Not content with Pope Francis’ washing of women’s feet on Holy Thursday or phoning up the Carmelites of Lucena on New Year’s Eve, HuffPo columnist Angela Bonavoglia wants to see more evidence of the pontiff’s respect for and commitment to women.
With that in mind, Angela Bonavoglia–self-appointed papal advisor–has published a “To-Do List” of demands for the Holy Father.
And high on that list, of course, is acceptance of abortion. Oh–and blessing the use of contraception. And throwing away the quaint idea of the Virgin Birth.
Yep, Ms. Bonavoglia, author of Good Catholic Girls: How Women Are Leading the Fight to Change the Church, is sure she knows better than Francis about how the Church ought to think. That’s why she feels competent to offer some helps so that he can do a better job leading the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
I am left breathless by the cheekiness of those–male or female–who hold their own particular viewpoint in such high regard that they would override 2,000 years of Church teaching. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child tried that this week and got a quick and stern rebuke from Archbishop Tomasi, who represents the Vatican at the UN in Geneva, with a longer retort from Pope Francis to follow.
But undeterred by the Vatican’s insistence on its right to define its doctrine, Bonavoglia pushes on. She clearly believes that she has a bead on God’s thought which surpasses Pope Francis’ timeless teaching; and so she has published a nine-point bullet list to help him to shape up and conform to her views.
[Hold on just a minute while I pick my jaw up from the floor....]
Bonavoglia wants Pope Francis to make the Church more hip.
Stop talking, she says, about the role of women in the Church–since women have been there all along. [Here, she's going to have to do some 'splainin' to other feminists who have decried the Church's supposed disregard for women.]
Bonavoglia urges the pope to recognize women’s God-given moral authority. [That's a watchword for "Let us abort our children if we feel like it."] She throws in his face Pope Francis’ own words “Who am I to judge?” and admits that abortion can be a difficult decision. But God obviously trusted women to make that decision, she thinks: look where She put the embryo.
[Oh, my eyes... my eyes! They just keep rolling!]
Get with it, she scolds, and study up on feminist theology. Start listening to the great thinkers [here she forgets Aquinas and Augustine, but names Fordham's censured theologian Elizabeth Johnson].
And contraception! Good grief, get over it, would you? she urges. Bring those American bishops with their faulty “religious liberty” campaign into line and Bless Birth Control! Why,
“…to insist — as do the U.S. bishops in their religious freedom crusade that birth control is not health care, when every major health organization maintains that it is crucial the health of mothers and babies — is downright medieval. If the church could quietly erase an 800-year-old belief in limbo from Church doctrine, no longer marooning unbaptized babies out of God’s sight, then surely you can finally embrace the majority recommendation of Pope John XXIII’s Papal Birth Control Commission and approve the use of artificial contraception.”
Leave behind the Virgin Birth–a “myth” which Bonavoglia claims was, anyway, just a feeble attempt by early Christianity to win over converts from the pagan/goddess religions who already accepted divine progeny springing from all manner of human/spirit couplings.
[Eek! Screaming here!]
Next, if the Pope consults with Bonavoglia, he’ll realize that he must–MUST!– appoint a woman to the College of Cardinals. After all, she says, the failure-to-resemble Jesus argument, which assumes Jesus saw male genitals as integral to priestly ministry, is absurd. [I am of the opinion that insistence on women serving the Church as priests and bishops is the ultimate in clericalism--but that's for another day.]
Bonavoglia wraps it up with three oft-heard and ill-conceived demands: end compulsory celibacy, hold your brethren accountable [apparently, she didn't see the story about Benedict XVI laicizing over 400 priests in just two years], and don’t hold meetings about women without women [Oops again! Just two years ago, several of my female friends were among women gathered at the invitation of the Vatican for a conference on the anniversary of Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation Mulieris Dignitatum (On the Dignity of Women).]