrongdoing and indeed lauded the faith and work of American women religious.

Humiliating, yes. Necessary? No.

That’s a bit of recent history to complement this excellent commentary by Ms. Davis.