Pope Francis says the Catholic Church Should Acknowledge its Abuse of Women

The Church should support women’s rights

The Vatican released a 33,000-word letter authored by Pope Francis on April 2 where the pontiff asked the Church to have an “open doors” policy to acknowledge its faults. The letter also advocated that the Catholic Church must listen to women who want “greater justice and equality.”

The letter is a clear indication of the pope’s willingness to evolve his Church with the times. The document, however, fails to mention any concrete steps which would improve the role of women in the Church. The text also fails to make a mark on two pressing other issues shaking the Church: how sexual abuse would be managed by the Church and its teaching regarding homosexuality.

Francis’ latest authorship shows his awareness of the Catholic Church’s failings. He wrote that it is important for the Church to look back in time to its history and admit a fair amount of male domination and authoritarianism along with multiple kinds of enslavement. There were also notably large amounts of sexist violence and abuse. The document, however, does not go all the way. The pope has made a reference to the demand for female priests saying the Vatican would lend its support to women’s rights while disagreeing with many of the proposals put forward by many feminist groups.

Francis tangentially mentioned the Church’s teachings regarding sexuality, writing that the “sexual morality” becomes a source of alienation and incomprehension from the Catholic Church, and the institution is increasingly viewed as a place where only condemnation and judgment are doled out. The text went on to point out that young individuals express an explicit want to discuss many questions concerning differences between female identity and male identity.

Francis wrote that a Church which is always defending itself invariably stops listening to outside influences. This inference was probably an oblique response to criticism from many traditionalists who claim that the present leader of the Roman Catholic Church has relaxed age-old moral teachings. In his apostolic exhortation bearing the name Christ Is Alive, the pope wrote the Church must listen to young people’s aspirations.

The document is a timely one as an Westerners are now abandoning the scandal laden Catholic Church along with other faiths.

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