Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston, Texas, says that he hopes Pope Francis will meet with the U.S. women religious leaders and that the tension between the women and the hierarchy will be resolved quickly.
In an interview with John Gehring, Catholic Program Director for Faith in Public Life, Fiorenza, who served as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops from 1998 to 2001, says that Francis could not stop the oversight of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious that began under Pope Benedict.
“My hope is,” he said, “there is much more dialogue going on [now], and I hope they have a chance to meet with Pope Francis.”
He also said that he hoped “there will be more voices coming forward among bishops who want to get this issue resolved.”
The interview with Gehring covers a range of topics, including the Pope’s view on economic justice and how his teaching has been received in the United States.
“The Pope’s very clear teaching condemning the “economy of exclusion” and the structures of sin that are involved strikes at the heart of some conservative Catholics who are so wedded to the unfettered free market that they think the Pope’s talk is naïve. Well, the Pope sees it as realistic. The poor of the word who suffer from that type of economic philosophy see it as realistic. The Pope is on a steady course. He is not naïve. He knows what he is doing,” Fiorenza tells Gehring.
In this context, Fiorenza praised women religious, saying, “They have been doing what Pope Francis has been talking about in the streets of the world, in the prisons. They have done that far more effectively than anyone else in the church.”
[Dennis Coday is editor of National Catholic Reporter.]
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