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Why Not a Woman Pope?
“I am an expression of the divine, just like a peach is, just like a fish is.”
-Alice Walker, The Color Purple
“The symbol of Goddess gives us permission. She teaches us to embrace the holiness of every natural, ordinary, sensual dying moment.”
-Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
In discussing the recent Pope announcement with my daughters, I asked them, “What do you think about a woman Pope? Why not a woman Pope?” My daughter’s quick reply: “Why not a black woman Pope?”
There is, of course, a rich tradition of deeply spiritual black women. In The Color Purple by Alice Walker and The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, Spirit is expressed as richly interwoven into the black woman’s daily life experiences—both in extreme hardships and in joyous celebrations. For these women, God is found within each person. As Maya Angelou says, “Nothing can dim the light that shines within.”
Spiritual leadership takes many shapes and forms. In Native American traditions, it is understood that the young and the elders are intimately connected to Spirit. That connection is not based on gender but on the ability of the young and the elders to be with Spirit more naturally and more easily than those in other age groups. On recently entering this world or on the journey out of this world, the veil between the human experience and spiritual experience is thinner. As such, the children and wise elders are honored and respected as great spiritual teachers.
When I asked my friend Marg, “Why can’t a woman be Pope? I don’t understand.” Her reply was, “It’s a club, and you have to have a penis to be allowed in the club.” I don’t know why that would be a requirement for loving God or holding a position of spiritual authority. Surely God does not care if someone does or does not have a penis. A life dedicated to Spirit is a calling, just like being an artist, teacher, scientist, social worker, librarian, musician, doctor, and so on is a chosen path. It’s a tug on the heart that pulls you along in certain directions on life’s journey and prompts you to make necessary changes when off course.
Ultimately, the heart of each and every living entity is always worthy of Spirit and worthy of love.
If a woman, of any race, feels called to follow a life of God, then maybe she will be the next Pope, Buddha, Prophet, or Messiah . . . as she lovingly tends to all in her care and gently nurtures Mother Earth. Arundhati Roy, author of The God of Small Things, says, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way! On a quiet day, if you listen carefully, you can hear her breathing.“
In joy & gratitude,
Diana J. Ensign
We definitely need a woman pope! Women have been put down and kept down for much too long in the Catholic Church. Now is th time for the People to speak up, stand up, and protest…
Well, it is the Catholic Church that the Pope is the head of, so I am pretty sure you need to be a practical Catholic to be the Pope. Not sure who Marg is, or what authority she has to state what the main requirement is to be Pope. Is she a disrepectful catholic, or just disrepectful? I think it is interesting that who the person is that is Pope is of such concern to non-catholics. Also, the Catholic Church is not a “club”, anymore than any other religion is. Using the word “club” is done to denigrate the Church. Also, a life dedicated to God is unlike/unequal to any other calling. Nothing else you can dedicate yourself to in this life promises eternal life.
Also, nothing can dim the light that shines within; not for a man or a woman.
Of course you are right…the Spirit of God fills all human beings regardless of gender or any other characteristic…however your friend is right…the “official” Catholic church is a male patriarchal system that has much more to do with power and politics than spirituality or even the origins of Christianity…but that is for now, sadly, the way it is. The first step will be to ordain women, and I believe that will happen…then someday, yes there will be a female pope! Blessings of light and love….Charlie
I’m Marg, the gal Diana referenced in her post. I thought I’d respond to Rocky’s criticism.
I always appreciate learning what people have to say on this subject, as I understand it is very controversial and affects so many people throughout the world.
I claim no authority other than to answer a question put to me by a friend, as truthfully and succinctly as possible. Rocky says I was disrespectful. I’m sorry he felt that way, but I think he misunderstood my statement.
Rocky said my “Using the word ‘club’ is done to denigrate the Church.” Far from using the word to denigrate the Catholic Church, I used that word to differentiate the Catholic Church and its faithful from its unjust governance system, the one created by very human men to perpetuate their power and control over women.
A religion is a creation designed to serve God. In my opinion, serving God requires a pursuit of justice, an embrace of humility, and the constant and unceasing expression of love.
A club is a creation designed primarily to serve its members.
I am in total agreement with Rocky when he says, “Also, nothing can dim the light that shines within; not for a man or a woman.” But I would go further and state that the failure of men to share governance and power with women in the Catholic Church can be understood as nothing other than an ATTEMPT to do just that, to dim the light of all the Catholic women faithful.
Thank you Clark, Rocky, Charlie, and Marg for sharing your reflections! A quote I love: “If we would look for a God of love, we must look long and deeply into each other.” That is the only way we’re going to reach a world of harmony and love–by trying to understand one another and do the best we can with each other! So thank you!
I agree with you Rocky that a life dedicated to God is unlike any other. A plumber or teacher may separate that daily job out from time with family or weekend pursuits, whereas a “life of Spirit” is 24/7 and permeates everything one does. What I meant in the blog, though, was that a “life of God” can also be a vocation, meaning a minister or priest or rabbi, and so on, and those vocations should be open to either gender. For instance, my young niece Kate loves to say the dinner blessings and prayers. She gets so excited and passionate about the prayers. If someday she wants to pursue that passion as an adult and give sermons and blessings to couples, I don’t think it’s fair to tell her that her brother can be a priest, or Bishop, or Pope, but she can’t because she’s a girl.
I also appreciate that both Rocky and Marg “walk the talk” of their faith…as do Clark and Charlie! I know that both Rocky and Marg gather friends for prayers and spiritual healing energy for those in need. I want to say that you all are absolutely some of the most deeply spiritual people I know, and I would put my life in each of your hands. … and I also would love for Kate to know that all spiritual paths are open to her!
peace & joy ~