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The Blue & Gray Press | August 18, 2019

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Pope’s exit offers chance for re-evaluation of female roles


After the initial shock of having the first pope in nearly 600 years voluntarily resign due to his inability to mentally or physically handle the tasks that the job required, the College of Cardinals is now in a frenzy finding a replacement for the pope as soon as possible.

The U.S., as a whole, has made major progress over the years regarding to their acceptance of women in leadership roles. We have had women run for the presidency and vice presidency, and after the 2012 election, women currently hold 20 of the 100 seats in the Senate and 77 of the 435 House of Representatives seats.

Altogether in the U.S. Congress, women hold 18 percent of the leadership positions that help to govern our country. Even in other countries, women hold leadership roles as high as presidents. So with all of this being seen, I think it is time for the Catholic Church to recognize women as more than just simple, obedient nuns that serve within the church.

The idea of the Cardinals selecting a female pope is fairly unrealistic, but it is an amazing idea. The Cardinals need to progress right along with the rest of the world, and women deserve a fair chance at major titles such as these. Having a female be selected as pope shows that the Catholic Church supports, not only the rights of their congregation to freely practice their religion, but also the rights of women across the world to be able to reach the goals they may have set for themselves.

This also will give a major sense of equality to women within the church; not only those who may hold leadership positions, but also to the women of their congregation. Women will be able to fully stand by their male peers in the church and truly contribute just as much to the running of their religious community.

Having a female pope would be an advancement for the U.S. as well as Rome. I think having a nun as the next pope would be beneficial because a woman is able to give a different approach when it comes to the leadership of the Catholic Church. The pope is seen as a religious figure that God himself chooses to lead his church. I believe that a female would do an extraordinary job at leading his church.

Since this is a very unrealistic dream for the Catholic Church, I can’t help but ask if: not the papacy, then why not something else?

Women should be able to maintain leadership roles within the church itself instead of having to take the backseat to males. In the year 2012, there were 38,964 total priests within the Catholic Church and 54,018 religious sisters, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA).

With that being said, it makes complete sense for women to have more leadership roles in the church. Women are not even allowed to be priests within Catholicism; however, other religions, including some Protestant denominations, started ordaining women into leadership roles as early as the 1920’s.

Although we may not break from tradition and see the election of the very first female pope this time, I hope that we will witness history being made in 2013 with women gaining more leadership titles in the Catholic Church. This will not only be a major breakthrough for Catholicism, but also a clear way for the Catholic Church to show the world that they value the rights of women everywhere.