People’s Pope? Well, Half of Them
As a Catholic, I commend your evenhanded description of the new pope by Frances Kissling and Katha Pollitt, and Laila Lalami’s review of Coetzee’s The Childhood of Jesus [Oct. 14].
There are so many viewpoints of Catholicism within the Christian framework that it is difficult to find an unbiased commentary—and yet that is what these writers did. That the Catholic Church should or could lead the religious world in inclusion is but a noble dream, similar to the one presented by Coetzee. From the perspective of the feminist, Francis falls far short. This is just the beginning of the conversion of the old church to the new; its modernization may take centuries.
Leave it to Katha Pollitt to put her own smart spin on the pope & his supposed open-mindedness [“Pope Francis: Sexism With a Human Face?” Oct.14].
As a lifelong Catholic, I agree with Katha Pollitt that Pope Francis is basically a “lovely man” whose pronouncements and interviews have garnered widespread support. But Pollitt is also spot-on when she states that the pope has “little sense of real women.” He said in an interview with America magazine, “I am wary of a solution that can be reduced to a kind of ‘female machismo,’ because a woman has a different makeup than a man.” Female machismo is the big threat when the major cause of death for American women is murder by their boyfriends and husbands, and when hundreds of thousands of girls and women are trafficked and treated as slaves? Women deserve better. We all deserve better.
Mark R. Day
What Francis has done is put issues like war and peace and economic injustice back on the church’s front burner, and that is a big improvement, especially in the United States, where the bishops have for the most part been little more than ward heelers for the Republican Party.
Nah, no real change until they lose the doctrine of papal infallibility. It’s a new idea, not the way the church originally worked; infallibility isn’t ancient, it’s a modern invention used to fight modernity—nice work, eh?
My Jesuit institution, Santa Clara University, has already answered Katha Pollitt’s question. Our president recently sent a university-wide letter that begins by stating how “deeply moved, encouraged, and challenged” he is by the example of Pope Francis, especially the pope’s “priority: healing wounds and warming hearts.” Thus inspired, he announced that “our core commitments as a Catholic University are incompatible with the inclusion of elective abortion coverage in the University’s health plans.” Despite the university’s stated commitment to shared governance, the decision to deny elective abortions to faculty, staff, girls and women covered by its insurance plans was made with no opportunity for discussion.
Nancy C. Unger
santa clara, calif.
Going Hungry in America