An article in the National Catholic Reporter published on Jan. 25, 2014 was authored by John L. Allen, Jr. The title of the article is Pope wants 'capillary and incisive' role for women in church.
Pope Francis expressed a “vivid hope” that women will play a “more capillary and incisive” role in the Catholic church, as well as in all the venues in which “the most important decisions are adopted. Francis made the comments to the Centro Italiano Femminile, a woman’s group that was originally founded in 1944 to promote the involvement of women in Italy’s post-World War II reconstruction.
Pope Francis has no intention of ordaining female priests. Women are most important in the home as the foundation of moral principles to be conveyed by the church. Given the continuing sex scandals of priests with young men and with each other, it would seem appropriate to give women an opportunity to convey moral principles in the church as priests.
“The presence of the women in the domestic ambit thus shows itself to be more necessary than ever, for the transmission solid moral principles to future generations and for the transmission of the faith itself.”
Pope Francis thinks women are important to the Catholic Church, but somehow not important enough to be priests, bishops or cardinals. The decision from the Vatican that girls can serve at the altar during Mass was made in 1994. The final decision regarding the use of girls for altar service at a specific church passes from the bishop to the local priest. Many Catholic Churches still use only boys for altar service to assist the priest.
For all of the other good things the Pope is doing, he can’t seem to make the leap from the prohibition against women ruling over men to the idea that women are equally qualified to serve the church as guides and leaders.
"A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. (NIV, 1 Timothy 2:11-12)"
The Pope’s words on the subject of women in the priesthood indicate no change from women being second class citizens of the Holy See, with no plans to make major changes.
"I'm happy to see many women sharing certain pastoral responsibilities in accompanying persons, families and groups, and in theological reflection, and I've voiced hope that spaces for a feminine presence that's more capillary and incisive in the Church will be enlarged."
In an article by Scott P. Richert, he goes back to the Catechism of the Catholic Church to justify the exclusion of women from the priesthood.
“As the Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraph 1577) states:
Only a baptized man (vir) validly receives sacred ordination." The Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry. The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ's return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.”
It is saddening to see that Pope Francis has such great concern for the poor and for making the church more inclusive while maintaining the exclusion of women as spiritual leaders. It is a chauvinistic throwback that will continue to drive a wedge between the church and its largest number of members, which are women. Spiritualism has a history of women in leadership roles, and treats men and women as equally qualified to be leaders, healers and prophets in the spiritualist churches.
Pope Francis needs to consider making meaningful changes in the inclusion of women as equally qualified to lead the Catholic Church forward. His latest statement does not distance the church from attitudes of keeping women at home and pregnant, and maintaining male supremacy over women inside the church.