The Pope And The Women

St Mary Magdalene

The text of the Pope's general audience is out, and whilst I think enthusiasm is way exaggerated, there are some good ideas I think we should stress.

The Pope is talking about the Resurrection. In this context, he points out that the Gospels deviate from the Jewish mentality of the time in that they do not deny it was women who first discovered The Lord had risen. This goes, continues the Pontiff, against the grain of the Jewish society, which would heavily discount whatever witness would come from women. This, arguments the Pope, is a further element of proof of the truth of the Resurrection: if it had been a fake, the fake would have been presented with all the usual attributes of credibility, including the discovery by men. This is, however, not the Christian thinking: The Lord entrusts the first human testimony of the Resurrection exactly to women.

Up to here it is all very fine; though I must say the mention of women is here merely an element of another argument: the historical truth of the Resurrection.

The Pope, though, goes now further than that, in that he inserts in the former consideration two beautiful elements:

1. The mission of mothers and women is to give witness of the Resurrection to their children and grandchildren.

This is beautiful. Actually, the more you read it, the more beautiful it is. It is so anti-feminist it would chill the blood in the veins of your average BBC bitch. If the Pope had chosen to make of this the subject of a homily rather than abandoning himself to liturgical abuses in the name of simplicity and inclusion, the true Catholics would have roared their approval worldwide. Unfortunately, the majority of the cafeteria Catholics wouldn't have liked it a bit; which is the reason why we had the media stunt and the liturgical abuse on Maundy Thursday, and get the right message during a papal audience and en passant. Still, one must say he did say it beautifully.

2. Women have a special role in opening the doors to The Lord, communicating His face through the strength of their love.

Here the Pontiff is, I think, enlarging the female horizon: it is not only the mothers, but every woman who, with her giving heart, brings the Lord nearer to us: I think here of the countless saints first, but every Italian will link this to his aunts and great aunts, to the old women in the neighbourhood going to Church early in the morning, with the (largely women) people he will see praying the rosary in Church. You think selfless devotion, and you think of women. I mean, the right ones…

This second consideration is in my eyes very beautifully – and elegantly – built upon the first. The end result is a Pope who might dispel some of the fears about his pontificate; provided he has made it credible that to him the orthodox reasoning is more important than the media stunt, and that he has learned from the reaction to his liturgical abuses before and after becoming Pope.

This Pope probably has, to an extent, the right thinking. Granted, he is no Fellay and a discussion with him about the value and innovations of Vatican II would probably shorten our life and increase our white hair; but the thinking is largely there. The big question remains, whether he will leave the orthodoxy for the general audiences only followed by a tiny minority of Catholics, or will have the guts to put this values at the very centre of his pontificate, rather than trying to please the world masses with the shallow show of destructive novelties for the excitement of the ignorant, the liberal, and the outright unCatholic.


Posted on April 3, 2013, in Catholicism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I thought the address very beautiful. We women do indeed have a special mission to,pass the faith on to children. I love teaching Sunday School for that reason.

    • Isn’t it so, that most of us have been taught their prayers from their mothers, and automatically link to them their first contact with Christ?


  2. Mundabor,
    he certainly has not dispelled any of my fears with this. I never thought him a radical feminist. I knew he believed that women have an important role as mothers and that he did not share the attitudes of so many today, that motherhood is unimportant or outdated.

    So, the Pope believes mothers are important? Wonderful. But still, in taking about women, about the familiy, there is nothing – even in this smaller setting – about the proper order of the family, about marriage, about abortion etc. Just some general words about the importance of mothers. Pope John Paul II. has written very beautifully about it. But even he, certainly no radical traditionalist, did not stop with these mildly non-feminist platitudes.

    The remarks of Pope Francis, as I have read them over at Father Z, could have come from any number of German bishops. Cardinal Schönborn has said the same more than once.

    The one good thing I draw from his words is that he appears to believe in the bodily Resurrection as an actual historical event. Given his theological education and preference, there was some doubt about it. Although he does not bring himself to affirm it explicitly, his remarks certainly presuppose that something more than a purely “spiritual event” happened and that the tomb was really, physically empty.

    So, par for the course, no scandal, but no reassurance either.

    • Ah, you had less fears than I had then…

      I was rather stunned at the use of the word “messenger” instead of “angel”. OK, “angel” does mean “messenger”, but the context and meaning are obviously different. Still, I didn’t want to digress from the post’s theme…

      We must also consider the scope of a general audience is somewhat limited. We shall see. In time, there is no way the real scope of this pontificate can remain hidden to us.


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