Pope Francis looks to the women of Latin America in this address to his brother bishops south of the Mexico-US border.
In Latin America, hope has a woman’s face
I need not dwell on the role of women on our continent and in our Church. From their lips we learned the faith, and with their milk we took on the features of our mestizo soul and our immunity to despair. I think of indigenous or black mothers, I think of mothers in our cities working three jobs, I think of elderly women who serve as catechists, and I think of consecrated woman and those who quietly go about doing so much good. Without women, the Church of this continent would lose its power to be continually reborn.
Some feminists might find this wording suspect. But Pope Francis is speaking of more than breeding stock for new Catholics. He looks to the witness of Scripture which, often enough, was penned by a patriarchal hand. Yet the faith witness of women is undeniable. Despite efforts to mansplain it away now or in the past.
It is women who keep patiently kindling the flame of faith. We have a grave obligation to understand, respect, appreciate and promote the ecclesial and social impact of all that women do. They accompanied Jesus on his mission; they did not abandon him at the foot of the cross; they alone awaited for the night of death to give back the Lord of life; they flooded the world with the proclamation of his risen presence. If we hope for a new and living chapter of faith in this continent, we will not get it without women. Please, do not let them be reduced to servants of our ingrained clericalism. For they are on the front lines of the Latin American Church, in their setting out with Jesus, in their persevering amid the sufferings of their people, in their clinging to the hope that conquers death, and in their joyful way of proclaiming to the world that Christ is alive and risen.