Letters & Op-Eds 2014

Pope’s View of Women

To the Editor:

Re “Pope’s Voice Is Resonating in the Capitol” (front page, Jan. 6):

Like many American Catholics, I have been delighted by the new pope. Francis’s request for the crowd’s blessing when he first appeared above St. Peter’s Square was startling after so many years of hierarchical arrogance and authoritarianism in Rome and among the American bishops. But that genuinely touching humility has been absent in regard to rigid church positions that denigrate and harm women.

Francis’s “that door is closed” dismissal of women’s ordination, his reaffirmation of the Vatican’s shocking public scolding of American nuns and female theologians, and his failure to curb the American bishops’ war on women’s rights of moral decision-making about childbearing are all at odds with the adulatory media coverage.

I fear that Catholics, especially the advocates of economic justice, are so charmed by Francis that they will fail to confront the church’s continuing opposition to women’s dignity and equality.
Catholicism needs a new understanding of sexuality and gender. Ditching the red shoes and adopting a less regal popemobile will not suffice.

JANET GALLAGHER
New York, Jan. 11, 2014

The writer, a lawyer, is a former director of the A.C.L.U. Reproductive Rights Project and serves on the board of Catholics for Choice.

This letter was originally published by the New York Times.