Andrew Sullivan did a great job of summing up what’s new and what’s not about Pope Francis’ comments on gays. Francis returned the Church to where it was before Benedict’s 2005 decision to bar all gays from the priesthood. The current pope also reminds his flock that all people–gays included–deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. But the woo-hoo reaction to his basically business as usual comments has been–as one friend noted– “a little like lavishing praise on the president for giving a few extra hours of sunlight to the prisoners of Gitmo.” What Francis didn’t do is offer any hope to women seeking ordination in the Church. He may have called for a new “theology of women” that seeks a fuller use their gifts, but that’s cold comfort for those who feel called to the priesthood. This is as big a deal as the issue of gays in the church and it’s similarly about the relevance of biblical teachings on gender and sexuality. Or, in more worldly terms, it’s about men’s willingness to believe anything to justify a status quo which protects their  power.


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