I read the headline today concerning Pope Francis’ appointment of 15 new cardinals with a heavy heart. It read, “Pope names 15 new cardinals, aims to reflect church diversity.” (Associated Press, 4 January 2015).
I thought to myself, “Surely, the author intends this headline sarcastically.” Sadly, I was wrong. The author, Frances D’Emilio, earnestly reported the Pope’s appointment of cardinals who reflect the diversity of the church because they are men who come from different parts of the world. Hip, hip, hooray! This is REAL progress, isn’t it?
The next step, of course, would be to appoint a woman or two to the mix. Pope Francis has already said, however, that this won’t be happening during his pontificate. Increasingly, the diversity of the Canadian Catholic Church is reflected in the distance between those who support the Church’s disregard of woman as possible leaders in the Church and those who continue to fight for women’s rights, or who have simply walked away.
According to Pope Francis, the door is closed on the question of women’s ordination and therefore, on the possibility of any woman in the Roman Catholic Church assuming a role in the clerical hierarchy. This also means that the governance and representative profile of the global Catholic church as it appears in the curia, will continue to represent only the diversity of the Church’s men.
In February, the pope will lead discussions about Vatican reform of the curia, where it is unlikely that the role of women in the Church will even be mentioned. Members of the Roman Catholic church, instead of being outraged by this flagrant disregard for the rights of women, will likely praise and encourage such open-mindedness and such a vision for reform.
Please, reporters, do not report any of this as “news.” There is nothing new about the fact that religion is one of the last havens for misogyny operating on a global scale on this planet.