Monday, December 23, 2013

Sure, the pope is a rock star, but...

Al Jazeera has a great article about Pope Francis' focus on the economic inequality built into modern societies. Short version of the article: that's great, but what about women and LGBT folks? Are they to remain unequal under this pope?

As always, the American nuns are on point:
Sister Joan Chittister — a Benedictine nun, an influential author and speaker and a former president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) — said, “As a Catholic, it’s very refreshing to see the Gospel take more precedence in church statements than canon law.” (snip)

Still, the LCWR, the leadership organization of American nuns, is under investigation by the Vatican for heresy, a campaign begun under Benedict and that some dissident Catholic scholars have labeled a “new Inquisition.”

Chittister noted that for the past 50 years, the LCWR has taught and led on the same social principles the pope is teaching now.
“If you’re a man and you believe those things, you get elected pope, but if you’re a woman, you get investigated for heresy,” she said.

She described Francis as “humble and simple and pastoral and warm and caring, like Jesus, a man of the poor.” But, she added, according to United Nations statistics, two-thirds of the world’s poor are women.

“I don’t believe anything in this world is going to change, from its corruption to its charism, if you do nothing to equalize the role of women in this world,” Chittister said. “If you keep defining women to be the child bearers and domestic servants of the world, nothing’s going to change.”
Hear, hear, Sister. I love these nuns. They will not put up with injustice. Seriously, they're the closest things to saints I've ever seen on this earth. (And I told them this in an email and got a lovely response in return.)

The above comes late in the article, but I liked it the best so I put it up top. Earlier, they covered Francis' strange sort of inequality: the kind that doesn't include women and gays.
Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, or “The Joy of the Gospel,” published on Nov. 24, sparked worldwide attention largely because of its critique of trickle-down theories of economics. Francis contended that these ideologies amount to “a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”

[William] Lindsey [a former theology professor at a Catholic college] has experienced another kind of exclusion, having been “shoved to the margins,” he said, when his committed relationship with another man became known. While he and his partner are still waiting for his church to “afford us space and respect as a Catholic gay couple,” Lindsey is nonetheless hailing Francis’ re-emphasis on economic inequality in Evangelii Gaudium.
Lindsey sees the great promise in Francis' words, despite being relegated to the back of the bus. Certainly, economic inequality is important -- all good-hearted Catholics recognize this -- and it's great that the pope has taken up this mission. But many Catholics want the pope to go further and make everyone equal, regardless of sex, sexual orientation or (gay) married status.
[Father Frank Case, vice president for mission at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash.] said he and other Jesuits “like this guy very much,” referring to Francis.

“I pray every day,” Case said, “that he lives long enough for the inspiration he has established to filter down deeply into the church.”
Yup, me too. But Francis also needs to wake up. We're here, we're queer and/or women, and we're not going away. Wake up, Francis! See us!