Pope to Women: No Priesthood for You

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I know Pope Francis is an intelligent man but his support of the all-male priesthood is an example of the fallibility of a single perspective, even if that perspective belongs to the pope. Yesterday on a plane flight returning from an historic meeting with the female archbishop of the Church of Sweden, Pope Francis was asked about the possibility of female priests in the Catholic Church.  His response: “On the ordination of women in the Catholic Church, the last word is clear.”  That word, of course, is no.  It is hard for me to understand how Pope Francis doesn’t see the contradiction between that stance and two other remarks he made yesterday, according to The New York Times. The first was in response to a question regarding immigration. “It’s not human to close doors! It’s not human to close the heart,” he said. The other was one of six modern riffs on the Beatitudes. “Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.”   Reflecting on these remarks I am struck by the contradictions between the values they purport to represent and the church policy they uphold.  What is the difference between countries closing the door to immigrants and the Catholic priesthood closing its doors to women? What is the difference between working for the full communion among Christian denominations and working for the full communion among genders? The Catholic Church wants communion on its own terms, and those terms are reminiscent of the “separate but equal” justification given to Jim Crow laws in the South and apartheid laws in South Africa.  Separate is not equal.  – Suzanne

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