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The Church & Women: At a Crossroad

Sr Joan Chittister OSB - UCAnews - Mon, Jul 18th 2016

Pope Francis has won the heart of the world by being humble, simple and pastoral — the warm and caring face of the church, a man like Jesus who is a man of the poor.

But clearly, no one can say they are for the poor as Jesus was and do nothing, nothing, nothing for the equality of women. To address classism does not begin to resolve the problems that come with sexism.

The full humanity of women, human anthropology, and our efforts to eradicate poverty are indeed among the issues that will measure both this papacy and this church as it moves again from an age that is dying to a new age that is coming to life.

Otherwise, when death comes, we may all be there to see it.

In 1998, Pope John Paul II instructed the bishops of Michigan and Ohio in their ad limina visits to Rome: “The genius of women must be evermore a vital strength of the church of the next millennium — just as it was in the first communities of Christ’s disciples.”

Which, from where I stand, leads directly to the question women find continually more wearying: If not now — 15 years later — when?

– Joan Chittister OSB (

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