My WaPo response to Francis’ comments about needing a deeper theology of women in the church

Screen Shot 2013-01-19 at 6.27.30 PMLast Sunday, on his flight home from World Youth Day in Rio, reporters asked several questions of the Holy Father on a variety of subjects. Of note for women is that Francis, while stipulating that the path to priestly ordination for women is closed, he suggested that a deeper “theology of women in the church” might be in order.

From where I sit, Francis’ comments should not be misconstrued to mean the church has no theology of women, for, as many of you know, the church has spoken quite a bit about women and their vocations most notably in the last fifty years. The problem as I see it, is that many women and men in the pews have not heard much about the dignity and vocation of women. I wrote my book, Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious as an introduction to many of these themes.

In light of this, all I can say to our pontiff is, Holy Father, we welcome this!

And to the media all I can say is, it’s time to catch up on what the church has already said about women! 

Read my thoughts on this subject at the “On Faith” column in today’s Washington Post online.



Update: I’m loving this response from former Among Women guest, author Emily Stimpson gives over at

3 comments on “My WaPo response to Francis’ comments about needing a deeper theology of women in the church

  1. Vox Populi says:

    Hello Pat,

    On behalf of Dr. Mark Miravalle, a teacher of Mariology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, let me send his congratulations on your article. Though he’s on vacation right now, he expressly asked me to contact you and convey this message because of the accuracy and way of explaining the Church’s teaching on Mary (at the foot of the cross) and the role of women. He did request that I ask you what you consider the three or four most uniquely feminine characteristics of woman, both in your own opinion, and what you find in Magisterial documents

    1. Pat says:

      How wonderful to get a message from my one of my former professors! I hope I’ve learned the Mariology lessons well!

      As to the query of the feminine characteristics of women, my book outlines the four qualities that can been gleaned from JPII’s work on the subject, that is receptivity, generosity, sensitivity, and maternity. I take up a discussion of each of these four qualities and call them “gifts” –not only given to women by God for themselves, but given to them for the sake of their mission in the world. The last part of the part emphasizes that the mission of women is largely physical and spiritual motherhood… and what that might look like in a modern woman’s life today, as well as how their mission helps aid the new evangelization as it helps to build a culture of life, including asking women to consider JPII’s call toward a new feminism. Throughout the book I share stories from my own life, including my own journey in getting to know the Blessed Virgin Mary as my own spiritual mother, as I slowly unpack Marian truths that intersect with the themes of the book.

      Thank you for writing, and I will look forward to corresponding with Dr Miravalle about the same.

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