Oops! Looks like not all journalists agree Pope Francis is the people’s superstar pope. But all is not lost. If the pontiff wants to make inroads with liberal feminists, all he has to do is stop being Catholic!
Huffington Post Religion Blogger Angela Bonavoglia gave some pointers to Pope Francis on women in her latest piece, “For Pope Francis: A To-Do List on Women.” As an introduction, she wrote, “Dear Pope Francis: As this new year unfolds, I've decided that, with all due respect, it is time for me to share with you my suggested ‘To-Do list on Women’” – which, among other things, included the revelation that Mary’s virginity is a “myth” and that “God obviously trusted women” to choose abortion.
Besides her Huffington Post blogs, Bonavoglia’s work has appeared in Ms., the NY Daily News, the Chicago Tribune, the Nation, Salon, Redbook, Mirabella, Cosmopolitan, Newsday, the New York Times, and the National Catholic Reporter.
To encourage perfection in the pontiff, Bonavoglia offered nine recommendations via her list:
1. Please stop talking about the role of women in the church.
Bonavoglia explained, “We never talk about expanding the role of men in the church because they are expected to be players in the whole church. The subject is justice, and equality.” Ms. Bonavoglia apparently forgot that Pope Francis originally spoke on the topic because journalists like her made the “role of women in the church” a talking point. Speaking of irony, Bonavoglia entitled her latest book as, “Good Catholic Girls: How Women Are Leading the Fight to Change the Church.”
2. Recognize women's God-given free will moral authority.
By this, Bonavoglia means, “Abortion can be a difficult decision, we agree, but God obviously trusted women to make that decision: look where She put the embryo.”
3. Study feminist theology.
“Actually, what we need is for you and your brother prelates to stop demonizing leading Catholic feminist theologians and integrate their analyses into mainstream Catholic theology,” Bonavoglia wrote. They can start by listening to the words of “brilliant Catholic feminist theologians” such as Sister Elizabeth Johnson, a thinker recently reprimanded for “highlight[ing] biblical passages where Jesus portrays God as female.” Bonavoglia might as well nominate herself too, judging by her own earlier “she-god” reference.
4. Bless the use of contraception.
The U.S. bishops, “in their religious freedom crusade that birth control is not health care, when every major health organization maintains that it is crucial the health of mothers and babies” appeared “downright medieval.”
5. Leave behind the Virgin Birth.
Of course, Bonavoglia couldn’t talk about women in the Church without bashing Mary. “That idea – of a mother unsoiled by sex – is a terrible burden for Catholic women who can never measure up” and is nothing more than a “myth,” according to Bonavoglia.
6. Appoint a woman to the College of Cardinals.
In a rant against Church doctrine, she continued, “Ordaining women is crucial to the future of the Church, and while you have insisted that the ban on women's ordination is a settled question, the Church's defenses are thin as air.”
7. End compulsory celibacy.
“Replenishing the vanishing ranks of priests is only one reason to let all priest[s] marry” – but it was the only explanation Bonavoglia offered, citing a priest banished in the name of love and marriage by the Catholic Church.
8. Hold your brethren accountable.
Bonavoglia brought up the sex abuse scandal to hypothetically ask, “Do you really think that the bishops would have such an easy time turning away the mothers who came asking for justice for the brutal crimes against their offspring if women had been equal players in the church?”
9. No more meetings about women without women.
Bonavoglia didn’t say much on this point, but instead went on a personal rant: “So in the end, these changes I seek are for my mother and my mother’s mother and her mother before her and all the women back through the ages who have been deeply wounded by this church.”
But hey, there are a few things Bonavoglia does approve of: Pope Francis’ “passionate defense of the poor,” his “willingness to call unbridled capitalism what it is” and his “symbolically and not so symbolically throwing the money changers – in the form of remote, rich, recriminating hierarchs – out of the Church temple.”
But then, the media – and journalists – are no strangers to picking and choosing in regards to the pope’s messages on important issues.
— Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center. Follow Katie Yoder on Twitter.