His Holiness spoke out against the role of women in the Church shifting from one of “service” to one of “servitude”, as reported on Globalpost. For this, we commend the Holy Father.
However, in elaborating his point, the Supreme Pastor (a man of many names – seriously, check them out here) went on to make some points which are worth questioning:
The “sort of emancipation” that allows women to enter traditionally male domains may rob them of “the very femininity that characterizes them”.
Whatever cultural and social changes have occurred or may occur, “the fact remains that it is the woman who conceives, carries and brings into the world the children of men,” the pontiff said.
While his aim was to highlight the importance of women in society, this may not quite be the right approach, because:
- His claims are essentialist. ‘Essentialism‘ means believing that a woman is somehow truly, deep in her core, identifiable as a woman; being a woman is not simply the result of different attributes and behavior. (as described in this other Hoochie post).
The debates over essentialism rage on. Whether the Pope’s viewpoint is supported by evidence is one question; yet another is whether we should criticize the Church for its views… are the women in question not there of their own will?
I don’t know what is right – but it’s worth asking the question.
What do you think – how do feminist ideas fit in with the Catholic Church?
- “Service, Yes – Servitude, No!”: “Woman’s Day,” Francis Edition (whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com)
- Pope says ‘service not servitude’ should be role of women in Catholic Church (dnaindia.com)
- What Pope Francis Thinks About Women in the Church (ideas.time.com)
- Pope stresses ‘service’ role for women in Catholic Church (nation.co.ke)
- “It pleases me to think that the Church is a she, not an it”: Pope Francis speaks on the nature and vocation of women… (en.radiovaticana.va)