Pope Francis’ General Audience focused on women. Feminists aren’t going to be happy.

The text of Pope Francis’ general audience:

Feminists and proponents of women’s ordination aren’t gonna be happy.

My emphases and comments:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today we turn to the Catechism of the Year of Faith. [Well!  He mentioned it again.] In the Creed we repeat this phrase: “He rose again on the third day, in accordance with the Scriptures”. This is the very event [a historical event] that we are celebrating: the Resurrection of Jesus, the center of the Christian message that has resounded since the beginning and has been handed down so that it may reach us today. Saint Paul writes to the Christians of Corinth: “For I handed on to you …what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures; that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve”(1 Cor 15:3-5). This brief confession of faith announces the Paschal Mystery, with the first appearances of the Risen Christ to Peter and the Twelve: the Death and Resurrection of Jesus is the heart of our hope. Without this faith in the Death and Resurrection of Jesus our hope would be weak, but it wouldn’t even be hope, the Death and Resurrection of Jesus is the heart of our hope. The Apostle says: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins” (v. 17).
Unfortunately, there have often been attempts to obscure faith in the Resurrection of Jesus, and doubts have crept in even among believers themselves. A watered down faith, as we would say, not a strong faith. This is because of superficiality, sometimes because of indifference, occupied by a thousand things considered more important than the faith, or because of a purely horizontal vision of life. But it is the Resurrection that gives us the greatest hope, because it opens our lives and the life of the world to the eternal future of God, to full happiness, to the certainty that evil, sin, death can be defeated. And this leads us to live everyday realities with more confidence, to face them with courage and commitment. The Resurrection of Christ shines a new light on these daily realities. The Resurrection of Christ is our strength!
But how was the truth of faith in Christ’s Resurrection transmitted? There are two kinds of witness in the New Testament: some are in the form of the profession of the faith, namely, synthetic formulas that indicate the center of the faith. Instead, others are in the form of an account of the event of the Resurrection and the facts connected to it. The form of the profession of faith, for example, is what we have just heard, or that of the Letter to the Romans where Paul writes: ” for, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved “(10.9). From the earliest days of the Church, faith in the Mystery of Death and Resurrection of Jesus is steadfast and clear.
Today, however, I would like to dwell the second, on testimony in the form of the accounts that we find in the Gospels. First, we note that the first witnesses to this event were the women. At dawn, they go to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus, and find the first sign: the empty tomb (Mk 16:1). This is followed by an encounter with a Messenger of God who proclaims: Jesus of Nazareth, the Crucified One, he is not here, he is risen (cf. vv. 5-6). The women are driven by love and know how to accept this proclamation with faith: they believe, and immediately transmit it, they do not keep it for themselves. They cannot contain the joy of knowing that Jesus is alive, the hope that fills their heart. This should also be the same in our lives. Let us feel the joy of being Christian! We believe in the Risen One who has conquered evil and death! Let us also have the courage to “go out” to bring this joy and light to all the places of our lives! The Resurrection of Christ is our greatest certainty, it is our most precious treasure! How can we not share this treasure, this beautiful certainty with others! It’s not just for us it’s to be transmitted, shared with others this is our testimony!

[OKAY!  Here we go!  This is a good day for our team, friends.]

Another element. In the professions of faith of the New Testament, only men are remembered as witnesses of the Resurrection, the Apostles, but not the women. This is because, according to the Jewish Law of the time, women and children were not considered reliable, credible witnesses. [See what he is doing?  See?!?] In the Gospels, however, [!]women have a primary, fundamental role. [There it is!  The GOSPEL account is NOT culturally-conditioned, locked into a woman-repressing mentality.  The Gospel, the Christian message, breaks with that.] Here we can see an argument in favor of the historicity of the Resurrection: if it were a invented, in the context of that time it would not have been linked to the testimony of women. Instead, the evangelists simply narrate what happened: the women were the first witnesses. [Actually, the angels were the first... but let that pass.] This tells us that God does not choose according to human criteria: the first witnesses of the birth of Jesus are the shepherds,[again, the first were really angels... but let that pass...]  simple and humble people, the first witnesses of the Resurrection are women. This is beautiful, [this is fantastic!! Now wait for it...] and this is the mission of women, of mothers and women, [MOTHERS!] to give witness to their children and grandchildren that Christ is Risen! Mothers go forward with this witness! [MOTHERS!] What matters to God is our heart, if we are open to Him, if we are like trusting children. But this also leads us to reflect on how in the Church and in the journey of faith, women have had and still have a special role in opening doors to the Lord, in following him and communicating his face, because the eyes of faith always need the simple and profound look of love. [By being MOTHERS.  He isn't talking about Church ministry.  Far from suggesting anything about leadership positions in ecclesiastical structures, Francis is talking about having babies and being strong Catholics.] The Apostles and disciples find it harder to believe in the Risen Christ, not the women however! Peter runs to the tomb, but stops before the empty tomb; Thomas has to touch the wounds of the body of Jesus with his hands. In our journey of faith it is important to know and feel that God loves us, do not be afraid to love: faith is professed with the mouth and heart, with the word and love.
After the apparitions to women, there were others: Jesus becomes present in a new way: He is the Crucified One, but his body is glorious; He did not return to an earthly life, but a new condition. At first they did not recognize him, and only through his words and deeds were their eyes opened: the encounter with the Risen Lord transforms, it gives new strength to faith, an unshakable foundation. The Risen Christ also reveals Himself to us with many signs: Sacred Scripture, the Eucharist, the other Sacraments, charity, these gestures of love bring a ray of the Risen One.  [Mothers Marching in the Plaza de Mayo morphed into Mothers Marching for the Resurrection of Jesus.]
Let us be enlightened by the Resurrection of Christ, let us be transformed by His power, so that through us the signs of death give way to signs of life in the world! I see that there are many young people in the Square! Young boys and girls, to you I say bring forth this certainty to the world: the Lord is Alive and walks beside us on our life’s journey! Bring forth this hope, be anchored in this hope, the hope that comes from heaven! Be anchored and bring forth the hope! You witnesses of Christ bring forth hope to this world that is aged by wars and sin! Go forward young people!

MOTHERS!  GO FORTH!  MARCH FOR LIFE!  MARCH FOR FAITH!

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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89 Responses to Pope Francis’ General Audience focused on women. Feminists aren’t going to be happy.

  1. lizaanne says:

    I know I know — but you KNOW they are going to equate mothering with the fathering of priests — just wait for it, it will come.

    But yes, that is a great message from him from your (proper) perspective.

  2. moosix1974 says:

    I am one of those MOTHERS and I LOVE this message!

  3. heway says:

    I don’t appreciate the fact that you Father, decide what the Holy Father means. This could well include religious women and women who are unable to conceive. “women have had and still have a special role in opening doors to the Lord, in following him and communicating his face, because the eyes of faith always need the simple and profound look of love”. Those three activities can be applied to all women.

  4. Mary T says:

    Thank you, Father Z. Just beautiful.
    In another thread a poster posed what has to her a rhetorical question – do Pope Francis ‘s words come across as those of someone like Cardinal Wuehrl, or Benedict XVI? I said “Benedict XVI.” If people were more familiar with all the talk of “memory,” the “event,” the “encounter” – which is so prevalent not simply in the ecclesial communities the Pope has befriended (Communion and Liberation, the Christian Life Movement/Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, members of which we have seen on EWTN as his friends – etc.) but ESPECIALLY in the theologians and writers of the journal “Communio,” founded by Ratzinger, Balthasar, and others (not, as Ratzinger said, “in opposition” to Hans Kung’s journal Conciliam – that would give too much credit to Kung – but for its own sake, the sake of Christ and the truth), then they would never ask such questions as “Does he speak the language of Benedict XVI?”

    (Extra note – “memory” does not precisely mean what we generally use it for, as a reference to something in the past. Its “Communio,” theological meaning is more complex and has to do with making God present. It’s akin to the difference between the Protestant service (their view of “do this in memory of me”) and the Catholic Mass).

  5. Imrahil says:

    Most respectfully, I’d like to add to the, perhaps more dignified, vocation of the Mother, also the vocation of the (chaste) (possible) sweetheart.

    Let’s face it, part of the appeal of Catholicism for young men is its wonderful girls.

  6. maryh says:

    You’re exactly right, Father Z. One of the primary arguments for the ordination of women priests is that the only reason Jesus didn’t do it was because he was constrained by the culture of the time. Not only that, but another feminist argument is that women could be called apostles because they too witnessed and proclaimed the resurrection, which is another argument for women priests.

    The Pope clearly demolishes both those arguments, without actually mentioning women’s ordination at all. He doesn’t talk about what women can’t do; he talks about what they actually do and should do.

    In order to show to the world today the justice (not just the fact and the reasonableness) of limiting ordination to men, I think it is essential to do two things:

    1. rehabilitate the vocation of motherhood (which is NOT just the female version of fatherhood) and

    2. reconnect the priesthood to the concept of offering and being a sacrifice, probably mainly through an end to the liturgy of the Mass as the “Celebration of a Meal” and back to the “Sacrifice of the Mass”.

    Away with the Risen Christ “crucifix” and back to the crucified Christ. Bring back the Madonna and child to the front of the church, next to the sanctuary.

    And by the way, I do still think that one explicit goal of the Pope of the foot-washing of Muslims and women, whatever other impacts, negative or positive it had, was to make clear that it should not be used as an argument for ordination of women.

    I think one of the things Pope Francis is working on, through his homilies and examples, is to show not only that women can’t be ordained, but that it makes no sense, and is not fair to women themselves, for them to be ordained. Women are mothers, either spiritual or physical and that is not compatible with ordination. To try to ordain women denigrates their sex and distracts them from their true calling.

    If feminism is supposed to have anything to do with promoting the status and rights of women, then it is anti-feminist to call for ordaining women.

  7. priests wife says:

    the point about women being reliable witness in the New Testament is so important- Jesus was truly revolutionary in His treatment of women…I was reminded of this when I mistakenly offered a handshake to a Conservative Jewish rabbi- he’s not allowed to touch a woman

    I appreciate Pope Francis’ words on this issue

  8. Indulgentiam says:

    “faith is professed with the mouth and heart, with the word and love.”
    Yaaaaaaa!!! May these words be an answer to the “preach and if you have to use words” crowd
    See ? With the MOUTH and the HEART ! God bless Papa Fracesco! No he’s not perfect but then, if I’m honest, I must confess that he looks a whole lot closer to it than I do.
    I love the picture of Pope Francis with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI up there in the heading bar thingy? Where can I get a full copy Fr. Z? I would Love a copy for my living room, my car, a T-shirt! Please let me know. Thank you :)
    God bless you Fr. Z

  9. papist says:

    Perhaps it’s just a mistake, but the version on the Vatican website is significantly shorter:

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/audiences/2013/documents/papa-francesco_20130403_udienza-generale_en.html

  10. HobokenZephyr says:

    You gotta hand it to the guy, he’s not much on liturgy but he gives one heckuva homily.

  11. VexillaRegis says:

    Imrahil: Very sweet! Is there perhaps a special girl in Dol Amroth?

  12. mamajen says:

    He is a very clever man. This reminds me of the type of insight we see in Pope Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth.

  13. Jon says:

    Sorry to be a regular Eeyore here, but mark my words, we’re being prepped:
    http://americamagazine.org/issue/kasper-proposes-women-deacons

  14. Cosmos says:

    Hmmm… I’m not seeing this. He is talking to biolgical mothers as biological mothers. He is not talking to women exclusively as biological mothers (he says: “mothers and women.”).

    Why couldn’t you make this argument:

    1) Historically, only men are remembered as witnesses of the Resurrection, the Apostles . . . because, according to the Jewish Law of the time, women and children were not considered reliable, credible witnesses;
    2) However, “In the Gospels . . . women have a primary, fundamental role [as witnesses . . . because] God does not choose according to human criteria”;
    3) Historically, only men were ordained priests [Fathers] because according to the Jewish Law of the time, women and children were considered unfit for priestly duties for various biolgical and cultural reasons;
    4) Similarly, in the Gospels women can be ordained priests [Mothers] . . . because God does not choose according to human criteria.

  15. inexcels says:

    Imrahil is right–speaking as a graduate student in the U.S., for guys looking for morally decent romantic relationships, it’s a desert out here–meeting a nice faithful Catholic girl would certainly be welcome.

  16. Geoffrey says:

    papist:

    The Vatican only posted the English-language summary for now. Fr Z posted the entire translated text.

  17. Angie Mcs says:

    ” Let us have the courage to bring this joy and light to all the places of our lives.” And let it begin in our homes. I am now an older woman, past my childbearing years, and have only been in the Church for one year. Lately, I have realized more and more that if I had it to do all over again, with what I know now, I would have had more children and raised them as good strong Catholics. I had health issues for years which made me hesitate to have more children but I wish I had put those problems aside and tried to have more. And now it’s too late. I do have good daughters, they are kind and loving, but they do not have the center, the values that Pope Francis brings up here, nor the strength that these beliefs impart. They were given very poor Cathechism and as parents we did not do enough. I was a loving, nurturing mother but not a Catholic mother. My children do not accept their faith as a vital part of their lives. I think, in the case of one of them especially, it makes a big difference. Her choices are not guided by her faith, and she is reaping what she sows.

    When I attend church now, I see the families, with so many children, week after week. . They sit quietly in the pews, the little girls often so sweet with their chapel veils, the little boys dressed nicely. Most of all, they have the examples of their parents, who teach them that this this is important, that their church, their faith, is the center of their lives. What a gift, to know that, to incorporate it into your heart, your very being, since your earliest days. The mothers know, despite all the work and stress of raising children, that they are doing important work. And the children sense this. Being a mother is the hardest job in the world. But itnis also the most beautiful job, and with the added joy of teaching your children about Our Lord, by having them live it daily, that job takes on a dimension that cannot be matched.

  18. mamajen says:

    @Cosmos

    The Gospels tell us about women priests? How did I miss that?

  19. mamajen says:

    @Jon

    Pope Francis doesn’t seem to be in the habit of “prepping”.

  20. maryh says:

    @Cosmos
    The reason you can’t make that argument is because the early Church, clearly knowing, even better than we do today, that “according to the Jewish Law of the time, women and children were not considered reliable, credible witnesses” and that “God does not choose according to human criteria” still did not ordain women as priests.

    The feminist argument rests on the supposition that Jesus was culturally constricted in his choices, and that the early Church was too. Jesus was not constricted, the early Church knew he was not constricted, and therefore the fact that Jesus did not ordain women means that women should not be ordained.

  21. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Non solus, sed etiam: “in the Church and in the journey of faith, women have had and still have a special role in opening doors to the Lord, in following him and communicating his face, because the eyes of faith always need the simple and profound look of love” includes but is not limited to mothers and grandmothers – Sts. Hildegard and Catharine of Siena spring first to my mind, St. Teresia Benedicta (Dr. Edith Stein), together with St. Teresa of Avila follow almost immediately – others will have other ‘first thoughts’ upon which will tumble many other – and diverse – ‘traditional’ examples.

    The “give witness to their children and grandchildren that Christ is Risen!” accent also recalls the witnessing of the prototypical Pascha (e.g., Exodus 12:24-27). Presumably the responibilities of mothers in what might be called the ‘domestic liturgies’ of rabbinic Judaism have precedents (however recoverable or not by scholarship), and, less formally, ‘descendents’ in those of the post-Resurrection history of the Church. (Consider the Theotokos’s domestic use of incense in some Syrian sources, for an early-ish example.) What ‘revived traditional’ aspects may Pope Francis (deliberately) be accenting, here?

  22. JabbaPapa says:

    Cosmos — the Italian original : “E questo è un po’ la missione delle donne: delle mamme, delle donne! Dare testimonianza ai figli, ai nipotini” is extremely clear — Father Z’s interpretation is, just as clearly, spot-on.

    How ELSE are women supposed to give witness to their children and grandchildren, except by being mothers ???

    Pope Francis’ “delle mamme, delle donne” quite explicitly defines catholic womanhood as motherhood. Not your “biological mothers” claptrap, which is so secularized that it sounds like an extract from a speech by Obama — Vocational Motherhood within the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

  23. OrthodoxChick says:

    Thank you for the translation and interpretation, Fr. Z.

    This is welcome indeed!

    Now I’m just hoping and praying that the liberal press won’t find some crazy way to spin what the Holy Father said into something that suits them. Sort of along those lines, that Associated Press story from 29 March that mentions you and Dr. Peters has been picked up by Fox News. Link below:

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/03/29/new-pope-washing-women-feet-is-final-straw-sorts-for-wary-traditionalist/?intcmp=obnetwork

  24. PA mom says:

    Beautiful. He can really write a homily! There is a directness which is helpful to me, and a concreteness, like, “here, try THIS”, and he addresses the mental blocks that develop (and are placed there) in our minds about the Faith.
    Penance first, then this, a good week so far.
    Fr Z, Love the new picture up top. It is the very picture of serenity.

  25. acricketchirps says:

    I think the quibble that the angels were the first witnesses is unfair.[No. It really isn't. They are the first witnesses mentioned in Scripture, both at the Nativity and the Resurrection. Just doin' their job, you know.]

    As spiritual beings unconstrained by time or space, every angel–not merely the ones humans witnessed embodied on site–can be said to be the first witness of every act of God. Hence it is meaningless to say they’re the first witnesses of any particular thing. I would say categorically that the women were the first witnesses of the empty tomb and, outside the Holy Family, the shepherds of the Nativity… again, if the word witness is to have any meaning.

  26. SimonDodd says:

    maryh says: “The Pope clearly demolishes both those arguments, without actually mentioning women’s ordination at all. He doesn’t talk about what women can’t do; he talks about what they actually do and should do.” But that’s the problem: He doesn’t actually make the link. He talks around the issue, and either he hopes that people are smart enough to make the link or, perhaps, we just project onto him the link that we think he’s making. I have personal experience in a family situation of the dangers of mistakenly assuming that people will get the point that you’re hinting at, of assuming that people will be able to take a larger principle that you articulate and apply it to their own situation, no matter how obvious the link may seem to you. Why can prelates never just grasp the nettle and make the point explicitly? Talk around the issue all you like, but when you’re done, make the point.

  27. APX says:

    inexcels sasys:
    Imrahil is right–speaking as a graduate student in the U.S., for guys looking for morally decent romantic relationships, it’s a desert out here–meeting a nice faithful Catholic girl would certainly be welcome.

    I recommend visiting traditional convents and waiting on the steps for the girls who discern out. Works for women too. Go visit a traditional seminary and wait on the steps for the men who discern out. :-)

  28. BLB Oregon says:

    Mother Angelica and Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta are two other mothers who spent their lives as not only credible but as exemplary witnesses of the Gospel. Neither one was among the ordained and neither one ever bore a child. They were called to the other way of giving all. Many of us of a certain age benefitted from the spiritual motherhood of the holy sisters who were our teachers in school. Our Lord chose not Mary, Mother of the Church, but Mary Magdala to send news of his resurrection to the Apostles. As the Pope’s motto says, the Lord fashions his Church “by showing compassion and by choosing”.

    He certainly did not choose men only because he was culturally constrained. That argument strains belief. That he chooses men as heads also does not mean he intended to divorce the head from its heart! The mothers he was speaking of did not need to be only biological mothers. The disciples who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus were also not among the Twelve. IOW, those who think that in creating bishops the Lord relegated the laity to a second class of Christian could not be more wrong. Instead, Our Lord fashioned a body with many parts, the different parts having different functions, but none of them unnecessary to the rest of the body. Therefore, it is no dishonor to women that we are not ordained, it does not dishonor the vast majority of Catholic men that they have not been chosen for ordination, nor does it keep any of us in the laity from the duty of being witnesses to the Good News. The saintly women have been more than proof of that, and they have been since the very first.

  29. maryh says:

    @SimonDodd But that’s the problem: He doesn’t actually make the link.

    I don’t think it’s a problem at this point. He first has to build up the positive – the vocation of motherhood, physical or spiritual, to which all women are called, and which has been transformed into a sort of hobby to be pursued by those women who are so inclined, without any real cultural support. He demolishes the arguments and juxtaposes the positive, actual and unique role of women.

    I would guess that he’ll be building up the roles of women and men through homilies and acts of charity for a while before he gets into any proscriptive anouncements.

  30. NBW says:

    I hope he starts to mention fathers and how only men can be priests. That would give me some peace of mind.

  31. LarryW2LJ says:

    Of course, secular reports, such as the one at Yahoo, totally ignore the motherhood angle.

    It’s obvious that our more Liberal brothers and sister see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear and ignore the rest. I agree with SimonDodd – come right out and say it – otherwise Pope Francis will be nuanced to death.

  32. Rich says:

    Just a couple mere observations: (1) Though Benedict XVI began covering the Apostle’s Creed with his general audiences, Francis appears to have begun covering the Nicene Creed with his, as “he rose again on the third day, according to the Scriptures” is only in the Nicene. (2) And, Benedict XVI left off with covering God the Father as “Creator of Heaven and Earth”, and Francis has picked up with the Resurrection, so there is a bit of a gap with all the articles of the Creed about Jesus Christ before “he rose again on the third day”.

  33. This is a lovely and inspiring meditation on the Easter narratives, and I agree wholeheartedly with the Holy Father’s endorsement of Christian motherhood. However, I am wary of reducing the role of us Catholic women to having babies and being attractive sweethearts. The fact is, Christ does not call all women to have babies or even to marry, as the existence of fertility issues, singleness, and the female religious life attest.
    The Easter accounts make little mention of the motherhood status of the Easter women – instead, the Gospels simply tell us that these compassionate ladies had a profound encounter with God and then evangelized the Apostles.

  34. The Masked Chicken says:

    “I recommend visiting traditional convents and waiting on the steps for the girls who discern out. Works for women too. Go visit a traditional seminary and wait on the steps for the men who discern out. :-) ”

    The last visitor I had, 13 years ago, was a woman friend just before she entered an enclosed monastery (her last tour of friends). It was at that point that I realized the futility of having furniture :(

    The Chicken

  35. Rich says:

    @myself: Then again, perhaps he is covering the Resurrection today since…it’s the Octave of Easter!

  36. JBK says:

    The beginning of the part starting with Father Z’s OKAY is pretty much copied from pages 263-263 of Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth, Part II.

    Benedict ends by saying “in the day-to-day life of the Church it is the women who are constantly opening the door to the Lord and accompanying him to the Cross, so it is they who come to experience the Risen One.” Francis develops that into the reflections on women as mothers.

    [Interesting... here is the text... you decide! "One initial difference is that in the confessional tradition only men are named as witnesses, whereas in the narrative tradition women play a key role, indeed they take precedence over the men. This may be linked to the fact that in the Jewish tradition only men could be admitted as witnesses in court—the testimony of women was considered unreliable. So the “official” tradition, which is, so to speak, addressing the court of Israel and the court of the world, has to observe this norm if it is to prevail in what we might describe as Jesus’ ongoing trial. The narratives, on the other hand, do not feel bound by this juridical structure, but they communicate the whole breadth of the Resurrection experience. Just as there were only women standing by the Cross—apart from the beloved disciple—so too the first encounter with the risen Lord was destined to be for them. The Church’s juridical structure is founded on Peter and the Eleven, but in the day-to-day life of the Church it is the women who are constantly opening the door to the Lord and accompanying him to the Cross, and so it is they who come to experience the Risen One. [op. cit. pp. 262-263]]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  37. Mary T says:

    Just reminding people of the October 28, 1995 “responsum ad dubium” on the women priests topic:

    Dubium: “Whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of the faith.”

    Responsum: In the affirmative. This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God and from the beginning constantly preserved in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium etc. etc. etc.

    It goes on to say that Pope John Paul II approved this reply and ordered it to be published. it was signed by Cardinal Ratzinger.

    I really, really, don’t see Francis ignoring this!

  38. Mary T says:

    Regarding the Gold Star of the Day post: proves my point at 9:38 AM today, and Father Z’s “reading Francis through Benedict”, that he is indeed speaking the language of B16 and not of certain cardinals.
    One phrase I did not mention in my 9:38 post was the “gaze” or the “look of love” which is used repeatedly in Communio theology and is also a great favorite or Communion and Liberation. I should note that I was not simply referring to vocabulary, but to the MEANING behind these phrases.

  39. av8er says:

    Reading this and the commentary, especially in light of JBK’s post, I breathe a sigh of relief. Thank you Holy Spirit!
    BTW other examples of Jesus breaking with norms both social and juridical; worked on Sabbath, touched lepers, spoke to prostitutes, publicans and Gentiles. I’m sure there’s more examples.

  40. mamajen says:

    I guess there’s a good reason he reminded me of Benedict then!

  41. av8er says:

    Dang, sorry for duplicate posts.

  42. Rich says:

    @Sarah L: I don’t think it’s possible to “reduce” women’s roles to motherhood, as if motherhood were only one of many roles, a “reduction” to which would involve leaving all these others roles. Motherhood is the core vocation of women, even to those to never bear children. In Mulieris Dignitatem Pope John Paul II identified the Blessed Virgin Mary as the archtypical model in whom is found the role of woman personified as both Virgin and Mother. Virginity according to the Gospel means renouncing marriage and thus physical motherhood. “Nevertheless, the renunciation of this kind of motherhood, a renunciation that can involve great sacrifice for a woman, makes possible a different kind of motherhood: motherhoad ‘according to the Spirit’ (cf. Rom 8:4). (22) And, whether married, single, or consecrated inasmuch as humanity is commited to woman for its formation and survival as one who is loved and so loves in return (cf. 29), and humanity will continue to have such dependence on woman because:

    “Women’s dignity and vocation…has its “ultimate foundation in Christ, who is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever”. If the human being is entrusted by God to women in a particular way, does not this mean that Christ looks to them for the accomplishment of the “royal priesthood” (1 Pt 2:9), which is the treasure he has given to every individual? Christ, as the supreme and only priest of the New and Eternal Covenant, and as the Bridegroom of the Church, does not cease to submit this same inheritance to the Father through the Spirit, so that God may be “everything to everyone” (1 Cor 15:28).” (Mulieris Dignitatem 30)

  43. Sofia Guerra says:

    I was given the care of three children years ago when their mother walked out. I had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and all I wanted to do was spend the rest of my days in my religious order and contribute what I could. My order was inundated by feminists and mentored by progressive priests.
    I chose to live as a religious outside the house and was given permission. during that time God had other plans. A social worker who helped me get to the doctors told me the story of his wife walking out with another man and that he had three children, 10,7 and 4 and he desperately needed help he could not afford.The boys 10 and 7 were developmentally disabled and aspergers. The little girl 4 was possibly sexually abused by the man her mother left with.
    He offered me a place to live if I could just be there to make sure the kids were safe while he was at work. I had my own master suite and the whole bottom floor to myself.
    It seemed like something that could work.
    The children took to me from Day one and the man became like a brother to me. God gave us a family. 4 months later the eldest starting calling me Mom and the younger ones followed. To everyone I was their mother and still am. The youngest, the little firl is now almost 19, She has enlisted in the National guard, is going to Culinary school and is a devout Traditional Catholic young lady. She lives with me now as I left NJ for WI for medical reasons. Her brothers, both 24 and 21 will be coming next year to join us. their father is still my dearest friend and brother (I fixed him up with a beautiful Catholic woman and after his anullment they married two years ago.)
    they are coming for the first visit to WI for a family reunion in June and to see our little one off to boot camp. this is a truly Catholic family. A bit extended and joyfully so but I am a MOTHER. I didnt ask for it, I was given it by God.This is the greatest gift I have ever been given.

    If women don’t get this we are finished. I never thought EVER that motherhood in any shape or form was for me. God gave it to me in spite that marriage is not my vocation. He allowed me to stay in chastity as now a Third Order Carmelite. (I was released from my previous vows in order to legally care for the children) I have been given the best in life. Nothing I thought I wanted or I thought was good for me. But He knew better. Ad majorem Dei gloriam!

    BTW, I have been partially healed. I no longer suffer from end stage CHF, I do still have a pulmonary issue which believe me is nothing. Father Z and so many others prayers were heard, thank you.

  44. VexillaRegis says:

    Sofia Guerra: I’m speechless! God bless you!

  45. moosix1974 says:

    I do believe there is indeed some collaboration between the two holy fathers. I do not mean this in a negative way. In fact, it is quite comforting.

  46. JabbaPapa says:

    acricketchirps, I’m in agreement with Father Z’s quibble about the angels.

    It’s true that angels ordinarily exist outside time and space — but when they manifest in this world, it is necessarily into History — into time and space.

    Though of course his quibble negatively affects the quality of the Pope’s general address … not in the slightest :)

  47. Jon says:

    It’s not women’s ordination to the priesthood that they’re aiming or we must worry about. Go back and read the link I posted above. Even Cardinal Kasper’s given up on that.

    What is being suggested in Kasperian circles, and make no bones about it, Pope Bergoglio, Cardinal Kasper’s perennial candidate, is part of that, are non-ordained but commissioned “deaconesses,” with a role, as His Eminence puts it, “to include…special liturgical functions.”

    These are intended to be priests in all but name, inserted into the sanctuary.

    I know I’m sprinkling rainwater into the tea, and though I’ll be delighted to be proven wrong, but I strongly suspect we’re in for some uncomfortable times.

  48. JPMedico says:

    Will all due respect to everyone here, I see very little reason for Pope Francis to talk about a male-only priesthood at this point. What would it accomplish? The answer has already been given. More than once. If you have a whining child who won’t let an issue drop, at what point do you simply ignore the whining and move on to other things? Why start/escalate a pointless fight? His “positive” approach is the right one. Do the rest of us really need him to add to this fight just confirm what we already (should)know and to quiet our own doubts (that maybe we shouldn’t have in the first place)?

  49. @Rich Thank you for those citations! That’s exactly what I was getting at. “Women’s dignity and vocation…has its “ultimate foundation in Christ.”

    Fr. Z, I’m a little disappointed at your implication that “Church ministry” and “having babies and being good Catholics” are mutually exclusive. It’s not like either you are pregnant & in the kitchen with your rosary or you support women’s ordination. There are plenty of faithful, devout women who raise good Catholic children and serve the Church in other ways as well.

  50. catholicmidwest says:

    There are a lot of places in Scripture where women have a major narrative role, but they aren’t “clerical” in nature, nor many of them take “sex morals” as a major theme. Rather, many of their roles have to do exactly with witness and courage and intercession, which are very important properties of the Christian message. Not everything has to be about the clerical office, and not everything should be about the clerical office. If you read scripture, you’ll see that it deals with religion in a much broader role than many modern people do.
    Examples:
    Ruth and Naomi
    Deborah
    Esther who saved the Jewish nation
    Mary and Martha
    Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin
    Mary
    And many, many more.
    There are even pagan women who play enormous roles in Scripture, such as the queen of Egypt who picked Moses out of the bullrushes because she saw something and was willing to act upon it.
    Women play many pivotal roles in salvation history.

  51. jhayes says:

    Grant Zgallicho discusses this same general audience:

    “As I was reading this passage for the first, I suddenly recalled the first time I’d heard that argument — as a sophomore at Fordham, in a course on feminist theology, taught by Elizabeth A. Johnson.”

    http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/blog/?p=26477

  52. jhayes says:

    Gallicho

  53. LarryW2LJ says:

    From Reuters:

    * Pope Francis says women have special mission in Church

    * Francis: women have special role in spreading faith

    * Gives no sign of change to ban on ordination of women

    * Catholic groups seek greater role for women in Church (Adds statement from Women’s Ordination Conference)

    By Naomi O’Leary

    ROME, April 3 (Reuters) – Pope Francis stressed the “fundamental” importance of women in the Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday, a message hailed as a significant shift from the position of his predecessor Benedict.

    Supporters of liberal reform of the Church have called on it to give a greater voice to women and recognise their importance to the largest religious denomination in the world, and some groups call for women to be ordained as priests.

    The head of the Women’s Ordination Conference, which calls for women to be treated equally in the Church and to be allowed to become priests and bishops, said Francis’s words were the most encouraging she had heard in her lifetime, but did not go far enough.

    “While the pope was trying to be positive about women’s role, where he’s actually wrong is that women were actually disciples, like Mary Magdalene,” WOC Executive Director Erin Saiz Hanna told Reuters.

    “He said women are able to communicate Christ’s words, but actually women can’t preach so that’s a false statement.”

    The Vatican says woman cannot be priests as Jesus Christ willingly chose only men as his apostles. Advocates of a female priesthood reject this position, saying Jesus was merely conforming to the customs of his times.

    Francis, elected last month as the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, said women had always had a special mission in the Church as “first witnesses” of Christ’s resurrection, and because they pass belief onto their children and grandchildren.

    “In the Church, and in the journey of faith, women have had and still have a special role in opening doors to the Lord,” Francis told thousands of pilgrims at his weekly audience in S. Peter’s Square.

    He said that in the Bible, women were not recorded as witnesses to Christ’s resurrection because of the Jewish Law of the time that did not deem women or children to be reliable witnesses.

    “In the Gospels, however, women have a primary, fundamental role … The evangelists simply narrate what happened: the women were the first witnesses. This tells us that God does not choose according to human criteria,” Francis said.

    Fr. Z was right again – they’re NOT happy.

  54. majuscule says:

    Sofia Guerra — I too am speechless. Thank you for sharing your story with us so that we too will be inspired to listen when God calls.

  55. catholicmidwest says:

    The problem, jhayes, isn’t the fact that women were the first on the scene, unless you don’t like the Scriptures: Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, etc. The gospels are very clear on this point. Nor is the problem a legitimate discussion about women in the Bible, including women in the Bible at this point in the Gospels. Rather, the problem is that Madame Johnson probably put a wacky spin on the events like some people do. Some people leave the area of legitimate allegory pretty quickly and spin off into fairy tales. I’d say that’s pretty common actually. I’ve seen tons of it, an embarrassing amount of it in print in Catholic sources too.

    The Pontifical Biblical Commission’s Interpretation of the Bible in the Church is your guide for better exegesis. Promulgated by PJPII in 1994. Go for it. Available in print form, in English, or for free on the Internet in multiple places.
    http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM
    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/pcb_doc_index.htm

  56. catholicmidwest says:

    LarryW2LJ,
    It’s not that women don’t have a role. Rather it’s that many people are totally fixated on clerical roles, specifically clerical liturgical roles, as if that was the only thing that the Catholic faith consisted of. This is why people jump immediately (and ridiculously) to the “ordain women” thing. What neither the media nor some Catholics realize is that women don’t need to be ordained to fulfill their very generous and numerous roles in the Church.

  57. LarryW2LJ says:

    catholicmidwest

    Agreed – 1000% . I just re-posted the Reuter’s article to ratify Fr. Z’s assertions that “Feminists aren’t going to be happy.” His prediction came true within hours.

  58. catholicmidwest says:

    LarryW2LJ,
    Nothing makes them happy. Why should this? LOL

  59. Joan A. says:

    Re: Deaconesses and all that. Maybe it will happen, you could be right, Jon. Just some thoughts:

    1. No matter their friendship, I doubt the Holy Father takes marching orders from Cardinal Kasper. Pope Francis seems to be a man of strong will and able to form his own ideas.

    2. Nobody is “prepped” by America magazine except a fringe element of the Church.

    3. No woman is going to want to be a “non-ordained” deaconess. The ladies pushing to be deacons are pushing for ordination, first as deacons, as the pathway to priesthood, whether Cardinal Kasper admits it or not. This would be a detour from their goal not a stepping stone to it.

    4. Non-ordained woman who “serve many functions on the altar” of a sacerdotal nature already exist, at least in the parishes near me. They are sacristans or “Ministers of the Cup” (EMHC’s) and perform all the functions of altar boys and many other things. One even gives blessings in place of the priest, with the priest’s permission. (Perhaps this is unique to my diocese?)

    5. Rather than a portent of things to come, an aging Cardinal having to use America magazine as the voice for his ideas strikes me as an act of desperation.

  60. acardnal says:

    catholicmidwest, I am sure it was an inadvertent oversight but let’s not forget Judith, one of my favorites. She seduced and then cut off the head of Holofernes and carried it back to show her fellow countrymen. My kind of woman!

    As for Commonweal and America magazine, they are nothing more than mouthpieces for liberal “catholicism”. They support female priesthood, same sex marriage, contraception, etc. America, a Jesuit publication, was so far off base that one of its previous editors, Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J., was removed from his position there at the direction of the Holy See. (He then moved on to the Woodstock Theological Center located at Georgetown Univ., and it is now closing down this June.) Best to ignore them and diversify one’s reading.

  61. StWinefride says:

    Pope Francis says: “I see that there are many young people in the Square! Young boys and girls, to you I say bring forth this certainty to the world: the Lord is Alive and walks beside us on our life’s journey! Bring forth this hope, be anchored in this hope, the hope that comes from heaven! Be anchored and bring forth the hope! You witnesses of Christ bring forth hope to this world that is aged by wars and sin! Go forward young people!

    On 15th August 2004 at Lourdes, Blessed John Paul II said:

    Dear brothers and sisters! From this grotto of Massabielle the Blessed Virgin speaks to us too, the Christians of the third millennium. Let us listen to her!

    Listen to her, young people who seek an answer capable of giving meaning to your lives. Here you can find that answer. It is a demanding one, yet it is the only answer which is genuinely satisfying. For it contains the secret of true joy and peace.

    From this grotto I issue a special call to women. Appearing here, Mary entrusted her message to a young girl, as if to emphasize the special mission of women in our own time, tempted as it is by materialism and secularism: to be in today’s society a witness of those essential values which are seen only with the eyes of the heart. To you, women, falls the task of being sentinels of the Invisible! I appeal urgently to all of you, dear brothers and sisters, to do everything in your power to ensure that life, each and every life, will be respected from conception to its natural end. Life is a sacred gift, and no one can presume to be its master.

    Finally, Our Lady of Lourdes has a message for everyone. Be men and women of freedom! But remember: human freedom is a freedom wounded by sin. It is a freedom which itself needs to be set free. Christ is its liberator; he is the one who “for freedom has set us free” (cf. Gal 5:1). Defend that freedom!

    Dear friends, in this we know we can count on Mary, who, since she never yielded to sin, is the only creature who is perfectly free. I entrust you to her. Walk beside Mary as you journey towards the complete fulfilment of your humanity!

  62. jhayes says:

    catholic midwest wrote “The Pontifical Biblical Commission’s Interpretation of the Bible in the Church is your guide for better exegesis.”

    As it says:

    “Feminist exegesis has brought many benefits. Women have played a more active part in exegetical research. They have succeeded, often better than men, in detecting the presence, the significance and the role of women in the Bible, in Christian origins and in the church. The worldview of today, because of its greater attention to the dignity of women and to their role in society and in the church, ensures that new questions are put to the biblical text, which in turn occasions new discoveries. Feminine sensitivity helps to unmask and correct certain commonly accepted interpretations which were tendentious and sought to justify the male domination of women.

    With regard to the Old Testament, several studies have striven to come to a better understanding of the image of God. The God of the Bible is not a projection of a patriarchal mentality. He is Father, but also the God of tenderness and maternal love.”

    Of course, they go on to discuss the potential dangers:

    “Feminist exegesis, to the extent that it proceeds from a preconceived judgment, runs the risk of interpreting the biblical texts in a tendentious and thus debatable manner. …”

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM

  63. cregduff says:

    I wish we could get digital copies of all of Benedict’s works. I’d want to build a concordance (in today’s language, we’d probably call this a database). I suppose it will become very useful in the months and years to come. Hmm….
    Ed

  64. robtbrown says:

    Jon says:
    It’s not women’s ordination to the priesthood that they’re aiming or we must worry about. Go back and read the link I posted above. Even Cardinal Kasper’s given up on that.

    What is being suggested in Kasperian circles, and make no bones about it, Pope Bergoglio, Cardinal Kasper’s perennial candidate, is part of that, are non-ordained but commissioned “deaconesses,” with a role, as His Eminence puts it, “to include…special liturgical functions.”

    These are intended to be priests in all but name, inserted into the sanctuary.

    I think you’re leaping to conclusions. This man did not want to be pope, nor think he had a chance of being elected. There is no evidence that he is influenced by Kasperian circles. Further, the question of women’s diaconate is of little interest in South America. Further, Papa Bergoglio understands that any such move would split the Church even more than it is now.

    This pope was elected to try to clean up the sexual messes in the Church, incl the Vatican curia.

  65. benedetta says:

    I love this! Beautiful! The Faith passes on by way of motherhood!!

  66. benedetta says:

    Of course “feminist theology” agrees that the Resurrection gospel accounts are credible precisely because the messages were conveyed by women, but feminist theology does not create the concept nor do I take it is it very strong on the Resurrection generally or for that matter, miracles in the Bible, given that feminist theology tends to discount miracles as not consistent with the historical-critical method so popular in our times and having wreaked such havoc on the vast majority of hearers. Essentially, that’s as far as it goes on agreeing with traditional theology.

    I would have liked to hear Gallicho include more of Pope Francis’ text rather than just snippet, as Fr. Z included here, wherein Pope Francis clearly names motherhood as the primary vehicle in our times and in every time in which the faith is handed on. Not by way of Sr. E. Johnson. Motherhood.

  67. chantgirl says:

    While it is important for mothers to teach their children the faith, studies have shown that children are far more likely to retain the faith as adults if they see their father live it. So perhaps the best way for married women to pass the faith on to their children is to help their husbands be strong in the faith, pray for their husbands, and show the children what love and mercy mean. Every woman is called to motherhood, whether physical or spiritual. Girls need to be taught that motherhood is an integral part of being physically and spiritually female, just as fatherhood is the calling of every man. We need to recover our sense of what it means to be male and female.

  68. Johnno says:

    No truly holy women who know their faith will likely want anything to do with becoming deaconesses. They’d rather push their sons into such positions.

    Allowing deaconesses will simply open the floodgates to ‘those sorts’ of waomen who are all to eager to affect change in their direction. Bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad idea. It’s like allowing dissident Catholics and Protestants into places of power to do as they wish, and they will. Heck we’ve already been doing that plenty in schools,. colleges and your local church committee. What we need is a purge of dissidents, not another hole in the dam through which they can flow through. And I guarantee you they will! Anyone trying to tow that line in order to be accomodating is a fool!

  69. The Masked Chicken says:

    Two points.

    First:

    Today’s Gospel reading for Mass is the encounter of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. For all of you closet apologists, I heard the best rejoinder to Protestantism in my life using this Gospel when I was at a conference in Chicago, many years, ago. It was at daily Mass. The priest, during the homily, simply said [approximate, but close, quote], “You know, this should be a lesson to our Protestant brethren – the disciples on the road to Emmaus listened to Jesus talk about Scripture for two-and-a-half hours and their hearts were burning, but they only really recognized Him when they broke the bread – the Eucharist.” So, if you really want to see Christ, you must have the Eucharist.

    Second:

    God, of course, was the first witness to Christ’s Resurrection, then, probably, the angels, then, according to Tradition, The Blessed Virgin Mary, then…well, we don’t actually know. It is possible that other people saw Jesus before Mary Magdalene – after all, she was probably not the only person in the garden – so the whole idea that it was a woman who was the first, “witness,” to the Resurrection is an unprovable speculation. Now, what we do know is that Mary Magdalene was the first reported person that Christ spoke to and called by name, who would have recognized the Resurrection for what it was. Others who might have (might have) seen Jesus, might very well have, like Mary Magdalene, thought he was the gardener.

    Why Mary Magdalene? Was it because she was a woman and a so-called, unreliable witness? Not really. This point is so glossed over that I have never seen it in print, before: out of all of the persons reported to be involved at the events of the Crucifixion, Mary Magdalene is the only person reported by name who is weeping. St. Ambrose, when asked about the possibility of the Blessed Virgin Mary crying at the Crucifixion is reported to have said, “”I read that she stood, but I do not read that she wept.”

    Of all of the persons Jesus might have manifested Himself to, first, in the ordinary course of things (God, angels, BVM are exceptional), would it not have been fitting to do so to the person who most best represented the Beatitude, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted?” We see no one else mourning, in all of Scripture, after the Crucifixion, except Mary Magdalene. She is the type of all who would later mourn for Jesus, even those who pierced him. She is the type, also, of those who would be freed from the Devil by the power of the Resurrected, Jesus – a symbol, also, of Baptism, the gift of water for the Gift of Water, cleansing water for Cleansing Water, her baptism is her tears (if I may be poetic). They are forever linked in the person of Mary Magdalene. Is there a link between Mary Magdalene’s tears and the Resurrection, proper? Well, there is an old Coptic legend that says that when Adam was kicked out of the Garden, he left him two consolations: the Sabbath and tears.* I’ll let you decide.

    What is also unmistakable, is that Mary Magdalene was the first person sent by Jesus on a mission after the Resurrection. Whether or not she was the first witness is unclear. What is clear is that she was the first apostle, in the broad sense of the word – one sent by an authority on a mission. She, also, has the dubious distinction of being the first apostle not to be listened to. One can look at this in two ways. Jesus sent the first person to announce His Resurrection knowing it would be futile (since, as everyone was saying, she was an, “unreliable,” woman – I’ll get to this point in a minute – things are not what they seem) or Jesus sent the first person to announce the Resurrection knowing that it would lead others to the empty tomb. In either case, she is the first known person to call forth faith in another after the Resurrection. That which causes faith to manifest is a miracle. So, one could say that it was Mary Magdalene who worked the first miracle performed by a human after the Resurrection.

    Now, about that, “woman,” thing. As mentioned, Jesus did not choose Mary Magdalene simply because she was a woman, so that it could be reported, 2000 years, later, in some Feminist account, that, “a woman got there, first.” He chose Mary Magdalene, mostly, because she was the person most likely to believe, who would, then, inspire others to act (it also helps that she was sitting outside of the tomb). Does Mary believe best because she is a woman? In general, woman do have a sensibility that comes from the heart. I think Bishop Sheen once pointed out that men love individual things about a person; women love the totality of a person. It makes sense, that the total love of Jesus would almost first have to be manifested by a woman after the Resurrection for that reason, but it was the total love of Jesus (she is one of only three who did not run from the Cross) that is the first dim links of the love that would later flourish in the Church. What we see is, not, the superiority of women as witnesses, but, rather, in the fact that Mary Magdalene went first and then St. Peter, we see the complementarity of the sexes in the task of witnesses. Women witness in the whole; men in the details. Neither male nor female is exempted from the task of witnessing and neither is superior to the other. As in a marriage, the witnessing of Christ’s Resurrection is not complete without the giving of both the part and the whole, without the full participation of both sexes.

    About women not being taken as reliable witnesses in Jewish Law – two points need to be made:

    First – The disciples, who, presumably, were trying to follow Jesus’s sayings, were told that, “Anyone (no gender mentioned) who does the will of My Father is brother, sister, and mother to me.” See, anyone who does God’s will takes on the role of both genders, so, in the understanding of the disciples, themselves, gender, actually was not an impediment to being a witness. This is confirmed after the Resurrection when St. Paul was able to say, “Now, there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek, slave nor free man, but all are one in Christ.” Another confirmation of the change in status of women who followed, The Way, is that, before Jesus’s public ministry, even the Blessed Virgin Mary was not taken to be a reliable witness of the nature of her virginal conception of Christ. St. Joseph had to be convinced by an angel. This was not the case after the Resurrection, when St. Luke probably got most of the Infancy Narrative from Mary, herself.

    Second – If Mary Magdalene were considered such an unreliable witness, why did St. Peter and St. John fly out of the upper room to see for themselves? They did not say, “Mary, you are an unreliable witness. Find us a male who can confirm what you say and we will investigate.” Basically, they believed Mary on the sheer intensity of her own belief and love, but mostly (here’s the point), they knew her to be a reliable witness, – one of their own. More than that, they knew her to be a better follower of Christ than they! She never denied Christ; she never ran from the Cross.

    So, while there are some things one may relate to the Resurrection and womanhood, one has to dig deeper to make the proper connections. One can connect the witnessing of the Gospel to married women through the Blessed Virgin Mary, but one cannot, in any definitive way, connect the witnessing of the Gospel to married women through any of the women explicitly mentioned as witnesses, since Mary Magdalene was, probably, unmarried, and the marital status of the other women who came to put spices on Jesus are unknown. If you want to connect motherhood and marriage to the witness of the Resurrection, it is most fitting to do it through The Blessed Virgin Mary, not the women who initially announced the Resurrection. The Blessed Virgin is the type of the Church, the sign of the Marriage between Christ and His Church and the Second Mother of all the Living (all of the those alive in Christ).

    It is neither male nor female, father nor mother, that is the better witness to Christ’s Resurrection, but, rather, as Annie Dillard says in another context, it is to be the march of Christians on two legs, with the male leg shouting, “Glory,” and the female leg shouting, “Amen.”

    Poor feminists. They are in the unenviable position of trying to march to the tune of, “Onward Christian Soldiers,” while trying to hop on only one leg.

    *As best I can remember the legend.

    The Chicken

    P. S. Now, for all of you humans…this talk of male this and female that is so, homo sapien. Yeah, yeah, a woman announced the Resurrection…but, if you really want to see the love that Jesus, Himself, had for the people for whom he died, you have to look…to chickens. Did not Jesus say:

    “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye would not!”

    I rest my case.

  70. Springkeeper says:

    I love love love hearing encouraging words about motherhood from our church leaders especially the Pope. I am tired of dealing with anti-children (or anti-more-than one-or two-children) people and especially women who profess to be Catholics or protestant Christians. We women are important and our vocation as wives and mothers is important. I encourage my husband’s desire to serve in the many capacities that he chooses. I have been told that my husband is lucky to have a wife who “allows” him to serve The Church as he does. He is a great husband and father and I am just so thrilled that we were called to be Catholics and freed from being Baptists that I don’t care how many ministries he has.

  71. Therese says:

    “Mothers go forward with this witness!”

    I LOVE THIS GUY! When was the last time a Pope talked about mothers? No, not the dear Mother of God, whom everyone remembers–I mean your everyday hard-slogging, dish-washing, diaper-changing mothers. At last, a Pope speaks to us. ;-)

  72. Bea says:

    “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”
    From a poem (1865) by William Ross Wallace.
    Proverb :
    Women, particularly mothers, have a decisive influence on the future direction of society because they raise and nurture the next generation.
    taken from: http://en.wiktionary.org

    As long as we rock the cradle and not the boat (the barque of Peter).

    SarahL@
    “I am wary of reducing the role of us Catholic women to having babies and being attractive sweethearts. The fact is, Christ does not call all women to have babies or even to marry, as the existence of fertility issues, singleness, and the female religious life attest.
    The Easter accounts make little mention of the motherhood status of the Easter women – instead, the Gospels simply tell us that these compassionate ladies had a profound encounter with God and then evangelized the Apostles.”
    SarahL:
    This is not “reducing” the role but ELEVATING it to a most important mission.
    The mission of MARY, Virgin and Mother of Our Lord
    The mission of Sophia Guerra (God bless her soul), who was also a virgin, a mother, a nun and single
    The mission of those with fertility issues with the courage to adopt the unwanted or orphan babies.
    The mission of female religious to teach the children of others in Catholic Truths and give compassion to those in healing apostolates.
    The “Easter women” did not “evangelize” the Apostles but simply bore witness.
    From Pope Francis’ General Audience:
    “the evangelists simply narrate what happened: the women were the first witnesses.”

    Our job is not evangelization in the way of priests but as witnesses as in the way of women.
    If we abandon our role, who will fill it? Our role is different but just as essential.

  73. “I hope he starts to mention fathers and how only men can be priests. That would give me some peace of mind.” there’s no reason not to have peace of mind. He is not going to ordain women. i did a quick read and the message was,women have a significant role. IMHO he is beginning by elevating the special role of women first,THEN he will step into the special role of men. Seems like he’s heading off the enemy at the pass.

  74. To put it another way Pope Francis is creating the (true)narrative and taking it away from the ones who have been writing it.

  75. CatherineTherese says:

    Fr. Z, thank you for this entry today. It lifted my spirits.

    We seek confirmation, encouragement and firm pastoral instruction from our priests, most of all our pope. And now more than ever the Holy Father’s every word, action and gesture is scrutinized. This scrutiny and frenzy has an unsettling effect, but – on the flip side – the smallest confirmations in hope from authoritative figures can urge us onward, strengthened in peace and hope inside the vortex of the storm, as it were.

    I can’t help but fixate on the centrality of Male/Female=Truth, complementerity-of-the-sexes issue as we careen ever more dangerously forward in the name of “progress.” The world needs this truth, and so do many Catholics. Certainly there are many important lessons that the Church can teach the world (or remind us of), but the truth about human nature, Male & Female, strikes me as one which transcends and truly affects us all to our very core.

    Coincidentally, just today I came across this nonsense from our former POTUS…
    http://www.womenspress-slo.org/?p=11440

    …Jimmy Carter explains that he’s finally given up his Christian religion due to its misogyny! There are so many errors in thought here, I hardly know where to begin. My, my, what a lost sheep! And to think, he once led the free world (over the proverbial ledge!). No wonder! Real Men – we need you too!

  76. JabbaPapa says:

    Johnno : No truly holy women who know their faith will likely want anything to do with becoming deaconesses. They’d rather push their sons into such positions.

    erm, there’s actually a nun who is attached to work in our parish, among other duties (she’s also been helping instruct the catechumens and returnees of our diocese this year), whose work as a religious is about 90% or more the same as what the deaconesses of our Church used to provide.

    And NO she’s not one of these modernist liberal lesbian “nuns” in street clothes, expensive hair-do, and make-up, rebellious to our Church and our Holy Father …

    Allowing deaconesses will simply open the floodgates to ‘those sorts’ of women who are all to eager to affect change in their direction. Bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad idea. It’s like allowing dissident Catholics and Protestants into places of power to do as they wish, and they will. Heck we’ve already been doing that plenty in schools,. colleges and your local church committee. What we need is a purge of dissidents, not another hole in the dam through which they can flow through. And I guarantee you they will! Anyone trying to tow that line in order to be accommodating is a fool!

    IF deaconesses WERE to be re-established, which is a VERY big “if”, then you can be sure that the manner of it would provide nothing but screeching and wailing from the feminists.

    The canons describing the role and the vocational ministry of a deaconess have NOT been abolished, and these provisions are the exact antithesis of what the feminists and liberals would want.

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  78. jhayes says:

    Catherine Therese wrote Coincidentally, just today I came across this nonsense from our former POTUS…
    http://www.womenspress-slo.org/?p=11440
    …Jimmy Carter explains that he’s finally given up his Christian religion due to its misogyny!

    That link doesn’t work for me but other articles make clear that he has not “given up his Christian religion” and continues to attend his local Baptist church, where he is a deacon and teaches Sunday bible classes as shown on the church website:

    http://www.mbcplains.org/

    He has separated himself from the Southern Baptist Convention – but that was many years ago.

  79. acardnal says:

    jhayes wrote, “he [Jimmy Carter] has not “given up his Christian religion”.

    Can someone be a follower of Christ and support abortion as he does?

  80. CatherineTherese says:

    jhayes,

    Forgive me if I have unwittingly mischaracterized the story. The title of this strange piece is “Losing my religion for equality… by Jimmy Carter.”

    The link appeared yesterday on my facebook wall – a mindless if accurate finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist, especially as I retreat further from real world encounters with such people – and in this iteration it is dated 1/25/2013.

    Now, having performed a cursory search, chastened by your reply, I see that this is a periodically recycled meme since its original publication in 2009. http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/losing-my-religion-for-equality-20090714-dk0v.html

    I was not aware of that – mea culpa. Still, my comment was only in response to the very title of the piece, “losing my religion,” the description attributed to Carter, himself.

    I thought it was funny to discover this piece on the same day as Pope Francis’s general audience addressing women. In any case, it was a striking contrast and an anecdotal piece of evidence of just how confused people are about sex. Indeed, a man who was once leader of the free world is so confused that he has stooped to denigrating men, patriarchy, chivalry and Christianity and pandering to feminists. He has forsaken everything to worship at the altar of “equality” – right down to his own DNA.

    Sex and complementarity of the sexes are at the very heart of human nature – so it is no wonder that our civilization, culture, governments, institutions, families, and even our Church are in a state of confusion, having breathed in the trope that we are mere social constructs existing on a continuum in plumbing and preferences. Sex-has-become-gender-has-become-choice-has-become-nihilism.

    The Catholic Church – despite the confusion of many of her members, broken and susceptible as we are – has remained the one Truth-telling voice to the world regarding Man and Woman. Thank God we have an all-male priesthood. Thank God for preserving our authority figures as well as our nurturers. Both are essential to life and love. Thank God the Church preserves memory and teaches that we were created Male or Female.

    Apologies for digressing from the topic at hand. I am grateful for our Pope Francis’s lovely commentary about women.

  81. cheerios in my pocket says:

    Excellent! Thanks Fr. Z! I’ve skimmed the posts, and one item that struck me during prayer this morning that I haven’t seen I’d like to share.

    In John 20:11-18, “…Jesus saith to her: Mary. She turning, saith to him Rabboni (which is to say, Master) Jesus saith to her: Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father…”
    As compared with Luke 24:35-48, “…And he said to them: Why are you troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? See my hands and feet, that it is I myself; handle, and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me to have…”

    I went with my daughter’s Douay-Rheims Version vs. my New American Bible because when I was praying today I read that Jesus said, “…Touch me and see…” to the Apostles (men), but to Mary (woman), I recalled Jesus saying, “Do not touch me…”

    I thought this significant. It was as though Jesus directs only men to touch Him (the Eucharist) vs. Mary to not touch Him (the Eucharist that will be distributed by His men, those set apart for this).

    Additionally, I do want to say that any woman concerned about her dignity should listen to Alice Von Hildebrand. Her words truly “cut to the heart” of womanhood. Quick one, why do women wear chapel veils? Because, things that are sacred are veiled (the tabernacle for instance). She has such depth of knowledge of God’s magnificent design. I listened to her speak on EWTN through the internet (I think it was under archived audio) while washing dishes.

  82. Imrahil says:

    Dear @JabbaPapa,

    reestablishing deaconnesses is not just a perhaps imprudent possibility the Church legislator could choose.

    Female deacons cannot be established because they sacramentally cannot exist. The only difference is that while this is quasi-dogmatized for priests, it is no dogma for deacons. But it is true nevertheless.

    The only thing that could be done is calling women in certain positions (nun, especially the active ones; pastoral assistant; etc.), which they do occupy now (and rightfully), with a name once more which they, apparently, possessed in the past.

  83. jhayes says:

    CatherineTheres, he separated from the Southern Baptist Convention 13 years ago. Here’s an article from 2000.

    “Jimmy Carter, a third-generation Southern Baptist and the first United States president to call himself a born-again Christian, has reached what he calls ”a painful decision” to sever ties to the Southern Baptist Convention, saying that parts of its ”increasingly rigid” doctrines violate the ”basic premises of my Christian faith.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2000/10/21/us/carter-sadly-turns-back-on-national-baptist-body.html

    In a newspaper, headlines are written by an editor rather than the author of an article. Often, they convey a differnt impression than the article itself.

  84. jhayes says:

    Sorry for the typo. I meant to type CatherineTherese.

  85. acardnal says:

    jhayes cited a story from the NYT quoting former Pres. Carter saying, “basic premises of my Christian faith.”

    My” Christian faith? Get it?! What ever happened to the Christian faith?

    To set the record straight, Carter claims to be against abortion except in particular cases: Children who were conceived in rape or incest or the proverbial “life of the mother” cases . . . those babies can be killed. That position, however, is not a Catholic one. All life is precious no matter how it is conceived.

    For those interested, here is an article by a man conceived in rape, Ryan Bomberger. He is a vocal pro-life advocate today!
    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/i-was-conceived-in-rape.-did-i-deserve-to-be-aborted?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=9c75bbf3e4-LifeSiteNews_com_US_Headlines_10_25_2012&utm_medium=email

    And this woman, Rebecca Kiessling. Conceived in rape. Big pro-lifer today!
    http://www.rebeccakiessling.com/index.html

    Can you imagine either of those two individuals not being on earth today because they were aborted?

  86. JabbaPapa says:

    Dear Imrahil, Deaconesses have NEVER had any sacramental role in our Church — nor did I claim otherwise.

    Re-establishing the Deaconesses would provide them with no such role, given that the relevant canons of several Ecumenical Councils expressly define Deaconesses as not having one.

  87. Johnno says:

    JabbaPapa -

    Not the same thing. The vocation of a Nun is one thing and yes Nuns ALREADY do practically everything Deaconnecesses do. However the liberal sorts want more – the Priesthood. To now create a new category for them not for good theological reasons nor for necessity but simply to placate these sorts is a terrible idea. Even if no doubt the Church would make it such that it doesn’t of course mean a step towards priestesses (though at face value none of the uninformed will see it that way), feminists will moan and wail, but they’ll happily take what they can get and the co-opt and use it to undermine the faithful. Period. These are not the sort of people you make concessions to. Ever.

  88. Imrahil says:

    Dear @JabbaPapa,

    I was not implying anything, merely said that in my opinion, and because women actually do all sort of jobs a deaconness did in the past, the word “reestablish” is misleading.

    Dear @Chicken,

    as to your Bible verse, I’d like to mention also the beautiful modern poetry it inspired (which you of course know)…

    Until Armageddon, no shalam, no shalom
    Then the Father Hen will call his chickens home
    The wise man will bow down before the thorn
    And at his feet they will cast the golden crowns
    When the Man comes around…

    Johnny Cash

  89. cheerios in my pocket says:

    acardnal,
    Mariann Gonzalez
    Both Rebecca and Ryan spoke at the Cleveland Right to Life Annual Symposium. Their talks along with others (4 years worth) are free to download. Use this link…
    http://www.bringingamericabacktolife.org/2013_Presentations.html
    God’s blesssings upon you!