Miriam Duignan’s article, “In His Thoughts and in His Words,” (Vol. XXXV, No. 4) details Pope Francis’ unconscious sexism and embarrassing lack of competence when it comes to women. Gone are the days when Catholics would confer infallibility on any statement from the Bishop of Rome. Pius XII was a pope who seemed preeminently prepared to be an oracle on any subject under the sun. This pope honestly believed that his knowledge and God-given authority gave him the ability to expatiate on world government, technology, astronomy, television and sex—to name a few topics. His views were usually interesting and well-thought-out, but by no means always as profound and insightful as some Catholics made them out to be.
If the educated Catholic today is less likely to award our bishops as much deference as they would sometimes like, there is no doubt that the hierarchy has a responsibility and a duty to feed the flock, to teach the truth and contribute to the raging debates of the day. Francis must do better!
Duignan has forensically analyzed Pope Francis’ views on women, and quite honestly they are laughable. He needs to accept that he must listen to women and stop imagining he knows it all. Only with humble reflection and learning should the pope declare how the rich tradition of our church (to say nothing of the baggage that accompanies it) can come to terms with and perhaps enrich the modern world’s understanding of women—of which he is largely ignorant.
Her two closing paragraphs show sympathy and generosity to a man out of his depth and offer some hope that his views on women might change. We need more voices like that of Miriam Duignan in the church and less comment from those claiming an expertise they so sadly reveal they do not possess.
Spokesperson, Catholic Voices for Reform