The Pope arrived in Washington, D.C. this week. He was wearing his white outfit with the white cap. People were everywhere, smiling and waving.
Streets were closed to make his path more safe, as residents in the District cursed and steamed their way to work. D.C. residents and workers are used to special events blocking traffic patterns. From protesters, to marathons every week in the fall, the Pope was just one more disruption.
As people thronged to see the Holy Pontiff, photographers pushed and shoved to get the snap of a photo no one else would get.
Hands were extended. Smiles exchanged. All of this uproar, including 24-hour coverage on CNN, certainly makes for grand theatre as the Pope visits the United States for the first time.
So how come I really don’t care about the Pope?
I know he is a good guy, especially as compared to other Popes.
Francis doesn’t sleep in the fancy Vatican rooms like the Popes before him. I’ve heard he chooses less pretentious accommodations.
He doesn’t wear the fancy garb most Popes do in public.
He rides in his Pope Mobile with the windows down to be one with his people.
Rather than ignoring the past, Pope Francis opens his arms to the survivors of past sexual abuse initiated by priests.
What’s not to like about a guy who washes the feet of the poor during Lent?
Yet, I just don’t care about the Pope making his first visit to the United States.
No matter how supportive Pope Francis claims to be about climate change. No matter how open he is about same-sex marriage. No matter how intriguing I see his liberal opinions on birth control and women’s rights.
He is still the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church who refuses to acknowledge the importance of ordaining women.
The same women who are already serving people in inspiring ways all over the world.
Just a while ago, I was having dinner with my husband who is a chaplain and his buddy at work, a chaplain who is a Catholic priest.
After a glass of wine and some safe conversation, I leaned across the table to ask my husband’s friend, “What are your opinions about ordaining women?”
Now, for the sake of understanding, I am an ordained woman in the United Church of Christ.
I was hoping he would readily admit ordination was around the corner and a good thing.
A lot of Catholics do that. They support using birth control and supporting same-sex marriage, even if the church does not support their opinions.
But not this guy.
“Women will never be ordained in the Roman Catholic Church,” he said emphatically.
I felt my husband’s fists clench under the table. He was waiting for my response.
“Okay, fine,” I thought to myself.
I did not speak.
I sat back in my chair and poured myself another glass of wine.
So did I mention? I don’t care that much about the Pope visiting this week.
I am not giving up hope for ordained women clergy. The Catholic Religious I know, the ones who took vows of poverty and chastity to be nuns? I will continue to pray for the chains of slavery to be dropped away from their ability to serve God in ways equal to, if not better than, the Roman Catholic men.
But until that happens?
I just cannot get excited about the Pope’s visit.
I will leave the hype up to CNN.
Barbra Hardy is an orphan on God’s highway. She currently writes to find herself.