Does Pope Francis think women are unfit for politics?

In today’s (August 3rd) Independent Eilis O’Hanlon quotes Pope Francis as saying the following in 2007, apparently in the context of a presidential election in Argentina:
“Women are naturally unfit for political office. Both the natural order and facts show us that the political being par excellence is male.  Scripture shows us that woman has always been the helper of man who thinks and does, but nothing more”.
Can anyone authenticate, or give a context, to this statement. If he really did say it, and if it means what is appears to mean, we could be in deeper trouble than we think
Sunday night: Eilis O’Hanlon has admitted on Twitter that there was no proper authentification for her quote. Sunday Independent!!!

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  1. Soline Humbert says:

    I had come across this statement before at the time of Francis’ election as bishop of Rome ,but upon investigation had found that it couldn’t really be substantiated at all. I personally think it is completely mischievous. I am committed to women’s ordination,which means I am dedicated to honouring the truth and there does not seem to be any truth in that statement.A commitment to the truth is the foundation of any dialogue:attributing to Francis deeply sexist views which he does not hold will not serve us. As St Paul tells us in today’s reading: “Never tell each other lies”.
    Happy feast day of the patron saint of priests,John Vianney!

  2. Mary O Vallely says:

    Read this and decide for yourselves. IF he did say this in 2007 he has had 6 years in which to have reflected, to have learned much and to have changed his mind. It is too easy to think the worst so let us wait and see. I know he has said that the door is shut on women’s ordination as his priority is raising awareness of social injustices. This particular injustice will just have to be kept in the limelight by those for whom it is a priority. Give the 76 year old a chance to listen. (My farthing’s worth anyway.)
    “To live is to change and to be perfect is to have changed often.” Eh??

  3. She now wants me to correct it for her.
    She carried on, and I won’t bore readers here with the details, by resorting to ad hominem arguments and claiming she was standing by her own central argument, to which, of course, I had not even referred.
    I can only assume that she saw my intervention as a male attack and in some way a defence of the Pope’s view on women priests. Neither of which is the case. Sloppy journalism and a Pope in error are two separate and distinct issues.

  4. Mattie Long says:

    A cursory two-minute Google search brought up the following articles along with others using the supposed quote.
    Did the Sunday Independent journalist in question credit her source for the quote?
    Great care is always needed before accepting the veracity of anything on the Internet / social media sites, including the sites I quote below.
    Mattie Long

  5. Eddie Finnegan says:

    If you ever leave the Holy See for Ireland,
    Cé go bhfuil tú ag dul anonn sa lá,
    Don’t get trapped behind that parapet in Cabra,
    Or ‘neath the barometric pressure of Armagh.
    For the Spirit breezing through the Sees of Ireland
    Bloweth where she listeth as she goes;
    While the women on the websites chanting credos
    Speak a language that no bishop ever knows.
    Make sure you book ahead for Ballygawley –
    The ACP Gathering from Rathfriland to Raphoe –
    But you’ve missed the boat unless you catch the Ferry
    For Alberta’s Midnight Mystic Mary of Dungloe.
    Soline will give a crash course in the BASICs:
    “But who will Bake the Bread for us?” you say.
    You’ll see before the dewfall ou le coucher de soleil
    Vicaire-Général Humbert sail into Killala Bay.
    The other Brendan’s currach’s slipped its Moorings –
    Papaolatry doesn’t turn them on in We Are Church –
    But to show them who’s the Mammy, just begin “A Phobal Dé . . .”
    For Pobal’s blazed the trail and carried the torch.
    So “the political being par excellence” is by nature male?
    Seems you’re more macchiavellian than berlusconian by the day.
    So what if you were only flirting with Cristina in ’07?
    If you don’t watch them Irish women, you’ll end up in Galway Bay.

  6. Sean (Derry) says:

    “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet just because there’s a picture with a quote next to it.” – Abraham Lincoln

  7. Joe O'Leary says:

    These journalists have done tremendous damage to the church by their tendentious columns (hers on the Magdalenes are quite disgraceful). By the time the record is set straight we’ll all be in our graves.

  8. Good try as a poet Eddie but you are reaching. Hilarious last line but no sense of metre. What is so surprising that pope Francis might once have said that women’s place is in the home? The whole Christian teaching – a la the bible – is about how MEN should treat their women, ooh and also their slaves, (the bible teaches us to be kind to our slaves).
    There might be a God, but for pity’s sake let’s at least acknowledge that all religions are mysogenist.
    The woman’s place is in the home – and so said all popes, all leaders of backward-looking men who like to dress up.
    Except for very camp Long-island gays, who all think God is such a bitch.
    No disrespect meant here – said only for fun – God will forgive me, (I have invested 50% of my income in the past ten years on indulgences, mostly woodchips from the Cross) 🙂

  9. Soline Humbert says:

    Saint Clare, Saint Chiara”the bright one “(Eddie @7)”has advice for Francesco…. and for all of us:
    “St Clare asks: are you becoming a mirror of Christ for others to see and follow?
    She wants us to reflect Christ in our lives,
    to help buid up the Body of Christ through transformation in love ,
    and to participate in the church.
    She is a mystic who calls us to go forward into God
    by letting Christ take on our flesh
    so that we may reflect the face of Christ to the world.
    She tells us not to be dissuaded in the path to God,
    to be resolute in our convictions
    and trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
    Clare,the woman who said “no” to the pope
    and won his admiration,
    is a model for our time ,
    for she shows the strength of conviction in the face of opposition.
    Her thought is centered on the essence of human identity.
    Be yourself and allow God to dwell within you.
    Christ will then be alive
    and the world will be created anew”.
    ( from “Clare of Assisi,a Heart Full of Love” by Ilia Delio osf)
    Clare’s feast day is next Sunday,11th August.
    She is well worth a remembrance.
    She is a light for our path.I have drawn inspiration from her and I am deeply grateful to her for her radical witness to the One she came to embody with so much love and radiate so brightly.

  10. cathy swift says:

    Pope Francis as quoted from John Allen in the National Catholic Reporter on July 29th 2013:
    “A church without women would be like an apostolic college without Mary. The Madonna is more important than the apostles — the Church herself is feminine, the Spouse of Christ and a mother.
    “The role of women doesn’t just end with being a mother and with housework. We don’t yet have a truly deep theology of women. We talk about whether they can be this or that, can they be altar boys, can they be lectors, about a woman as president of Caritas (Catholic charities). But we don’t have a deep theology of women in the church.”
    I’ve been turning that over in my mind since. I’m not sure I can even imagine where thinking about a theology of women might begin, especially if it doesn’t focus on motherhood. As someone who is not a mother but is female, I’d dearly love to imagine this challenge might be taken up; it felt when I saw it first like the first warm welcome for single lay females by a church leader that I’d ever seen.

  11. Bernard Cotter says:

    I think the ACP is copying the Sunday Independent, in re-printing a quotation so devoid of merit, evidently just for controversy’s sake

  12. Kevin Walters says:

    Soline Humbert @11
    “St Clare asks: are you becoming a mirror of Christ for others to see and follow?
    To become a reflection of Christ we must look into (the mirror) His heart, when we do this we see ourselves as we are which instils humility. A new female saint was asked by God to do this, reflect (Show) his Image to all of Gods people but the Church could not accept her Image (reflection) of herself before God, as it did not conform to their worldly image of goodness.
    Mother church, I am angry, it is true I have many bones to pick with you
    I read about a nun, (Now St. M.Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy) the mirror of her heart shone in the dark
    She held the lord in the most perfect way, tender heart, water, and gentle ray
    Paint me in such away, that they will know what I want to say, taste the water feel the gentle ray
    The result was stark like a tree without bark; she might as well have painted in the dark
    An earthly hand said this will never do, paint it anew She drew and drew but in her heart she knew that for the hand of authority, it would never do
    We will have another do it anew we don’t want them to laugh at you.
    We will make it in our image perfect in every way, your reflection is failure, take it away.
    I knew a child I knew him well he tried to draw a picture for you as well. No child was more honest and this is true on first communion day you tore his heart in two. You cannot read you cannot pray, this is a sin this is not the perfect way, go away. Guilt was the price to pay I did not know the correct words to say. Benediction came can I ring the bell no you will not do it well. “But I do all you ask”, why are you like an Asp. Puberty came, now this really was sin, I could not win. I tried but all you did was chide. In trust I gave you the picture of my heart, you tore it apart
    I took you at your word you see you said. “Be perfect”, just like me. You knew that my heart fell at the apple tree you did not tell that you fell as well
    Now we have a picture on display, perfect in every way. Whose reflection is shown?
    Why does hers, not hold the higher place, was not she the one with the grace. But for you Mother it will not do it must be perfect to reflect you.
    Will love find a way to show the truth, form the way and mould a heart so that it may pray.
    Let the children come and play, taste the water and feel the gentle ray, so that they might live in day
    Venerate the picture of broken man; we reflect the lords heart the best we can.
    Father we only have to turn to you and always you give the morning dew. Your heart is nailed to a tree, so that we dance free when we bend our knee.
    kevin your brother in Christ

  13. Soline Humbert says:

    Merci beaucoup Eddie for giving me (and many others I’m sure) a really good laugh on my birthday:”Vicaire-General Humbert”!
    I have been called many things (!), but this is one of the funniest…
    God bless your wit and imagination.
    Happy Feast of the Transfiguration.

  14. A theology for women is an interesting concept but how would it work I wonder. Would it mean having two theologies one for men and one for women? More dualism? All philosophy and all theology is derived from male thought, I think there would have to be much deconstruction and reconstruction, rethinking, re-interpretation of the Two Testaments and two thousand years of a male dominated Tradition. For me the only thing that would work is an inclusive male/female theology, based on equality and mutual respect.

  15. You know as I journey around the Emerald Isle
    I talk about the country, God, and the ACP
    Now, I’m in Manorhamilton and I couldn’t help but smile
    When one of the first sights to see
    was the Church of St. Clare
    recently the topic of choice for Soline
    on the ACP, a website we have spent a fine while

  16. Kevin Walters says:

    Nuala O’Driscoll @16
    I think there would have to be much deconstruction and reconstruction, rethinking, re-interpretation of the Two Testaments and two thousand years of a male dominated Tradition. For me the only thing that would work is an inclusive male/female theology, based on equality and mutual respect.
    We’ll meet under the apple tree again
    Wash away our shame
    Bath in the freshness of love anew
    The serpent will be there to
    But he has no heart, like you and me
    His design is to divide and malign
    In envy, he would devour
    But he will have to flee
    He cannot hold water (Love/Truth) like you and me
    Once more, we would be free
    There’d be tenderness between you and me
    The apple blossom will bloom again
    As we walk without shame
    Looking with wonder, with eyes anew
    As your heart reflects mine and mine you
    Man is for woman as woman is for man
    This is the Fathers plan
    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  17. Thank you Soline for your blessings and really thank you for supplying the above link……2 statements grabbed my attention: Pope Francis says: “The Church perhaps is a prisoner of its’ own rigid formulas”…..This is a HUGE statement…and I’ll leave that for pondering….and secondly….and maybe even more importantly…Pope Francis says…”By losing women, the Church risks becoming “sterile”….It has been my contention that without women acknowledged for their God given vocations to teach, preach, and heal (sanctify)…the Church is rendered impotent….This talk to the Brazilian Bishops is momentus….and I want to bank on Pope Francis’s words…that the Church is going to progress the way he directs…This was a tremendous talk and I would dearly love, that it doesn’t get shelved as more pretty rhetoric….I tell you, I think, the man has it…if he could only recognize that women are fit and called to do the work that the Pope and others think they are not….

  18. Polemique says:

    If he did say it I agree with him.
    St Paul says that women should not speak in Church and he too had a highly valid point.
    He was not suggesting that women not preach or teach.
    Of course not. He was speaking about the nature of women as gossips. Is it misogynist to tell them not to speak ill of their neighbours in the House of God ? I should think not.
    Just as Jesus cast out those buying and selling from the Temple. He’d have to cast out so many chatty women today.
    There is a natural order to things. I do believe a woman’s place is in the home raising children and creating stable society.
    Ann Widdecombe, the English politician, told a group of people in the “Squared Intelligence” debate of October 19th 2009 that to suggest a woman represent Christ at the Consecration is akin to asking a man be the Virgin Mary.
    The woman speaks with a squared intelligence and cuboidal wisdom, so take note ladies.
    Just as Pope Francis above queries that ‘women might become altar boys.’ Perhaps the Pope is raising the issue of Transgenderism in a Freudian kind of way.
    I heartily agree with the quote being argued here and would also think and believe that women should acknowledge their place in the grand scheme.
    Jesus gives great import to service. To servants being equal to the Master. So why complain ?!
    I don’t mean or wish to offend anyone here, woman or man. But there you have it.

  19. Soline Humbert says:

    @21″ I do believe a woman’s place is in the home raising children”… Obviously Jesus had amore enlighteneed view on the matter (Thank God!),considering the women disciples who followed him around Galilee and into Judea
    ( Joanna, Susanna, Mary etc…)and provided out of their means.
    And He obviously didn’t think Mary and Martha were gossips since he often stayed at their home……
    And as for Mary,the mother of Jesus…
    “All the way to Elizabeth
    and in the months afterward
    she wove him, pondering,
    “this is my body, my blood!”
    Beneath the watching eyes
    of donkey, ox, and sheep
    she rocked him crooning
    “this is my body, my blood!”
    In the search for her young lost boy
    and the foreboding day of his leaving she let him go , knowing
    “This is my body, my blood!”
    Under the blood smeared cross
    she rocked his mangled bones,
    re-membering him, moaning,
    “This is my body, my blood!”
    When darkness, stones , and tomb
    bloomed to Easter morning,
    She ran to him shouting,
    “this is my body, my blood!”
    And no one thought to tell her:
    “Woman, it is not fitting
    for you to say those words.
    You don’t resemble him.” (Mary Zimmerman OFM)
    Where I do agree with you is that :” Women should acknowledge their place in the grand scheme”…. Indeed and that means quite a revolution, of the type Mary proclaimed in her Magnificat! She certainly didn’t keep silent,nor did Elizabeth, or Mary of Magdala when she proclaimed the Good News of the Resurrection.

  20. Polemique says:

    The Magnificat of Mary proclaims all that God had, has done through her, has achieved by grace. She was, is the ‘handmaid’ of the Lord.
    God worked in and through Mary the Mother of Jesus not on her terms or by demand.
    Mary accepted the will of God for her life. “Be it done unto me according to YOUR word…. ” Totally.
    This is the power of the Magnificat. What grace achieves in a soul in making it perfectly capable of glorifying God perfectly. Martha and Mary were not ‘gossips’ no. The point I was trying to make is that Paul spoke a truth about a lot of women in and out of church. They cannot exist it seems without minding everyone else’s business. Grace should illuminate the business of our own lives, our souls that we have no time to be mindful of others that way. I think this is what Paul might have been thinking more than whether women may or may not have made good teachers or anything else.
    Mary chose the better part. Silent, contemplative and listening to and feeding upon the Word of God.
    Mary of the Magnificat did not argue or bemoan her place either. She pondered all things in the heart which is the home of real power and wisdom.
    Weren’t, are not these women closer to Jesus in being who they were, are in their subservience. ? Mary chose the better part. They tended to the needs of others without pomp or ceremony. They did what came naturally to them.
    Sure you can be an ordained priest/ess and any and all other things your will would have you be.
    But what more can you possibly give to God than YOUR will ? What else does God ask ?
    The discontent, disconnect perhaps, felt in life arising because of this for any of us. We don’t seek God’s will but our own in our lives. We try to tell ourselves that in serving our own egos we are really desiring to ‘serve’ all others in some way.
    Just as the heart might be the home of power and wisdom, and love. The ego chooses as home where it might be of service ultimately to itself. Why it must be put to death, be crucified.
    Imagine being so ‘sub servient’ to God moment to moment that God’s will and not our own is wholly desired and accepted by us. Surely a path to real peace and a soul that might more truly ‘magnify the Lord’.
    Such grace. Something so good, so pure, so powerful, so loving that is exalts the lowly to the loftiest of places. God’s very heart, the heart that took the place of the lowliest and most vulnerable of children that he might serve all.
    Maybe at times we bite off our noses to spite ours and other’s faces. This happening too in spiritual life.
    The women you mentioned Soline, all gossip aside, were nearer to Jesus than many of the men they might have aspired to be, become like in so many ways.
    The same holding true today.
    Isn’t priesthood about the sacrificing of something ? What greater sacrifice than your very self, your will to the holy will of God.
    I don’t think God will ask about what we might have done in the present to effect the past or the future. But what we have made of the present in sacrificing our will to God’s in each and every present moment. A lofty ideal certainly – one that seeks the service of all.
    Maybe women are more by nature inclined to such. And in this is true priesthood. “Not my will but thy will oh Father in Heaven. May my soul glorify You in and through each and every moment of my eternal life.”
    Again not wishing to offend and realising it’s not the modern way – to wish to be wholly a mere ‘handmaid’ to the Lord.
    God allowed, chose that the ultimate and perfect Servant be nurtured in the body of a woman for nine months before giving birth to him. Another Mary sits at this child to be Man’s feet one day and is told she has chosen the better part. The real power of women is far greater than many imagine I sometimes wonder.
    Are we resigned today to God’s will or seeking our own ?
    Again I don’t mean or wish to offend or insult.
    You seek to become empowered. Start by knowing the real spiritual power you already possess by nature of being a woman.
    And even though Paul might have argued, or not, that some women in church should not be gossiping.
    The thorn in his flesh was the knowledge far worse. That not some, but that all men are…… complete (?s) something my spiritual director said I can never repeat or utter again, for fear of being damned by having to be ‘handmaid’ to the all male Curia.

  21. I hope to report Eilis O’Hanlon’s expected apology tomorrow.
    Perhaps, instead of apologising, she intends doing an exposé on the ACP for being so forward as to question the authenticity of her careless misquote of the Pope.

  22. Eddie Finnegan says:

    On the other hand, Pól, I’ve been waiting 2yrs2weeks6days6hours&34minutes for Enda Kenny’s apology for his careless miscontextualisation of Francis’s more disconnected predecessor. 🙂

  23. I wonder if there is a direct connection between Pope Francis saying that “Clericalism is a problem” to his saying “No” to women’s ordination?

  24. Eddie @ 25
    Yes the two are on a par in all respects.
    Who put that stupid out of context quote from BXVI into that speech and who didn’t spot it and check it out?
    And, as you say, no correction or apology.
    Sloppy journalism and sloppy politics.
    Ah well, so long as it’s only the Pope or the Vatican who cares?
    Standards have really gone to hell and the perpetrators don’t care. That’s the worst of it.

  25. Linda, Derry says:

    Soline, with respect, your assertion “I am committed to women’s ordination which means I am dedicated to honouring the truth” makes no sense. Jesus said ” I AM the Truth” and in choosing disciples, Jesus chose Men, whether you like it or not or believe it or not. If he wanted or planned a female clergy he would, without doubt have made his Mother and Ours, Our Lady herself, a priest. So it cannot be realistically asserted that you are honouring the Truth as you are dishonouring Jesus. If you really want to dedicate your life to Jesus why not become a nun? It’s not as though there is no alternative and many nuns have evidenced a very fulfilling and spiritually fruitful life in service of Christ e.g. Mother Teresa of Calcutta and EWTN’s Mother Angelica.

  26. Soline Humbert says:

    @30 “In choosing disciples, Jesus chose men”….
    The Gospels tells us that Jesus had women disciples (followers), some of them are named (Mary, Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna etc…) and Luke’s Gospel tells us these women were the ones actually financing the group of disciples!
    As disciples they followed Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem, were at the foot at the cross and at the tomb.
    Scripture also tells us that the women disciples were in the Upper room and were filled with the Holy Spirit.
    Through our baptism and confirmation each one of us is called to be a disciple of Jesus and we are all sent on mission(apostles=Sent),with Good News, as Mary of Magdala was sent by the Risen Christ.She is honoured as apostle to the apostles…..At the end of each Mass this sending, commissioning, is renewed : “GO and serve …”. Surely for a baptised Christian (“No longer do I live, but Christ lives in me “),female and male, NOT TO BE a disciple and an apostle is failing to honour the truth of who we are: another Christ!
    ….I do not think St Therese of Lisieux was dishonouring Jesus or the truth when she got her hair tonsured (part of the ordination ritual) as an expression of her desire to be a priest and when she forecast her early death at 24 as being spared the pain of being excluded from ordination( 24 being then the canonical age for ordination) ….It is all plainly on the record under oath as part of the beatification process. Of course this is airbrushed (hair-brushed!)in her biographies: No doubt not to put ideas into women’s heads…. But some of us haven’t died at the age of 24, and so we carry on trusting in the God who has called us. You and others may dismiss it and me as nonsense, unrealistic,dishonouring the truth,dishonouring Jesus…I am old enough to have heard,and survived, far worse!Thanks be to God!

  27. Soline Humbert says:

    Further to my post above.
    Today’s Gospel Luke 8:1-3 is one of the Gospel passages mentioning the WOMEN DISCIPLES following Jesus and “providing for them out of their own resources ”
    Besides it is very significant,and often overlooked, that in the EUCHARISTIC PRAYERS, we say:
    Jesus gave the bread and wine TO HIS DISCIPLES.
    NB. We do not say “the twelve” or “his male disciples”, but “HIS DISCIPLES”. We know that His disciples included women…and obviously they were paying for the meal (and probably cooked it too!)
    “Lex orandi, lex credendi”.

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