Pope Francis has altered some Catholic Church practices to embrace women. But his appetite and ability to make bigger changes might be limited.
Published Sept. 23, 2015
At first glance, Pope Francis appears to be a staunch women’s advocate.
He has stood up for equal pay, calling the gender wage gap “pure scandal.” He has emphasized reconciliation and forgiveness for women who have had abortions and wish to follow church teachings in good faith. And most recently, he streamlined the cumbersome and costly process of annulment, a move many lauded as an act of mercy for women.
But the pontiff has also taken positions on women’s issues that some say undermine his outward support – such as refusing to welcome women into the clergy, or stressing church teaching about women’s role as mothers above all else.
The disparity raises the question of how far the pope can, or will, go when it comes to changing the Catholic church’s attitude toward women.