An article was republished this week by a rather liberal Catholic group called “Voice of the Faithful.” This article addresses Pope Francis and the way he sees Catholic women. You can find it here: Pope Francis and Women
There is an identity crisis in the Catholic Church regarding women today. What would I want to hear Pope Francis say to me, a perpetually faithful cradle Catholic, a Catholic school mom, a faithful parish volunteer, a graduate student at a Catholic college, and a Catholic hospital chaplain? I would like to hear Pope Francis say to me,
“Thank you for the many years of service you have given to the Church. I know you were there giving of yourself without receiving much in return. You did not receive praise or gratitude for the many hours you spent ministering to the sick in the nursing homes, hospitals, and hospices. You did not receive any of the admiration that I receive when you taught those little children to pray while bandaging their cuts, changing their diapers, and feeding them snacks as well. The value of your work far surpasses mine. You drew little hearts to love God. By your simple loving, merciful presence you showed them what the love of God looks like.
I am sorry for anyway my brother priests have diminished your value or dignity as a human being. I want you to forever remember that the greatest in heaven are those who have loved the most, not those who have obtained the most education or prestige. I’m sorry that I am a simple human man who does not know how to express to you women how important you really are to me. I wish I knew how to honor you better. Please continue to teach me. I am an eager learner. I want to continue to grow in holiness myself. There is never an end where any one of us can say ‘I am now holy enough and there is nothing more required of me.’ No! I am a humble simple man with the weight of the world upon my shoulders. I am called to awaken each Catholic soul to the supernatural life. I am called to draw lost sheep back into a relationship with the good Lord who loves them dearly. I am even called to guide the wayward souls within the Church who selfishly seek their own glory at the expense of others. I cannot do this without the gift of God’s grace active in my life. I need prayers. I need prayers from all Catholic women.
Our Church is suffering under the weight of many sins from years past. Misguided attempts to earn heaven through our own actions, manualistic approaches to pastoral care, and indifference to the most serious of sins has soaked Our Blessed Mother in shame. As Pope, I cannot change this on my own. I need Catholic women to heal the Church. I need wise women theologians to teach other women what is good, right, and true. I need women to serve with pure motives. I need women to fearlessly stand up against injustice both in the Church as well as in the world. But most of all, I need a new generation of Catholics to lead the Church with the virtues of love and mercy. This new generation cannot know about the virtues of love, mercy, or charity without experiencing these virtues demonstrated to them by you!
You women are the ones who are endlessly engaged in the corporal works of mercy. You are the hands and feet of the resurrected Christ to the world. Please do me a favor. Catholic women, please stop nit-picking my every word and own your own value in this world. Be leaders. Take responsibility for the supernatural life God has called you to. Focus on those whom you are called to teach, love, and serve. Spend time with our Good Lord in prayer. Come to know Him as your best friend who will never leave your side. He is your Lord. I am only a man. He is perfect. I am not. In everything I do, I seek to point you towards our Lord Jesus Christ. Whether you are a consecrated religious woman, a married woman, or a single woman; I want you all to know Him, love Him, and serve Him. It is not me, your Pope that you serve. You serve a much higher power than me. Don’t take you eyes off from Him. Love Him with all your heart, then love your neighbor as yourself. This pleases Him and it pleases me.
As your Pope, I cannot possibly know all the many ways you love, serve, and forgive others each day of your lives. But in heaven, I hope to know you. I hope to meet you all in heaven. In heaven, I will have all eternity to come to know you and love you. Until then, may the Holy Spirit bless you and keep you confident with the knowledge that we are all one through the mystical body of Christ. Amen. In the Name of Christ, Pope Francis”